Mitchell was a librarian, and worked in an animal shelter in his off hours. All creatures, human, feline, and canine, loved him.
He was unable to walk, but when he told stories, the children were enthralled, for it seemed as if he were running across the distant lands in his tales, flying through its sparkling skies, and swimming in its mysterious oceans.
He often got these stories from the animals at the shelter, who inspired him with their purrs and nuzzles. So great was the love that he felt from them that he always left the shelter with a head full of stories. Back and forth he went, bringing the shelter’s stories to the library, and the library’s joy to the shelter.
What Mitchell didn’t know was that one of the cats, Habibah, was a descendent of the first cats that Egyptians kept to watch over temple grain. These cats were endowed with the magic of the old gods, as were their descendents. Mitchell, not knowing of Habibah’s magic but somehow sensing something special, told a child and her parents who came to the shelter a tale of Habibah’s travels in the land of the Pharaohs.
When Habibah nestled into the child’s arms as the family took her home, she looked lovingly at Mitchell, and prepared, in her mind, the spell she would weave that evening as she settled into her new home. For every cat descended from the Ancient Egyptian Abyssinians is able to cast in theirs lives, a single spell of love, the most precious gift they can give to any human.
That evening, as Habibah purred in the secret language, Mitchell dreamed of travels through the land, air and sea, dreams so glorious that he wept magic tears that ran down his face, and settled on his tongue. The dreams became more vivid, and as Mitchell’s heart beat with joy, it glowed with a fire that moved to his legs, and spread to his back and ribs.
In a half dream, Mitchell rose from his bed for the first time in his life. He walked to the beach and into the water, where the gills on his ribs allowed him to dive to the ocean’s depths, and listen to the luminous fish, who told him tales of reading by lamplight. He then rose through the water, and when he broke the surface, he soared on the wings that sprang from his back.
In the sky, hawks told him tales of hunting, and albatrosses told him tales of travel. And when, the next day, he touched down in front of the library, he was full of stories that even made the adults gather around in wonder. Then, with the parents blessings, he took each child, one after another, in his arms, hurtled into the sky, and showed them the breadth of the world, and instilled in each of them the desire to journey to all its corners.