How To Be Invisible

If you disagree with me that this story contains the real secret of invisibility, let me know.

What the magician's apprentice really learned

There was once a famous magician. It doesn't matter what the country was, nor the period: what matters is that the practice of magic was illegal at the time, and that the soldiers of the country in which he lived were charged with wiping it out.

The magician lived in on the outskirts of a small village, in an out-of-the-way corner of the country. In other words, he was free to practice his magic, despite the fact that it was illegal. The soldiers hardly ever came this way, and when they did, they were usually only passing through.

People came to him from miles around, to consult with him, to be cured by him, and to have him cast his spells for them. He was a white magician, meaning that he only ever cast spells for the benefit of mankind, and never for personal gain.

He wore a patched cloak, walked with a staff, and carried a book of spells under his arm.

He was also famous because it was reputed that he knew a very secret spell called ‘How To be Invisible'. It was said that only the most powerful magicians knew this spell.

One day a young man from one of the neighbouring villages came to him. He said he wanted to learn this spell. He said wanted to learn how to be invisible.

The magician smiled.

‘That is indeed a very powerful spell,' he said. ‘It takes many years of training and hard work to master it. First of all you must become my apprentice, and only when I feel that the time is right will I teach you how to be invisible.'

So the young man agreed to become the magician's apprentice.

Years passed. The young man learned many complex and difficult spells. He learned to read the heavens and to understand the deep forces at work in the world. He learned to listen to the trees and to the birds and to all the wild animals of the forest and to hear their secret words of wisdom. He learned how to cast spells to bring rain, to clear the blight of sickness from the land, to help lonely people to find love and sad people to find happiness. He too became a magician in his own right. He too earned the right to wear the magician's cloak, to walk with the staff, and to carry his own book of spells beneath his arm. But still his master never taught him the greatest spell of all: how to be invisible.

Over the years he tired of asking for this spell. Whenever he asked the question his master only answered with an enigmatic smile.

‘When the time is right,' he would say.

In the end the young man gave up. He began to suspect that there really was no such spell, that maybe it was some sort of a trick, just a means to lure unsuspecting youngsters like himself into the art, so that they too could learn the secrets of magic.

Then, one day, many years later, as they were walking down the road, in the distance they spied a troop of soldiers marching down the road towards them.

‘Quick,' said the magician to his apprentice, ‘now is the time for us to be invisible.'

And he took off his patched cloak, folded it up and hid it in the ditch beside the road, along with his staff and his book, urging his friend to do the same.

Ten minutes later the soldiers came trooping by, their heavy equipment rattling and clanking as they trudged passed in unison.

The magician and his apprentice saluted the troops, who hardly threw them a second glance. They were too busy marching.

Once they were gone passed, the magician turned to his friend.

‘There,' he said, ‘that is how to be invisible.'

Sometimes the best magic is the simplest of all.

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Comments 67 comments

Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

I really enjoyed that one - a bit different to the sort of stuff you usually write!

monitor profile image

monitor 8 years ago from The world.

This was a very clever story with a great moral, CJStone. Now the only question is whether or not being invisible is a good thing... I'll be looking out for more of your 'magic'.

Your fan.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Hi, yes, it's a little different, but what I realised after writing it is that it is something I've lived by all by life. There's great power in being "invisible" in this way.

pgrundy 8 years ago

Ha! Fabulous! Could only have been written by one who has had to practice this skill until it was second nature. Just so you know though, the rest of us invisible people CAN still see you.

seohowto profile image

seohowto 8 years ago from Bay Area, CA

very creative, I really enjoyed reading this hub!

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thank you pgrundy and thank you seohowto, I feel a little bit less invisible now for your comments. Mind you, I can still turn it on whenever I want it. It wouldn't do to be TOO visible.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Sorry, Monitor, I'm fairly new here and I seem to have left you out. The question is whether you can control your invisibility or not. f you can it's good. If you can't - like the vast majority of the world's poor I suspect - then it is not a good thing at all.

Woody Marx profile image

Woody Marx 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I like this story! Thanks for sharing!

