The Wizard Who Came From The Sky
(Based on a True Story)
Nestled high in the mountains of an ancient island kingdom, the village of Uenohara enjoyed a special kind of isolation. Even her fabled University of Science seldom played host to “outsiders”. And this suited the villagers and the university well, for their kingdom was beset with many hardships, so numerous and seemingly insurmountable that it was enough for the Uenoharans to tend their own woes and let the world beyond fend for itself. Maybe the passage of time would witness the dawn of a better day. But things didn’t get better. And soon hope itself had been eclipsed by the darkness, …even among the students at the University of Science.
Fearful that despair would soon foment a crisis, the village elders met to discuss what could be done. “If the young people lose all hope, there will be no future for our village or our island kingdom”, interjected Mayor Kotara. “Does anyone have a way out?” From the back of the room a voice called out, “Yes, I think there is a way, but it involves bringing in an outsider.” All eyes now focused on the speaker, the University of Science’s own President, Dr. Tadashi. “I have in mind sending for someone who lives not just outside our village, but actually beyond our shores in a distant land”.
“And who exactly is it that you propose inviting here among us?”, asked one of the elders. “And who is going to pay for this?”
Dr. Tadashi reflected for a moment and then said, “If what I have in mind is to work, it is best that I not reveal his identity. All I can ask is that you trust me in this matter, much as you have done for so many years now. And as for the cost, well, the University cannot afford to finance everything alone, but I can commit to shouldering much of the expenses involved. Which is to say, we will pay half this fellow’s travel expenses, and employ him as a professor and pay him a modest, though decent salary. If one of you elders can provide a rent free apartment, then I think we can turn my proposal into reality. And perhaps rescue our young people and thus ourselves in the process”.
The elders debated well into the night, but in the end agreed to back Dr. Tadashi’s plan.
Everyone at the University had seen the announcement. A new professor was coming, and a foreigner to boot! But no one seem to know exactly when he would arrive, only that soon he would show up and begin teaching a special course called “.
"I heard he is coming from a very far away land, " Emiko shared with Tomohiro. “Well, yes, I heard that too”, replied Tomohiro. "I also heard he is bringing us something that may make our lives better”. Emiko reflected for a moment and then said, "I certainly hope so. Our kingdom is drowning in red ink and unrest, and sometimes the future seems so bleak and pointless. It often seems like we are preparing for nothing."
Expectations ran high on the morning he made his first appearance. The classroom was so packed that everyone was straining to get a good look at the man who was now standing behind the lectern.
“He is kinda short”, whispered one girl to her neighbor. “Yeah, but he has nice hair and cool glasses”, came the reply.
“SSSShhh”, he is about to speak”, a male voice called out.
"I am”, their new professor intoned, "here to help you usher in the dawn of a new day. What I have to share is not earth shaking , but I think it will work great magic in your young hearts and lives, if you let it”.
" Sounds like nonsense to me!", shouted Takashi, an engineering major in his junior year.
"Oh, shut up, you're such a spoil-sport", interjected normally shy Mayumi, a sophomore psychology major. "You offer condemnation, even before you know that the. ...uh....what his message exactly is."
Speaking now to their somewhat controversial professor, Mayumi asked, "By the way, who exactly are you?”
"I am…. well,” He stopped talking, pointed out a nearby window up into the clear blue skies above, and said, "I am the Wizard who.. came from the sky" .
This was too much for Takashi, who jumped up and exclaimed, "Oh, now we are to believe you are some kind of magician or miracle worker or something? That you are going to wave a magic wand and make things all better for us! Give me a break!”
"Well, I don't have a magic wand," replied the Wizard, "but I do carry with me a sort of magic that will help some of make your way to a better life".
Takashi was now incensed. "Sure, and I can flap my arms wildly and fly to the nearest star."
"Well,…I never said that what I have to offer is for all of you, Takashi", replied the Wizard.
Mayumi then spoke up. "So are you going to reveal whatever it is you have come to share – right now?"
The Wizard pondered her question for a moment, then offered this reply: “No, I am not going to make life quite that easy for you all. But I will tell you this much. What I have to share is tightly bound to my mission in life. And what is that exactly? Well, my mission has a basic theme but many forms or expressions. Here on your island kingdom, this will take the form of a quest to find five princesses. For in them - in their uniquely individual ways --I will weave a message,….the magic as it were, ...that some of you will embrace wholeheartedly. And from this will come the power to transform much of the darkness about you into light. "
Those who listened to the Wizard were puzzled, but did not challenge him for details.
