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The Bucket

The Bucket

A Shim Shoy Folktale

In another time, at a different place, there was this great little farm on the edge of a vast forest. Little Alice lived there. There weren’t any other little girls around to play with, so she often went off exploring the woods alone. One day out there in the woods she crossed paths with another little girl. Her name was Annie, and she had been lost in the woods for days.

Alice took her back home with her, where Maw fed her, while Alice heated water for a bath. Annie then slept in a nice soft bed for three days and nights.

While she slept, Paw and Alice’s brothers asked all around, but no one knew anything about a little girl named Annie that had gone missing. So Paw said,

-Well, her people will come for her, if she’s got any. In the meantime, if she ever wakes up, and she can do her bit around the farm, we’ll keep her ’round here as one of our own.

When Annie did wake up she showed herself to be a fine and pleasant worker, and she and Alice became close fast friends.

But Annie did not like to go play in the woods, and she would never say why.

So Alice stopped exploring the woods, always her favorite thing to do, and it remained so, even though she didn’t do it anymore.

By the time the girls grew into young ladies, Alice had forgotten how she used to love the woods, and Annie had forgotten how she feared it. All there was now for them was a vague curiosity, and so of course they started taking longer and longer walks into the woods.

On one such walk they came across such vast and sprawling ruins that the sun set long before any thought of heading home could infiltrate their bristling, buzzing minds.

They slept there under a great fallen stone arch, and as they slept, a witch riding the air on a flying broom circled around them, lower and lower, and hovering close over them, said,

-So you’ve forgotten me at last, little Annie, and returned to me, as I knew you would. And you’ve brought a friend, as I hoped you might.

And she threw witches powder over the girls, so they wouldn’t wake up, and summoned her creatures, who carried them through night and forest to the Witches house.

When Alice awoke, she was tied to the post of a small wooden pen, which was inside of a larger pen, with nine horny goats milling about inside of it. There was a wooden bucket in the little pen with her.

She looked up, and saw that she was in a deep ravine somewhere in the forest, on the grounds of a great house of ramshackle stone and wood, built, grown into the side of the ravine. She looked across, and saw her dear friend Annie, her arms outstretched, tied by ropes to two trees, her head hanging limply.

Alice called out to her, and Annie woke up, and as she looked around, a great remembering came over her, and then a great fear.

The witch came out of her house then, floating out the top floor window upon her flying broom and plummeting to the ground with a nerve tweaking mastery of quickness and power, slowing to a silent hover just above the ground and then back up a bit, to better take in the setting, and laughing, a long cackling howl, the joy of a witch in the attainment of her goals.

Hovering over Alice in the pen within a pen, she said,

-You’ll fill that bucket with tears, or you’ll be sorry!

Then the witch rang a little bell, and the goats in the pen started going real crazy, and they tried to get at Alice, ramming her little pen, smashing in the wood with their horns. But the wooden rails of her pen were enchanted by the witch, and they repaired them selves instantly, though this did not deter the goats. Every time a goat rammed into the little pen, fresh tears
welled in Alice’s eyes. The witch cried out,

-In the bucket! The bucket!

One of the goats started gnawing on the rope that bound Alice to the little fence, but it was enchanted, and it sprouted sharp thorns, not only at that end, but at the ends around Alice’s wrists, and as she was pierced by the thorns, fresh tears flowed, and she hung her head over the bucket and cried and cried. The witch cackled,

-Yes, yes! That’s it! Ahahahahahaaaaaaa!

As the goats went on ramming the little pen with ear splitting cracks, the witch flew over by Annie, whose eyes were filled with compassion for her friend, though dry. Not one tear flowed from Annie’s eyes. The witch said,

-No tears for your friend, eh? You might, I suppose, but I took them all from you years ago, when you were just a little girl!

