Showing posts from March, 2022

The Beautiful Lady

There was once a beautiful lady — although no one knew quite why she was beautiful, or how she was beautiful, or even that she was beautiful, for she ebbed in and out of the shadow of tales. All the same, all who thought of her, or caught a wisp of her at the corner of their minds, or felt they had once been in her presence, thought her beautiful.       And there was once, too, a hag — although no one thought of her much, save to get their potions from her small broken house and leave as quickly as possible.     It was only of the beautiful lady that the tales arose. The stories of her presence were passed down, from one person to the next. Most often the tale of the lady's beauty would pass from child to mother. A little girl would come home from wandering the fields and say, 'Mother, I came across a beautiful lady today. I wandered into the bog, but she picked me up and cleaned off the dirt. She kissed my forehead, mother. She was the loveliest lady I have ever seen.' Or

Jacks and the Mouse

 A daffodil grew just outside Jacks' window, looking full and round and of the creamiest yellow. As Jacks stared at it, she noticed that it started to quiver, once, then twice, then a whole bunch of times.     Jacks hurried outside to see what could possible be causing such a beautiful flower to shake.     Peering inside the cup of the daffodil, Jacks saw a little mouse curled in a small heap at the base of the flower, breathing small, belabored breaths. With each breath, the flower quivered. And Jacks could tell very quickly, that the mouse was not at all well.     'Help!' squeaked the mouse, much to Jacks surprise, for she had never heard a mouse talk before.      'What is the matter?' Jacks asked as quietly as the mouse had squeaked, so as not to startle the small creature.     'My paw, it aches so. Please help me,' the mouse squeaked again, gesturing to a leg that looked particularly red and swollen.     Jacks bent closer, and, raising the paw gently, sa

How We Know Things

 There was once a little boy who knew he was the most beautiful child in the world. He had heard this many times, and so had no doubts on the subject.      One day, he met a little girl.     'I am the most beautiful child in the whole world,' he said, as a matter of course.     He was quite surprised to find that the little girl did not agree with him.     'This is not true,' she said. ' I am the most beautiful child in the whole world.'     She, too, said it as a matter of course, because she had also been told that she was the most beautiful.     In their confusion, the two children shared why it was that they each believed they were the most beautiful. As they shared, a suspicion began to grow in their minds. And so they sought a third child, who also knew themselves to be the most beautiful child in the whole world. Yet more stories were shared and the children came to a conclusion: all children were the most beautiful in the world.       They knew that thi

The Stars Had Voices

 Anna lay on the ground, her arm tucked behind her head, staring up at the stars. She traced them with her finger, wondering what kinds of questions she might ask them, if she could.     All at once she found her body rise into the air, higher and higher.     As Anna gazed up the stars drew closer and closer.     Suddenly she was among them, listening to all the stories the stars had to tell.      And she forgot to ask a single question.     When Anna woke up the next morning, nestled safely in her bed, she had forgotten, too, everything the stars had told her. But all the same, she never forgot that they had voices.

In Which Mr. Pimms Becomes Involved...

 ( Part II of Mrs. Pimms Finds a Fairy )      There was more to finding a fairy than Mrs. Pimms had anticipated.  That said, there was plenty involved that was expected.  Mushroom rings, position of the moon, warmth of the day, and a field or meadow hidden from most eyes by thick forests; but the problem lay in finding a place that met all these conditions at once.  Then, of course, there would be the excuses made to Mr. Pimms and Mary's mother.  And, naturally, the extremely likely scenario that the fairies, when found, would know nothing of a recipe concerning lemon cakes.. .                    But all this was rather beside the point, which was: Mrs. Pimms herself very much wanted to find a fairy. And even if no cake recipe presented itself, so did little Mary.   Thus, united in purpose, it was on a day which had held just the right temperature, on a night which had just the right moonlight, in a meadow surrounded by a forest on the outskirts beyond their small suburban

Simple Magic

 The little girl plucked a tiny flower and put it in her hair — which was, of course, when the magic began.     It was a slow kind of magic, gently tousling the tails of her shirt at first. Then it blew a fierce gale that spun her around and made her burst with joy right from her belly. Next it played against her chin until she chortled. Suddenly it darted, here and there, making a game of tag out of its sudden spurts. And when it really got going, it wrapped the girl up tight with invisible strength and flew.     All about the world was whirring in twirling wonder before her eyes.     And as the little girl laughed in all the dizzy splendor, she thought it truly amusing that such a magic could be called something as simple as wind .

