The Magical Mystery Tour continues with Diane Cresswell

Good Saturday morning from Friendship Square in Moscow, oh longed-for Literati!

Our contest tribute to Peggy Dobbs continues…in fact I have a backlog of entrants crowding the bus. This particular entry by Diane Cresswell clearly was inspired by Peggy rather than the prompt. If you are new to the site, I suggest you read our home page and see how all this came about, and maybe even pull up some of Peggy’s stories and comments through the search window.

It is not a requirement that you ever knew Peggy in order to enter the contest…Just think of an incident, real or imagined, where you can (in?)appropriately insert the line: “I swear, it’s not too late.” Our winner gets five Franklins.(Talk about your Hi Five!)

If you believe in Faeries, clap your hands. If you believe in magic, read further.

When One Believes

by Diane Cresswell


“I’m aware of the mystery around us, so I write about coincidences, premonitions, emotions, dreams, the power of nature, magic.”

Isabel Allende


On the very top shelf of the cupboard is a pottery jar.  On the front of that jar it says: MAGIC.  I had totally forgotten I had it.  Reaching up on tiptoes, I slid the jar so my fingers could wrap around it without dropping it to the floor.  I held it in my hands attempting to remember the last time I had opened it.  I couldn’t remember.  Gently my fingers opened the top.  Leaning back at first not knowing what to expect and then slowly leaning forward to peer inside to see what was there.  Nothing!!  Empty – just a speck of dust, not even a full dust bunny.  Where did it go – the magic?  Pondering the dilemma of the emptiness, it came to me that I had never opened it up at all.  Did all the magic disappear?  Must have for there was nothing within.  Slowly it came to me of where and when I received this jar of magic.

“Children see magic because they look for it.” 
― Christopher MooreLamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal


I looked up and up and up and up.  My neck hurt from looking up so high.  The tree in front of me was gigantic to a little girl.  It was so beautiful.  Long limbs held many branches.  The leaves were so thick and dark green that not a smidgen of sunlight filtered through.  The wind flicked the leaves into unattainable dance positions.  To my eyes it was magic – the whole tree was magic and I got to sit under it.  I thought about wizards, fairies and elves.  If I sat real still I wondered if they would find me.

“No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith.” 
― R.A. SalvatoreStreams of Silver

They found me, but not until I was a bit older.  One minute I was sitting there quiet under my magical tree and the next – a flash of light.  When the light faded away a beautiful lady stood there.  I stared at her not sure if I should run, scream or laugh!  Smiling at me, she introduced herself.  Her name was Tel’ndriel.  We spoke together for hours.  Tel’ndriel told me many stories about herself and her people.  Finally I realized that it was time to go home, but I promised that I would come back again to talk with her if that was acceptable.  She agreed.  In a flash of light she was gone.  Understatement – I was stunned and under a spell of magic.

“That’s the thing about magic; you’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.” 
― Charles de Lint

Over the years, Tel’ndriel and I met many times under that tree.  When she wasn’t there I would talk to the tree telling it my problems.  We all have problems especially when we are growing up because they are so dramatic.  I poured them out to the tree along with tears, screams and sometimes laughter.  I remember one day I was telling my tree about a love affair gone wrong when Tel’ndriel quietly stepped into my circle of emotions with a jar in her hand.  I looked at her with giant tears smudging my cheeks wishing I could go with her when she left instead of going home to a hurtful mess.  She gently took my hand and placed the jar into it.  I looked at it and saw the word MAGIC written on it.  I stared at her with a question in my eyes.  She smiled and said, “Muriel this is for you.  I am giving you magic in a jar to help you in times of trouble.  It contains very special magical spells from my people.  When you have a need, just open the jar and what is needed to help you will come out and go straight into your heart.  The only thing you have to do is believe in it.”

I smiled through my tears and thanked her for the precious gift she gave me.  I forgot to open it up.

When I was older, I met a man who loved me in spite of my strangeness, who gave me his heart to care for and love.  We had children and my youngest daughter was my light.  I introduced her to my magic tree telling her the stories that Tel’ndriel told me.  Soon they too had grown up and left home.  I didn’t see my beautiful elf in those days, for I had been busy being a mother, doing all the things that families do until I forgot all about the tree, the lovely Tel’ndriel and the jar of magic.

My world fell apart the day my love left this earthly home.  I was devastated, crying tears that didn’t seem to end.  Lost, unsure, laughter and light were gone from my life.  It took months of slow recovery.  Then I found my jar of MAGIC.

“In the depth a light will grow,
A silver shine no shadows know,
Like wings unfolding in the sky,
That circle ’round a gleaming eye,
Turning darkness all away,
Even depths will know their day,
For every shadow has its end,
In light!
Life will return again!”
― Robert Fanney

She came to me as I sat quietly under the tree.  I told her I had forgotten to believe.

She smiled.  “I swear to you by everything that I hold true.  I swear to you it’s not too late.  It’s never too late to believe again.  When you feel that within you, open the jar.  It holds everything you need.”

I sat very still breathing slowly, then, with a smile I opened the jar.


39 thoughts on “The Magical Mystery Tour continues with Diane Cresswell

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    My goodness Diane, this is wonderful beyond mortal words. You opened my heart and I believed in magic as I read. I’ll go sit under a tree and hope that there is magic still for me. Selfish as this may sound I found your story quite profound that a fairy queen might appear with a jar not empty, but abundantly full. So far in the contest, this is my favorite entry by far.

    • Diane Cresswell says:

      Thank you Parisianne. I have found trees that one can sit under and see that world. Redwoods are some of the best but then you’d have to travel north to do that. I haven’t found one per se out here in Escondido but there are places where I feel that energy. Up in the forests of Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear there are trees…old trees that take you places. I swear its never to late to believe.

