Magic Dice

A magical story about a little girl who loved rolling her dice

She was of quite imaginative age when the dice first came about. One delightful night, she saw a shooting star from her window. Having applied what was taught to her, she kneeled by her bed with her hands locked in front of her, and prayed.

“I wish I could know what the future holds,” she said out loud. “I wish I knew what to do every day.”

“Hello there, deary,” said a pleasant woman’s voice. When she looked around her candle-lit room to see who it was, she saw a glowing orange fairy flying with flickering wings. The wings dropped glittering stardust that disappeared inches before hitting the floor.

“Who are you?” said the little girl.

“Imagine calling your mother, ‘mother, come here!’ and then when she comes you say, ‘who are you?’ I would be quite astonished!”

“I don’t understand,” said the little girl.

“Aye, you prayed to the stars to know your future, and I am here to grant it to you.”

The little girl gasped with excitement! What could it be? A notebook? A globe?

“Look under your pillow,” said the fairy. “What’s under it?”

The little girl jovially jumped upon her bed and removed the pillow. Underneath it, a single die with an off white textured body, and dark circles that signified the numbers.

“Want to know how the day will turn out? Roll the dice once, and the number will not lie!” the fairy landed upon the girl’s shoulder. “Try it now,” she said softly into her ear.

She rolled the dice right on her bed. It landed firmly on a six. She smiled to the fairy that was supposed to be on her shoulder – but the fairy was no more.

Ages past, and from scribbling horses that looked like rough twigs, she now drew brilliantly figures and faces that came to life upon completion. Her late teens could even be defined by the foundations of her much younger self.

Every morning, upon the first beam of sunlight hitting her face, she would grab the die from her bedside table, give it a little shake, and let it fall on a completely random number.

‘Ah,’ she thought to herself, ‘today is a three. Nothing special will happen.’

And nothing special did happen.

She stepped out onto the porch in her cozy slippers, the castle-town far from home and no hoards of horses to disturb their peaceful mornings. It was a mildly chilly Autumn, with light winds brushing over the orange leaves on the trees. Forests surrounded their house, keeping their privacy to a cozy level.

The wind brushed across her face, a stretch took the fatigue out of her joints, and a cup of black peach tea started her slow and very normal morning.

“Your brother told me he saw you doing gymnastics the other day, is that true?” her mother inquired while the tea was getting infused.

“Tis all fiction, mother. He merely walked into my room while I was stretching from long hours of drawing,” she replied with a yawn.

“Indeed your drawing do pile up, don’t they? Think you will ever make anything of them? Perhaps submit them to the local gallery for a change?”

“That is not a question for today. For today, is too normal of a day to think about that.”

Too normal of a day it was. She lazed around with a book in her hand, and her tea in the other. The chapter that she read described in great detail of a young maiden who rode a carriage through the forest. The young maiden then stopped to feast upon some berries that glistened through the bushes. So good were those berries that she made the horses wait too long.

By the end of the chapter, her brother had woken upon. He pesters her with his random stories and facts from time to time.

“While chopping wood yesterday, I learnt that if you spin while swinging your axe, your momentum increases for the final chop! However, your accuracy wears down. Solution? Practice! I may have looked a fool out of many for spinning before swinging my axe, but once I get it down I’ll look akin to a professional lumberjack that figured out what others have not.”

She nodded him, and he went off.

The last excited part of her day was to draw. She took her pencil that she used from yesterday, and with not so sharp lines, she began scribbling a portrait of a man. The more detailed she put into it, the more you could see that the main was simply there, not quite doing anything. She thought the picture was incomplete, after hours of scribbling, and yet the more details she put into it, the more vivid it became that the picture would never be complete. He was simply not doing anything that deserved drawing.

Slightly disappointed, she decided to forget the man, and cast away the paper. The day was over.

She woke up from a dream where she was talking to a tree. She tried her hardest to make the conversation interesting, but the tree was so stale in its words that nothing she tried, nor games nor riddles did the trick.

She opened her eyes, thinking, ‘what a forgettable dream, compared to the many I’ve had.’

Squirming her eyes away from the sun, she turned to her side and stretched out her hand, grabbing her single die.

Giving it a little shake, she tossed it on the wooden table, the sharp sound waking her up slightly. Glory to fate, today was a five!

The corner of her lips lifted into a smile. She hugged her pillow for a moment to let the sleepiness pour out of her before getting up to make herself a delicious cup of peach black tea.

“Good morning,” said her mother after hearing the clunking of the cups emitting from the kitchen. The sound of morning, one could say!

“Good morning, mother!” she replied.

