Fiction – The trouble with enchantment

He is the greatest sorcerer for miles around. They always are. He has summoned a fairy. They always do. He believes he can control the fairy. This is why great sorcerers go in for the kind of lunacy the rest of us know to leave well alone.

The fairy had been caught before. When I say “caught” I mean ‘showed up because this shit is always funny’. She is no more afraid of him than a cat is on finding itself ‘caught’ by a rather ambitious mouse armed with a toothpick.

The fairy undulates seductively and offers the sorcerer her most alluring gaze. She does this to wind him up. Fairies pride themselves on being even more heartless than sorcerers, which is going some.

This sorcerer keeps his heart in a box. The box is made from the bones of an especially vindictive satirist, held together with metal, mined in the cruellest conditions by famished orphans. The fairy sees this at a glance, but is not surprised. The previous sorcerer who summoned her had locked his heart in a glacier, to protect it. He lasted half an hour. Before that, was the one with enchanted chains around his body. It did not go well for him.

“Nice box,” says the fairy.

What will this one want? Wealth? Knowledge? Power? Sexual favours? Wizards who have their hearts enchanted into stone, and otherwise unavailable, have a surprising amount of trouble getting laid. You’d think they would be wiser than to go seeking fairy women, of all creatures, to relieve them.

The fairy is bored, so she steps out of the magical circle cast to contain her, and wanders around his potionary. She picks up the carefully enchanted box made of satirist bones.

“So easy to steal! But better if you give it to me freely. Then I can grant you any wish you name. I can grant the wish that is in your eyes but does not reach your lips.”

Sorcerers do not give away their pre-packaged hearts to fairy women. It is rule 147b in The Ancient Book of Doing Sorcery.

Fairy women do not gaze into the eyes of sorcerers and decide to treat them kindly.

She could steal the box that she now holds, and consume this poorly guarded heart with ease. The bones will yield up what they were set to protect, because the bones care not one whit for the sorcerer, and the fairy is persuasive. From his face, she can tell that he has just worked this out, too. He’s too proud to speak, or to ask for mercy. He holds firm, stares her way, and waits.

She has eaten a lot of hearts along the way. Would his taste any different? Fairies do not have books of rules, because when your first rule is to follow your fancy and to hell with the consequences, there’s not much call for a book.

She throws the box back to him.


About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

5 responses to “Fiction – The trouble with enchantment

  • David

    Love it !!
    I am an apprentice sorcerer, though loud and lairey,
    Forthwith I’ll bring more care to bear with any airy-fairy !

  • greenmackenzie

    Wonderful, you had me laughing from start to finish😆💕

  • lornasmithers

    Great tale. I like, in particular, the construction of the box and its ensuing uselessness…

    What is it with magicians who keep either their hearts or souls elsewhere?

    There is a very old Irish myth about Cu Roi hiding his soul in an apple in the belly of a salmon and then of course Voldemort splits his souls into many pieces. Something to do with the yearning for immortality, I guess, and an echoing of the religious notion the soul can live on without the body.

    Hearts? You’ve probably seen the movie or read the book Howl’s Moving Castle where the magician Howl gives up his heart to save a falling star and it becomes a fire demon which possesses his heart.

    Fascinating stuff I’d like to look into more deeply at some point.

    • Nimue Brown

      I love Howl’s Moving Castle, book and film, and book sequels 🙂 I think there’s something about what certain kinds of magic cost a person in terms of their humanity, that would stand as a metaphor for the costs of other kinds of power.

  • Fiction – the terrible machines | Druid Life

    […] people asked me for more after The Trouble with Enchantment, so, part two has […]

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