The Magician and the Dreamer.


Zeenath Jahan

Once upon a time in a world just as ours, an ordinary, everyday girl dreamed the dreams that ordinary, everyday people dream. One night, she dreamed a different dream, a dream that reached out and coiled itself about her. That night she dreamed she was standing before a luminous and tall, mother-of-pearl gate that was firmly locked. She searched all over the place for the key but couldn't find it. Suddenly, a man, fair of face and gentle of manner, appeared before her. Smiling, he took her by the hand and in his caressing, light tenor voice he said,

"I am a Magician, the owner of this place. I have the key you search for. Would you like me to take you to the Magical Land beyond the gate?"

Wondering where he had appeared from, and not quite believing his claim of being a magician, she silently nodded her head. Then the Magician spoke a magic spell and the pearly gates opened slowly, smoothly and without a creak. Mesmerized the girl stared. The most beautiful place imaginable lay before her bedazzled eyes. The Magician watched while she ran here and there, squealing with delight at the wonder of it all. It was a place she had always imagined and never hoped of ever finding.

There were crashing waterfalls to the left and a crystal clear babbling stream at her feet, while snow-peaked mountain in the distance shimmered with mystery. To the right she heard the soft, inviting swish of the sea as it crept over the untouched yellow sand. The soft, dulcet breeze playfully tousled her hair, whispering in the boughs of the tall spreading trees of every dream she had ever dreamed. Birdsong filled the air with music, singing for the joy of it all, and as far as the eye could see, flowers of the most unimaginable brilliance dotted the soft green grass. Yes, everything she had ever dreamed was there.

Every night the girl dreamed the same dream and each night her eagerness to sleep, and so to dream, grew stronger. Every night the Magician awaited her arrival. Mesmerized and fascinated she frequently asked him, where he had come from and where he went when the dream was over; but the Magician smiling his secret smile put his fingers on her lips, stemming the flood of her questions, always refusing to reply. At other times her persistence irritated him, until she learned not to ask for anything but the dreams he wove. Gradually she allowed herself not to think beyond the moment, learning instead to revel in the wonder of it all. Every dream-day, while walking arm in arm with the Magician over the soft grass of the Magical lands she told him of her dreams; and each day he spun her a new dream world.

One day, he looked deep into her eyes and smiling his secret smile he said,

"This, all this and more, can be yours; if you trust me enough to leave your world and live here with me, always and forever."

But her world was safe and comfortable, while she knew nothing of his world beyond the dream world. She knew nothing of where he came from, or where he went when the dream was over; and so, she was afraid and ran. Half amused at her belief in escaping his magic, half irritated at her escape at the present moment, the Magician watched her run. Stumbling, the girl woke, sweating and panting as though the dream had been real.

She spent her days in a daze. Disbelieving the memory of her dreams, and yet remembering each detail and wishing to dream again.

Soon, her days were merely an interval, quickly to be got through, until the night when the dreams would start. The moment she shut her eyes, the Magician was always there. Then whispering his magic spell he would take her to the place of her dreams. After many more joyful nights of dreaming, the Magician looked deep into her soul and once more smiling his secret smile he said,

"Leave your world and live with me. Trust me and all this can be yours, always and forever."

Once more, terror-stricken she shook her head and ran. Once more, when she awoke she cried to dream again. She soon became listless and pale. The real world lost its colour and all she wanted was to hear were the Magician's soothing tones and to dream the dreams he wove before her spellbound eyes.

One night she went to bed, and eagerly waited for the dream to start; but the Magician did not appear. She did not dream of the magical place; only he could take her there and all night she dreamed of standing outside the tall luminous mother-of-pearl gates. She tried to dream the dream on her own, she tried to imagine the magical beauty of the dream world; but without the Magician it was only a desert. Every night when he did not come she dreamed she was lost in a desert, thirsty and tired. Crying and stumbling through the arid land she would call to the Magician; but he did not appear.

