Read Wrede, Patricia C - SSC Online

Authors: Book of Enchantments (v1.1)

Wrede, Patricia C - SSC

Book Of Enchantments

 

by Patricia C. Wrede

 

Journey to the Enchanted
Forest
and Beyond

 

* A princess finds true love (and a
very conceited unicorn) in the
Enchanted
Forest
. ...

* To rid his land of enemies, a
soldier must make a terrible sacrifice for the woman he loves. . ..

* A young mercenary is hired to
escort a beautiful noblewoman on a journey and takes with him a strange old
sword that could protect them—or lead them into danger. . . .

* A careless sultan terrorizes a
family with curse after curse, until he casts one they may
never
be able
to break. .. .

* On a field trip, two students
encounter an ancient witch who is determined to keep them from getting home.
...

* A harp made of bone sings of
murder. . . .

From Queen Cimorene's Frying Pan of
Doom to Rikiki, a nut-mad blue chipmunk, these ten tales offer wit, wisdom,
magic, and more!

Storytelling World Award Honor
Winner

"High entertainment... amusing
and witty." —The
Alan
Review

"Varied and satisfying."
—Kirkus
Reviews "A road map to enchantment... clever and inventive." —The
Bulletin

For the people who urged me
to try writing short:
Jane Yolen and the denizens
of Fidonet WRITING echo

 

 
The Frying Pan of Doom

ClMORENE AND Mendanbar settled the
crowns on their heads just as Willin came through the doorway with a young man
carrying a large cast-iron frying pan.

"Your Majesties, Tamriff of
High Holes wishes an audience."

"Thank you, Willin," said
the King. "What did you want to see us about, Tamriff?"

"This," Tamriff replied,
carefully raising the frying pan.

"What does it do?"
Cimorene asked. "Make gourmet meals, or just instant eggs-and-bacon for
however many people you need to feed?"

The young man sighed. "No.
That's the problem. It's a weapon."

"A weapon? It's a
frying pan."

"My father is an
enchanter," Tamriff explained. "He decided to create the ultimate
weapon, something powerful and wondrous that heroes would fight over for
centuries. The Sword of Doom he wanted to call it. Only Mother came in with the
frying pan at just the wrong minute and the spell went wrong and fixed itself
to the frying pan."

Mendanbar blinked. "The Frying
Pan of Doom. How... unusual."

—From the
Enchanted
Forest
story, "Utensile
Strength"

 

Rlkiki and the Wizard

A S'Rian Folk Story

Once there was a wizard whose luck
time was three days long. He was the luckiest wizard in the world, and he
worked hard at his magic. He did a good business working spells for the people
of Liavek. But the wizard was not satisfied.

He bought himself musty dusty books
in Old Tichenese and burned sheep-fat lamps until late at night while he read
them and practiced the spells they contained. Soon he had a house on Wizards'
Row, and the Levar himself was buying spells from him. But the wizard was not
satisfied.

He traveled to faraway places to
learn their magics, then went into his cellar and invented spells of his own.
He became the best wizard in the world, as well as the luckiest. People came
from Ka Zhir and Tichen and even from the Farlands just to buy spells from him.
The wizard became very rich and very famous. But he was still not satisfied.

"Everyone knows who I am
now," he said to himself. "But in a few hundred years they will not
remember me. I must find a way to make my reputation last."

Now, the wizard had a daughter of
whom he was very proud. She had skin like a flower petal, and long hair that
fell down to her feet, and bright black eyes that danced like the sun on the
Sea
of
Luck
. She was the most beautiful
woman in seven cities, and her name was Ryvenna.

The wizard decided to call on the
gods and offer his daughter in marriage to whichever one would promise to make
him so rich and so famous that he would never be forgotten for as long as
people lived around the
Sea
of
Luck
.
"For," he thought, "not only will I be as rich and famous as
anyone could desire, I will also get my Ryvenna a husband worthy of her
beauty."

The wizard made his preparations
and cast his spells. He worked for a week to get everything right. But the gods
were angry with him, because he had never asked his daughter whether she agreed
to his plan.

"Bad enough that he presumes
we'd want her," grumbled Welenen the Rain-Bringer. "But giving the
girl away without telling her? He acts as if she were a pet dog or a
camel!" And the other gods agreed.

So when the wizard cast his spell,
none of the gods would answer. He called and called, for two days and for three
days, and nothing happened. Finally he resolved to try one last time. He set
out the gold wire and burned the last of the special herbs and put all of his
luck into the spell (and he was the luckiest wizard in the world).

