Ceasarini Angelini stood in a field full of corn stubble, holding a small brown sack, and peered all around him. In front of him spread out a vast castle, surrounded by tents and odd little houses and lots of fields. The ground was brown, the corn stalks gold, the same colour as Ceasarini Angelini. The sky was very blue and sunny. Ceasarini Angelini liked it; it made him think of the ocean near where he used to live. After a moment, he started to walk toward a small house just a few feet away. He knocked politely on the door and waited for whoever was at home to answer. After a moment, the door creaked open and a golden Mynci, just like Ceasarini Angelini, peered out.
“What do you want?” the Mynci who was just like Ceasarini Angelini asked gruffly.
“Is this Meridell?” Ceasarini Angelini asked brightly. He set his sack on the ground; it was becoming rather heavy.
“Yes, of course it is,” the Mynci who was just like Ceasarini Angelini answered irritably. “What are you doing here?”
“I’ve come from Mystery Island,” Ceasarini Angelini answered.
“Why would you leave Mystery Island? It is exotic and lovely there; this is Meridell, home of the potato,” the Mynci who was just like Ceasarini Angelini said.
“I like potatoes,” Ceasarini Angelini told him cheerfully. “I wanted to grow my own. I read a book on potatoes. It said that Meridell was the place to grow them. So, I took my clothes, and my books, and my potato seeds, and came here.”
“You are very strange,” the Mynci who was just like Ceasarini Angelini said, shaking his head. “Meridell is not a nice place. It is poor and potato-ish.”
“I do not think so,” said Ceasarini Angelini earnestly. “Wherever I am is nice, and I am here. Therefore, here is nice.”
The Mynci who was just like Ceasarini Angelini shook his head.
“You are wrong,” he said, and closed his door. Ceasarini Angelini picked up his sack, and whistling merrily, set off toward the castle.
“You can have an acre,” King Skarl said when Ceasarini Angelini was finally allowed to ask him. “Blucin will show you.” And then he turned back to his meal. Blucin, who was a blue Blumaroo, took Ceasarini Angelini to the edge of the castle, and showed him a large patch of dirt. There was nothing but weeds as far as the eye could see. I shall have my work cut out for me, thought Ceasarini Angelini. And so as soon as Blucin had gone, he set down his sack, took out an axe, and went off toward a nearby copse of trees, humming quietly.
It took Ceasarini Angelini three days to make his house, and in the meantime he had to sleep outside, on the ground. But he never minded; he liked the stars, and he liked the quiet, and he even liked the weeds, even though he knew he would have to pull them out when he planted his potatoes.
When Ceasarini Angelini’s house was finally finished, he went down to the copse of trees and cut three very small trees. He sanded and shaved and cut, and at the end of the day, he had a chair, a bed, a table and some shelves. Then he folded his clothes and put them on the shelves, and put his blankets on the bed, and his bread and apples on the table. And that night, Ceasarini Angelini slept in his new house. Tomorrow, he told himself, I will plant my potatoes.
The next day, he did just that. First, he pulled up all the weeds.
“Goodbye, weeds,” he told them. “It was lovely talking to you, but I am afraid my potatoes need all the space.”
Then, he made little holes in the dirt. While he was making holes, a little blue Lupe came trotting up to him.
“Hello,” the Lupe said. “What is your name?”
“My name is Ceasarini Angelini,” Ceasarini Angelini answered, smiling at the Lupe.
“That is a very nice name,” the Lupe said admiringly. “I am afraid my name is nowhere near as nice. I am called Aidan.”
“That is a wonderful name,” Ceasarini Angelini answered. “Would you like to help me plant my potatoes?”
“I would very much like to, as long as I am home in time to help Mama make dinner,” the Lupe said, and he and Ceasarini Angelini spent the rest of the day making little holes in the dirt, and putting the potato seeds in.
“Where do you come from?” Aidan asked Ceasarini Angelini, dropping a potato seed into a hole.
“Mystery Island,” the Mynci answered.
“Why ever did you leave, then?” Aidan asked wonderingly, straightening up to look at Ceasarini Angelini.
“Because I wanted to see a new place, meet new people, do a new thing,” Ceasarini Angelini answered. “I like potatoes; my books said potatoes grow best in Meridell, so I came here.”
“But Meridell is not very nice,” protested the young Lupe.
“Wherever I am is nice, and I am here. Therefore, here is nice,” Ceasarini Angelini told him.
The next day, Aidan came again, this time to help water the potatoes.
“Mama says she likes me to do some work,” he told Ceasarini Angelini. “She says it is nice that I am not staying in the house all day.”
“Yes, it is very nice,” Ceasarini Angelini answered, smiling. “I like you very much. You are a lot of help.”
When Aidan left, he gave the Lupe thirty neopoints.
“I do not like you to work without being paid,” he said.
“I like to work,” Aidan protested, but Ceasarini Angelini told him to hush.
“A time and a place for everything,” he said.
Aidan came every day for many months. Each day, the potatoes grew just a little bit more.
“To grow potatoes, you need patience,” Ceasarini Angelini told the young Lupe. “It is much the same way with people.”
One day, Ceasarini Angelini and Aidan started to pick the potatoes. There were hundreds of leafy green plants, and each one had huge potatoes.
“Some of them are ready now,” Ceasarini Angelini said as they put the potatoes in barrels. “But some of them will be ready just a little bit later. You must have patience.”
