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Once upon a time...
A young woman practiced magic in the cool of the night. She lived in a very small town, where no one else had heard of such a thing as magic, and never cared to. But, one night, the woman was discovered in a dried-up field with golden lights flickering off her fingertips like fireflies. The old farmer who spotted her bellowed through the darkness, accusing her of trying to set fire to the dry land.
Though she tried to explain, he forbade her to return under penalty of calling the authorities to take her away. Fearful, the woman fled home, but her troubles had only just begun.
The following day, the farmer spread news of what he had witnessed the night before, identifying the woman as a delinquent, and a danger to the community. By the end of the day, it seemed everyone in the town whispered behind the woman’s back. Occasionally, she tried to explain to someone that it was not fire but magic that the old farmer spotted, but none would hear of it. They were sure she was a dangerous liar after what the farmer had told them.
Forlorn, the woman escaped to her home until night fell again. Sneaking out, she sought a pasture where a rancher kept his horses. The horses had always rested to the music her magic could produce in the cool of the night. But, as the woman approached the fence to the pasture, she observed a wooden sign newly installed. It read:
NO TRESPASSING AND NO MAGIC
Saddened at the sight, she gently pat the waiting horse’s nose as a farewell and returned home, no longer in the mood to create music. The following day, people whispered behind her back again as the rancher who owned the horses proudly announced that the sign had scared off the woman. Surely she had come to alarm the rancher’s horses, the people thought: maybe even hurt them with her suspicious magic.
The woman tried to explain she had never harmed the horses, and that they truly enjoyed the music her magic created, but the townspeople scowled in disbelief, insisting she stay away from their animals and fields as well.
That night, in deep sorrow from the rejection and misunderstanding, the woman ventured further than ever from the town just to avoid the wrath of any neighbors. She came upon a large, mossy rock just along the dirt road leading into town. Seating herself upon the rock, she mustered a smile even through all her pain, whispered a few magic words, and produced dancing lights from her fingertips. Spirals of silvery moonlight twirling upon her palms, they rang like chimes in the breeze.
The woman smiled, her tears drying as she sat, undisturbed and enjoying her craft. Just then, she heard approaching hoofbeats down the road, and she gasped, silencing the music and snuffing out the light.
“No, please!” one of the riders called, and she squinted in the sparse light to see his face. Before her eyes, a cluster of soldiers rode up to her, escorting the king along the road. “Good woman, was that magic?” the king asked.
The woman lowered her head in shame. “I am sorry. I didn’t know anyone was nearby.”
The king simply shook his head, forming a smile. “I am so glad I was! I have heard tell of magic in this land and dared hope it could be true!”
The woman frowned in confusion. “You hoped for it?” she asked.
“Oh, yes!” The king laughed. “I have been all over this kingdom, and you would be amazed how rare magic truly is here! Please, do me the honor of showing me, for I have never seen anything so beautiful!”
And so, the woman performed her magic before a king, who seated himself upon the mossy rock to watch. The next morning, news spread that the king had come to town, and the people eagerly gathered to greet him. But they were shocked to see, as he approached, the magical woman at his side. The king told of his good fortune, being privileged to witness such a sight as true magic, which could light up the world and ring the loveliest music to one’s ears.
The townspeople were amazed and began to ask the woman if she would show them her magic, but she shook her head and answered, “I’m sorry, but I’m leaving now. The king has offered me a place in the royal court.”
As she departed at the king’s side, the people bemoaned that they had never taken the time or considered the possibility that the magic of their neighbor could have truly been something worth witnessing.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed it!