THE OWL OF WINTER

December 10, 2014

white owl

In the before time, Old Hareek lived with her granddaughter in a small cottage at the edge of a wood. When winter arrived, they tucked themselves inside near the fire and lived on roots and nuts. Lola, the granddaughter, listened entranced to Old Hareek’s tales. So it was that they passed the time.

One evening, when a slender slice of cold moon hung high in the sky, Old Hareek said, ‘Lola, I tell you now that today was your 8th birthday, and it is time for you to hear of the spell under which we have been cast.’

Lola huddled low, and her eyes grew wide, but she said not a word.

‘How fine it was when I had my powers,’ began Old Hareek. ‘Oh,I had them. I was a splendid witch, to be sure, until. Until the white owl challenged me to answer the question. I failed, Lola, and it was then that the owl cast its spell. Doomed to be powerless I was, doomed.’

‘What was the question?’ asked Lola. ‘We’re witches?’

‘We won’t be witches again until the question is answered. I can’t tell you the question. It must be heard from the owl’s very beak. The owl prophesied that I would one day have a granddaughter, and when that granddaughter turned 8 years of age, she, and only she, could break the spell by finding the owl and answering the question.’

Lola jumped up and said, ‘Where is it? I’ll go now.’

‘Yes,’ said Old Hareek. ‘Wear my cloak to keep warm. There is an open meadow in the center of the wood. Go there and spin around three times, calling “Owl, owl, owl”.’

Lola raced from the cottage into the black of night under the sliver moon. Her trail through the snow was straight and true to the meadow in the center of the wood. She spun around three times and cried out, ‘Owl! Owl! Owl!’

Low it came over the snow, white of wing, white of face. It settled softly and regarded Lola. The owl blinked it’s eyes, and of a sudden gold they glowed.

‘I am Lola, 8 years old and the granddaughter of the one they call Old Hareek. What is the question?’ said Lola boldly.

‘How can you count to ’17’ by ‘2’s?’ asked the owl.*

‘So easy,’ said Lola, who was quite clever with numbers. ‘Start at 1/2. 2 times 1/2 is 1. Then go 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17.’

The owl was astonished speechless and flew off in ragged confusion. Lola felt powers stirring and ran home, growing all the while. She burst into the cottage to find the 8 year old Hareek grinning at her. Old Lola looked down at her wrinkled, twisted hands.

*Thanks to L. Frank Baum for the question.

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CRANBERRIES 3

December 5, 2014

3 cranberries

We are the cranberries 3

Not one of us has a knee

We live in a log not far from the bog

And dine on peppermint tea

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We are the cranberries 3

You won’t find us climbing a tree

We roll all around the nice soggy ground

The finest of berries are we, are we

The finest of berries are we

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AGNES AND HER 3 RAVENS

December 1, 2014

ravens

Agnes never smiled. She was dutiful and worked at learning her sums and important dates in history. When instructed to do so, she practiced the piano without complaint. She allowed them to take her to the park every day, where she walked slowly until time enough had passed, and she was led home. They wondered why she spent all of her free time sitting on a chair with her arms folded and staring out the window. Some said it would be nice if just once she would dance about in a rage and fling something, but she never did. She never ran, skipped, or spun in circles to get dizzy. She walked.

One day in the park three ravens flew down and settled behind Agnes as she walked. The ravens formed a line and, walking, followed Agnes. The nanny and the governess thought it strange and tried to shoo the ravens away. Agnes turned on them her disapproving stare, and they instantly subsided. The ravens followed Agnes home and lived with her from that day forward. Nothing else changed. Except at night.

Oh, how wild they would fly free, the four ravens.

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THE SNOW PANDA

November 23, 2014

snow panda

Once in a land far away a shoemaker and his wife had 3 daughters. Wunny was the first born, Tuella the second, Threeda the third. Threeda was the wildest and most impetuous. So when a traveling crone passing through the village told the shoemaker and his family all about how a golden castle on the top of a snowy mountain could be claimed only by a bold maiden, Threeda jumped up, said she would do it, and ran out the door. Since she hadn’t waited long enough to be told where the mountain was located, she soon raced over the edge of a cliff and was never heard from again. Meanwhile, patient Wunny listened to the crone’s full list of instructions, sighed, nodded, and said she supposed she would go. She wandered listlessly, as was her manner, all the way to the base of the golden castle’s mountain. Seeing how steep it was, she sighed and wandered into a small cave and took a nap. When she awoke, she decided she liked the cave and would live there forever. So she did. Now that left the third daughter, Tuella. A year had passed, and the shoemaker and his wife still talked and talked about how nice it would be to live in a golden castle on top of a snowy mountain. Tuella promised to do her best to find it. Extra sharp of mind, Tuella remembered each and all of the crone’s instructions, including the one about taking along a cake made of the finest leaves. When she reached the base of the mountain, she began without pause to climb up, up, and up through the softly falling snow. Halfway to the top she saw a panda sitting in the notch of a tall tree.

