Tag: wizard

A Short Tale About a Lot of Things

Jane sat up in her bed as her mom started to leave the room. “Wait! I need another story.”

Her mom turned with a sigh. “Jane, it’s time for bed. I already read two stories. My voice is tired.”

“I’ll tell you a story.” Jane patted the bed. “Come sit down. Please? It’s a short story. You’ll really like it. Pleeeease?”

With a smile, her mom sat on the edge of the bed. “All right. As long as it’s a short story.”

“It’s going to be short.” Jane cleared her throat. “Once upon a time…”

“Oh, it’s a fairy tale,” her mom interrupted. “Which one?”

Jane frowned. “It’s not a fairy story. There aren’t any fairies. It’s a story about a lot of things. Just listen. No talking.”

“Okay. I’m sorry I interrupted. Please continue your lots-of-things tale.”

“Once upon a time there was a ladder…”

“A ladder?”

“Listen!” Jane looked upset.


“Once upon a time, there was a ladder. It was green and tall and lived on someone’s back porch for when they needed to pick apples or climb on the roof to fix things. If they didn’t need it, they didn’t really look at it, so they didn’t know the ladder was really an alien…”

“An alien?”



“It was an alien. It was studying people and animals and houses and back porches. One day, it was done studying everything, and it was ready to leave. What the ladder didn’t know was that someone was watching. The family dog saw the ladder was going to leave, and he followed him when he left, because the dog was really an alien, too.”

“Wow. I wouldn’t have guessed that.” When Jane frowned, her mom looked embarrassed. “Sorry. Keep going.”

“The dog was an alien, and he called his friends at home to tell them about the ladder alien. But he didn’t know that someone was watching. It was the tree.”

“Was the tree an alien too?”

Jane rolled her eyes. “Of course not. That would be silly. The tree was a dinosaur.”

“Really? Wouldn’t people notice?”

“No. She was in disguise.”

“How did that work?”

Jane shrugged. “It was a big tree. The dinosaur was waiting a long time and watching. When the dog left to follow the ladder, the tree followed the dog.”

“He didn’t notice?”

“He was an alien. He thought some trees could move. And really, some trees can move. So, he wasn’t wrong. Except this wasn’t a tree, really. It was a dinosaur.”

“What kind of dinosaur?”

“Velociraptor. Let me finish!” After her mom nodded, Jane continued. “When the ladder was going to get beamed up on the spaceship, the dog and the dinosaur went too. They wanted a ride home.”

“I thought the dinosaur wasn’t an alien.”

“She wasn’t. Dinosaurs are from earth. They just moved somewhere else. They come back to visit sometimes. The dog and the dinosaur both needed a ride because they lost their spaceships.”

“How did they lose their spaceships?”

“A wizard stole them. He lived in the house they were watching, but they couldn’t get in because of a force field. The ladder didn’t know he was a wizard that stole spaceships. Good thing he hid his spaceship in invisible space.”

“Or nobody could go home.”

“Right. Because the dog and the dinosaur waited a long time to try to get their spaceships back and the wizard’s force field was too strong.”

“Why did he need spaceships?”

“He collected them. He liked them. They’re like big sparkly rocks.” Jane pointed to her windowsill. There was a line of pretty rocks she’d found on various adventures.

Her mom nodded. “That makes sense. What happened next?”

“They went home. The wizard was mad the tree was gone. He planted a new one and used magic to make it grow fast. The end.”


Jane grinned. “I told you it was a short story.” She fell back onto her pillow with a giggle and pulled up her covers. “Good night!”

“Good night, Jane. Will you tell me another story tomorrow?”


Charlie’s Room: Planning Ahead

One day, in the middle of dinner, Charlie suddenly grinned and set down his fork. “I have a great costume idea. Can we get some Miracle Grow?”

Marianne shrugged. “We have some in the shed. Did you need some extra large pumpkins or something?”

Charlie rolled his eyes. “Not that kind. I want the kind that grows hair fast. I want to grow a long beard by Halloween.”

“A beard?” Isaac chuckled. “You’re too young for a beard. Even if there was something for growing hair fast, it wouldn’t work for you.”

“I’m not a little kid.” Charlie scowled. “You always think I’m little, but I’m not.”

