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A Secret Chord

If the deity cares for music

Why shouldn’t you?

Will you become yourself

A broken shoe?

Walk no where, no place to go

So stale and, oh, so slow?

Deafly turned to visible sounds

Deafly blind mysterious rounds

Then stop up, voyager, and turn around

Your journey is whirring

And without sound

But I will listen, I will hear

Silent sounds whisper near

They call and thrum the heartstring bounds

And binding, winding to the way,

Bound I go

And listening stay.

Inspired by Hallelujah, by Jeff Buckley

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RISE

With a glance behind and gaze to fore

I pushed myself beyond the door

Door that closed upon my past

And now the future die is cast

Cast to breaking on the shore

Shore that’s breaking on the floor

Floor of deep embedded beads

That time has wrought to sandy seeds

Seeds mix and jumble up inside

My newfound person stepping wide

Wide the round and fertile earth

a promise – a paean – of rebirth

Birth from inner sin and woe

upon the mortal shore I go

Go crawling and pushing upon my knees

Until enveloped in the balmy seas

Seas roil and billow and drown my soul

till my old life has met its toll

Toll on, yea bells, of troubled mirth

Your laughter ends with final birth

Birth anew, a raging clutching pain

And I, defenseless, cast upon the main

Mainly, you know, I’ve struggled and run

to find myself at last a conquered one

One, rise! Oh divinely mortally met

And in thy threesome bosom I am set

Set at last, on softly wafting shores,

And closed, behind, the sinful, mortal doors

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The Barren Garden

Where barren bones bring no life to straggling gardens, some seeds new and vibrant should be planted.

But where do we find such soulful seedlings? Where should we plant our special plantlings?

Plant and do not worry, for yesterday has passed away. Plant and rejoice, for tomorrow has a way of coming.

Plants aplenty come and go, some regal and some low, but without today last years would be a myth. With today, tomorrow’s a gift.

Rejoice and cry out, “Today is a bounty!” Rejoice and exclaim, “Tomorrow’s a harvest!”

Hope from death and death from hope. Seeds from plants and life from dust.

We harvest what we plant, we plant what we harvest. So plant anew and plant it better, there’s no such place as a barren garden.

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The Seven Ravens

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The door was locked, and she started to take out the chicken bone, but when she opened up the cloth, it was empty. She had lost the gift of the good stars.What was she now to do_ She wished to rescue her brothers, a.png
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The Seven Ravens Source Text

Illustrators

Allison Reimold

Oscar Herrfurth

Adrian Ludwig Richter

Anne Anderson

Mary Alayne Thomas

Lisbeth Zwerger

The Dove Princess

Princess - The Dove PrincessOnce upon a time, a king’s daughter loved dogs as her dearest friends. She had all manner of species about her all the time, and whenever she went for a walk, she always brought at least two with her. She trained the dogs herself along with her brother, who loved them almost as much as she did, and they spent all their free-time with them.

One afternoon, the princess decided to train one of the newest puppies, so she set off on a walk with Klitus and Grimus, two old, wise dogs, and OrangeYellowBlack, OYB for short, the frisky puppy.

“Shall I come with you?” asked her brother eagerly. He wanted to get out of a long meeting with his tutor. “OYB might be troublesome.”

She laughed at him. “I’m sure I can handle him,” she said, and made the prince watch her run away with the dogs while he had to go to his lesson.

The woods beside the palace were a golden green, full of playful shadows, butterflies, and trilling birds. She knew to stay only in this wood, since further on, against the very edge of her father’s kingdom, there was a deep, dark forest, ruled by a sorcerer.

 

OYB - The Dove Princess
OrangeYellowBlack, the frisky puppy

Klitus and OYB ran ahead, and then back again, and then on ahead. The princess practiced calling OYB’s name and making him learn to obey. Grimus plodded on patiently beside her – her loyal, faithful watchdog.

Out of the trees beside the path hobbled an old, ugly, hunchbacked man. He was pulling himself along with a gnarled staff, and grunting as he came. He did not seem to see the princess until he nearly ran into her, and she had to hop out of his way.

“Watch it! Ah, princess, I didn’t see you. Have a few coins for a poor old traveler?”

The Encounter in the Forest
The Encounter in the Forest

The princess was frightened by his awful appearance and brisk manner, but she was too polite to show it, and fumbled in her purse for some coins.