The witch hovered in close, right up in her face. She said,

-You forgot about me. I made you forget. Everything but your fear. Fear takes the longest, and so I let you forget it on your own. And when that final forgetting was complete, you came back to me, exactly as my spell was constructed! It makes me… So happy! And you’ve brought a friend! I knew you would be drawn to another with the inner fires burning bright. And such fires in her! She could have been a great magician, but instead she will fill my bucket, and you will help her, little Annie.

-I won’t help you hurt her!

-You will, you will.
And she flew up on her broom, up out of the ravine and into the trees of the forest.

As the sun was setting, the witch returned. She rang her little bell, and the goats all calmed down again, and they all collapsed in exhaustion, their long weird tongues lolling out of their mouths, frothy and bloody. She said,

-I see you have filled the bucket.

She floated down and grabbed up the bucket, and dropped a jug in the pen. She held the bucket close and inhaled deeply the salty metallic smell. Then she looked back at Alice and said,

-Drink it all, or you’ll be sorry!

The Witch flew around over the goat pen. She pointed at one of the goats and shouted,

-This goat is dead! A fine feast he will make for me!

She floated down and picked up the dead goat by one of its horns, and hurled it to the middle of the yard. She rang her little bell, this time with a different rhythm than she rang at the goats, and her slave creatures emerged from hiding. One of them skinned the goat expertly while the others built a great fire and a spit for roasting upon it.

The Witch sat upon her floating broom, chomping and chewing and slurping and sucking the meat and bones of the goat, washing it all down with great swallows of Alice’s tears, which she scooped from the bucket with a golden chalice. Hers was a sorcery of sorrow, and the liquid misery of a young magician was the greatest of all possible consumptions.

In the dark of night the firelight gleamed in the eyes of the Witches prisoners, Annie, Alice, the goats, the slave creatures. They all looked upon the gruesome scene unfolding in silence, until sleep overtook them all.

The second morning, the Witch descended to inspect the jug. Alice had drunk it all. She nodded and swapped the bucket for the jug. Then she rang her little bell, and flew off, and the goats went crazy again, this time kicking at the little pen with their hind legs, and sticking their heads in to get at her skirt and sleeves, so she had to stay exactly in the middle of the pen. However, she did not cry any tears. She had hardened herself to the fear of the goats.

When the Witch returned and saw the bucket was empty, she said,

-So you think you’re tough, eh? Not even one tear in the bucket for me! We’ll see about that before the sun goes down!

The Witch flew around, hovering behind the trees that Annie was tied to. She muttered a spell, and a long nasty whip appeared in her hand. She whipped Annie mercilessly, who still shed no tears, though Alice soon filled the bucket again with tears for her friend.

The Witch rang her little bell and the goats settled down, and another one fell down dead. She swapped the bucket for the jug, both full once again, and feasted as she had the night before, and the next night and the next.

Whenever Alice’s tears dried up, the Witch used some new method to provoke her. She looked in Alice’s mind, and created illusions of her parents. These phantoms tricked Alice into believing they had come to rescue her, only to be captured by the Witch, who imprisoned, tortured and killed them over the course of the days. Every night a goat died, and every night she ate the goat and drank Alice’s tears, and each day her body grew younger, and the bone pile got higher.

On the ninth day, the last goat could hardly stand, Annie was a covered in long wealing scars, and Alice was deep, deep, and deep inside herself. When the Witch descended from above and surveyed the pathetic scene, she said,

-There’s only certain, special tears left in you, my dear. That is why when I return tonight, I am going to kill Annie. And once I’ve drunk those tears, I’m going to untie you, and let you go.

And she flew off, as she always did, except that this time she did not ring her little bell, and so the last goat was spared the madness. The goat went slowly over to Alice, who was slumped agains the walls of her little pen, and licked gently at her hands, which were dirty and cut up and bloody, and licked them clean. Alice did not even react.

Annie, however, was moved. She had been biding her time these nine days, exploring her regained memory. The Witch thought she had drained all of Annie’s magic out of her those years ago, but where there is life, there the inner fires burn, and the love of Alice and her family fed Annie’s own inner fires back to their full strength, although she didn’t even recognize it until now, because of the amnesia spell.