Marianne patted his shoulder. “Even teenagers have a hard time growing beards. You have to be a lot older than that to grow a long beard.”

Charlie slumped in his chair. “No way. There goes my great idea.” Then he sat up again, looking hopeful. “Do they make chin wigs? I could wear a chin wig.”

“A fake beard?” Marianne smiled. “They do. There’s all sorts of fake beards. What kind do you have in mind?”

“I want a long, gray beard.” Charlie sat up and pretended to run his hand through a long beard. “You know, like the time-traveling wizard in the dinosaur movie.”

“That’s a great idea. I could make you a gray robe like his, and I’ll bet your dad could help you figure out how to make a hat that would look like his.” Marianne pointed to his fork. “Keep eating. I want to work out in the garden while we still have some sunlight. You may not want giant pumpkins for your costume, but I plan on winning the neighborhood jack-o-lantern contest again this year, and home grown pumpkins are always better.”

Charlie picked up his fork. “What will you carve this year?”

“It’s a secret.”

Charlie pouted. “I’m not going to tell anyone.”

“A secret stays a secret if it never gets told. Keep eating.”

Isaac was still thinking about fake beards. “Do you think we could make one with gray yarn?”

“Make what?” Marianne looked confused. “I don’t use outside materials in my finished jack-o-lanterns, you know that. I like them traditional.”

“No, a beard.” Isaac rubbed his chin. “Wouldn’t it be fun to make our own?”

“But how would we get it to stick to my chin?” Charlie thought for a moment. “Is there wig glue?”

“I don’t know. Maybe we could attach it to your hat.”

Charlie shook his head. “Then it would come off whenever I raised my hat to all the people in dinosaur costumes. That’s part of the fun.”

“Well, we have time to figure that out,” Marianne said. “It’s a good thing we’re starting to think about this so early. You’ll have a better costume since we have time to plan.”

“We have a good start already. Maybe your mom and I should plan our costumes too.”

Marianne frowned. “But I don’t want to dress up.”

Charlie waved his hands. “Wait. We may not have time for that. We haven’t discussed the hard part of my costume.”

“The beard isn’t the hard part? I don’t think the hat will give me too much trouble. I’ll make a cardboard and wire frame and use the same cloth as the robes. Some buttons and tassels and…”

“Not the hat,” Charlie interrupted. “I think you’re forgetting the best part of the costume. We need to build a time machine. I think that’ll probably take the rest of the month, and then we’ll have to make some test runs. Probably not all the way back to visit dinosaurs at first. We can start with Atlantis or ancient Egypt.”

“You want a time machine?” Marianne laughed. “That’s even less possible than growing a beard.”

“I can help you make one out of cardboard. You can paint it out on the back patio if you put down newspapers.” Isaac smiled.

Charlie scowled. “What fun is that? A chin wig and a cardboard time machine? I won’t be a time-traveling wizard at all. Not really.”

“Halloween is about pretending. Almost none of the costumes are real. Finish eating.” Marianne pointed to his fork again. Charlie sighed and took another bite.

“It’s a good thing, you know. Think of all of those clown costumes. What if they were real clowns?” Isaac grinned. Marianne and Charlie rolled their eyes in unison.

“If you help me grow the pumpkins, I’ll let you carve your own this year,” Marianne told Charlie.


“Of course. You’re not a little kid anymore, right?”

“That’s right.” Charlie grinned, then shoved the last few bites into his mouth at once and attempted to chew while barely able to close his mouth.”

“Maybe I spoke to soon.” Marianne laughed at Charlie’s glare. “Just kidding. But next time, you should probably take smaller bites. As soon as you’re done, we can take our plates to the sink and go out to the garden.”

After they left, Isaac cleared the table. He paused at the sink to look out the window. He smiled at the sight of his little family happily working together in the garden. All was right in the world. Who needs a time machine on days like this?

When the Wizard Lost his Hat

Marlin, the distinguished second cousin of Merlin, was a most excellent wizard. His spells were in demand year round. Farmers wanted rain and spells that would drive off wildlife. Hunters wanted sunshine and spells that would attract wildlife. Marlin almost never mixed the spells up.

He sold spells to politicians that helped focus all attention on them. He sold spells to shifty looking watch salesmen to help them hide, because apparently watch salesmen were too popular. Who knew?