The Cold Winter Witch

 Once upon a time there was a rabbit who wandered into a cold winter witch's lair.      'What are you doing in my domain?' the witch asked cruelly, her face pale as death, her eyes like ice, and her hair — cold white — made of frozen points.     The rabbit was very scared, and did not answer the witch because he was trembling so fiercely that his lips could not form words.     'No matter your response,' said the witch, 'for your punishment would be the same whether you answer or no. You shall be frozen for a thousand years, and after that disintegrate into dust.'     Now, the rabbit was still very afraid, but all the same he summoned up the greatest courage he had within him and spoke at last. 'Would my heart stop beating when I am frozen?,' he asked.     The witch narrowed her icy gaze, and replied, 'What does it matter?'     'It matters,' he said with even more courage. 'Perhaps if you were to feel the beating of my heart you wo

The Sprite Who Wove Blankets

One day, June met a sprite sitting in the midst of a hollow tree on a bed of moss just before the sun went down. His legs were spread wide, while his hands carefully wove bits of moss together.     The sprite sighed.     June gazed on the marvel in silence, having never seen a sprite before. And then she sneezed.     'Blimey!' exclaimed the sprite, jumping out of his seat and up into the air twice what he was tall. 'Don't sneak up on a fellow, little girl. It's plain rude, it is.'     'Sorry,' said June with a wince, 'but I thought you would disappear if I said something.'     The sprite looked at her through narrow eyes, and then sighed again. 'I wish I could disappear. I wish I could just vanish and then do what I want to please myself.'     'Can't you?' asked June, having, of course, no experience with sprites.     'Maybe... But I'm starting to think it would be far better than sitting on moss, weaving it together a

The Last Daisy

 The little girl sat and cried for all the hard things. She was a sensitive soul, and today she had seen things in her town that made this soul hurt badly.     There was a dog with three legs and a scar in place of an eye, a poor man who asked for bread which no one gave him, an old woman who struggled to cross the street because the traffic would not slow, a little boy crying because he could not find his mother... And on and on it went until she fled because it broke her heart in too many pieces.     She ran to a meadow and it was there she sat and let her tears fall.     This particular meadow was filled with small daisies, and it was on the petal of one of these daisies that one of the little girl's tears dropped. And as the tear hit the petal, an idea hit her mind and began to bloom.     She dried her tears, plucked five flowers and made her way back to the town.     Taking a very small sandwich out of her pocket, she shared it with the poor man and gave him a daisy —though th

The Beginning of Faery Revels

 A tree stood in the middle of an Enchanted Wood. He was a talkative kind of tree, a jovial kind of tree, an all around good sort of sheltering kind of tree. In fact, the animals of the Enchanted Wood liked the tree so much that they would come around from miles to have the tree ask them about their day, or where they were off to, or what they were going to have for lunch.     But while the creatures of the wood were pleased to have a such a tree in the middle of their forest, they were not the only beings who frequented the wood. The Fae were nightly visitors, who enjoyed sneaking into the forest, soaking up some of its magic and casting traps to send unsuspecting persons to Faeryland as the whim took them. They were less pleased with a relatively sleepless tree commenting on all their comings and goings —which were supposed to be secretive —nor did they appreciate his questions regarding their days —which they did not like to think about as Faeryland dwelt in eternal twilight —nor di

A Little Story About Cake

 There was once a man who baked a cake once a week. He used only the finest ingredients —rich orange egg yolks, creamy yellow butter, crunchy golden sugar, whole cream, and fine-sifted flour. Mixed together, the batter was itself a thing of beauty, but when it came out of the oven hot and cooked all the way through it was nothing short of perfection.     Though the man dearly loved to eat cake, his love was only a memory of time gone by, for he had never had a slice of his own cake. Instead, each week, he would cut the cake into seven slices, and wait to see what opportunities arose. Perhaps someone would come to tea, or a little girl would come to borrow an egg. Sometimes, especially in winter, the birds that had stayed too long would look particularly hungry, and so a slice of cake would be laid out for them, too. And, more often than anything, several slices each week would go to the old woman who lived at the end of the lane in the ramshackle house with the broken fence and the gar

In Which Mrs. Pimms Agrees to Find a Fairy...

