Tunnel to the Past
The morning sun rose to begin a new day on a small island in the Atlantic not far from the larger island of Ireland. It was spring. The air was calm this morning except for an occasional breeze blowing from the south. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the morning dew on the grass glistened as the sun beams crossed each blade of grass.
A shepherd boy, young Thomas McGill, was tending a small flock of sheep. Just over a small rise was a very large tree which stood a few hundred yards from an ancient castle wall. As Thomas approached the tree, he noticed a kaleidoscope of butterflies fluttering in the tall grass. Thomas approached the butterflies, and as he did, they flew away from him in the direction of the very large tree.
There were at least a dozen Peacock butterflies, with their prominent red wings and superbly colored large eyespots, those were easy to spot. He noticed tortoiseshell butterflies which were the most common of the colorful butterflies in this area. Also a group of three, even more common white butterflies, were flying close to each other.
Off to the right of this swarm was a single blue butterfly fluttering closer to the tree than the rest of them. This was the first time that Thomas had ever seen a blue butterfly. He was fascinated and wanted to get a closer look. He looked back to his sheep to check if they were all together, then he turned and began to walk up to get a better look at the blue butterfly. At first the butterfly flew away from him when a slight breeze blew and lifted the butterfly much higher in the sky. Thomas watched as the breeze pushed the butterfly up and down and farther away from him. The blue butterfly appeared to be trying to fly in the direction of the tree, fighting against the breeze that was blowing it in the opposite direction.
As Thomas got closer to the tree himself, he noticed a large opening at the base, large enough for him to stand in. He watched as the butterfly flew into the opening. Thomas approached, poked his head into the opening and looked around for the butterfly, but it was too dark to see it.
Pulling his head out from the tree’s opening for a moment, Thomas looked back again to check on his flock of sheep. They were grazing and grouped together so he turned back to the opening in the base of the tree and stepped inside.
A strange sensation came over him. Feeling a little dizzy, he lost his balance and began to fall. Thomas quickly reached up to grab anything he could to stop from falling, but just as he grabbed a branch, his feet were no longer touching the ground beneath him.
Hanging there, he looked down and could see a light and what appeared to be a ledge below. Thomas was losing his grip, so he swung himself over, let go of the branch, and landed on the ledge, just a few feet from a drop that seem to go down a hundred feet.
Still feeling a little strange, and now scared, Thomas stood to look down the deep hole. He bent down, picked up a small stone and dropped it into the pit. A few seconds went by before he heard the stone hit the bottom with the sound of a splash. Water, he thought, perhaps this is an old well? But how am I to get out of here?, he thought to himself.
His father had gone into the village this morning for supplies, and when he returned, he would not be able to find Thomas. Looking around, Thomas was trying to think of a way out. Fortunately there was enough light for him to see, but where was the light coming from? Some of the light was coming from above where he was standing just moments before, shining down fifteen or twenty feet above him. Could I climb back up to the top?, he wondered. Moving to the edge of the wall, he attempted to climb it, but there was nothing to hold on to. Thomas made several attempts, but after climbing a few feet up he would always fall back to the ledge.
As his eyes began to adjust more to the limited amount of light, he noticed a lever on the wall. Pulling it down he could hear movement, sounds, and then the wall began to shake. Dirt from the wall started falling on and around him. Thomas dropped to the ledge floor in fear. In a few moments the dust and dirt had settled. Now it was even lighter in the area where he was lying and he looked in the direction of the beam of light shining through the dust to see a tunnel now in front of him.
Standing up, Thomas brushed himself off and took a few steps into the tunnel opening. On the wall he could see rows of torches on both sides. Some were lit which provided plenty of light to see a clear pathway down the tunnel.
What is this place?, Thomas thought. Perhaps an ancient underground passage to the old castle? Thomas was scared, but knowing that he had no other choice he had to follow the tunnel to see where it would lead. After walking a few hundred feet, the tunnel came to a fork. What to do next? Thomas could go either left or right. Thomas remembered a line from a book he had once read, “Left is death right is right.” That made it easy for Thomas to decide what to do next, so he started down the tunnel to the right.
After another 100 feet or so, he could see a door. It was a very old-looking door, from the middle ages. Fear started to well up inside of him again. What if I try to open it and the walls come crashing in around me again! Thomas thought.
But he felt as if he had no choice, so he tried to open the door. With his shoulder against it and pushing hard with his legs, the door opened a crack and with a few more pushes he had opened it completely into a room.
Thomas’s eyes opened wide. There was a lot of light in this room, and to his surprise a group of men dressed in medieval garments now stared back at him.
Speechless, Thomas looked at the men and the men looked back at him. Several of the men spoke at once, “Where did you come from? Who are you? How did you get in here!?”
Thomas quietly replied, “Well I fell through the ground and then followed the tunnel to here.”
Another man remarked, “What kind of clothes are you wearing lad?”
Thomas was thinking the same thing about the men sitting around the table in the middle of the room.
A third man spoke up, “I think we better take you to see Sir Lawrence, come with me boy.”
The man stood up and started toward Thomas. Thomas stepped back to avoid the man reaching to grab him.
“Come with me, it will be alright,” the man said gently. Thomas followed the man out of the room through the doorway on the other side of the room, and up the stairs. They then walked across a breezeway overlooking a field some twenty five feet below the castle wall.
Castle of Dreams and the Blue Butterfly is the second book in a series of fictional fantasy tales for early and young readers. The concept for the book series came about after completing the first book, Castle of Dreams and the Dragon Princess. That book was written to tell the story behind my acoustic solo piano CD, Castle of Dreams Acoustic Solo Piano. The CD consists of sixteen piano compositions, which will one day be a ballet.
The story takes place in the middle ages. A time when castles were prominent and kingdoms were ruled by royal families. Megan, the main character, is the daughter of the queen's head chambermaid. She grows up in the castle along with the prince. The book series tells the tale of their adventures in the magical and mystical time of castles, kings, queens, knights, sorcerers and dragons.