Now, Rikiki had been at the meeting
where all the gods agreed not to answer the wizard's summons, and he had agreed
with them. But Rikiki is a blue chipmunk, and chipmunks do not have long
memories. Furthermore, they are insatiably curious. When the wizard put all his
effort into his last try, Rikiki couldn't resist answering, just to see what
was happening. So when the smoke cleared, the wizard saw a blue chipmunk
sitting before him, looking up at him with black eyes. "Nuts?" asked
Rikiki.

The wizard was very angry to find
that the only god who had answered his summons was a blue chipmunk. But Rikiki
was
a god, so the wizard said, "Rikiki! I will give you my daughter, who
is the most beautiful woman in seven cities, if you will make me as rich and
famous as I desire!"

"Daughter?" said Rikiki.
"What daughter? New kind of nut?"

"No! She is a woman, the most
beautiful woman in seven cities, and I will give her to you if you do as I ask!"

"Oh!" said Rikiki.
"Seven cities of nuts! What want?"

"No, no! My daughter, not
nuts!"

"Daughter? Don't want
daughter. Want nuts! Where nuts?"

By this time, the wizard had
decided that Rikiki was no use to him, so he said, "North, Rikiki. North
along the shore of the
Sea
of
Luck
.
Lots of nuts, Rikiki!"

"Good!" said Rikiki.
"Like nuts!" And he scurried out of the wizard's house and ran north.
He ran up and down the shore of the
Sea
of
Luck
, looking for the nuts the
wizard had promised, but he didn't find any. He dug holes in the ground,
looking for the nuts. The dirt that he threw out of the holes became the
Silverspine
Mountains
, but Rikiki didn't find
any nuts. So he went back to the wizard's house.

"No nuts north!" said
Rikiki. "Where nuts?"

"I don't have any nuts!"
said the wizard. "Go away!"

"Said nuts north. Didn't find
nuts. Want nuts! Where look?"

"Go west, Rikiki," said
the wizard. "Go a long, long way. Find nuts. And don't come back!"

"Good!" said Rikiki.
"Like nuts!" And he scurried out of the wizard's house and ran west.
He ran for a long, long time, but he didn't find any nuts. Finally he came to a
mountain range on the other side of the plains. "No nuts here," said
Rikiki, and he turned around and went back. It was
midday
and the sun was very hot. Rikiki let his tail droop
on the ground as he ran, and it made a line in the dusty ground. The line
became the
Cat
River
.
But Rikiki still didn't find any nuts. So he went to see the wizard again.

"No nuts west!" Rikiki
said when he got back to the wizard's house. "Where nuts?"

"Not again!" said the
wizard.

"Want nuts!" Rikiki
insisted. He looked at the wizard with his black eyes.

The wizard remembered that Rikiki
was a god, and he began to be a little frightened. "No nuts here,
Rikiki," he said.

"Promised nuts!" said
Rikiki. "Where?"

The wizard thought for a moment,
then he said, "Go south, Rikiki. Go a long, long way south." He knew
that south of Liavek is the
Sea
of
Luck
,
and he was sure that it was deep enough and wide enough to drown a chipmunk,
even if the chipmunk was a god.

Rikiki nodded and scurried off. The
wizard heaved a sigh of relief and sat down to think of some other way to
become rich and famous forever.

Now, the wizard's daughter Ryvenna
had been listening at the door since her father started his spell casting. She
had thought Rikiki sounded nice, so she ran out to the Two-Copper Bazaar and
bought some chestnuts from a street vendor. She returned just in time to hear
the wizard send Rikiki south to drown in the
Sea
of
Luck
.

Quickly, Ryvenna opened up the bag
of chestnuts. When Rikiki came scurrying out, she said, "Nuts, Rikiki!
Here are nuts!" and held out the bag.

Rikiki stopped. "Nuts? Nuts
for Rikiki?" He came over and sat in Ryvenna's lap while she fed him all
the chestnuts she had brought from the Two-Copper Bazaar. When he finished, he
looked up and said hopefully, "Nice nut lady! More nuts?"

"I'm sorry, Rikiki," said
Ryvenna. "They're all gone."

"Oh! Fix easy," said
Rikiki. He looked at the empty bag and crossed his eyes, and the bag was full
again. "More nuts!" he said, and Ryvenna fed him again.

Rikiki was finishing the second bag
of nuts when the wizard came out of his study. "What is he doing
here?" the wizard demanded when he saw Rikiki.

"Eating nuts," said his
daughter coolly. She was annoyed with him for trying to marry her to a god
without asking her, and for trying to drown Rikiki. "He made the bag fill
up again after it was empty."

