The Magic Ball
The Bridge between the Divine and yourself .
Picture is an overlay of “The Magician”, from The Gilded Tarot, and a picture of one of my wooden magic balls.
THE MAGIC BALL
“Can I have some of that ruffling paper, again?”
-“Sand appear? You mean sand paper?”
“Yes! Sand paper!”, he answered.
He had come bursting into my shop a little while ago, but had stopped just inside the door when seeing that I was working.
He had tiptoed over to my work desk and had silently been watching me work for what must have felt like a year, to him.
I figured I had ignored him long enough and put down my electric wood dremmel tool.
He followed behind me, as I walked over to the sink to wash my hands.
In his hands, he was clutching a highly polished, wooden ball, the size of a golf ball.
A few weeks ago, no longer, maybe even a few months ago, the same kid had come storming in to my shop, in much the same manner.
About a year ago, he started visiting my shop, from time to time. He had walked quietly around, not touching anything. Just watching. Intently. Like looking for something. In silence.
One day, after several of those quiet visits, he finally spoke.
“I have saved money,” he said.
“Not enough. But it will soon be!”
He showed me his saved up fortune.
Not proudly, although he had reason to be. He had saved up quite a few, shiny one hundred yen coins.
I was impressed.
His eyes were questioning me as if to ask how much more he needed.
“What do you want to buy with your money, then?”
I kneeled beside him in order to see what he could see.
We were both facing the glass counter , where I kept things for sale, displayed.
I looked at him. HIs eyes did neither move nor did they seem to blink.
They were fixed on a polished wooden ball.
The size of a golf ball.
On it, I had carved and painted the Sanskrit syllable representing the deity Fudomyoo, in gold.
The “Bonji” as we call these symbols in Japanese, was shining at him.
I looked back at the little fortune in his open, sweaty, little boy hands.
“What do you want the ball for?”, I asked.
– It’s not a toy and it’s pretty expensive, too.”
“I know that,” he said. “But I need it! I heard a lady in the hospital say that you sell magic. She said that you are a witch. She said that you make tools to make wishes come true. She said that she had bought a wooden ball that you had put magic into and it made her wish come true!”
He blurted it all out at once, in a speed that made it all sound like one long word.
“Ahhh! I see…”
And Now you have a wish.
You want this wish to come true so much, that you have saved money to buy one of those magic balls.!”
It was hot. His hear was sticking to his forehead and his cheeks were red.
“I have an idea,” I told him.
“Come here. I’ll show you something.”
He tucked the money back into his pocket and followed me over to my work bench.
I picked up the wooden ball that I had been working on, and showed it to him.
The surface was still rough.
All I had done to it yet, was to carve the “Bonji” with my dremmel. That I had done!
It was now ready to be sanded, polished and waxed.
“You see this?”
“This one is going to be just like the one in the glass counter. But there is no magic in this ball. It is just a ball made of wood.”
The boy was wide eyed. He stared at the ball.
“How do you put the magic in the ball, then? “, he asked. ” Or… Is that a secret? Is that your witch’s secret?
I was amused, but kept my face very seriously folded.
“Yes. In a way, it’s a secret. It is a magician’s secret.
But, I’ll tell you. Becaus I can see that you are a magician, too!”
His eyes widened even more.
“You see,” I handed him the unfinished ball.
“There is no magic in the ball. The ball needs you to do the magic. The magic is in you.”
“But! I am not a magician,” he protested.
“Oh, yes, you are! You just don’t know it yet,” I told him.
“Here is what we’ll do.
I will give you this unfinished ball and some sand paper to polish it with.
All you have to do is to think about your wish, while sanding it.
Imagine how you will feel when your wish has come true. Polish the ball while saying thank you, thank you, thank you, all while being happy that your wish has already come true. That’s all.
All you have to do is to feel your wish already there and feel how grateful you are”
He looked at the ball.
“Is that all? And, I will have what I wish for?”
“Yes.” I gathered different-grained bits of sand paper, told him how to start with the roughest and continue with gradually finer grained ones, and put it all into a bag.
