Fanny the Fancy Flute teaches that it is better to be an active member of society rather than an item of beauty collecting dust on a shelf.
The people attending the auction were getting tired of sitting in chairs. Arthur the auctioneer called for a fifteen minute intermission before continuing the auction. While the people were standing and stretching their legs, the helpers of the auction were busy lining up the next articles to be offered.
The sale was being held to settle the estate of a very rich couple who had been patrons of the arts in their home town in upstate New York. The estate was situated overlooking the Hudson River and had lavish grounds and beautiful gardens. This couple had recently passed away within months of each other. Their children were holding the auction to settle up the estate. There were many beautiful works of art and also several musical instruments of great value. One of these was an antique flute. It was decorated with fancy engraving that looked like diamonds.
The owners had kept it sitting on a shelf where it caught the light and sparkled at most times of the day and night. They got much pleasure out of looking at this work of art. They had researched its origins and had a short history typed up about it that was kept in the flute’s case under the shelf. This flute was Fanny’s home. She had entered it after the explosion of the mighty organ ALL. She had floated around for many years before finding the instrument she wanted to enter. She knew she was meant to be in a flute.
The capabilities of the great organ ALL were of many different flute sounds. Fanny felt she was one of the special flute sounds and needed an instrument that was special too. One day she spotted the lady of the house, Mrs. Miller polishing her flute and then replacing it on the shelf where she could admire it. Fanny knew at once that it was a beautiful instrument and she made it her home. What she didn’t realize was that neither Mr. nor Mrs. Miller could play a note of music. They knew nothing about how to even get a sound out of the flute. They both loved music and gave a lot of money to musical organizations. They also attended concerts and fundraising parties and balls but, alas, they were not able to play the flute themselves or any of the other musical instruments they had.
So Fanny had sat on the shelf for years, very lonely and sad that she had ended up in a beautiful but useless instrument. When the windows were open in the summertime she could hear the songs of the birds in the woods from the shelf where she sat. “I’D LOVE TO MAKE BEAUTIFUL SOUNDS LIKE,” she thought. She would pretend that it was she, herself, making the beautiful music. Pretending like this helped but still she was very lonely.
Even when Mrs. Miller took her down and polished her she was not happy because she felt so useless. “I’M LIVING A USELESS LIFE AS A WORK OF ART FOR PEOPLE TOLOOK AT, NOT AS A WORK OF ART THAT COULD BE HEARD MAKING BEAUTIFUL MUSIC,” she thought. “THAT MAKES ME VERY SAD.”
When Fanny heard that she and all the other objects of art were going to be sold at an auction she became very excited. She felt bad that Mr. and Mrs. Miller had passed away, but couldn’t help feeling a sense of hope that now her real purpose in life could begin.
Arthur the auctioneer was calling people back to their seats, ready to begin the auction once again. Several paintings were put on the block and sold and then suddenly it was Fanny’s turn. Arthur opened the case, took out the flute and read the note attached to it as to its history. He pointed out the beautiful engraving and turned it back and forth so the light would cause the flute to gleam like diamonds.
“It’s like magic,” cried a little girl with long blond hair who was sitting in the first row of chairs. She became excited about the flute the minute the auctioneer had taken it from the case. “Look how pretty it is. It sparkles like jewels,” she said to her parents. Her eyes opened wide and she started tugging at their arms. “Please, Mommy and Daddy, can I have it?” she begged.
One look at his daughter’s face was enough to convince her father Carl that Megan was serious. She had expressed a desire to play the flute some time back but Carl and his wife Helen didn’t think she was old enough. They had decided that next fall when school began they would get her a flute and start her on lessons so she could be in the band at school. Megan just kept tugging at their arms, her eyes big and round, her face shining with joy. She couldn’t take her eyes off of the flute.
The bidding was lively and was getting dangerously close to where Carl and Helen didn’t think they could go much higher. Then suddenly everyone else stopped bidding. It was theirs! Megan was jumping up and down with joy! “I can’t wait to hold it and try to play it,” she said.
After the auction was over, Carl and Helen went to settle up what they owed and Megan carried the flute to the car. Here she opened the case and held the flute and rubbed it to make it shine and admired it all the way home.