He stomped over to receive them and, as if by accident, hammered his staff into Grimus’s paw. With a squeal, Grimus jumped back and growled lightly in his throat. He did not like or trust this old man, and his paw pounded so painfully he could not walk on it, and had to limp on three legs.IMG-5755

“Oh, Grimus, my darling, are you alright?” The princess bent over her friend and the two other dogs danced excitedly nearby, unnerved by the event.

“Oh, terrible accident that,” mumbled the beggar. “Whoops. Didn’t see him!” He whirled about as if to help, sending his stick going in every direction and nearly whacking the princess’s head off. Though it missed her, it hit OYB in the rear, and with a cry of panic, the puppy took off running into the forest.

“Ho, there! All this fuss is putting me out!” cried the old man, but the princess ignored him and called and called for OYB to come back.

“Oh, where is he? OYB!” She was so upset that she ran after her lost puppy without a second thought, closely followed by Klitus. Grimus whined on the path, torn because he wanted to go too, but knowing he would be no help hobbling on three paws. So finally, he turned back toward home, leaving the beggar grumbling to himself on the path.

When he reached the palace, he barked like a mad pigeon, and everyone yelled and told him to be quiet, but he only got louder and louder, until the prince, who was studying geography and finding it exceedingly dull, heard the noise and ran downstairs.

“What is it boy?” he asked, and Grimus started limping back toward the forest. “Something’s wrong,” said the prince to himself, and followed after.

Grimus led the prince to the place where they had met the beggar, but there was no sign of him. So he began to sniff the ground, and then took off after his beloved princess’s scent.

To both their horror, the scent led them right up to the dark forest, and there, against the outermost tree, lay Klitus, dead.

Grimus whined and wept over his fallen companion, and the prince knelt beside him. “You must go home,” he whispered. “This is no place for an injured creature.” Grimus looked at him with large, worried eyes. “I’ll be alright, you know,” the prince assured him. “The sorcerer never harms young men.”

Dark ForestSo with his tail between his legs and his ears hanging past his mouth, Grimus trudged back to the palace, and the prince disappeared into the black shadows of the dark forest.

Immediately beneath those trees, day turned to night, and he could see no further than the stretch of his arm. As he searched for his sister, he began to despair. There was no sign of her. Instead, there was a big black toad the size of his fist sitting on a mushroom.

“Have you seen my sister?” he asked the toad.

“No,” he croaked. “All I see all day are the black flies that fly around my head.”

A little further into the forest, he found a lion. “Have you seen my sister?”

“No,” he growled. “All I see all day are the scuffling hogs I eat.”

Even further, a snake was coiled around a tree limb. “Have you seen my sister?”

“I have sssseen only the miccce that I sswallow whole.”

The prince searched for two more days until his strength relinquished itself to the weight of his desperation, and he fell to the ground and slept.

In his sleep, a dream came to him. He saw OYB run into the forest in fright, and his sister chase after him. He saw a mighty black crow fly across the gray sky and land in a tall, dark tower in the very middle of the forest. The crow changed into the evil sorcerer, the dark master of the land, and with a wave of his staff, he transformed the princess into a beautiful dove.

When the prince awoke, he no longer searched for a princess, but called out in a loud coo for a dove. Finally, a coo came back to him.

From the very tops of the trees flew down a bird on a single beam of light and alighted on his shoulder. He kissed its beak, and the dove nuzzled its head into his cheek.

“Oh, my dearest sister, how shall I save you from this fate?” he asked her. She cooed softly in response and a tear fell from her eye.

“I will save you!” he declared, and headed off for the black tower with his sister still on his shoulder. When they reached the mighty fortress, the prince banged on the door.

The Sorcerer's Dark Tower
The Sorcerer’s Dark Tower

“Sorcerer!” he yelled. “How can I save my sister?”

The sorcerer stuck his head out of the tower. “Go away!” he shouted, and disappeared back inside.

He pounded even harder. “Sorcerer, how can I save my sister?”

This time, there was no response. For ten minutes, the prince yelled and pounded. Finally, the sorcerer returned to the window.

“I said, go away! Or I’ll turn you into a dove!”

The prince pounded so hard on the door that the wood splintered in two, and then he ran up the spiral staircase.

When he arrived, the Sorcerer was very angry. “Go away, I tell you! Why do you test my patience? I’ll enchant you!”

The Dark Sorcerer
The Dark Sorcerer

“Everyone knows you do not enchant men. I’m not leaving here until you tell me how to lift her curse.”

