I first published this story and picture on my other site. The story is based on a story in Louis Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings- which I highly recommend. I wrote it hearing it in a British accent, if that makes any sense, and my apologies to Great Britain.
There have been times in my life when I thought I should be trying to save the world. I came to find out that the underlying reality of both my self and the world were quite different than I had thought them to be.
I ended up having to save myself. From salvation. yaaaaaay.
A long time ago, when the world had just begun turning, mirrors were different then they are now. In those days, mirrors weren’t just looking glasses- you could walk right through them- into another world. And the people who lived on the other side could walk right out. They might sit down and take tea with you, if they felt like it.
But it happened that they didn’t feel like it. I don’t know how it began, but they say that the mirror people decided that they would like to live in two worlds, not just one. They gathered up all their armies, and came pouring through every mirror on earth. It wasn’t going well for our earth people, I’ll tell you that.
It was then that the Great Yellow Ancestor arose. The Ancestor was the Emperor, all the way over in China, across the sea. He made a wyrd, a mighty spell, and changed their fates. His magic took hold of the mirror people and swept them back into the mirrors.
It did more than that, too. He put a curse on them. From that day forward, instead of coming and going in their own world as they pleased, they were forced to mimic the ways and clothes of the land they had tried to invade, as punishment. It was so bad that they couldn’t even look like themselves. They had to look like us, in our world, and copy us exactly in whatever we said or did.
That’s why, when you go and look in a mirror, a mirror person comes and looks out at you- looking like you do. It’s the magic of the Yellow Ancestor at work.
Oh come on, Sophie! I asked you a serious question! This is too much, even for you! No one listens to ‘wives tales, or wherever it was you heard that. You’re acting dense.
Well it’s not a ‘wives tale, Freddie! A learned man wrote that in a book, after he read it in a book that the learned men in China wrote, who were probably told it by Confucius himself! You’re the one who’s dense.
Well at least I’m being serious.
You aren’t either. You’re teasing me to see if I can answer. You don’t really care.
You should care, you know.
Why on earth would I care about mirrors?
If you’re not going to answer, I’m not going to stand here and watch you pout.
Because of the Fish.
The fish? What are you talking about now?
The Ancestor’s magic isn’t going to last forever, Freddie. One day the Fish in the mirror will wriggle free of the spell. He’ll swim out into our world.
And then it will begin again.
There won’t be any Yellow Emperor to save the earth this time.
More nonsense! Can you imagine? People like us getting free!