An Unexpected Visitor
Short story by Iris Carden
Orsinius Wishlet had had a very long and tiring day. He had recently given up being a thief, but, having no other skills or experience, was finding it difficult to find food.
Today, he had found several mushrooms, of dubious edibility, some berries and a half eaten hamburger he’d found in a bin. It was only late this day that he’d decided that taking things from bins was technically not stealing, because it was things humans had already thrown away. He was quite sure Lady Justice would not execute him for taking food from bins. Having come to this conclusion, he had high hopes that he would eat quite well the next day.
As he carried his groceries into his burrow, he immediately noticed some things had been disturbed. His pile of papers had been disturbed, papers in all the wrong places, newspaper clippings, lost cheques, birthday cards, shopping lists, all of which had been placed according to his own organisational system were now out of place.
Who had been in his burrow? What else had they disturbed? What might they have taken?
Orsinius, very worried and quite frightened, went further in. His biro store was not the nice neat mountain of missing pens that he had left, but a chaotic mass of pens spread far and wide.
He wondered for a moment if whoever had done this was still in his home. Should he run and get Lady Justice to protect him. It was her job to protect innocent people from criminals, and he was no longer a criminal. Then he remembered the task Lady Justice and the Great Wizard Merlin had entrusted to him. He could not go and seek help, because if the item he was meant to be guarding had gone, then he would be in trouble.
He gulped hard at the thought of both of those powerful beings being angry with him. Then he courageously, fearfully, walked deeper into his burrow. His bed, made of odd socks, lost knitting and other soft textiles was in utter disarray.
He went further in, to the very deepest part of his burrow, the place where he kept all his most precious and shiny objects, the place where he kept that object.
There he found his cousin Augustus.
Augustus was rummaging through his most precious things!
“What are you doing?” Orsinius asked, quite shocked. His cousin was a thief, but would never steal from him, or would he?
“I know it’s here somewhere. I want it.” Augustus said in a demanding tone.
“You want what?” Orsinius asked, confused.
“Everyone knows the Great Wizard Merlin gave a a precious thing to you. I want that thing.”
“Do you even know what that thing is?” Orsinius wondered why Augustus would want such a terrible responsibility.
“I don’t care what it is!” Augustus said. “When I heard that you had been given something so special and I had not, my heart made thumping noises, my brain yelled at me, ‘Orsinius is just a thief. Orsinius is no more worthy than me!’ And I knew a mistake had been made and I was meant to have the thing.”
“But you are also just a thief, and I am no longer one,” Orsinius said, quite reasonably.
Augustus picked up Orsinius’ prized Faberge egg. “This looks valuable. Is this the thing?”
Orsinius considered lying and saying it was, then thought that reformed thieves probably should not lie, “I can’t say,.” he said.
Augustus picked up a golf-ball sized ruby. Orsinius’ heart almost broke to think his cousin might take that from him.
Then August sniffed. He sniffed again. With a terrible sinking feeling, Orsinius realised his cousin had smelled the magic.
Throwing the ruby aside, August picked up an old sword from the back of the pile.
“This is it. This old sword that stinks of magic. This is what Merlin gave you. This is mine now. I will take it and keep it where you can’t find it.”
“No,” said Orsinius, “you must not do that. The Great Merlin said it must be respected and if you do evil with it, like stealing it, bad things will happen.”
“Who are you to tell me what I can and can’t do?” Augustus demanded.
“I am your cousin.” Orsinius answered, “I am a wisp. I am a former thief.” He sounded a little bolder as he said, “I am chosen by Lady Justice and the Great Wizard Merlin.” He pulled himself up to his full 135 centimetre height and stuck out his chest, held out his hand and said, “I am Orsinius Wishlet, Guardian of Excalibur!”
The sward twisted in Augustus’ hand, pulled away, and flew into Orsinius’ outstretched hand.
“Augustus,” he said. “You have reported me to Lady Justice many times, but until now I have not reported you. If you do not leave my burrow immediately or if you ever come back, I will report you for the attempted theft of Excalibur. You know you will not survive her revenge. Go. Do not come back.”
Augustus looked at his cousin, who suddenly seemed so strong and so authoritative, and he turned to run out of the burrow, stumbling on the way.
Orsinius carefully polished the sword and put it back in its place. He remembered Merlin telling him, “Who you are today is not who you will be tomorrow.” He began to wonder who he was going to become.
I have to admit that when I first wrote Lost and Found, I had no idea Orsinius Wishlet would even have a second story, let alone that he would end up here. But the more I write him, the more I like him.
Orsinius Wishlet Stories
Lost and Found was originally a one-off story, until the day I had the idea for A Wish Come True. After that, Orsinius and the world built around him just kept coming back to me.