Saidah Vassell has loved stories since before she could write. As a child, she often spent her time creating entire worlds for her dolls. Eventually, she and her cousin began writing them down and that is all it took to spark a passion within her for writing.
This week, Saidah shares an excerpt from “Castle of Dreams”, featured in her short story collection, Portable Magic. Journey into her enchanted world at our next event!
Castle of Dreams
There once was a castle said to hold thousands of treasures, it was said that this castle held your deepest and most wonderful desires and if you went inside, you would receive what you’ve dreamed of. Now, legend had it that this castle was in the sky and the only time you could get to it was when the orange moon cast its sacred light on the Heron Lake. Now, the orange moon only came once a year and if you weren’t careful you could miss it entirely, but if you were careful and you caught it at the right moment, you could walk up the moon’s magical rays of light where the castle was only a hop away.
Only one man claims to have ever made it to the castle of dreams and his name is Litharius and he was the town drunk. Of course no one believed him. He was poor and he lived alone in a shack far up on the top of the hill but despite all of this, he still claims he’s had his dream come true.
The story he tells begins long ago, when he was just a young man. Litharius claims to be the son of a duke. He said he lived in riches but he was never happy. He lived in luxury but a smile never met his lips. He lived a life that many a man would envy but yet he never felt any joy. When he heard the tale of the castle of dreams, he vowed that maybe one day he’d make it there and hold his dreams in his arms, if only for a little while.
Years went by. Years filled with riches, suitors, festivals, and more. Filled with everything except for happiness, because the young Litharius’s dream was of something much greater than his world could offer. Every year that passed him by, he looked and waited for the orange moon but whenever it came, he found himself at the wrong lake. Time and time again the lake he found would not take him to the castle in the sky. It was on the night of his father’s death that he found himself at the right lake.
The orange moon cast its light on the right Heron Lake and it sparkled and twinkled up at Litharius. It smiled at him, it beckoned him to walk up the sacred rays to the castle of dreams. At the same time, a messenger pigeon found him to deliver the news of his father’s death. He had a choice, mourn for his father or finally reach the castle, a place he’d been searching for for nearly a decade. In that moment, he chose the castle.
Saidah Vassell visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 in our new home, Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church St., Toronto, at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Fathima Cader, Nancy Kay Clark, Drew Hayden Taylor and a special guest talk, “From Blog to Book: A Work in Process”, by Kerry Clare!