“Have you ever seen a seed fly?”
The boy turned to look into the eyes of his teacher, the wizard, to see the purple pools of the universe swirling questions and thoughts forever.
“A seed? Fly?” He grinned, facing her now and placing his hands on his hips, thinking of the seeds of flowers or apples.
Each year he’d helped sow the fields of grain and expand the orchards of fruits that supply their village with food each harvest. He’d seen the seeds drop through his fingers, plummeting to their bed in the earth.
None had flown.
“A seed can’t fly! Not ever!” He continued to grin, meeting her amused face with one of his own. She raised her eyebrows and cocked her head, purple pools of the universe twinkling with millions of yet-thought thoughts and wonders. Pushing back a soft, silver curl to sit behind her ear, the wizard rose. As she stepped quickly towards the door, the greens and violets in her cloak rippled until he thought he saw rainbows flash. But, as he blinked again, the rainbows were gone and his teacher was opening the door to their library and study. She turned back to face him, beckoning him to follow.
He stared at her blankly. Did this mean it was actually possible?
“What? You mean you don’t want to see? Come, let's go look.”
The boy was hasty to follow, trotting behind his master like a young pup. He wondered what incredible seeds she would show him. For a seed to fly, it must belong to some wondrous plant of anti-gravity, or a plant that held the secrets of the wind and skies and never stopped floating, no matter how little breeze there was. Being taught by a wizard, you learned to expect such wonders.
But, it wasn’t at some never-before-seen flower that she stopped. Nothing see-through or golden or wrapped in air. Shortly into the garden, the wizard stopped in front of a large tree. Its trunk was thick and stoic and its branches stuck out in all directions, providing excellent cover, balance, and space. He’d seen this tree often and, yes, always thought it a magnificent tree. But, how could it have seeds that flew?
It was just a normal tree.
His question was obvious on his face when he turned to stare into the agelessly peaceful face of his teacher, and he saw further amusement crinkle the corners of her eyes and the tips of her mouth.
“Here,” She began, stooping to pick a pair of brown seeds from the ground beneath the tree. She handed him the pair and he looked at them. The pair were stuck together at their centre, almost looking like wings. Strange, had he noticed wing-shaped seeds before? She continued, “when you throw them in the air, the pair work together like wings. They spin against the air, and the air pushes up at them. Somehow, it makes them fly. Even for a moment. Try it.”
The boy looked confused, not sure what she meant. Patient, the wizard stooped to pick up another pair of wing-like seeds. When he asked why she was picking them from the floor and not plucking them from the tree, she told him that trees dropped fruits and seeds when they were ready. To pluck them before it was time, would both be rude to the tree and mean the fruit or the seed wasn’t fully ready. To take it from the floor was the correct way. Then, she raised her arm quickly and tossed the seed into the air above their heads.
The boy looked up in awe.
Sure enough, the seed spun on the air, gently flying as it dropped through the sky and back onto the ground. He looked from the fallen seed to his own and then into the pools of purple universe in his teacher’s eyes. Then, a smile spread on his face once more, he tossed his seed up into the air and watched as it, too, spun. He followed it with eager eyes as it drifted on the breeze, spinning until it reached its place on the earth.
“Can I do another?” He asked with uncertainty, eyes raised pleadingly to his teacher. She laughed kindly.
“Of course. As many as you wish, if you take them from the ground.”
Thrice more the boy threw seeds into the air and eagerly watched the paired seeds spin their wing-like shape and glide on the wind to the ground. Each time, elation filled his face more and more. The wizard smiled.
“Why don’t they fly upwards?” The boy asked.
“If the wings could spin faster, they would fly upwards. But, as they fly, they slowly lose energy. So they drop through the air. If you could give the seeds more energy and make them spin faster, then they could fly.”
The boy nodded to himself and crouched for another pair of winged seeds. “How do you give seeds energy?”
The wizard laughed again, tossing her head back and short, light silver curls tumbling over her shoulders. “That, I am yet to discover. But, wouldn’t you like to discover it with me?” The boy nodded eagerly and the wizard smiled down at him. “The job of a wizard is to look for these things and look beyond them. Study hard and you can discover so much of the world.”
The boy clutched the seed gently in his hand and nodded up to her.
“And the tree, teacher, what is its name?”
The wizard looked up at the tree and showed him to recognise the leaves and the seeds and how they hang in pairs at certain times of the year. “It’s a sycamore tree. But, sometimes children in another world call the seeds ‘helicopters’.”
Follow the boy through his lessons of wonder and magic with his teacher, the sorceress. What will the boy learn next, and what great adventures will they go on when he's ready to face the magical world beyond the village? See more in The Sorceress and her Apprentice series.