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.



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.



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.



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.

jesterbeasts cover



November 2, 2014

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‘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.’



October 31, 2014


the ghost pumpkin floats above its patch tonight

drop by for a visit and a friendly fright



October 26, 2014


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.



October 19, 2014

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Once it happened that a king out hunting was trapped by a clutch tree and wrapped in its branches. People of all stripes and degree came from miles around to stand and stare at the captured king.

‘The tree’s got ‘im, that’s for sure.’

‘No way to escape the clutch tree, they say.’

A local wizard stepped forth to stand near, but not too near, the king. He said, ‘There be one sliver of hope. If a volunteer were to travel far and pass by the seven serpents on the seven hills to where the red leaf dwells, the red leaf would grant a wish to free the king. Who will go?’

All looked one at the other and around, not saying a word. Seven serpents sang danger in all heads save one.

‘I’ll go,’ said a tiny maid. She seemed far too small for her boots.

After the laughter and snorting had died down, Elspathia, for that was the tiny maid’s name, asked the wizard to point her in the proper direction, and off she marched.

Go ahead and imagine the trials, tribulations, swamps, rocky heights, lizards, thorny mazes, floods, tornadoes, and most especially the serpents. Clothes in tatters, boots punctured by serpent teeth, skin pockled with stings, Elspathia crawled to rest the palm of her hand on the trunk of the red leaf’s tree. The red leaf shuddered in sympathy.

‘Child, what will you?’ said the leaf.

‘Our king is captured by a clutch tree. I would have him released,’ gasped Elspathia.

‘Done,’ said the leaf.

And done it was, and not only that, Elspathia was flown through the sky to return in triumph and live the rest of her days eating all the cake she wanted.



October 11, 2014

crosswalk stripe

One midnight in San Francisco a crosswalk’s third stripe from the curb finally had had enough.

‘I’m sick and tired of people walking on me and buses and trucks and cars rolling over me,’ it announced loudly. ‘I’m leaving.’

‘You can’t leave,’ said its neighbor, 2nd from the curb.

‘Watch me,’ snapped the third stripe.

It struggled and strained, rippling up into a loop of a hoop. Then, having no idea what to do next, it rolled off down the hill toward the bay.

‘Where are you headed?’ asked a lamppost.

‘Mind your own business,’ snarled the stripe.

‘You don’t have to be so cross,’ said the lamppost.

‘Yes I do, dimwit. I was part of a stupid crosswalk,’ replied the unpleasant stripe.

The stripe continued its roll down to the bay, where it dove in and swam wriggling like a giant eel under water until it came to a spot near a bridge where it decided to live forever. And so it did, happily exchanging insults with rude mermaids.



October 5, 2014

As there seemed to be no chance of getting her hands up to her head, she tried to get her head down to them, and was delighted to find that her neck would bend about easily in any direction, like a serpent. – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Alice’s delight in finding herself with a long bendy neck is in turn delightful to me.