Anyone who looked into the Painting fell into a trance and entered that other world, just as Alice through the looking glass. And on the other side, they found themselves entangled in exciting and wonderful adventures. And when they returned they felt happy and healthy and healed of all their wounds and woes and worries.
One day some Bad Men stole the Magic Painting. Sly as rats they snuck away to the Low Places of the City. Quiet as snakes they slithered down a Crooked Street to a Hidden House. In that Hidden House was a Secret Chamber. And in that Secret Chamber was an Iron Safe that weighed as much as a mountain and was big enough for thirteen people to stand inside.
In that Iron Safe, the Bad Men put the Magic Painting. Then they locked the Safe, slunk out of the Secret Chamber, left the Hidden House and went their separate ways.
Soon, the news that the Painting was missing spread across the world. Everyone wanted to know what had happened to it; everyone longed to look into the Painting and enter that other world where they would be healed of all their wounds.
Then the Bad Men started a rumour in the High Places of the City. The rumour was that if you paid one hundred million dollars you would be taken to a Hidden House upon a Crooked Street. Inside the Hidden House, according to the rumour, was a Secret Chamber with an Iron Safe. And in the Iron Safe was a Magic Painting that was a doorway to another world.
Through their private secretaries and private detectives, people with one hundred million dollars to spare secretly got in touch with the Bad Men, who wrote everyone’s name down on a list. One night the Bad Men met the thirteen richest people at the top of the list, and off they all went to see the Magic Painting.
But they took a wrong turn on the Crooked Street. So they couldn’t find the Hidden House. So they couldn’t enter the Secret Chamber. So they couldn’t open the Iron Safe, even though they had the keys.
In fact, they got so hopelessly lost that they strayed into another world that wasn’t nearly as nice as the world of the Painting. In fact it was downright nasty.
And the Magic Painting was never seen again, at least not in that World. Or so the story goes.