THE PRINCESS IN THE MOON

June 23, 2015

Once upon a time a woodworker’s apprentice named Trundle, troubled yet again once more by murky dreams of sliding darkness, tossed and turned on his bed of wood shavings. A woman, seen below as she appeared to him, loomed in the murk of his dream and sang this song: ‘Bronze to silver, silver to gold, ride to the moon before you are old.’

brigitte strikes again

Trundle popped awake, bolted to his feet, and blinked into the silent darkness, which somehow seemed to slide around him. Am I awake? he asked himself. To the stable for the bronze hissed a voice in his head. To the stable he stumbled, barely aware that he moved. Ride the bronze hissed the voice in his head. He threw himself onto the back of a bronze pony he’d never seen before, and off they sped, tearing through the countryside, Trundle clutching the pony’s mane, the pony straining for all it was worth and more. On the open plain they approached a silver stallion, and the bronze pony threw Trundle to the ground, stood high on its hind legs and disappeared. The silver stallion grasped the back of Trundle’s nightshirt in its teeth and tossed the dazed woodworker’s apprentice onto its back. The silver stallion raced off at a pace twice that of the bronze pony, and before the jolted and stunned Trundle had a chance to gather his wits, he was thrown to the ground and found himself staring at the golden hooves of a magnificent golden stallion four times the size of the silver. The golden stallion’s glittery eye held Trundle frozen and sent him to a sleep empty of dreams.

When Trundle was awakened by distant chanting, he was on the moon. The golden stallion bowed low and shook its massive head, sending Trundle falling to the ground by the gates of the moon palace. The gates were open. No one was about. The golden stallion was gone. Trundle got to his feet and wandered toward the palace, led by the distant chanting riding out from within its walls. He stumbled into the great hall and was captured by her gaze, as shown below. He fell senseless to the moon marble floor.

brigitte-helm-metropolis-1927-02

This time when Trundle awoke, he was garbed in the finest silks and satins and lying on downy softness in a chamber all white and gold. A voice called to him from behind an oaken door carved with the most beautiful scrollwork he had ever seen. He went to the door, caressed a delicate turn of leaf, and thought that one day, given the chance, he would be able to produce such splendid work. He opened the door. There she was, as pictured below.

robot helm

‘Come here, my dear, my Prince,’ she said.

‘I am but a simple woodworker’s apprentice,’ said Trundle.

‘Why else do you think you are here?’ said The Princess In The Moon.

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TYNETTE

June 13, 2015

blackberries

Once long ago an innkeeper’s wife took a jug of cream to the old widow woman who lived all alone in a thatched hut near the bog. It was said that the old woman was well acquainted with the fairy folk beneath the bog. It was for this reason wrapped around another reason that the innkeeper’s wife carried the jug of cream.

‘I’ve brought a jug of cream,’ said the innkeeper’s wife with fluttering heart to the bent woman peering at her from the door of the hut.

‘Ah,’ said the old woman. ‘Bring it close, dear. I have the answer to your unasked question. The blackberries in the thicket over there are ripe.’

‘Yes. We, too, are blessed to have some growing along our wall at the inn,’ said the innkeeper’s wife, trembling and handing the jug of cream to the old woman. ‘Please, what is the answer to my unasked question?’

‘The blackberries in the thicket over there are ripe,’ repeated the old woman, and she disappeared into the thatched hut, shutting its door behind her.

The innkeeper’s wife stood for a moment, uncertain, and then walked as if in a trance to the blackberry thicket. She looked at the blackberries. She looked back at the hut. Should I wish again here and now? she thought.

‘Hello, Mother,’ a tiny voice called from the middle of the thicket.

The innkeeper’s wife sat down, her legs suddenly unable to continue supporting her. From the thicket climbed a tiny girl no taller than the jug full of cream delivered to the old woman. Clad in a green tunic and slightly greener pants tucked into rust colored boots, the tiny girl, her skin a paler green than her tunic and her hair a paler green than that, jumped to the ground beside the innkeeper’s wife and stood smiling, hands on hips.

‘I am Tynette, and I can sing, and I am to be your daughter,’ she said.

