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Faeries and Enchantment Magazine

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The Underliving
Priscilla Hernandez

You are in the Fairy & Fantasy Poems Section

Maxwell Brown - Jason Creed©2009 London UK

Tucked away in a quiet corner
of an ancient, bustling town,
in a dusty little book shop
lived a man named Maxwell Brown.
He looked like an old man;
his beard was long and grey,
but his eyes sparkled brightly,
and he was sprightly for his age.
In the dim rooms of his shop,
the shelves were high and full;
time-worn scrolls and manuscripts
lined the surface of each wall;
all inscribed with magic spells
written down in days of old;
and Maxwell had read all of them,
but none had he ever sold.

All day long and everyday,
he sat alone in his shop,
waiting for customers to call;
but none ever seemed to stop.
At night he sat by candlelight,
or by the light of the moon,
sifting through his magic books
and writing down strange runes.
It seemed he never ate or slept
or went our for a walk,
and because of this strange behaviour
people began to talk.
Now, of course, people gossip,
but they can be very cruel.
Some said that he was mad,
or called him an ‘old fool.'
Some said, ‘leave him be,
his old head's made out of wood.'
But all seemed to agree
he must come to nothing good.
And others spoke of wizardry,
which was as close as they would get;
for although he studied magic
he hadn't used it yet.

On one particular day –
a long hot one in June –
a man entered Maxwell's book shop
in a fluster, sure to swoon.
His name was Mr Painter;
he wore big boots of leather,
a very bright green coat,
with a matching hat and feather;
had a pointed, little beard
on the end of his chin;
and was in such a terrible flap,
to speak, he couldn't begin.
‘Whatever's the matter?' asked Maxwell
jumping to his feet.
‘I'll fetch you a glass of water.
Rest a moment in my seat.'
‘Thank you,' puffed Mr Painter,
as he pulled himself together.
‘I must have overdone it!
Foolish in this weather.'
‘Yes,' agreed Maxwell,
‘you must be careful in this heat.
Now, sip on this cold drink
and rest your weary feet.'
Mr Painter sat still for a while
and tried to regain his cool,
but suddenly burst into tears
and cried aloud, ‘I'm such a fool!'
‘Oh dear, oh dear!' said Maxwell.
‘I'm sure that can't be true.
Now, tell me what the matter is.
Maybe I can help you…'
‘Thank you,' said Mr Painter,
still sitting in Maxwell's chair,
now seemingly quite composed
and displaying a confident air.
‘Thank you,' he said again.
‘You are a first-rate man.
But do you really mean it?
Will you help me if you can?'
‘Well, yes,' said Maxwell, modestly,
‘I'll help if you want me to.
But I'm just a humble bookseller,
I don't know what I could do.'
‘Oh, plenty,' said Mr Painter.
‘In fact, you're just the person.
You'll soon put things right again;
of that much I am certain!'

Jason Creed©2009 London UK

Click here for part 2.

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