Many weeks passed without any mention by the Wizard or his quest for princesses. Then one day, very unexpectedly, the Wizard put a question to his young charges. "Tell me, what is the most important thing in life?" One student shouted out , “Why, money, of course. It makes the wheels of life go round.” "No", shouted another, "its love that is most important of all”. A third quipped, “Having a great time is the most important thing in life."
Opinions were now being offered one after another. Then, slowly, gradually, the commotion died down and everyone got quiet. All eyes where now fixed on the Wizard.
Smiling in a knowing way, the Wizard walked over to a young girl named Rika, took her hand, and said, "Stand up, my dear." This Rika promptly did. "This is the most important thing in life", said the Wizard.
"Rika is the most important thing in life?!?", cried out Takashi. "That's silly! She is just a…a….well…..a wet-behind-the-ears kid !”
The Wizard's smile now grew larger. "Look beyond Rika, my friends, to what we as people are sharing at this very moment. Think 'relating and relationships. ' Know that the bonds of friendship, family, and yes, love, that people share is like a great fire. In time it will die down to a nice, warm, smoldering heap of reddish coal or wood. But if you do not tend it,..fan it,...it will grow cold and die out. Which means you must always strive to nurture the emotional bonds between you. And with those you love, you must especially seek to meet each other’s emotional needs. Your relationships will then flourish like a garden in springtime".
Heads nodded. Even Takashi begrudgingly mumbled something about, “Yeah, OK, I can see that".
The Wizard now turned to Rika and said,, “You are the first princess."
Rika Matsumoko - First Princess - TKU, 1999
It was during May that the Wizard had made Rika a princess. The summer sped past, but no word came concerning the remaining four. Then came the fall and there seem to be a sense of expectancy in the air.
While visiting a well-known school far from his own, the Wizard shared his quest with the young people he was teaching. At the end of his heart-to-heart chat, a radiantly beautiful girl approached the Wizard and said, "I want to be one of your princesses. Please, please, please let me have my wish!" The Wizard turned to the assembled group and said, "This young woman has shown extraordinary courage. She saw an opportunity to be a part of something filled with promise , and seized upon it. Her heart cries out to be involved in something that might in some way help her a better person". Turning to the woman, the Wizard asked, “And what is your name, my dear?" With eyes an aglow, she almost shouted, "Ka--zu--mi!". "Then", said the Wizard, "that which you desire is granted. You are Kazumi, the second Princess."
Princess Kazumi (left) & Princess Kaoru (right) showing off their Princess Rings
Kazumi Shimodate - Second Princess - Asia University, Musachi-Sakai, Japan (1999)
A few days later, on the eve of returning to his own school, the Wizard spotted a somewhat dark-skinned, longhaired girl standing off to one side. "You have many great qualities within you, my dear. But tell me, do you trust enough to attend me?" The girl nodded and moved quickly to his side. “My name is Kaoru”, she whispered. “I know”, came the Wizard’s reply.
In the days that followed, Kaoru accompanied the Wizard on many of his sojourns. They traveled to small towns and large. Now Kaoru was not looked upon by her classmates as being especially pretty or smart, but to the Wizard she was all these things and more. For the old man knew that Kaoru's heart was pure and her mind nimble, and he esteemed her highly.
One day Takashi and a large group of other students spied the Wizard and Kaoru walking near a popular local restaurant. "Hey. Wizard, it looks like you found yourself a young girlfriend there." The Wizard smiled and replied, "Which is greater, my boy, trust or love?” Takashi studied on the question for a moment and said, "I suppose love. It makes the world go round, right?!” The Wizard put his hand to his chin and, looking over the rim of his glasses, said to Takashi, "You cannot have love without trust. But you can trust without it leading to love. Trust comes first and is therefore greater. Kaoru is a woman who trusts implicitly. When she perceives no danger or pitfall to doing so, she vests her faith freely. This character of trust has made her fiercely loyal and true to your Wizard." Then the Wizard turned to Kaoru and said, “You are trust personified. And you are therefore worthy, Kaoru, to be my third princess."