“Two cups?” she glanced at the counter.

“One for my lazy brother, who disagrees with the sun.”

“How thoughtful of you,” the mother caressed her head and wandered off.

She quietly came into the room, placed the cup of tea onto his bed-side table, and gave his shoulder a very soft shake. Upon opening his eyes, the dark red woodsy color of black tea in the crystal cup shone at him, and with a sleepy and raspy voice he said “oh, thank you!”.

She stepped out onto the porch, the wind pleasantly gliding over her face. She would have her tea outside this time. For some strange reason, she thought that today specifically, the weather would pair well with having it outdoors.

And the same thought seemed to have crossed the mind of her little, fluffy cat. It came out and stroked its whiskers against her leg. In reply, she pet the cat on the top of its head, and started a jovial little conversation with it.

“Good morning, kitty! You came out to say that to me, right? Yes you did,” she massaged its neck, “yes you did! Do you want some peach tea? Probably not. You cats must think, peach tea? What an abomination, to infuse nature with water! Bring me my milk, human!”

“Meow,” replied the cat.

After her tea was down, and her oneness with the cool morning and vibrant Autumn forest was complete, she retreated to the comforts of her large leather couch atop which was her book.

“Let’s see…” she flipped through the pages to find the exact spot that she had left.

The maiden who jovially stuffed her mouth with berries and looked very unlady-like, was spotted by a man not so far. That man came up to her, and almost laughed at how a maiden with such a beautiful diamond-white dress, such perfect golden hair, and such glowing fair skin, had her mouth stained in red and an expression of bliss from the sweet taste of berries.

The maiden almost jumped in surprise! The most ideal prince charming that she had always dreamed of meeting had finally appeared, only to find her in the most bemusing state ever.

She swallowed down the rest of the berries, and quickly composed herself.

“I do beg your pardon! I did not see you coming, had I known I would not have acted so vile.”

“Worry not, young maiden,” the prince charming took out a pure white napkin, “a woman who loves sweet things as much as you is as angelic as they come.”

She read that book with a smile on her face. How the maiden had finally met her prince charming in an awkward situation, which had light hearted comedy and advancement of the plot. She enjoyed reading today.

Soon after, she went to see her elder brother. Surely he did not fall asleep after glancing at his teacup, did he?

They stumbled upon each other at the doorway.

“Oh, I had just intended to see you,” he said.

“Looks like I’m way ahead of you,” they sat down.

This too, was a habit. Their talks were mundane yet imaginative. He always found a way to tell the most unenthusiastic occurrences with great enthusiasm.

“I was at the farmers market and they had decided to put dandelions as edible things. I mean, certainly they are edible! But would you imagine roasting a lovely duck, slicing it and spreading it over your pure white plate, sprinkling herbs and salt over it, letting that amazing gamey aroma fill your senses as you sit down for dinner by the candle with the sounds of rain softly hitting your window… Ah, wait, I forgot to put my dandelions on my duck.”

They both laughed. Maybe she laughed because he was laughing, but either way, they laughed. Lots of small stories about the farmer’s market commenced, all on the same level of mundaneness, yet all on an altar of enthusiasm in the way he told them.

At the very end, before leaving her to do his own things, he asked, “so what did you roll today?”

“A five,” she said with a flick of her fingers.

“Must be why the fish was fresher today,” he said.

“Obviously! Didn’t you know? My die changes the freshness of the water no matter how far.”

“That it does,” he walked out.

It was drawing time. Inspired by her cat that came to sit by her side today, she sharpened her pencil and sat comfortably by her drawing station. With beautiful long strokes, she highlighted the flowing fur of the cat. It was majestically sitting on the porch, with the wind blowing through its fur. The background had deep orange leaves that flew about, and the cat’s expression was comfortable and relaxed. Its eyes were half closed, both from the wind and from the hand that caressed its nape. She began adding details into it. Minutes turned into hours, and sketches turned into pure art. By the time she was done, she was left with a sweet satisfaction of having done something today that would still be appreciated seventy years from now. This was the type of drawing that professional artists would put in large gallery halls – ones full of life, detail, and in some way, a story. She would name this drawing, ‘Autumn Winds’, for the true highlight of it wasn’t just the cat enjoying itself, it was the cat, and her, appreciating the breeze in the morning with a sweet cup of peach black tea. The day was over.

The next morning, she rubbed her eyes, stretched a little bit, and reached out to her die. Giving it a little shake, she let it fall upon the wooden surface. Her rather positive mood turned sour very quickly. It was a one.

Today, something bad was going to happen, and she would rather avoid it to her best ability.

