Micro Story: Astris teaches Thalia an important lesson
Once upon a time, there lived a witch named Thalia Stardust. She lived in a cottage nestled at the foot of towering Elder Tree Hollow and surrounded by a magical garden of herbs and flowers.
Every morning, soft sunlight streamed through her windows, which were framed by mismatched curtains, each one a unique patchwork of patterns and hues, carefully handcrafted by Thalia herself. Inside the cottage, the walls were lined with wooden bookshelves overflowing with ancient spell books, grimoires and mystical texts.
Thalia's bookshelf taught not only magical spells and potion-making but also the art of dancing. Special volumes with illustrations and ancient knowledge of dance forms that were said to connect the practitioner with the rhythms of the natural world were centre place in the bookcase.
Thalia sometimes spent evenings poring over these books, learning new dance moves. She saw dancing as a way to express herself and strengthen her connection to nature and the mystical forces surrounding her.
When she danced in her garden or the woods, it wasn't just her body that moved; her spirit and magic flowed through her movements.
Thalia loved to dance so much that she was known throughout the land for it; however, one peculiar habit had the villagers either entertained or annoyed.
She had a fondness for dancing at the most unexpected moments, whether in the middle of brewing potions, at funerals or while speaking with her people at the marketplace.
Thalia had a pet raven named Astris, who also loved to join in her impromptu dances by flapping his wings and cawing in rhythm.
But what made Astris truly special were his ever-changing feathers. Depending on his mood, his glossy black plumage could change from black to white and all shades in between.
When Thalia was particularly joyful during her spontaneous dances, Astris's feathers would shimmer with iridescent hues of white, casting a dazzling display of radiance around the room. When he sensed danger or was more solemn, his feathers would turn a deep shade of obsidian, blending into the shadows like a protective cloak.
One sunny morning, Thalia was preparing a cauldron of her famous healing potion for the village people when she felt an unusual fatigue.
Ignoring it, she continued to stir the brew vigorously, but when she felt the familiar urge rising from her Soul to dance, it was not as sprightly as usual.
Perched on a nearby shelf, Astris observed her with concern in his shiny black eyes and cawed, "Caw! Thalia, you've been so busy lately with your spells and potions. When was the last time you took a moment for yourself?"
Thalia, caught up in the swirl of mystical thoughts, paused. "Oh, Astris, I cannot remember the last time I took a break. I'm perfectly fine. Witches like me don't have time for vain things like self-care."
But Astris was not convinced. He knew that even the most powerful witches needed to nurture their body, mind, and spirit.
Days turned into weeks, and Thalia's energy continued to wane. Her once-bubbling enthusiasm for dancing had dimmed; she barely danced anymore and had lost her appetite for the delicious magical herbs and fruits in her garden. Astris watched silently, the worry in his eyes deepening with each passing day. It pained him to see her lose the spark that made her so enchanting.
So, he formulated a plan.
Astris scattered enchanted feathers around Elara's cottage, hoping to trigger her love for herself and rekindle her passion for spontaneous dancing.
The next day, Thalia stumbled upon one of Astris's feathers by the leg of the table she stood at as she poured a healing potion into stained glass jars. It glowed with an ethereal light, but as she bent forward to pick it up, it glided away from her hand and across the room to the open front door.
The enchanted feather hoovered momentarily before twirling and flying out the entrance. Thalia let the feather lead her to a hidden meadow where colourful flowers shifted in the breeze. She had never seen this serene place before. It was as if nature itself was inviting her to take a break.
"Dear Thalia, you have forgotten the most important dance of all – the dance of life," whispered a soothing voice.
Startled, Thalia opened her eyes and looked around, trying to find the source of the mysterious voice. And then, it all became clear. The beautiful garden, the swaying trees, the gentle rustling of leaves – all dancing to the rhythm of life.
Tears welled up in her eyes as she understood her mistake. She had been so caught up in her magical pursuits that she had forgotten to care for herself. The connection between her body, mind, and spirit had become unbalanced.
Thalia sat among the flowers, feeling the warm sun on her face, allowing her mind to quiet down and her thoughts to drift away. She hadn't realised how much she needed this moment of stillness.
As days passed, Astris's feathers continued to guide Thalia to various enchanting places - a soothing hot spring in the forest, a peaceful library filled with ancient wisdom, and a bustling village market where she met new friends. With each unique experience, Thalia learned the importance of taking care of her body, mind, and spirit.
Soon, Thalia began to take better care of herself. She would start her day with a morning dance in her garden, allowing her body to sway and her spirit to soar with the music of nature. She paid more attention to her diet, nourishing her body with the magical herbs and fruits she had so often neglected to feed herself, instead serving others the healing foods instead.
As days turned into weeks, her energy and her zest for movement returned. Her dances became more vivacious and energetic than ever, and the villagers couldn't help but join her in joyful expressions. They, too, learned the importance of tending to their physical and mental health. Thalia noticed her spells and potions became more potent as she found balance in her life.
One evening, while sipping her turmeric milk, Thalia turned to Astris perched on her shoulder and said, "You were right, dear friend. Looking after myself should be a daily priority. It not only makes me a better witch but a happier one as well."
Astris cawed happily. The quirky witch had learned a valuable lesson -caring for one's physical and mental well-being is a daily expression of authentic magic in this dance called life.