But magic requires mastery or quiet. Here in this first quiet moment in nine days, Annie cast her first spell. She said,

-Bucket, Bucket, your well is dry, come to me, and I will try.

And the bucket floated up into the air and over to Annie, who turned her head and cried tears of joy into it. She said,

-Tears of joy do not fall slow, make a river of your flow.

And a river of tears filled the bucket, and when it was full, she said,

-Bucket, bucket, back with you, be as if you never flew.

And it did, and Alice looked at it blankly. The goat reached in a hoof and splashed Alice’s face with the tears in the bucket. That woke her up a little bit. She tasted the happy tears. Then she started drinking the tears from the bucket. Annie called out to her,

-No, Alice! The bucket has to be full!

Alice stopped drinking, and very simply nodded.

When the sun began to set the Witch returned to find Alice with her head hung over a bucket full of tears. She hovered grimly over her. She did a spell, and the thorny rope fell away from Alice and pen alike. She leaned in and scooped her chalice full of the tears within the bucket and said,

-These then be the tears of quiet surrender, the sweetest to me. Here is to the ninth straight night of tears, youth and power for nine more years!

She drank it down in a gulp. Her eyes grew wide, and she made a great gasping sound. She started to choke and gag, and lose her balance on her broom.

Alice jumped up and grabbed the Witch by her cloak, and pulled her off of her broom and onto the ground, where she howled in piercing agony. She tried to get up, but the goat rammed into her and sent her sprawling, and she dropped her little bell.

Alice picked up the bell and rang it that certain way, and the slave creatures emerged to do her bidding. Alice called to them,

-Build the fire for a feast of your own, and be forever free!

And they did, and they were.

Alice, Annie, and the Goat all went together from that hidden place, back to the family farm.

There was no going back to the way things used to be. After the defeat of the Witch, Alice retreated back to a deep place inside, and never came out. She never spoke, and required constant care. Annie devoted herself to this care of her friend.

Though her body was covered in scars, Annie had a pretty face, and she only got prettier as time went by. She had many suitors from town and country, but she refused them all, as she was committed to the care of her friend. Even a dashing young prince sought her for his bride. He promised that Alice could come live with them at his castle and she would have the best of care.

Annie said to him,

-But it is here that she must recover. With me. With the family. This place is our home. No other care will do.

And so the years passed, and little bit by little bit Alice came back to herself. One night, as she was heating a bath as a surprise for Annie, she remembered that long ago day when she did the same for the little girl she found lost in the woods. As she tested the water with her fingers, she cried some happy tears into the bath.

And when Annie got in that hot bath, the long painful pinching scars that crisscrossed her poor body for so long softened and fell away and she was made fresh and clean and soft.

Thank You For Reading Shim Shoy


Hidden Cities 16.2: The Fearsome Done

By the time the Done Brothers turned 18, they had both committed heinous acts on behalf of their adoptive mother. She had gathered more “wayward children” into her care and tutelage. These brothers and sisters of the inner fires became known as the Ravenhead Gang, and the Done Brothers were their leaders, although it was really Dominic who the rest looked up to. 

It was Dominic who recognized the sorceress for what she was, or at least, felt it. He saw how she “acquired” the seventh Ravenhead, a little girl, and by this, how he and his brother had been thus acquired.
Danny could not be convinced, so Dominic had to leave on his own. He went into the world apparent and became a soldier and eventually a soldier of fortune.
When the time came for him to give up that life he returned to the sorceress’ house in Chicago’s hidden city, but no one was there, or had been for some time. With his magical senses he followed the trail, which led to the house of Grissom Black.

To be continued.  Thank you for reading Pat Coughlin’s blog!