She made tea very quietly, but it did not stop her mother from hearing it.

“Fancy seeing you today! How rare,” the mother said sarcastically.

“Hello,” she replied quietly.

She quickly grabbed her tea and left the kitchen, uttering not another word. Her mother did not inquire, but simply let her be. She had hoped to praise her picture from yesterday, but will find another time for it.

It was quite chilly today, too chilly in fact. The weather was stirring in the distance, but too far to come near anytime soon. While she had the chance, she had the idea of picking mushrooms from the forest. After her unmemorable cup of tea, she got dressed, and left the house. Today simply has to pass, and nothing bad will happen. She had about eleven hours to aimlessly spend.

“Where are you going?” her brother had caught her.

“To pick mushrooms,” she said.

“We have mushrooms though,” he tilted his head curiously.

“There’s never enough mushrooms. What if we want to make a mushroom pie?”

“Never heard of such a thing.”

“Well you have now.”

“Are you running away from a chore, or something?”

“Nonsense,” she put her hands upon her waist into a posture of power. “I am simply… picking mushrooms.”

“Mind if I come with?” he raised his eyebrows.

“Perhaps next time,” she smiled shyly and walked off into the forest.

Nothing bad will happen here. Her family are usually very peaceful people, but on a ‘one’ day something still manages to go wrong. Not a single ‘one’ day has ever turned out great. Over the many years, she learnt to simply try to minimize the damage by avoiding as much as she could and letting the day pass.

She wandered deep into the forest, her thoughts were aimless, just as her movement. She knew the forests well enough not to lose her way, but somehow bided time while being utterly lost in thought, and lost in the orange leaves that danced around her as they fell.

Every now and again, she tightened the scarf around her neck, spun around, touched a bush, and simply pretended to be busy.

As she walked, the sounds of the crisp leaves breaking filled the air. Apart from that, the only sound was the wind in the trees.

Seconds turned into minutes, and minutes turned into hours. It started from early morning, and it was now afternoon. The sun wasn’t quite breaking through the leaves anymore as the clouds eclipsed the whole forest. The whole place was getting an eerie atmosphere, and the walk became quite uninviting. It was time to go home.

She had a bad feeling of her surroundings, something seemed astray. Her arms had chills crawl up her shoulders and up her neck. She was getting stressed and worried for no apparent reason other than the sun going away.

Her house was not too far, about a full minute and she would be right back at her porch. She headed right there, the sounds of her footsteps stomping the leaves rather demandingly.

“Deary,” a voice echoed above her and behind her.

“Huh?” she turned around, looking left and right, up and down. She saw no one – maybe it was just her imagination. Either way, she was scared.

She turned back to her main course, and headed straight home.

“Oh Deary,” the voice sang again, much clearer this time.

“Who’s there?!” she reacted in a panicked voice. Up above was a shimmering orange light. The fairy that has visited her so long ago was flying high up with the branches. “Fairy!?” she called out loudly. She ran right after her.

After a few seconds, she lost sight of her. But it was clearly her, wasn’t it? The fairy that granted her the single dice that predicted the future.

“Fairy?” she called out loudly again. She walked around, continuously looking up to see if she could spot her. She even remembers what the face should look like! She remembers her ginger flowing hair and slightly freckled nose, and those beautiful striking large green eyes.

Why did she appear so briefly and then vanish into thin air like that? She must have been trying to tell her something! There was a rustle on the leaves behind the bush not far from her.

“Fairy?” she ran over to the bush. Her entire soul dropped and her face became pale within a single second. She screamed at the top of her lungs and ran the other way! The large brown bear roared viciously and trampled the bush on its way to chase the girl.

With full speed running, she only need ten or so seconds to get back home. Those ten seconds decided her very next fate, and her legs did not betray her that day. Her screams alarmed the house, the brother already outside on the porch with their father’s rifle.

“Move left!” he called out to her. Despite the uncontrollable panic and the bear being only several meters behind her, she ran slightly to the side to allow her brother to shoot towards the direction of the bear safely. He managed to scare it away.

Her mother embraced her tightly. Today was definitely a one. The day was over.

The next morning, she rolled a three again. By law of the dice the number three signified a below positive day, where nothing great happens, and nothing memorably sad happens either.

Her brother found her on the porch in the afternoon. He had returned from the city.

“I warned the rangers of the bear about, pray they do confirm its retreat into the mountains,” he placed the rifle down on the wooden floor, a deep thud resonating from the heft of the weapon.

“That bear probably wasn’t so bad, was it?” she said rather lifelessly, peering into the depths of those woods in front.