Kaoru Hashimoto - Third Princess - Asia University, Musachi-Sakai, Japan (1999)
Word of the Wizard and his princesses soon began to spread throughout the island-kingdom. Some who heard the story discounted it as being a mere legend or fairy tale. Others thought it genuine, and both charming and uplifting. And still others could not decide if the stories concerning the Wizard and his princesses were true - or a myth.
One who wanted to know for sure was a young woman named Yasuko. She set out to find the Wizard and ascertain whether the stories were true or not.
Now Yasuko was a merry soul, always smiling and laughing. She seldom knew sadness. No matter what happened, she tried to find something good or instructive about every event, even tragic ones. She was also one to persevere in everything she set her hand to. This included her quest to find the Wizard.
And in the fullness of time Yasuko and the Wizard's path crossed. With Yasuko at his side, the Wizard addressed his class: " Answer me this: Do you have control, over all the circumstances in your life? All the things that come your way?" Rika spoke up first and said, "No, I don't think so. Bad things just happen and we cannot stop it sometimes or even make things better."
Takashi now piped up. "Rika's right. Crap happens. No one is in control all the time. You get ill, you fall and break your ankle. You are in a train that runs off the track and wrecks. It’s just plain old bad luck that you can't do much about"
The other students nodded in agreement.
Takashi, seeing that the Wizard was about to speak, quickly interjected: "OK, I know what's coming. He's going to tell us we do have some kind of control over circumstances. OK, Wiz, tell us"
The Wizard thoughtfully surveyed the faces of the students, and then said, “No, Takashi, I am not going to tell you that you can control the circumstances that are visited upon you. To the contrary, none of us can so manage our lives as to steer clear of adversity, troubles, grief or woe".
The students had by now grown very quiet. Some appeared sullen, almost melancholy.
The Wizard then walked over to Yasuko, placed his right hand gently on her left shoulder, and said, "Meet Yasuko. She is no stranger to bad times and adversity. Like you, she has faced many dark moments in her life. But there is a fundamental difference between Yasuko and most other folks, including most of you."
The Wizard continued, his audience now hanging on every word.
"Yasuko, unlike most people, long ago decided to be resolute and hopeful, even in the face of bad times, grief, and trouble. She knew that none of us can control circumstances, but we can decide how we'll respond. She also realized that people can challenge negative, unrealistic thoughts with more balanced ones. And thus she made a conscious commitment to do battle with pessimism, and to be as upbeat as possible."
Then the Wizard walked around to face Yasuko and said, "You are the heart and soul of sound judgment and perseverance in the face of every circumstance. You are the Wizard's fourth princess."
Yasuko Kawasaki - Fourth Princess - ETS, Hachioji, Japan (1999)
It had been one year since the Wizard had come to the University of Science, and everyone expected him to name the fifth and final Princess at any time. They were not at all prepared to hear it announced that the Wizard was going to leave them to teach in a neighboring province. Many students were distressed at the thought of no longer being near the man they now called their Wizard. Many townspeople, too, were troubled that the old man was departing their village. They had grown accustomed to seeing the Wizard walking about in the company of his four princesses. Life seemed a little more upbeat with them around, for the villagers had begun to act on what they had been shown in the lives of the Princesses. Most Uenoharans had hoped that the Wizard would never leave.
On the night before the Wizard took leave of Uenohara, his students and many of the townsfolk threw a banquet in his honor at a local tavern. The evening was quite festive, filled with stories about the Wizard and his “message”. Of course, everyone pressed in close to where the Wizard and his princesses were seated, hopeful that he would share some new thought or insight, or maybe even declare the identity of the fifth and final princess.
Towards the end of the evening, the Wizard was asked to stand and speak, which he gladly did. "Friends, there are two questions foremost in your minds tonight. One is, will I ever dwell among you again? The second is, will I name the fifth princess?"
"To the first question I would say, I will never truly leave you. Part of me dwells here with all of you. And wherever you go, I am there also. We are as close as a thought".
“As for naming the fifth princess. No, not here or now. But soon. And do not fear, for I will complete my mission among you."
Many months passed with no word from the Wizard. Curious, Mayumi sought out Princess Kazumi and inquired about the Wizard.
“Oh he is doing fine," exclaimed Kazumi in response. “We princesses often travel to visit him, and he often journeys to see us."
