Reach for the Light


The Apprentice Hunt

The Apprentice

In a land far, far away, there once lived a little munchkin named Faffi. This munchkin was a gruff, yet kind old man with no family. He lived in a forest, inside the root of a great oak tree with his little oval door carved into the front. Now, Faffi was a very important and wealthy munchkin. He was the forest’s only healer and magician, making him an important and well-respected personage. Even the lions treated Faffi with admiration and respect, because he’d once healed the King’s paw.

Faffi was descended from a long line of wealthy forest munchkins and was on his own merits a very skilled healer. He had been appointed a post as a healer and magician in the eastern forest, due to the munchkin council’s agreement with the previous Lion King.  He charged no more than a few nuts for his services and sometimes when someone could not afford it he waived their fee altogether.

The problem was; Faffi was getting old, but he had no heir to his holdings and no apprentice for his skills. In a few short years it would be time for him to retire and Faffi fully planned to take a long vacation by the sea. However, to be able to do this, he needed to have a replacement ready to take over his job and inherit his holdings. Usually when this was the case, the munchkin in question would write to te council and ask for them to appoint an apprentice. However, Faffi did not like the idea of just accepting an unknown munchkin, he wanted to be able to choose for himself and appoint the best possible candidate.

With this in mind, he put out an advertisement via the night owls and the chattering doves. His advertisement said: ‘Looking for apprentice, must be young and capable at healing and magic. Apply at Faffi’s home in the eastern forest.’

Soon the news was spread far and wide, the forest animals were all exited, gossiping and chattering at all hours of the day and night. The squirrels heard it from the sparrows, who heard it from the doves, who heard it from Faffi directly. The mice could be seen exchanging gossip with the squirrels, while looking for acorns. The mice then told the rabbits neighboring their burrows, the rabbits chatted with the beavers. The beavers told the fish and so on and so forth. The cats heard it from the owls at night and the dogs learned it from the cats when stalking them.

Actually, the advertisement turned out to be a bad idea.  Within a few days Faffi was inundated with applicants, many of them ranging from incompetent to somewhat odd to the utterly bizarre. There were so many of them that had to set up camp outside his house. It a made a huge hullaballoo in the forest, with many of the forest creatures coming to gawk at the commotion. His house was surrounded by all manner of creatures; over half of them applicants (more than a third of whom weren’t even munchkins!) and Faffi was baffled as to what to do whittle down the horde.

He started by asking the applicants to write their names on a piece of paper. It soon turned out that about a quarter of them, couldn’t even read! He eliminated those at once, leaving some two hundred plus applicants left.  Next, he tried interviewing them one by one, but that turned out to be a horribly inefficient method, because each interview took well over an hour to conduct.

He asked the candidates if they could do magic, what they knew about healing, etc.  It turned out that out of the five candidates he interviewed; only one was able to do some minor magic. None of them were able to heal so much as a paper-cut and he was beyond frustrated. The nest three days proved equally fruitless and his task seemed to get ever more daunting as more and more candidates arrived. Finally, in exasperation, he closed his house and went to visit his good friend the oak tree spirit who lived high up in the leaves of the oak. Faffi used magic to float himself up to the highest of the boughs. He alighted and greeted his friend tiredly. “Hmm, I see quite the commotion down there”, the spirt Anat said in a deep voice.

“Yes. I called for applicants but I didn’t think so many would come and many of them do have even basic competencies, how am I ever going to get through them?” he groaned.

“Yes, that is an issue; you could try asking the butterflies for help, or maybe the lovely water fairy living by the riverside?” suggested Anat.

“Yes, while they can easily identify magic once it has been used, even the butterflies would not be able to tell without testing them – yes that’s it! I’ll test them and ask the butterflies to help! You’re the best Anat!” he shouted, hopping off and already halfway to floating down.

“As if that was ever in any doubt!” Ant shouted after him amusedly.

Faffi hurried back into his house and researching quickly he devised a simple test to check if the applicant was capable of magic. He called the butterflies with a butterfly beacon. Butterflies are very sensitive to magic and so they would easily be able to pick out those who did the magic themselves and those who cheat using artifacts.

The next day, Faffi, accompanied by a horde of butterflies, stepped out of his house and called to the applicants. He told them, “I am going to give you five minutes to find a stone and float it, making it circle around your head slowly. Those who are unable to do so, or who cheat will be eliminated from the list.” he held up the applicant list.

Soon, everyone was scrambling to do as told, there was a lot of chaos and disorder, but fifteen minutes later, after Faffi had shouted himself hoarse, he managed to return some order to the proceedings.  “Alright, begin.” He directed.

Soon pebbles were floating around the clearing and butterflies marked any applicant that was cheating by floating over their heads. It turned out that out of the two hundred plus applicants only about thirty were able to perform the requisite spell.

Faffi was ecstatic at his test’s success; he thanked the butterflies profusely and stated holding interviews immediately. To his surprise, only four of the remaining candidates were munchkins. He scheduled the interviews easily and set to his task. The first set of ten interviewees turned out to be unsuitable due to the fact that though they could do magic, each was proficient at different branches and none were any good at healing.

Of the second batch, two were munchkins, and the rest were a mix of animals, a fairy, a dune spirit, and to his astonishment, a single human child. Of the entire second batch ones; one munchkin by the name of Hamz was the only capable one. The third batch actually had a few mediocre healers, but Fafii wanted a great one. To his everlasting astonishment the best out the bunch seemed to be a young rabbit by the name of Uru.

Now, he was stuck deciding between the munchkin and the rabbit. Faffi ordered each of them to show him their healing skills practically using a test subject. A day later, the Hamz and Uru were ready. For his demonstration Hamz brought out a mouse he had captured, the mouse’s leg was broken and Hamz efficiently healed it. Then Ur stepped forward and he took out a knife and quickly sliced his own paw with it. He then healed his paw easily, showing it to Faffi. Afterwards, Faffi left to deliberate on his choice.

“Hmph, that is so mediocre, I healed a bone you are definitely failing. Then again what else can you expect from a bunny” sneered Hamz.

“I think you will find, mister Hamz that it is you who are failing.” interrupted Faffi.

“What why?  What I did was much more advanced!” Hamz declared furiously.

“Yes, but I know for a fact that that mouse was uninjured yesterday and that you caught him in a mouse trap thus breaking his leg. A healer who does not have compassion is useless. You are unworthy of being called healer, therefore you are disqualified.” explained Faffi.

“Congratulations Mister Uru for being the first rabbit apprentice in the land.” Faffi continued.

Uru smiled happily and accepted. Within two years Faffi was able to retire and he packed up and left for his well-deserved vacation, leaving his practice in the safe hands of Uru.

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