Magin the Moon-Weaver (739 Words)
There is a humorous story they tell in Dehr Los of the first time Magin met the Wanderer. Po (the Wanderer) went everywhere in those days, as drifting and tieless as a feather on the wind. He took odd jobs now and then to keep the flesh on his bones, but he stayed nowhere for very long. So it was that he came to a very lonely place without any kind of company or safe shelter.
He was very tired when he saw the stone house on the hillside. It wasn’t like any house you’ve ever seen before, with trees leaning over the stone roof and walls and steps of stone. But Po, his feet sore, thought it as likely a place as any to rest. He had no fear of ghosts or trolls. He more or less expected them.
But it wasn’t a troll that welcomed him. No sooner was he in the doorway than he was greeted by a friendly and peculiar little woman.
“Come in!” she said. “I just made supper. Sit down, sit. You’re gaunt as a crow.”
“You live here?” asked Po, sitting down.
“Where else would I live?” asked the woman. She placed a bowl in front of him. “Eat and be welcome.”
The stew in the bowl smelled wonderful. It was steamy and thick. But as he raised the spoon to his lips Po’s eyes were restless, taking in the walls around him and the crude furniture and decorations.
“I know you,” he said, suddenly. “You are Magin the Moon-Weaver.”
The little woman sat across from him. “How do you know that?”
“I’ve heard things,” said Po, “and then—is that the Cloak of Stars?”
The little woman followed his glance to a shining cape hanging from a peg. “Yes,” she said, “it is. But it’s completely useless. It won’t make you invisible or anything. It only looks like nice. It’s far too heavy wearing all the stars across your shoulders.”
Po had finished the bowl of soup. She brought him more, answering his questions, showing him other items she had woven—spangled socks and moonbeam mufflers. At some point in his listening, Po’s eyes began to droop. He tried to resist his tiredness, but it was an aching, warm kind of heaviness that settled over him, making his head heavy.
Magin was still talking. Po blinked, trying to clear his vision. It occurred to him suddenly that he had never felt so tired.
“Is something wrong?” Magin had noticed him blinking.
Po hesitated. “I’m so tired,” he said.
“You could rest,” offered the little woman.
He shook his head, pulling in his slowed breath. “It—it isn’t the soup?”
“What? Here. You can lie on my bed. You look done in, poor—”
“You’ve poisoned me.” His eyes met hers, suddenly wild. “Why would you do that?”
Magin pursed her lips. “I haven’t poisoned you,” she said.
Po staggered to his feet. “I—I can’t breathe—”
The little woman stood with him. “You’ve had the fullest meal you’ve probably had in weeks,” she said. Her voice was a little sharp. “Don’t be stupid and sit down. You’ll make yourself sick. Mercy’s sake.”
Her sternness roused him a little. Ashamed, he looked aside.
“It’s good soup,” he said.
Magin could see he was embarrassed. “Well,” she said, gently, “you’re the first man I’ve ever met who was afraid of being full, warm, and tired. No wonder you look so worn. Rest here and I’ll spread out my Cloak of Stars, and tell you about the worlds turning far beyond our own. Or you can leave. It’s your choice.”
“I’ll stay, if it’s no trouble.” Po seated himself on the rug in front of her hearth. “You are very kind.”
“Now is when I tell him I poisoned him,” said the little woman to herself.
She met his horror-stricken face. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I swear I haven’t done a thing. If I had, you wouldn’t be sitting there talking. It takes a lot of energy to worry like you do. Goodness, you’re the only person I know who’s stupid enough to think he’s dying when he’s half-asleep.”
He gave her a crooked smile. “Forgive me,” he said, “I don’t think I ever been anyplace so comfortable.”
She took the Cloak of Stars from its peg. “What a life you’ve led. But you’d better get used to comfort if you’re staying with me.”
Written in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Check it out!