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20120503-100750.jpgDear Vasilisa the Wise —

All my life I have plied my trade as a magician, pulling rabbits out of hats, finding coins inside the ears of amazed children, yanking bouquets out of my sleeve… That sort of thing. Now, late in life, I find my career taking an unexpected turn. Instead of pulling magic from thin air, as it were, it is now my task not to amaze and amuse but to assist and equip young fairy tale heroes by inserting magic into objects that appear ordinary but, in fact, lend themselves to enchantment. So far I’ve had good luck with walnuts, rag dolls, wooden whistles, mirrors and combs. But I’m running out of ideas. Some of the ordinary objects that I’ve tried to imbue with magic — wing-nuts, bottle-caps, clothespins, buttons — don’t respond at all. Can you tell me what items make effective talismans, and maybe provide me with the names of heroes who found them helpful?

Thanking you in advance, I remain your devoted and faithful servant —

Groping in Gretna

Simplia read the letter out loud and then put it back into its envelope and passed it across the table to her fellow Simpleton.

“Where’d this come from?” Sagacia asked.

“It floated in through the window,” Simplia told her. “I caught it before it hit the ground, so I guess you could say I pulled it from thin air.”

“Well,” said Sagacia, “I guess we better show it to our friends at the Fairy Tale Lobby.”

“Yep,” her friend agreed. “And to make sure it doesn’t go flying through the air again, I’ll nail it to the bulletin board. I can’t wait to read what our magical friends have to say about this question.”

“How come?” asked Sagacia.

Simplia said, “Their answers will help me be more selective about the stuff I pick up on our walks. I mean, already I know the wing-nuts and bottle-caps aren’t worth bringing home.”