Geeta Saxena (Oct-Nov, 1994)
This is a story I made up for Bitti just to make her eat soup.
There was once a magician who had great knowledge but no one to give it to. So hewanted to capture the eldest son of a king and queen and keep him with himself to trainas a magician. For 16 years these attempts were futile, and tremendous bloodshedhappened all over the country. The parents hid the son here and there, and fought the“wicked” magician. But when the prince grew up, he just couldn’t take it anymore. Hetold them that he would go and find the magician and kill him once and for all.He then went on a white horse to find the magician, and after crossing many rivers,forests, and mountains. And after braving many dangers, he found the invisible castle of the magician.Again a long struggle ensued, after which the prince got trapped into a caveunderground, deep and intricately tunneled. There was a cage there with a parrotinside, who contained the life force of the magician. The prince managed to somehowopen the cage and twist the neck of the parrot. The magician was killed.But now the prince had no inkling of how to get out of the cave. He wanderedunderground in tunnel after tunnel for months. Then he somehow came up to theground level. But now he did not know the way home. The magician was dead and hisown horse was gone. There were beautiful mountains, in which nestled the invisiblecastle. The prince could subsist if he went out and hunted for wild berriesand fruits andwater. The prince wandered aimlessly around for a long time.At last he entered the castle. It was mysterious but not frightening. It had allcomforts but no life. It was good to explore. It had trinklets, ornaments, carpets,furniture, silver and gold and rich wall hangings, and all of it intrigued the prince.However he went on exploring because the gold and silver were good for nothing, andthere was noone to share it with, nothing that he could he could buy, or use it for.So at long last, he finished exploring the ground floor (with a balcony) and thesecond floor. Then he reached a terrace, where there was one more room. The terraceswere by themselves beautiful but bare, except for this one room which was locked.Now started the struggle to open the door. The prince just couldn’t give it up. He justhad to open it. and see. But the door was so well sealed that sometimes he could hardlymake it out, leave alone open it.For one year the struggle went on till one day the rays of the setting sun showedhim the message written on the door - speak the magic word. The word! The prince went mad trying to find the right word. He said all the words he knew andcombined them into all possible combinations, but it did not work. The door was there,