The magic wand
That particular day, Magali was taking a walk with her daddy. How lovely! She had him all to herself. Arnaud, her big brother who was eight years old, had gone to play with his friend Manon. Julien, her little brother was at home with Mummy.
Daddy and Magali walked along the meadows and wheat fields. Then they entered the woods.
In the woods, walking under the trees, Magali noticed a stick about a foot long, stuck to a big tree trunk. The stick, which was completely white, looked strangely like a magic wand. Magali had seen a magic show on TV last night. She had loved the wonderful magic tricks and illusions. Especially when the magician had touched a mouse with his wand and a giraffe had appeared in its place. Then, he changed the giraffe into a chicken and finally the mouse reappeared again.
Magali picked up the pretty stick and slipped it into the pocket of her red overalls. She ran to catch up with daddy and held his hand.
"I think, my darling," announced Daddy, "that we better turn around and go home quickly before the rain starts. Look over there at those big gray clouds. We didn't bring our coats. If we carry on, we'll get caught in the rain and get soaked."
Magali stopped, all sad. She was so happy to take a walk, just daddy and her. She really didn't want to go home just yet. What if the stick she had in her pocket really was a magic wand?
"Wait Daddy, wait. I will do a magic trick. I will chase away the clouds: watch!"
Magali held her wand tightly, pointed it towards the clouds and shouted:
"I want you to go away!"
Believe me or not, quarter of an hour later, the wind had changed and the clouds had blown away. Not a drop of rain fell the whole afternoon.
Our friend could continue her walk with her daddy in peace. They got back home at around five o'clock. Magali was very tired and very happy.
Once home, she felt very hungry. She went to the kitchen and noticed a white cardboard box on the kitchen table. She recognised it as coming from the baker. "Mummy must have brought a cake for dessert. What a good idea!"
Magali peeled off the sticky tape holding the box together and peeked inside.
"Oh no!" she said out loud, disappointed. "Lemon meringue pie! I don't like lemon meringue pie. Oh bother! I was so looking forward to something yummy..."
Suddenly she thought of her magic wand. She took it out of her pocket and held it firmly between her fingers. She closed the pastry box and tapped it with her wand, murmuring:
"I want a sugar tart!"
Then she ran upstairs to her bedroom to play.
When dinner was over, Mummy lifted out the lemon meringue pie from the pastry box... and then a sugar tart.
"Hooray!" cried Magali. "It worked! My wand is magic. Oh yes, sugar tart-I'm so happy!"
Mummy looked at her daughter with a very surprised look on her face because she didn't understand. Magali explained that her wand was magic.
"If you've really got a magic wand," suggested Mummy, "then use it to make Julien quiet. I don't know what's wrong with him today but he has been whining since lunchtime. I'm beginning to lose my patience."
Magali got up from table. She took her magic wand and looking Julien straight in the eyes, she circled it around his head several times.
The baby, very surprised by what his big sister was doing, stopped crying and followed the white stick with his eyes. Then Magali placed the wand on his head and ordered:
"I want you to sleep now."
At first, the baby didn't move. Then he lay down on his play mat and one minute later he was fast asleep.
Mummy congratulated her daughter.
"Well done Magali! You are wonderful!"
"But it wasn't me Mummy, it was my magic wand."
"Well, jolly good," added Mummy. "You are a real magician!"
Next Sunday, Magali went with Arnaud, Julien, Daddy and Mummy to their Granny's house. She told her Granny all about the adventures they had had since she found her magic wand in the woods next to a tree trunk. She explained how much it resembled the magic wand that she had seen the magician use on television.
She explained in great detail how she had managed to blow away the clouds and the storm, how she had made the sugar tart appear and how she had made her little brother Julien fall asleep when no one else had been able to calm him.
Granny looked at her little granddaughter.
"Are you sure that your magic wand that did all that?"
"Of course Granny," replied Magali. "How else could it have happened?"
"Perhaps the wind simply changed, taking the clouds with it," suggested Granny. Magali was quiet. She looked at Granny straight in the eyes.
"Perhaps Mummy had bought the sugar tart as well as the lemon meringue pie, and you just didn't see it when you peeked inside the box."
"Perhaps," continued Granny, "Julien was tired from all his whining and worn out from all his crying. You arrived at just the right moment and he fell asleep by himself."
"It's not true Granny! It's not true. My magic wand did everything, I know it did. Each time I shouted «I want it», it happened."
Granny picked Magali up onto her lap.
"My darling, I would like to believe you. Since you are sure that your wand is magic, look over there by the fireplace. Do you see my cat? My black cat with a little white spot on his neck?"
"Well, try to touch him with your magic wand and turn my black cat into a blue cat with yellow stripes."
Magali got up. It really would be a challenge to turn a black cat into a blue cat with yellow stripes. But if she managed, he would look like a fish. It would be very funny. Also, Granny would finally believe her.
"I want you to have blue fur with yellow stripes."
Dear reader-believe me or not-Granny's cat turned blue with yellow stripes!
Magali's mouth dropped open in amazement. Granny nearly dropped her teacup she was so shocked. With a beaming smile, Magali put her magic wand down on the fireplace and ran outside to play in the garden.
She came back inside with Daddy and her two brothers when it started to get dark.
It was only the next day, at school that Magali remembered that she had left her magic wand on the fireplace at Granny's house.
As soon as she got home at about four o'clock, Magali asked Mummy if she could call Granny on the telephone.
"Hello Magali. How are you my darling?"
"I'm very well thank you, Granny. Did you find my magic wand?"
"No darling. Where did you leave it?"
"I left it on the fireplace, next to your cat, when he became blue with yellow stripes."
There was a moment of silence
"Granny, why aren't you saying anything?"
"A little stick, about a foot long, with white bark like birch wood?"
"Yes! That's it!"
There was another moment of silence.
"My darling. I didn't know it was your magic wand. I threw that stick in the fire with the others. It's burnt..."
"Oh Granny," sobbed Magali, "my magic wand..."
Magali never found another magic wand. But ever since that day, her Granny's cat remained blue with yellow stripes, and the poor thing was too shy to leave the house.