Mon | Oct 18, 2021

Pearl of doom

Published:Sunday | March 7, 2021 | 12:08 AM

A short story by Nicholas Lobban

Out of the many treasures in the world, this was made to be one of the most mysterious … yet exciting.

In a land, there lived a fortune teller who travelled, giving many people their fortunes. Some were good, such as people becoming rich or meeting a lost loved one. Others were bad, such as a misfortune, disaster, or something bad coming. There were many that were neither. Some were warnings of betrayals, for example.

The fortune teller used a crystal ball to investigate the future. Many people wanted to know what was in the ball and how it could tell the future. There were other ways, but the ball was the most interesting. If any tried to peek, the fortune teller would demand that they stop immediately. So the ball could only be used by the fortune teller. She said that looking through the ball wrong could be a problem.

One day, a rich merchant came to the fortune teller, wanting to know his fortune. His men also got theirs, however, they were not yet done. The merchant asked how she knew the future and if the ball was just a trick for her to get money. The fortune teller told him that the ball revealed everything in the distant future if used correctly. He looked at it; he was confused. He wanted to know more. The ball looked like it was worth a lot. The merchant believed that he could buy it. He offered her an amazing price for it. The fortune teller refused to sell her ball and revealed that the ball was known also as the Pearl of Doom. It was too dangerous to be given from person to person. The merchant was disappointed, but he believed her and turned to leave. His men, however, weren’t buying it. They waited until the merchant had got on his horse and then stole the ball. The fortune teller did not realise that the ball was stolen until it was too late. The men ran off with the ball.

KEEP IT A SECRET

As the merchant and his men were heading to the next town, the men were thinking about what to do with the ball. They decided to keep it a secret from the merchant so that they could trade it and become even richer than him. One of the men were worried that as they were heading to the town, a storm could come. So he investigated the ball to see if the future would bring that. Sure enough, the ball showed a massive storm destroying the city.

He warned the merchant, and the merchant decided to travel to the nearest town beside it. They were safe and the men were relieved. This city, however, was known for being a bandit place. The men again looked at the ball for luck. Sure enough, they saw people getting robbed and killed. They warned the merchant, and so he avoided the town.

The best option was near a forest. The merchant decided to go there instead. The shortest path was through the forest, however, the men looked at the ball, and it said that the forest was full of poisonous creatures and it was impossible to not get lost. The men tried to warn him again and then the merchant knew he could not keep going for much longer and got tired of all the warnings. He headed for the forest despite the warnings, and then the men trembled in fear of what would happen. Soon, a storm began to grow over the forest and the men jumped and scattered. The men went and hid until the storm passed. After the storm passed, the merchant was angry. He wondered why his men were acting like this. He found all of them relieved to still be alive.

He demanded to know what was causing them to be like this. He then saw the ball on the ground and picked it up. He recognised it as the same pearl that they saw at the fortune teller. He then realised that this was causing his men so much trouble. He looked through it and saw himself going back to the fortune teller. So they stayed at the town and then went to the fortune teller.

The merchant returned the ball to the fortune teller and asked her, “Why does this ball give my men so much trouble?”

The fortune teller replied: “This ball is a reflection of our thoughts and fears as they become our reality. Your men stole it from me, so they feared the worst, and the worst was brought upon them. I refused for the pearl to be passed from human to human as their fears and desires for the future will soon become their realities. You chose to avoid stealing it and even returned it, so your reality was left untainted. Hence, our thoughts should be neutral and open.”

This story was written by Nicholas when he was 12 years old.