Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Wizard of Whey

     The little village of Whey held few secrets.  Everyone knew one another, what crops they were growing, and which animals had recently born calves.  Few men would strike you as unique.  They almost all wore straw hats and overalls.  One man clashed with them all: The Wizard of Whey.
     The Wizard of Whey was proud of his meager skill in magic.  His only trick was to separate the curds and whey of the locals’ milk.  The curds he gave away to the poor of the village, while the whey he sold to visiting nobles.  Whey was such a money maker in the village that they named it thus.
     One day, the Queen of the land came to buy some whey from the Wizard.  She came in a sparkling carriage bristling with gold.  A circle of spearmen alighted from the carriage, surrounding their monarch.  “Hear ye, hear ye!” one shouted.  “Here comes the Queen of our fair country.”
     The Wizard of Whey rose from the rough wooden chair he liked to sit at while waiting for buyers.  His beard, the shade of purest milk, fell almost to the stone floor.  “Greetings, Your Majesty.”
     “I wish to purchase all of your whey, Wizard,” the Queen declared, her voice full of the necessary flourishes and regal airs.
     “All of it?” the Wizard questioned.  His eyes didn’t bulge as one might expect.
     “Every ounce.”
     “For your Majesty: a hundred gallons of whey.  Come this way,” said the Wizard, motioning toward a small chamber filled with urns.  He smiled.
     “My men shall take care of it,” declared the Queen.  “Rest your elder soul.”
     “That is most gracious of you, Your Majesty.”
     “It is the least I can do for an old village sage.  In return, I offer you your weight in sage.”
     “Sage for a sage,” the Wizard said, clearly amused.  “Any payment at all is more than enough coming from Your Majesty.”
     “All is due to you.  Your whey is the finest in the land.  I cannot imagine your curds are not one in the same?”
     The Wizard blinked.  “I’ve never eaten it myself, Your Majesty, but I’ve heard it told so, at least by the village folk.”
     The Queen broke into a smile that lit up her whole face.  “You give it to them free of charge, or so I hear?”
     “It is the least I can do for my countrymen.”
     “I wish for one pound of your curds.”
     The Wizard pursed his lips.  “Take them, Your Majesty.  Take them all if you wish it.”
     The Queen stood up and smoothed her flowing skirts.  “You shall have your weight in gold for a single pound.  That is what I offer to the Wizard of Whey, the most selfless man in the land.”