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Wizards, Plagues, and Sniffles (the Magician Who Turned a Pandemic Into the Common Cold)
by Nayvin Gordon (gordonnayvin [at]

In a land far away, at a time not long ago, the mother of all plagues, the First of its Kind, arrived hidden and unannounced. Spreading silently from person to person with lightning speed the plague began to fill hospitals around the world. Doctors notified the president of a strange and deadly new disease. The president, called his council of wise-ones to immediately come to The Imperial Citadel and help him plan a response.

Over the recent years, the Ministry of Health Promotion had been underfunded, cut back, or sold off. What were they to do now? The circle of wise-ones pondered and pondered. Imperial scientists informed the council that over the decades they had eliminated similar plagues such as the Great Pox, and the Shmeasels. A new plan would require some small sacrifice from business as usual. Scientists also reported that other lands, on the far side of the world, were successful in stamping out the plague. Unwilling to accept this plan, and at a loss for what to do, the president was determined to find another solution.

As they all pondered their problem, The Imperial Citadel gave a mighty shudder, followed by a brilliant flash of light. Suddenly, in the middle of the room there appeared an elderly, tall man, dressed in a long purple robe filled with many pockets. A huge pointed hat sat perched sideways on his head.

Everyone was shocked, surprised, and speechless. The tall man said in a booming, commanding voice, “My name is The Mighty Wizard Milagrio Matamorphio, Transformer of Minds and Realities, the most powerful magician of all times. If you are in need of my magic you may summon me by repeating --Help us oh great wizard, transformer of minds and realities, and I will appear. Each time you beckon me, I demand you place an additional gold bar in my pockets.” Suddenly, in a puff of smoke, he was gone.

The next day the president and his council of wise-ones met to decide how to handle the developing plague. After many hours of heated debate, they failed to come to a decision but agreed to summon the wizard. They called out loudly, “Help us oh great wizard, transformer of minds and realities.” Instantly, in a flash of lightning, the sorcerer, Milagrio Metamorphio, stood before them.

The president asked the wizard to join the council of wise-ones, and he gladly accepted, agreeing to use his powers to help stop the plague. After the president placed a gold bar into one of the sorcerer’s deep pockets, Milagrio began to perform his magic.

As he reached up into the air, a bolt of lightning struck the room as the wizard snatched a golden coin, the size of a giant squid’s eye, out of thin air. “With this magic coin,” he said, “I call upon the spirits of alternative realities, to rid this land of the plague.” He then threw the giant coin high into the air, as it was about to touch the ceiling, both the wizard and the coin vanished in a cloud of purple smoke.

For the next few weeks the president and his council stayed quietly in The Imperial Citadel, nothing was said to the people of the land. All was kept silent. Gradually people learned of a deadly sickness without cure, never seen before. When word reached the president, he issued a proclamation to the good folk of the realm: Do not worry, trust us, we are confident that this will all disappear very soon, it’s nothing, just like the flu, it will just wash out very soon.

The death clock struck 1,000

Over the next months, as the plague spread further across the realm, the good folk became agitated and the president again called his wise-ones to help him. Another consultation with the wizard was suggested; perhaps his magic would be stronger and last longer. In unison they called out “Help us oh great one, transformer of minds and realities.” In a burst of fire and smoke, the wizard appeared. “For two gold bars, how can I be of service?” said he.

The president explained that other lands on the far side of the world had stopped the plague dead in its tracks, but he wanted to avoid the expense because they were spending much gold building new castles and fortifications, which were more worthy and important. He hoped some magic might instead solve the problem.

“I shall do my magical best”, said the wizard. “For this occasion I will conjure up the incantation of the ancient wild herd, and then your people will be safe again. Place two gold bars in my pockets and I will begin.” Once the gold was snuggly in his pockets the sorcerer waved his magic wand, two curved horns sprouted on his head and he said, “Come up from the deep animal mystic world, I command you ancient spirit to give us your mighty herd protection”. The earth trembled, dense darkness descended and the wizard was gone.

The death clock struck 75,000

Early the next day as the sun rose over The Citadel, the president gave a press conference while the council of wise-ones gave interviews across the land, spreading the word that the people would soon be protected by herd immunity. “Don’t worry they said, just give it time, soon we will all be protected. This year there will be no restrictions on your ability to celebrate our big holidays.”

At that very moment, unbeknownst to the people, hidden in a dark corner of the realm, the mother of all plagues gave birth to “the Second of its Kind”, a new mutant.

As the plague spread faster, children began to sicken, the people’s anger grew. The president and his team began to worry. The magic of the herd was wearing off, and the good folk of the land were once again in an agitated state. Quickly the wizard was summoned, and before they could blink, the mighty magician stood smiling in the center of the room. He asked, “In exchange for three old bars, how can I help you today?”

The death clock sounded 500,000.

Once again Milagrio Metamorphio agreed to help solve the plague problem. “Today I will conjure, the spell of severity. With this magic, your plague will continue but it will be so much milder. This will be a sign to your people, that the plague is nearing its end, and will soon be defeated. Now place three gold bards in my coat pockets and I will begin.” Three gold bars went into deep pockets. The wizard lit a torch and chanted in a deep voice, “Spirit of severity obey my commands, strong to weak, meek as sheep, as I have spoken, so you shall be.” As the sorcerer spoke his last words a tornado descended and swept him into the sky.

The mother of all plagues, hidden in the darkness mutated again, giving birth to the Third of its Kind.

Bright and early the next day the president proclaimed from a balcony in The Imperial Citadel, that his experts had discovered the new mutant was much less severe, much, much milder so not to worry. He declared that everyone should go about their business without any restrictions, back to normal, business as usual, nothing to worry about.

Tragically, people throughout the realm continued to sicken and die, overwhelming hospitals, spreading into every corner of the land. The Ministry of Health Promotion announced that the plague had become a leading cause of death.
The death clock struck 800,000.

The Imperial Citadel was in a panic, desperate to have good news for the people, exhausted by two years of sickness and death. What could be done given the desperate situation? The great magician was called for the last time. With a loud bang and flash of purple light, Milagrio Matamorphio appeared again and said, “I appear at your request. Four gold bars in exchange for a final magical spell.” The council of wise-ones gave him his gold and asked for help once more. Said Milagrio, “today I will perform my final and greatest incantation,--The Great Transformation Chant.” He took off his hat and waved his magic wand as he chanted. “Powerful to weak, change you must, from pestilence to pesky, at my command transform you will, from contagion to cold”. Then from within the hat came a blood curdling scream, the hat shrank to the size of a thimble and the wizard again spoke. “Your plague has now been reduced to a kin of the common cold that never killed a soul. You will all just learn to live with a mild case of the sniffles. Your troubles are over.” As the wizard finished his last words, a giant vulture swooped down and carried the wizard away, leaving a foul stench in the air.

The death clock struck one million.

2/21/22 Dr. Nayvin Gordon, gordonnayvin [at]


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