And so home they went, and from that day forward, Tynette’s singing kept joy constantly dancing in the hearts of the innkeeper and the innkeeper’s wife, and truth, in the hearts of each and all everyone ever to have the good fortune to visit the inn.

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THE WITCH OF GALLABON HILL

June 7, 2015

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All was peaceful in the valley below Gallabon Hill. Just enough rain fell, and just enough sun shone to keep the farmers happy all year round. This was so because every year on summer solstice day a young maiden was chosen to go and disappear forever in the witch’s castle behind the thick twining hedge of blossoms at the top of Gallabon Hill. None but the chosen maidens had ever seen the castle or the witch, for she never appeared herself, but instead sent her messengers, a black cat and a raven.

And so when the new summer solstice day arrived, all the people of the valley were huddled in their cottages, hoping the cat and the raven would pass them by. The raven, riding on the back of the cat, sang, ‘Who will go? It’s time to know.’ Hearts beat faster as the song approached, and sighs of relief were breathed when the song moved on.

Alas, the messengers reached the windmill and stopped. The miller’s heart beat fast, and his sigh of relief was never heard. The raven cawed for his daughter, Fendlyn. Dutiful Fendlyn blinked her eyes, and though her hands shook, she kissed her father and went out to follow the cat and the raven.

Fendlyn couldn’t decide if she should speak to the messengers or remain silent. The raven instantly answered her thought by saying, ‘Remain silent.’ Did the raven read my thoughts? ‘Yes,’ said the raven. Fendlyn decided to try not to think at all. ‘That would be best,’ said the raven.

The climb to the top of Gallabon Hill took most of the afternoon. They reached the thick twining hedge of crimson blossoms as the sun and the moon were about to change places. The raven fluttered, and a tunnel through the hedge opened. In they went, and after some twists and a turn or two, out they came into the moonlit realm of the castle and its white and crimson turrets and spires.

‘Oh,’ gasped Fendlyn, some of the gasp for the beauty of castle and grounds, but most of the gasp for the cat.

Why for the cat? Oh, it changed. It grew, stretched, twisted and shaped into a tall and beautiful woman.

‘Your turn,’ said the beautiful woman. ‘I can now go live on the hedge as a crimson blossom with the others. Peace and prosperity are secure in the valley for one more year.’

The woman ran to the hedge and leaped, shrinking to a crimson blossom and joining one of the many clusters.

‘Come along. I’ll show you the castle and explain your duties,’ said the raven.

And it did.

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THE PURPLE SNAIL

May 31, 2015

purple snail

‘I hate everything,’ muttered the purple snail as she slimed her way across a long green leaf. ‘I hate being stuck in this garden. I hate my shell, and I never get to go anywhere.’

‘I hate the garden more than you do,’ said a nearby orange blossom. ‘At least you can move. I can’t, for instance, see what’s behind that watering can. You, lucky you, can crawl over and see.’

‘I hate the watering can, and I hate what’s behind it. I’ve been there and seen it. I hate it,’ said the purple snail.

‘Well, what’s behind it then? At least tell me that much,’ said the orange blossom.

‘Why would I tell you when I hate you?’ reasoned the snail.

‘You hate me? You don’t know what hate is until you’re me hating you,’ retorted the blossom.

‘Oh yeah?’ said the snail.

‘Yeah,’ said the blossom.

The conversation ended. The purple snail slimed away, feeling pleased, and the orange blossom was forced to dance in the wind even though she hated dancing.

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THE VAMPIRE SISTERS

May 24, 2015

dracula ladies

3 vampire maidens knew just what to do

One of them forgot

and then there were 2

2 vampire maidens hid from the sun

Mabel went outside

and then there was 1

1 vampire maiden safe in her coffin

missed both her sisters

not all the time

but often

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THE RUNCIBLE SPOON

May 22, 2015

runcible spoon

‘I’ve heard it said you’re runcible,’

said the old man to the spoon.

‘I fear it’s true,’

the spoon replied,

‘since the cow

and the dish

and the moon.’