Sometimes she ranted and raved; stamping her foot, and commanding him to appear. But that only made things worse. The Magician did not appear for even longer. Sometimes she told herself she was better off without the dream. After all, it was only a dream; she would dream other dreams! Yet, no other dream was as fascinating as the dreams woven by the Magician's spell, and so she waited.

It was many days and many dreamless nights before the Magician appeared again. She clung to him, begging him never to leave her, never to disappear from her dreams. Imploring him to make the magical world only he could weave. Whispering the secret spell he wove the magical world for her to enter. Once more she was happy. Over many months and years she learned to be more patient, less hungry for the dreams. She learned that the Magician would come only when and if he wished; but come he would, if she was patient.

One day, the Magician walked away in the middle of a dream and the dream began to crumble. While wandering in the crumbling dream world the girl inadvertently found the Magician. Thinking she had followed him there the Magician was furious. Ordering her to return to the world he had woven for her he commanded her never to follow him again. It was many dream-days before he returned.

In time, the Magician began rationing her entry into the magical world. When she went to sleep she was never quite sure whether or not he would appear. She slept for longer and longer hours, waiting for him in sorrow and longing; but when he came she was joyful and her heart sang, all sorrow forgotten.

Now the Magician began setting her little tests. When she failed a test he stayed away, and when she passed he took her to more and more beautiful worlds. She soon learned the answers to all his tests and passed each one without effort. Yet, it seemed to her that the Magician was beginning to be bored of the games and stayed away, whether or not she passed the test. She begged for a constant stream of dreams, but her every plea fell on deaf ears. She finally learned to be satisfied with what he gave her. Frequently she saw him beyond the edge of the dream world but dared not go to him. At her wits end, the girl did not know what to do. She craved to dream the beautiful dream!

Once, in desperation, while she waited for the Magician to appear she called out in the wilderness,

"Please come to me. I trust you with my life. I will leave my world and live in yours, always and forever! "

The only answer was the sound of her fearful heart, thudding with terror at her recklessness. This went on for many nights until the Magician appeared. Stumbling and running, laughing and crying she clung to him,

"I trust you with my life, my Magician. I will leave my world and live in yours, always and forever. Please take me with you!"

Quietly stroking her hair, while looking into the distant horizon he smiled a secret smile,

"Maybe later, little Dreamer?" he said, then, throwing her a kiss he disappeared into the mist.

Alone in the middle of the magical dream world the girl was desolate. The Magician was gone so soon. She had no way of going to him, no way of calling him back. Then she noticed that this time the dream world had not crumbled even after the Magician had left! Surprised she looked about her and saw a bright light blinking amongst the banks of flowers near the chuckling stream. Gently lifting it she saw it was Hope. The Magician had left Hope to keep her company. Hope is always the last to leave a Dreamer, for all dreams are woven on Hope's loom.

With Hope as her constant companion and weaving her own happy dreams on Hope's loom, the girl dreamed on. The dreams were just as beautiful, and yet they were not. Without the Magician the dreams were just dreams, the magic was lost! It was then that the girl learned that it was not the dreams she wanted; it was the Magician himself!

The girl dreamed her dreams. Hope nudged her when she was sad and so, sleeping in the arms of Hope she dreamed quiet, happy dreams, while waiting for the Magician to return. For she knew he would return one day, Hope told her so!

In time, Fantasy became Reality, and Reality, Fantasy and the Dreamer withdrew from her friends and from her family; and almost from life itself, a pale shadow of herself when the Magician wasn't there, and vibrant and alive when he was.

"This is just a mirage!" said her friends.

"This is not True!" said her family.

She told the Magician what they said and he smiled,

"Their lives are empty and they envy you," he whispered in her ear while drawing her close to his heart. The Dreamer would have believed him, if she hadn't trusted her friends so deeply; instead she shut her ears to them and listened to the siren song the Magician played on his heavenly harp.

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