     Mr. and Mrs. Pimms were very normal, no-nonsense kinds of people.  Well, Mr. Pimms was, anyway.  Mrs. Pimms looked like she was a very normal, no-nonsense kind of person, but the truth was, Mrs. Pimms had a secret life.  One complete with all kinds of nonsense that contained no normality whatsoever — at least as far as Mr. Pimms would have been concerned. Mrs. Pimms, you see, was a witch.              Her days were filled with potions and magic, scrying and hexing until five-thirty in the evening on the dot when Mr. Pimms, without fail, Monday to Friday, walked in the door of their suburban cottage.   The weekends were tricky.   But Mrs. Pimms always managed to get a spell of work done—work of the un-normal kind—in between Mr. Pimms’ Saturday round of golf and Sunday’s afternoon nap.   Indeed, Mrs. Pimms found herself intensely grateful for Mr. Pimms’ definitively regular routine, without which she would get very little done, not to mention be considerably prone to panic attac

The Wind Knew Kindness

 One day the wind swept up a little boy in her arms and let her see the whole world.     'Why is there so much fighting?' the little boy asked when he saw the people engaged in battle here and there about the surface of the earth, kicking up dust and sadness with their weapons.     'I don't know,' said the wind.     'Why do people take things they don't need?' the little boy tried again, as he witnessed people carrying jewel stones, and noted that they offered neither bread nor warmth.     'I don't know,' said the wind.     'Why is that man giving that little girl the coat from his back?' the boy tried a third time as he saw an old man with a scraggly beard doing just that for a child who shivered.     'Ah, that I know,' said the wind. 'It's kindness.

Henry, the Priest, the Pies, and the Crows

 A little boy named Henry lived with his mother in the attic of an old vicarage. It was the prefect place to sit and stare out the round window because it was so high that Henry could see so much of what was happening below without being noticed at all.     One day, when Henry was watching out the attic window, he saw two crows sitting on an oak tree. They seemed to be speaking to each other. Henry was so convinced that they spoke, that he opened up the window as quietly as he could to keep from startling the birds and leaned his ear to the opening.     'I saw it,' said one of the crows.     'But can you be absolutely sure?' replied the other.     'I think I can trust my own eyes,' said the first.     'But do you think it's really for us?' asked the second.     'He said it was...' said the first.     Both crows seemed rather uncertain, hopped a few branches lower, and turned their gaze to something below, where they didn't say another wor

Evie and the Apple Tree

 There was once an apple tree that would not bloom. Evie found this devastating, because she had read once that apple blossoms meant the promise of good fortune, and she felt it would be a very good fortune indeed to have the promise of apples to come.       Each year she desperately hoped that the pink-white blossoms would appear, and each year they did not. Finally her mother decided that it was time for the apple tree to come down, for she said a fruit tree that bears no fruit is better suited to firewood. But Evie begged her mother to leave it for another year. Her mother agreed, and as Spring approached, she wished so very hard as she stared at the apple tree that she thought her heart might burst.       When Spring passed and yet again there were no blossoms, she thought her heart might break.      Suddenly, Evie could not bear it any longer: she turned her gaze from the apple tree and vowed to wish no more.     Her heart hardened then, and she went about her days with a cold sta

The Beautiful Cloak

 Jane spun her spinning wheel, as she did every day, and twirled the wool between her fingers. It was extra work for her for two reasons: the first was that her hands were awfully small still, and the second was that she wasn't quite real.     Her and her papa had long desired to be real, but their forms were still learning, and so tasks like spinning wool and weaving, or lumbering as her papa did, involved an incredible amount of effort and no little amount of hope. But Jane had a dream. She dreamed that she would weave a beautiful cloak for herself, and that when she had finished it and draped it around her shoulders, she would magically become real. Because she wasn't real yet, it was a task that would take a long time, but she was going to work very hard, and then someday, maybe, her dream might come true.     One day, an old man came to their home. He knocked three times, and when Jane's papa opened the door, he begged a bit of bread. Jane and her papa didn't have

A Tale of Monsters

The monsters of fairy tales can be large fearsome beasts, but sometimes they are grownups. In fact, once upon a time, a party who called themselves 'gentlemen' —they weren't—were especially cruel monsters. For they took it upon themselves to tell a little boy that magic wasn't real.       Of course, they were wrong.     All the same, they laughed at the little boy who told them it was so.     You see, said the little boy, magic must be real. How else did the wind play? Or the thunder break in giant cracks? Or his heart light up with the glow of all the stars when he saw his father?     It was these things that caused the men to laugh.     But it was their folly, for they were being watched by an old woman. Perhaps it is needless to say with whom the old woman sided, for in an instant she cursed the men. Suddenly they were as tiny as ants —as small as their hearts—so that they could not do the little boy more harm.     'They'll get big again,' she said, '