Friday Fictioneers – 6 June

Copyright – Douglas M. MacIlroy

Copyright – Douglas M. MacIlroy

Every Friday writers from around the world contribute 100 word stories prompted by a photograph supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields to Friday Fictioneers. I love constructive comments on my stories.

My inspiration this week came from a Japanese 10th century folk tale, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.

The Elixir of Life

Humans think the Elixir of Life will solve all their problems.

Eleven centuries ago I left a drop of the elixir for the Emperor when I left earth. He ordered his soldiers to burn it on the peak of Mt Fuji; he didn’t want to live forever without me. For eleven centuries foolhardy people have climbed the mountain in search of it.

No one ever considers that day-to-day tedium lasts forever, too. How many slippers do you think I’ve had to replace in eleven centuries. And what good is the Elixir of Life in a power blackout? Bet they don’t think of that.

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44 Responses to Friday Fictioneers – 6 June

  1. Dear Karen,

    I guess immortality isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. The thought of day to day tedium lasting forever doesn’t sound pleasant. Well done.



  2. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Karen,

    Thank you for the link to the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. Your story reminds me of the old adage that goes, ‘Every man wants to live forever, but no man wants to grow old.’ Well done.



  3. Jan Brown says:

    I love the way you incorporated elements of the folk tale. And really love how you ended it 🙂 Well done!

  4. Hi Karen, I don’t participate in FF, but often pop over to see what you all have come up with. I enjoyed this inventive take on the photograph. Makes me want to know more. Well done.

  5. I love this. We often think that immortality is the holy grail, rarely considering that we’d still have to make a living. Plus, how great can life be after everyone you know and love leaves the planet? This was highly creative and entertaining, and I loved that you tied it in with the Japanese folk tale! Wonderful story!

    • Thanks very much for your comment, Adelie. I love reading folk tales. They tell us a lot about human nature and how we live. Funny that we haven’t changed much in all that time.

  6. There’s a story about someone who wished to live for ever but forgot to wish for eternal youth. It turns out ugly. I liked yours too.

  7. The part about the slippers made me laugh.

  8. What a cute piece! I love how you were able to link the slippers to the mystical legend of Mount Fuji.

  9. dianathrelfo says:

    There are always lessons to learn from legends and with a few brief statements around concrete examples you have imparted a lovely balanced view around the question of immortality. By the way, we had a power blackout sometime last night and I found it tedious to wait while my computer booted up again. I’ll have to practise living in the moment more conscientiously.

    • I agree completely that folk tales can teach us about ourselves and how we should live. After 11 centuries it must either get impossibly hard to live in the moment or you become an expert at it. Thanks for your comment, Diana.

  10. Sandra says:

    That was an original take on the prompt, blending the mundane with the mythical. Well done.

  11. elappleby says:

    I wonder how many centuries it takes to get bored of living? Great story. I also enjoyed the bamboo cutter story in your link. Thanks for the entertainment and the education!

    • I wondered the same thing too, EL. Even though we might try I don’t think we can sustain the heightened wonder of childhood when everything was new and thrilling. I’m glad you enjoyed my story and the link to the folktale.

  12. I love the voice in this story. It has all the feel of folklore but with a mischievous streak. Eleven centuries of replacing slippers would drive anyone crazy!

    • And imagine the horror of having to buy eleven centuries of swimming costumes! That would do me in. I’m glad you enjoyed the voice, Siobhan. And thanks for following my blog.

  13. Karen, Well-written story that was tied in nicely with the folk tale. Brought together, they made a lovely piece. 🙂 —Susan

  14. sandraconner says:

    Excellent piece, and so perfect written in first-person. Would not have been nearly as effective any other way. I enjoyed this.

  15. Dear Karen, Good job on the story – 11 centuries would require many, many dozen pairs of slippers for sure. I read your name on someone’s blog – Are you from Australia? Wow, I love this internet stuff – I’m old (64) and started writing in December, however I’ve written for my amusement and parties for years. Anyway, god story! Nan 🙂

    • Hi Nan. Thanks for reading my story. I’m not always able to participate in FF every week but I always enjoy your stories when I do. Yes, I’m from Australia. I think it’s amazing and exciting, too, that we’re so easily able to communicate with people from all parts of the world. Thanks for your lovely comment, Nan.

  16. Admittedly, I hadn’t thought of that… However, I have considered that immortality would certainly mean outliving all of the people you love. That seems entirely unbearable! Very thought provoking piece, Karen.

    • My story was written as a tongue-in-cheek piece of fun, but the idea of immortality does raise serious issues. You’ve hit on the most devastating of all – outliving all the people you love. I know we would meet new people and love them, too, but how much of that kind of loss can you repeatedly take? It’s an interesting questions.

  17. subroto says:

    But just think of the possibilities of starting a conversation with “back in my days…”. Great idea though, maybe immortality is not all that it is cracked up to be. A sub-tale from the Indian epic, the Mahabharat, is about the warrior Aswatthama who is condemned to roam the earth for 3000 years in search of death every moment, and yet he will never die.

    • Ha, ha, a benefit of immortality I hadn’t considered. Thanks for the information about Aswatthama; I’ll look up his story. It seems many cultures have tales that deal with the question of immortality. Thanks for reading and commenting, Subroto.

  18. storydivamg says:

    Good musings on how long eternity really is, Karen. I’ve been rolling some of these same thoughts around in my head recently. It’s one thing to have a specific beginning. It’s a completely other things to have no expiration date. You do well at putting this into words.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    • It’s hard to actually grasp what living for eternity really means. Some people have mentioned stories where the ‘everlasting’ still keep growing old. That brings on a whole new lot of things to consider. It’s an interesting question, isn’t it? Thanks for reading and for your comment, Marie Gail.

  19. Yes indeed.. I would especially be concerned with being bored… I think the emperor was quite wise.

  20. Harliqueen says:

    A very clever take on immortality! 🙂

  21. Karen, I was just double checking and found that I hadn’t been notified of some of the comments. Your’s was among them so I just replied. Sorry about that and thanks. 🙂 —Susan

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