Wendell was rather young to be a professional wizard. But, his grandpa wanted to retire and his uncle couldn’t handle the family business alone. There were other people in the family with the gift, of course, but none of them were interested.
“Shouldn’t you take over before me?” Wendell asked his dad once.
“I don’t want to be a wizard,” his dad said. “I’m a dentist. Dentistry is an art form you know.”
“But someone my age should still be an apprentice. I don’t know enough to do wizard duties yet,” Wendell said.
“So you’ll learn on the job and make mistakes. That happens. People will understand,” his dad said.
Wendell wasn’t so sure about that. He did make a lot of mistakes, and mostly people seemed annoyed or terrified. Very few were understanding.
Uncle Nicolas would give Wendell a stack of books each week to study when things were slow. He said, “Don’t be afraid to try out any spells that look interesting.” But, apparently he didn’t really mean that, because he’d get upset whenever Wendell tried anything.
One of the many times this happened was the day Wendell didn’t have any clean socks in his drawer. This was mostly due to the goat that he’d conjured to mow the lawn that instead ate all the laundry. That hadn’t gone over well. “Don’t use magic just to save a bit of effort. That’s lazy,” Uncle Nicolas said.
So when Wendell ran out of socks, he paused for a moment. Was he trying to just save effort? No, he was trying to save money too. That probably meant it was okay to conjure socks.
He’d seen the spell in one of the older spell books. It was one of those where the writing was faded and he had to squint to read it. He found the spell and recopied it into his personal spell book before he tried it, just like Uncle Nicolas told him to do.
Then he waved his pinkies around and chanted. He clapped twice. An assortment of socks appeared on the table in front of him. They were different colors and made of different materials, but they were all his size. Perfect.
He wore the yellow socks first. They were soft and warm. The weather outside was sunny and beautiful. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. He sat out under a tree to eat his lunch. It was a good day.
The next day, he wore his blue socks. They were made with a silky, slippery fabric and constantly felt like they were slipping down around his ankles and bunching up under his heels. From the moment he got dressed that morning, it poured. He had to light candles in order to see his work. When he went out to check the mail that evening, he was drenched. His feet made squelchy sounds in his shoes as he walked around inside, so he took off his socks and shoes and changed. That’s when the rain stopped, of course. He should have waited to check the mail.
The next pair of socks was gray and itchy. He put them on and a tornado raced through the backyard. Acting on a sudden hunch, he pulled the socks off his feet. The tornado petered out. Were the socks causing the weather?
He pulled on the fluffy white socks. The sky darkened and snow began to fall. As tempting as it was to have a snow day, Wendell took them off again. There were plants and animals to consider after all.
Wendell looked at the rest of the socks. Maybe he should find out what they do before trying them on. What if a pair caused a hurricane? Or an earthquake? Were earthquakes weather?
Wendell took his yellow socks out of the laundry basket and put them on. He put the rest of the socks in a box and took them with him to the workshop. Uncle Nicolas was already there, enchanting a lawnmower.
“I think I maybe can change the weather with these socks,” Wendell said. He dropped the box on the table next to his uncle.
His uncle opened the box and pulled out one of the gray socks. He took his goggles off the top of his head and put them on. “Yup, these are weather socks,” he said. He dropped the sock back in the box and took off his goggles. “Wendell, why did you make weather socks? We don’t have weather manipulation in any of our orders. I don’t think I’d even want to sell anything like that. Weather isn’t something that should be messed with on a whim.”
“I ran out of socks,“ Wendell said. “‘But I wasn’t just saving effort this time. I saved money, too.”
“Wendell, if it’s easy to do without magic, don’t use magic,” Uncle Nicolas said. He picked up the box of socks. “Is this all of them?”
Wendell looked down. “Yes, except the ones I’m wearing, of course.” He wiggled his toes inside his shoes. These were really great socks. He loved sunny days.
“Wendell,” Uncle Nicolas said. Wendell looked up. His uncle was frowning. Uh, oh. He was in trouble again.
“Yes uncle?” he said.
Uncle Nicolas held out his hand. “Give me the socks,” he said.
“But then I won’t have any socks on inside my shoes,” Wendell said.
“Buy some on your way home,” Uncle said.
“All right, but I want them back on the day of the town picnic. And my birthday,” Wendell said.
“We’ll see,” Uncle said.