“But these words are Magic!” he said, and i think it was the gravelly emphasis that he placed on the “GIC” part of “maGIC” that caught my attention. Otherwise, i may well have escaped that encounter relatively unscathed.
As it was, i did not.
i was instantaneously curious…
“What type of magic?” i asked, as if i was suddenly an expert on all the diverse varieties that existed.
As if an hour before i had not been a simple son of a milkmaid traipsing our last milkless cow to the market to try and bring home some money to at least get us through the week.
As if the five beans i had already exchanged Daisy for were not starting to look minute by minute more just like ordinary run of the mill very non-magical garden beans.
But magic words? Now, those could change everything. Couldn’t they?
i jerked back to attention. His mouth was still moving and it seemed to me that i had just missed out on hearing exactly what kind of magic words they were. .Damn! i imagined it very unlikely that i could trick him into saying that again. Although if the last few words i heard were anything to go by, everyone in the whole village would be suitably impressed with me for some reason.
Now that did seem like something that would make mum proud. i wondered though how easy it would be for simple little me to be able to encourage this wise and experienced old man to exchange his very magical words for my distinctly earthy little seeds.
“How… exactly… do they work?” i stammered, hoping that i was not asking a question to something he had already told me.
Internally i told myself to hang on every word that came out of his mouth. This explanation that he was about to give was of paramount importance if my mum was ever going to see past the fact that i had exchanged our beloved cow for a handful of beans. And now those for mere words. Well, of course she would think they were “mere words” and i could even hear her screeching the phrase angrily as i told her. She had never been one to believe in magical or mystical things. And so it was crucial that i…
“…will never be the same again.” The old man stopped talking. Damn! It had happened again.
Which all led to me, not more than twenty minutes later, walking very slowly, bedraggledly and overcautiously back towards our little hut in the woods. No cow, no money, no beans, no instructions as to how to use the magical words. And now, not even the words themselves. i had been distracted by the most beautiful winged butterfly you have ever seen as it fluttered past me as if calling out to me to run and laugh and trip after it as it led me through the deeply forrested path.
i sat down on a stump, determined to call to mind at least one of the words he had spoken to me. The light was beginning to fade and the shadows were growing around me, mocking me as i sought the correct combination of letters from the deep recesses of my brain. Again and again i dragged the letters together with my tongue, hoping that i would once again stumble on something familiar, desperate to have something to take home with me. It seemed futile, but i was determined now. Seconds passed into minutes and approached the hour, but still i continued. This was a battle i was not going to lose. Closer and closer i seemed to get as the magical words danced on the tip of my tongue as if taunting me, calling me ever closer and then instantly shooting off to the far reaches of my mind…
Until, suddenly, i had one! There it was. Exactly as i had heard him say it to me. i focused all my attention on this word, knowing that this was the treasure i could finally take home to mum. This was going to transform our lives forever. At last, i was ready to return.
And as i stood to my feet, i looked up for a moment at the stars that were starting to take their places in the night sky. So beautiful. i could name all the major constellations and gently spoke out the ones in view. i remembered back to my dad teaching them to me when i was barely able to speak. He would point and i would trace the configuration with my finger and repeat after him as best i could. If only he were still around. i could just imagine the radiant look of pride on his face as i returned home with a magical word. The magical word that was…
This post is part of a tandem blogging exercise with Dave Luis, Mandy Collins, Nick Frost, Cath Jenkin and Scott Dunlop. One title unwrapped by six bloggerists. Read Dave’s post over here, Mandy’s post here, and Nick’s post here. Cath’s post you can find over here and Scott’s over here. Please share your thoughts on our fun exercise in the comments on each post, and remember that with bloggerists, sharing is always caring.