This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
The Magic of Stars
Text: Copyright© 2015 Jamieson Wolf
Cover: Copyright© 2015 Jamieson Wolf
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
Wolf Flow Press
For Wonder Mom
Who is truly magical.
The Magic of Stars
Once upon a time, in the village of Inglewood Hamlet, there lived a boy who didn’t believe in
This was particularly odd as Oscar was the grandson of the village miracle worker. Rita would
produce poultices for sore throats or burns, mix potions for love or longing; she could even work a spell for loved ones to talk to the recently deceased.
Oscar watched all of this with skepticism. He would answer the door when a woman came
knocking on their cottage door for a poppet of a love potion, would let them in and be polite, but never stayed to watch what his grandmother did.
He had no interest in such trivialities. He considered himself a reasonable individual and
wouldn’t be taken in by magic or hocus pocus. Oscar believed in science, in numbers, in what
the planets had to tell him. He didn’t believe in the mumbo jumbo that his grandmother gave to
She would wave her hands at him as if shooing away a fly when he voiced these opinions. “Bah! You and your nonsense! The world is more than what you see and what you can touch.”
“What I can see and touch is real. Science explains the rest.”
“What about your soul? What about the sunrise? What about music?”
“There is no proof your soul exists, the sun has a scientific explanation and music is created by musicians. Easy.”
“Bah! You think you know the answer to everything. Not everything can be explained away by
science. There is no way to weigh the human soul but you cannot prove it doesn’t exist. I’m
talking about the feeling that a sunrise or music brings to you, Oscar, not the actual events. How do you feel when you experience these things?”
“I feel the same as I always do. I know you want me to say that I marvel at the magic of them,
but it’s not magic, it’s not miracles. It’s science.”
“Phooy! Sometimes I wish your mother were still alive. She believed in magic, always did. She would go out and dance during the first snow fall, believing that the snow was filled with fairy
dust. She believed in magic.”
Oscar barely remembered his mother. She was merely a memory, a puff of smoke in his brain.
When he tried to reach for his mother within his memories, she would fly away from him,
carried on the breeze of his thoughts.
“I miss her, Nana. Do you think she would have liked me?”
“Liked you? Child, she loved you with all of her heart.”
Quietly, almost afraid to speak the words, Oscar asked: “Why couldn’t your magic save her,
She was quiet for a moment and Oscar wondered if she would reply. Finally, she came to him
and pulled him close to her. “Sometimes, there are things that even magic can’t fix.” She said
Stroking his hair, she hummed a soft tune to him as he let a few silent tears slide down his face. Finally, she dried his tears and kissed him on the nose. “Come, we’ll bake cookies. Your mother loved my cookies.” She looked out the window and smelled the air. “It will snow soon. The first snowfall, Oscar! That’s a real miracle. It will look so beautiful for Yule. It’s only a few days
away.” Rita said.
They listened to the air blowing outside of their small cottage, holding each other close. Oscar
pulled his grandmother closer and they listened to the wind sing.
When he went to bed that night, Oscar put all of his things away, got into his nightgown and
crawled into bed. “Good night Nana!” He called out.
As their cottage had really thin walls, she heard him loud and clear. She came to his bedroom
and opened the door. “You sleep well my boy. Say good night to your mother too.”
His grandmother was about to leave, but pointed out the window. “Look, Oscar! It’s a falling
star! You should wish on it, they’re powerful magic.”
Oscar resisted rolling his eyes. “You know I don’t believe in magic.”
“Even so, a wish never hurt anyone. The world is built on wishes. Don’t forget that. Sleep well
“You too, Nana.”
She closed the door behind him with a soft click. Oscar turned to look at the picture of his
mother, the only one he had. It had been drawn by an artist that lived in Inglewood Hamlet and
he often painted portraits of the royal family that ruled in the large castle that sat above the
His mother had been walking through the square one afternoon a few summers ago when the
artist had stopped her and said he had to paint her. When she had come home, Oscar’s mother
had given the painting to him.
“So you’ll never forget what I look like.” She had said.
Sometimes, when he looked at the painting at night, the candle flame flickering and casting
shadows over the walls, he could almost swear that it moved. He would never tell his
grandmother this, of course. He wasn’t supposed to believe in that kind of stuff after all.
He turned his head away from the painting, tears welling in his eyes, and saw the shooting star. It looked as if it were full of light to Oscar, brighter than any other star he had seen before. Because he was feeling sentimental (something that he rarely allowed himself to do) and missed his
mother, he made a wish.
“I wish I believed in magic.” He said and blew out the candle. In the darkness, he watched the
shooting star fall to the ground and then the bright white light was no more.
The next morning, when Oscar looked out of his window, he saw that it had snowed overnight.
He had fallen asleep looking at cobbled streets and woken up to a wonderland of snow. He knew that snow was caused when the air got cold and when there was enough moisture, but that didn’t
take away from the awe he experienced.
He remembered that, as a younger child, nothing made him happier than to run into the snow and send snow flakes flying, to build snow people and make snow and ice castles. Now he just loved to walk around in it, hearing the crunch of snow under his boots, and marvel at how it came to
be. The scientific achievements that nature brought every winter were astounding.
Quickly getting dressed, he went out into the main room of the cottage to find his grandmother
making candles and having a cup of tea. “There you are love. Shall I put a cuppa on for you?”
“Nana, it snowed!”
