A Mystical Morning

Far, far to the North, in the chilly mountain ranges of Canada, freshly fallen snow swirls in intricate patterns along the ground, the wind gently coaxing each snowflake to life as if partaking in a wondrous, wintry dance. The early morning sunlight spreads across the blanketed landscape, the morning dew twinkling off of maple syrup buckets collecting sap from the forest’s sparse trees. Annette, the sap farmer’s youngest daughter, trudges through the snow, rubbing her eyes with her woolen mitts as she lets out a deep yawn.

Annette had had trouble sleeping the night before, tossing and turning excitedly as she imagined what kind of surprises were in store for her on her seventh birthday. She had made sure to set her alarm so that she could wake up before anyone else in the cottage. With a furrowed brow and a mischievous grin, she had ever so quietly donned her winter wear and tiptoed out of the cabin, heading straight for the forest.

Annette’s favorite pastime is bounding from one tree to the next, whiling the hours away and watching the slow dripping of syrup as her parents and sisters toil away and tap new maple trees. The forest is her safe haven, and she wants to spend all of her waking birthday moments surrounded by the trees and the snow.

Annette spends the better part of an hour twirling around and kicking up snowy powder, her multi-colored scarf billowing in the wind. The smell of the sap and the trees is intoxicating. She has never been happier than in this moment. She knows that she should start heading back to the cabin so that she can sneak back up to her room before anyone notices she’s been away, but she sprints further ahead instead, her eyes locked on one of the most impressive trees in the forest.

Papa Baby Yeti“I bet I can carve my initials into that tree and still make it back in time for breakfast”, she thinks aloud. She begins to salivate as she fantasizes about the piles of fluffy pancakes drenched in melted butter and sweet maple syrup waiting for her at home. She heads towards the tree at full sprint, but stops abruptly when she hears a gravelly voice nearby. Intrigued, she begins to slowly tiptoe closer to the clearing from where the voice originated.

As she nears the large maple tree, aiming to hide behind the large trunk in an attempt to remain unnoticed, she hears a boisterous guffaw that shakes the barren tree branches nearby. The hearty laugh tapers off, and Annette hears a much squeakier voice chime in:

“Why are you laughing at me, pop? I’m serious!”

Annette crouches lower and peeks around the base of the tree trunk. She stifles a gasp as she spies the two figures sitting around a smoldering fire in the clearing. She can’t believe her eyes.

“Yetis…”, she whispers to herself, incredulous.

A monstrous yeti sits cross-legged across from a much smaller creature, his whole body convulsing in fits of laughter. While the larger yeti is impressive in both size and demeanor, with broad shoulders, taut muscles, and a pair of curved ebony horns atop his matted pate, the baby yeti is but a small, plump version of his father, with the tiniest of nubs sprouting from his rounded head.

“He’s nothing but a little fur ball!”, Annette exclaims, trying her hardest to suppress a fit of giggles.

The larger yeti picks up a small, rectangular splint of wood, lifts the shard towards his jowls, and inhales deeply. Annette’s eyes widen as the creature exhales. The yeti’s breath curls outward in wisps of dense blue smoke and surrounds the piece of wood. The splint hisses with energy as it’s thrown towards the ground. Annette’s eyes fall upon a pile of other wood pieces infused with a similar aura which have been strewn across the powdery ground. The crackling blue wood chip strikes the ground and small ripples of electricity radiate outwards towards the other pieces. The wood chips are thrown upwards, a mixture of red, green, and purple smoke dissipating as the pieces of wood are scattered about. The baby yeti stares at the shrapnel scattered around his feet, now bereft of any magical aura, and his eyes begin to well up with tears.

“I win again, little one”, the father declares. “You’re going to have to practice a lot harder if you’re to earn a golden cup of your very own.”

The papa yeti hoists his son onto his shoulder, wiping the tears away with his grizzled knuckle.

“Don’t fret, my son. We’ll practice some more tomorrow, and then the day after that. We’ll keep working until you’re ready. I promise.”

The baby yeti smiles timidly as he wraps his little arms around his father’s neck, nuzzling close. The papa yeti holds his son tight and kicks up a pile of snow to extinguish the fire. Annette’s vision is clouded by smoke and powder. When her vision clears, the yetis are gone.

She hurries towards the fire pit, picks up the largest wood chip she can find and stares at it intently. There’s no more crackling energy, no more vibrant colors, and no more magic.

“That was incredible…”, Annette mutters. She stands still for a brief moment, straining her ears in hopes of hearing the yetis once more. The only sound left is the whistling of the wind, so Annette burst ahead, heading straight for her cottage.

The yetis walk hand-in-hand towards the mouth of their cave, shielding their eyes from the pellets of ice that sting their pelts. An ice storm rages on, and they hurry inside to the warmth and shelter of the cavern. As Papa Yeti shuffles around, gathering kindling to build a fire, Baby Yeti stares longingly at the gleaming golden cup that rests on a stony shelf. The golden cup is proof that a yeti has mastered his magic, and his father has regaled him countless times with stories of his childhood and how the chalice had appeared for him as if out of nothingness. His father mentions time and time again how the day that his golden cup appeared for him was one of the proudest days of his long, eventful, and much fulfilled life, second only to the day his son was born.

