November 26, 2008

Christmas Fairy Tale

Once upon a time – not long ago or far away – the snow was falling gently onto the still and frozen Great River by the Cold Stone Palace. The Great River had never before been stilled - but strange things were happening in the land.

The Strong-Willed Prince had finally departed the Stone Palace – forced into exile by his Chief Red Elf. And the Chief Red Elf, having brooded and plotted for this moment for ten years or more, finally ascended the throne and became known thenceforth as the Dark Wizard. This was his land – at last! His icy grip, cold and hard, spread like Mordor across the land – as he vanquished foes, floods and foul diseases. Invincible and stern, he swept away the years of Camelot and shadows lengthened across the land.

Perhaps swelled by the arrogance of high office and just like the Emperor who Had No Clothes – the Dark Wizard began to believe his courtiers who told him how wonderful, clever and all-knowing he was. He stopped listening to the people. He took no notice of what was happening outside of the Palace environs. He didn’t notice the darkening sky or the icy blast from the North. And having plotted against and threatened all other contenders for the throne – thus ascending without contest or joust - he believed that he could safely now ask the people of his lands to show him their love and obeisance by a pledge of allegiance. His subjects would each sign a paper telling him of their loyalty to the throne – and seal it with their blood.

His Red Elves went out through the land far and wide telling scribes and gossips that the Dark Wizard would seek the people’s allegiance. The scribes, and indeed the runes, all said that his omnipotence would be confirmed. His ascendance to the throne would be revalidated through the proof of the people’s love of their new ruler. His star was ever rising. The Red Elves readied their huge supplies of pen and paper, ready to dispatch to all four corners of the kingdom to gather in the pledges of loyalty.

But, being a cautious and (in the author’s view) somewhat cowardly being, the Dark Wizard sent his favourite Red Elf to the Lands of Changing Fortunes. And when his Elf returned he brought sad tidings. In the Lands of Changing Fortunes the runes read badly. The Dark Wizard knew not which way to turn and the people waited to know what would happen. Just before the Voting Clock struck Midnight, at the last possible moment of halting – the Wizard decided that he didn’t need to ask the people for their approval – in fact that had never been his intention. The piles of pen and paper were always meant for something else, you understand.

But the people did not believe him. He had mislead them. He said it wasn’t the sad tidings from the Land of Changing Fortunes that changed his mind. Now the people were not stupid. And the tide began to turn. Suddenly this colossus of control, this Dark Wizard, looked weak and feeble. He had dealt himself a mortal blow and ashamed of himself, he retreated further and further inside his Stone Palace, and wouldn’t see what was really happening – or talk to anyone.

Everything around him began to crumble. He had lost his confidence and his judgement. There was an important meeting of Princes and Wizards to sign a blood treaty. He arrived too late. There was uncertainly and fright in the land. People were scared that their homes would be taken away and they would lose all their gold. Afraid of what might happen if more people took fright, the Wizard threw all the wealth of the lands into the Goblins Fires to assure the people their gold was safe. But still the uncertainly raged – and then it suddenly came to light that much of the Dark Wizard’s gold had been passed on in secret from a mysterious gold mine in the North.

No laughter was heard and the birds stopped their chorus. The people who at first were glad to have a new ruler began to believe that the Dark Wizard was not, after all, their legitimate ruler. And whilst the Wizard’s attention had been so focused on his own desires – he had failed to notice that the world had grown colder. The globe was warming ever faster and as the Gulf Stream stopped its warm flow – our land no longer was protected from the icy northern blasts.

Sadder and sadder and more alone than ever, the Dark Wizard rocked back and forth on his cold stone throne.

As for the Chief Blue and Golden Elves - who you may have noticed have barely featured in this fairy tale - there really was no need – as the Dark Wizard did this all to himself.

And I’m the Christmas Fairy!


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