This Week’s Theme: Create a character in a genre you would normally avoid.

Once upon a time there was a small island off a rocky part of coastland somewhere beyond the cliffs. At one time a number of families had inhabited the island but now it was deserted save for one lonely, old man. If you could visit him in his little shack on the island, you'd probably think him a little odd. Every morning he would get up with the sun and go for a long walk along the perimeter of the island, stopping occasionally to look out into the sea. He loved the wide, open sea. Nothing thrilled him more than the sight of that vast expanse stretching itself out before him, going nowhere; nowhere he knew about, anyway. And whilst looking out at the sea he would begin a long conversation with his wife, Edna. Edna had come to him back in the days when others, too, inhabited the island. Edna was no ravishing beauty. Had she had a magic mirror in her parlour, it would not have pronounced her to be the fairest in all the land. But her husband showed her every day, in word and deed, that in his eyes, none was fairer. Slowly they had seen the people go, one after the other, until they were left alone. Twenty years they lived alone together after the last people left, their only other company coming from the seabirds all around them, and the occasional visit to the mainland to sell the sculptures the islander had chiseled out of the fallen trunks that littered the island. Finally, Edna too left, not to the mainland, but to a place where the islander hoped to rejoin her, one day. But although she was no longer there, he would talk to her every day, in the way he used to when they were together. Sometimes, back home he would put on the crackling old 78s they used to dance to when they first met, and tears would come to his eyes as in his mind's eye they danced together on the beach, over the sea, and along the rocks that covered a large part of the island.

It was one year to the day after Edna had left him that the strangest thing happened. He was just putting the finishing touches to a sculpture of a dancing couple he had fashioned in honour of Edna, when he realised he was not alone. It would be difficult to say exactly what it was that had visited him. It was certainly no human, but neither was it a ghost, and as he'd never met a fairy, then he wasn't to know that that is what this strange being actually was.

"I have come to grant you three wishes. One you may ask for now, the next I shall grant this time next year, and the final wish, the true desire of your heart the year after. What is your first wish?"

A wish! What have I to wish for, thought the islander. His first thought would be to wish his wife Edna back with him. But that was selfish. She was in a far better place now than here on the island. He could wish to be allowed to rejoin her where she was. But the fairy said, the third wish would be the fondest desire of his heart, so that would have to wait. And what would be the point of wishing for all the riches of the world. What would he do with them, here on this island, where there was nothing to buy and no one to help. So he thought long and hard and finally said to the fairy, "I would like a huge tower on my island so to be able to look out far over the sea." And at the same time, he thought but didn't, to be a little closer to my Edna.

At that the fairy held out a small cloth bag containing three small pearls. She didn't say a word but the islander knew they belonged deep in the ground and he set about planting them immediately. That night he had a long, excited talk with Edna about the days happenings before falling soundly asleep. When he awoke the next day, there was a giant beanstalk in his garden, but his tower was nowhere to be seen. The next day, however, the stem of the beanstalk had turned to stone, and the large thick leaves were also beginning to harden. And by the third day, there stood the tower, exactly as he had imagined it.

Every day the islander climbed to the top to talk with Edna. He felt a lot closer to her up here, and sometimes could even feel her breath and here her whisper in the light breeze. But the breeze wasn't always light. It was sometimes hard and treacherous. Often, it would blow unsuspecting ships onto the rocks where they would break up. How many lives had been lost on those ferocious, inhuman crags. Ships that had been blown to their doom or others that had veered unsuspectingly towards them, not realising their fate until it was too late. If only something could be done to warn them! But what could he do on his own.

Life went on much the same way as before and the islander soon forgot about the fairy. But true to her promise she came back one year later, and this time he wished for a strong light to be placed on top of the tower which would rotate around the island, lighting up first one part and then the other. No sooner said, his wish was granted, the fairy adding a little extra by making the light turn on automatically, to save the islander a lot of trouble. Now every evening at dusk he would climb up his tower and stay there looking out until sleep overcame him. And eventhough he always fell asleep in his tower, he always woke up warm and snug in his very own little bed.

That year, the islander grew steadily weaker, and the weaker he grew the more he thought about that one last wish - his heart's desire - that would soon be granted him. You see, he wasn't know that fairies had no real power over matters of life and death. That is reserved for a higher power. So excitedly, he contemplated his reunion with his beloved Edna, leaving unthought all the other wishes which had often surfaced during his lifetime.

Two years to the day after the fairy's first visit the islander lay in his bed waiting excitedly for the fairy to come and take him away. All day he talked to Edna, telling her to be sure to be ready for his arrival. He was very weak now and hardly ever left his little shack beside the tower. Morning passed, followed by the afternoon and as the evening drew on he felt a keen sense of disappointment. He had been so looking forward to going to his beloved Edna. Was that really his one heartfelt desire? Was there any other obstacle in his heart preventing the fairy from keeping her promise?

Meanwhile far out at sea, a young couple were battling the waves in the small sailing boat. Oddly enough, their names were Stan and Edna and they were on their honeymoon. They had seen the island from afar and started making their way towards it when the light on top of the tower started turned itself on. Alerted by the signal, they immediately changed direction and eventually landed safely on the mainland, just as the islander closed his eyes for the last time. He was found the next day when the honeymooning couple visited the island to see with their own eyes how fate had saved them from a tragic end. In accordance with his wishes his body was to be cremated and the ashes scattered into the sea. But when they opened up the furnace, they found his heart still intact and engraved upon it were the words:

The Story of the Blackrock Lighthouse.

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great story

24 August 2007 at 10:38  

well that was wonderful... and romantic in a sad kind of way....

24 August 2007 at 13:06  

A wonderful fairy tale but also of true love and how it knows no boundaries. Really enjoyed this.



24 August 2007 at 13:49  

Nicely done. Very sweet - I can see that you enjoyed writing it. Lyn from Bloggin' Outloud

24 August 2007 at 14:35  

What a great story, Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Enjoy Life!

24 August 2007 at 14:38  

Beautifully told. Sad but it lifted my spirits too.

24 August 2007 at 15:25  

Great story... If this is a genre you would normally avoid, you shouldnt! You wrote it beautifully!

24 August 2007 at 15:49  

I enjoyed reading this story. Very elegant writing.

24 August 2007 at 17:32  

This was a wonderful story. I like the symbolism and the general flow. It reads like it was written to be read aloud, comfortable and smooth. Not sure I like the sort of creepiness of the heart being intact with an engraving on it... I would have preferred if the story ended with "... scattered into the sea."

24 August 2007 at 18:45  

Interesting meme; one I'm not familiar with. You took on a challenge that to me would be difficult and made it work. Very nicely done, with one minor criticism: fairy tales usually have more definitive endings like the lonely old man does physically reunite with his Edna. Or maybe that's just me wanting a happier ending for this sad, but poignant story.

24 August 2007 at 21:11  

Guess he did finally end up with Enda when he died.

Like a sad fairly tale. Nice story.

25 August 2007 at 05:22  

This didn't read as long as it looked. The story kept me engaged right to the end...And you have merged so many different elements...The sea, wishes, fairies (even a hint of Snow White with the mirror)...

But I can't figure out why I am connecting this piece to cancer?? Is there a connection or am I reading too much into this?

26 August 2007 at 02:24  

Tammi, there's no connection to cancer in this piece. I just wanted to show him desiring to be with his wife again.

26 August 2007 at 16:20  

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