Simplia wanted to know.
Sagacia looked up from darning a pair of socks to see her friend, a slow reader, still plowing through letters responding to Groping in Gretna’s question about giving ordinary objects magical powers.
Thor’s hammer? Sagacia didn’t even have to stretch her memory. “Mjolnir. You must be reading what Tarkabarka had to say.”
Wow, this one is harder than I thought! :)
My first idea was to mention enchanted weapons, but I am not sure if they would qualify as talismans. I definitely can think of enchanted pieces of clothing, as well as chalices and goblets. Also, rings are fairly common. Here is a weird one: there is a folktale character that shows up in the story type called the Wonderful Helpers (AaTh 513) quite often; he carries pieces of wood with him that he can turn into soldiers. That would put Pinocchio into a whole different perspective… :)
Simplia was still wondering about that hammer. “Why couldn’t a weapon be a talisman? Would Thor have smashed so many skulls with just any hammer? And look. Here. Reilly McCarron mentions a weapon in her letter.”
Dear G in G,
According to the history of The Magic Table, The Gold Donkey, and the Club in the Sack, the facts would show that tables, when asked, can set themselves with a tablecloth, cutlery, a delicious feast and red wine, while clubs can be told to beat up our foes. Some donkeys spit gold coins… but then I’d be careful magicking animals because they may turn out to be enchanted princes or princesses and they won’t be happy with you when the spell is lifted if you’ve forced them to spit gold for your own gain!
Spinning wheels and spindles are also rather sensitive to magic I believe. I own a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ wheel and it spins a good yarn.
All the best with your enchantments.
At this point Sagacia had put down her mending in order to re-read the letters over her friend’s shoulder. She knew what was coming next. And that made her start wondering:
“One wonders if the Magic Table, the Gold Donkey and the Club would be as magical had they been carried in a Trader Joe’s sack.”
“Or a giant ziploc bag,” Simplia volunteered.
“Probably not,” Sagacia continued. “Not when you consider what Naomi Baltuck has to say about it.”
There is a lot of magic in a simple sack. [The book] Apples From Heaven: Multicultural Folk Tales About Stories and Storytellers has some good stories about magic sacks. It’s amazing what Ali the Persian finds in his sack to relieve the worries of the Caliph. There is a sack from Korea that has more than enough–maybe even too much magic in it. In the Norwegian tale, A Sackful of Truth, young Hans is given a different magic object, a magic flute, with which he is able to collect plenty of truths to put into his sack.
But I think the most magical object of all is a story. It is inspiring to think that everyone is capable of creating that kind of magic, just by opening up their lips and summoning a story from thin air!
Simplia finally looked up from reading this final letter.
“There’s a lot of magic in a simple book, too,” she said. “Wanna go to the library with me? I’m going go check out some magic.”
Illustration of The Tinderbox by H. J. Ford. From Andrew Lang's Yellow Fairy Book.