The chief elders of Atlantis looked over the reports with grim faces. The truce was over. Their enemies would arrive within a week. War was unavoidable, and their little island would not survive it. “What can we do?” one of the elders asked.
No one answered. The sat and looked at each other. No one had anything to say. And then, glitter fell from nowhere onto the table and a scroll appeared. The chief healer snatched it up. “It’s from the unicorns,” he said. “It’s their secrets to playing hide-and-seek.”
The chief scribe snorted in disdain. “There aren’t any unicorns. They’re a ridiculous myth.”
“Well, something made that scroll appear out of nowhere,” the chief healer said. “And where else would you find that much gold glitter?”
“If it was really unicorns, there would be rainbows,” the chief scribe said. “But I don’t see any rainbows.”
Just then, a rainbow shot through the window and knocked him out of his chair. They heard a whinny of laughter and the sound of fading hoofbeats. “I didn’t know rainbows could do that,” the chief researcher said. “I thought they were made of light and air and water. Now I have to revisit the idea of rainbow bridges.”
The chief scribe stood up and brushed off his robes. “I didn’t see anything,” he said. “No one saw any unicorns. That’s because they don’t exist.”
The chief healer waved the scroll. “I think we should try this. What do we have to lose?”
The chief scribe snorted again. “Foolishness. We should spend our last hours composing epic poetry. Then our names will live on long after we do. It’s guaranteed immortality! Who’s with me?”
He looked around. Everyone else had gathered around the chief healer and were discussing the scroll. He stormed out. “Mark my words,” he called over his shoulder, “No one will forget the name Qwerty. My name will live on into the distant future.”
And they were both right. The city of Atlantis disappeared within a day, and was never found again, just like the unicorns. And, people still remember the name Qwerty, but not because of his poetry.
Years later, a poor minstrel was cheated out of his wages by greedy, cruel villagers. Appalled by how easily they lied to him and refused to honor their agreements, he sat outside the town and mourned for their children. “They will become a city of cheats and liars and never know any better,” he said. “I’d charm them away with my music, but where could I take them?”
And then, glitter fell from nowhere onto the grass beside him and a scroll appeared. He opened it. “It’s the secrets to playing hide-and-seek from the unicorns. Amazing!” the minstrel said. He turned the scroll over. “Look, there are directions to Atlantis. This is my lucky day.”
He rolled the scroll back up and put it in his pack. Then he pulled out his flute and strode back into town. The town of Hamlin lost all its children that day. Well, all but one. All the others went to stay at Atlantis.
More years later, a flock of birds huddled together on a tiny island far away. “What will we do? We are disappearing. Too many of us have been eaten by the people coming to our island,” one of the dodos said.
“But what can we do?” another asked. “What do all the other animals do when they start disappearing?”
And then, glitter fell from nowhere onto the sand beside him and a voice began to whisper the secrets to playing hide-and-seek.
The dodos looked at each other in amazement. “That was the unicorns!” one of the birds finally said. “We’ve got to go tell everyone else. It’s our turn to hide!”