"Will we get to see the Wizard again? Maybe soon perhaps?”, pressed Mayumi. “Oh, our Wizard will most assuredly see all of you again soon. He actually has something he wants to share with you all".
And just as Kazumi had said, the Wizard did indeed summon his former students and the townspeople of Uenohara for what he called "a very special meeting." And they all showed up! Even Takashi the ever-cynical.
The gathering was a splendid one, filled with merriment. People ate a great deal, many drank, and spirited talk and laughter filled the air. Princess Kazumi and Princess Yasuko, both of whom had beautiful voices, even sang for the assembly. And towards the end of her particular rendition of popular ballads and folk songs, Princess Kazumi turned to the Wizard and said, “My last song of the evening is for you, my Wizard. You are truly the magic that came down from the sky and brought hope and joy to so many, including me".
A familiar melody began, one the Wizard recognized immediately. Then came the words
"Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of Once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream Really do come true.
Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops Away above the chimney tops That's where you'll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow Bluebirds fly-
Birds fly over the rainbow. Why then, oh why can't I?
If happy little bluebirds fly Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?"
Then Princess Yasuko stepped to the microphone and said, "I'm not one to miss out on all the fun. I, too, have a special song to sing for the Wizard, one I hope you all know and will join me in singing.
"We're off to see the Wizard, The wonderful Wizard of Oz, We hear he is a wiz of a wiz, if ever a wiz there was.
If ever oh ever a wiz there was,
The Wizard of Oz is one because, Because, because, because, Because, because,
Because of the wonderful things he does!
We're off to see the Wizard,
The wonderful Wizard of Oz!"
Some recognized the lyrics and sang along. Everyone clapped. And while Princess Yasuko sang, a video played on a large screen behind her. It was a familiar scene from the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz, in which the central characters -- Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion -- go dancing (and singing) down the famed Yellow Brick Road The road that leads to the capital city of Oz.
Following Kazumi and Yasuko's performances, the Wizard walked to the center of the room, and with a sweeping gesture, motioned for silence.
"My friends, I can't begin to express my gratitude for your warm company and hospitality this evening. And I want to especially thank Princesses Kazumi and Yasuko for the songs they sang from the Wizard of Oz. However, I must ask this: “Does this mean that I, like Oz's great wizard, am a befuddled old man adept at hoodwinking the people?” Great laughter now erupted from the assembled group, and many were seen to be playfully shoving Takashi about.
The Wizard continued:
"Please know that I have been deeply moved by your kind words and actions. But now, as I am so often fond of doing, I'd like to put a question to you. It's really quite simple, yet I think also quite profound. Here goes " A young woman comes to you and says, 'I am thinking about getting married. I've been dating my guy for over 14 months, we are in love and very compatible, he seems to have a bright future ahead of him, and he comes from a fine family. Things seem to line up well, but how can I be sure?'
From out of one corner of the room came a man’s voice. "Date him longer, then you'll know for sure”. Another, a woman, yells out, "Fourteen months is enough to know if they can make a go of it. They should go head and get engaged. She can then watch and see what happens between the engagement announcement and the advent of their wedding".
"They should undergo premarital counseling", offered one man and his wife. Soon advice of every sort was being shouted out.
When the group had exhausted its pool of suggestions and ideas, Takashi was heard to say, "Ok, Wizard, now it's time for you to show where we all got it wrong!"
The Wizard looked around the room, then slowly said, "You have offered some very good ideas and suggestions. Many, in fact"
Takashi again piped up. "So what did you tell the girl, Wizard, and where exactly is she?"
"Well", the Wizard intoned, "I can see that I'm getting rusty. Takashi is now doing a pretty good job of second-guessing me. O.K. then,.. Yuki,.. Yuki,...please come over and stand in front of me". A nice looking young woman, maybe in her late twenties, made her way through the crowd and did as the Wizard had asked.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Yuki. And yes, she was faced with a "to marry or not to marry" situation not unlike the one I shared. So tell me, Yuki, what did I tell you?"
After a moment of hesitation, Yuki spoke and said, "Uh, well, yes, I was uncertain about how I could be go about being sure that marrying my boyfriend was the right thing to do. I mean to say, I wanted to know if there was some way I could be sure that marrying my beau was a wise thing to do. So I went to the Wizard and asked him."
"So what did the venerable old coot tell you", Takashi laughingly yelled out.
