The Magic Mirror

-do you want a hear a story about a Djinn who had a magic mirror and he could change the course of battles by drawing on the mirror?

-Is it true?

-Well yeah. Why would I tell you a story that wasn’t true?

-Well then obviously.

-OK do you know what a Djinn is?

-Not exactly.

-Well it is hard to know exactly, so that’s fair. But basically when you are alone at night in the wilderness and you are seized with terror and you do something crazy like run away leaving your water behind and die of thirst, and you were just going around in circles our forefathers said — that was because of a Djinn.

-And was it?

-Well, yeah. What else would it be?

-Some kind of subjective phenomenon?

-Sure, so then Djinn are some kind of subjective phenomenon. Do you know what that is? Exactly?

-Not really.

-Exactly. Makes two of us. Any way one time a guy died due to the machinations of this Djinn and when the Djinn was stripping his body he came across a picture book with pictures of the great kings and queens and also wild animals and I think, fruit from other countries. And the Djinn was incensed!


-Because creation belongs to God. And whoever drew a book was infringing on the prerogatives of God.

-And Djinn don’t like that?

-No. Why would they? I mean they don’t mind it if they do it, but if you do it it makes them really mad.

-Like people.

-Yes. Exactly. So the Djinn went back to the lonely deserted cleft in the mountains with the other Djinn and called like a Djinn council and they were all raging and hollering and screaming and cursing the human race, calling down horrible punishments from the second, third, fourth, fifth heavens, all the way up to the supra-Neptunian sphere, and then when the other Djinns got tired of this and asked the Djinn if he were satisfied and he said he wasn’t they said well you take it from here and he said “OK!” and he went down into a very deep crevice in the rock and hauled out a piece of mica and he dragged it to a bubbling paint-pot, a thermal mud pit, and he polished the mica so it became a mirror and he could use the paint to paint on it. And it so happened that the King had died and the king’s oldest son was ready to take power but then a son by the King’s favorite girlfriend–


–Sure. Concubine. Girlfriend. Whatevs, her son got a lot of really good guys who fought on horseback and promised them they’d get a lot of money if they supported him, so they said “okay. Reasonable!” and he decided to make it to the capitol on a forced march and kill all the king’s son’s main supporters in the ministry of finance and seize the treasury and then tell the rest of the king’s son’s supporters that he would be king and they would not be harmed if they gave up the king’s son and then they were going to kill him with the execution of the two boats and take power like that. But it’s hard to keep secrets and the King’s son found out and he decided to head off these horsemen with three companies of infantry and also a bunch of men who wheeled a big seige engine — an arbalest — and they were going to block the road going across a mountain pass and kill the horsemen and then kill the son of the king’s favorite girlfriend or concubine if you will with the execution of the two boats and then marry the girlfriend himself.

So it all came down to this one battle and it was in the Djinn’s territory and he looked at the battle in his mirror and he drew it so the horsemen got there a little bit earlier and they killed a bunch of the infantry men but then he changed it so that the arbalest got up on a mountain peak above the pass and started firing arbalistos down on the horsemen and he kept changing it back and forth until everybody was dead on both sides except for the two princes, the son of the king and the son of the king’s favorite girlfriend, and then he started drawing monsters to fight on each side — minotaurs and centaurs and penangalans and tauragases and what have you — and when the two princes were wounded he erased their wounds and when their eyes grew tired he grew powerful woke-up eyes on them and so on.

-Why did he do that? Just rage against humanity for the divine prerogative encroachment thing?

-Who can tell with djinns or humans for that matter why people do things? The wellsprings of the great river are often to be found in a hundred humble streams and so it is with the orectic heart. Anyway, these two princes were fighting for hundreds of years, the kingdom that they fought for passed from the scene, there was a technological civilization based on petroleum, it used up all the petroleum, briefly there were robots doing their thing and then they all ran down, the star got big and cold and these two cats were still at it, you dig?

-I dig, Daddy-o.

-Then the djinn did an experiment. He decided to stop. And he found that his hand kept drawing. Why?

-I don’t know, why?

-He wanted to know too! He took his magic paint pots and his magic mirror and traveled all around the world and in the antipode was a lady Djinn who had her own mirror and she was drawing him and making him do stuff.


-I know, right? And they fell in love!

-And the two princes?

-They fell in love!

-And everybody?

-Had a wedding!

-And they celebrated it?

-By taking the two mirrors and pointing them at each other!

-And they looked at each other in the mirror to find out

-What they would draw next!

-And they drew it!

-So it looked like the two mirrors were right!

-And did they learn their lesson?

-You know it, Holmes! You know it!

-And what was that?