‘What say you?’ said the panda.

‘I say I seek to claim the golden castle and I bring a cake of the finest leaves,’ replied clever Tuella.

‘You say finest leaves? Show me then,’ said the panda.

Tuella produced the cake and held it up for the Panda to see. The panda climbed down, received the cake, and ate it.

‘Now I have no need to eat you,’ said the panda. ‘Go on up. The castle is yours.’

Tuella went up, claimed the castle, returned to fetch her parents, journeyed again to the castle, and lived with her parents there not bored for a long time, often playing cards with the panda.

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THE LITTLE BLUE FROG

November 14, 2014

little blue frog

Once there was a small queendom wedged in a canyon between two towering cliffs. It was peaceful. It had a stream, a small castle, and a little blue frog.

Each morning the queen led all of her subjects (there were nine of them) to the frog room and supervised the preparations for viewing the frog. For you see, across deserts, over mountains and seas and lakes, visitors came in streams, waves, and ripples to marvel at the frog and pay a fine price to do so. The queen herself collected payment at the door before allowing visitors in groups of four to step inside and view the frog for no more than ten seconds.

One day in May the queen went into the frog room and shrieked. The frog was missing from its twig! The queen slumped to the floor and was restored to consciousness only after considerable effort by eight of her subjects fetching water, cloths, medicines, and so forth. The ninth subject grinned, and when the queen blinked her eyes, he brought forth the little blue frog which all the while he had hidden in his hand behind his back.

‘Just kidding,’ he said.

‘Good one,’ said the queen, and an hour later she and all eight of her subjects were ready to receive and take payment from the masses of strangers eager to view the little blue frog.

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THE BOASTFUL 4 LEAF CLOVER

November 11, 2014

4 leaf clover

‘I am splendid, am I not? I can grant wishes, too,’ boasted the 4 leaf clover. ‘My petals are perfect, don’t you think? And there are 4 of them.’

The blades of grass and the 3 leaf clovers all around grumbled and muttered.

‘Petals, she says. Leafs aren’t good enough for her,’ said a nearby 3 leaf clover to a blade of grass.

‘Just wait,’ said the blade. ‘She’ll soon be sorry.’

‘What do you mean?’ said the 3 leaf with a bubble of hope.

There was no time for the blade of grass to reply, for a squeal from on high was quickly followed by a giant hand plucking the 4 leaf clover and carrying it off.

Moral: If you are 4 leafed, keep one hidden just to be safe.

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JESTERBEASTS BIRTHDAY

November 5, 2014

In Jesterbeasts, Book 9 of The Bekka Chronicles, the search for her missing (stolen?) cottage leads the good lavender witch from her home world of Boad through a space portal to the California mountains of planet Earth. http://www.wildchildpublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=72&products_id=454

jesterbeasts cover

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SURPRISED FLOWERS

November 2, 2014

2014-11-01 10.39.15

‘Hey, what’s the big idea?’

‘Nobody said anything about snow.’

‘Take us back to the greenhouse now!’

‘I kind of like it.’

‘You would.’

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THE GHOST PUMPKIN

October 31, 2014

pumpkin

the ghost pumpkin floats above its patch tonight

drop by for a visit and a friendly fright

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THE COBWEB, A STORY FOR HALLOWEEN

October 26, 2014

cobweb

The cobweb was all alone high in the rafters of the barn. Its spider had gone off, saying she was sick to death of the barn and wanted to see the bright lights of the big city. The cobweb felt sad, for who was there now to repair the big gap in its side where the bumblebee had crashed through?

I’ll sing, thought the cobweb. That might cheer me up. I’ve never sung before, but it’s worth a try.

The Ipsy Wipsy Spider was the only song the cobweb had ever heard. Its spider had sung it quite a lot at dinnertime. So that was the song the cobweb sang. It was most surprising how well the cobweb sang in its woven strand of a voice.

“Here, what’s that there, a singing cobweb?” remarked the hoot owl without a single hoot. The owl sidled over along the beam. “Cobweb, hold on  there a tick or two. How long have you been a singer, and what’s more, where’s your spider?”

“I thought singing would cheer me up, so I tried it. My spider has gone to see the bright lights of the big city,” answered the cobweb.

“Pah! Bright lights are nothing. I’ll show you something. It’s Halloween, you know. Wrap yourself around me like a shawl,” said the owl.

The owl spread wide her wings, and the cobweb wrapped around her body. With a leap and a whuff whuff of wings the owl shot out of the barn and headed for the old graveyard.

“What do you think of this?” crowed the owl, landing on a twisted limb.

“Oh, wonderful!” said the cobweb, and it floated down to mingle with the thousands of other cobwebs in the graveyard. It taught them all how to sing The Ipsy Wipsy Spider, and the joyous chorus was heard as the clock struck midnight, and many ghosts came out to dance.

The owl flew off, proud of its good deed.

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