A Walrus Wants Time

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


A certain walrus wants to barter with a fisherman. What does he want and what can he give in return?

Submitted: April 02, 2018

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Submitted: April 02, 2018

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Long ago there was a fishing village near a natural crescent shaped bay.

In this village lived a young fisherman named Ben Wilder Gloomy and he was an industrious sort of fellow. Ben was always looking for easier and faster ways to catch fish.

Ben had woven his nets differently than other fishermen in the bay area. With tighter mesh he lost less marginal fish, yet the nets were more pliable and easier to handle when drawn in.

The older fishermen thought Ben to be lazy; they said he did not have the spirit of a true fisherman.

But Ben thought them fools for working so hard for such a meager existence; hardly making ends meet.

Ben wanted to make his fortune fast and then buy a whaling ship.

"Those ships travel the seven seas and dock in strange and exotic places. That is real fishing!" Ben told himself.

No, Ben didn't want to be stuck in a little village forever.

 

One morning Ben set out in his small fishing boat to try a new area to fish. He had noticed a Walrus on the shore of a nearby island. And where Walrus are, there will be fish to catch.

 

Ben's little boat chugged its way out past the coastal fog bank and toward the nondescript little island.

After Ben arrived he turned the engine off.

The boat bobbed in the water while Ben watched the Walrus from a distance. Ben was trying to get an idea where the Walrus was doing its fishing.

After a short time Ben felt that he knew. So he made his way to the spot and set his nets in a circle around the area. But after fishing the area for over an hour and not catching much, Ben gave up and pulled his nets in.

Just as Ben was about to start the boat's engine the Walrus swam up to the side of the boat, and asked, "How's the fishing?"

"Oh dear Lord," Ben remarked out load, "I've got fisherman's madness; seeing and hearing things that can't be."

"Nonsense," exclaimed the Walrus, "I'm as real as the boat you're standing on and my ability to speak is too. Now get a hold of yourself and answer my question."

Ben wiped his brow with a less than clean rag and replied, "The fishing is without profit, I'm afraid. And if you don't mind my asking, how is it that you talk?"

The Walrus replied, with what looked like a smile on it's wet, slick, face, "I am not a Walrus, I am a Transformation.

I was once a Wizard by the name of Shilling, that is, until the ill fated day of the battle.

I and another Wizard, by the name of Graft, had a disagreement. To settle the disagreement we agreed to a Wizard-Battle on that very shore."

The Walrus looking creature raise and pointed a flipper at the far-off beach.

Ben snickered a little and replied, "And you lost the battle, correct?"

Shilling snorted, and then replied, "There was no winner, you twit!"

Then he continued with his story, "As the twinkling clouds of magic cleared and the conjured lightning bolts drifted from view, there we stood. I, with the body of a Walrus, and Graft looked every bit the Albatross."

"You are very rude," Ben stated with the look of aggravation written all over his weathered face.

"I'll have you know that my name is Ben, not Twit! And my question was a legitimate one, considering that I did not have all the facts.

And Now I am going to ask another question, and again, I do not have all the facts, but if I were you I would choose my tone of voice wisely and state my answer kindly. So listen up! Why can't you just change yourself back?" 

The Walrus seemed to be thinking as he swam, back and forth, alongside the boat, then he replied, "A successful spell cast by another can only be removed by the one who cast it. The only alternative would be for the spell caster to die," Shilling said, with a hint of remorse in his raspy walrus-like voice.

Then Shilling offered a proposal by saying, "Look Ben, let us make a deal that will benefit the both of us."

Ben frowned, but was still interested in any proposal that would make a profit. So he asked what the proposal was.

 

The Walrus quickly stated, "I will fill your nets and you can repay me with TIME."

"I don't understand what you mean by TIME," Ben confessed.

"TIME, you know, moments of your life. You are very young and have much time left. I, on the other hand, am comparatively old and have much less time left.

I do not want to die as a Walrus. I wish to die as myself, with friends and family members around when I depart.

And as I said, the only way that will happen is if Graft dies before I do. As soon as he dies the spell is broken and I will be myself again."

