ELFISHKI AND THE GIANT CAKE
a bedtime story
by Elvira Baryakina
Elfishki and the Giant Cake got
Once upon a time, on the beautiful Rainbow Island in the middle of the Sparkling Sea lived magical little people called Elfishki. Some of them could fly like butterflies, and some could swim like mermaids. They shared the island with animals who could speak, and trees who did not talk but understood everything. All in all, this was a place where miracles happened every day.
Elfizz was one very clever Elfishki. Also, he was quite a talented magician: He could make broccoli taste like pizza, and spinach yummier than ice cream. In the main square of the city, he had a restaurant called Chest of Ghosts. It resembled an old antique chest, and the waiting staff were eager-to-please ghosts.
On the opposite side of the square was the bakery, Gingerbread Nook, run by a pretty, plump Elfishki lady called Maggie. Her apprentice, Gargoyle, helped her to bake the dough.
Long ago, Gargoyle was a statue crowning the city tower, but one night, young stargazers accidentally sprayed her with magic potion. Gargoyle became alive, but remained stony and heavy. When she walked, the earth would rumble and glass would shake in window frames.
Maggie took Gargoyle off the street, gave her shelter, and taught her how to bake cakes. No one in the whole world could roll sweet pastry dough as finely as Gargoyle could. She only needed to put her heavy paw on a piece of dough and it would become as thin as paper.
Maggie didn’t like Elfizz and was scared of his spooky waiters. Once a ghost was hurrying, late for work, and flew straight through her. Poor Maggie couldn’t stop hiccupping for a month afterwards—that's how much wind she caught from that one encounter!
On the other hand, Elfizz thought the rich vanilla aromas of Maggie’s baking interfered with the atmosphere at the Chest of Ghosts. In the evening, Maggie’s choir of singing and harp-playing cherubs would disturb his guests’ pirate songs.
One day, Maggie received a very important order—to make a Giant Cake for the birthday party of the scholarly cat, Mr. Thomas. All Elfishki people would be invited to wish him a very happy birthday.
On the big day, Maggie set to work. But Gargoyle was so overwhelmed, she started to scurry and, with all her weight, ran into the oven, turning it into a pile of bricks. It was a disaster.
Maggie didn’t want to ask Elfizz for help, but he was the only one with an oven big enough.
“Okay, I’ll help you,” he said when she came to his Chest of Ghosts. “But, only on one condition. I will have to bake the layers myself. My oven is special, and only I know how to use it.”
When Elfizz took the first batch of cakes out of the oven, they were almost black.
“They’re all burnt!” exclaimed Maggie.
“Try first,” sneered Elfizz.
She bit off a piece, and it tasted like the most wonderful chocolate sponge cake. Maggie covered it with cream and began to build a little Gingerbread Nook on top.
“Pink! I hate pink!” objected Elfizz as he started to mold something out of chocolate. But Maggie was so engrossed in her work that she didn’t notice what Elfizz was up to.
Mr. Thomas’s birthday party was arranged on the main town square. The guests gasped when the ghost waiters brought the cake out.
“It’s our town on the cake!” Mr. Thomas exclaimed. “Here is the Chest of Ghosts and the Gingerbread Nook, and all of us.”
“Elfizz and I made it,” Maggie confessed.
The cake was a big success. All the guests congratulated Mr. Thomas and also Maggie and Elfizz. The two had finally become friends and learned to help each other. And most important of all, they realized good things can be done in different ways.
Translated from Russian by Anna Muzychka and Benjamin Kuttner