She smiled at him. “I can see that!”
“Can I go out into the snow? I have serious data to collect!”
“You can’t tell me that you want to go out with an empty stomach? Have a cuppa and a crumpet at the very least. Careful now, they’re hot.”
As Oscar ate, he looked outside at the snow. It looked as if the world were covered in a blanket. He couldn’t wait to see how Inglewood Hamlet looked. It was always the most beautiful during Yuletide, every building covered in icicles, snow covering the ground, the small fountain in the
centre of the town square frozen, arcs of water frozen in the air.
He turned from the window to see his Nana looking at him with a wide smile on her face.
“What’s so funny, Nana?”
“Oh you are my child. You claim not to believe in magic but you sit there at the window,
entranced by snow.”
“How can I not be entranced? Do you know what Master Jaxon says? He says that snow is made when the air grows very cold and it freezes the water in air. The water falls through the clouds
and makes snowflakes. He says that no two snowflakes are the same!”
His grandmother let out a soft laugh. “That’s the Scribe, isn’t it? You know he just likes to tell
stories, child. It’s what he does.”
“It’s not a story Nana. It’s science.”
“Bah! Science can explain snow, can it? I think that snow’s magical. It coats everything in
Yuletide, as if it were all made from diamonds. Surely that’s magical?”
Oscar thought his grandmother’s summarization of how beautiful the snow made everything was very apt, but he was trying to make a point here. “It’s not magical. It’s-”
She laughed before he could finish. “Yes, yes, science. Well away with you into the bright snow land of science then. Go on, wear your boots and your mits. And come back when the sun sets.
I’m making stew!”
Oscar was out the door within five minutes, eager to walk in the snow and marvel at how it could come to be. However, once he was out walking in the snow, his thoughts turned to his mother.
They always did during the Yuletide season.
This had been his mother’s favourite time of year. She had loved decorating the tree with
ornaments that sparkled like stars, carolling in the streets for anyone to hear. His mother always went outside to dance during the first snowfall. He could still remember her with her arms
reaching up towards the sky and a brilliant smile on her face that shone brighter than any
He remembered how she liked to twirl in the snow while it fell around her. She said it was like
being blessed by the sky. Even though he was scientifically minded, he decided to give it a shot. If he couldn’t have his mother in his life, the least he could do was find a way to remember her
and bring her to life in his heart.
Raising his arms above his head, he listened to the wind and began to twirl in time to it, leaping
along the cobblestone street and trying to feel alive inside instead of lost. When he was done, he was sweating and could feel a blush on his cheeks.
“That looked like fun!” A voice said behind him. “Do you always dance like that?”
Turning, Oscar saw a girl about his age with bright blond hair and sparkling blue eyes. She had
an impish grin. He had never seen her before. “Who are you?”
“My names…Laura.” She smiled and her teeth were whiter than the snow that covered the
ground. “So do you always dance like that? It looks like so much fun!” She lifted her arms above her head and did a twirl that stirred up the snow around her. She let out a laugh that sounded like pure joy. “Oh, this is fun!”
Oscar noticed that the snow she danced upon seemed to shine like glitter. He shook his head,
knowing that that was just the individual crystals of snow. Laura stopped dancing and looked at him, her head cocked to the right.
“Are you all right? You shook your head just now. Do you have a cold?”
“No, I’m okay. I just had a thought that I wanted to get rid of.”
“Do your thoughts normally fall out of your head when you shake it? They mustn’t be very
strong thoughts, otherwise they wouldn’t fall out.”
“I was just thinking about science and why the snow sparkles like it does.”
“Oh, well that’s easy, Oscar. It’s because the snow is made of stars. Everyone knows that!”
Oscar gaped at her. “You don’t really believe that do you?”
“Of course I do! What other explanation is there?”
“Well, snow is made of water. Water can transmit or reflect light. The snowflakes act like a
mirror, reflecting the light. Since the snowflakes are so small, it looks as if the snow is filled with glitter.”
Laura let out a loud and joyful laugh. “Oh, that’s too much! Do you really think that’s why snow sparkles? Next you’ll tell me that fire is made from demon’s breath!”
He decided to tease her. He knew how fire was created. “Isn’t it?”
“No, silly! Fire is made when an emotion becomes so strong that it erupts into being. Don’t you go to school? What do they teach you there, anyway?”
Oscar shook his head again, unsure of how to respond. Laura gave him another concerned look.
“Oh, did you have another thought try to fall out? Pesky things, aren’t they?”
Despite himself, Oscar let out a loud laugh. Laura smiled merrily at him. “Someone’s wish has
just been granted!”
“Whatever do you mean?”
“That’s what happens whenever someone laughs.”
Oscar went to shake his head again, but thought better of it. “Would you like to take a walk
“I’d like that very much, Oscar.”
She had said his name again. “How do you know my name?”
“I’ve always known it.”
“But we just met.”
“I think we’ve known each other a lot longer than that.” She reached out to take his hand and,
though her hands weren’t in mits, they were warm as summertime sun. Laura smiled and they
started to walk.
The village of Inglewood Hamlet looked like something out of a picture card or a painted
canvass. Everything looked as were covered in a sheen of glass, so brightly did everything gleam in the sunlight. Laura took it all in, her smile shining brighter than the sun.
“It’s so beautiful here. You must love it very much.”
“Well you live here too. Or did you come from another town?”