The sorcerer groaned with annoyance, but he saw he could not get rid of this boy. “Very well,” he snarled. “You must leave her in this forest for three years. You cannot return home – instead, you will wander the world as a nameless beggar collecting one whole seashell from each ocean and stringing them into a necklace. After three years, if you put that necklace around her neck, she will turn back into a girl. Now go away and leave me in peace!”

The brother and sister said a tearful goodbye at the edge of the forest. Just as the prince turned to leave, however, he heard a tiny bark and from out of the foliage leapt OYB. With a coo of joy, the dove lighted on the animal’s head, and the prince left them together, relieved that his sister would have a friend in her exile.

At the first cottage he came across, the prince traded his rich royal clothes for the costume of the resident peasant, and then departed into the world to find the shells.

At the first ocean, he encountered a polar bear and wrestled with him on an iceberg until, finally, he overcame the beast and collected the shell. Just before reaching the second ocean, he faced a giant, evil koala bear who tried to kill him with a rifle. But the IMG-5756prince defeated the evil Koala, took the rifle for himself, and found his shell. At the third ocean, he strangled a sea serpent. At the fourth, he slew a gigantic spider. And finally, in the final year, when he had traveled, and suffered, and grown into a man, he came to the fifth ocean.

Evil Shark
Evil Shark

There, he picked up the final shell and threaded it onto the string he had worn around his neck for three years, then he sold the shark to local fisherman who could make use of its parts, and with the money from the sale, headed back to his own country.re, just as he bent to pick up the final shell, a giant shark flew out of the water and came right for his throat. He leapt back, pulled out the rifle, and with one single shot, killed it in the head.

He went straight to the forest, and there, right where he had departed from her all those years ago, he saw his sister waiting. He ran up, placed the necklace over her head, and she transformed instantly back into a princess. The sorcerer knew when his magic had ceased, and he flew instantly to where the prince and princess were embracing.

“I have completed your tasks!” proclaimed the prince.

The sorcerer had never expected to see the prince again, and he was very angry. But a promise was a promise, so he had to let them go. But before they did, he said to them, “You have escaped my power for now, but someday beware…I will come after your descendants.”

The brother and sister headed back to the kingdom with their now grown dog OYB, and their father the King, who thought both his children had perished years ago, received them with tears of joy.

The End

 

Keep a look out for future stories about the Sorcerer! Why doesn’t he enchant men? What will happen when he goes after the prince and princess’s descendants? Why is he always so cranky?

Images were made by myself and my four-year-old brother

A Stubborn Story

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who refused to go into her story. It lay open beneath her with colorful illustrations of far off lands, enchanted castles, and speaking frogs, but she refused to go in.

“I am a free spirit, and I will sit out here as long as I want.” Her feet stuck out in front of her, her arms folded across her chest, and her chin projected in a stubborn tilt.

The storyteller cajoled, threatened, warned, did everything possible; he finally started to write, but it was no use…she would not go in.

Inside, there was a very lonely frog. All about him were colorful trees, rivers, and skies, but in his heart, he was inconsolable. One day, as he hopped beside a stream, he saw words writing themselves in the sand.

“Dear enchanted prince,” said the words, “your girl will not go into your story. I’ve done everything I can, but it looks like you’ll have to remain a frog forever. My sincere apologies, Narrator.”

The frog read the words, puzzled. “I did not know I was a prince,” he thought to himself. “That is very interesting. I wonder why this girl will not come into the story? Perhaps she is the reason I am so lonely, and why the company of no female frog is stimulating. I always thought they had very little to say about anything. Perhaps,” a sudden thought occurred to him, “I will leave my story. If the girl will not come to me, I will go to her.”

It was night in the storyteller’s house, and the Narrator was fast asleep on his desk. The girl stood up on the paper and looked down at the colorful illustrations, spying them out in the faint candlelight. They were very pretty, but rather two-dimensional, so she picked up her short skirts and jumped off the book, off the table, and to the floor. Then she jumped up on the ornate chair leaning against the bookshelf, and onto the bookshelf itself.

On one of the shelves was a large volume, much larger than her own story. Curious, she reached up, and with great straining, she tugged it from its place and toppled it over. Then, with all her might, she pulled back the big front cover. On the inside leaf was a full-page image of a tiger. It was a book about Africa.segur_seven_crow_princes

She sat up all night, turning page after page, and marveling at each image she saw. There was a mighty serpent, coiling larger than branches about the base of a gnarly tree. There was the slurping river sloshing muddy water up and down its banks, hiding crocodiles, water snakes, and bumbling hippopotamuses.. There were long giraffes with necks that stretched to the tops of trees. And finally, there was the noblest of beasts, the most frightening of creatures, the most beautiful of monsters – the massive elephant.

