Once upon a time, in a land not so far from here, there was a Wizard named Othar the Old. One of the last remaining wizards from the age of magic; Othar remembered a time before mobile phones, the internet and technology where a town relied on its Wizard. Back then, Wizards would make the fires, send the letters and heal the wounds. Now, there was that darn electricity, those damn emails and do not get me started on medicine. It did not sit right with Othar.
Sitting in a lonely hut, in the dark woods, drinking can after can of beer, Othar turned on his dusty old television to see the latest human happenings. Flicking through the channels, Othar was surprised to see a magic show! By golly, he had not seen one of those in centuries. He wondered who was showing off their magic today; the first contestant was a wizard called “Dan” who claimed to be from a land named Dudley. What a weird name for a wizard, Othar thought to himself. Dan the what? Dan the dangerous, dan the dunce, dan the dictionary?
It was not long before Othar soon realised that Dan was engaging in mere trickery, not magic. Outrageous, he thought. I should let the Ministry of Magic know at once! One of our very own Wizards performing trickery to thousands of humans. He grabbed his wand and summoned himself to the Minister of Magic, Ebus the Enforcer. “Ebus!” Othar roared, you will not believe what vile villainy I have come upon in the land of humans. Soon, Othar had explained what he had seen and was disturbed by Ebus’s calmness. “Well, Ebus? We have expelled Wizards for less than this haven’t we? I say we crucify this Dan of Dudley!”
Ebus began, “times have changed, old friend”. “No longer are the humans aware of the days gone by. Such shows are like theatre…”. Othar, unimpressed, determined he was not going to accept such a poor excuse. Back home, he called the telephone number for the magic show and entered himself as “Othar, slayer of demons, curser of witches, defender of England and founding wizard of the Ezekiel tribe!”
Soon, time time came and Othar was walking to the stage. The judges, surprised by his robes and incredibly long, grey hair, cautiously introduced him. “What trick will you be performing for us this evening, um. Mister Ofair?” “Well judges, tonight I shall be showing you some real magic!” he replied.
“Right, um, splendid! Best of luck to you. You may begin.”
Othar started with a favourite of his, he waved his wand and had several pigeons fly out from his hat. That trick always seemed to please the peasants of the shires who, in days long past, would eagerly grab at the pigeons and enjoy a full supper that evening.
The judges remained still like statues, looking perhaps a shade disappointed until one abruptly chimed in “We’ve all seen that trick before, lets have our next contestant.”
A small man appeared, and as Othar looked on, performed a sawing in half trick. From the back of the stage, Othar could see it was fake and was immensely disgusted.
Othar cast a spell and took on the identity of the next contestant.
This time, determined to win, Othar used his wand to levitate before the judges very eyes. Reading their minds, he knew they were still unconvinced “Ropes, wires, unoriginal.” One judge thought. He then conjured a great phoenix made from fire, at the back of the stage, which flew around the hall. More impressed, the judges beckoned him to be seated as the final contestant of the evening would have their chance.
A small boy, no more than twelve, nervously plodded onto the stage. Othar could see his small mother off to the side, wishing him good luck. Searching their minds, Othar could see from the boy’s mind that he had no father at all. Turning to the mother’s mind, he could also see that she was begrudged with great debts and had spent her last penny in buying a ticket for her son to enter this competition. He could also see that she would often go without food for her own little boy to eat her portion, but it was still not enough. The poor boy was clearly malnourished, as Othar could see his thin little body beneath the ragged outfit he wore.
The little boy performed a rudimentary trick involving a ‘bottomless’ hat. Othar saw that the boy had placed carefully assorted objects inside the hat, some being deflated, and when the boy pulled them out of the hat he would secretly blow air inside them using a pump beneath his left foot. This would give the illusion that the hat was indeed bottomless as large, blown up objects would emerge from it with seemingly no room for them in the first place.
Othar decided to help the boy. He used his wand to make the hat truly bottomless, and instead filled it with a great many objects made from gold, platinum and silver. As the boy pulled out objects, to his surprise and the judges own amazement, there seemed to be a never-ending number of great objects inside this hat. It was soon decided that the boy was tonight’s winner. And, using the objects Othar had placed, the mother and son would now live happily ever after.