“When the ball is nice and smooth it is ready to be waxed,” I told him while handing him the bag and a little jar of polishing wax.
“How much,” he gasped, afraid of not having enough to pay.
” Two hundred yen and a thank you,” I said, to preserve his dignity, keeping my face and my voice very serious.
This was serious business with a very serious customer.
He fished two shiny coins out of his pocket and handed them to me.
“And, you are sure that ‘s all?” he said.
“Yes, But you have to be grateful for your wish that has come true, in advance. All the time! With every move and stroke of the sandpaper. If you forget that, it won’t work.”
He left my shop quietly. Thoughtful.
After some time, he came again.
With the ball, radiantly polished, in his hand. Asking for “ruffling” paper.
I was puzzled.
“Beautiful!” I said. “Well done!”
“You were right,” he said.
“I am a magician. It worked. My wish came true. But…”
“But what? You have a new wish?”
He looked sad.
His wish had come true, yet the boy was close to tears.
“Yes, I have a new wish. The last one came true.
But it was the wrong one. Now I need to wish again.
Is it possible to start all over? Can I make the ball unsmooth and do it all over again”
“Oh my goodness,” I thought to myself. “Ok! Don’t ask. Don’t pry! He has his reasons, this little man!”
Out loud I said: “Sure! Make your magic once more. Unsmooth your ball and polish it all over again. That should be doable. Only remember to say thank you and feel gratitude while unpolishing the ball, too, right?!”
He took the new batch of sandpaper.
“How much? I still have my savings!”, he looked proud for a moment.
“Hundred yen and a thank you,” I said.
Now he had returned.
His magic ball was shining but he himself was not.
He did not look like one who just had his greatest wish granted.
He didn’t look like a triumphant magician at all.
I poured tea and we sat down.
“The first wish was a wrong wish,” he said after a while.
It came true.
But it was the wrong wish. I had to make a new one. A right one.”
“The first time I wished for my sister to live. She was so sick and I wanted so that she should get well and come home to us and live.
I was so scared she would die.
She was almost dead for many days, you know! But then, I polished and polished the ball and said thousands of thank yous and she came back and was alive.
I was so happy! I had thought she would die and go to heaven to be with our mother. But I wanted her to stay here. With me. And my father. She came back. My wish came true and I was very happy.”
Long, heavy silence followed.
“She lived,” he continued.
“She lived, but she did not want to live. She had pains. Everything hurt. She had to say in hospital. They gave her lots and lots of medicine.
All her hair fell off. She was weak and ….. she was not happy. She cried for mommy all the time.”
He looked at the ball in his hands.
“She had come back just for me. Because I wanted her to. Because I did not let her leave. My wish stopped her from going to heaven.”
“That’s why I had to make a new wish.
I unpolished my ball, thinking of my sister and my mom together, walking in the sunshine, by a river. Picking flowers. In heaven.
I unpolished and said thousands of thank yous.
Then, I started polishing again. I worked hard.
But I was happy while seeing them, my mom and my sister, together in heaven. They were singing and laughing. My sister had long hair again. The wind and the sun played with it.
I listened to the boy’s story in silence, fighting the urge to sob.
“Today my ball was ready and shining like a wet river stone. I brought it along to school so I could go straight to the hospital afterwards, and show her. I was going to tell her that I would be ok and that it was ok for me if she went to heaven.”
He sighed and touched his eyes.
“When I got there, she had already left.
Everyone in the family were in her room. Everyone was crying.
I didn’t cry. I knew then, that I am a magician and that magic works.
I was happy and sad at the same time.
That is possible,right? Sad and happy at the same time?”
I went over and took the little magician in my arms.
Together we opened up for the tears to flow. Crying in silence. Together.
Both happy and sad at the same time.
“You are a wise magician,” I said.
“Happiness and sadness are like two sides of the same mountain.
When you stand in the right place you can see both the sunny and the shady side at the same time. It is possible!”
He wiped his tears and stood up to leave.
At the door he turned around and looked at me, magic ball in hand.
“Next time, I’ll be sure to make the right wish,” he said with a smile.
Then he was gone.