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EMILY THE WELL DRESSED NANNY GOAT

May 18, 2015

Emily the well dressed nanny goat

spent yesterday on tomorrow’s boat

dancing jigs and eating lemon pies

and telling the most outrageous lies

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THE GUARDIAN BLOOMS

May 12, 2015

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On the outskirts of Flowerland, where everything was always perfect, two giant yellow guardian blooms marched back on forth across their assigned area, ever on the lookout for danger.

‘There’s never any danger,’ complained one. ‘What do you say we head off into the dark wood over there? It looks pretty dangerous.’

‘Well, I don’t know,’ replied the other. ‘Being ever prepared to defend our area from danger is one thing. To go out and seek danger is quite another bowl of pollen. But you know what? You’re right. Let’s go.’

And so the two flowers carefully wrapped their walking roots with spider webs and set off into the wood.

‘Hmm, gets dark in here not being able to see the sun and all,’ said one.

‘So I see, or rather so I don’t see,’ said the other.

A squirrel ran down a tree and stared at the blooms, saying, ‘What’s wrong with you who are you get out these are all my acorns you can’t have any go away now I hate you.’

By the time the squirrel ran back up high into the tree, the blooms were racing homeward as fast as their roots could carry them. And after they arrived safely, they lived content and never left the boring perfection of Flowerland again.

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THE SKOONIE

April 24, 2015

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Once it happened that in the dead cold grip of winter a young maiden tended to her failing grandfather, a cobbler no longer able to practice his trade due the long and hard fought victory blindness and its ally arthritis had won over him. Covered with scraps of leather, the grandfather huddled on the hearth close to the flickering flames of the weakening fire.

‘Hesper, are you near?’ asked the grandfather.

‘I’m right here,’ replied Hesper, shoving the last crust of bread into the grandfather’s twisted shaking fingers.

‘The skoonie,’ whispered the grandfather.

‘The what?’ said Hesper, wondering whatever in the world a skoonie could be.

‘Find the skoonie. Find the twisted tree on the well scarred meadow high on the forbidden mountain. Ask …’ mumbled the grandfather, and he fainted away.

Hesper rushed to press an ear to his heart and was rewarded with its steady beat. She stood up and stared all about the tiny cottage, looking for she knew not what, while the message ‘twisted tree, well scarred meadow’ repeated in her head. She took her hooded cloak from its peg, wrapped it around herself, and hurried out into the night.

She headed away from the village toward the forbidden mountain for the first time in her life. The bright light of a fat cold moon led her on. Tiny mist clouds of her own breath marked her steady ascent. Through long tree shadows on the thin blue crust of snow she went. Finally, the mountain forest opened on a scrubby meadow. Well scarred, thought Hesper. Orange dawn crept up the sky, and Hesper crept toward the lightning blasted tree in the most distant part of the meadow. The sky was morning blue when at last she reached the tree.

What should I do? What should I say? She nodded once and cleared her throat.

‘Oh, skoonie, won’t you help my grandfather to see again and heal his hands?’ she said.

She watched the tree tremble away to become a rising spire of dust disappearing in the sky. Hesper felt rooted and firm. Her lightning shattered trunk and her broken twisted limbs reached up and out in glory.

His youth, vigor, and eyesight restored, the grandfather moved to a new land and became a prosperous cobbler there.

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RAGWEN’S MEADOW

April 14, 2015

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Ragwen is a sprite I know. She lives in a small grotto by the tiny stream running under the green grass up there in the picture of her meadow I took the other day. She is an excellent storyteller. On full moon nights I visit her, and she tells me tales about witches, dragons, and amazing creatures of every stripe and feather in other dimensions while she glows a sparkly blue. I never look her in the eye. It is rude to gaze directly into the eyes of a sprite. She sings ‘Look away, look away’ if I forget. Oh, yes, she is a good singer, too. Redwing blackbirds gather to hear her on summer nights. Ragwen has given me permission to share the stories she tells me. I’ve done it a few times already. The next time I see her I’ll ask if I can share the story of her life. She hasn’t told her own story yet. How did she find her way to a mountain meadow in California? If she tells me, I’ll share.

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