Maggie and the Abacaba Genies, abridged version
This is the story of an ordinary girl who makes an extraordinary
discovery, but Dear Reader, before you go on you need to understand
while "Abacaba" is a magic word, it is not the same as "Abracadabra."
They are different.
You should practice, right now, saying "Aba-Caba." The two
parts rhyme. Say it a couple of times.
When you've got the hang of it, add the next part, "Daba-caba." It
rhymes with "Abacaba," and when you say them together you get
Abacaba-Dabacaba. Fun, huh? It gets even longer.
much much MUCH longer. Okay, let's start the story.
Maggie and the Abacaba Genies
by Michael Naylor
saw it near the waterline, green glass on wet sand, and right away she
knew it was special. It was a bottle – a beautiful
curvy bottle – and it looked to be very
She picked it up from amongst the broken seashells.
a very unusual neck that twisted around and formed a kind of
handle. She carefully turned it over, and there on the other
side, carved into the glass in gold letters, was a word.
A magic word.
Knowing a magic word when she sees one, Maggie reads
it aloud and sure enough, a genie appears!
“My name is
Abacaba-Dabacaba," she says with a voice like the ocean
breeze. "I am the genie of the bottle, master
of the fourth dimension, guardian of the Depths.”
As this is the shortened version of the story, we won't go into the
details of their conversation. Suffice to say, that when
asks her about wishes, the genie tells her she cannot grant wishes, but
perhaps the next
genie can. "His name," she explains, "begins and
ends with mine, but there is
a letter ‘E’ in the middle.”
Taking a deep breath, Maggie says the very long name:
E-ABACABADABACABA - and another genie appears!
“My name is
Abacabadabacaba-E-abacabadabacaba," he announces, his voice deep and
cavernous. "I am master of the fifth dimension,
guardian of Earth. How may I help you?”
Again she asks wishes but he tells her she has to ask the next genie,
whose name is twice as long again, plus the letter F.
Taking a deep breath Maggie says the improbably long name, and a third
“Hello,” she whispers warmly, “My name is
the sixth dimension, guardian of Fire.”
And alas, once again Maggie does not get wishes, but the genie does
promise that the next
genie knows the secret.
(His name is
in case you were wondering.)
Calling out this incredibly long name, Maggie is rewarded with the
appearance of yet another genie!
“I am the one they call ‘The Genie who Lives at the
G,’" his voice echoes like the open sky. "I am master of the
seventh dimension, guardian of
Gusts and Gales. Few mortals ever speak my name. I
honored to meet one so clever as you."
Maggie and genie discuss the nature of the genies and their
“How many genies are there altogether?” Maggie asks.
The genie smiles, leans forward and whispers,
“We go all the way to Z!”
"The name of the last genie is the longest name in the whole
universe,” he tells her. “If you call her by name,
appear and grant you not one, not three, but twenty-six
And so it happens that day on the beach
discovers the secret of the genies
and comes to know the most powerful
magic word in all the universe.
She takes a deep breath.
just one word . . .
very long word . . .
very long word that might be
thousands or even millions of letters
All of her wishes could come true.
has to do was say the word.
All the way to Z.
And she did.
The above was the shortened, condensed version of the book, Maggie and
the Abacaba Genies. The book contains rich
thematic language and
imagery, is filled with hidden mathematical structures related to
abacaba patterns, and has 8 pages of activities, which you may also
download here if you'd like to try them out.
Download the activity pages (8 page pdf file)
Download teacher activities (23 page pdf file)
Download a preview for the book Maggie and the Abacaba Genies
(2 page pdf file)
Get a copy
of Maggie and the
Abacaba Genies (36 pages, softcover or hardcover) and other Abacaba
books, including the 4-volume set that contains the entire name of the
Genie who lives at the letter Z (63 million+ letters long!)