(This is Part II of The Demons of Mundanity. You can read part one here, or just carry on.) If I could draw, the image I would share with you this morning is that of a magic carpet stuck in a swamp. A woman sits at the center, cringing away from the mud, though it's clear the entire carpet will soon be submerged. A cat sits on one shoulder, another on her head. The cats are not amused, but not distressed, as they know she will care for their needs.
In one hand she holds a magic feather. She knows it is magic, because of the way it shimmers and shines and emits sparks when stroked. But although it is very beautiful, it doesn't seem to be helping her with her swamp situation.
The Demons of Mundanity, responsible for dragging the carpet down out of the sky, are still clinging to the edges with their grimy, gray, clutching fingers.
"Shoo!" she says, and they all let go and paddle off. She is surprised, but shouldn't be. Dragging flying objects out of the sky is their life purpose; objects already stuck in the muck are no longer of great interest.
Realizing that the only way she is ever going to get clear of the swamp is to wade, the woman is about to roll up the carpet and slop toward the nearest hummock of grass, when something catches her eye.
A large frog sits on a decaying stump, staring at her out of goggly eyes. It's much larger than an ordinary frog, and between its front legs it balances a beautiful, shining golden ball.
The woman sucks in a hopeful breath. Perhaps she has fallen into a fairytale after all. "Are you a prince?" she asks.
"Thank the swamp gods, no!," croaks the frog. "But this is the golden ball of a princess."
"It's beautiful," the woman says. "How did it come to be yours?"
The frog harrumphs, loudly. "It isn't mine. I'm only guarding it."
"For the Princess? Is she coming back?" The woman looks around, half expecting a beautiful princess to appear, levitating above the muck of the swamp.
"Perhaps. Perhaps not. I've never met her and don't know what she looks like." The frog's goggle eyes focus in on our adventurer. "You might be her, for instance. Are you a princess?"
"Are you kidding? Do I look like a Princess?"
The frog flicks its tongue and tries to shrug, a movement impossible for his body shape. "How do I know what a princess looks like? If you want it, it's yours. But you'll have to come and get it."
The woman stays where she is for a long moment. The carpet represents relative safety. In order to claim the golden ball she will have to take her first steps through the mud. However beautiful, the golden ball will be one more thing for which she is responsible, one more thing that she must carry.
Between the cats and the feather and the carpet, which she does not wish to abandon, her hands are full.
Still. The mud has reached the center of her carpet. Her backside is growing cold and wet.
"Hold on," she says to the cats, who obligingly dig in their claws, and she slides off of the carpet and lets her feet sink down into the mud. Trying not to think about worms and eels and other creepy crawly things unseen, she takes three slow, sloppy steps, and cups her hands around the golden ball.
She half expects the frog to disappear in a puff of blue smoke, but he just goggles at her for a moment. Without another word he leaps into the mud, sending up a splatter that coats the side of her face.
Our heroine barely notices, because the golden ball holds her full attention. It is lighter than she anticipated. There is a tiny keyhole in the side and she realizes that what it holds is infinitely more precious than the gold of which it is made. She doesn't know how to open it, but does she dissolve into despair?
"Don't worry," she says to the cats. "We will either find a princess or solve this riddle without her."
Leaving the magic carpet behind, she turns her face toward her destination and begins her sloppy journey through the mud, carrying the golden ball and the magic feather and trusting that she will find a way out of the swamp. (To be continued)
Are you slogging through a swamp today? If so, what gifts do you carry with you? Can you trust - even if it's just 5% of trust, or trust for 15 seconds at a time - that you'll find your way to where you want to be?
I'd love to hear about your journey and your gifts.