"Yes, well," Yuki continued, " the Wizard asked me two things. One, he asked me if I had done everything I could to figure out if my boyfriend was a good guy, had a solid future, and would in all likelihood be a decent husband. I said 'yes'. Then he asked me to imagine it was 20 years in the future and I was looking back over my life. Assuming I married my boyfriend, would I be pleased with my life? I mulled this over,...it was a really great thought experiment,…. and again answered 'Yes' "
And now the Wizard interjected, "Let me ask this gathering another question, if I may. What does a swimmer do when he or she reaches the end of a diving board?"
"Jump", a male voice yelled out.
"Precisely", said the Wizard. "When you have done everything you can to examine a situation, and things line up to move forward, then jump. In short, be courageous. Take a leap of faith!"
The Wizard took Yuki's left hand in his, held it up revealing a large wedding ring, and exclaimed. "She did. And by so doing, she proved to be woman of faith, and worthy of being invited in to the Wizard's Inner Circle. Yes, Yuki is the fifth and final princess. Please welcome her warmly."
Yuki Nugatsu - Fifth Princess - ALS, Ajiyo (2001)
The evening ended and, like so many events that surrounded the life and times of the Wizard, eventually became the stuff of local legend. Stories circulated that the Wizard and his princesses moved to a far away land, where they live and reign from an ancient castle high in the mountains. Other accounts say the Wizard sails the skies of the world in search of new lands to visit. One reporter who managed to actually locate and speak with folks in contact with the Wizard offers a decidedly different spin on his doings.
"Contrary to what you might have read or heard, the Wizard doesn't live in a castle in a foreign land, nor is he hopping from country to country in a hot air balloon, dirigible, or some other aircraft. He didn't marry one of the Princesses either. In fact, he never touched one of these girls in a romantic or otherwise intimate way. Actually, the real story that has emerged is in many ways rather pedestrian, yet it reflects the characteristic 'magic' of the Wizard himself.
Pressed to go on, the reporter continued.
" Well, in a nutshell, the Wizard went in search of a woman who is basically all five princesses rolled up in one person. And yes, he found, courted, and married her. The Wizard now had… his,….what?.. His queen? Or would "Wizardess" be the right moniker? Well, whichever is right and proper, he found her.”
"According to my sources, he knew she was the one he was looking for the first time he heard her voice. Within a few weeks of meeting, in fact, they were romantically involved and, as the Wizard is so fond of saying, had taken a ‘leap of faith’. Subsequent events have born out the wisdom of his… well,.. their….actions. To give you some idea of what I mean, it is my understanding that the Wizard has written hundreds of poems to his Queen. Her name is Sachi, by the way. I have also been informed that he,.. the Wizard that is,.. has created many works of art to capture his feelings and regard for his better half. She, in turn, fawns over him incessantly.
" Now I know what you are thinking. What became of the princesses? Well, I've heard that the Wizard basically sent them out into the world to share themselves ,.. the lessons they embodied ... or perhaps I should say the traits the Wizard brought to everyone’s attention. Anyway, he instructed them to go out and share their magic freely."
HRH Queen Sachi and the Wizard
Facts, as someone once said, should never get in the way of a good story. Many stories surround the life and times of the Wizard. Whether realistic or outlandish, the bottom line probably lies in something Princess Kazumi quoted the Wizard as telling her: "The message written in the fabric of your lives, Kazumi, is what counts. In some ways, it is bigger than you or me. And as such, it must take center stage. In this way others will learn from you and, in so doing, will have in-hand ways to not only cope with life, but to actually enjoy it.”
It is said that the Wizard and his Queen have left the island-kingdom for other shores. Or will at some point in the future. Whether true or not, many people would no doubt say" Amen" to something Princess Yasuko once shared concerning the Wizard: "Wherever he is,...wherever he goes, he will surely be showing others that which is good and pure and true all about them. Things that inspire hope and draw out peoples’ innate courage and virtue. And if there is or ever was magic in the world, this is truly it. For in his eyes, we are all princes and princesses. And we have the power to make choices and do things that will lift us...well...into the sky."
Copyright 2003 by the Wizard, Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
To share something with the Wizard by e-mail: DrAGPayne@yahoo.com
The Wizard of Oz and related elements and characters are registered trademarks of TURNER ENTERTAINMENT CO.