  2. tlrelf says:

    I, too, had a magic tree, Diane, and this brought me back to that place and space. Wonder-filled! I like how you wove the quotes about things magical throughout!

    • Diane Cresswell says:

      I’ve talked to trees for years and have learned some very interesting things from them. But that’s another story when we get together again. We’ll compare.

    • Diane Cresswell says:

      Thank you Miryam…it was pure pleasure to write this one. Especially for the lovely lady who we honor with these stories.

  3. Michael Stang says:

    On a different note, I have admired the evolution of the writer’s that are old family. Seams like years ago before the fall. But now we’re back as strong as ever. So true with this, your new entry, my lady. I am speechless in so many ways, but not surprised. I understand none of this is fiction for you. However, realizing the full monty, I thrust and shake and let go. Magic (oh i have read all those you mention, still bleeding me dry on Nook, can’t stop) takes me by the eyes, leads me to the fields. Your fields. Diane’s fields where the safety of the world, believe it or not, is real. Parisianne is correct twice. Magic jars are not empty, this is my favorite entry.

    • Diane Cresswell says:

      You’re right this is so great to have the ‘family’ back again…its magical that we are still together. I guess I would like to see you do the full monty…oh wait sorry its midnight and the witching hour just took over. With you its always magic time. Thank you for your belief in me because there are times when I don’t believe. I know you’re there. And Peggy was with me on this one and told me when it was just right.

  4. Glclark says:

    Beautiful story in every since of the word, Diane. You always charm and amaze with your stories. It’s really sad that as we grow and mature and face the stresses of adulthood that we forget to feed our Magic Jars. This story made me think of the jar Mama kept on the stove that held the bread starter, a yeast culture that had been handed down to her from an old aunt. When mama took out a cup of the starter to bake bread, she would ‘feed’ the yeast starter left in the jar so it would keep the jar full and never die. Magic is kind of like that. I think when we reach into our magic jars and pull our a miracle, we forget to feed the miracles that are growing inside the jar and in our rush to take care of life’s emergencies, we forget to feed our magic jar and it withers and dies. How sad for us………….
    Thank you for this story.

    • Diane Cresswell says:

      But as we reach adulthood…it is in this time that magic becomes hardest for us. As children…its soooo easy. We just forget that we always have it with us…we stop believing. And like Peter Pan…we don’t have to grow up and stop believing…we can grow up believing that magic never goes away. And it never will. Thank you Cowboy…so glad you’re back. Its been far too quiet for me.

      • Glclark says:

        Thanks. I’ve spent the past however many months traveling and looking for that magic I thought I’d lost and wondering how I got myself into the mess that made me believe that I’d really lost it. And, true to the fates and cliché as HELL – just when I gave up and came home, I found it right here…………..

        • Diane Cresswell says:

          Just click your heels together…its within us not outside of us. You never lost the magic – it was within you the whole time. Doubt is the greatest debilitating factor we carry. Next time – just click the heels of your boots. And sometimes we have to go away in order to see what we have. You get 5 gold stars.

  5. Salvatore Buttaci says:

    You perfectly expressed what magic is! Now it’s up to all of us to go out there and let it sprinkle down on us like new falling snow.

  6. KYLE Katz says:

    Diane, This was so deeply thoughtful. You took us all through the zone of ‘Where does our magic go’ and how easily we can loose it. The descriptive beauty, the physicality of the crafting of immersing us in a rich place, dropping us in the lushness of a child’s mind of magic…because they look for it. A lot of nuggets in your story.”the wind flicked the leaves into unattainable dance positions.” “Pondering the dilemma of emptiness.” A true wordsmith you’ve become. Your quotes stratigically adding to the intensity Of this poetic drama. From beginning to end, my little girl Pranced through the world of magic. And now she ponders in deep thought. Are children under a spell or have adults just become spell-less with too much made-up reality? Peggy and Homer are holding hands dancing amongst the trees, because they know the magic in which you speak. I love this so much..Thank you for your talents and gifts.xo

    • Diane Cresswell says:

      mahalo nui loa…thank you in English just doesn’t do justice. Love the question and its the right one. I think both of us have been tapped with the magical wand as I see how our writing has improved over the time spent with all of the good writers that show up here at AWWYP. I know mine has and of course the special people we have met because of it. You’re my sister in so many ways and from my heart to your’s love flows continuously.

  7. Sheri Strobaugh says:

    Oh Diane, this is so up my alley. I believe and know…This was a beautiful story and I hope we all have that jar of “magic” we can open up when we need that extra bit of fairy dust. Thanks!

    • Diane Cresswell says:

      Thanks Sheri – knew it would capture your attention. I keep my jar right in sight to remind me…but I have to look up for it truly is on the top of my cupboard.

  8. Stars Fall On My Heart says:

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve imagined magical people living in the forgotten area of our backyard (behind the garage) or in the leaves of grass…I can’t live in a world without magic because I see it all around me. Very uplifting and hopeful <3

  9. Tisha Jones Deutsch says:

    This is a well woven, captivating story. The quotes are thoughtfully placed and add an element of validation to the writer’s words. As a mother of 7, I can relate to losing magic in the midst of busy, hectic, demanding family life. I was glad she found it again. Lovely.

  10. Suzanne Morse Liy says:

    I can totally relate to this piece. Wonderfully written. Witty and magical in its wording. In adulthood, we forget to tap into imagination and magic, so it’s important for us to “open that jar.” I wrote a trimeter about this same subject some years ago. I now have found the magic and joy in life again. Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece.

  11. elizabeth sloan says:

    Such a fun format. I really like the multiple perspectives. I want to try writing a story like this! There’s some magic in it 🙂

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