Fairy Tale prompt May 8th 2015, The Shaman


This weeks challenge was to: ‘Imagine you’re the apprentice of a shaman and he learns you all magical and mysterious skills. Write a short story or poem in which you describe how your shaman teaches you all the things he knows.’

As I trudged around the corner the sight I wanted so much to see came into sight. “Darbra Shaman Services” in large shiny letters, which changed colour the closer, I got to them.

Already there was a line up of people outside displaying all sorts of odd maladies.

People bed ridden, some on crutches, angry wives with their husbands attached to dog collars as they foamed at the mouth looking around and making strange howling noises, angry husbands with their cowering wives whom they berated from time to time and then every so often offered them for sale as a household slave, whore or something you might like to walk on.

I was taken aback by this, as this was not the sort of thing the shaman in my village was known for.

As the third son of the third son of the third generation Weeful fairies, just to the left of the third sun it had been decided at my birth that I would be the heir apparent to the shaman in our village.

In our fairy village the shaman was the most respected person, the one you went to when something was bothering you either physical or mindful. He was the person you sat with over a hot cup of Rocky Tea, known to induce calm in the maddest of the mad, and sort out whatever issues it was that concerned you. In our village not one person ever left the shaman dissatisfied….

I entered the door and announced myself to the receptionist.

She directed me to a door beside a large bookcase with the sign Dr Arbraca Darbra in gold lettering.

Dr Darbra sat at his desk peering into a very large important looking volume. As I entered he closed it and looked at me with a gaze I found disconcerting.

‘You are?’ he asked looking down his long crooked nose.

‘Thomas Sparkling, of the Weeful fairies. My parents have made arrangements for me to learn the art of shaman from you.’


There followed a long silence.

‘It’s a tedious business,’ he said. ‘Being a shaman is one thing; learning can take years off your life. Are you ready to be put through the rigours of all that? Wouldn’t you rather attend the playfairy mansion next door and become desirous as a fairy of worldly pleasures. God knows I would!’

‘No Dr Darbra its shamanism for me as I am the third son of the third son of the…..’

‘Stop all that third son business that’s a load of crock…..just a way to get you out of the village and into a career they think has potential. If you become a shaman then you stay a shaman none of this modern day career changing stuff you are stuck forever in the arts of the dark, the skills of the needy, the wants of so many that the times your kilt may have cause to tilt will be numbered in less occasions than the fingers on one hand.’

I am keen Dr Darbra to learn. I have come a long way. My fairness is keen to embrace the skills and arts you will

me so that I can become a useful part of my community.’

‘Well I think you are half way there already. You are beginning to talk like a shaman, believing your own shadow is important. Well the dark arts are dark my son, once you go down that path its curtains on any life you had before.’

‘I am ready sir.’

‘Don’t call me sir. My name is Arbraca. Stick to that and we will get along fine.

Over the next week Arbraca began my training as a shaman. There was so much to learn.

We spent so much time developing my skill to go into a trance or daydreaming, as Arbraca tended to call it though I was beginning to see his whole attitude to shamanism as somewhat cynical.

There were morning and afternoon classes on ritual, so important in the life of a shaman though Arbraca had a bad habit in my opinion of referring to it as ritual as smoke and mirrors.

In the evenings there were the divination sessions in which Arbraca taught me the various skills by which I could predict a persons future. There was reading palms, tealeaves, ears and noses and finally feet. Dr Darbra took a lot from a person’s foot and I soon discovered his penchant for feet after he read mine six times one evening, which I found a very tickling experience. In the end he said divination revolved around one immutable fact, that the sun would come up tomorrow.

In the final weeks he moved on to healing. This was when he brought me into the practice and allowed me to sit in with him when he saw patients.

He’d sit with the person involved, listen patiently to their tale of woe before writing a note in his book and leaning forward telling them what treatment would best work for them. So often the treatment began with a foot reading which often took longer than I expected it would as Arbraca took hold of the patients foot, caressed it in his hands, smelt it, traced its outline all the time focused on foot at hand.

Then he would often engage them in some ritual usually with incense and then slap them on the back and tell them to go about their business, as they had never done so before after seeing his receptionist on the way out.

They always left with smile on their face and a skip in their step unless they were bed ridden and then the smile said it all.

