Stars pricked the darkening sky in silver shimmers of light, and in the spaces between the trees a descended a gentle darkness, hushing the voices of the day to make way for the whispers of the night. And what a night it was! Never was there a clearer sky to walk beneath, never was there a swifter and sharper wind, never a bolder and more radiant life to the world. The earth had fallen into a reverie, a dream of soft edges and silk corners, edged with starlight of the most glittering sort, and held in place by threads of braided gold. It was this time, in the silent hours of the night, when the magic-workers arose to do their work, away from the staring eyes of the waking world.
These magic-workers, they were the small, simple kind who lived in the mounds of the earth and the trees of the forests. They hadn’t any names, at least not that you could pronounce, but they were friendly in their own way, though their customs perhaps would seem a bit odd to our eyes. You see, they did not speak to each other at all out loud, though they always knew what the other was thinking, and they did not like the brightness of daylight, but preferred the gentler glow of moonlight and starlight, and the darkness of night where they could slip beneath the shadows of the trees and stones without being seen. Secretive as they were, if you happened upon their camp, you would find yourself in good company with lovely food and drink, and marvelous stories (though not, perhaps, the kind you are used to, as their stories are far more eldritch, uncanny, and ancient than any we know).
Night, don’t you know, is the time when there is the most magic in the world. I don’t mean ‘magic magic’, but Magic, the ordinary, everyday kind, similar to strokes of good luck, sixth senses, and odd coincidences. There are still such things in the world. Magic is everywhere, you just have to know where to look for it. Most people don’t nowadays, and it’s probably better for that, but there are a certain few folks—the kind who usually can be found in old bookshops, wandering in the woods, or scribbling in a notebook—who can see it. Like the reflection of the trees on water—that’s magic. And the glow of a sunset on a mountain-top—that’s also magic. Some people see faces in the bark of trees, strange footprints where none have walked, dancing figures in the dawn’s hazy light, and other such normal peculiarities. This is the kind of magic these folk of the earth create.
On this particular, perfectly ordinary and wonderfully extraordinary night, the magic-workers sat around their fire, letting the iridescent blue flames rise high into the sky. They wished not to take from the world, only to add to it in the only way they knew, and that way was their own special kind of enchantments. From the puddles of starlight on the ground, the umbrage beneath the trees, and the filmy fabric of mist they wove dreams. Dreams of kingdoms beyond the sun, beyond the very sky. They wove dreams of impossible heights, of white-winged birds, of sandy shores unmarked by mankind’s step, of fire-breathing dragons and underwater cities. And the best ones…the best dreams were made about adventures.
For in the darkling night, the magic-workers wove a very certain type of dream. Those are those dreams that you never want to leave behind. Those are the kind of dreams that you can never quite fully remember when you wake up, but stay with you forever…the strange, otherworldly type that you feel are more real than reality. You know the ones I talk about. Everyone has at least one—I know I do, but they aren’t the kind of dreams for sharing. Some dreams are meant to be kept secret, divulged only to a few special people.
If you travel far enough you may find these magic-workers, where they sit in contented company in rings of stones around a brilliant fire. You may find them over the mountains, across the seas, and even in the forest behind your very own house. They are everywhere, you see. You need only know how to find them. That is not something I can tell you how to do—but in any case, I think I don’t have to.
If you want to, you can find them yourself.
You need only try.