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Belief.

Jasper’s grandmother claimed that it was everything. If you believed in something enough, she said, it would be true.

Of course, when she talked about belief in this manner, she was thinking about miracles. She was talking about the kind of belief that allowed people to hobble in to certain holy places, pray a while and then skip out, leaving their crutches to be hung up on the wall. She claimed she had seen it herself, once, on a trip to France.

Jasper sat at her knee and appeared to listen to her stories, but he was lost in his own mind, imagining what wonderful things could be done with the power of belief.

His mind leaped from one thing to another. He could quite easily believe in dinosaurs. Would that mean a Tyrannosaurus Rex would roam the park in the morning? Or perhaps, he thought, glancing across at the headlines on his father’s paper, it would just mean that the scientists would uncover more fossils. Not quite as interesting as real life dinosaurs, but still real. No, he would have to think of something more definite to believe in.

His little sister was busy with a colouring book, full of pictures of fairies. He considered that for a little while, imagining how happy she would be if she saw real fairies dancing around her, but on balance fairies were just too pretty and girly for him to properly believe in. He couldn’t figure out how they would be able to fly, for a start.

He went to bed still thinking about what to believe in, and in the middle of the night an idea struck him. A perfect plan, for which all the practical ingredients were available, a plan that only required a little extra belief.

He sat in front of a mirror and stared at his reflection as he repeated his new belief. He told it to himself over and over again until it seemed to him to be an absolute statement of fact then, before his belief could fade, crept quickly downstairs to the kitchen.

Inside the big refrigerator there was a large bowl of green jelly. He took it out carefully and put it on the table. Next to it he placed a large plate. He took a big serving spoon out of the drawer and took out three big scoops of jelly, as round as possible, placing each of the scoops in a little wobbly pile on the plate.

He took a deep breath and repeated his belief before picking up the three scoops and tossing them, one by one, into the air. They shone in the light as they crossed over; he caught them expertly and tossed them back into the air. All three jelly scoops whirled around in a perfect, elegant loop and a little laugh escaped his lips. It was absolutely true!

The staircase creaked as somebody came downstairs; they had probably heard him and come down to find out what was going on. He grinned. They would be so surprised, so impressed! And just wait until he could tell Granny that she was right, that belief could even let you juggle jelly – she would be so excited.

“Jasper? Are you all right,” called his mother. “I heard you get up, what’s-”

She reached the kitchen doorway and stared as three scoops of jelly fell on Jasper’s head.

© Kari Fay

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