"When you change your thoughts, and what you believe about what's possible for you, you change everything, including your physiology." - Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
If not for his best friend, Kit, Priddy, from Harper Fox's 'Priddy's Tale', would have been totally lost with no one to care about him and no hope of ever having more than he does right now. All of his life, Priddy has been told that he will never amount to anything and Priddy grows to believe it. Therefore, Priddy exerts little effort into anything he does since he expects to fail anyway. Priddy has little sense of self-preservation as well since he has little to look forward to. At least Kit offers affection and friendship although it's not enough to keep him out of sticky situations, like the night he fries his brains with bad drugs.
Priddy was fragile before, but he is even worse after his overdose. He's unsure of what's going on around him and what will become of him now. He's on medication that helps him function and keeps his hallucinations at bay. Priddy tries to carry on the best he can, holding on to little hope that he will be able to recover. When Kit tells Priddy he's going away to university, Priddy is sad, because, at one time, they dreamed of going together, but he's happy for Kit to be able to follow his dream even if he can't.
Kit encourages Priddy to take the job he now has tending the automated lighthouse, thinking that it will give him a place to live and the solitude he needs to heal. Priddy takes the job and tries to be satisfied; sometimes he thinks that he's a bit better but other days he feels like he's even worse. One stormy night, Priddy rescues a man from a shipwreck. His name is Merou and he's the most beautiful man Priddy has ever seen. Yet, he soon discovers that Merou may also be one of the oddest. For a shipwrecked man, Merou is acting awfully relaxed. He begins asking lots of odd questions. Merou also knows what Priddy is thinking, accepting him for who he is while asking both literally and figuratively if that's where he wants to remain. This hurts Priddy, but it also makes him think about his condition. As strange as things are with Merou there, Priddy becomes quite attached to him and misses him when he goes away for a few days.
Most of all, he begins to accept what Merou says about him. Priddy starts to believe the fantastical things Merou tells and shows him, even when Merou reveals that he's a merman with special talents. The way Priddy accepts these improbably realities, opens up something inside of him and makes him wonder if, just maybe, he can have more faith in himself as well. With a granted wish from Merou that Priddy earned by saving a sea creature and a lot of hard work on his own, including refusing drugs when his old dealer comes to tempt Priddy with them, something blooms inside of him that has lain dormant for a long time. There seem to be no limits to what he can do, only an infinite array of choices he can make. All he has to do is believe in himself and reach for them.
Although written in the lyrical language and style of a fairy tale, Harper has also managed to include a moral lesson as often found in an allegory. Although laced with mythical creatures and awesome sea castles, ‘Priddy’s Tale’ is the story of a man who got lost, but, through the kindness and encouragement of a merman, was able to pull himself out of his misery, heal himself, and become who he was destined to be. In this way, it's the most believable, although fantastical story I've ever read. Harper's ability to wrap these elements together is brilliant. If you love lost souls, lighthouses, mermen, and finding redemption in becoming yourself, you may like this story. Thanks, Harper, for helping Priddy find his way.