by Patrick Coughlin
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