Week 48: A story set in a strange small town.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
― Albert Einstein.
There was once a town upon a large hilltop.
Large enough to hold a small, modest settlement of people. It wasn’t a remarkable place, it had the usual – houses, school, library, places of work. It wasn’t the buildings that made it so peculiar, it was the people. Some say they were magical folk and cast a spell to make their town appear small, when really it was a large, bustling city full of witches and other kinds of mystical creatures, hidden from the outside world. Sometimes, neighbouring towns could see fireworks in the hazy distance but whenever they looked closer, the sparks and bright colours were gone.
Sometimes a flourish of magic could be seen, the billowing of a cloak, a pointed hat and a cluster of strange spell books appeared on the hilltop, only to disappear within seconds. Some people thought it was a portal to another land, disguised on a hill, to confuse normal folk. Other times, children would creep up to the edge of the hill and because their young minds were not forced to conform by the normalities of their society, they could see through the veil into the magical world. They would venture over the border and into the magical land, discovering strange creatures and battled omens, met powerful witches and wise, intellectual women.
There were magical children there too and they became friends to the lonely kids, encouraging them to come and stay with the supernatural kind. But alas, every night, the children of neighbouring towns had to return home, to normalcy and their parents’ worried expressions. The tales they told often frightened their parents, for they were growing older and after a certain age, children are supposed to forget about fairy tales.
“We’re telling the truth!” the children would cry. And the parents still forced them off to school and the doctors to cure them of their stories and rid their minds of magic.
But the innocent mind is hard to break.
And one night, a child snuck out and never returned. Then another and another, until the children of the neighbouring towns had disappeared. Their parents searched far and wide for their beloved children, only to return home in despair, until the mayor suggested they go to the hilltop. Having no other option, the town rallied behind their mayor, believing that the strongminded woman was their only hope.
And that she was.
The parents of the missing children stepped over the border, into the strange town and willed themselves to believe. And there, before their eyes, the magical realm revealed itself, and the children. Overwhelmed with joy, the parents hugged and kissed their children, promising to believe them from now on. The children didn’t have any magical powers, they didn’t need any. Their power was their belief in the extraordinary. To accept those who are different. To see what no one else could. They had their imagination.
Adults should try and seek theirs too.