The Magic Dumplings

by Paul Kurowski

One Sunday morning, Little Jin went out for a walk with his dog, Timmy. They wandered for hours. The sun was getting high in the sky, and Little Jin’s tummy was starting to complain.

“Hear that, Timmy? What do you say? Shall we get something to eat?’ Timmy barked once, which means ‘yes’.

As they walked down a lane, Little Jin spotted a cart on the corner. A sign said ‘Dingdong Dumplings’. They went up to it and Little Jin craned his neck to see over the edge of the counter. Dumplings were lined up in rows, crispy brown and smelling delicious.

Mr. Dingdong appeared from behind the counter. He had yellow teeth and an eyepatch, and breath like grandpa’s farts.

“These dumplings are fine. They’re good dumplings. But you, young sir, you look like a gentleman of discerning tastes. Perhaps you’d be interested in something special.”

“Special like what?”

“Maybes you’d like some magic dumplings.”

Little Jin’s eyes widened. Timmy’s ears pricked up. Mr. Dingdong produced a tray of dumplings from beneath the counter. They too were brown and fragrant.

“They look just like dumplings,” said Little Jin.

“You ever seen magic dumplings before?”


“Then don’t badmouth the merchandise. You want ‘em or not?”

Little Jin looked at Timmy. The dog was nodding enthusiastically. “Do they cost more than ordinary dumplings?”

“They’re magic. What do you think?”

Timmy barked once. “Okay, we’ll do it.”

Mr. Dingdong put the magic dumplings in a bag. Little Jin was excited. He could hardly wait.

“What do the magic dumplings do, mister?”

“I don’t know,” said Mr. Dingdong, as he took the money. “Just magic stuff. Go away.”

Little Jin and Timmy skipped off with their treasure. They found a small park and sat down on a bench. Little Jin pulled a dumpling from the bag and took a bite. “It’s tasty!” he said. A moment later, the bench broke underneath him and he was sitting on the floor. Little Jin had grown to three times his normal size.

“Wow! They really ARE magic dumplings!” Little Jin held one out for Timmy. “Here you go, Timmy.”

The dog scoffed the dumpling in one go. He sat panting for a minute. He got impatient and started barking. He ran round, chasing his tail. But he didn’t get any bigger. “Sorry, Timmy. It mustn’t work on dogs.” Timmy whined unhappily and skulked off.

Little Jin looked in the bag. There were still a few dumplings left. He couldn’t waste them. Who knows when he’d get a chance to eat magic dumplings again? He tucked in and didn’t stop until the bag was empty. Nothing happened. The day went on as normal. Children played in the park. Old people sang battle karaoke.

Then Little Jin started growing.

And growing.
And growing.

He could see the people getting smaller beneath him. Soon he was looking down on the treetops. He stopped at about the height of a lane house. “Wow!” said Little Jin. The city unfurled like a carpet in front of him. He heard a mewling from nearby. There was a cat stuck up a tree. He held his hand out and the cat jumped on it. He lowered the cat gently to the ground. “There you go.” It hopped off into the bushes.

There were houses looking over the park. Old ladies hung out of the top floor windows. They waved at Little Jin.

“Hello, young man. We don’t often get to speak to anyone up here.”

“Isn’t it a fine day, ma’am! Can I get you anything?”

“Well, we’re awfully thirsty in this heat.”

Little Jin looked around. There was a pond in the park. He picked up a boat and scooped up some water, and lifted it to where the ladies held out their cups.

“Thanks, young man. That’s very kind!” said one.

“Don’t forget about your dog, Little Jin,” said another.

In all the excitement, Little Jin had forgotten about Timmy. He went in search of his faithful friend. As Little Jin headed out of the park, a police car drove up. Two policemen got out.

“Hey, you. Stop!”

Little Jin looked down. Policemen were usually much bigger than him, but these were as small as mice.

“What’s up, officer?”

“You’ve made a mess of the grass.”

Little Jin looked behind him. It was true. He’d left a trail of giant footprints and one of the flower beds was ruined.

“We’re going to have to arrest you.”

Little Jin bent down. One of the policemen tried to handcuff his wrist.

“It’s no good,” said the other policeman. “Get him in the car.”

“He won’t fit in the car. We’ll have to let him go.” They turned to Little Jin. “Please be a good citizen and don’t walk on the grass.”

“Okay, officer. Sorry for the damage.”

The policemen drove away.

Little Jin carried on down the lane. He turned a corner. There was a crunch. He lifted his foot. The broken body of Timmy was stuck to the bottom of his shoe.


He tried to revive his friend, but it was too late. He walked back along the lane, crying tears as big as pumpkins. The old ladies were above him now, waving. He was getting smaller. Before he reached the end of the street he was back to his normal height.

He returned to where Dingdong Dumplings stood on the corner. Mr. Dingdong was packing up, getting ready to move on.

“Hey,” said Little Jin. “I ate your dumplings and I grew to a giant size and now my dog is dead.”

“What do you want me to do about it?”

“This is your fault. You and your stupid magic dumplings.”

Mr. Dingdong fixed him with his one good eye. “Look, kid. The dumplings aren’t magic. I dump some extra MSG on top, and the old guys love it. I don’t know what happened, but why don’t you go bother someone else?”

With that, Mr. Dingdong picked up his cart and waddled off.

Little Jin watched him disappear down the street. He walked home, thinking sad thoughts about his dead dog, Timmy. He never ate magic dumplings again.