Fanny was excited too. She had seen the look on the little blond girl’s face and had hoped against hope that her parents would be the ones to buy the flute. She was very happy when it turned out that they were the high bidders. She also was relieved that the auction was over. After all, it was not much fun to be held up and displayed and talked about and bid on by a lot of people. She was happy now because the little girl would learn to play and allow Fanny to fulfill her destiny of making beautiful music.
When they got home with the new flute, Megan was so excited that she took Fanny to bed with her that night. The next day she tried and tried to play the flute but she really didn’t have the slightest idea how to get any sound out of it. She kept putting her whole mouth on it and blowing in, which is of course, not the way to play a flute. Carl and Helen saw Megan’s frustration and decided to start her on lessons immediately. From the minute she began her first lesson there developed a love affair between Fanny and Megan. Even her music teacher Miss Edith was amazed at the quality of tone the little girl could get from the instrument almost from the first day. When Megan started school that fall she was able to be in the band and also the
orchestra the school had just started up.
Fanny got to know some of the other instruments that were owned by the school. A lot of the children had their own instruments, but many did not and they used those that belonged to the school. These instruments were in sad need of repair. They could hardly operate anymore. They just didn’t get the care they needed. No one at the school had time to look after these instruments and the children who used them were not taught how to properly care for them. They were in a real sad state.
The other instruments loved it when Fanny got to spend some time in the room with them between Megan’s band and orchestra and her private lesson classes. Fanny would tell the other instruments tales about the big organ ALL. They learned that the flutes were a very important part of the big organ, not only by themselves but also in combination with many other instruments. She told them about the VibraKids and that many of them were looking for good homes.
Fanny described her life in the home of the rich Mr. and Mrs. Miller in upstate New York. “You were all quite lucky to have been able to be part of the active musical life of the school,” she told them. “I spent so much time sitting on a shelf and being admired that I envy the excitement you’ve all had in your lives. You’ve been able to go into many different children’s homes and be part of each family as long as the child stayed in the band or orchestra,” she said. “When no one was using you during the summer, you at least had each
other to talk to. You were never lonely like I had been.”
The school instruments were a little envious of Fanny also because, for one thing, she was not only beautiful to look at, but also beautiful to listen to. They compared the sounds she made to the song of the birds, just like she had imagined all the while she sat on the shelf. Because she made such pretty sounds, interest in music at the school picked up. More money was given to the music program to fix up all the instruments and to hire an extra music teacher.This meant that there would be someone who would have time to take care of the flutes. Also, there would be time now to teach the children how to care for the instruments at the same time they were being taught to play them.
In time, Fanny was able to convince some of her friends among the VibraKids to try some of the instruments at her school. She said to them, “If you don’t like it you can always try something different when your particular instrument can no longer continue to be played. You see, many of these school instruments are quite old and don’t have too many years left in them. This would give you guys a chance to see if school is a place you like or not. You won’t have to spend too long a time here due to the age of the instruments and their lack of care in the past. Then, when it comes time to enter another instrument you’ll know if you want to continue in the school or find some other area to become involved with,” Fanny lectured them.
“One thing to be sure of is to choose an area of activity,” she continued. “Don’t pick one where you’ll be kept sitting on a shelf gathering dust and growing dim. Be sure to choose a life where you can help others. If you are kept sitting on a shelf you’ll soon be lost in the shuffle and never be able to make the glorious music you’re meant to make. It’s okay for people to admire your beauty but you need to be used so you can become all you can be. Rather than being kept on a shelf, it would be far better to be a part of an instrument that is melted down and its form changed into a new kind of instrument. Then you can start the process of being useful over again.”
Several of the VibraKids listened to Fanny’s tale of her life in upstate New York and hurried to enter the instruments at the school. They knew they didn’t want to be caught in the position of being useless and growing old and dingy. They wanted to be used for the good of others. They wanted to be in circulation in the world of music. They did not want to be kept on a shelf and admired for selfish purposes.
Both the band and the orchestra at Fanny’s school began to sound much better once some more of the VibraKids entered the instruments. This made Fanny very happy.