“You could say that.” She looked up at the sky and closed her eyes to protect them from the
bright sunshine. She opened them again and squeezed Oscar’s hand. “I’m so glad we’re friends, Oscar.”
They spent the day together, exploring the sights the town had to offer. There were the
memorials to the previous Royal Family, who had each disappeared under mysterious
circumstances. There was the Scribe, Jaxon, who showed them how a printing press worked.
They were even followed by two beautiful blue birds on their journey. It was as if the birds were frolicking with them.
Oscar took Laura to all of the other things he liked: the manuscript store that sold stories and
histories, pamphlets and books of all kinds. She loved jewelry store that was filled with trinkets
and necklaces, some that had been worn by the Royal Family themselves.
He loved how everything that had become rather boring and every day became new in her eyes. The joy she exuded over such small simple things made him see things in a new way. She didn’t want to go to see the mystic, though. She shied away from his place uttering “He might know
who I am.”
“What does that mean?” Oscar had asked.
“Is it right to know everything about anyone without you telling them? I don’t think so.”
They walked on a little further, watching the town prepare itself for Yule. Eventually though, the sun started to go down and it was growing colder. “Did you want to come back to my place for
dinner?” Oscar asked Laura. “Nan says she’s making stew tonight.”
Laura looked slightly sad. “Oh, I can’t tonight, Oscar. I have something I have to do. But can I
come and see you tomorrow?”
He answered right away. “I would love that.” He said quietly, surprised that it was true.
“I will see you tomorrow then. In front of the fountain in the town square?”
She held out her hand in a small fist. “I have something for you.” Opening her hand, some
sparkles fell from her palm and landed in his.
“What is this?”
“Stardust.” She said. As she walked away, Oscar watched the darkness take her until she was
Oscar folded his hand around the stardust and when he opened it again, it had hardened into a
small object shaped like a star. It glittered like Laura did when she smiled. He knew just what he wanted to do with it.
Running home, he arrived in record time. He threw open the door to find his grandmother at the
stove, stirring a pot, delicious smells coming from it and filling the cottage with a heady
perfume. “Hello child! Wipe your feet before you come in. Dinner’s almost ready.”
“Nana!” I had the most wonderful day!”
Turning to look at her grandson, Rita did have to admit there was something different about him. His cheeks were rosy not from the cold and snow, but from something more. She could feel more life in him, more joy, then there had been since his mother had passed on through the veil.
“Oh my boy, I can see that! Take off your boots and coat and then you can tell me all about it.”
“First, I want to show you this!”
He ran across the floor, still wearing his boots, and placed something in the palm of her hand.
She felt heat running up her palm right away and looked down to see something gold and silver, small like a stone. However, she knew this was no stone. There was magic in this and she had no idea how it had ended up with Oscar, the boy who did not believe.
“Where did you get this?” Rita asked quietly.
“I got it from my new friend, Laura! I met her today! We spent the whole day together and had a fabulous time. I didn’t think about scientific facts once!” He laughed and the sound was like
music to her. “Nana, can we put up a Yule tree this year? I want this to be the star.”
The questions shocked her as Oscar had not wanted to decorate a tree for years. Ever since he
had lost his mother, the joy in his life had been replaced with cold scientific facts and things out of books. Rita looked down at her grandson, a feeling of wonder coming over her.
“Of course we can. I’ll send a message to Jessica Goodwin, the woodcutter, and we can
hopefully put the tree up after dinner.”
The smile he gave her in return was thanks enough.
Jessica brought a tree later that night. It was a large balsam fir with thick needles. She brought
Rita a basket of decorations for the tree as well. “Figured you might not have a lot, given that the little one’s mother passed so close to Yuletide.” She said. “I hope that’s okay.”
Rita softened at the kindness in her. “You didn’t have to do that.”
“Only seemed right. You can’t have a tree with nothing on it, no matter how good it smells.”
Indeed, the scent of the tree mingled with the smells of stew that still remained in the air.
Looking at Oscar’s face as he looked at the tree, she was filled with a joy she hadn’t experienced in years.
“Well thank you, Jessica. It means a lot.”
“Hey, Happy Yule. Here, let’s set the tree up.”
She set the tree in a stand that was in the box of decorations. They propped the tree near the
window, so that everyone who passed by their cottage would see it. When the tree was set up
properly, Jessica tipped her hat to Rita. “Let me know if you need anything, okay? Happy Yule
“Happy Yule to you, Jessica.”
She left and Rita turned to Oscar. “Let’s put on some hot chocolate. We can have it while we
decorate the tree.”
“I can make it Nana!” He ran over and hugged her. “Oh my gosh! A Yule tree!”
She laughed and hugged Oscar close. “Yes, a Yule tree. Come on, let’s make the hot chocolate.” Whoever this Laura was, she owed the girl a debt of thanks. She had brought him back to life.
They decorated the tree, taking care to place the ornaments so that they covered the whole tree. When that was done, Rita looked at Oscar. “Do you have the star?”
“It’s right here, Nana.” He took it out of his pocket. “I don’t know that it will be big enough
“It’ll be plenty big enough. It’ll add a little sparkle at the top of the tree.”
She lifted him so that he could place the pebble at the top of the tree. Rita wasn’t sure that it was going to stay, but it did, as if the tree were waiting for it. She put Oscar down and they looked at the tree in its entirety.
“It’s so pretty.” Oscar said.