After a day of intense one on one interaction he sat me down to ascertain what I had learned during the day. I recounted everything that I had seen and more.

He took in all I said and then told me to remember that the secret ingredient to healing was belief in what you do, knowing the patient had belief in what you do and a lot of luck.

My training complete I left with a certificate in my hand announcing to all who might read it that I had trained under the watchful eye of Dr Arbraca Darbra.

My future now decided and with great excitement and anticipation I skipped home. Among the Weeful fairies there was going to be a change in the way the shaman operated beginning with ritual foot washing.

Written for: https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/fairy-tale-prompt-may-8th-2015/

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20 Responses to Fairy Tale prompt May 8th 2015, The Shaman

  1. JackieP says:

    Nice story Michael, just one tiny complaint. Shamans are not known for ‘dark arts’ they help people. The foot thing was funny though.

    • Thank you Jackie could be Dr Arbraca Dabra was influenced by the definition/job description he read of the shaman’s role, but your ‘complaint’ is noted….

  2. mandy says:

    You’ve just made so much sense to what an old friend who visited a shaman used to tell me. I never knew what a shaman was, but I pitied the man taking on my friend’s less-than-desirable temperament. She did calm down over time, and now I understand the pre-shaman-visit pedicures! Great story, Michael!

  3. Suzanne says:

    This is interesting but it does seem a bit cynical. As Jackie P says shamans are healers. If they work with the dark it is to heal and transform negativity.

    • Yes I take your point. Thanks for reading.

      • Suzanne says:

        Sorry if I sounded a bit cross. I was deep in thought about whether or not try and write a fictional piece for this prompt. I did like your story. The idea of a shaman having a waiting room and a receptionist really appealed. 🙂

      • Thank you Suzanne my response may have been a little curt too. My issue is applying the shaman to a fairy tale type genre….and yes I did take a cynical approach as I figured why not? And it was fun to write.
        Thanks also for the follow.

  4. What a delight! The foot fetish was a nice touch haha I have always been fascinated by Shaman

  5. julespaige says:

    I always like how you weave fae into your writing. I think the ‘dark arts’ in your piece reminds me of the sadness that people bring in with them – to be turned around by the Shaman who has to work in the deep ‘dark’ hours so often. Even with all the book learning I also think that when any of us go to modern Doc’s sort of shamans if you will that we are often in the ‘dark’ not understanding all the technical gobbledee-gook. And since your piece was full of fae and playfully fun I had a most joyful time with my visit.

    • Thank you Jules I am so glad you did enjoy my piece. I like that interpretation of the ‘dark’ aspects of their work. And you are right the faery do induce a feeling of play and fun, that’s how I like to respond.

  6. phylor says:

    While shamans are seen as healers and keepers of knowledge, there is always a dark side to the light side. And feet get washed too.
    Enjoyable story, with wide grin at end. 😀

    • Thank you for that…..the dark must have alight in the same way as an up must have a down. The foot thing was a safe way to go considering the other less savoury possibilities….

  7. Oliana says:

    Haha, Michael, you are such a great storyteller; the point of your post is obvious and it is to have fun…and fun we had!! I started chuckling right away at the sound of a receptionist, a gold lettered sign…hmmm, humility tossed to the wayside and a foot fetish to boot!!! I needed to have a nice light read and smile before I turn in. 🙂

  8. mj6969 says:

    ” the wants of so many that the times your kilt may have cause to tilt will be numbered in less occasions than the fingers on one hand.’” Roflmao — oh Michael, how you have a way of turning a phrase!

    Omg – how you have me hooked: “There was reading palms, tealeaves, ears and noses and finally feet. Dr Darbra took a lot from a person’s foot and I soon discovered his penchant for feet after he read mine six times one evening, which I found a very tickling experience. In the end he said divination revolved around one immutable fact, that the sun would come up tomorrow.”

    The way you so wind everything up and then so matter-of-factly state the obvious – is brilliant – satire in action.

    I was absolutely caught out right from the start – the “modern touches” – signage, receptionist etc. – it was hilarious – and thoroughly a delight to read. Your decision to present it all as such, is indeed, testament to your skills and range as a creative writer. Bravo Michael! 😀

  9. Hilarious! I want to be a Weeful fairy. LOL

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