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The Magic Word

by Silvia Hartmann

One time, somewhere, there was this race of people who were taught to write.

And they were told that if they would learn to write the magic word, they would be set free.

So they began writing.

Their children and their children's children were taught to learn to write as soon as possible, so that as many of them could begin work on the quest to write the magic word that would set all of them free and add to the endeavour.

For millennia, they wrote and wrote and not a one amongst them could find the magic word, not a one amongst them came even close to writing anything that even might have been a magic word.

Sometimes, some would declare that they had written the magic word and some would get very excited, but time and time again, it turned out that it was just another word and didn't have any magic at all, no matter how great the promises and the salutations.

More millennia passed.

All this time, all these lives were spent in the quest to find the magic word. It was hard and for many, it seemed so futile. But their need was great and so they kept on teaching the young ones to write and as one generation gave way to the next, so they kept on writing and writing.

But then, after so many ages had passed that no-one could count them any longer, a one was born amongst them who was not like the rest. There was something wrong with him and he did not learn like all the others did; he was slow and difficult to teach, and every thing he did was other.

One thing he found particularly difficult was to learn to write so he could join the desperate task to set all the people free.

One day, he was as usual trying very hard to make the right symbols, but on this occasion, he got it even wronger than he usually did and instead of writing from left to right, he reversed the flow and wrote the word from right to left.

As soon as the simple practise children's word had thus been completed, the letters upon the parchment began to shift and shape, then they began to glow and everyone came running but fell silent as the word began to lift from the parchment and shimmer, rise into the air, spin slowly at first, then fast and faster still, growing in power all the while and there was the word of magic they had been seeking for so long.

The one who was wrong and other was carried on their shoulders and declared a prophet but yet, although the magic word was written and now was copied by students all over their world, the people were not set free, and nothing had changed only they did not even notice this and continued to teach how to think and speak, to read and write from left to right, never knowing, never thinking and never understanding that if you write all the words from right to left, all the words would be magic and they would, finally, have been freed from their slavery.


© Silvia Hartmann 2003

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