“And look child. Look at your star.” Rita pointed up at the top of the tree. The little pebble of
“stardust” had begun to pulse with light, as if it were lit from the inside. They stood, arms around each other, as they looked at the tree and were filled with silent wonder.
There seemed to be no need to speak. Only to observe and to be together. That was enough.
The next morning, Oscar ran out into the main room of the cottage to put his boots on. He
wanted to run to the fountain and couldn’t wait to see Laura. His grandmother was already there and there was a look of awe on her face.
“What’s wrong Nana?”
“Nothing is wrong, child. Look at your star, come look at it!”
Approaching the tree, Oscars look of wonder grew into one of astonishment as he took in his
star. It had grown from the size of a pebble to the size of a small starfish. It glowed brightly,
bathing the tree in silver and gold light.
“Where did you get this star, Oscar?”
“I already told you Nana. My friend Laura gave it to me!”
“She must be a powerful sorceress to produce such magic.”
Oscar gave her an incredulous look. “This isn’t magic.”
“Yes, Oscar, it is. How else do you explain something that grew on it’s own to ten times its size and glows with it’s own light, with nary a candle to be seen?”
“There has to be some other explanation.”
“Well if there is, I’d like to hear it.” Rita said. “Why are you so intent on denying that magic
exists?” She asked in exasperation.
“It doesn’t matter. I’m going out to see Laura!” He hurried to get his boots on.
“Don’t you want something to eat first?”
“No, I’m not hungry. I’ll eat when I’m out.”
“Oscar, can we at least talk about this? This is clearly magic, you used to love it when I did my
spells. Why are you so afraid?”
He looked at her and he looked somehow older than his eight years of age. “I’m not afraid.
Magic took my mom.” He said.
Then he was out the door and gone before she could say anything. If she had been able to find
her voice, however, Rita didn’t know what she’d say.
Oscar knew that he was too early to meet Laura, but he went to the fountain anyway. He had
nowhere else to go. He could have gone around Inglewood Hamlet and got his grandmother a
Yule gift, but he wanted to be alone with his thoughts.
The fountain had frozen over and a thin layer of ice covered the entirety of the stone, making it
look as if it were made from glass. It depicted a mother and her child, splashing through water.
Depending on how he moved, and how the thin sunlight hit the fountain, it looked as if the
mother and the child were alive.
He regretted lashing out at his grandmother, but he spoke the truth. He remembered the fire,
remembered the sparkle of magic dust that hung in the air, hours after the fire had died down. He remembered the Yule tree and how their small cottage had smelled of pine for weeks.
Most of all, he remembered that day as the day his mother was taken from him.
A tear slid out of his eye and he wiped it away. When more started to come, he blinked his eyes
rapidly trying to keep them from falling. He would not cry, he could not.
“It’s okay to cry, you know. It let’s the bad feelings out and leaves more room for the good
feelings that shine like the sun inside of us.”
Looking up, he saw Laura…except it wasn’t. This woman had the same eyes, the same voice, the same round, kind face; but this woman was older. The Laura he had met yesterday was his age.
This person was a woman of at least twenty years.
“I’m not crying. And how did you get so old?”
“Of course you’re not crying.” She gave him a soft smile that stirred something in him. That
smile was connected to a memory but he couldn’t place it. “And you wound me, Oscar! Never
call a maiden old. It’s terribly insulting to our vanity.” Though the words were an admonishment, she still smiled at him.
“Sorry.” He said. “I’m not having a good day.”
“But it’s only just begun! Let’s go do something fun.”
“First, you can tell me why you are years older than you were.”
“Oh, that can wait! Let’s go make snow angels, have some hot chocolate, go sliding down
“I haven’t done any of those things.”
“Oh Oscar. Then you have never truly lived.” She held out her right hand. “Come on, let’s go!”
“Where are we going?”
“We’re going to live, Oscar. We’re going to live. Come on!”
He felt such warmth coming from her, such genuine kindness and he knew it would be okay.
Taking her hand, Oscar felt some of the warmth from her rush up his arm and into him, keeping him warm against the cold.
“Who are you?”
“There will be time for that later! Come on!”
She rushed down the street away from the fountain and Oscar ran with her. He felt free for the
first time in a long time and, despite himself, he let out a loud laugh that filled the frozen air.
“That’s the spirit! Come on, let’s go see Jessica!”
“The wood cutter? Why do you want to see her?”
“To see if she has planks of wood that we can slide on!”
“We’re actually going to go sliding down a snowy hill?”
“Yep, it’s part of every childhood. You have to live a little, Oscar!”
Though Oscar had thought that Laura had not been in Inglewood Hamlet long, she knew the
right way to go and didn’t need any directions to get to her woodshop. Jessica was outside,
cutting wood into logs and shorter pieces that people could use to heat their homes.
“Hello Oscar!” Jessica said. “Do you like your tree?”
“It’s very beautiful, thank you.”
“Don’t mention it. What can I do for you two today?”
“I don’t suppose you have a plank of wood that you could spare? We want to go sledding on the hill out front of the Willow Farm.”
“I do so long as you don’t tell old man Willow where you got it from.” Jessica smiled. She
handed over a small plank of wood. “This used to belong to a door. So open it and find out
where it leads.” She tipped her hat to them.
“Thank you very much, wood cutter Jessica.” Oscar said.
“Jessie will do fine. You two have fun now.”