Hidden Cities 16.1: the Brothers Done

Dominic and Danny Done were twin brothers, born with what the magicians of the hidden cities call the inner fires, though their parents were normal.
An ancient and predatory sorceress of the hidden city wanted them for herself, so she killed their father when they were just babies. She ingratiated herself into their lives as a family friend, and over the next nine years destroyed their mother’s sanity bit by bit, until she was finally committed to the state mental health system. The sorceress adopted the boys and brought them to live with her in Chicago’s hidden city.

As you might have guessed, this sorceress and the one who caused Greene Vardim Black so much trouble are indeed one and the same. 

To Be Continued in the next installment of Pat Coughlin’s Blog! 

Thank You for reading! If you like, Hidden Cities chapters 1-15 can be found at my Tumblr, shimshoycapsul


The Patch In The Pot


Hidden Cities 15.5 The Strawberry Patch

A task assigned to Greene at the Deitch Center for Mental Health was to water the plants in the long sunny hallway and on the third floor balcony. Under this simple care the plants thrived like never before. The nurses bought a big clay pot and filled it with good soil and strawberry seeds as a gift to Greene, who was everybody’s favorite patient. He simply watered it, of course, evidencing no other recognition of it’s existence.
It was soon after the arrival of the little unsprouted strawberry patch that Greene’s Uncle showed up to take him away to Chicago. The newly talkative, mentally present
Greene Vardim Black asked if he could take the Strawberry Patch. Of course he could. He said to them,
-I’ll be back when I get a batch from the patch!

Not too long after that was the night the Ravenhead Gang attacked the Black household. The following day Greene met the little white Gumleys. That night, Greene
Couldn’t sleep, and for once walked around at night fully awake, and fixed himself a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich and a glass of milk. He heard little gumsobs coming from another room. It was the littlest of the Gumleys, the one with no hands, bent over the bodies of two dead ravens, crying her soft little “gums”. Greene patted the Gumley on the back and said,

– Were they your friends?
– Gum…

So they buried the birds in the strawberry patch, which had yet to sprout.

On the morning that Greene became the vehicle of the Greenflow, he was able to see with magical vision the trouble that the various energies swirling within the soil and seeds were having with each other. He plunged his fingers in the dirt and straightened them all out, and wove them together harmoniously.

Later, the first fruits produced would be black. The handless Gumley and the eyeless Gumley would be drawn to them, but only the blind Gumley would eat them. But that is a story for another time.

Coincidentally, the entity that “piloted” Greene’s body while watering the plants was the entity of a young girl, and the Gumley with no hands was once a young girl as well, the youngest member of the former Ravenhead Gang, now the Gumleys of Greene Vardim Black.

Thank You 

Your Shim Shoy Friend, Pat Coughlin

Hidden Cities 15.4 Green and Black

After the tragedy, twelve year old Greene Vardim Black’s body was whole and healthy, minus half a finger, but he was unresponsive to communication.  His conscious mind was deep in his empty head, so he was remanded by the state to the care of The Deitch Center of Mental Health.  They said he was a high functioning catatonic, which meant that for a person who recognized no human contact, that seemed the blankest of slates, devoid of motivation or personal ambition on any level, he needed no help in his own maintenance, and was easily led about.  This was due to the bodiless Entities within his head, who took turns piloting his body under strict rules of conduct.  His body had become a ship within which he was just another passenger among many.  
A fellow patient, name of David Green, took an instant liking to Greene Vardim Black, and came to spent a lot of time with him, never minding his eternal silence.  David Green was an eloquent and talkative sort of gentleman philosopher, deeply committed to traditional good manners and the charismatic arts of etiquette.  Occasionally Greene would return to his body just to talk with David Green, who kept Greene’s secret well, the very soul of discretion. 
When Grissom Black came to get him, Greene asked if his friend David Green could come with them.  
Grissom Black took David Green to the side and thanked him for being a friend to his nephew.  He gave him a card with his address, and told him that if and when he left the Deitch Center, he would be welcome at his house.  But he must write first.  He would never find the house otherwise.
Thank You for reading Pat Coughlin’s Blog, and Thank You to my followers for following!  Check out my Tumblr, shimshoycapsula, for chapters 1-14 of Hidden Cities, featuring the Sonambulic Sorcerer, Greene Vardim Black! Until next time, Have a good ol’ day or night, in the glow of Shim Shoy light! 
Love, Pat


