The Magician’s Dinner


There was once a magician who built a house near a large and prosperous village.

One day he invited all the people of the village to dinner. ‘Before we eat,’ he said, ‘we have some entertainments.’

Everyone was pleased, and the Magician provided a first-class conjuring show, with rabbits coming out of hats, flags appearing from nowhere, and one thing turning into another. The people were delighted.

Then the Magician asked: ‘Would you like dinner now, or more entertainments?’

Everyone called for entertainments, for they had never seen anything like it before; at home there was food, but never such excitement as this.

So the Magician changed himself into a pigeon, then into a hawk, and finally into a dragon. The people went wild with excitement.

He asked them again, and they wanted more. And they got it.

Then he asked them if they wanted to eat, and they said that they did.

So the Magician made them feel that they were eating, diverting their attention with a number of tricks, through his magical powers.

The imaginary eating and entertainments went on all night. When it was dawn, some of the people said, ‘We must go to work.’

So the Magician made those people imagine that they went home, got ready for work, and actually did a day’s work.

In short, whenever anyone said that he had to do something, the Magician made him think first that he was going to do it, then, that he had done it and finally that he had come back to the Magician’s house.

Finally the Magician had woven such spells over the people of the village that they worked only for him while they thought that they were carrying on with their ordinary lives. Whenever they felt a little restless he made them think that they were back at dinner at his house, and this gave them pleasure and made them forget.

And what happened to the Magician and the people, in the end?

Do you know, I cannot tell you, because he is still busily doing it, and the people are still largely under his spell.

Seeker After Truth
Read the book, online, for free:

The Magician’s Dinner


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