The Return of the Red Wizard

The Red WizardOnce upon a time there were four wizards: the Red Wizard, the Green Wizard, the Yellow Wizard, and the Blue Wizard.  The Red Wizard lived in a red castle, the Yellow Wizard lived in a yellow castle, the Blue Wizard lived in a blue castle, and the Green Wizard lived in… a black castle.

Now, the Green Wizard was none too happy about living in a castle which wasn’t the same colour as his robes, like all the other Wizards.  His castle was also surrounded by hot desert, with bare rocks and sand all around.  So he gathered the other Wizards to his castle and said: “My friends, I hope you can help me.  I would very much like to live in a green castle, so if you could just use your most powerful spells to turn these black stones to green, I would be MOST appreciative.”

Now, the other wizards weren’t particularly fond of the Green Wizard, as he was prone to frustration and anger.  So they decided to do their best to help, because they were all good wizards, and they also feared the Green Wizard’s rage if he thought that they would not help him.

First, the Red Wizard tried his most powerful magic.  He stood in the center of the large courtyard in the middle of the castle, and quietly said to the other wizards: “Stand back”.  He lifted his arms, and a plume of red fire burst from his fingertips, spreading along the stones of the castle wall and scorching them until they were white hot.  But, when the stones cooled, they were still as black as ever.

“Pppfttt!” said the Green Wizard.  “Just as I thought!  Useless!”  So he turned to the Yellow Wizard and bade him try.

The Yellow Wizard went to the top of the tallest tower, and stood upon the tallest battlement until he could see the entire castle spread out beneath him.  Slowly he raised his hands, and muttered a deep and mysterious incantation.  Moments later, a burst like sparkly sand came from his fingertips, rose into the sky, and shone like a trillion tiny diamonds.  Then, the sparkly golden sand rained down all over the castle, covering it in gold so bright that the other wizards had to shield their eyes.  But when they opened them, the sparkly sand had disappeared, and the stones remained as black as before.

“Bah!” said the Green Wizard.  Then he spoke to the Blue Wizard.  “Blue Wizard, I know you have magic more powerful than any of us.  Show me what you can do!”

Now this wasn’t true at all, but it made the Blue Wizard feel good to be praised thus, and he resolved to give it his best shot.  Down, down he went, down outside the castle walls and into the castle moat, until he was standing knee deep in the murky water.  Slowly he raised his hands, and as he did so, the water level rose and rose, higher and higher, until there was a wall of water, a rushing wave that swept right over the castle, drenching everyone and everything in it.  But when the water subsided, the stones were still black, though they wet as well.

“Begone! All of you!” shouted the Green Wizard, and the other wizards quickly left the castle, afraid of the Green Wizard’s wrath.

“Whatever shall we do?” said the Blue Wizard, when the three had reached the safety of the trees far from the Green Wizard’s home in the rocky desert.

“I shall ponder this at length,” mumbled the Red Wizard, stroking his long white beard.  Now, the Yellow and Blue Wizards knew that the Red Wizard was the wisest of them all, even though in truth his magic was by far the weakest.  “Think as you will, Red Wizard,” said they.  “And return when you can.”

The Red Wizard went back to his castle, fixed himself a small lunch, then left out the back entrance, following a path only he knew, that led through the thick forest, along the dark valley, and high up into the highest mountain in the land, above the clouds, with only the birds for company.  And on this great mountaintop he sat, and thought upon the pickle they’d landed themselves in.

Meanwhile, the Green Wizard had found himself a baby dragon, whose scales were as green as the Green Wizard’s robe, and whose heart was as black as the stones of the Green Wizard’s castle.  The Green Wizard cast a small spell that he had learnt a long time ago, and the dragon grew quickly, in a matter of hours, into a fully grown serpent.  The Green Wizard chucked a saddle upon him and they went flying, out into the countryside, where they wreaked havoc upon the local villagers, playing all sorts of tricks and setting fire to small barns.  The Green Wizard cast several spells, changing frogs into cows, and mice into horses, and rabbits into pigs; and then the dragon would hunt them down, chasing them through the fields and feasting upon them when he was hungry.

The people of the village became very frightened every time they heard the flap of the dragon’s wings approaching, or heard the sizzle of his fiery breath, or – even worse – the cackle of the Green Wizard’s evil laughter.  They asked the Yellow Wizard and the Blue Wizard for help, though no-one could find the Red Wizard.

“Wait for the Red Wizard,” said the Yellow and Blue Wizards. “He will know what to do.”

And so they waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  But still the Red Wizard did not return, and still the Green Wizard and his mischievous dragon roamed the countryside, creating all manner of mayhem and misery.  Finally the Yellow and Blue Wizards decided to band together and confront the Green Wizard, though they did not know if the strength of their combined magic would be enough to subdue him.  In a small valley by a deep blue river they found him and his dragon, and threw out their challenge:

“Green Wizard!  Stop this nonsense at once, or we shall be forced to-”

But before they could finish their challenge, the dragon rose up, and sensing a threat to his master, drew his breath in for an almighty breath of flame so hot that it would snuff the life out of the Yellow and Blue Wizards before they could cause any harm.  Seeing the dragon rear up, and in a flash understanding what was about to happen, the Green Wizard shouted “Noooooooo!”, for, as wretched and angry as he had become, he still did not want his fellow wizards to die, for in truth, those four wizards – red, yellow, blue and green – were the only wizards left in the entire world.

