Once upon a time

“Once upon a time.” Doesn’t that sound like a typical and safe story start?

Of course, if you think that, then you don’t understand time. Time hates to be called into account. He hates to be mentioned in any form.

He also has a long memory and a taste for revenge. Beware of beginning any tale as “Once upon a time”.

You don’t believe me? You think time is merely a concept? A construction? Have you not heard the tale of Manuel the Bard? Nor that of Cassandra the Storyteller?

Sit and listen as I tell you more…

Manuel the Bard was the most amazing performer. He could sing and play on his guitar all the best known songs without flaw and wrote his own music on a regular basis.

He decided to compose a new piece celebrating the life and love of the Lady Feinal. Her beauty was still much discussed, even though she and her husband Prince Aekyn had lived and died more than 200 years before.

Unfortunately for Manuel, he began his ballad with “Once upon a time”.

Time took offence and then upon a revenge.

Manuel grew older and older. His sight was weak, his hearing gone, his fingers too curled to play an instrument. Still he lived. All his friends died and still he lived. In fact, he still lives though he wishes he did not.

Then there was Cassandra the Storyteller. She always held her audiences spellbound with her tales. She knew the old folk tales, tales of the gods, and tales of the travellers that had returned from seeing the world. All this and she had yet to reach her twentieth year.

Everyone in her town loved Cassandra. She was welcome in every home, and would be offered food and a bed during her visits. In exchange, she would entertain the household for the night.

There was a fateful evening where Cassandra started her story with “Once upon a time…”

Time struck back.

For Cassandra, the days suddenly began to fly by. By the end of a year, she had aged ten. Five years for the rest of the town was fifty years for Cassandra. During the sixth year after uttering the phrase, she had passed of old age. She looked to be eighty even though her real age was 26.

Never begin a story with “Once upon a time…” Time does not like that.

Note: this story was originally published to my blog