ten p.m. all the guests had headed home. The wizards quickly cleaned up by
simply waving their wands, returning the castle to its glorious state.
King Rolfin’s children had gone to bed and his wives had
disappeared to their rooms. “We’ll leave in the morning,” the king said.
“We’re all too tired tonight. Before I leave, however, I’ve got some gifts
to hand out.
been a brave boy. I’ve heard some of your heroic efforts. I’d like you to
have these.” He pulled a wooden box from inside his cape. “The box is made
from Carthaginian wood. Go ahead and open it.”
Callum lifted the lid. “Wow! Dragons.” Each had been
carved from the same wood as the box and painted different colors.
“These were mine when I was a boy. My grandfather made
them for me. I’d like you to keep them.” King Rolfin put his arm around
“What about your sons?” Callum looked at the steps
“I’ve got nearly a hundred sons. Do you think I can pick
just one? No. I’d like you to have these.” The king closed the lid. “Always
remember me, Callum.”
“I will.” Callum buried his face in Rolfin’s chest.
“That’s not all, Callum,” said Nahimena. “We wizards
have something for you too.”
Callum put his box of dragons on the table. “What is
Nahimena clapped his hands. A man walked inside with a
blue baby dragon. “This is your dragon, Callum.”
“My dragon? I’ve got my own dragon?” He ran over to it
and stroked its head. “It’s mine?”
“Yes. He will have to stay in Xilia, but you can come
and visit it anytime you want.” Nahimena grinned at the boy affectionately.
“We don’t often offer that privilege to a human.”
“How can I get to Xilia? I’m not a wizard.”
“You simply take the blue dragon out of the box that
King Rolfin gave you and think about your dragon’s name. You’ll instantly be
transported to his side in Xilia.”
“I have to pick a name?” He stroked the dragon again.
“I’m going to call him Jabberwock because my favorite poem in the whole
world is Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky. Hello, Jabberwock.” The dragon’s aqua
tongue darted from its mouth and licked Callum.
Elspet and Fiona ran over to pet the dragon. “He’s cute,
Callum. Wow, your own dragon. I love your little wooden dragons. You’re
lucky!” Fiona looked at the baby dragon’s tail. “He’s got tiny spikes. How
“We’re not finished yet,” King Rolfin said. “Elspet,
please come to me.” Elspet ran over to the king. “These are for you.” He
handed her a set of eight goblets. They were rose-colored crystal with
pewter roses decorating the glass stemware. “These were a wedding gift for
my first wife, given to us from one of the Caesars in Rome, Titus, I
believe. My wife never wanted to use them. She thought of him as an animal
who slaughtered so many. Still, she doesn’t know I’m giving them to you.
Keep them hidden until after we leave.” The king winked.
“Your secret is safe with me. Holy moley. These come
from the early days of Rome? I’m so thrilled,” Elspet said.
Nahimena stepped over to her. “Guess what, Elspet?
You’re not finished either. I am prepared to grant you one wish, anything
you want. You’ve shown courage, determination and creativity. You’ve been
loyal to your friends and deserving of something special.”
“I love my friends. I will always stand by them. I do
know what I want. I want to come to Xilia once a week and take art lessons
from your best artist. I’ve seen pictures of Xilian artwork and I’d love to
learn about it and how to paint, draw and all that. Nobody here in Scotland,
or anywhere else I can think of, has seen art like that. I want to be the
one to bring the style into the world, if that’s all right.”
“That’s fine, Elspet. We don’t mind sharing our art
styles with humans. Our best artist is Manassah. You will be granted the
right to come once a week for private instruction. Simply look at a painting
and think about Xilia and you’ll be transported there immediately.” Nahimena
patted her on the head.
“Fiona. It’s your turn.” King Rolfin pulled another box
from his cape. “This is for you.”
Fiona opened the lid. “Oh my.”
“Those elephants are made of pure gold. Count them.
There are twelve. Each of them has a stone in its eye. Can you see them?”
Rolfin urged her to pick one up. “The twenty four eyes are the same twelve
stones that were in the orb. I know you no longer have your powers now that
the orb is out of danger, but I hope this suffices.”
“These elephants are brilliant. I love them. Thank you.
I will call each elephant after the twelve men who were such a help to me.”
Fiona turned to look at the men, who stood around her.
Nahimena pulled her back to him, holding her against
him. “Fiona, you are a natural leader. You are so full of integrity,
courage, compassion, love, endurance and so much more. I know at times you
wanted to give up, but you didn’t. You fought to the end. You may keep the
necklace, the one with the twelve stones. It is yours forever. I also grant
you a wish.”
Fiona smiled and looked at her mum and Johnny. “I know
what I want too. I want a baby brother.”
Johnny took Mairi’s hand. “We’ll do our best to see you
“There’s more, Fiona.” King Rolfin pulled another box
from his cape and handed it to her.
She opened it. “Hankies?”
“Not just hankies, Fiona. These are made of Phoenician
lace and are nearly 2000 years old. The wizards have put a spell on them for
you to keep them intact forever. I would like to share a story, if that’s
all right. I know it’s late.”
“Go on, King Rolfin. I will never tire of hearing your
stories,” Fiona said.
“Let’s sit on these lovely settees. Come on, everyone.
Sit and listen. During the days of Troy, there were other things going on in
the world. A Phoenician woman, Elishat, or Elissa, who was Tyrian, from Tyre,
took a group of her people and went to Cyprus and then to the north coast of
Africa. She picked up the name Dido – the wanderer. It is said that
she founded in Carthage, which was an important location for trade. Dido was
friends with my ancestor, Tanith, who accompanied her on her journey to
Carthage. As a token of their friendship, she gave her these handkerchiefs.”
“You treasure them and care for them and remember who
gave them to you.” King Rolfin stroked her cheek. “Are you sure you don’t
want to come back to Burill and be my wife?”
Fiona burst out laughing. “King Rolfin! No! I’ve got an
entire life to live out here, but thanks for the offer.”
“All right. I’ll accept defeat.” The king acted offended
and then smiled.
“It’s bed time,” Mairi said. “Callum, Elspet, your mums
said you could stay here tonight. Up to your rooms. You too, Fiona. As for
the rest of you, I’d suggest you get a good sleep. Tomorrow is moving day
for Johnny and I.”
* * *
The rising of the sun the next day brought great joy,
but also heartache. Rolfin gathered his wives and children.
“Before you go, King Rolfin,” Johnny said, “may I
suggest that you make sure this orb makes it to a museum. I recommend the
Royal Library of Alexandria in Egypt. It is the largest library in the
world. I sent most of my books to Cairo, but many to Alexandria. It was
founded in the third century B.C. during the reign of Ptolemy II of Egypt.
It will be safe there for a while. Centuries later the library burns to the
ground, but if you leave instructions to have it transported to Cairo one
hundred years after your death, there it will sit safely and out of evil
hands. Your brother and his posterity will still seek it, but we must keep
it from them.”
“I shall do as you suggest,” the king said.
After farewells and tears, they
disappeared through the orb and then it disappeared, never to be seen again.