The Blue Wizard also saw the threat, and as the dragon heaved out his awful wall of flame, he rose his arms and brought the blue water of the river rushing up, engulfing the dragon’s flames.  There was an almighty hiss as the fire was extinguished, followed by a tremendous cough as the dragon’s mouth filled up with water and steam.  Once the coughing died down, the dragon drew in his breath again, but the water had done something terrible to his fire, and nothing would now come from him.  With a mighty squawk he leapt into the sky and flew away angrily, and was never seen again.

The Yellow and Blue Wizards went over to the Green Wizard, who had sat down sadly by the riverside, ashamed of his wicked ways and saddened to think that his fellow wizards had nearly been killed.  “Come on, Green Wizard,” they said.  “You’re probably better off without that dragon anyway.”

“I suppose you’re right,” he said.

“Let’s take you home,” said the Yellow Wizard, and they trudged back through the forests, into the desert and finally back to the Green Wizard’s castle.

When they got there, however, what did they see?  A flash of red, as the Red Wizard paced back and forth along the drawbridge, his eyes alight with happiness!

“Ah, you’ve returned!” said he, appraising his fellow wizards.

“No, you’ve returned!” they said to the Red Wizard.  “What thoughts have you?”

“Follow my instructions,” said the Red Wizard.  “And be amazed…”  The other wizards looked at each other, and waited.  “Yellow Wizard, take this orb, and go to the highest tower.  When the orb glows, cast your most powerful spell, as you did before.”  And he handed the Yellow Wizard a small glass orb, which swirled inside with grey smoke.  “Blue Wizard, go the widest part of the moat, and cast your most powerful spell when your orb glows.”  And he gave the Blue Wizard a similar smoky orb.

The Red Wizard waited for the Yellow and Blue Wizards to reach their positions, then he stood in the courtyard and took a third orb from his robes.  The Green Wizard watched in admiration as he mumbled some magical words and waved his hand over the orb, causing it to glow brightly.  “Ah, Steven the Sorcerer’s Fourth and Final Incantation,” said the Green Wizard.  “An old but most excellent spell.”

Up in the tallest tower of the castle, the Yellow Wizard had been eagerly awaiting his orb to glow, and it did so at the exact moment that the Red Wizard had caused his orb to glow, in the courtyard far below.  The Yellow Wizard lifted his arms, and the sparkly sand burst from his fingertips, swirled up into the sky, gathered and multiplied, and began to fall as before like sandy rain upon the castle.

Far below, in the castle’s moat, the Blue Wizard’s orb glowed, and so he raised his arms just as he had done before, and the water of the moat rose up as a giant wave, higher and higher.

In the courtyard, the Green Wizard and Red Wizard watched the sparkly sand start to fall from above, and the water start to rise from below.  And then, just as the sparkly sand met the water, the Red Wizard cast his own magical spell, and a small trail of fire burst from his fingers, igniting the sparkly sand and melting it in with the water.  The golden yellow of the sand and the deep blue of the water mixed and swirled, and made… green!  The tiny amount of the Red Wizard’s fire was enough to make them mix together, forming a gloopy green paint that splashed and splattered all over the castle, until once the spells had all finished, the castle was coloured as green as the greenest grass you could imagine.

The Green Wizard was delighted, and clapped his hands with glee.  The other three wizards gathered around him, and their hearts were gladdened.

“But that is not all,” said the Red Wizard.  “There is one more spell that needs to be cast.”

He gestured with his arms.  “Look all around you, Green Wizard.  What do you see?”

“My beautiful green castle,” said the Green Wizard, puzzled.

“Look further,” said the Red Wizard.

“Just desert, and rocks, and sand,” said the Green Wizard.

“Take this, and remember back to a time long ago, when you learnt your most powerful spell; now that you are a good wizard again, you can work that spell and make your castle the most wondrous sight to see.”  So saying, the Red Wizard pulled from his robes a small pot, with a little green plant growing in it, and he gave it to the Green Wizard.

“Yes,” said the Green Wizard. “I remember now.  Such magic I have not used for a very, very long time.”  He took the small pot and strode out of his castle, across the drawbridge, and stood upon the rocky ground.  Then he cast a small spell to make a hole, and planted the small green plant into the hole.  Then, he mumbled and muttered many strange and magical words into his beard, and then he slowly – very slowly – began to raise his arms.  As he did so, the small green plant began to spread, growing like a vine, and spreading across the ground.  As the Green Wizard’s hands lifted ever higher, more and more green appeared, as lush grass sprouted, and even trees and bushes sprang up.  When he was done, all four wizards stood in amazement to see the desert was a desert no more, but was filled with the most wondrous green vegetation as far as the eye could see.

“Thankyou, Red Wizard,” said the Green Wizard.  “My castle and surrounds are now truly wonderful, and I could never descend into badness again, being surrounded by such beauty.  But tell me, how did you come upon these ideas?”

“That is a story for another time,” said the Red Wizard. “But for now, I am exhausted, and it is a long journey back to my own castle.”

“For sure you must return,” said the Green Wizard. “But stay here awhile first, and we shall all talk once more of the old times.”

And so they did.