Monday, March 9, 2015

The Lightning Kid and the Magic Flute

Families with young children have a way of acquiring things. The parents will usually be too busy to take stock of items as they enter the household, and by the time they get noticed, the priority becomes where to store the item and not discovering its origins.  This phenomenon is no different in a Royal Family, in fact, it may be worse simply for the fact that Kings, Queens and Princes seem to get more gifts than they might need.

One such gift was an old flute (the prime suspect for its donor would be the Queen’s mother).  The flute had a lacquered surface, finger holes for playing different notes along its length, one open end, and one closed end.  Both the King and Queen had played flutes in their younger days (though the Queen had been more proficient), and attempted to coax notes out of the flute by blowing across the open end from a variety of angles.  No music came forth.  The flute was dismissed as an oddity and generally kept away on a high shelf to prevent the Princes from using it as a club, since it seemingly couldn't be used to make any music.

Some time later, another flute entered the castle.  This one was more functional and less decorative than the other, and ideal for children to learn the basics of making music (it is known in some parts as a recorder).  One day Shark Boy asked to play with it, and loud, shrill notes echoed through the castle.  What one brother wants to play with, the other will too, so in an attempt to quell a tug-of-war over the recorder, the King handed the decorative flute to the Lightning Kid.  The King momentarily busied himself with something else, but before long, he was sure that he could hear a second set of notes being played softly under Shark Boy’s shrill whistling... somehow the Lightning Kid had managed to get notes out of the decorative flute!

Was it magic? Well, after a fashion... the magic of an open mind.  You see the ‘closed’ end had a little slit in it that acted like a whistle, but the dark colouring of the flute had made the slit hard to see.  While sticking things (that aren't food) in one’s mouth is generally not a behaviour to be praised, in this case, the Lightning Kid had discovered the secret of the magic flute!