Hidden Cities 15.3 The Last of Humanity


Hidden Cities 15.3 The Last of Humanity

Far, far, and far into what we here call the future, the last of humanity, magicians all, fled their doom and the doom of the Earth. Casting off their physical bodies, they broke open the flows and threw themselves in, and they were changed and torn and thrown all about the world and all about time. In China they became metamorphical foxes and raccoons, in Greece and in India they became gods, in Ireland and England the fairies and leprechauns, also known as the good people, and in so many places and times so many forms and names, but always to those hidden people of the hidden cities, the magicians, they are known simply as Entities. Of the cluster of a thousand or so Entities that broke off from the mass and entered our time and place, that is, the present unfolding Chicago, roughly half recognized and dove straight into the welcoming non-embrace of the soft void inside the empty head of Greene Vardim Black. There they were safe and well provided for, as their host’s imagination and generosity were a bounty.
When Greene’s family was killed, the grateful and loving Entities returned the favor by shepherding their conscious spirits into his empty head as well, so that they would not be lost to each other.
The year following the tragedy, Greene’s body was cared for by the good people at the Deitch Mental Health Center and piloted unassumingly by the Entities, while his own conscious spirit lived in his empty head with his family, a version of the town of Rauhoff Park springing up more complete day to day. This town, this home for his family and the Entities who became the populace, was built of Greene’s memories. That is why, in the waking world, it seems that he has blocked out all memory that he ever even had a family at all, save for his Uncle Milo, more commonly known as The magician historian Grissom Black. It is simply that that knowledge exists now only inside the soft void, in the Rauhoff Park of the mind.

Thank You

Follow Pat Coughlin’s Blog on WordPress for the strange and continuing story of the Sonambulic Sorcerer Greene Vardim Black as well as Shim Shoy Folktales and more!

Love, your friend Patty Poy The Shim Shoy Boy and don’t forget the Ging-Goy!

More Intriguing Sorcery


Hidden Cities 15.1
The Recap Continues

Like all cities, Chicago has a Hidden City, and even in it’s suburbs, there were hidden suburbs. Ignatius Black, called Nash by those close, left the Hidden City of Chicago and settled and started and sustained his family in one such place on the overlap of hidden and apparent called Rauhoof Park. The Blacks were a long standing and highly respected family line of Magicians of the Hidden Cities, rarely leaving them for the apparent world, but Ignatius was what is called a Small Magician, born with small inner fires, and thus free to detach himself if he so desired, and he did, leaving behind, among other things, his brother Grissom, whose inner fires burned bright and hot, and whose scholarly aptitudes were making him a great Magician.

Ignatius Black knew some damn scheming and selfish magician had tampered with his son Greene, he could tell that much with his magical senses, but that was all. The boy wasn’t hurting from it, so he tolerated it, seeking avoidance of the hidden world and those that live there.

But when Greene was twelve, the sorceress who had tampered with him captured an entity that had spent some time in his empty head, and so she learned she had succeeded in creating an attractor of hidden forces. The Entity did not just tell her this, she tortured it for the information.

Using her Ravenheads, she brought about the tragedy that made Greene Vardim Black an orphan with nine and a half fingers. She kept a close eye on Greene during the year he spent as a high functioning catatonic at The Deitch Center. She was about to make her final move to make him her own when Grissom Black showed up suddenly and took him to Chicago.

More of what you have already seen but didn’t know about the life of Greene Vardim Black in the next installment of
Pat Coughlin’s Blog, your home for Shim Shoy!

Thank You!