“We will!” Laura said. Holding the plank in her left hand, Laura grabbed Oscar’s hand with her
right and they raced on.
“You’re not serious!” Oscar said, panting. “They say that the Willow Farm is haunted!”
“That’s just the wind whispering through the willow branches!”
Oscar stopped running. “How do you know that?”
Laura looked at him. “What do you mean?”
“Well how do you know about the sounds being the Willow trees? You said you’ve never been
to Inglewood Hamlet before.”
She smiled at him. “I never said that, Oscar. Come on! The day is wasting away!”
Laura ran on ahead of him and he had no choice but to run and catch up. She was waiting for him at the top of the hill in front of the Willow grove. The branches were moving to and fro as if they were alive. They were covered in a layer of ice and snow and the sound they made was like the
tinkling of bells.
Sitting the plank of wood on the ground, Laura sat towards the back, leaving room for Oscar in
the front. “Come on! Climb on!”
“I have a few questions for you first.”
“No, after while we’re having hot chocolate. I don’t like to answer questions without chocolate.” She grinned at him and patted the wood. “Come on Oscar. You’re not afraid, are you?”
“A little.” He said sheepishly.
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep you safe.” She patted the wood again. “Come on.”
He didn’t really know Laura, but he trusted her. There was a brightness in her that made him feel safe. He had so many questions, but they could wait. There was time yet. He put the practical
part of his mind that wanted him to go home to his grandmother out of the way and got on the
piece of wood, in between Laura’s outstretched legs.
“Are you ready?”
Oscar looked at the way forward. The hill hadn’t seemed that high when he had looked at it from the ground, but up here, about to slide down it, the hill seemed impossibly high. “As ready as I’ll ever be.”
“That’s my boy!” Laura said and pushed them forward.
They were off down the hill, speeding downward at a fast pace. Oscar let out a yell of joy and
held on tighter to the sled and to Laura. He could hear the wind as it rushed past them, could hear it whispering to him and it sounded as if someone was singing along to music that only they
He let out another laugh as they went over a small bump of land that had been hidden in the
snow. They rose into the air and, as the sled went a bit further into the air, Oscar fully expected
that they would fall to the ground in a heap. However, Laura said “Hold on, Oscar!”
She waved one of her hands and he watched sparkles erupt out of the tips of her fingers and fly
into the wind. The sled started to glow and throbbed with a golden light. Instead of falling to the bottom of the hill as they should have, they sailed down to the ground where they landed with a
They were silent for a moment, both of them breathing hard, when Laura let out a loud whoop of joy. “Oh my goodness Oscar! Wasn’t that wonderful?”
Oscar was in shock. They had survived the drop from the sky without a scratch on them. There
was only one explanation for something like that, but he didn’t want to admit it to himself.
Instead, he stood slowly and looked at the sled. Some of the sparkle was still swirling in the
snow around it.
“Who are you?” He asked again.
Laura smiled at him and Oscar knew that she wouldn’t answer him. At least not yet. He had read a lot of stories that Jaxon had written for him and if he knew anything, he knew that some stories took time. There was pain in her eyes. His grandmother had the same look sometimes when they spoke about his mother.
She thought that he couldn’t see, that he didn’t notice, but he did. He saw far too much. All
Laura held out her hand. “Come on, let’s go get that hot chocolate.”
“What do we do about the sled?”
“What? This?” Laura bent down and picked up a small piece of wood no bigger than the palm of his hand. It was a small miniature sleigh with a golden string attached to it that reminded Oscar
of the swirl of sparkles that he had seen behind the sled.
She handed it to him. “Here you can hang it on your tree.” She held out her hand to him. “Come on, let’s go find a cup of hot chocolate!”
Nodding, Oscar took her hand and they walked away from the Willow farm back towards the
centre of town. They walked past the fountain the centre of town and Laura led them to The
Butterfly, a café that had been part of Inglewood Hamlet for years. It served all kinds of cakes
and drinks but people went there to see the butterflies. They were made from the steam that rose from people’s drinks. The butterflies would fly around for a little while, floating around the
ceiling, before disappearing.
They got a small table towards the back with a good view of the town square. There were tons of people around town. Oscar could see the scribe Jaxon with his lover Mikhail. They walked hand in hand towards Lavender’s, the shop that sold paper, pens and ink.
James and Josie, who called herself the Maiden, walked by with James carrying bags and Josie
carrying their little girl, Jaxie. Her legs were morphing into a fishes tail and back again. He saw Sheenagh and Paeder walking hand in hand, though his hand had the tendency to turn to smoke
every once in a while. They only had eyes for each other.
Christopher and Suzanne passed by the window, talking of their plans for the Yule festivities that were to begin tomorrow night. Prudence Merryweather walked with Ella. Ella was the older of
the two women, but you would not know it to look at her. She walked with the grace of a much
younger woman; some said that she had stopped aging.
Bastien was talking with Maximum and they looked very happy together. They had adopted a
child from the village across the way and she held one of their hands, swinging between them.
Pam was with Gregory, with the eyes as blue as the sky, and they were buying food they would
need for tomorrow nights’ feast.
Oscar should have been overjoyed being witness to so much joy, so much love, but it only made his heart ache all the more. Laura picked up on this and said “A farthing for your thoughts?”
Shaking his head, Oscar said “I’m just being silly.”
“No feeling is ever silly. What’s wrong? Didn’t you have fun today?”
“I did, I really did.”