-If you’re going to infringe on the Divine Prerogative, which you shouldn’t, cause it’s a grievous sin and deserves a grievous punishment, but if you are going to do it then…




7 thoughts on “The Magic Mirror

  1. I had an approximately 47 page comment written & then thought it was possibly a bit long. Probably too long to post. Likely too long to post & be read (and who knows if my train of thought could have accommodated another passenger). But, it basically boiled down to this: if you find another Djinn who has been drawing & redrawing your life & your actions, can you really trust a creative or any sort of partnership with them? Is it just a giant leap of faith? Or might you always wonder if they’re still somehow in control of your actions…of your very fate?

  2. ooh I wish you had posted the 47 page comment! I think the only way you could trust the person drawing your actions would be if they allowed you to draw their actions as well. Like two Magic Mirrors facing each other. They used to have that in the barber shop when I was a kid — I’m not sure if it is still a common experience or not…

    • My grandparents had a great little house in the suburbs of Cleveland where I’d visit regularly. I called it the magic house because, well, it was magical to me.

      From the bedroom at the front of the house, I could hear the click chug click chug click chug click chug of the cars as they rolled over the pavement at night. That was the magic sound & rhythm that helped me fall asleep. It was the mesmerizing song of here and there and everywhere.

      In the garden, fairies and gnomes and animals of every kind would wait patiently for me to finish breakfast so I could run outside and visit with them. I told my sister how much I enjoyed visiting my tiny friends, but she’d always laugh at me and tell me they were only ceramic figures Grandma and Grandfather put in the garden. This first time she said this, I wept. I didn’t believe her. I *couldn’t* believe her. If I gave into her way of thinking I could lose these incredible beings! The next time she told me they weren’t real and I was a fool for thinking such a stupid thing, I simply stared at her, the whole while feeling sad that she didn’t have friends like I had. I got the sense that the garden creatures needed you to believe in them in order for them to break the enchantment that rendered them inanimate to those who didn’t believe. Kind of like Santa Claus. Of course, I didn’t know words like enchantment, rendered, or inanimate, but I felt them all the same. I knew my friends existed even if no one else did, even if no one ever believed in them as I did. Thankfully, my grandparents believed. They had to! It was all happening in *their* garden! They were the ones who made sure the birdbath had fresh water, that the birdseed loved by bird and gnome and fairy alike was scattered throughout the garden and across the lawn (but NEVER in the front yard lest their curiosity drew them to explore the hypnotic click chugging and lead them into near-certain death, or even just serious injury. So my grandparents, wise in the ways only grandparents can be, they kept the seed in the backyard, away from the alluring click chug.

      Grandma and Grandfather loved to hear of my – our! – adventures and I was happy to share the lovely and spellbinding stories with them

      Then there was the little girl next door. She was Burned to Death. My mother was beside herself with concern for my afflicted friend. Was it safe for her to have visitors? Once my mom figured out this girl was not suffering from the pain and infections common to burn victims, but merely a girl named Bernadette, she stopped fretting.

      Still, the most magical place on the entire property, aside from the organ in the living room, was the bathroom. The bathroom was exciting! It held the key to all the other magic. The key? To stand in front of the mirrors and see the endless possibilities, endless worlds available if only we opened our eyes, our hearts, and our minds. I knew the infinity reflections were what made any and all of it possible! There’s always a portal, isn’t there? There has to be! You can’t even get from one room to another or even go from inside to outside and vice versa without passing through a door. So, of course, you needed one (or more) to travel from the Land of Disbelief to the extraordinary kingdom of the garden! That’s where the magic of the infinity mirror comes in. That’s just common sense, isn’t it? If a three year old can figure it, a nine year old should be able to grasp such a simple concept. But, my sister failed to find the portals, or at least chose not to venture into and through them. Her loss, not mine! I was only sorry that she was missing out and that I would have to continue to explore alone. Alone, that is, with my fairies, trolls, gnomes, dragons, griffins, and woodland critters.

      Over the years, I’ve thought about what a shame it is for us to stop believing in the simplest, purest delights childhood has to offer. How much nicer, do you think the world would be if we all maintained that? Perhaps Mr Rogers, Romper Room, Captain Kangaroo, Mr Greenjeans, and even Shari Lewis and Jim Henson got it right as they encouraged us to just believe…believe in ourselves, and believe in the power of the magic mirror.

    • Dancing Bear. He’d win his season of Dancing With the Stars as well as The Masked Dancer.

      Moose would just keep going with the ping pong balls.

      I miss the gentle excitement of all the shows & their hosts brought into our young lives. I miss the surprise joy of small accomplishments celebrated as if they were larger accomplishments.

    • So true!

      It’s a bit like life being both too short and too long. “Life’s too short to hold a grudge.” I dunno, that seems to be the right way to go about it. Now, life being too long to hold a grudge makes more sense. That’s a LOT of heavy, negative emotion to carry around for a long period. You can manage anything for a short while, but the stamina required to make it through a long slog with that much weight on your shoulders is more than most of us can handle. At the same time, life is too long to remain in an unhappy environment, while deep and full love renders life too short to get enough of that special someone.

      Fractal world, indeed.

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