Once upon a time in a land no one knew existed, there lived a young girl. Deep down this young girl was very sad. But her cries were not heard because the young girl would silence them. The young girl had a gift, in this way, for she could swallow her own voice. Yes. She could open her mouth, scream, and then suck the sound straight down her throat and into her belly. For this reason, everyone around believed her to be a cheerful, exuberant child because all her unpleasantness she was able to simply digest.
Now each night the young girl’s father would kiss her on the forehead at precisely 8pm and she would slink into her cold, drafty bedroom. When the she would lie atop her straw cot, resting her head down on her feathered pillow, she would dream of giant trees. Perhaps it was the smallness of her room, the closed in feeling she got when the curtains were drawn and the candles were extinguished that caused her to dream up such enormous creations. Never the less, the trees were huge, larger than the eye could fathom. No top to be seen and their trunks were as immense as the great lake marking the end of the land and as wide as the two most distant village streets. The trees were painted a deep plum and a rich emerald. There leaves were cotton balls which fell like snow as the trees sung aloud to the sounds of the winds. These trees were magical. Anyone who had the courage and stamina to reach their tops was promised be taken to another world.
One day while skipping along the gravel road on the edge of the village, the young girl met a shadow. Startled, the young girl screamed. But no sound was heard because she used her gift to swallow the scream.
“What do you want?” the young girl demanded.
“I want you to grow me a tree?” the shadow whispered.
“Grow you are tree? There are plenty of trees all around,” the young girl exclaimed gesturing to the forest behind her.
“I want you to grow me a tree,” the shadow’s wispy and menacing voice repeated.
“Well, I can’t do that,” the young girl said smugly, “I am a poor farmer’s daughter and I haven’t got any seeds.”
The shadow laughed, crackling like a roaring fire. “Well, child you must or else I am going to steal all the light from the coming months.”
“You can’t do that!” the young girl yelped. “It will be too dark for the harvest. Father’s crops won’t grow and we will grow hungry and die.”
“You must grow me a tree then. A giant tree. One that will take me to another world.”
The young girl ran home and locked herself in her room. Trembling and conflicted, she ignored her father’s call for supper. Instead, she sat on her straw stuffed cot, waiting for the sun to set. Once the light had faded and she herself could be seen as nothing more than a shadow, she slipped out of bed. Out of fear and desperation, she snuck silently through the night and stole her father’s special seeds. The ones she was instructed never to touch. The ones that were hidden in a wooden crate in the cellar. But it was the shadow’s unsettling laughter that proved the motivation ringing in her mind.
“I have to,” the terrified young girl thought to herself, “I have to.”
The dark hours of the night passed with ungodly slowness, but when the first signs of dawn began to glisten on the horizon it became apparent the nightmare that the young girl had created. The seed she had planted in the night had already become a sprout and a rapidly growing one at that. The sprout was growing rapidly and crazily. Twisting and turning, becoming a long and suffocating vine covered in thorns. The young girl nearly fainted in the horror, realizing the seed she had been instructed to keep away from was a killing weed. In a matter of hours it would spread and kill all of the crops in the village’s fields.
The rest of the morning was among the young girl’s darkest memories. As the villagers awoke to their strangled crops, cries of dismay filled the whole land. Helplessly ashamed, the young girl saw she could do nothing. So she stayed inside her bedroom, swallowing her own cries as her ears were filled with the sounds of sorrow.
Around midday, the young girl could take no more and ran away to the forest to try and distance herself from it all. It was here that the shadow returned.
“Where is my tree?” the shadow asked, looking out in the distance at the barren fields.
“I couldn’t grow one,” the young girl said with sorrow.
“COULDN’T GROW ONE?” Just then the shadow, in a fit of rage, did just as he said he would and stole all of the light from the land. Complete and utter darkness fell over everything.
Standing in darkness, hearing the village cries of dismay, and with the notion that the young girl had failed not just herself but the whole land, she found she had no energy left to digest her own cries. And right there with the shadow lingering somewhere in the darkness next to her, the young girl allowed herself to truly cry. And as the saltwater tears, heavy with sorrow and shame leaked from her eyes something mysterious began to happen. Each teardrop that hit the ground jumped upward with a dazzling light that danced across the fields.
Startled by the sudden light, the young girl stops crying for a moment. But upon doing so the light ceased and darkness engulfed the space once more. She realized that it was the water leaking from her very eyes that offered the light. So, the young girl sat down, made herself comfortable there on the damp, forest ground and thought of the years of cries she had swallowed, of all the sadness and grief, confusion and embarrassments. It was in these memories, current and past, that released a steady stream of tears from the young girl’s eyes. And one by one, as each tear met the ground, little, dancing lights jumped across the forest. Blue, sparkling, and magnificently charged lights. The more the young girl cried, the larger the tears became. Buckets of water were pouring off her cheeks. And soon the light of her tears was bouncing all the way from the forest to the barren fields to the sky above.
“Impossible!” the shadow gasped. “This cannot be happening!”
The young girl continued cried and as the moments passed, the sun in the sky that had been stripped of its light began to fill up once more. Daylight slowly was restored. But the young girl did not stop crying. She could not stop crying. A lifetime of sadness had been tapped into and there was no chance of turning the sobs off. Once the tears completed restoring light to the land, an act of rebirth began to come from them. In the distant barren fields, it could be seen that little sprouts were springing up from the ground. But they didn’t stop at sprouts. Rather the seedlings grew and grew and grew. Until they were giant trees that no eye could find the top to. They were the trees of the young girl’ dreams.
“Yes!” the shadow exclaimed. “This is what I wanted all along!”
The shadow then parted from the crying young girl scurrying towards the fields lined with the magnificent trees. He began to climb one, up the wide trunk and got lost somewhere in the canopy of leaves and branches. And, the shadow was never seen again. Perhaps he was one of the fortunate ones to reach the top of the tree, to enter another world. Or perhaps he came to find that the top doesn’t exist. That these trees continue upward forever and ever.
The young girl doesn’t wonder about him though. She is too busy providing for the village. You see the tears of the young girl are vital now. She has learned how to channel them into performing certain tasks. She can grow and water crops with her tears. She can light people’s way at night. She came bloom wildflowers. She can dot the lake with lily pads. She can do many things, wonderful things. All along, the young girl had the power of growth and beauty, but she had been swallowing the magic inside of her. She had been slowly extinguishing the very purpose in which she was given. But the years of digesting her cries are over and done. Never to return to.
The villagers more than forgave the young girl. And not long after the giants trees sprung up, the young girl was given the land’s most sought after and mysterious title: the Magician.