“Probably not,” he nodded his head. “A bear is a bear. And a running away girl from a bear sounds straight out of a fairy tale too.”

“Only saved by her brother and not a warrior knight clad in armor.”

“What did you roll today?” he asked abruptly.

“A three,” she took a sip of her tea.

“A three,” he confirmed. “Has the dice ever been wrong?”

“Never,” she replied confidently. “It has never been wrong, and it never will be wrong.”

“How do you know that?”

“It’s been… twelve years now?” she counted. “Sometimes when the dice is a six, without my interference at all, mother walks around overjoyed from nothing, and you start being productive and happy throughout the day. Then when I roll a one – mother sobs about father’s absence or you injure yourself somehow. In all scenarios, my intervention is null and void.”

“I see,” he nodded to himself. “Quite the magic you got there. Do you remember where you got it from?”

She had a pause of uncertainty on how to answer his question, but ultimately said, “under my pillow.”

“Did you exchange it for a fallen tooth and the tooth fairy paid you a visit?”

“Not a tooth fairy, but perhaps a fairy, who knows?”

There was a moment of silence between them. She seemed shaken about the bear, but not to any far point. Today was simply her resting day, and that was indeed dictated by her magic die.

“The storm sort of passed us,” he looked up at the sky. “It might be a clear night tonight.”

“Did you ever meet your girlfriend again?” the last thing she wanted to do was talk about the weather.

“My girlfriend was never my girlfriend,” he folded his arms. “I did see her.”

“But you didn’t talk?”

“I was busy talking to someone else,” he sighed solemnly.

“Excuses! All that confidence chopping wood and no confidence talking to a blond girl with red lipstick.”

“How about you find a prince charming and then go up and talk to him?”

“I’d do it with my mouth full of berries if I had to,” she insisted.

“What would you do with a mouth full of berries?” their mother stepped in on their conversation. She stood above them, giving them both a ruffle on the head.

“Talk to prince charming,” the brother said.

“Ah, I remember when I met your father I was the one who had to come and talk to him first. Every time I tried to look my best to get his attention his eyes would always look towards the sea. I know not what he finds in that huge mass of salt water but, when on lands he looks to sea with melancholy, almost as if yearning to get out there. But when on his ship, his eyes…change.”

“Change?” the daughter looked up at her.

“That look when a man is confident that he can do anything in the world. Like he’s on top, up there, with the gods. It’s quite indescribable, that’s the look he has when he’s on his ship.”

“I think you described it quite well,” said the son.

“Yes well,” the mother sighed. “That man married the sea far before he married me. At least he visits, and compliments my roasted duck, right?” she giggled in self-pity before heading back inside.

After a moment passed, he said quietly, “mother dreams of him like he’s on some sort of adventure on the other side of the Earth. He’s just fishing around.”

“Our family should be called The Dreamers,” she replied.

“Why?”

“Because she dreams of him on an adventure, I dream of my magic dice, and you dream of that girl you’ll never have.”

He nudged her shoulder immediately after she said that. She laughed.

“Tea?” he offered.

“No, you never make it right,” she got up. “I’ll make it for the both of us.”

They had tea.

She did not draw, she did not read, she simply talked. She talked in ways that she’s never talked before. If the dice was a six, she would talk jovially, and smile. If the dice was a one, she would avoid talking. This time, she just talked the way she wanted. She might as well have been consumed by a beast yesterday, then she wouldn’t be having this mundane conversation about the ancient legend of the Chinese peach tree, or the famous ghost that haunted little girls’ music boxes. She simply relaxed with a cat on her lap, laughed at her brother’s jokes, and enjoyed the orange glowing sun beams through the curtains that changed the hue of the room.

There was something quite magical about it. It was strange – it was like stepping outside for the first time in a long time, and feeling grass under you, and resting against an apple tree with a good book. Then a squirrel comes down, lightly pats you on your side, and offers you one of the apples. You say thank you, give the squirrel a light pet on the head, and enjoy a bright red apple along with your book.

That was the same feeling she got out of virtually nothing – out of simply sitting and talking. Sitting and talking is something that she does every day, and about no more or less interesting topics. It was then that they heard a knock on their door. The brother got up to answer it – and she would listen from the comfort of her living room.

“Where is she?” a raspy stranger’s voice rang through the open hallway. She saw the mother rush towards the door as well. Seconds later, that man was lead inside the living room. He was holding a large sheet of paper clipped against a leather platform.

“Are you the young artist then?” he kneeled by the table as he looked at her. He had incredibly gentle and hopeful eyes.