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thank you Woody. I like your stories too.

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

Very nice work. Entertaining yet effectively to the point.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thankyou shadesbreath.

Rhym O'Reison profile image

Rhym O'Reison 8 years ago from Crowley, Tx

I was wondering why you didn't respond to my comment, and then I realized that you weren't ignoring me, you just couldn't see it.  (Invisible reference)

   I like that you didn't give the moral.  It is too easy to skim over a moral story and be like, "hmmm, that is pretty good.....for the next guy."  This way, our consciences will decide what the moral should be for each of us. (Point in fact being that no one wanted to venture what it should be.)

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

You're right: no one has had a go at imposing a moral on this story yet. I've been thinking of writing a follow-up, after I wrote it, I realised that it was the philosophy which had guided my life. 'm still thinking about it.

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Loved it!

It IS a departure from your other pieces, but as we're learning (with great delight!), you're a man of many talents!

Don't write a follow up. As Jerry Lewis liked to say: 'For those who understand, no explanation is necessary. For those who don't, no explanation will be sufficient'.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

No, but there's the story of how this one came about, and my realisation, after I'd written it, of what it meant to me. I might still write that. But thanks for your kind words JamaGenee. It all helps.

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Yes, do!

bright_sorcerer profile image

bright_sorcerer 8 years ago from London, Canada

I second JamaGenee's comment...I'd be very curious about the story behind it. Really enjoyed this, on a number of levels. This is the first hub of yours that I've read and it definitely won't be the last. Thanks again for a bit of enlightenment on perception. At least that's what my interpetation, for what it's worth. You do serve a complimentary beverage at your other hubs? My small attempt at humour. I did enjoy this, though, and will be doing a CJStone tour in the very near future.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Glad you liked it bright sorcerer. I think you might find metaphorical beverages available at the other hubs.

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

But ya have to look really close...they WON'T be "invisible". =) =) =)

Now I'm off to read "The Last Of The Hippies". Nice pic inside the back cover, btw.

spryte profile image

spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

I really loved this have a very gentle way about you that draws people in, wraps them in a cozy blanket and offers them a cup of hot tea to wrap their hands around.

This piece reminded me of a particular scene in a movie...Harold and Maude. They are discussing flowers and Harold says that he would like to be a daisy...because they are all alike. Maude points out that they are not truly...and that much of the world's sorrow comes from people that are unique, but allow themselves to be treated as if they were just a face in a sea of sameness. The scene then cuts to a military cemetary where all you see is row after row of identical grave markers stretching on into infinity...

While there is definitely a survival benefit to being occasionally invisible...I hope I never have to resort to it.

Thanks for a great read!

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Hello spryte, I guess the secret is in knowing when to be invisible and when not. Also in having the choice. Fortunately I still do. I'm still thinking of writing a follow-up to this hub. Thanks for visiting.

BeatsMe profile image

BeatsMe 8 years ago

Hi. A hub that I can identify myself with. I'm always invisible. :)

hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 8 years ago from Oregon, USA

I totally get this hub. In fact, I knew what the punch line was going to be from the get go. But thank you for writing it. You told it very well. I don't think there is a big moral. I personally am invisible most of the time even when I don't wanna be.

Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

What a wonderful story teller you are to be sure!

Being invisible can be quite comforting - it means you can see without being seen or stared at :)

Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

Hi CJ. I'm working my through your hubs, and just got to this one, which I really liked. As a hypnotist, I've learned that visibility is very often just a trick of the mind, and on that subject, have you ever come across Derren Brown's Invisible Man clip? It's on Youtube, and makes for fascinating, though, scary viewing! profile image 8 years ago from San Francisco, CA USA

You are a good writer, CJ.

Myself, I'm still working on the spell: How To Become Visible

tony granieri 8 years ago

Is this the same as being invisible in plain sight. When i was much younger, it always bothered me when people acted as if i was not "there". I now know what a gift it can be.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Tony, I know that feeling.