The Return of Pat Coughlin’s Blog

Hidden Cities 15:
What we’ve encountered but haven’t yet
learned concerning Greene Vardim Black

Greene Vardim Black was dosed in the womb with certain alchemical essences that created a vast void in the space between his brain and the inside of his skull. It was a sorceress of the Hidden City who did it, and no one ever even knew it happened. She hoped to create an attractor and reservoir of the sources of magical energies, namely those infra-reality sustaining arteries of the multiverse called Flows, and the Entities, which are known by too many names to list here. The dose was also meant to make Greene a vegetable, his mind too far away from his body to access it at all. She was successful in one way, as many wayward Entities found their way into the empty head of Greene Vardim Black the very day he was born, and more and more as he went along, though again, no one knew about it. But she failed in the other, as little Greene was just fine. Prone to space-staring, perhaps, a little bit forgetful of details, perhaps, but for the most part okay, and this everyone knew about, including the sorceress, who figured she had failed, and left his family alone.
Until Greene turned twelve, and she realized her scheme had only half failed, after all.

This Chapter to be continued in the next installment of Hidden Cities at Pat Coughlin’s Blog!

P.S. For the interested, Hidden Cities chapters 1-14 can be found at my other blog, shimshoycapsula, at . From now on I will be posting all new stories both here and there.

Thank You and a fine Shim Shoy! P

Isberian 2

Chapter 2
The Magician’s Way

Isberian was born with two kinds of magic inside of her. From her father, Aldo the Awesome, she inherited the Small Magic, which is the lightest of all kinds of magic, the magic of illusion. From her mother Amalia, she got the most potent and rare of all magic, and that is the Healing Magic.
Isberian didn’t know it, but Amalia had forbidden Aldo, the more active of the two parents, to encourage Isberian in the development of the healing magic within her, and even to forestall it’s discovery. Amalia was made a prisoner because of her healing magic, and as she knew her jailor, King Caster, would have covetous eyes on little Isberian to see if she too had a deeper magic than Aldo The Awesome’s illusions. Magic he would imprison her for so as to have it all his own.

And so it was, Isberian was raised as a small magician, in the world of entertainment and storytelling, and she was a most capable assistant and pride and joy to Aldo The Awesome. She became an actor of deep and varied nuance, and performed so convincingly as Aldo weaved his story and philosophy based “Magic Tricks”, becoming any and all characters featured, using her own small magic to enhance the illusions, that she became a star in her own right, and Aldo and Isberian, the Father and Daughter magician team, came to be in high demand, and commanding of the highest prices, in many cities.

As Isberian grew into a young woman, men and boys old enough to looked on her with covetous ardor. It was not something Isberian liked, and she sometimes was afraid of them, though Aldo was ever there to protect her, and so she took to dressing and keeping her hair like a boy, using her small magic to complete the illusion. By this practice, and by the way she used her small magic on the stage, Isberian became quite adept at changing her form and face and voice. It was her specialty.

So-called Small Magic can be developed by the insightful and masterful in nature to achieve depths as great as any Wizard or Sorceress of the higher or nobler magics. All with wisdom know this to be true, but the scarcity of such practitioners, coupled with simple prejudice, are what made the majority of magicians of the Hidden Cities to be scornful of all “Small Magicians”. Aldo and Isberian were, in fact, two of the greatest magicians to ever live, small or otherwise, such was their mastery of their own inner fires. Of course at this time, young Isberian was still just starting on the path to this destiny, and it is our privilege to go along with her.

For Aldo had filled her head always with the way of the magician, and that way had a fundamental feature, that of striking out on your own. She waited until the last night of the summer visit to Mother Amalia at
King Caster’s castle to do so, taking only her own fast little horse, and leaving a note for her loving parents. She did not want to leave Aldo, but she knew he had come to expect it, and accept it. She was used to leaving Amalia, and felt that she knew only that she would see them both again someday.

