The Invisible Chair

Once, a long time ago, in a town something like yours, there was an old lady, a sorcerer, and a boy named Bop. The old lady was getting on in years and she found it difficult to stand for a long time, waiting for the bus or at the supermarket, so she made herself an invisible chair. Whenever she was somewhere where she had to stand around and her legs got tired, she would take the chair out of her bag, unfold it and sit down. When it was time to go, she would fold it up again and put it in her bag, and off she would go.

Of course one day she got up and forgot about the chair, and when she did remember and came back for it, she couldn’t find it because it was invisible, so that was that.

Now the chair, left by itself, got in everyone’s way. People walking down the street tripped over it and knocked it over into the path of the next person, who would fall over it, and knock it into the path of someone else. A dog got hold of it once and dragged it across the street into a playground where a group of boys were playing football. They all got tangled up in it, thinking they were tackling each other. The chair got kicked to one side and everyone forgot about it, until a boy climbed over the fence into the playground on his way home from school, and fell over it.

The boy’s name was Bishop, but everyone called him Bop. Bop was different from other boys. When he fell over the chair, he wondered what had tripped him up. He couldn’t see anything, but he felt around and his hands found the chair. “An invisible chair,” he said to himself. “That could be very useful.” He carried the chair home and sat on it on his front verandah, enjoying the sun and thinking how comfortable it was.

Now it just happened that next door to Bop there lived a wicked sorcerer. He noticed at once that Bop was sitting on a chair that wasn’t there. An evil plan formed in his mind. When Bop went inside to get a drink of water, the sorcerer slipped over silently and took the chair. When Bop came back with his drink and went to sit down, he crashed over backwards onto the verandah boards, very surprised. The water went everywhere, and from somewhere he thought he heard a low chuckle.

The sorcerer’s plan was this. He was tired of working and he wanted to enslave a whole lot of people to work for him and make him wealthy and powerful. He added some of his own magic to the chair and made it grow longer and longer, and higher and wider and stronger, and he set it around the town as an invisible wall. The townspeople were locked inside a barrier they couldn’t see.

The sorcerer stood in his tower and proclaimed, “You are all my slaves! From now on, you will all work much harder, and every day you must bring me tribute, half your money and all your best food, and everything nice you have in your houses.”

The people laughed at him and refused at first, but the sorcerer rained down lightning and hailstones on them, and when they tried to run away, they found there was an invisible wall all around the town, too strong to break down and too high to climb over. So in great sorrow, they gave in to the sorcerer and did what he said.

Outside the wall, people from other towns could see what was happening. They sent for the police and the army, but no-one could break through the invisible barrier. They tried firing rockets over the top, but the sorcerer laughed and made the wall higher. He had his slaves build him an enormous palace to put all the food and money and nice things in. Whenever he was bored or he thought they weren’t working fast enough, he struck them with lightning bolts and fireballs.

Bop worked hard alongside everyone else, but as he worked, he thought hard. He remembered the invisible chair he had found, and it gave him an idea. One night, under cover of darkness, he crept up to the invisible barrier and he felt it all over, up and down, over and under. He discovered that it was really a very long, wide, high chair. “That means,” he said to himself, “that I should be able to get under it.” Sure enough, after a lot of searching, he found a place where he could get under the chair and out the other side.

Straight away, he went back in and, as quiet as a mouse, he told people that he had found an escape route under the invisible barrier. He led them to the place and showed them how to get through. In ones and twos, the people scrambled through safely to the other side. All through the night, the word spread and more and more people made their way out to safety.

As soon as it was light, the sorcerer saw what was happening. Roaring with anger, he threw his most powerful lightning bolts down on the people who were escaping, but in his fury he took no care where he was aiming and the lightning struck the invisible wall and shattered it to pieces.

The army waiting on the other side streamed in triumphantly and captured the sorcerer, tying him up with rope and tight chains so that he couldn’t do any more mischief. He was locked away for the rest of his years, and everything he had taken was restored to the people he had taken it from.

But Bop, who was different from other boys, felt all around where the invisible wall used to be, until he found some small pieces. He joined all the pieces together and made himself a cloak that covered him from head to toe. That way he could become invisible whenever he wanted to, and he could fold the cape up and put it in his pocket when he was finished. He had many adventures and did good for many, many people, and the cloak of invisibility was passed down in his family for generations and generations.

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