Half the Way: Shrink!

CanyonThis story is about a wizard on his travels.

Do you know what a wizard is? It’s somebody who can work magic – at least in stories. In stories, magic is a pretty cool thing to have, or be able to do: to make things happen by using a spell.

This wizard had a spell that was really, really useful when traveling, so he set out in confidence, even though the road he was following could be a difficult one. It went through a narrow canyon, with cliffs rising steeply to either side, and sometimes big rocks would fall and block the way.

Plenty of people would choose another road, but not this wizard. He made his way down the path, enjoying the sunlight winking over the canyon walls.

And sure enough, he got to a place where a huge boulder had come loose from the cliff high above, and fallen in a very narrow section of the gorge. There was no space between the boulder and the side that he could squeeze through on the right, and no space that he could squeeze through on the left. It was too tall and too rugged to climb, and as for going under, well, he hadn’t brought a shovel.

So now was the time for the spell to prove its worth. He stood resolutely before the boulder, pointed his finger at its rocky greatness, and intoned:

“All the way, all the way, all the way… Shrink!”

The boulder shuddered, and some gravel came loose and pattered on the path, but the huge rock remained absolutely huge.

The wizard, confused, confronted the rock again, pointing his finger at its stony magnificence, and intoned:

“All the way, all the way, all the way… Shrink!”

This time the boulder didn’t even shudder. It did nothing except sit there in all its immensity.

“All right,” said the wizard to himself. “I’m tired. I’ve been walking all day, and I haven’t had supper. I’ll eat, I’ll get a good night’s sleep, I’ll wake fully rested, I’ll make breakfast, and then I’ll take care of this rock.”

And that is exactly what he did. He made his supper and ate it, he went to bed early and slept well under the stars (a good night’s sleep is important; ask your parents!), he got up and ate a good breakfast (a good breakfast is important; ask your parents!), he packed up his gear for the day, and stood once more before the boulder, and cried:

“All the way, all the way, all the way… Shrink!”

Once more the great rock shuddered, and more dust rose on the path below it. But other than that, it remained just as gigantic as it had the night before.

Now the wizard sat down to do something he hadn’t done to this point: he sat down to think.

(Thinking is a good thing. Just ask your parents!)

He thought for a good while, and then an idea lit up his face. He sprang to his feet again, and once more faced the rock. He directed his finger, and with all the strength he could mustered declared:

“Half the way, half the way, half the way… Shrink!”

And the enormous boulder shivered as it did, indeed, collapse to half its size. Which was still gigantic, and still blocked the path, so the wizard cried again:

“Half the way, half the way, half the way… Shrink!”

Again the rock shrank, and still it blocked the path, so the wizard repeated four or five times (he lost count):

“Half the way, half the way, half the way… Shrink!”

Until the boulder was a rock he could step around with ease, and go on his way.

There are things in the world that are too big to change, for sure and certain. But sometimes, we can take them on in smaller ways, chunk it down and do a little at a time. Eventually, those small things add up to make a big difference.

Photo “2011-06-13 Arizona, Antelope Canyon 065 Lower Antelope Canyon” by Allie_Caulfield via Flickr. Used by permission under Creative Commons license.

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