The wizard’s apprentice scratched his head, staring at the beetle in consternation. “Seriously? A Volkswagen Bug?” He circled it, peeking through the windows, and kicking the tires. “And tie-dyed?”
He looked at the words of the spell on the sheet of paper. He’d copied the words exactly from the spell book. He’d triple checked them. He’d memorized them. And somehow, he’d still produced the wrong result.
“You’re not a giant crystal seven-spotted Ladybug.” He ran his fingertips along the front bumper of the VW, “Not a car.”
He dejectedly looked at the ground. It was another test from his master. The 25th test in a row he’d failed. “This spell makes a beetle. You will learn it. And use it. And in one week, I will check your results.”
Well. At least he’d made a beetle. The wrong kind, but still. It was a beetle. He opened the driver’s door, and sat behind the wheel. The door closed with a weak thunk. “I didn’t know they had such skinny doors.”
He scanned the dashboard of the car. “Talk about the bare essentials. Geeze. Nothing much to these, was there.” He held down the clutch pedal, and tried turning it on, only to realize he didn’t know how to turn on a rear-engined Volkswagen Beetle. “Couldn’t you have been a new model?”
Well. There was nothing to do but wait for the wizard to arrive, and check his work. “I’ll never learn, will I?” He exited the car, sat on a stool, and stared at it. “Well. It could have been worse. You could have been a giant, live, Rhino Beetle, and poked holes in the walls, and run amok in the castle.”
It was the little details that kept him going. He remembered the time he’d made a butterfly. A simple spell, really. Except he made one that filled the room, and ate everything in sight. His teacher had to cast a series of spells to bring that problem down to size. He hadn’t been allowed to try another spell for six months after that.
He sighed, and waited.
When the wizard arrived, he came in smiling. “Nice Beetle.”
“I like the tie-dyed color on the hood the most.”
The apprentice stood, “It isn’t a crystal seven-spotted ladybug.”
“Ah.” The master smiled at his apprentice. “No. It’s the beetle you wanted most to see in your subconscious mind.”
The wizard chuckled. “And that ends this lesson, my apprentice. You have much to think of tonight. We’ll talk tomorrow.”
So it was, the apprentice spent the night staring at the Beetle, pondering the mysteries of his subconscious, and wondering what that had to do with wizardry.