When she reached the back cover,  she stood on top of the massive book and pulled down another. This was smaller, and the pages more crinkly; it was an old, old book. The stories inside told of flying, flying over the earth, flying into the sky, catching a flight of birds and flying to another planet1. She felt as if she were flying herself. Possessed of a mysterious mania, she pulled down book after book, devoured story after story, until finally, daylight edged between the windowpanes and the sputtering candle extinguished. The Narrator woke up.

“Why, little girl!” he cried, his eyes wide with awed wonder. “You’re not so little anymore!”

Indeed, she was not a little girl, nor even a little character: she was a full grown woman, as tall as him, with beautiful straight brown hair pulled into a practical ponytail, and wise brown eyes behind dark-rimmed spectacles. She was beautiful, intimidating, and magical.

“What will you do? You will never fit into my story now.”

“No indeed,” she smiled, and then laughed. “But then, I never wanted to go in there. I will go live my life now. Good bye.” She opened the door to the outside world and disappeared into it.

The Storyteller sat a moment flabbergasted, scratching his head and marveling that a thing he created could move away from him so easily.

“Ahem,” said a voice. “If you don’t mind, I’m looking for Narrator.”

The storyteller looked down, and what should he see but the frog sitting on top of the story in front of him.

“Well, what are you doing?” he cried. “You were already in the story.”

“And now I have come out. To look for the girl. Are you Narrator?”

“I’m not sure anymore. The stories don’t seem to need much narrating.”

“Well, if you don’t mind, I would like to find this girl.”

“I don’t mind, but I think I should warn you. She’s not a girl anymore, and I don’t think she can break your curse. This is the real world, you know, and she’s become a part of it now.”

“Ah, yes. I see. I suppose, then, I must become part of it as well. What must I do? What should I learn?”

The Narrator looked at the bookshelf where all the texts the girl had read still lay open. He squared his shoulders.

“We must read,” he said. “If I can not tell a new story, I will tell many that are old, and so give life and understanding to what is new.”

He pulled down the texts and the two got to work reading all the books in the storyteller’s home. After three days, they had read them all, so they went out and down the street to the booksellers. In the cluttered, dusty, wonderful shop, they continued to read and learn, and after three years, they had read all the books there. They were rather legendary in their town, the man and the frog who read aloud together, and many people came to see them over the years and listen to the stories. One day, the Narrator left his hat on the ground by accident, and by the end of the day, it had collected thirty dollars. So he always did it from then on, and though they were not rich, they did not starve.

One day, word came to a newspaper company in the big city that there was a man and a frog who read aloud in a little town. One of the reporters there, a girl with a brown pony-tail and dark-rimmed glasses, wondered at the story, and went there to listen and write a story.

They were reading The Little Prince, and the words stirred something long forgotten in her heart. img_4700She looked and saw that the Frog, companion to the man, was crying. With her article as an excuse, she asked him why.

“The Navigator has lost the prince, and the prince may have lost his rose. It reminds me of a girl I came here to find, and I may now have lost her forever.”

The woman’s heart went out to this poor creature, so apparently sensitive and intelligent. She forgot that he was a frog, but leaned in and kissed him tenderly on the top of his head.

Then the Narrator, closing the book and reaching for the next one, caught sight of the girl from the corner of his eye. He dropped both volumes, started up, and gave a great cry which made all the spectators startle in surprise.

“My friend!” he cried to the Frog. “This is she! The girl you came to this world to find.” He looked at his friend, but he was gone. In his place stood a tall, lanky, handsome young man with green eyes and a mop of dark blonde hair.

They were all joyously happy and embraced in rapture all around. Eventually, the Man and Woman married, moved in with the Narrator, and all three of them told stories together for the rest of their lives.

The End

Attributions:

Antoine de St. Exupery. The Little Prince. (Picture taken by me from Scholastic Inc. 1943 edition)

Artwork courtesy of artpassions.net

Fairy Tale Definition #3

A fictional story that typically includes one of these three elements:

  1. Talking Beasts
  2. Magical Creatures (fairies, trolls, giants, unicorns, etc.)
  3. Magical or Supernatural events

On occasion, however, there is a fairy tale that contains nothing fantastic within it at all, such as many written by Hans Christian Anderson