Everyone always asks if you need a wand to cast a spell, and technically the answer is yes. Really anything that’s longer than it is wide can be a wand though, a stick, a screwdriver, a flyswatter, a snake, whatever. The longer the thing, the easier it is to focus the spell, that’s why extra old wizards always carry a staff. Also, they can lean on it to rest their weary bones. One time a wizard tried to use a whole building to cast a spell, but that brought up a host of other issues that I’ll have to tell you about some other time.
The other thing is that it helps to use a wand that is somehow related to the task you want to perform. Like if you want to conjure up a bunch of food you could use a piece of biscotti. If you’re making a love spell you could use, like a vibrator, or just your penis. Also at some point wizards figured out that their fingers were like tiny little wands, which is why the young ones don’t even carry one sometimes.
It also really helps to have a magical wand. If you have some wood a unicorn peed on and you put an enchanted topaz at the end, that’s gonna be way more powerful than just like a fork or whatever.
Every wizard knows that the very best wands come from the Wand Weasel. Usually, when you first hear about the Wand Weasel you assume it’s a weasel who steals wands, but that’s just your own prejudices coming out so maybe take a moment and question your belief system and the hierarchy it’s based on before continuing this story.
Okay then, now that we’re all more enlightened I’ll tell you about the time the Wand Weasel sent this wizard on a really crazy quest to get a wand. Now don’t get confused, the wizard didn’t have to go on a quest to find a wand. Going on a quest is how you pay the weasel for the wand it makes for you. Also, the Wand Weasel doesn’t talk (although most people suspect it totally could if it wanted to) so you kind of have to guess what it wants and then give it to it. Sort of like having a really annoying lover.
At first, people would bring it dead mice and voles, but the Wand Weasel would just stare at them and then scurry away. What you have to do is just keep asking it what it wants in exchange for a customized wand, and when you finally get it right it lets you know. Then you normally have to go on some crazy adventure to find it unless you just happen to be carrying around that exact thing in your pocket (but that only happened once).
Anyway, one time this wizard named Onondaga got tired of her old pencil wand and went to see the Wand Weasel. She knew it was probably going to be a pain in the ass so she stuffed a bunch of things in her pockets in the hopes that it would want one of them.
She hiked out to its cabin deep in the woods, knocked on its door and said:
“Wand Weasel, Wand Weasel, Let me in if you pleasel.”
This wasn’t some magical chant or anything, but it was traditional and considered good manners.
The door swung open and there was the Wand Weasel laying on the floor looking up at her.
“Um, hello Wand Weasel,” said Onondaga, stooping low to get into the weasel sized cottage. Suddenly she realized she hadn’t rehearsed what to say when she got there. “I was ah, you probably could have guessed this but ah, you know, hoping you could maybe make me a custom wand.” she blurted out, “In exchange, I brought you this thimble that a fairy once drank out of.” She took the shiny silver thimble out of her pocket and held it up.
The weasel yawned and looked away.
“Um, sure,” said Onondaga, “That was stupid, who would want that? But how about this lemon that grew in a giant’s tomb?”
The weasel didn’t move.
Onondaga went through everything she’d brought with her and even named a few prized possesions she had back at her shack. The weasel briefly looked excited by a bit of cheese she’d brought for her lunch, but it sauntered away after smelling it.
“Alright,” she said eventually, “What exactly is it that you want?”
Here the weasel got up and started scratching at a small red door on the opposite side of the cabin. This was, by far, the biggest hint it had ever given anyone. The door was so tiny that it would barely even fit a weasel, which is why Onondaga hadn’t noticed it until now.
“You want something on the other side of this door?” Onondaga asked, as she half walked, half crawled across the room.
The weasel looked up at her like she was the world’s biggest idiot.
“Okay then,” she said. She cast a shrink spell on herself and shrank down and down until she was about 3 inches tall. She looked up at what now appeared to be a giant weasel and worried for a second that she’d made a horrible error. Perhaps the weasel was a more powerful magical creature than anyone suspected. Perhaps it lured wizards here with the temptation of powerful custom made wands, and then ate them, replacing them with exact duplicates. After all, eating a bunch of wizards would be a great way to increase your own powers. This might sound paranoid, but it’s exactly the kind of shit that happens in the magical world all the time. Knowing that basically anything can happen at any time is both the best and worst thing about being a wizard.
At any rate, the weasel didn’t eat Onondaga (although truth be told, it did consider it when it saw how tasty she looked shrunken down). It simply opened the door and gestured inside.
Onondaga peered in but could see nothing but inky blackness. “What’s in there?” she asked.
The weasel stared straight ahead.
“Oh fine,” she said stepping through the door. “Here goes nothiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii….”
Onondaga continued to scream all the way down. It was a good 7 feet before she hit the water, which is quite some way when you’re only 3 inches tall. She landed with what would seem like a small “plip” to us, but was a giant “SPLASH!” to her. She came up sputtering and gasping for air.
“Rude,” she said, treading water, “it could have warned me.”
She was floating there wondering what to do when off in the distance she saw a pinprick of light and heard the faint sound of singing.
Oh this little stream is enough for me,
It’s all I needs my life to be,
I paddles my boat and collects my fee
Tid-Tiddly um, tiddly bum bum bee
As it got closer Onondaga saw that it was a skinny grey rat paddling a little boat with what appeared to be a birthday candle lighting the prow.
“Help! Help!” cried Onondaga.
The rat paddled over to her. “I’ve paddled these waters all my life,” he laughed, “but you look more like a drown rat than I have on my worst days.”
