Friday, December 24, 2010

A Dragon Gifted Upon Winter

Merlin was getting old.  He looked forward to the long winter days that rested before him like the clouds he would leap upon when he was a young boy.  This year, he wasn't going to use his magic to make the holidays bright for the other people.  This time, he hoped to give his magic a rest for the season, and get the holidays to himself.  He knew that other people could make the holidays fun for themselves, and that they didn't need Merlin any longer.
          Merlin would stare out his window during the long, snowy days, and rest by the fire at night.  All he did was think of things-- of the past, present, and future.  He no longer needed to amuse himself with gifts and toys.  He was old, and even the simplest of things made him happy.  There was no boredom in his life anymore.
          This evening was Christmas Eve.  Merlin was contented by the fire, and he would peer out his window once in a while to watch the children throw snowballs and build snowmen.  The parents were hanging the decorations for the holidays, and bringing home the food that was to be cooked tonight.  Merlin did not need a feast.  Instead, he would feast upon those happy memories of when he feasted at the dining table with his friends.  They were his close friends.
          Merlin finally looked out his window on the other side.  There were bare trees with snow and icicles hanging from the ends of the tree branches.  There were no holiday decorations.  Merlin had always admired the spiritual side of winter-- the holidays-- but as he looked out into the trees, he found that the true nature of winter was the most fascinating of all.
          This winter, he had only hung one stocking above the fireplace, and nothing more.  His house was still bare and simple as it had always been.  He looked over to the stocking and smiled.  Tonight would be his most simple night.  He didn't need anything of fancy tonight, for it was a night like any other winter night.  Merlin was a sorcerer for goodness sake!  His magic could amuse him if anything.  But even magic; that doesn't make anything less simple, does it?
          Merlin finally heard a knock on his door.  He stood up silently and opened the door and smiled with greeting to a bunch of children standing before him.
"Merlin!  Where were you?  Why weren't you doing magic?" they all said.
Merlin calmed them down with a lowering of his hand.
"Hush," he said.  "Calm yourselves.  Didn't you have fun today?"
The children nodded.
"Then what is the point of magic in the winter when the magic comes from winter itself?"
The children lowered their heads and thought for a while.  One of them finally looked up.
"So you're saying that winter already has magic?"
Merlin nodded, then placed his hand upon the shoulder of child that spoke.
"We all make our own magic," he said in a low tone.  "Magic isn't just spells.  Magic is everything.  That is why I didn't go and do my spells.  I wanted us to learn that the magic of nature has true magic in itself."
The children looked dumb-found and of wonder.
"Thank you, Merlin," another child said.  "I think that what you say is true!  I'm going to go and chase some rabbits!"
The other children laughed and began to run around with joy.  They all waved back to Merlin and ran off back down the snowy hill.
          Merlin found himself happy as could ever be.  He closed the door behind him and walked back over to his chair where he placed himself.  For the next few hours of Christmas Eve, he enjoyed reading.  When it came to dinner, he had a simple meal of baked potatoes and sausage.  But when it came time for bed, he stayed awake for many hours, watching over the houses.  The lights of each house slowly flicked off, until the very last light went off.  Merlin could finally see the stars.  For fifteen minutes he gazed upon them with wonder until he finally grew tired.
Tomorrow is the special day for the children.  But tomorrow will be like any other day for me, he thought.  For all days are special.

In the hush of the morning, Merlin arose slowly from his bead.  The morning was unusually silent, for the children were all back at their houses, opening their presents.  Merlin yawned, and walked down to the living room where the heat of the fire from the night before was still burning.  But the fire itself had gone out.  Merlin caught a glance of his stocking.  It was moving!  It looked like there was some sort of animal squirming inside there.  Merlin grew curious as if he were a child again.  When he poked the stocking, out popped a little dragon!  He was surprised at first to see a dragon, but then he began to laugh.
"Oh, golly!" he said.  "There's a surprise I would have never expected!"
Merlin reached his hand out in front of the dragon.  "Are you a good dragon?"
The dragon looked up at him and snorted some fire.  Merlin laughed again.
"Ah, then I can sense that you are both good and bad," he said.  "Let's see.  Your name is-- Zxero?  Do I hear correctly?"
The dragon nodded.
"And you are neither boy nor girl!  What a concept," Merlin continued.
Zxero finally climbed out of the stocking and spread it's precious golden wings.  Merlin ahh'd with wonder.
"Beautiful, you are," he said.  "I wonder how you got into my stocking."
Zxero snorted another gust of fire.  It looked at Merlin with eyes that were blue, and made up of stars as if they were two universes.  Merlin admired the dragon's eyes,  and finally took it out of the stocking with care.
"I think you need some food.  I bet your journey was long," said Merlin.  "Sausage, I say might do for you."
Zxero licked its lips and nodded.
          Merlin brought the little dragon over to the old wooden table in the corner of the kitchen.  Merlin left Zxero on the table and went to cook the sausage.  Zxero took a look around as Merlin disappeared into the cabinet.  The room had an interesting smell to it, as if incense had been burning there the night before.  Zxero took in a big whiff of the smell and coughed out another gust of fire.  Merlin laughed from behind the cabinet door.
"Ah, Zxero.  Your lungs are not developed," he said.  He walked slowly to the stove where there was a large pan.  "Unless you don't have lungs," he suddenly said.
Zxero coughed and nodded and eyed the sausage in Merlin's hand.  Merlin ripped off one of the pieces of raw sausage and threw it  to Zxero who ravenously gouged on it.  Merlin laughed.
"I think you'll have a strange life ahead of you, my friend," he said.  "Maybe you'll be a god."  

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