“I am a young artist, I suppose,” she replied meekly.

He took the leather pad atop which was a drawing, and revealed it to her. Her eyes widened and her lips parted. She looked at the clean strokes of fur that flowed with the wind, and the bright red leaves that parted with the trees and danced behind the oh so blissful cat.

“That’s my…”

“Yes,” he nodded. “I am the Chief Curator of the National Library of Arts Gallery. I dropped two meetings to personally ask of you – would you do our gallery the honor of allowing us to display this masterpiece?”

She covered her mouth, and cried.

Today was a six.

 

She spent all night up, fiddling her die in her fingers, staring out into the clear night sky. She set out to do the exact thing that she did so many years ago. All she had to do was wait…

And there it was! A shooting start, magnificent in its trajectory.

She went over to her bed and kneeled beside it, placing her elbows on top and locking her hands together.

“I wish to see the fairy that gave me that dice,” she said out loud.

“And I had wished to see you,” said the fairy.

There she was… a real fairy, floating beautifully in the middle of the room, shining orange light out of her body with her flickering wings dropping stardust that disappeared inches before it hit the ground.

“Fairy,” she said.

“Yes,” said the fairy. It flew over to the bed and sat down upon it as a human would. The girl did the same, for a normal shoulder-to-shoulder conversation.

“I have so many questions,” she said. “Grown up questions! Maybe even scientific, like, are you real?” she poked the fairy. The fairy jumped slightly.

“That tickles, Deary!”

“Sorry,” said the girl.

“I will answer any questions you have, waste not a single second. For out of all the children wishing things, it is I who grants it to them.”

“The dice,” said the girl.

“Have you used it well?” asked the fairy.

“I’ve been rolling it every single day since you gave it to me. Whatever number it landed it, the day was like that! Is it real magic?” she leaned closed to the fairy.

“The real magic,” said the fairy, “is you.”

“Me?”

“Had you ever thought to leave the dice on a six and not touch it after that?”

“Um… no,” she replied.

“The dice doesn’t tell you anything, Deary, you are the dice. If you roll it, then you let fate and outside circumstances decide for you – but if you choose your own number, then no circumstances will ever make that decision for you.”

“You mean… I can just leave it on a six and be happy forever?”

“Real magic is believing in something when it seems impossible. Do you believe you will be happy forever?” she fluttered her wings and flew up to sit on the girl’s lap, looking up at her closely.

“But the dice was never wrong in so many years,” said the girl.

“Because you believed it for so many years!” said the fairy. “Here, give me the dice.”

The girl handed it over to the fairy. The dice was wider than the fairy’s body, but with a bit of sparkling magic and a few twists and turns, the dice flattened out and turned into a piece of paper. “Here you go,” she handed the girl the clean square paper.

“What’s this?”

“Whatever you write on it, will come true. Now remember the magic ingredient!”

“I’ll remember,” said the girl.

The fairy flew up in front of the girl’s face, and gave her a light kiss on the forehead.

“I must go!” she said. “These stars never stop falling,” she sighed, “a real bugger they are.” The girl laughed.

“Will I see you again soon?”

“I don’t know, will you?” said the fairy.

“Okay, okay, you got the point across,” the girl smiled. And out the window, flew the fairy, disappearing into the night. The girl held the piece of paper in her hand. She noticed something was written at the back – she was sure nothing was there before. The words simply said, ‘Magic Note’.

“Alright then!” she placed the paper on her table, and grabbed one of her sharp art pencils. She scribbled a sentence on it, and placed it under her pillow before heading off to sleep.

The morning came – the sun shone through the window and across her face. She got up and stretched, reaching her hand out towards the bed-side table to roll the dice. But the dice was no longer there – it almost felt strange.

She got up with a very light heart, and began brewing her peach black tea.

“Good morning!” said the mother.

“Good morning mother!” she hugged her briefly.

“Oh I can’t wait to hear the news, imagine your career after this!” her mother could barely hold the excitement.

“I can’t wait!” she replied.

With her tea at hand, book in the other, and in a cozy knitted sweater over her, she got out on the porch. Her cat followed along and sat right by her side. Her hand gently pet the cat on the nape with her fingers. The wind flowed through the cat’s beautiful fur while bright red Autumn leaves danced about.

She began reading her book. “Chapter twenty one,” she said out loud.

After a brief moment, she noticed a figure in the distance, emerging from the trees from the side of the city.

She placed her book down and narrowed her vision slightly.

“Father?” she grinned widely and got up with a burst of excitement. “Father!” she ran over to him.

Today was a six again.