Once upon a time in a little cottage, there lived a girl named Alice. She loved fairytales. Since she was four years old, she kept asking her mum for fairytales books. Sometimes, when she would finish reading the fairytale she would wish she could be in it.

One day when she was playing in the garden when she thought that she saw some sparkly dust in the sky. At first, she thought that it was her imagination, but then she saw the sparkly dust land on her hand.

She got up from the swing and realised that there was a trail of the magical dust going through the garden. Alice started following the trail.

It went through the trees, over the pond and into the field. Alice kept on following the trail. Suddenly, the trail stopped. Alice looked around to find more sparkly dust. But the only things she could see around her were corn growing in a big field.

Suddenly she smelt something sweet. She followed the smell until she came to the centre of the cornfield. Here she found a stick, sticking out of the ground. It was yellow and gold in colour and there was an unusually big, bright and sparkly ‘’M’’ written on one end.

Alice wondered who this stick belonged to, so she pulled it out of the ground and took it home with her. Alice ran into the house and burst through her room. She was anxious to check the magical stick. Alice tried to figure out if the stick served some purpose.

First, she tried to see if it was a pencil, but it was not. Then she whirled it three times in the air and then put it on the table and left. That night, when Alice was sleeping, the magical stick gave out sparkles. Alice felt that something unusual was happening in her room, she woke up.

She was surprised to see her room filled with sparkly dust! Then she noticed that the dust was coming from the magic stick. She got out of bed and picked up the stick. Suddenly the magic dust was all around her. She became terrified and closed her eyes tightly, holding the magic stick tightly in her hand.

Alice shook the magic stick to make the dust go away and when she opened her eyes then she realised that she wasn’t in her room anymore, but in a strange land! Around her were toadstools, trees and lovely flowers. She finally realised that it was a magic wand.

She looked around and wondered where she was. Then she noticed a sign saying ‘Camelot North’, ‘Real World South’. When Alice read this, she got confused.

“What is Camelot?” she wondered.

She decided to find out herself and started walking around. Soon Alice came to a huge stone wall. Suddenly, she saw something moving in the bushes and screamed. A creature came out of the bushes half-scared. It was a dwarf.

“Hi! I’m Nim Nom! What’s your name?” the dwarf asked.

“My name is Alice,” she replied.

“Well Alice, are you going to Camelot?” Nim Nom asked.

“I don’t even know what Camelot is!” Alice replied.

“Well, Camelot is a magical land where the great Merlin lives with all his fellow wizards and witches!” Nim Nom said.

“Wow!” Alice exclaimed, “Can you take me there, Nim Nom?”

“Of course!” Nim Nom replied

Nim Nom clapped his hands three times and beautiful white horses with a carriage came out of nowhere. The horses had silver horns. They were unicorns, Alice realised. She climbed into the carriage with Nim Nom. “To Camelot!” Nim Nom shouted.

The unicorns trotted off and they came to a colourful meadow. They stopped in front of a rabbit hole. Alice and Nim Nom climbed off. Nim Nom patted one of the unicorns and they went away. Alice looked into the dark hole. It was pitch black and too small for her size.

“We’re not going in there, are we?” she asked.

“Of course we are!” Nim Nom replied. This time he clapped his hands four times.

The hole became bigger in size. Then he snapped his fingers and two torches came out of nowhere. “Ready?” he asked.

Alice was now breathless in excitement. “Yes, I am,” she replied.

Nim Nom jumped in. So did Alice. She switched on her torch. The walls were covered with mud. It looked like an ordinary hole, but it felt like they were going down a slide. Finally they reached the bottom of the hole and Alice found herself in a little town.

Nim Nom said, “Welcome to Camelot, Alice.”

Camelot was an amazing place where all the witches and wizards lived. All the houses were shaped like wizard hats and were brightly coloured. Behind the houses was a big castle with four large towers and on the top was a flag with the letter “M”. Alice looked at her wand and then the flag. Both letters were the same. She followed Nim Nom down the main street. People waved at Nim Nom and he waved back.

“Are you famous here?” Alice asked curiously.

“Well, kind of,” replied Nim Nom, blushing.

Finally they came to a restaurant called ‘The Wizard’s Feast.’

“Are you hungry?” asked Nim Nom.

“Oh yes!” replied Alice.

They entered the restaurant and sat on a table. Alice noticed that there was nothing on the table. Out of nowhere appeared a wizard dressed in robes. He took out a wand, twirled it and suddenly pasta, burgers, fries and a yummy salad appeared on the table out of thin air. The food was scrumptious and Alice ate till her stomach was full.

Then the wizard asked Alice for her wand. She gave him the wand, explaining hesitantly that it was not hers and she just took it from a corn field where she found it in the real world. He jumped with joy much to Alice’s surprise.

“What has happened Nim Nom,” she asked.

Nim Nom said she would find out if she went to the castle with him. The wizard quickly used his wand on a wand scanner and paid the bill for the food.

“Thank you for coming to the Wizard’s Feast,” wizard said. They hurried out of the restaurant and finally reached the castle.

The gate was opened by a guard and Nim Nom led Alice into the castle. They entered a hall and were taken to see Merlin in the magic library. Alice thought that Merlin would be a very scary and powerful wizard and would put her in a magical tower forever and she wouldn’t be able to go back home ever again. But when she met Merlin, she found him a sweet wizard with a kind face and a long beard. He wore white and blue robes with gold stars and a wizard’s hat.

He welcomed Alice and asked, “What brings you to my land?”

Alice told Merlin her whole story and Merlin listened carefully. Then Merlin asked for the wand and Alice gave it to him. Alice found out that Nim Nom was Merlin’s special servant and Merlin had assigned him the duty to look for his most powerful wand that had gotten lost some time ago when Merlin had a dual with an evil witch. Merlin said that he was grateful and happy that Alice found his wand and brought it back to him in one piece. As a reward, he told Alice that he would grant her a wish.

“I have given you a wand that you will find it in your bedroom. In case you ever want to come back to Camelot again, all you need to do is twirl your wand three times and you will be in Camelot.”

Alice thanked Merlin and hugged her friend Nim Nom. She said goodbye to them and the sparkly dust started swirling around her as Merlin twirled his wand and muttered a spell. Alice squeezed her eyes shut and when she opened them she found herself back in her bedroom.

“Oh I can’t wait to get back to Camelot,” Alice exclaimed excitedly as she picked up the wand she found there.

Published in Dawn, Young World, January 18th, 2020