Just then a large orange Shoyru walked up to them. Ceasarini Angelini recognized him as the one who owned the land just next door.
“What potatoes you have,” the Shoyru said, gazing wistfully at all of the potatoes.
“They are very fine,” Ceasarini Angelini answered proudly. Aidan said goodbye and hurried home.
“Would you like to come inside?” Ceasarini Angelini asked the Shoyru. The Shoyru looked pleased.
“Why, yes, thank you. By the way, my name is Bob.”
“That is a nice name,” Ceasarini Angelini said, leading the way into his kitchen. “My name is Ceasarini Angelini, and the young Lupe who helps me is called Aidan.”
Bob, who had never thought his name was very nice, felt surprised and pleased.
“This is my last day in Meridell,” he told Ceasarini Angelini.
“Why?” Ceasarini Angelini asked. He was busy making tea; boiling water in a kettle and measuring leaves into cups.
“I can’t grow anything here,” Bob said sadly, taking the cup of tea from Ceasarini Angelini and sitting down.
“I’m sorry,” said Ceasarini Angelini. “Do you like my tea?”
“Your tea is lovely,” Bob answered. “And so are your potatoes.”
“Perhaps,” suggested Ceasarini Angelini. “You do not have enough patience to grow potatoes.”
“Perhaps,” Bob agreed. He took a sip of tea, and thought it was amazingly sweet and fruity, not at all like the dark, bitter tea he was used too. “I don’t know. But I’m going back to Neopia Central tomorrow.”
“That sounds like a nice place.”
“It is,” Bob said eagerly; glad to have someone who agreed with him. He leaned forward, his eyes shining. “It’s so bright, and busy, and they have ice cream there.”
“What is ice cream?” asked Ceasarini Angelini with interest. He had never heard of such a thing, but it sounded like a wonderful thing to play with.
“It’s cold and sweet and you eat it,” Bob told him.
“So you cannot play with it?” Ceasarini Angelini was disappointed.
“No, but it is lovely to eat, especially on a hot day.”
“Oh.” Ceasarini Angelini thought about that. He never minded what he ate, on Mystery Island his family, including all his cousins and aunts and such, had mostly eaten fruit and tea. Here he ate potatoes, tea, and whatever else Aidan sometimes brought him.
“Well,” said Bob finally, after they had sat for a few more minutes. “I must get going; it’s nearly dark.”
Indeed, the sky outside was slowly turning velvety blue, peppered with sparkling stars.
“It was lovely having you over,” Ceasarini Angelini said cordially. He let the Shoyru outside, and then went back in. What a nice fellow, he thought as he washed his dishes. I wish he were staying.
As summer passed into autumn, and autumn into winter, more and more people began to come to visit Ceasarini Angelini. They came for his strange, fruity tea, for his stories of Mystery Island, and for his kind advice. They stopped being so hungry; they became more cheerful.
“He taught me how to grow my potatoes,” a red Chia who was now known for his amazing legumes said proudly.
“He showed me that Meridell is nice,” a blue Gelert beamed.
“He was right after all,” a Mynci who was just like Ceasarini Angelini said thoughtfully.
“He’s my friend,” Aidan told everyone.
Even grumpy King Skarl heard of Ceasarini Angelini’s magical ways.
“I must see that Mynci,” he told a blue Blumaroo called Blucin. All that day, the king stayed in Ceasarini Angelini’s small house, and just as the sun set, he came out again, looking thoughtful.
“Ceasarini Angelini is good for Meridell,” he told his advisors. And from then on, King Skarl was subtly happier.
Ceasarini Angelini, for his part, was content. He loved Meridell and its entire folk; he liked the peace and quiet and potatoes. But one day, Ceasarini Angelini got up at dawn, and looked out at his fields and at his neighbors happily tending their own crops.
I’ve done what I came for, he thought to himself. And so, humming quietly, Ceasarini Angelini packed his few belongings into a small brown sack and, just as the sun was rising, set off down the small dirt road leading out of Meridell.
No one ever saw Ceasarini Angelini again, but he left his mark on the whole of Meridell and especially on the small village of Krent. Years and years later, an old, nearly white blue Lupe sat in a rocking chair and told stories of a gold Mynci to his children.
“Ceasarini Angelini was one-of-a-kind,” he said. “He made everyone feel special.”
“Did you know him, Grandpapa?” the baby Lupe on his lap asked in awe.
“Yes, Blue, I knew him.”
“I’m named after him,” a red Lupe said proudly from where he sat on the floor doing homework.
“I’m named after Grandpapa,” another Lupe put in, sticking out his tongue at his brother. “Aidan is a wonderful name; Ceasarini Angelini said so.”
“How do you know?” the red Lupe argued.
“Because Grandpapa told me.”
“Yes, children,” their Grandfather said soothingly. “You all have wonderful names.”
“Wonderful names,” the baby echoed. “Is my name wonderful, Grandpapa?”
“Of course,” the old Lupe answered, smiling at his granddaughter. “Merry Blue is a perfect name for you.”
Perhaps, somewhere far, far away, Ceasarini Angelini is planting flowers, or fruit, or even just fishing, and the people he is with are shaking their heads and saying: “Why ever did he leave Mystery Island? This is not a nice place.”
And perhaps Ceasarini Angelini is answering, with a little smile: “Wherever I am is nice, and I am here. Therefore, here is nice.”