“Then what’s the matter?”
“I miss my mother.” He said softly. “I miss her so much that it hurts. I try to fill my head up with facts of science and learning so that I don’t have to confront the other thoughts that are in my
head all the time. I feel like part of me is missing.”
Laura was quiet for a moment before she spoke. “She misses you too, Oscar.”
“How do you know that? You never knew her.”
“No, but I know that anyone with you for a son would miss you, very much.”
Oscar turned to look at her and noticed that she was crying. Not normal tears, though. They
would leak out of her eyes and then freeze on her face into snowflakes. The butterflies found this particularly interesting and soon, Laura was covered in steam butterflies. She let out a laugh and they faded away to nothingness.
“How do you do that?”
“Magic.” She held out her hand, palm up, and Oscar watched as a small swirl of
snowflakes appeared in her palm and began to dance along air that he couldn’t see. They twirled around in her palm until they, too, melted.
“There’s no such thing as magic.” Oscar said softly. He was less and less sure of that now. He
was quiet for a moment before he asked: “Can you tell me why you were so young yesterday and now you’re older? Or how you did that trick with the sled? How did you make the pebble that
you told me was stardust, but is now a star on top of my tree? Can you tell me that?”
He didn’t think Laura would reply, but she finally did. “Can you wait one more day for
“But you said-”
“I know I said I would tell you later, but I think your grandmother should hear this, too. Can I
come and see you tomorrow night?”
“It’s the eve before Yuletide.”
Oscar regarded her for a moment, looked at her dark brown eyes that sparkled with a magic all
their own. “Why won’t you tell me now?”
Smiling at him, Laura said: “Because, some things are worth waiting for. And there are a few
things I have to do. Besides which, I think you have to have a heart to heart with your
“How do you know that?”
“I know a lot of things. For instance, I know you are brave, old beyond your years. But you don’t have to do it all yourself. Don’t forget to hang your ornament on the tree.”
She stood and walked away into the bustling crowds of townsfolk. Oscar looked after Laura as
she walked away until he could on longer see her, then went home to his grandmother.
Approaching the door to the cottage, Oscar was filled with some apprehension. He heard
carollers singing all around him but in his heart he knew he had been rude to his grandmother.
He only hoped she would forgive him.
The door opened and Rita saw Oscar looking meek and terrified. “Come and sit by me.”
Rita looked at her grandson and saw how afraid he was. “I’m sorry Nana, I really am.”
That warmed her and she tried to ease his fear. “It’s okay child, it’s me who should be sorry. I
owe you the greatest of apologies.”
“But I was mean to you, Nana! I shouldn’t have said what I did.”
“Yes, you should have. I’ll tell you why. Come here and sit down beside me. I made your
She pointed at the plate on the table in front of her. It was filled with cookies of all shapes and
sizes: gingersnaps, chocolate chip, vanilla wafers, chocolate fingers. There was also an
assortment of Yule cookies: green and red candy cane shaped shortbread, sugar cookies and
gingerbread men and women wearing little green and red outfits.
“Look at all the cookies! You made so many!”
“Well your favourite dessert is cookies, so that left me open to make many different kinds.”
“How did you make so many in less than a day?”
“I used magic.”
“There’s no such thing as magic.”
Giving him an exasperated look, Rita gestured at the Yule tree. You say that and yet, look at the star atop the tree. It’s even bigger than it was this morning. You say that there’s no such thing as magic, yet you are covered in its scent.”
Oscar sniffed himself. “Magic has a scent?”
“Oh yes, it does. It smells different on each person.”
“What does my scent smell like?”
Rita took a sniff. “Like orange blossoms.”
“Like my mother.”
“Yes.” She stopped to wipe away a tear. That scent brought all the memories of her daughter
back to the surface again and they caused her pain but also a fierce kind of joy. “I owe you an
“No you don’t, Nana.”
“Yes, I do. I kept magic from you after what happened to your mother. I didn’t let you see that
magic could be beautiful, wonderful and amazing. You only knew it for what it took from you. I should have told you that all magic has a price. Instead, I hid it from you in order to save you.
Does that make sense?”
Oscar nodded his head. “What did happen to my mother? I remember seeing her working one of her spells and the fire that it created, but I don’t remember anything else. How did I lose my
Rita sighed. She had always known she would have to tell him eventually, she just didn’t think
he would be so young and so old beyond his years because of what had happened. “Your mother was an exceptionally gifted witch. She could whip up a miracle for anyone in no time. She even
taught me a thing or two.”
“What happened, Nana?” Oscar’s voice was quiet and small and she hated the fear she heard
“It was the night before Yule. We had decorated everything and your mother realized that we
didn’t have a star on top of the tree. She created one out of thin air, one very much like the one
on top of our tree now.
“When she had put the star on the tree, she looked older, more hollowed out. It was to be the last piece of magic she would perform. She hadn’t listened to me, you see. You can’t do everything with magic. It has a price and every little bit of magic you do takes something from the body.
That must be replaced with an act of kindness before you do another act of magic. That’s a
cardinal rule that your mother forgot.”
“But mom was kind, wasn’t she?”
“She was one of the kindest people I knew. Which is why it was so horrible for her to pass away in that fashion.”
“Her whole body started to glow and glitter. With nothing left to hold it together, it started to
break apart. You came out of your room just as your mother broke apart into a scattering of
stardust. The last thing she did was to look at you and say: ‘I love you Oscar.’”
