The Short Letter W
by Daniel Errico
Illustrated by Michiko Cayce
Letter W lived in the Land of Words.
He was always one of the smallest letters around when he was a lowercase w.
Then we he got older, he was still the smallest of all the letters.
He had stopped growing when others kept going.
He didn’t like being shorter than everyone else.
He tried lots of things to look taller.
He tried wearing fancy hats with feathers.
But they just attracted birds.
He tried walking around in shoes as tall as stilts.
But he was too afraid of heights.
He tried carrying around a spinning doodad to distract people.
But it distracted him, too.
Nobody minded that he was short, but they felt bad for how sad it made him.
One day a mysterious letter came to town and said that he had magic potions for sale.
“Do you have a potion that will make me taller?” asked the Letter W.
“That I do!” said the mysterious letter, “this rare bottle of potion will make you a foot taller!”
The Letter W bought two, just to be safe.
The mysterious letter told him to take two teaspoonfuls before bed, and then he would be tall by morning.
The Letter W did just that.
The next morning he woke up, and he had a beard down to the floor!
He went back to the mysterious letter and showed him his face.
“Hmmm…a fine beard.” said the mysterious salesman.
“I didn’t want a beard. I wanted to be taller!” said the Letter W.
“Try this,” said the mysterious salesman. Mix it with the first potion, and your beard will be gone and you will be tall.”
The Letter W mixed the two potions and took two teaspoons again before bed like he was told.
The next morning when he woke up, his beard was not gone, and his feet were the size of pizzas!
He went to see the mysterious salesmen once more.
“What wonderfully large feet. Can I interest you in my enormous shoe collection?”
“No!” said the Letter W, “I want my beard gone and my feet back to normal. And I still want to be tall!”
“I see,” said the mysterious letter, “try this potion here. If you take one drop of this potion before bed, you will be the tallest letter of them all, and you will no longer have your beard or large feet.”
The Letter W went home and took a drop of the potion before bed. It tasted horrible, but if it worked, it would be worth it.
The next morning he woke up and his beard still long, his feet were still large, and now he had a round red nose!
He went to see the mysterious letter one last time.
“Hello there,” said the letter, “what a wonderful nose. It matches your beard and feet perfectly.”
“You have tricked me!” said the Letter W, “You’ve made me look silly. I want this beard, these feet, and this nose gone right away.”
“Is that what would make you happy?” asked the mysterious letter.
“Yes!” said the Letter W.
And like that, the mysterious letter waved his hand and left.
The Letter W was back to normal. As he had asked, his beard, his enormous feet, and his round red nose were gone.
“It feels great to be back to normal!” said the Letter W.
He had forgotten all about being taller. He was happy just to be himself again.
From that day on, the Letter W liked himself exactly the way he was.
In the Land of Words, you can’t be happy until you’re happy with yourself.