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I have always been drawn toward magic. I don’t mean sleight of hand or optical illusion or mental trickery intriguing as all of those are. What I am referring to is the magic of life itself, its reality or its fantasy, its science or its religion, its concrete or its abstract.

How did we and our planetary home, housed within a still unimaginable universe, get here? How did the first life form take shape, breathe, thrive, breed? How did the diversity of species unfold? How can we help sustain life as we know it and help it evolve into who knows what?

Yes, the magic of life is fused into every square centimeter, every minute detail, every nanosecond of our existence. It works behind closed doors and out in the open fields. It comes at us from high above the atmosphere and from deep within the core of our planet. It sidles up into our peripheral vision as often as it smacks us square in the face. It touches us gently as a feather or bludgeons us like a club. It is all around us and it is within us.

I’m not certain of the distinction between a story and a tale, if any, but for purposes of this collection, suffice it to define ‘stories’ as fiction based on reality and ‘tales’ as fiction based on fantasy. I tried to infuse each with an element of magic in some form. Some of those forms may be more familiar to youngsters, some to adults, but I tried to imbue all with the quality of the unknown, the unexpected and the hope of discovery. Some are sad, some happy, some serious, some frivolous, some brief, others lengthy, but each one was written with the intent of giving you, the reader, a wider scope of life, a deeper understanding of it and a more lasting belief in the power of magic. Whenever, wherever, however it appears, magic is magic. Notice it. Accept it. Embrace it. Immerse yourself in it. Be awed by it, because it is MAGIC.

As for my pseudonym, I chose Dahl Quarray, which in Italian, dal cuore means: “from the heart.”

me a.k.a. Dahl Quarray

"Short Stories & Tall Tales"
by Dahl Quarray
Cover Photo by Mary Kay Cohen


The Stories & Tall Tales are:

The Slap Heard ‘Round the Block
Catherine’s Compact
The Daisy Patch
The Lost Princess of Ansoneer
What Do You Make?
The Sacred Pipe
A Well-Executed Hanging
The Magic Drumsticks

Catherine's Compact (excerpt)

Catherine slept the whole night clutching her new/old compact as though she were holding MeeMom close to her. As the sunrays of dawn sent bright lines through the window blinds into the bedroom, Catherine opened her eyes, then opened the compact and gazed into the mirror with the half-gaze of semi-wakening eyelids.

As had happened at the fair when she first held the compact, her own reflection began to fade into something else. She wanted to open her eyes wider, but kept them half shut, almost in a squint. There in the mirror a face took shape, not hers, not MeeMom’s, not anyone’s she could recognize, just round hazel eyes, a rather large nose with big nostrils and a wide mouth, which began speaking:

‘Tis an honor, my Lady, to be with you here;

You need only ask for me to appear.

My powers without a companion are nil;

I serve she who holds me, so hold me you will.

Catherine doubted her eyes and ears, so, shutting the compact lid, she sat up in bed and vigorously rubbed them. She looked around the room to see if everything was still as she had left it the night before. Satisfied that all was in place, she returned her attention to the compact and, carefully and slowly, lifted the lid back up staring into the unusually shaped mirror.

Sure enough, her reflection again faded into the face that had spoken to her. She took a deep breath and asked aloud, “Who are you?”

The mirror image replied:

I have no name, no body, no being;

My presence is simply whatever you’re seeing.

The mission I have is to help you achieve

That which you seek just as you believe.

Catherine closed the compact, grabbed her terrycloth robe and nearly leaped down the stairs to the kitchen. Her mother was already making tea and toast and turned toward the sudden entrance of her frenzied child. “Oh, Catherine, you startled me. Why in such a hurry?”

Catherine opened her hand and extended her arm toward her mother displaying the compact. “I looked in the mirror just now and I saw something…”

Her mother interrupted, “Dear, dear Catherine. Take your beautiful compact back upstairs and put it in a special place that only you know. Then come back here and we’ll have some tea while I explain something to you that you never knew.”

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© Copyright 2011-14 Dahl Quarray • published by NGC Publishing