Contest #222 shortlist ⭐️

The Eggcentric Apprentice: Finnegan's Whimsical Way

Submitted into Contest #222 in response to: Write about a mentor whose methods are controversial.... view prompt

12 comments

Fantasy Funny Inspirational

Alright, let's spin a yarn, shall we? Gather 'round, and let me tell you a tale most extraordinary about a young lad named Finnegan Potts, who lived in the quaint, magical village of Whistleberry Hollow. Now, Whistleberry Hollow wasn't your ordinary hamlet; nay, it was a place where the trees whispered secrets and the rivers hummed lullabies. But our tale isn't about the peculiarity of the village—oh no, it's about Finnegan's encounter with the most bizarre mentor any hero-in-the-making could stumble upon.

Finnegan was the sort of fellow who tripped over his own feet and found treasure, who accidentally recited ancient incantations while ordering pie at the local tavern, inadvertently summoning imps instead of dessert. In short, Finnegan was a magnet for mishaps, a veritable vessel of vexation. And that's precisely why the town's council of elderly, wise, and somewhat exasperated wizards decided he needed guidance. Honest, solid, hard-to-misinterpret guidance.

Enter Professor Thistlequill Starwhisper, a mentor of quite the controversial repute. He was a man—or so it was believed—whose face was hidden beneath layers of scarves, whose age was indeterminable, and whose methods were, let's just say, unconventional. He was known to have made a prince dance with a broom for three days straight to learn grace, and a fierce warrior knit a twelve-foot scarf to understand patience.

So, when Finnegan was summoned to the Professor's abode, a tower twisted like a screw that seemed to pierce the very heavens, he was understandably nervous. The door to the tower swung open before he could knock, and he was greeted not by the Professor but by a talking raven with a rather disinterested expression.

"State your quandary," the raven squawked, preening its feathers.

"I, uh, I was told to come here for… guidance," Finnegan stuttered.

"Ah, another lost lamb seeking the shepherd," the raven cawed, rolling its eyes. "Step inside, follow the spirals, and do mind the step that screams—it's going through a phase."

Finnegan stepped inside, each footfall echoing in the spiralling ascent. True to the raven's word, there was indeed a step that let out a rather offended "Ouch!" as he trod upon it. Finally, he reached the top where Professor Starwhisper awaited, seated at a table that seemed to be carved out of moonlight, his face still obscured.

"Finnegan Potts, the one who wields chaos like a clumsy blacksmith wields a hammer," the Professor's voice was like wind chimes in a zephyr.

"Sir, I—"

"No need for pleasantries. You seek the way, the path, the route to not wreaking havoc with every breath you take. My guidance is simple: you shall carry this egg."

And with a dramatic flourish that seemed to make the very air sizzle, he presented Finnegan with an egg. Not a regular egg, mind you, but an egg that shimmered with colours not known to any painter's palette.

“An egg?” Finnegan blinked, bemused.

"Not just any egg. This egg contains the wisdom of the ages. Your task is to care for it, to nurture it, and in doing so, you shall learn."

Over the ensuing weeks, Finnegan became the most devoted egg-sitter the world had ever seen. Picture it: a lanky lad with hair as untamed as a thicket after a tornado, serenading an egg the size of a pumpkin with off-key ballads that could make a banshee wince. He read to it from ancient tomes, his voice meandering through the epic tales of yore, occasionally pausing to explain to the egg the finer points of goblin politics or dragon etiquette. He even recited his own spells, which were more likely to summon a raincloud indoors than any creature of legend.

By day, he nestled the egg in a sling fashioned from his own cloak, pacing the cobbled streets with the care of a mother hen, all the while sharing with it his innermost trepidations. "You see, Egbert," he'd confide, for he had named the egg in a stroke of originality that surprised exactly no one, "if I ever sneeze too hard, I fear a dragon might pop out instead of a 'bless you'!" He would then peer anxiously at the skies, half-expecting to see a winged beast spiralling down in response to his errant sniffles.

The townsfolk of Whistleberry Hollow observed this spectacle with a cocktail of bemusement and mild alarm. Young lads would nudge each other and snicker as Finnegan wandered by, whispering in earnest to his inanimate charge. Old women would shake their heads, clucking their tongues as though witnessing the world's first egg-obsessed street performer. "There goes Finnegan Potts," they'd say, "the lad who'd be more at home in a nest than a wizard's tower!"

Yet, in this odd tableau of Finnegan and his egg, there was a peculiar charm. The children began to wave, the bakers began to offer day-old bread for his path, and the dogs—well, the dogs still barked, but with slightly less conviction. Finnegan, the self-appointed guardian of an egg that might just be an egg, had become an unexpected jewel in the tapestry of Whistleberry Hollow. A gem, indeed, albeit one in a very, very unusual setting.