Rita was quiet for a moment, letting the words sink in. She had kept quiet about them for five
long years and it was a comfort to have them out in the open and out of her after all this time.
Looking at him, she finally saw the child instead of the adult in a child’s body that he had been
for so long.
She pulled him closer to her. “Are you okay?”
“Why did you never tell me?”
Rita sighed. “You were so young and you carried your pain for so long. But you can’t hide
forever from the truth. You have to set it free. So you see, that’s why I owe you an apology.
I should have told you long before now. Will you forgive me?”
He looked up at her and she saw light in his eyes instead of the shadows that had been there for
so long. “There’s nothing to forgive.” He felt around in his coat pocket. “I almost forgot! I have another ornament for the tree!”
He took out a small sled ornament from his pocket. Rita could smell the scent of magic on this
too. “Where did you get that?”
“It’s the sled that Laura and I flew on when we went down the hill at Willow Farm! Isn’t it
“Very much so.”
“Laura said she would like to come and visit tomorrow. Is that okay Nana?”
“It is. I’d very much like to meet this friend of yours.”
“She’s lovely and wise. I like her very much.”
“If she’s kind to you, that’s all that matters.” Rita saw the light shine brighter in Oscar’s eyes and she prayed to the Gods that, whoever this Laura was, she was good to him. She would know
Oscar hadn’t looked forward to Yule in a long time. Every year, it had been a reminder of the
biggest hole in his life. Now, he was seeing it with new eyes and a lighter heart.
He went carolling with his grandmother early in the day and they had tea and cookies for lunch. They made some more in the early afternoon for guests that were stopping by. Jaxon and Mikhail brought him a handmade journal and his own pen and inkwell.
“Oh, these are beautiful!” Oscar said.
“Well, I thought it was a good idea for you to have a place to write down your stories.” Jaxon
“I’m not a storyteller though, not like you.”
“Yes you are. Everyone has a story in them, Oscar, even you. You have to let it out.”
Jessica came by with more ornaments for their tree and Suzanne and Christopher payed them a
visit, bringing Oscar several books of stories and legends. “Thought you’d like these.” Suzanne
said. “I always loved stories as a child.”
“Everyone has a story in them.” Oscar said, giving Jaxon a wink.
Later, when the sky had grown dark with dusk and everyone had gone home, there was a knock
on their cottage door. They were having hot chocolate and watching all of the ornaments on the
tree, listening to carollers singing outside.
“That will be your friend, I expect.” Rita said.
“Oh, I bet it is!”
He ran to the door and opened it. “Hello Laura! Come in, come in! Happy Yule!”
When Laura entered the cottage and the light illuminated her features. Oscar saw that she had
grown older still. She now looked to be a woman in her thirties instead of the woman in the
bloom of her twenties she had been yesterday.
“Hello Oscar.” She looked visibly nervous. “Are you feeling better today? You’re looking well.”
“My nana made cookies!”
“Ah yes, cookies can heal the heart.”
“You look older now.” Oscar said. “Why do you keep aging? Is something wrong with you?
Nana, come and meet Laura!”
“I already know who she is.” She said. “I already know her. But how can this be?”
He looked at his grandmother and she was pale, tears were streaming down her face. She
approached Laura and touched her face softly as if trying to convince herself that Laura was
“Lorraine?” His grandmother said. “Lorraine, is that you?” She whispered these words, as if she hardly dared to utter them.
“Yes, Mama, it’s me. I’ve waited to see you for so very long.”
“Oh my darling girl.”
Then his grandmother was enfolding Laura in a hug, wrapping her arms tightly around her as if
afraid that she would disappear into thin air. Oscar looked at the two of them, confusion brewing.
“Why did you call her Lorraine, Nana? This is Laura.”
“No, my boy, this is Lorraine, my daughter Lorraine and your mother.”
“No, my mother is dead. She’s dead and she’s never coming back.”
“She has come back to us. Look.” Rita went to Oscar’s bedroom and came back with the portrait of his mother that sat on his bedside table. She held it up to Laura’s face and Oscar saw that it
was the same woman on canvass and in front of them.
“How is this possible?” Oscar said.
“I’d think we’d both like to know the answer to that, Lorraine.”
“Of course. Can I get a cup of cider, Mama? I’m a bit parched. How about we all sit for a
moment and then I will tell you my tale.”
They sat in the glow of the star that sat atop the tree.
Oscar didn’t really know what to say. He was confused and didn’t know what was going on. His grandmother kept staring at Laura/Lorraine with glassy eyes and a huge smile on her face. For
his part, Oscar had his mother back after wishing for her for so long but he didn’t know what to
Finally, he spoke: “Can you answer some of my questions now? Why are you older every time I see you? Who are you really? How can you make magic with stardust? Are you really my
“Well, it all started when I tried to make the star on the tree, all those years ago. My magic had
depleted me and I hadn’t replenished it. When it took the last bit of me, I was turned into the last thing I had created…”
“A star!” Oscar said.
“Yes. Only at that point, I was merely stardust. It took me some time to come together and find my way to the sky. Once I did, I shone as brightly as I could in hopes that you would look up and see me, but you were always so smart, Oscar, with your nose always in a book.”
“Sorry, Mom. If I had known you were up there, I would have looked. “
“It’s okay Oscar. You were living your life the way you needed to. I can’t fault you for that.”
