NZ Forest Native Birds
 celtic lineThe final scene of Quest for Earthlight celtic line


It was the day before Christmas Eve. Feeling slightly disoriented, Peter was in his bedroom packing to spend Christmas in the South Island on the farm of an old friend, Thaddeus Carter. He was about to close the zipper on his bag when something—two things—on his bedside table drew his attention. One looked simply like a rock and the other was an exquisite little crystal box with a red dragon on its lid.
   Puzzled, he picked up the rock and strange, frightening images of dark tunnels flashed into his mind.  Hastily he  dropped  it and gingerly picked

up the crystal box. But this time there were no frightening images. Instead he saw a lovely woman dressed in flowing blue and white with silver-gilt hair and the hint of a crown or coronet on her head. Eerie bell-like music* filled the air and he saw again the glass bells lying on their sides. But, although he kept the lid of the box open, everything faded, returning only when he closed the box and re-opened it.

   He went to his bedside drawer, took out the small album in which he had placed the photograph of his mother and himself shortly after his birth and peered at the slightly fuzzy image in frustration. Then, returning to the crystal box, he held it close to his face at eye level. The eye of the little red dragon on the lid seemed to wink at him. The creature was so tiny and yet so beautifully detailed that Peter knew if he had a magnifying glass he would be able to see every scale on its body. He touched the strange, webbed wings and could almost see them spread in flight, creating a noise like a drum. Slowly he started to lift the lid of the box with his thumb. The first note of the eerie music floated out …

   A knock at the door sent all the images in his mind fleeing. Peter started violently and nearly dropped the box. His future stepmother’s voice, sounding rather anxious, came through the closed door. “Peter, are you ready? Maria’s mother has just dropped her off and your father wants to finish packing the car. If you don’t hurry you’ll have to go without breakfast. We don’t want to miss our flight.”

   “Coming!” Peter pushed the crystal box into his bag among the folds of his clothing. Cautiously he picked up the rock. The frightening images returned. Well, he didn’t have time to investigate further. He’d better take that too.

   He shoved it in the bag beside the crystal box and the images faded. With fingers that trembled slightly he closed the zipper, swung the bag over his shoulder and opened the door. “Ready, Dreyfus?” he said to the dog, who immediately bounded out.

   At sight of the grin on her future stepson’s face, Sylvia Evans’s own face dissolved into an affectionate smile. She raised an eyebrow at sight of his cabin bag, which bulged everywhere in untidy lumps. She was clearly unprepared, however, for Peter’s next move: he ran up and threw his arms around her, knocking the back of her legs with the soft bag and almost sending her off-balance.

   “I’m so glad you’re going to be my mother.”

   Sylvia hugged him back. When Peter gently freed himself she looked at him with eyes that shone like sapphires. When she spoke her voice was soft and low. “I’m glad too, Peterand very proud.”

   Peter’s grin widened and the pink in his cheeks deepened as he saw that Maria had come up behind Sylvia. He included her in his grin and moved to join her.

   “Are you sure you’ve got everything?” Sylvia said from behind, eyeing the misshapen bag doubtfully.

   Peter turned back briefly. “Everything that matters,” he said with confidence.

T H E     E N D

  This is what the instrument played by Marianne Kirchgäsnner (the musician from whom the Lady “stole” her music) looked like. Today’s instruments, unfortunately, are nowhere near as elegant. Many don’t even have a proper cabinet, which surprised me. I assumed the cabinet wasn’t just decorative but acted as a sound-box for an instrument whose voice can hardly be describe as powerful. This particular instrument belonged to its inventor, Benjamin Franklin, and now resides, alas, in a museum. You can just see, on the left of the case, all that remains of the instrument’s treadle. However, the music itself as “visualised” by me was played by Bruno Hoffmann. Big surprise, huh? You can imagine how astonished I was at first sight of this lovely B&W photo (there’s something very special about the rapt expression of a musician at work). You can buy Hoffmann’s recording for US$4.98 at Search for Music for Glass Harmonica, which is the title of the disc. 

At William Wilde Zeitler’s official web site you can also download an MP3 file (which plays for about 2 minutes) of William playing the music. There was also a short video clip on which you can see William’s amazingly dextrous hands producing Mozart’s music, but last time I was there I couldn’t find it, which is why I haven’t given exact links to the files.

Did you enjoy this very short extract? Even if you didn’t I still like hearing from you. To send your comments please email me.


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