THE MAGICIAN’S DAUGHTER AND THE HIGH-BORN BOY
by Frank Stockton

THERE was once a great castle which belonged to a magi cian. It stood upon a high hill, with a wide court-yard in front of it, and the fame of its owner spread over the whole land. He was a very wise and skillful magician, as well as a kind and honest man, and people of all degrees came to him, to help him out of their troubles.

But he gradually grew very old, and at last he died. His only descendant was a daughter, thirteen years of age, named Fila- mina, and everybody wondered what would happen, now that the great magician was dead.

But one day, Filamina came out on the broad front steps of the castle, and made a little speech to all the giants, and afrits, and fairies, and genii, and dwarfs, and gnomes, and elves, and pigmies, and other creatures of that kind, who had always been in the service of the old magician, to do his bidding when some wonderful thing was to be accomplished.

” Now that my poor father is dead,” said she, ” I think it i; my duty to carry on the business. So you will all do what I tell you, you to do, just as you used to obey my father. If any persons come who want anything done, I will attend to them.”

The giants and fairies, and all the others, were very glad to hear Filamina say this, for they all liked her, and they were tired of being idle.

Then an afrit arose from the sunny stone on which he had been lying, and said that there were six people outside of the castle who had come to see if there was a successor to the magician, who could help them out of their trouble.

” You can bring them into the Dim-lit Vault,” said Filamina, ” but, first, I will go in and get ready for them.”

The Dim-lit Vault was a vast apartment, with a vaulted ceil ing, where the old magician used to see the people who came to him. All around the walls or shelves, and on stands and tables, in various parts of the room, were the strange and wonderful instruments of magic that he used.

There was a great table in the room, covered with parchments and old volumes of magic lore. At one end of the table was the magician’s chair, and in this Filamina seated herself, first piling several cushions on the seat, to make herself high enough.

” Now, then,” said she, to the afrit in attendance, ” everything seems ready, but you must light something to make a mystic smell. That iron lamp at the other end of the room will do. Do you know what to pour into it?”

The afrit did not know, but he thought he could find something, so he examined the bottles on the shelves, and taking down one of them, he poured some of its contents into the lamp and lighted it. In an instant there was an explosion, and a piece of the heavy lamp just grazed the afrit’s head.

“Don’t try that again,” said Filamina. “You will be hurt. Let a ghost come in. He can’t be injured.”

So a ghost came in, and he got another iron lamp, and tried the stuff from another bottle. This blew up, the same as the other, and several pieces of the lamp went right through the ghost’s body, but of course it made no difference to him. He tried again, and this time he found something which smelt extremely mystical.

“Now call them in,” said Filamina, and the six persons who were in trouble entered the room. Filamina took a piece of paper and a pencil, and asked them, in turn, what they wished her to do for them. The first was a merchant, in great grief because he had lost a lot of rubies, and he wanted to know where to find them.

” How many of them were there ? ” asked Filamina of the unlucky merchant.
“Two quarts,” said the merchant. “I measured them a few days ago. Each one of them was as large as a cherry.”

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There was a great table in the room, covered with parchments and old volumes of magic lore. At one end of the table was the magician’s chair, and in this Filamina seated herself, first piling several cushions on the seat, to make herself high enough.

” Now, then,” said she, to the afrit in attendance, ” everything seems ready, but you must light something to make a mystic smell. That iron lamp at the other end of the room will do. Do you know what to pour into it?”

The afrit did not know, but he thought he could find something, so he examined the bottles on the shelves, and taking down one of them, he poured some of its contents into the lamp and lighted it. In an instant there was an explosion, and a piece of the heavy lamp just grazed the afrit’s head.

“Don’t try that again,” said Filamina. “You will be hurt. Let a ghost come in. He can’t be injured.”

So a ghost came in, and he got another iron lamp, and tried the stuff from another bottle. This blew up, the same as the other, and several pieces of the lamp went right through the ghost’s body, but of course it made no difference to him. He tried again, and this time he found something which smelt extremely mystical.

“Now call them in,” said Filamina, and the six persons who were in trouble entered the room. Filamina took a piece of paper and a pencil, and asked them, in turn, what they wished her to do for them. The first was a merchant, in great grief because he had lost a lot of rubies, and he wanted to know where to find them.

” How many of them were there ? ” asked Filamina of the unlucky merchant.

“Two quarts,” said the merchant. “I measured them a few days ago. Each one of them was as large as a cherry.”

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“A big cherry?” asked Filamina.
” Yes,” said the merchant. ” The biggest kind of a cherry.”
“Well,” said Filamina, putting all this down on her paper, “you can come again in a week, and I will see what I can do for you.”

The next was a beautiful damsel who had lost her lover.
“What kind of a person is he?” asked Filamina.

” Oh,” said the beautiful damsel, ” he is handsomer than tongue can tell. Tall, magnificent, and splendid in every way. He is more graceful than a deer, and stronger than a lion. His hair is like flowing silk, and his eyes like the noon-day sky.”

“Well, don’t cry any more,” said Filamina. “I think we shall soon find him. There can’t be many of that kind. Come again in a week, if you please.”