Humans wanted so many different types of spells. Magical beings had needs too. They wanted to hide or to grow ever-blooming flowers or find rainbow monkeys to keep as pets. Marlin did his best to help. Sometimes he even made house calls. Most of the time he got the spells right.

And so, Marlin should have been the happiest wizard this side of Stonehenge. Happier than Merlin even, who meddled too much in politics and weaponry. Unfortunately, one day, when it was both sunny and rainy because farmers and hunters both wanted to take advantage of the long summer days, Marlin lost his hat. Read More

Charlie’s Room: The Ring

One evening, when the clock said it was late, but the sky wasn’t dark yet, Isaac was taking the trashcan to the curb. The air was still far too warm, and sweat glued his shirt to his back by the time he reached the end of the driveway.

He set the trashcan in place so that it wasn’t blocking the driveway, and turned to go back inside. As he shuffled across the sidewalk, dreaming of a cold glass of water, he kicked aside the pebbles and sticks in his way.

And then there was a metallic sound. Something grated and chimed as it skidded across the cement. Isaac looked down. What if it was a rusty nail? Those had to be disposed of properly, or someone could step on one and get ill.

It took him a moment, but in the fading light of the dying day, he saw a ring sitting innocently in the middle of the sidewalk. How odd. He reached towards it, but drew his hand back. Just for a moment, he’d felt the strangest surge of anger, and it seemed to be coming from the ring.

Why would a ring be so angry? Perhaps it didn’t like being kicked down the sidewalk. But it must be an unusual ring to have feelings at all. He pulled a business card out of his wallet and called Wendell, Wizard Extraordinaire.

“An angry ring?” Wendell asked. “Really? I’ll be right there.”

Moments later, the air unzipped itself and Wendell stepped out, nearly colliding with the trashcan. “Watch out,” Isaac said.

“That isn’t normally there, is it?” Wendell asked.

“Just once a week. It’s our trash. It all gets collected and taken away.”

Wendell scrunched up his nose. “That explains the smell. What do they do with it? Do they use it all as fuel for something?”

“No, I think they bury it,” Isaac said. Wendell made a face. Isaac sighed. “I know. Now come see the ring. It’s over here on the sidewalk.”

Isaac hurried over. “And you’ve never seen it before today?”

“The first time I saw it was after I kicked it.”

Wendell leaned in closer. “Oh, that’s not pleasant. It’s definitely out of place, as well. I wonder how it ended up here.” He mumbled some words and hummed a bit. “Oh. It likes to get lost. It’s rather contrary.”

Isaac looked at the ring. It looked so normal and small. “Do rings normally have feelings? That isn’t a person that’s been turned into a ring, right?”

“It’s pretty old. Old things tend to take on a bit of life and personality of their own.”

Isaac thought about that for a minute. “Is that why people like antiques?”

“Well, that and the higher quality,” Wendell said. He hummed and chanted and reached into his pocket to pull out a dark blue envelope covered in silver writing. He used it to scoop up the ring.

“Is it dangerous?” Isaac asked.

“Hmmm?” Wendell pulled a lit candle from his pocket and dropped wax onto the closed envelope flap. He then put the candle back into his pocket, still lit, and sealed the wax with a ring that Isaac hadn’t noticed him wearing until just that minute.

“The ring. Is it dangerous?”
“Oh. Yes. Well, certainly not anymore.” Wendell put the envelope into the pocket with the lit candle. Isaac wasn’t sure how he kept everything all sorted out and unburnt.

“So, it was dangerous?”

Wendell sighed. “I don’t know. Anything that angry could be dangerous. I’ll ask a few friends what they think.”

“Thank you. What do I owe you?” Isaac asked.

“I’ll send you a bill,” Wendell said. “Say hi to Charlie for me.” He unzipped the air, and as he stepped through, Isaac could see a room full of books and starlight. And then, Wendell was gone.

That evening, Isaac sat down to read to Charlie. “Oh, Wendell said hi.”

“Is that the wizard you tell me stories about? Do you have a new one?”

Isaac smiled. “Well done. That’s right, but they’re not just stories. They really happen.”

“Uh huh. Sure they do. So what happened this time?” Charlie asked.

“They really do,” Isaac said. “This time, it all started when I was taking the trash out…”