Monday Rewrite: The Gift

A restless young man was once given an unusual harmonica by a kindly old lady. The instrument was old, scratched and dented but the kindly old lady assured him that is he were to play a sequence of notes in just the right order then a genie would appear to help him. However, there was a single drawback, the old harmonica produced no sound at all, or as the lady told the restless young man, it only blew silent notes. Undeterred the young man went away and spent a a good few hours blowing air through the thing. He was about to throw the instrument down when he heard the sound of a throat clearing behind him. He swung round. There, in a bright exotic outfit, was the genie. The woman smiled at him, nodded, and said, ‘Hello, I’m here to help you. But I can only stay a while. What can I do?’ The young man thought for a moment then his face lit up. ‘What’s the sequence of notes I should play to conjure you up anytime?’ he asked. The genie frowned and shrugged. ‘I’m afraid I don’t know that.’ ‘Well if I play them again,’ the youngster asked, ‘would you recognise them?’ But the genie just shrugged again. ‘What else can I do to help?’ she asked. But the young man sat down on an old upturned box and put the harmonica to his lips. He blew a sequence and then looked hopeful. The genie shook her head. So he tried another sequence, then another. Each time the genie could only smile apologetically. But the boy would not give up. He continued trying silent sequences, getting increasingly frantic in his search. Occasionally the genie interrupted to offer help with other things but the young man simple replied, ‘In a minute.’ Eventually, he blew one last sequence and looked up. She had gone. The visit was over. The genie had come and the youngster had missed it. As he sat there, twisting the harmonica in his fingers, he began to think of all the other things they might have done with their time together.

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