The next person was a covetous king, who was very anxious to possess the kingdom next to his own.
“The only difficulty is this,” he said, his greedy eyes twinkling as he spoke, ” there is an old king on the throne, and there is a very young heir—a mere baby. If they were both dead, I would be the next of kin, and would have the kingdom. I don’t want to have them killed instantly. I want something that will make them sicker, and sicker, and sicker, till they die.”

“Then you would like something suitable for a very old man. and something for a very young child?” said Filamina.
“That is exactly it,” replied the covetous king.
“Very well,” said Filamina; “come again in a week, and 1 will see what I can do for you.”
The covetous king did not want to wait so long, but there was no help for it, and he went away.

Next came forward a young man, who wanted to find out how- to make gold out of old iron bars and horseshoes. He had triedmany different plans, but could not succeed. After him came a general, who could never defeat the great armies which belonged to the neighboring nations. He wished to get something which would insure victory to his army. Each of these was told to come again in a week, when his case would be attended to.

The last person was an old woman, who wanted to know a good way to make root-beer. She had sold root-beer for a long time, but it was not very good, and it made people feel badly, so that her business was falling off. It was really necessary, she said, for her to have a good business, in order that she might support her sons and daughters, and send her grandchildren to school.

“Poor woman!” said Filamina. “I will do my best for you. Do you live far away?”
” Oh, yes,” said the old woman, ” a weary way.”
“Well, then, I will have you taken home, and I will send for you in a week.”

Thereupon, calling two tall giants, she told them to carry the old woman home in a sedan-chair, which they bore between them.
When the visitors had all gone, Filamina called in her servants and read to them the list she had made.

” As for this merchant,” she said, ” some of you gnomes ought to find his rubies. You are used to precious stones. Take a big cherry with you, and try to find two quarts of rubies of that size. A dozen fairies can go and look for the handsome lover of the beautiful damsel. You ‘ll be sure to know him if you see him. A genie can examine the general’s army and see what’s the matter with it. Four or five dwarfs, used to working with metals, can take some horseshoes and try to make gold ones of them. Do any of you know of a good disease for an old person, and a good disease for a baby?”

An elf suggested rheumatism for the old person, and Filamina herself thought of colic for the baby.

” Go and mix me,” she said to an afrit, ” some rheumatism and some colic in a bottle. I am going to make that greedy king take it himself. As for the root-beer,” she continued, ” those of you who think you can do it, can take any of the stuff you find on the shelves here, and try to make good root-beer out of it. To-morrow, we will see if any of you have made beer that is really good. I will give a handsome reward to the one who first finds out how it ought to be made.”

Thereupon, Filamina went up to her own room to take a nap, while quite a number of fairies, giants, dwarfs and others set to work to try and make good root-beer. They made experiments with nearly all the decoctions and chemicals they found on the shelves, or stored away in corners, and they boiled, and soaked, and mixed, and stirred, until far into the night.

It was a moonlight night, and one of the gnomes went from the Dim-lit Vault, where his companions were working away, into the court-yard, and there he met the ghost, who was gliding around by himself.

” I ‘ll tell you what it is,” said the gnome, ” I don’t want to be here to-morrow morning, when that stuff is to be tasted. They ‘re making a lot of dreadful messes in there. I ‘m going to run away, till it’s all over.”

” It does n’t make any difference to me,” said the ghost, ” for I wouldn’t be asked to drink anything; but, if you ‘re going to run away, I do n’t mind going with you. I have n’t got anything to do.” So off the two started together, out of the great gate.

” Hold up!” soon cried the gnome, who was running as fast as his little legs would carry him. ” Can’t you glide slower ? I can’t keep up with you!”

“You ought to learn to glide,” said the ghost, languidly. ” It’s ever so much easier than walking.”

“When I’m all turned into faded smoke,” said the gnome, a little crossly, “I’ll try it; but I can’t possibly do it now.” So the ghost glided more slowly, and the two soon came to tne cottage of a wizard and a witch, who lived near the foot of the hill, where they sometimes got odd jobs from the people, who were going up to the magician’s castle. As the wizard and his wife were still up, the gnome and his companion went in to see them and have a chat.

” How are you getting on ?” said the ghost, as they all sat around the fire. “Have you done much incanting lately?”

” Not much,” said the wizard. ” We thought we would get a good deal of business when the old man died; but the folks seem to go up to the castle the same as ever.”

“Yes,” said the gnome, “and there’s rare work going on up there now. They’re trying to make root-beer for an old woman, and you never saw such a lot of poisonous trash as they have stewed up.”

” They can’t make root-beer! ” sharply cried the witch. ” They don’t know anything about it. There is only one person who has that secret, and that one is myself.”

” Oh, tell it to me!” exclaimed the gnome, jumping from his chair. “There’s to be a reward for the person who can do it right, and…”

” Reward! ” cried the witch. ” Then I’m likely to tell it to you, indeed! When you’re all done trying, I’m going to get that reward myself.”

“Then I suppose we might as well bid you good-night,” said the gnome, and he and the ghost took their departure.

” I’ll tell you what it is,” said the latter, wisely shaking his head, “those people will never prosper; they’re too stingy.”

On to Part 2

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