"I don't know about giving up any of my TIME," Ben stated, "I have big plans for my years."

Shilling laughed and replied, "Yes, for your younger years. But what can you do when you get really old? You'll sit in a rocking chair and reminisce about your adventures.

But know this, without my help you will never earn enough wealth to have those adventures. You'll be stuck in that cove forever!"

Shilling let his message sink in before he made his final pitch, the free offer.

"I'll tell you what, Ben, cast your nets in a half circle and I will show you how many fish you could catch if I helped you.  Call it a free demonstration; it won't cost you a thing.

But it will show you how rich you could get if you sold me just a few years of your TIME."

 

The net was set, the fish secured, and Ben was convinced.   But Ben is a good businessman so he asked for a stipulation to their bargain. He would not give any TIME until he had secured enough money to fulfill his dreams. All the TIME he owed Shilling, he would give him all at once, at the end of the agreement.

***

Two years have passed and Ben has become a very wealthy man.

With the money from his successful fishing venture he has bought some local businesses, a fish cannery, and a small cargo ship to deliver the canned fish and other goods.

All of his ventures are making nice profits and Ben no longer needs to fish for his fortune. It is time to pay the walrus what he owes.

Ben's little boat chugged its way out to the island. And while the boat set bobbing in the water Ben called out to Shilling many times. But there was no response.

All of a sudden an Albatross landed on the bait-tank's lid and said, "Why do you call Shilling, are you acquainted with him?"

Ben, thinking that this was the other Wizard, replied, "I am! And you must be Graft, the Wizard. Is that correct?

The Albatross made a cackling sound, which Ben took as laughter, and replied, "I am, indeed!

Now that I have answered your question, you need to answer mine. Do you know where Shilling is? I have a proposition for him."

"I do not know," Ben confessed, "I just arrived to meet him but he is nowhere to be seen. Maybe he is resting in a cave. I'm sure he will be along soon."

As Ben continued to call out to Shilling, he and Graft made small talk. The subject of Ben's affiliation with Shilling came up and so it wasn't long before Graft knew all about the bargain that the fisherman and the Walrus had made.

Graft was mildly amused by the whole arrangement.

Graft flew up to a perching place above the pilots wheelhouse and said, "You do know that Shilling is only about 30 years old, don't you? For that matter, so am I.

And Shilling seldom reads the fine print, so to speak.

For instance, the wizard books say that spells don't disappear for days after the death of the wizard that cast them; just encase another wizard brings the deceased back from the dead.

That can be a messy business and few wizards have the skill to do it. But still, the spell lingers for a time."

Ben was growing more confused by the moment. He was here to pay his debt and none of this added information really mattered. A debt is a debt in Ben's book.

Eventually Ben questioned, "Why have you come here? Are you two going to have another battle?"

"No, No," Graft stated, "on the contrary. I have been looking for Shilling in hopes we can reach an agreement about these spells. If he will remove the spell on me then I shall do the same for him.

To tell you the truth, the whole thing got out of hand. To tell you the truth, I can't even remember what our original disagreement was about."

Ben shrugged his shoulders and replied, "That is all well and good, for you. But I have made a deal with Shilling and it is time for me to pay the piper.”

At that moment the two visitors heard a disgusting sound. The sound of a shark attack on something nearby!

A great white shark had just made a kill, and it was Shilling who was the victim.

 

"Well, this couldn't have worked out better," Graft shouted. "I'll get my life back without having to gravel to that phony, second-rate, wizard."

Ben looked puzzled and said, "That's not very nice! I don't have to pay him what I owe him, years of my life, but I still feel sorry for the poor devoured soul."

"Oh please," Graft sarcastically replied, "cry me rivers over that blow-hard!

Did you really believe I was going to make things right with him? As soon as I was back to my old self I was going to turn him into a..."

Graft couldn't finish his sentence because an Eagle had snatched him up and carried him away.

 

 

D. Thurmond / JEFalcon

04-01-2018


© Copyright 2020 D. Thurmond aka JEF aka JE Falcon aka James Everett Falcon. All rights reserved.

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