The Magic Pencil


Image credit: Parna Sil

Once upon a time, in a faraway land there lived a little girl named Aria. She lived with her parents, her baby sister Evie and pet cat, Mimi. They were one happy family.

Aria had blonde hair and a winning smile. She loved to dance, play with her friends and create various works of craft. And during the afternoons and on weekends, she especially liked to draw. It could be a scene at the park, a random bird or pictures of their entire family. She also liked to draw sketches of her favourite food such as chocolate pastries and cookies. Her mother and father appreciated her art and constantly encouraged her. Aria dreamt of becoming famous some day.

One day, after playing with her friends at the park Aria was returning home when she noticed a strange-looking pencil lying on the road. It was black in colour with silver stars and the nib was a gleaming silver. Aria had never seen anything like it. Bending, she picked it up and then looked around. People were going about their daily lives. There was no person who appeared to have lost anything. Nobody was searching for any item in particular. Aria looked at the pencil again. It was a small one, about one and a half inches long. Had it been any other pencil, like the ones she and the others used at school, Aria would have disposed it in the trash can nearby. But this pencil was so different and beautiful that she could not bring herself to get rid of it. So, she tucked it in her pocket and went home.

She did not get the chance to use the pencil till a couple of days later. That Sunday afternoon, Aria gingerly took out the pencil and drew a candle. And then the most amazing thing happened when she completed it. The candle came to life and appeared on her table! The little girl gasped and stared in bewilderment. Was it a magic pencil then, she wondered. To find out, she drew a cupcake this time and lo behold, a beautiful cupcake with a cherry on top came out of nowhere. Aria took a bite. It was scrumptious.

The ability of the pencil to bring to life whatever it drew fascinated her. She used it to draw all that she wanted – candies, peanut butter cookies, bowtie ribbons to tie her hair and a pair of elegant blue shoes that she had always wanted. Also, she did not tell about the pencil to anyone for fear of it being taken away from her. She also began carrying the pencil and a piece of paper with her wherever she went. When she needed something, she would draw it on the paper and the item would manifest itself. Whether it was a soft ball to play with her friends, a handkerchief she needed as she had forgotten to carry her own or a bar of chocolate, she could have anything she wanted.


Image Credit: Sairaj Wayne

However, the pencil was wearing out fast. It was already small when Aria had found it but now, with the several drawings that were done every day it had become tiny. Aria worried that it would soon wear out completely.

One day, while returning from school she saw a homeless man shivering in the cold. He only had a faded shirt on. The girl felt sorry for him and wanted to help. She quickly went home and drew a large full-sleeved shirt. And then, she drew two more with difficulty as the magic pencil had become very small by now. When the shirts manifested, she grabbed them and ran to give to the homeless man. While returning, Aria noticed a lean man with a pointed hat searching the ground. He was dressed quite peculiarly, with a long black coat on which were sewn silver stars. The man appeared oblivious to his surroundings, so intent was he in his search. But something about him struck Aria as familiar – his coat. It was a black one with silver stars, the exact colour of the magic pencil! She figured out that he was the owner of the pencil and was perhaps looking for it.
Gathering courage, she approached him.

“Excuse me, sir. Are you looking for something?”

The man looked at her distractedly.

“Of course, I’m looking for something…where could it be? I must have dropped it on this road. It was so careless of me!”
But in his preoccupation, he did not tell her what he was searching for.

Aria took out the little pencil from her pocket and showed it to him.

“Are you searching for this?”

The man stopped in his tracks, staring at the pencil in wide-eyed wonder.

“Yes! Yes, that’s exactly what I was…but how is it with you?”

Aria then narrated the whole story of how she had found the pencil a few days back, taken it home and used it. Then she apologized for using it and showed how little the pencil had become. “I did not know that it belonged to anyone,” she said. “So, I am really sorry for having used much of it.”
The lean man pondered thoughtfully. “Do you know who I am?” he said, at last. Aria shook her head.

“I’m the Wizard of Silverland. I was on my way to the Magic Potion Market a few days ago. Its door is through the oak tree down the road and can be entered only by magical creatures. Anyway, that was when I dropped my pencil along the way. As you already know, it is a magic pencil. I realized that I had lost it after I returned to Silverland. I was anxious because if the pencil went to the wrong hands, there could be serious trouble. But I am glad to know that there was no harm caused.” At this point, he smiled.

Aria handed over the pencil to him and looked downcast.

“What’s the matter, dear girl?” said the wizard.

“I am sad not because I have to part with the pencil. I could not use it much anyway,” said Aria. “But I feel sorry that I did not put it to good use. Till this afternoon, when I used the pencil to help someone in need, I had only drawn things that were to my liking and which I wanted. I could have easily done something to lessen the misery of those living in pain and poverty. Instead, I only tried to look to my own happiness. I feel really bad about that, Mr Wizard.”

The wizard smiled gently and patted her shoulder.

“That’s a great realization, Aria. I’m so glad to have met such a considerate girl like you.”

The girl looked at her toes, still feeling miserable.

“Well, cheer up now as I’m about to give you something,” said the man, and gave a twist of his fingers. And suddenly, there was a brand new pencil in his hands! It was the same as the old one with a black background and silver stars, but longer. Aria exclaimed.

“Here you go,” said the wizard, handing over the new pencil to her. “This is your gift. Now that you have realized how effectively the pencil can be used, I hope you use it wisely. Remember to use it responsibly!”


Image Credit: Sairaj Wayne

The girl stared at the new pencil in wonder. “Thank you, Mr Wizard!” she gushed. And before she could say anything more, the wizard waved at her. Then, there was a loud clap and he disappeared. Aria put the pencil into her pocket and with a spring in her step, returned home. She knew that the pencil would last till a limited period but this time, she made up her mind to make the best use of it.

And so, in the following days Aria gave clothes to the homeless, food to the hungry and helped both people and animals in pain. People blessed and praised her. As for the magic pencil, it has now become small. Aria keeps it in a black pouch in her cupboard. Nothing had taught her about the joy of giving as much as the gift from the Wizard of Silverland.

***

                                                           The central character is is based on Aria Albus.

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