Once upon a time, in a land far, far away called Oceanna, lived a woman who cooked. She cooked for the King & Queen, the peasants, the merchants, the scholars, she cooked for everyone. The people loved her food and news spread far and wide how fantastic it was. She was happy and healthy and loved her job. One day, a messenger came and asked the cook if she would relocate to a land even farther away so she could cook for other people. She decided that she would go, even though it broke her heart to leave, but life was all about adventure wasn't it. And the new people would love her food too so it wouldn't be so bad.
It was worse. She cooked and cooked in this new land but nobody ate her food. So it went rotten. She cooked more food, but the new people thought it was horrible and different and wouldn't even taste it. The little cook became sad and put away her spoons and mixing bowls, turned off the oven and decided to do something else to make money to return to her former land. But no one would hire her because she couldn't do anything else besides cook. They knew her food was horrible and different so why should they take a chance on her.
The little cook had no money, no job, no friends, and no way of ever getting back to Oceanna. One day she crawled into her bed and cried herself to sleep. She stayed there for many months until one day she woke up and said to herself, "I can read and write, I'll write a book, sell it, and then I can go back home to cook." So she wrote her book, every day, scribbling and scratching away and one day, she wrote "The End". The book was finished and she ran into the town to show the booksellers to see if they would buy her book. They said no, she was a cook, not a writer, how dare she write a book. The little cook was even sadder. How was she going to get home now?
One day, she was walking down the path that led to the Great Forest. She thought if she walked far enough she might get to the other side and be able to find her way back to Oceanna. On the path was a beautiful fairy princess who said,
"Oh little cook, I've seen how sad you are. No one will eat your food, or be your friend, or buy your book so you can return home. But if you will come with me perhaps I can assuage your sadness." So the little cook went with the fairy princess who showed her a darling little cottage in the woods. It was all set up with a bedroom and furniture, enough food in the fridge to eat, and a brand new shiny computer with printer all set-up for her to use. The little cook was surprised but happy and sat down at her little computer and started banging at the keys and found herself writing more and more and loving every minute of it.
Then, just when she was getting ready to see if the booksellers would buy a different book she had written (because it was written in a different genre and POV) the fairy princess came back. "Oh little cook, I have some news. There is a couple in the town who would like you to cook for them. They have just moved here and cannot eat the food in town. They have sent out a search team to find someone to cook for them and I thought of you. However, you must go through three tests to get this job. If you pass the tests and get the job you will be rewarded with riches beyond your imagining. If you work for a year, you could return to Oceanna with enough money to buy new pots and pans. But first you have to pass the three tests."
The little cook was in a quandry. What was she to do? She finally had found something else to make her happy but now was the opportunity to make all the riches she had once had, and enough to allow her to return home.
"Okay," she said, "What are the three tests?"
"First," said the fairy princess, "you have to write down all the things you know about cooking. Every single thing. Then you have to go to this place called 'A Big Box Office Store' and FAX them all you have written. If you pass that test, then you will be granted the first interview. If after you pass the interview, you will have to pass another test, a back ground check to see if you are trustworthy enough. If you pass that test, then you will go through two more interviews, and then you will be asked to cook for the new couple to see if they like your food."
The little cook thought that was a lot of work to just do something she loved and was good at, but the riches were so great, and she wanted to go home so badly, she said, "Yes, I will do it." However the fairy princess warned that if she got the cooking job she would have to give up her writing. There was no way she could do both. The cooking job would take up all her free time.
But then, in a bizarre twist of fate, a bookseller said he was interested in a short story she had written, it was very well done, and would she like to have it published. The little cook jumped for joy and cried because she was so happy. She was proud of her writing and wanted to continue with it, she had finally been validated but then she thought about the riches that were to be gained by cooking to go home.
What was she to do?