Isla of Maura, one of the main characters in the Castle Keepers series, has an attraction to stones. When the energy in a stone calls to her, she picks it up and carries it until she finds the person who needs it.
This character trait came from my own curiosity and habit of gathering stones. My interest in stones has walked with me all my life; it is so strong that when I was 14 years old, I stole a stone that had caught my eye. I know: who steals rocks?
The odd circumstances around this theft has stayed on my mind for almost four decades. You see, that day, my father and I were driving in his truck, perhaps going to the general store in Spanish Ship Bay, when he pulled into the driveway of the long white building along the harbour that used to be a restaurant at times. I believe it was called the Lighthouse Restaurant in the early 80s.
Anyways, at this time, the restaurant had closed, and an older man I did not know occupied it. Perhaps my father knew him since this was the area where he had been born and raised. It was summer. We walked in and my eyes drank in the boxes filled with various types of rocks. While my father and the man chatted, I walked around ogling the rocks. Some were undisturbed, as if recently plucked from the ground and put into the box. Others were polished smooth. Some where cut into shapes.
The stone that caught my eye had been polished and cut into the shape of a shield. Only about an inch and a half tall, it fit easily into my palm. Then into my pocket.
I don’t recall if the man was selling the rocks. I imagine if I had asked, he would have sold the stone or given it to me. But I hadn’t asked. The rock slipped into my pocket without notice, and from that moment onward, a nerve sparked, sending a clear signal to my brain: I should not have stolen the stone.
I showed the stone to no one but kept it hidden amongst other treasures I’d gathered. Every time I took it out, I was reminded of that horrible feeling of stealing. Even now, when I come across it amongst my keepsakes, I think of that day and how wrong it was to steal. Personally, I believe the stone came to me to deliver that message, and it arrived at the right time.
You see, I was at the age with friends who were experimenting with stealing. We’d go into town by bus, by feet or by an older friend who had a licence and sometimes, we’d steal. Sorry Kmart. You were our most favourite victim.
While my friends stole more, I had stolen only a long spoon from the Ice Cream Factory and a mesh shirt from Kmart before I came into possession of the Stealing Stone. Not only did I feel stealing was dreadfully wrong, stealing created a problem I hadn’t foreseen.
We were poor. I couldn’t wear the shirt because if my parents had seen it, they’d wonder where I had gotten it. My mom knew every article of clothing in the house; she was a laundry fanatic, and she mended the clothes and was hell-bent on removing strains. In truth, though there were many of us, individually, we didn’t have many articles of clothing. Two pairs of jeans, less than 10 shirts, half dozen pair of underwear and socks to match in number. All I owned fit into one drawer, most were hand-me-downs from my older brothers.
The power of the Stealing Stone stopped me from stealing. Never again did I take anything that was not mine.
Oddly enough, I’d passed that long white building many times after I had stolen the stone, and the man was nowhere to be found. It was as if he had been there only that one day my father and I had stopped.
This is the first in a series of posts I’ll make on Mondays. It will be called The Magic of Stones. This magic appears in various strengths in the Castle Keepers series.