Daily Prompt, DailyPost
Undoubtedly you’ve heard of me. I’ve been granting wishes for millennia, chained to my ornate prison. I was once flesh, like yourself. Once free to roam, dream – unfettered…
Be careful what you wish for. My sullied dreams turned to dark thoughts with darker action.
You’re grateful it’s no longer possible for you to come upon my chamber. All comes at a cost, but that was never my concern. I granted that asked of me. Only one ever asked what price might be exacted. Once asked, I am obliged to answer.
You judge me? I, who have suffered far beyond what your limited intellect could possibly fathom? Be glad in the hearing, when my lust for revenge has gone, my anger, abated. You are limited, and that now engenders more envy than contempt.
Once, I dared command the Unseen, Unknowable, to show Itself and imbue me with its power – but I would not acknowledge my limits – and so, was imprisoned and made to serve others.
A young woman sought me out, having heard my legend. She found and followed the treacherous path to my dwelling. One wish did she request – a wish for another – thus saving herself, and though we knew it not, released my bonds as well.
As I demand of all who find me, she told how she came to be there. How pleased I was to hear the growing power of my legend, to feel the fear quivering in front of me, she, having survived the way, was awed beyond all expectation to behold my countenance!
She followed the sea path, the well-worn passage of many failures before her. The conditions of fierce storm and icy wind being met, she wore seal-skin coverings – more clever than many others before her – she carried a gold knife to open the seal of my dwelling, and once entered, she gave the customary smoke offering. She had navigated the underwater sea cave more skillfully than many, and traversed unrequited remains through the steep mountain terrain.
One of my only pleasures came through the accounts of successful petitioners. I do not hope to arouse your pity; I offer context of my existence.
Upon finding my vessel, I heard her utter the incantation, her quavering voice interested me, her desperation so familiar, so wretched, I wanted only to watch her wither and fail her quest. Her voice became stronger, her resolve quieting her outward fear.
I revealed myself through a slow vapor, enjoying the astonished look that the legend was true, and more quizzically, a relief and calm enveloping her – an unknown sensation to behold. Her humility assuaged my resentment at being summoned. Her shaking limbs betrayed her resolve, but she did not waver in purpose.
As I rose, filling all before her, towering above her, and the unexpected heat and putrid stench nearly making her retch, she squeezed shut her eyes, drawing shallow breath through her mouth, clenched her hands, and made herself look up into the solid-seeming giant before her. My over-large head grazed the cave’s top, allowing her a full realization of her foolishness before I bent toward her, bringing my vile face down as though to swallow her entire.
She expected her demise; her quest was true, but I did not diminish. She spoke clearly, though I knew her heart quickened to painfulness, and her hands continued trembling. She asked permission to request her wish.
She did not demand, nor display arrogance, and I knew she was prepared for denial. She believed some of my legend, but not all.
Curious, I baited her. Didn’t she know I had no choice but to grant her desire? She heard rumors, but she wasn’t here for herself, she croaked.
I nearly deflated in front of her. Recovering, and puffing myself out, I pressed her against the cave’s wall, then withdrew enough to allow her room to stand and speak, if she dared. Was this some clever ruse to chain me afresh? Did she carry a container I could not sense that she hoped to carry me away in? ‘I wish help for my brother’, she uttered.
‘And what allowance would make you endure your passage for this brother?, I demanded.
‘His heart is failing, and his kingdom will fall without his guidance, but he would never seek help for himself’, she replied.
‘So what will you gain in the transaction?’, I countered.
‘Peace, and safety for my family’, she responded.
‘Then request peace!’, I bellowed.
‘I do not wish peace without merit.’
She did not wish peace without merit!? She understood that proper wording could gain her the world, yet she chose nothing for herself. I understood courage and worthiness then, and willed myself to her height.
‘Your request is granted’, I replied, ‘but a favor is wanted in return’. She submitted as though she expected more suffering, but I brought forth a sweetly fragrant and soothing breeze that quieted her soul as I knelt before her, and asked for her hands, that I might absorb some humility.
We were equally impressed by this behavior – she from astonishment that her body and soul remained unmolested – and I, by the release of my unseen chains which I hadn’t known was possible until that moment.
My powers were diminishing, but I retained enough to return her to the head of the sea path. I left her with instructions to tell of vanquishing me. Ever after, all those seeking me were thwarted as my cavern dwelling laid in ruins, the sea passage and coastal trail destroyed soon after she stepped off the way toward her home.
Though my vessel was destroyed, ending my bondage, I chose to stay within the mountain, my containment voluntary, even though the burden of my folly will always remain. I have related this to you that you might think on it, and recall to those dear to you of any wisdom found in the telling.
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.