But something strange began to happen. The more Finnegan cared for the egg, the more he began to understand the subtle magic of life. The egg whispered to him of patience, of persistence, of the gentle strength required to coax a sprout from a seed. Finnegan found himself moving with a newfound calm, his usual chaos dimming to a quiet murmur.

However, Whistleberry Hollow was not without its perils. A shadow crept over the village, a darkness that sought the egg and its ancient wisdom. It came in the form of a wraith-like creature, with eyes like hollowed moons and a desire that chilled the bones.

The village rallied, spells at the ready, but it was Finnegan who stepped forward. With the egg cradled in his arms, he stood before the wraith and did the most unexpected thing—he offered it kindness.

"Ye seek wisdom, creature of shadow? Then know this: wisdom is not taken but given, and it thrives on light, not on devouring darkness," Finnegan's voice was steady, his heart fierce.

To the astonishment of all, the wraith paused, its form wavering, and then, with a sound like a sigh, it dissipated into the ether, leaving behind a single feather of night.

Finnegan returned to the Professor's tower, the egg now pulsing with a soft glow. Professor Starwhisper, with his scarves and moonlit table, nodded, a glint of pride in his hidden eyes.

"You've learned, Finnegan Potts. You've found the way."

"But, I haven't done anything grand," Finnegan protested.

"On the contrary, you've done something grander than most. You've found the way within, the path that leads not to power, but to understanding. The egg was but an egg, but your care for it and willingness to learn was the true magic."

And at that moment, the egg cracked, not to reveal a creature or a trove of ancient wisdom, but a simple mirror. Finnegan peered into it and saw not a bumbling fool but a young man with the wisdom to see the magic in the mundane, the extraordinary in the ordinary.

The villagers of Whistleberry Hollow never did quite understand Professor Thistlequill Starwhisper's methods, and truth be told, neither did Finnegan. But as he walked the paths of the village, with a newfound balance to his step and a calm to his spirit, he realized that the way isn't always a road or a map. Sometimes, it's an egg, a mirror, and a mentor whose face you never quite see.

And so, let it be known across the lands, that guidance comes in many guises, and the way, the truth, the light of wisdom, often lies in the laughter, the care, and the unexpected journeys of life. Finnegan Potts, once the harbinger of havoc, became the sage of Whistleberry Hollow, a testament to the power of unconventional mentorship. And if you listen closely, on a quiet night, you might just hear the trees whisper his name, a gentle reminder that the way is there for those willing to walk it, egg in hand and heart open wide.

And that, dear friends, is where our tale ends, or perhaps, where another begins.

November 03, 2023 12:15

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12 comments

Marty B
18:30 Nov 17, 2023

Fantastic story, with lessons for us all. Thank you for sharing!

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Mary Bendickson
02:55 Nov 17, 2023

This is enjoyable fantasy that teaches truths. Congrats on shortlist!

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Story Time
17:20 Nov 16, 2023

This was like a whimsical riff on The Canterbury Tales and I loved every line of it. The language was so rich, and it felt like being seated in an inn on a wintry night. Well done.

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Philip Ebuluofor
11:43 Nov 13, 2023

I think it is full of advice you needs to reread each line, sentence to grasp.

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Daniela Nowak
13:16 Nov 12, 2023

Oh, I love the ending, "And that, dear friends, is where our tale ends, or perhaps, where another begins." The whole story is so romantically funny with hidden lessons. Well done! I really enjoyed reading it.

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Shirley Medhurst
08:03 Nov 11, 2023

I am in awe - I didn’t just like this lyrical tale, I LOVED it… You had me immersed right from the start. There’s so much unusual and vivid imagery on every line. I was alternating between giggles and guffaws the whole time.😂 « …. who accidentally recited ancient incantations while ordering pie at the local tavern, inadvertently summoning imps instead of dessert » or « ….. the most devoted egg-sitter the world had ever seen. Picture it: a lanky lad with hair as untamed as a thicket after a tornado, serenading an egg the size of a pumpki...

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11:40 Nov 11, 2023

Thank you very much! I really appreciate your feedback :)

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Shirley Medhurst
13:56 Nov 11, 2023

My pleasure If you have a spare moment, I would love to hear your thoughts on my last story - it’s along a (slightly) similar vein, although I think you could teach me LOTS…)

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Marvin Furman
11:01 Nov 10, 2023

I was overwhelmed reading your lyrical tale. Your charming account gives believability to a fantasy world. I immensely enjoyed your story.

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11:40 Nov 11, 2023

Thank you! :)

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Trevor Berndt
18:29 Nov 06, 2023

Your short story has some of my favorite prose I've ever read: "veritable vessel of vexation"; "do mind the step that screams-it's going through a phase"; a table carved out of moonlight; "like wind chimes in a zephyr"; "—well, the dogs still barked, but with slightly less conviction"; Thank you for writing this, it was very enjoyable!

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01:53 Nov 07, 2023

Thanks!

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