Jewels profile image

Jewels 8 years ago from Australia

I loved your story. Has a few facets to it's meaning and so I could take what it meant for me. To be invisible is to become normal or part of the crowd. Here the student felt that by learning how to be invisible it would be something extraordinary, paradoxically it was by becoming normal that the invisibility occurred. To become extraordinary, first one must become ordinary.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Hi Jewels, yes, it means all that and more. And more again.

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

I liked the ending. Nice twist in the end. So what you mean is by shedding our superficial outer coverings when we become normal then nobody would notice us. Hence to be normal is to become invisible.

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 8 years ago from India

You tell a compelling tale CJ! :)

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Ah so many interpretations countrywoman, they can't all be right can they? Or can they?

Thanks Feline. Glad you liked it.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 8 years ago from New York

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. ingenious...that's what I call it.

justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 8 years ago from Texas

Lovely story and illustration! Are you interested in cards at all, or did you just follow through with the Amazon ads because of the Magician card?

alana 8 years ago


CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

justmesuzanne. yes I'm interested in the cards.

Thanks to you too alana.

Glad you liked it anjalichugh.

Chandira 8 years ago

That's a good one, that is Sir. I like. Indeed.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Aye, one of the best Chandira. I still have a follow up to write at some point.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 7 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I have considered writing for children Barb H, but it is harder than it sounds. One day maybe...

tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 7 years ago from South Africa

Thanks for a great story CJ! I love your Hubs and this is a great one.

Love and peace


cosette 7 years ago

I LUV THIS HUB. GREAT GREAT GREAT!!! (I rated it UP too)...

jenblacksheep profile image

jenblacksheep 7 years ago from England

This is a great story. Like several others commenting before me I think I need to find my cloak, staff and book!!

CJStone profile image

CJStone 7 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I'm sure you'll find your cloak, staff and book one day, but the point is to know when not to wear them.

theguru-reports profile image

theguru-reports 7 years ago from Montana

Good I just want to BE visible :-0

hotspur profile image

hotspur 7 years ago from England

Thanks for the story, made me cuckle...chuckle even.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 7 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Glad you enjoyed. Nothing like a good old cuckle in the morning.

HubCrafter profile image

HubCrafter 7 years ago from Arizona

Just found this hub today. I enjoyed it immensely. Like a child with a new storybook.


cora laki 7 years ago

wow i understant completley it is a very good story i think you will be a sucsessful writer could yo give me some tips?

cora laki 7 years ago

i was thinking of writing a story my self that is about.... well ill tell you once iv wrote it haha

CJStone profile image

CJStone 7 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Let me know when you've written it cora.

cora laki 7 years ago


thank you very much

Christopher Floyd profile image

Christopher Floyd 6 years ago from Kansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

Kinda anticlimactic, but I think that was the point. I enjoyed it.

nicolace profile image

nicolace 6 years ago from Teddington, UK

very nice Hub just hit the spot. N

Mason88 profile image

Mason88 6 years ago from London

Nice story. I thought the ending was very good, unexpected but maybe i'm just very poor at anticipating a story-line.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 6 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

It was meant to be unexpected.

cuty 5 years ago

very creative story...i thought that the secreat of "invisible" will be revealed..but not the way i thought...but it gives a good lesson to all! profile image 5 years ago

loved it!


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author


pikon103 4 years ago

sir, its a nice story. i like it. but it would be more nice if it was really becoming invisible.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

pikon103: being invisible is not being seen, and this story tells you how to do that.

allenwebstar profile image

allenwebstar 4 years ago from Nagpur, India

Enjoyed your story sir, how nicely you presented. This question always comes in my mind, How to be invisible and finally I got the right answer. Good share.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Glad you like it Allen. Yes, I think this is the real way to be invisible.

DYB 4 years ago

This is the dumbest thing ever how stupid are you CJ Stone

CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I think you're quite young DYB. In a few years time you'll look back on this story and know that I was right. profile image 4 years ago

quiet, quiet, quiet - Good job well told


Sohail Saha 3 years ago

Your story has a witty twist.....

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