The rocking chair creaked rhythmically as she sat looking out the window. She could see the sky and the stars through this floor to ceiling window of her bedroom. Magor, her husband, had designed it for just this purpose. “Ilona, my beautiful wife, I won’t be here in the flesh to see our son Adhara grow up, but I have built this house for the two of you. Every time you look out of the window, you will see the starry highway and know I am looking down on you.”
When they married, she at only twenty and he already in his sixties, they knew they would not have a long time together but the time they had was magical and this house built in the trees on their land was his special gift to her. Every night as the stars came out, she looked at the sky. Always at the same place where she knew she would feel close to her beloved husband.
Adhara sidled into the room and approached his mother. “Mama, why do you sit here looking at the stars every night?”
“I’m talking to your Papa.”
The lad was only four and looked puzzled. “Where is Papa? I can’t see him anywhere.”
She beckoned him over and he happily climbed onto her lap. “Let me tell you a story about Papa.”
He squirmed to get comfortable at the same time as grabbing hold of her braid. She usually wore her long hair in braids piled on top of her head like a crown. In the evening, she let them hang loose, tracking down below her waist. He discovered her hair as a tiny baby and held it like others hold a favourite toy. He knew this would be one of her special stories. He loved them all, and they had a strange effect on him. As she talked, he remembered things about life from far back in time too.
Long ago, so long ago, it was before the time of writing, we danced high in the sky, playing in and out of the starts. As Magor rose in the east, we hid in the dark caves of space. One night as we danced, we saw a new pathway through the stars. We went to look and there was a ladder hanging down. Fairies, as you know, are always ready to explore fresh ways and things. We could not resist this ladder, and soon we were swinging and dancing. The ladder swayed and we clung on, but still, we danced.
At last, we came to the end. The last rung was swinging gently above the most beautiful sight, a land which undulated like little waves in the sea. Everywhere was covered in soft green grass. Amongst the grass were flowers of every kind, from tiny little ones which hardly grew as tall as a blade of grass to others which towered high in the sky. These had yellow faces, so we called them sunflowers or Magor’s children. We especially loved the colours, pale pinks, whites, blues, vivid purples and vibrant red and so many others in between.
“Come, sisters, let’s dance here until Magor comes and we have to go home.”
The musicians banged their drums, the pipers trilled, and we laughed about being surrounded by so many colours. In our home, the heavens, there are only different shades of blues and blacks while the stars are mostly silver, but some are dark red and a few have pinks and browns with blues swirling around. They are called nebula, but these flowers were different and they all had beautiful perfumes. We were drunk with pleasure and did not notice the heavy clouds covering Magor’s face until it was too late. The ladder had gone. We were stuck here, far away from our starry homes.
We soon made friends with some of the people who lived here. The tall ones with light brown hair and blue eyes understood what had happened and offered us shelter in their big caves. We needed to rest before being able to continue our dancing. They told us there were other kinds of people here too. There were the New People who had only arrived from the south a short time before.
The New People, like our hosts, hunted using spears made from sharpened stones attached to long wooden poles. They were excellent hunters but tended to get cross with each other and fight. The other people called our hosts the sons and daughters of Magor. They were wise and had seen us dancing in the starts and coming down the ladder. They called us the Spirit People. They said they had been waiting for us to come to earth. When our cousins, the stars, shone in the sky, we would slip out of the Magor’s caves to carry on our dancing. Now we discovered a strange thing happened, as Magor rose in the morning and we slipped back into the caves left out amongst the grass would spring up mushrooms. Some Magor’s gathered them, they said it helped them see into our world, they called it magic.
Other peoples also lived in caves, but not the ones where we stayed. These, the Old People, did not speak much, but they understood each other. Their hands were powerful and their legs shorter, and they were the best hunters. Magor’s children were beautiful while these people were not. They had heavy-looking heads, prominent jaws and a bony ridge over their eyes. They were not stupid, though, and they were kind to each other and any injured animals. If they saw us as we danced back to the caves in the dawn, they pointed at us and smiled, so we knew they were good.
As we were all living in the cave together, there came a time when some of us married Magor’s sons. The mixing of the races was a marvellous thing. These children grew tall like their fathers and were magical like us. But you could always tell we were different. We had blue eyes, not like all the other peoples who had black hair and brown eyes. But we all lived peacefully together for a long, long time.
Every generation had blue-eyed, blond-haired girls, and some of their special names were Illona or Helena. The boys who looked like their forefathers, tall, light brown hair and blue eyes had the name Magor. So no one forgot where they had come from way back at the beginning of time.
Adhara, sleepily said, “Is that why you are Ilona and Papa was called Magor? Why do I have a different name?”
She smiled, looking down at his innocent face as he continued to twiddle with her hair. “You, my son, are Adhara Magor. So you do have Papa’s name, after all. Now it’s time you went to bed. You have to rise as the sun peeks over those hills and help Sonny take the goats to the pasture.”
She sent him scampering off to his bed as she resumed her rocking and gazing into the starry heavens communing with her husband.
Magor and Ilona's House