"I don't care about
nuts!" said the wizard.

Rikiki looked up. "Not like
nuts?"

"Nuts aren't worth anything
for people! I want gold! I want to be famous! And I want that blue chipmunk out
of my house!"

"Oh!" said Rikiki, He
looked cross-eyed at the bag again, then said to Ryvenna, "Dump over."

Ryvenna turned the bag upside down.
A stream of gold chestnuts fell out, more chestnuts than the bag could possibly
hold. They rolled all over the floor. The wizard stood staring with his mouth
open.

"Gold nuts for nice nut
lady!" said Rikiki happily.

The wizard closed his mouth and
swallowed twice. Then he said, "What about my fame?"

"Fame?" said Rikiki.
"What fame? Fame good to eat? Like nuts?"

"No, Rikiki," Ryvenna
said. "Fame is having everyone know who you are. Father wants to be so
famous no one will ever forget him."

"Oh!" Rikiki thought for
a minute. "Not forget?"

"That's right!" said the
wizard eagerly.

Rikiki sat very still, staring at
the wizard, and his tail twitched. Then he said, "Not forget! All fixed."

"You have?" said the
wizard, who was beginning to regret sending Rikiki to drown in the
Sea
of
Luck
.

"All done," Rikiki
replied. He looked at Ryvenna. "Nuts all gone. 'Bye, nice nut lady!"
And he disappeared.

"Well," said the wizard,
"there's the last of my wishes; that blasted blue chipmunk is gone."

"I thought he was cute,"
said Ryvenna.

"Bah! He's a silly blue god
who'll do anything for nuts. It was very clever of you to get some for him. Now
help me pick up these gold chestnuts he made for me; we wouldn't want to lose one."

The wizard bent over and tried to
pick up one of the golden chestnuts, but as soon as he touched it, it turned
into a real chestnut. He threw it down and tried another, but the same thing
happened. Only Ryvenna could pick up the golden chestnuts without changing them
back into real ones, and the magic chestnut bag would only make more gold for
her. Worse yet, the wizard discovered that whenever he touched one of his gold
levars it, too, turned into a chestnut. So did his jeweled belts and bracelets.
Even the food he ate turned into chestnuts as soon as he touched it.

The wizard tried to keep his
affliction a secret, but it was impossible. Soon everyone was talking about
what Rikiki had done to the luckiest wizard in the world. Even people who never
bought spells and who had no dealings with magicians heard the story and
laughed at it. So the wizard became more famous than ever, more famous, indeed,
than he wanted to be. And his fame has lasted to this day, for people still
tell his story.

Ryvenna was a clever woman, and she
knew that magic does not last. The magic chestnut bag ran out in a year and a
day, but before it did she had poured a goodly supply of gold chestnuts from
it. She became a wealthy woman, and eventually fell in love with and married a
sea captain who was as kind as he was handsome. And she never forgot to leave a
bowl of nuts at the door for Rikiki every night as long as she lived.

The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn

Princess Elyssa and her sisters lived
in the tiny, comfortable
kingdom
of
Oslett
,
where nothing ever seemed to go quite the way it was supposed to. The castle
garden grew splendid dandelions, but refused to produce either columbine or
deadly nightshade. The magic carpet had a bad case of moths and the King's
prized seven-league boots only went five-and-a-half leagues at a step (six
leagues, with a good tailwind).

There were, of course,
compensations. None of the fairies lived close enough to come to the
Princesses' christenings (though they were all most carefully invited) so there
were no evil enchantments laid on any of the three Princesses. The King's
second wife was neither a wicked witch nor an ogress, but a plump, motherly
woman who was very fond of her stepdaughters. And the only giant in the neighborhood
was a kind and elderly Frost Giant who was always invited to the castle during
the hottest part of the summer (his presence cooled things off wonderfully, and
he rather liked being useful).

The King's councillors, however,
complained bitterly about the situation. They felt it was beneath their dignity
to run a kingdom where nothing ever behaved quite as it should. They grumbled
about the moths and dandelions, muttered about the five-and-a-half-league
boots, and remonstrated with the Queen and the three Princesses about their duties.

Elyssa was the middle Princess, and
as far as the King's councillors were concerned she was the most unsatisfactory
of all. Her hair was not black, like her elder sister Orand's, nor a golden
corn color, like her younger sister
Dacia
's.
Elyssa's hair was mouse brown. Her eyes were brown, too, and her chin was the
sort usually described as "determined." She was also rather short,
and she had a distressing tendency to freckle.

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