Thursday, June 17, 2010


All over the world, all over the worlds, through Doorways and lost kingdoms and the Seven Seas, the wishes of an old woodcarver and an even older wizard take hold of reality, reset the pieces of the chessboard and turn back the book to its opening page.

It is a most exhilarating sensation for all - the living and the dead and the hungry, lost souls - who return to their healthy skins and beating hearts.

The Dwarf kneels with his six brothers before the coffin of Snow White, and for a moment, he mourns for himself and for the loss of sweet Cinderella left behind.

In her tower, Cinderella wakes with a yawn, the taste of apple still on her lips. Remembering her travels with a bald-pated Dwarf and a broken Wolf, she smiles, grateful for the family she found after being abandoned by her own.

Back in his den, the Big Bad Wolf scratches at his now-stitchless chest. Next to him, his son sleeps fitfully, troubled by nightmares of the dark and watchful forest in which he died. Feeling the cub tremble, his father holds him close.

Not so far away, the Little Pig sweeps his house of brick. He wishes his own brothers - singing and loafing away, as always - were half as brave as the wooden puppet who threw stones at the Wolf in that most curious of dreams that might have been.

Deep in the Wildlands, the scarred Lion also remembers his dream - traveling with a little wooden boy and finding peace in a land that never was. From the shadows he watches Mowgli laughing with the gray sloth bear, and the sound gives him pause. Smiling sadly, the Lion dismisses his old notions - how foolish they were - of leading an army of soldiers not made up of flesh and blood.

Worlds away, his two would-be soldiers, the Candelabra and the Clock, stop their eternal argument at the sound of singing - their guest roams once more through her beloved library. The once-lonely castle bustles with excitement at her presence, and the Enchanted Mirror lies forgotten in the Master's chambers.

At the same time, another mirror, the Magic Mirror, is studied by the Queen. She would be troubled by the white strands of hair upon her head if she couldn’t remember the horrible power of the Book, which claimed her as prisoner, even in death.

And deep inside her enchanted castle, the Dark Fairy strokes her Book, the mightiest of all grimoires, its spells both tantalizing and forbidden, and she decides that instead, on this day, she’ll content herself to leave the Spell of Living Death unspoken.

For in the end, even if her chaos and destruction was undone by the Blue Fairy and the Genie, the memories will carry on in people’s nightmares. And, she thinks with a heartless smile, the remembrance of death is so much sweeter than the ultimately empty and worthless curse she once unleashed upon the world.

And in all the world, in all the worlds, perhaps it is only Merlin, so used to living backwards in time, who is untroubled by the reversal of everyone’s fortunes and fates.

Within the courtyard of a quaint castle, he calmly smokes his pipe, the Owl perched on his shoulder. Merlin chuckles quietly to himself. These dreams, he decides, are a fair price to pay, if their lives can be reborn and rewritten with the lessons and sacrifices remembered.

And, he thinks, laughing still - much to the Owl’s annoyance - that he must be a clever magician indeed if he could convince the Dark Fairy to change her mind.

“What’s so funny?” demands the Owl, but Merlin doesn’t answer, and after a while, the two are content to sit in silence and listen to the cheerful and busy song of the world.