“How were you able to come down to Earth?” Rita asked.
“Well, I detached myself from the sky in the hope that you or Oscar would see me. Stars can
only assume a human form if a wish is made, you know. When you wished upon me, Oscar, I
was able to come down to Inglewood Hamlet.”
“Why did you grow older each time I saw you? When I met you on the first day, you were a
“When you’re a star, you’re ageless. You have no real corporal body, no hands or skin, eyes or
teeth. You simply are, pure energy given form. When you come down to Earth after someone
makes a wish, you are reborn again. But stars age quickly when on land without the sky to
suspend their aging.”
“Is that why you went away each night? Did you go back to the sky?”
“I did indeed. I shone down upon you the past few nights, hoping against hope that you would
“Why is it so important for me to believe in magic?”
“If you didn’t, I couldn’t be here. Magic is about living, Oscar. Life is magic, you know, the
most wonderful kind of magic there is.”
They were quiet for a while. Oscar was trying to digest all that he had been told in such a short
time. Finally, he looked at Lorraine and said “Can I give you a hug?”
She gave him a watery smile and said “Of course, Oscar. Of course.”
He leapt up and went to her, wrapping his arms around in a tight hug, trying to convey
everything to her without the use of words. She seemed to understand because she hugged him
When they withdrew from the hug, both of them had tears running down their faces as did Rita
who was watching them with a big smile on her face.
“Oh dear, there is a better use for these tears. They are tears of joy, so they will do quite nicely.”
Stepping back, Lorraine waved her hands. There was the whisper of wind and Oscar watched as
their tears flew through the air and landed on the Yule tree. There, they glowed with a softly as if lit by an internal light all their own.
They watched the tree glowing brightly and Oscar was filled with a warmth that had been absent for so long. He knew now that his mother would live on inside him and that he was her son. That knowledge gave him hope.
He turned to his mother and said quietly: “You’ll have to go away again, won’t you?”
She nodded. “I age too quickly here on Earth. I have to remain in the sky where my spirit
A tear ran down Oscar’s face and she wiped it away. “Don’t cry, son. Don’t cry. I will always be with you in here.” She placed a hand on his heart. “And I will always be watching you from up
there.” She pointed up towards the sky. “I will never be far. All you have to do is make a wish if you want to talk to me and I will be here.”
The air was filled with the sound of bells ringing out a joyful tune and the air around them was
filled with the sounds of villagers crying out in merriment. Rita looked to the moon above them
to judge the time and said “It’s midnight. Merry Yule!”
“Merry Yule.” Lorraine said.
“Merry Yule. I don’t need anything this year. I have everything I could want.” He took his
mother hand and his grandmothers and they stood there, three generations joined as one. The
small cottage was filled with a song that sounded like flutes playing and the wind grew a little
Rita looked at Oscar with pride written on her face. “You’ve worked your first bit of magic
tonight, Oscar. You may make a powerful Wizard as well as a writer.”
“We didn’t work any magic.” He said.
“On the contrary, family is some of the most powerful magic and you cherished it.”
Oscar looked at his mother again. “You have to go now, don’t you?”
She nodded. “I do. I have to shine brightly for everyone. But don’t forget what I said to you.
I will always be watching over you and I am never very far away.”
“I know that now. I love you, mom.”
“And I love you, my son.”
She gave him another tight hug and kissed his cheek then hugged her mother and kissed her
softly as well.
They followed her out into the front yard. The lights were glowing softly all around Inglewood
Hamlet but nothing compared to the glow coming from Lorraine. She stood there with both arms by her sides, the glow starting in her stomach and working its way along her body until she was
“Remember that I love you, Oscar, promise me.”
“I promise. I won’t forget.”
At those words, the glow intensified until Lorraine was so bright they almost had to shield their
eyes. Rita pulled him closer, wrapping an arm around his shoulder, as they watched the miracle
taking place in front of them.
Where there had been the shape of a woman, there was only a brilliant glowing star, dancing in
front of them. They watched as it slowly began to float higher into the sky. When it was above
the rooftops of the village, it shot into the sky.
They followed it as it arched into the dark sky to join the other stars that glowed ever so brightly. Looking up into the sky, Oscar knew that he would never feel alone again. He waved at the star
that was his mother, hoping she could see him down below.
“Happy Yule, Mom.”
Looking up at the star that was his mother, Oscar didn’t feel so alone anymore.
So the story goes…
About the Author
Jamieson has been writing since a young age when he realized he could be writing instead of paying attention in school. Since then, he has created many worlds in which to live his fantasies and live out his dreams.
He is an award winning, Number One Best Selling author of over forty books.
He currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario Canada with his cat, Tula who is fearless.
Learn more about Jamieson at
Follow him on Twitter at
Or find him on Facebook at
Oscar doesn’t believe in magic. Though he lives in Inglewood Hamlet where magic is an everyday occurrence and his grandmother is the village miracle woman. Oscar still doesn’t believe in magic. Scientific facts are things that are proven, whereas magic has no quantifiable proof. His whole world changes when one night, at his grandmothers urging, he wishes upon a falling star. “I wish I believed in magic…” The next day, he meets a girl in the village named Laura. She seems unlike anyone he has ever met before. Even the snow seems to sparkle more around her. Though they have never met before, she seems to know him. Little does Oscar know that Laura will change his life forever. Sometimes wishes do come true. It is Yuletide after all…