Showing posts from January, 2021

A Fairy Tale of Kindness

Once, on a day when winter rain fell from the sky and the air pierced the skin with a bone-seeping chill, an old ragged woman sat on a log alongside a crossroads in the middle of a forest. She was haggard and shivering, the patches in her ancient woolen cloak soaking her through, and just when she didn’t think she’d be able to bear it any longer, a girl in a red-hooded cloak came traipsing up to her.             ‘Grandmother, you are so very cold,’ she said. ‘Won’t you come with me to my mother’s house and warm yourself?’             ‘Ah, child, I would that I could, but I have made a promise to keep the rain company as long as it falls, for once when I was young, I made a vow that I would do so.’ The old woman’s voice rasped and the use of it set her throat to coughing.             The girl cocked her head, and then turned and ran away along down the path. But not more than half an hour passed before she returned, a steaming bowl of stew in her hands.             ‘Eat this, gr


It was the day the bluebells rang that the world fell silent.     Sounds rang all about, harsh and unruly, and filled with infinite sadness, the sound of a world ending. The end of a world collapsing.     Other bells tolled, dim and dark. There was running, even crying out, and then laying down, as if to sleep. The trees, they too, tolled and lolled and let their branches shrink toward the ground.     And the flowers all shook their heads and withered.     Then the bluebells rang, and the world fell silent. It went dark. And then it dawned.     For that is what worlds do.

The Thief and the Golden Apple

Once upon a time there was a golden apple purported to have a wealth of magical properties. The apple itself was situated inside a locked vault surrounded by a guarded castle by order of the king of the realm. He had had the apple for some time, since just after the death of his wife, whose life would have been saved had the apple been found soon enough. But those who were sent in pursuit of what was, at the time, little more than a fable, came back too late to save the queen.             After the queen’s death, and, more to the point, because of it, the king locked up the apple so that no other person could have access to its powers, claiming that this was the will of God. And so, a good many people who would otherwise have been saved, were lost.             Now, it so happened that several years after the queen’s death a thief was passing through this particular king’s realm, and in the midst of her time in inns and lodging houses, she heard tell of the fabled apple set behind l

Two Old Women and Their Tea

  There were once two small old ladies who sat down, one day, to tea. On the table were fruit scones, clotted cream, and raspberry jam, all made from the labors of their own four hands. It was the tea that had made the longest journey. Indeed, its journey was much longer than the cream that came from the cow that pastured near the old women’s cottage, the raspberries and honey that came from the bees they kept and the bushes they harvested, and the wheat they threshed and ground, the eggs they gathered, and the currents they plucked and dried.             In fact, the tea had come from nowhere near their cottage. It came from far off lands, where the air grew moist and hot, where each leaf was plucked by fingers far different than those the two women possessed. It came by means of caravan routes filled with goods and on the backs of people carrying heavy burdens, and then it traveled on the decks of well-worn ships across many seas. It made its way through ports and customs, had its