Once Upon a Wizard's Stone

The wizard walked the winding way,

Smooth stone sliding in his hand.

His mischief might have come to pass,

Had fate not fearlessly intervened.


The traveler tripped and tossed his stone,

Into the rocky path.

In the dark of the forest, the wizard groped

To grasp his enchanted protective pebble.


The wizard had been cursed, you see,

To never know a bite of bread.

Unless freely given of tender hearts,

With his own trickery folded in.


The traveler arrived in the village, starved.

He begged for food to be shared.

Doors closed, rejections declared,

So in desperation, the wizard said:


“Do you hunger and thirst, my friends?

You must be cold and weary as I.

I have been given a wonderful blessing,

And offer it to you, that we may eat.”


Villagers emerged from their homes distrustfully.

“What must we do?” they asked.

The traveler laughed. “Friends, I shall not lie to you.

I possess a magic stone.


“Bring all you can spare from your homes.

We shall have a feast!

When our stew is finished, friends,

It should be the best you’d ever taste.”


The wizard cast his stone into a pot,

And called for water to be boiled.

A young girl lugged forth a bucket,

And the contributions soared.


Potatoes, carrots, and fresh peas,

Precious seasonings from a merchant trade.

Meat, tomatoes, beans, and corn,

From each house came cheerful giving.


The wizard hid his delight,

For soon the soup disappear.

It would be his own for the taking,

And he would vanish with it.


While the traveler feigned his encouragements,

Several villagers stirred their stew.

A woman put the spoon to her lips and tasted the brew.

“It’s done!” she shouted.


Joyous cries went up among the villagers,

The children eagerly brought their bowls.

Our wizard pointed to the pot,

Waiting for the magic to unfold.


Nothing happened but joyous cries among the party,

As they tasted a soup of their own goodwill.

The wizard, downcast, was handed a bowl.

And he contemplated what he had done wrong.


When the firelit pot had been emptied,

And bellies were full,

They thanked him and cried,

“Here is your stone!”


The traveler waved his hand dismissively.

“Keep it,” he muttered.

“At the very least I have had a good meal.”

And the wizard stalked off to the village entrance,

Squinting into the dark of the forest.


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