Her heartmind had always been stirred by talk of The World Mountain and that was the direction she traveled, to find her wondrous way in the world.

Isberian (1)

A Shim Shoy Folktale
Of The Klutens Variety

Isberian was a girl who grew up in one of the fallen cities, far from the Great Forested Mountain, which was known in her city as The Mountain of The World. She had always lived in The Hidden City there, as she was the child of magicians. Gather ’round this spot and learn how she came to be.

Isberian’s fallen city was ruled by a fallen king, King Caster, and this king found out about a young sorceress, gifted in healing, who had been coming into the city apparent to treat the citizenry, as sickness was rampant there. Her name was Amalia. King Caster found her, and took her, and kept her in service to the royal family in the castle, not kept behind bars, or in chains, but imprisoned all the same.

An Illusionist, one of those performing magicians that Hidden City magicians call small, came to entertain Caster, the fallen king, at court. He said,

“Call me Aldo The Awesome, for that is who I am. I have come to blow the mind of the King with wonder, and any other else who would dare to witness… The deduction! Of the mystery! Of the cosmos!”

He spoke these words with great flair, and frequent dramatic pauses, and King Caster was mightily intrigued, for like him, his court was a dreary, depressed kind of place, and anxious, too.

Amalia was there at court, and her heartmind stirred itself mightily, for her magical senses felt the true magic within this apparent showman, and he was handsome, and his eyes were looking at her, and while he was speaking so dramatically to everyone, she felt he was speaking to her simply and directly, in a way and with words the others could not perceive.
And he was indeed awesome. He had a small golden bowl, empty, that he would turn up, and magical waters would pour out that took on shapes and moved about the court. A water cat chased a water mouse, that changed color and swam around in the cat’s belly when it was caught. Then the cat jumped into King Caster’s lap, and when he petted it, the water cat turned into a cloud of delicate shimmering snow and then disappeared completely.

The King asked Aldo,

“How many tricks do you know as good as that one?”

“Of my very best tricks, there are seven, your majesty.”

“Then you shall stay with us seven nights, magician, and you will spread your show across them. Such entertainment is rare, and we would not like for ours to be so short lived.”

And so it was. When the seventh night came Aldo performed his most awesome illusion, which was to slow time itself to stillness, except for he and the king, and together they pinned flowers to everyone at court, and the king laughed mightily at the looks on everyone’s face as the effect wore off and they were all so amazed and perplexed, laughed loud and hard, in such a way as he had not laughed in so long. He said to Aldo,

“You have illuminated wonder here, Aldo, a light that has been dim indeed for us, and you have stayed with us as we asked, though staying is difficult for your kind. And so you may name your reward.”

Aldo replied humbly,

“Your Majesty, there is only one circumstance I crave, and more, fear that I could not live without.”

“And what is this circumstance?”

“For the Lady Amalia to be my wife.”

King Caster started laughing again, and said,
“The Lady Amalia is a precious prisoner. We could not tolerate her absence from our company. Yet you have named your reward, and it must be given. Seven days and nights you have illuminated us, so for seven days and nights shall you be illuminated, with Amalia as your bride.”

And so Aldo and Amalia were married. Aldo had a little house by the side of a little lake where he took his bride and there they delved deep into the magical waters of their love. When the seven days and nights had come and gone, they went back to the king’s castle, for they had both given their word that they would. Aldo wanted to flee far, but Amalia insisted upon returning. She knew there would be suffering if they broke their word, and she believed in her heartmind that King Caster would release her someday.

King Caster thought long and hard while Amalia was away, all the while hoping that she would return, that he would not have to chase after her. When they did return, he said to them,

“You must go now, Aldo, we cannot share Amalia with a husband. However, once each season, for seven days and seven nights, you may have her for your wife, and she may have you for her husband at your little house by the little lake.”

And so it was, and come their first week of winter together at the little lake house Isberian was born.

There is so much to tell in this story of Isberian!

To Be Continued

Thank You

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