Programmer Bedtime Stories: A Dame, Two Spells, and a Scope

Ahn reads a spell

Schmendrick pulled a small, wadded piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to Ahn. She tapped it with her index finger and the tiny wad of paper unfurled into a large scroll. Ahn waved her hand over it, muttered an incantation, and then touched the scroll to the door of the safe retreat room. “I have cast a difference detector spell. If the spell written on this scroll is different than the spell cast upon this room, the door will glow red. If they are the same, the door will glow green.”

Everyone held their breaths as the spell performed its magic. When the door glowed green, we exhaled as one.

Ahn read the scroll for a few moments, then said “search for blueberry.” The text on the scroll changed. She read some more, nodding her head, even squinting at one passage.

After some time, Ahn looked up from the scroll. “I think I know where our problem lies. Schmendrick, when you went upstairs to cook a snack, what were you making?”

“I was going to boil some eggs.”

“How many minutes?”


“And was your timer mechanical or magical?”

“Magical, of course.”

“Do you have that incantation?”

Schmendrick pulled a hand mirror out of his pocket, tapped it a few times, and handed it to her. “I have it in my mirror for easy access.”

Ahn read over the short timer incantation. Then looked up. “Dame Catherine. Schmendrick is responsible for the death of Bupkes the Clown.”

Catherine moved to grab Schmendrick, but Ahn stepped between them. “But he is not a murderer. I’m afraid there are some unintentional errors in his incantations.”

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