“You’ll have yours soon, little one”, Papa Yeti declares, resting his enormous paw on Baby Yeti’s small frame.

The newly lit fire crackles to life and the warmth spreads to each corner of the cave. Father and son curl up on a bed of dried leaves and are both snoring contently within minutes.

Sunlight filters through the mouth of the cave and Baby Yeti is awoken by the chirping of birds. His father continues to snore loudly, his enormous body heaving with each exhalation of breath. Baby Yeti knows how irritable his father can be in the mornings, so he collects half a dozen wood chips from the ground and heads outside.

As he walks through the forest, Baby Yeti inhales deeply and forces cold air out of his lungs. His breath glows a pale pink and the stringy wisps of magical smoke cover the chips he holds. He takes aim at a flock of birds resting on a tree branch, his little tongue lolling to the side as he closes one eye and prepares to strike.

“Boom! Pow! Huzzah!”, he exclaims excitedly, throwing three chips one after another towards the birds. They soar through the air, crackling with pale pink energy, only to fall short of the tree as they arc back towards the ground and fizzle out in the snow. The birds seem unfazed and the little yeti sighs.

He stares at the last piece of wood in his paw. He closes his eyes, inhales deeply, and tries to visualize a golden cup. His stomach begins to rumble as he prepares to exhale, and he pushes the air out of his little lungs as powerfully as he can muster. He slowly opens his eyes, only to have his jaw go slack as a bright orange mist fills his line of vision. The piece of wood he holds spits and crackles with a bright orange aura. He grins slyly and takes aim once more at the apathetic birds perched in the distance.

“Woohoo!”, he screams gleefully as he flicks the magical chip from his wrist. It shoots towards the birds, leaving a trail of orange smoke in the air. The wood chip hits the branch and explodes in a shower of sparks, frightening the birds as they clamber over each other to take flight.

The yeti’s ears start ringing and his eyes dart towards a golden glow emanating from a glade in the distance. He rushes towards the sound and the golden aura but he trips over himself as he reaches the clearing. A small golden cup rests in the snow, just out of arms reach. The yeti is frozen, arms outstretched, unable to coax a syllable from his throat as he stares at the golden chalice. It seems so close, yet still so far.

YetiStory1He slowly starts waddling towards the golden cup. His steps are tentative at first, but he starts walking more quickly as he approaches the chalice. Finally an arm’s length away, Baby Yeti leaps through the air to claim his prize, but the trophy disappears just as he’s about the lay his tiny paws on the shining cup.

He begins tearing up, but he bites his lip and tries his best to slow the beating of his heart. He takes a deep breath, slowly turns around, and heads back home.

“I know it’s discouraging, but it’s a good sign. Trust me.” Papa Yeti flings a wood chip infused with blood red energy towards his son’s yellow chips, knocking two of them away. “The golden cup appearing for you means that you’re on the right track. I’m glad that you’ve been practicing a lot more lately, but you have to take a break at some point, son. You’re wearing yourself thin. It’s been a month since you saw the apparition and you’ve grown tremendously since then. Take a break before you burn out and there’s nothing left of you to even hoist that damned cup!”

“If I’ve grown so much, how come I haven’t seen my golden cup since then?” Baby yeti blows wisps of golden smoke towards his outstretched hand, embedding the magically charged chip in the snow just shy of any of his father’s pieces.

“Look at you! You’ve run yourself ragged with all of your worrying. You can’t even aim properly anymore!”, his father exclaims. Papa Yeti lobs a jagged purple chip towards his son’s pieces and sweeps the board of all but his one golden chip left teetering in the middle of the circle.

“I’ve grown more than you think, pop”, Baby Yeti sneers. “I think you should focus less on my aim and focus more on your positioning.” Baby Yeti fans out three small chips, takes a deep breath, and infuses each of them with a bright orange aura. He quickly flicks one after another towards his remaining golden chip, grinning widely. The three orange chips make impact one after another with the golden slab. The accumulated energy and force of impact create an explosion of sparks and magical electricity which erupts from the middle of the board. When the smoke and snowy mist has cleared, the three orange chips remain embedded in the snow, and the entirety of Papa Yeti’s pieces are gone.

The chuckle starts off slow, as if bubbling up from Papa Yeti’s core. He then erupts into a fit of hysterical laughter. “You got me, son. That was pretty impressive. Maybe your old man is losing his touch after all.”

Papa Yeti flashes his son a toothy grin and Baby Yeti beams with pride. He has never outsmarted his father in a game of chips before, and he relishes the moment. He runs up to his dad and gives him a hug. “Thank you for being so supportive,” he whispers.

“I’m very proud of you,” Papa Yeti declares, holding his son close.

A flash of light appears and the yetis’ ears start to ring. They both look down at the makeshift gaming area and smile. Baby Yeti’s golden cup shines as bright as ever, but he hesitates to reach out.

“Go on”, says Papa Yeti. “You’ve earned it.”

Baby Yeti tentatively places his paw on the cold, gleaming surface of the chalice. He takes his paw off and places it back several times, as if testing its existence. Satisfied, he hoists it above his head with one arm and lets out a trill of excitement. His father grabs the cup and lifts it triumphantly, his son dangling excitedly from one of the handles.


Today is a good day for the yeti clan.

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