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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
A Felony of Birds

by Harris Tobias
The Greer Agency

by Harris Tobias
Assisted

by Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

by Harris Tobias
Alien Fruit

by Harris Tobias
Peaceful Intent--Stories of human/Alien Interaction

by Harris Tobias
CHRONON--Time Travel

by Harris Tobias
The Stang

by Harris Tobias

Shamrocks

by

Harris Tobias



Shamrocks

When the little bell tinkled, Fagin, as usual, was fast asleep dreaming whatever leprechauns dream. The little bell was a call to action. Fagin checked the map and went to work. Someone, somewhere had found and picked a four leafed shamrock and that person was about to get their wish.

Fagin was in charge of all of Ireland’s shamrocks and, by extension, wish fulfillment. He had to see that shamrocks grew abundantly everywhere; that they stayed the correct shade of green and, if anyone in Ireland stumbled upon one of the rare four leafed variety, it was his job to see that that lucky individual got to make a wish. For that was the rule in Ireland and had been since the first Irishman walked those emerald fields—find a four leafed shamrock and you get your wish.


Fortunately for Fagin, four leafed shamrocks were pretty rare. What’s more, you had to be a very lucky person to find one at all, and lucky people were as rare as four leafed shamrocks. So all in all, Fagin didn’t have all that much to do. Most four leafed shamrocks were eaten by cows and Fagin didn’t have to grant a cow’s wishes. Cows, generally being pretty content with the way things were, wished for nothing.


But every once in a while a four leafed shamrock was found and picked by a human being and humans were fairly bursting with wishes, selfish wishes for money, fame, beauty and the like. It made Fagin unhappy to hear a selfish wish but it wasn’t his place to argue. A wish was a wish and it was his job to see that it was granted--eventually. Fagin was in no hurry to grant a selfish wish.


Unlike cows, humans were almost always unhappy with the way they were. And, while there hadn’t been a wishing shamrock picked in a very long time, the minute one was, Fagin was ready. The instant a four leafed shamrock it was plucked from the earth, the little bell would tinkle, Fagin would wake from his leprechaun dreams; he would locate the exact location on his map, go there and offer his services. This was what Fagin’s did. He’d been doing it for a very long time and he was quite proud of himself for never having missed granting a single wish in over a thousand years.


Now don’t get the idea that Fagin’s job was all fun and games with excited winners jumping up and down in anticipation like on some silly game show. There was some of that, of course, but more often than not, the whole enterprise ended in disappointment. Locating the lucky person and presenting them with the little card that said, “Good for one wish. Not transferrable” was easy enough. It’s what followed the knock on the door or the confrontation in the park that was the tricky part.

People reacted strangely to Fagin’s odd and sudden appearance. Most people thought it was a joke or some kind of sales gimmick or, worse yet, a scam. Some, little children mostly, got frightened and ran off crying. Often people mistook Fagin and his funny green costume for a salesman. They would slam their doors in Fagin’s face before he had a chance to explain why he was there; or, if they took the card from him at all, they would say something foolish like, “I wish you’d go away” or “I wish you’d leave me alone”, which of course Fagin did, gladly, disappearing in a flash of green light leaving the card holder in the ridiculous position of having wasted a perfectly good wish.

One day, as it usually happens in this kind of story, Mary, a beautiful, star crossed young woman was out in a field somewhere looking for a four leafed shamrock for, although she was young and beautiful, she badly needed a wish. She was hoping against hope for true love to come and save her from her wretched fate. Her father had promised her to Seamus McDougal, the richest, meanest old miser in Kilkenny. She figured only a wish could save her so she came to the meadow south of the village where legend had it four leafed shamrocks were to be found. The field was a cow pasture that covered several acres and, coincidentally, belonged to that same rich miser to whom she was promised. She walked along staring desperately at the ground her search made more difficult by her tears.


As fate would have it, at the far end of that same field, a handsome young man in a wheeled chair was also hoping for a wish of his own. Patrick McSweeny had recently returned from the war wounded and unable to walk. His chair, pushed by his servant, Barr, resisted Barr’s efforts to go through the grass. A strong, brute of a fellow, Barr pushed the chair through the field the way he plowed through life, without much care. Barr thought the whole shamrock wish enterprise a waste of time. He had no belief in supernatural solutions to life’s problems. Things were the way they were and you either dealt with it or you didn’t. A man made his own luck in the world and got through life by dint of strength and cunning.


Barr made no effort to avoid the numerous cow pies that dotted the field pushing the wheeled conveyance randomly through the grass. Patrick kept his eyes glued to the ground in hopes of spotting a lucky shamrock. If he was annoyed at Barr, he kept it to himself. Barr and Patrick were friends. They had been in the war together and, since Barr had saved Patrick’s life by dragging him to safety during the battle of Vinegar Hill, Patrick owed Barr his life. Giving Barr a job was the least Patrick could do.

After an hour of fruitless searching, Barr was tired and bored. “This is a complete waste of time, boss,” he said. “I’m hot and thirsty. What say we head to the nearest pub and drink a pint or two? A cold beer will do you more good than a magic charm.”