Onondaga did not find it amusing. “Could you help me into the boat?” she asked.
“Could do, could do” said the rat “but what do you have for a fee?”
Onondaga dug through her robe and came upon the thimble which, like everything else, had shrunken down with her.
“What about this?” she said holding it up “It’s real silver and a fairy once drank out of it.”
The rat took it out of her hand and looked it over suspiciously. “Must have been pretty small, even for a fairy,” it said. Still, it pocketed the trinket and helped Onondaga into the boat.
“There now,” he said “you can warm your hands a bit by the candle. Where exactly would you like to go?”
Onondaga had no idea where she was, or even what she was looking for. “What’s the most interesting thing down here?” she asked.
“Hmmm…” said the rat, scratching its furry chin, “There’s a great white toad that will tell your fortune if you guess her riddle, although between me you and the water, it’s always too cryptic to be of much use. There’s a pebble that’s perfectly balanced in midair, because of a draft that picked it up and never let it go. There’s also a pile of junk that’s guarded by a greedy old snake. Always a few interesting things in there, if you can talk the snake out of ‘em.”
It sounded the least pleasant but Onondaga picked the snake anyway. She figured she was increasing her odds by looking through a whole pile of stuff. Besides, she wasn’t sure the pebble was even magical, and the toad just sounded obnoxious.
The rat started paddling again and sang another verse of its song
Oh I go where err they ask me too
I paddle all day til my day is through
I don’t care why or what or who
Tum-tiddly bum, tiddly bo bum boo
It took the better part of an hour to reach the snakes’ little island in the stream, but even as dark as it was, it was so heaped up that she could see it from some way off. It glittered and sparkled in the light of the little candle.
“My dear Hermes,” said the snake as they pulled up, “I see you’ve brought me another eager customer.”
Hermes didn’t answer so Onondaga asked “Do you have anything a weasel might enjoy?”
“Who wouldn’t enjoy everything I have?” asked the snake with mock indignation.
Onondaga just shrugged and started looking through the pile. There were lots of things like broken combs and rusty jar lids, but she also found a little green bell that yelled “Hello there!” when you rang it, a mechanical grasshopper that did the most amazing dance, and a piece of broken glass that showed you a vision of whatever you asked for when you held it up to your eye. None of them seemed quite right for the Wand Weasel though. She was about to give up and just take the glass, figuring it would be handy for drawing if the weasel didn’t want it, when she spotted a dirty brass key sticking out from underneath a pile of old candlesticks. At first, she thought it had “MM” engraved on it, but as she got closer she realized she was looking at it upside down and hadn’t seen the dots. It was actually initials: “W.W.”
“How much for the key?” she asked
“Oh, the key?” answered the snake “My precious key? I’m not sure I could ever part with it. It was given to me by a lover who died saving me from a dragon. It’s my only memory of her now… although I suppose if you really really wanted it…”
Onondaga should have expected this, and on a better day, she would have been smart enough to not ask outright.
“I brought you that key only last week!” said Hermes “And you only gave me a bit of sausage for it.”
The snake turned like lighting and hissed at Hermes, who was surprisingly unafraid for a rat being hissed at by a snake. “Well you couldn’t see its true value so I took it off your hands!” yelled the snake “and it serves you right for being such a fool! The other half of your payment is the lesson!”
While the snake had been yelling, Onondaga had been searching through her robe. At last, she found a tiny porcelain cup, one of the many objects the weasel had rejected.
“This cup, if taken in the moonlight,” she said “will glow a bright green if the contents are poisonous to whoever holds it.”
“It’s too tiny to hold much of anything.” said the snake
“You can clearly see I’ve shrunk myself down,” explained Onondaga, “When I grow back to my normal size the cup will too.”
“And how do I know you aren’t lying?” asked the snake
“Why would I just have a tiny porcelain teacup?” Onondaga asked in return, “Besides, even at this size it’s worth more than a plain brass key and you know it.”
“Fine!” the snake shouted finally, flipping them the key and snatching the teacup in one quick motion “and I hope you both choke on it!”
So saying it slithered off into a hole in the pile and disappeared.
It took even longer to get back since they were going upstream but Onondaga was feeling so good she didn’t care. Hermes even added a brand new verse to his song.
Oh the snake tried to lie but it didn’t fool she
Now all he’s got is a cup for tea
And the lady got away with her little brass key
Tum-liddly um, tiddly lum lum lee
When they finally did get back (she had no idea how Hermes could tell, but he assured her it was the spot where he’d first picked her up) she saw there was a tiny string hanging down in anticipation of her return.
She gave Hermes the bit of cheese from her pocket as a tip “for the lovely song” she said and climbed back up to the door. There sat the weasel on a cushion, looking at her. She reversed her shrink spell (nearly sinking Hermes boat when the thimble and cheese grew back to their proper size) and handed the key to it.
“I assume you lost this?” she asked
The weasel didn’t answer but took the key from her with its tiny claws and hopped across the room. It pulled back a curtain to reveal what, for it, was an enormous cabinet. It inserted the key into the lock and opened, what turned out to be, a cabinet full of wands. It took one down with its jaws and scurried over to Onondaga.
Onondaga took the wand and examined it closely. It was polished rosewood and had her name carved into it. It was shaped exactly like the pencil she had been using as a wand for years now.
“But… if the cabinet was locked.” she started, “I mean did you know I was coming? When did you lose that key? How did you make this?”
The weasel simply curled up on his cushion again and seemed to go sleep.
Onondaga thought that seemed like a grand idea. She placed her new wand into the innermost pocket of her robe and headed home.