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Chapter 1


Ask the magic mirror of the fairy tale -the Internet

Dark nights are cloaked in dark coats. Dark coats conceal dark secrets. But when a shiningred dot appears amid this darkness and concealment, it is Phantasos whose hand is atplay. It is he who opens sleeping eyes. And so it was also on that night. A dark roofspanned over the golden city of Aurum.

The darkness enveloped Aron in a mysterious cloak and pulled him far away from reality into a world of magic, for the night is the progenitor of dreams. The prince's mind was asleep, but the gate to a magic world beyond stood wide open.

A splendid stallion, rearing in a bright white light, flashed before his mind's eye. The rider, whose mysterious name was Phantasos, nestled against the animal's neck and soothingly whispered in his ear: "Calm." The horse's front hooves immediately crashed to the ground, setting off small explosions in the sea-blue labyrinth of majestic twists of the brain. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)


Aron's sleep was shaken. He looked directly into the dream god's split face. "Could it be that it was broken once and put back together?" the dreaming prince wondered as he studied the phantom image more closely. The left half of the face seemed to consist of water gleaming in colors of turquoise and blue. Foaming sea waves, in place of hair, flowed from the head straight down the back. The right side of his face dissolved into earthy sand tones from the forehead to the chin. Twigs with gently sprouting leaves shot from his head, forming a triangle with the surf. At the crest, the elements of earth (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) and water merged in such a bizarre way as to give the dream god an inadvertently weird appearance.


In place of the chin, there was a globe. Around his neck germinated blazing red poppy flowers; for poppies are hallucinants. They give wing to dreams.

Aron was flabbergasted by the sight of the magnificent creature whose entire body was wrapped in a bright-red, ankle-length cloak from under which peeked out his bare feet stuck in stirrups. The middle toe of the right foot sported a precious jade signet ring, representing the mingling of fantasy and reality.

Aron was enchanted by the exotic look of the dream god. But best of all about him, to the prince's mind, was the magic crimson cloak. Little flames flared up inside it, one by one, only to go out again just as quickly. Shooting stars exploded, parrots flew peacefully past brawling beasts, a sea monster was in hot pursuit of a ship, storms devastated the world, rivers coughed up human waste onto their banks, a blade of grass pursued a terror-struck man whose legs were giving way under him. People stood in window openings; some jumped out and began to fly. A child was hounded by a rabid dog, mythical creatures gorged themselves at richly laden tables, a farmer chased away a poor old woman without offering her food or drink, children with wings on their backs moved from house to house asking for a bit of love, but stony hearts shushed them away. At one point, it rained tar and sulphur, then again pearls and gems, and so it went on and on, endlessly.

Aron couldn't get enough of it. The images hastened through the cloak so they could reach the humans before they would wake up. The dream god had an easy time giving wing to the fantasies. Suddenly, Phantasos dispelled the dream images until nothing was left but the clouds in the sky into which the crimson garment sailed away. Then he drew the prince's attention to an exquisite object by upholding to him a magic mirror daubed in golden splendor: "This will be your fate, for the unfathomable plans of the ineluctable one are born in the night," said the illusory image not without pathos. I wonder what he means by fate, thought the dream-intoxicated heart of the prince. As if Phantasos had understood the language of the heart, he added: "Fate is the part of our future which we are unable to alter." Prince Aron waited, eager to explore the mystery of his life, but he turned away disappointed for he saw nothing unusual. Only his own mirror image stared at him curiously. He recognized himself in the mirror, mounted on a horse, the reins tight in his hands. "How trifling can it be? I'll be learning to ride a horse," was his denigrating conclusion. The prince tossed and turned restlessly in his sleep. The magician stowed the magic mirror deftly in his heart and a bird's wing made its way from this spot out of his body to wander on with the clouds. Prince Aron felt cheated. All he heard was the sound of thundering hooves. Then he fell into the darkness of an uncertain void.

The next morning Aron couldn't remember whether he was awake or still dreaming. Sometimes he daydreamed and imagined the strangest things. In his fantasies, he actually saw himself often wandering about in the dream coat, which he had already named "Crimson." "My Crimson," he murmured and stroked his left arm. Since then, though he kept a grim silence about what happened, the idea of a fantasy world would not let go of Aron. It seemed that he had misplaced the key, for nobody approached him about this matter. Though it was early morning, the prince shuffled listlessly (1) (2) (3) (4) like a wilting leaf across the inlaid wood floor and had to garner every ounce of energy to keep from slipping out of his velvet shoes. A terrible headache plagued him as if he could still hear the explosions the thundering hooves taking off in his dream.

He ran his outspread fingers through the raised tips of his hair to drive away the throbbing pain. No use. He dragged his tired body toward the throne room. An oppressively humid blast of air, blowing in through the open palace window, filled the room so early in the morning and intensified the tension in the prince's head. Suddenly he remembered that this was actually not the first time that he had dreamt the crimson dream. next

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