Reluctantly, Patrick agreed for he was a gentle soul and did not wish to impose his will on others. “Let’s give it five more minutes and then we’ll head back,” Patrick said. “Let’s go to the top of yonder rise.”  So Barr pushed Patrick up the slope and Patrick watched the sea of grass whiz by too fast to see much of anything let alone a single leaf on a single plant. “Please, Barr, slow down.”

At the top of the rise they met Mary climbing up the other side. The two young people looked at each other and, as always happens in these kind of stories, they were instantly drawn to each other. Their eyes met the music soared. After a moment Patrick spoke and the spell was broken. “What brings you here fair maiden?” he stammered.


 “Hoping for a miracle, my lord,” Mary replied, “and you?”

 “The same.”

“Then let us search together and agree that whichever of us finds a lucky shamrock will share it with the other.”

 “I agree,” answered Mary without a second’s thought. Mary blushed and looked away. Patrick looked down at his crippled legs. There was a moment of awkward silence, broken by Barr who called out, “Hey! Is this what you were looking for?” He bent and plucked a four leafed shamrock from the ground and held it up for all to see. “Wasn’t all that hard to find,” he said and handed it to Patrick. “Here, you take it. You need it more than me.”

Mary and Patrick were stunned. There was the answer to all their prayers and it was Barr who found it. They stared at the big man speechless for what seemed a long time but was only a few seconds. There was a pop and a green flash and there stood Fagin card in hand. Now Fagin was no dummy. He sized up the situation in a second. Patrick held the shamrock in his lap but it was obvious that he didn’t pick it. Only the picker was eligible for the wish. The wish was not transferable to anyone else. That was the rule and Fagin was a stickler for the rules.

 “Which one of you picked it?” Fagin asked.

 “That would be me,” answered Barr, “but I gave it to my mate, Patrick.”


 “I’m sorry,” said Fagin, “The magic isn’t transferable. The wish is yours.”

 “Oh yeah? Says who?” Barr didn’t like rules and he didn’t like a small green person telling him what he could or couldn’t do.

Fagin handed him the card. Barr thought a while. Patrick and Mary moved close together wishing one of them had plucked the shamrock. Barr closed his eyes and held the little white card in his hand and said in a loud clear voice, “I wish Patrick and this young lady would find shamrocks of their own.”

Now Fagin was confused. Was this wish against the rules? No one had ever made such a wish before. It wasn’t a selfish wish which was good but it was a strange wish which was bad. Fagin thought about what to do. He shrugged his tiny shoulders and let the magic happen. In short order Mary gasped and bent down to pick her shamrock. Moments later, Patrick let out a whoop and, bending as low as he could, picked a lucky four leafed shamrock of his own.

There was a great deal of laughing and smiling amongst the three. Patrick and Mary thanked Barr over and over for his unselfish act. Fagin, who expected this outcome had stayed around and handed wish cards to the two young people.

Mary closed her eyes. She was about to wish to be free of her engagement to the miserly old man she had been promised to. But when she looked at Patrick, sitting in his chair she thought how much greater his need was than her own. And so she pressed her wish card to her heart and said in a loud, clear voice, “I wish that this young man could be made to walk again.” Patrick was thunderstruck. He sat in his chair and took Mary’s hand and kissed it, declaring his love for her.

“And what was it you would have wished had we not met?” Patrick asked her.

“I’d have wished to be free of my betrothal to the old miser Seamus McDougal.”

“Then that is what I wish for,” Patrick said.

Fagin was pleased that no rules were broken, three good, unselfish wishes had been cast. He vanished with a pop and a green flash back to where he came from. And because all three wishes were unselfish ones, they all came true immediately. And everyone, I might add, lived happily ever after.
     
     
END    
       
     
      
     
     
   


Read more stories by this author



2014-03-21 10:02:32
esullivan240 - Very nice. Uplifting. A good clean happy ending is needed sometimes.

2014-03-10 09:54:32
r.tornello - cute, very cute.

2014-03-01 07:11:00
micheledutcher - I love the playful way this story is written. For instance, the following sentence: "One day, as it usually happens in this kind of story, Mary, a beautiful, star crossed young woman was out in a field somewhere looking for a four leafed shamrock." Fun way to start out the March edition.

2014-03-01 07:08:47
micheledutcher - mark211 wrote: This is indeed a very cute tale and has a lot of the right ingredients that a good fairy tale should include - and though I enjoyed it as an adult, I can actually well imagine this being read to a primary school audience and the kids enjoying it greatly.

2014-03-01 07:07:38
micheledutcher - laurabeaz wrote: Outstanding story!! I love the character's names. The ending is the best part. Very sweet and clever. Moves along at a nice comfortable pace. The characters are distinct.




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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
A Felony of Birds

by Harris Tobias
The Greer Agency

by Harris Tobias
Assisted

by Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

by Harris Tobias
Alien Fruit

by Harris Tobias
Peaceful Intent--Stories of human/Alien Interaction

by Harris Tobias
CHRONON--Time Travel

by Harris Tobias
The Stang

by Harris Tobias


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