Showing posts from June, 2022

Stardust First

Once upon a time, the world felt heavy. The weight of it came not from an expansion, but from a shrinking that took its mass and pulled it in, tighter and more tense until it could scarcely bear it.     And then it burst, scattering into stardust.     Suddenly the world found its breath again.     For in the infinite moment of a trillion particles suspended in the expansion of the universe, there was time and peace and space.     A chance to begin again, when the universe shrunk and the world came back to itself.     Always a chance to begin again. Even if there was stardust first.     

The Herbs Remained

 When the magic faded, all gone after centuries, it was from the hands of a youngish woman. The glowing flame sunk into an ember, and then went out.     The sobs that came out of her throat were wretched.     When the aching flood had emptied out of her, she sat cross-legged in the middle of her garden, her elbows tucked into the soft sides of her knees, chin propped up in cupped hands.     She stared at the herbs.     They stared back at her.     A note struck, a timbre that resonated through the stark crevasses of her mind.      The herbs remained.     Magic had not abandoned the world completely, after all, the youngish woman thought.     Her hands threaded through several leaves. Though she could no longer feel the life within them, she knew it was there.     It was enough.

The Hermitess

 There is an island at the center of a different universe. On it lives a hermitess — one of the old sort. She has seen many things, though she has never left the island, for in her hut sits a scrying bowl. And she has looked down into its surface often.     It is a day that appears no more than any other when she casts ink over the placid surface of the bowl, shifts her gaze onto the ebony surface, and sees the thing that makes her weep. It is a child alone in an attic, hugging herself to her chest. It isn't the cheek pressed against knees that causes the hermitess' tears. It isn't the bruises or the dirty hair or the hollowed contours of the child's face. It is the too-quick tattoo of the heart and the haunted look that is only found in the face of the resigned. It speaks of horrors that lay below the attic.     The hermitess does not choose what she sees. She cannot do so. That has never been the gift. From time to time, she helps those she can, summoning small amount

The Ladies in the Sky

 Once upon a time there were three Ladies who lived in the sky. One was very old, one was very young, and one was the age that everyone thinks of when they think about their mother. There were three things to know about these Ladies. First, they were very wise. Second, they were very bossy. And third, they were very kind.     What they did in the sky all day was anybody's business. In fact, it was everybody's business, for the decisions that they made up there concerned the whole of everyone: for they decided when it was that a person was going to die.      Now, that might sound scary. But remember that third thing about the Ladies; they were very kind. How they went about a person dying, then, was done with kindness. For they knew, as do all of their sort, that death in this world is nothing more than a stepping stone to another adventure. To the Ladies, the age or the wealth or the impression of a person didn't matter so much, but each one of the people below them

The Fairy at the Rainbow's End

 There was once a little girl who waited for the rain with a quiet desperation. She waited, you see, because sometimes, very rarely, the sun would be there, too. That meant a rainbow. And that further meant that somewhere out there at the rainbow's end there might be a fairy.        She had heard the tales growing up, of the fairy who lived at the end of the rainbow. It had, quite naturally, made an impression on her.       But try as she might, she never seemed able to find the end of the rainbow.     One day, as she slogged through the rain, drenched and dripping, she made her way into a forest where it seemed the end of the rainbow might be found. Alas, when the little girl entered the forest, the whole of it was steeped in darkness. All light had vanished. And that meant that the rainbow had, too.     The little girl sat down, pulled her jacket tight around her, and tried very hard not to be too disappointed. She had been sure that this time she would find the rainbow's end

A Myth About Dawn

 The sprite moved in the darkness as an even darker shadow. He winked into the night, for his very nature was something mischievous. The night flinched. The sprite was up to something.     It was a few second later when the darkness didn't seem quite so dark.     In fact, there was a hint of lightness all around.     The light grew. And grew. And grew.     Suddenly, it was as bright as day.     In fact, it was the day. And, to its shock, the night had completely disappeared.     The sprite rolled his eyes. It was the kind of thing he did. In fact, it was the kind of thing he did every night. For the night always flinched at the coming of the day; it didn't matter that it happened rather on routine. It was the sprite's job to pinch away that silky, speckled sheet of darkness, despite the night's surprise. The sprite shrugged. The night would settle over the world again in a bit. It always did. And he would come again. He always did. And somehow the night would be surpris

The Tired Apple Tree

 The leaves on the trees of a lone apple tree were crinkled and speckled brown. This was because they were tired. Year after year they produced many apples. Year after year they went uneaten.      It was the kind of thing that wore as the years went on, for apple trees are made to make apples with the hope that someone will eat them. But this apple tree was tucked so far away, that even the birds could not make the journey. And this year, as the tree grew more tired and the leaves more brown, all that remained on its branches were a few withered apples.     One day a small hermit made her way to the far away place where the apple tree lived. She was so tired and so hungry, having walked a very long way and having run out of food, that she ate every single withered apple that remained on the tree.     She smiled on the tree that had fed her, and patted its trunk.     'Cheer up, old apple tree,' she said with a wink. 'You have an audience, now'     The hermit then made he

The Little Girl Who Looked Through the Eyes of Everything

 There was once a little girl who wanted to look through the eyes of everything.      And so, she did.       At least, she did it as best she could, for she had no interest in causing any creature or being or inanimate thing harm. To do this involved three tasks, for all such incredible feats involve three tasks. First, she thought. Next, she observed. Then, she imagined — which was the very best part of all.     When she was done, thinking and observing and imagining, she was different all the way through.     In fact, she became the kindest person in the whole world.     For that's the kind of thing that happens when you look through the eyes of everything.    

An Owl and a Bear Have Tea

 In the middle of a tree's trunk there lived an owl. Now, many owls are old or wise or both. This owl was neither. In fact, she was just a kid owl living in a tree because her mum and dad had flown away long ago. The kid owl was rather good at getting her own food, and a bit clever at turning her back and blending in with the tree trunk to avoid bears and scavenging crows and that kind of thing. But she wasn't wise.     In fact, she was so unwise that one day, when the owl was feeling dreadfully lonely, she invited a passing bear to tea.     Owl tea is basically bark and few leaves soaked in water (not that different from human tea), and the bark smells kind of good, so the bear agreed to come to tea — though there was a peculiar glint in the corner of the bear's eye. The owl, being unwise, didn't notice the glint.       Balancing the tea on the edges of the tree and offering a few acorn biscuits, the bear and the owl had tea together.     And then the bear did a very b

The Universe on the Other Side of the Window

 Once upon a time there was a window into another universe. It was buried deep beneath a moss-covered stone that sat wedged under a tree trunk. One had to bend down very low to see the window, and since very few knew of its existence, it had not been often looked through.     But one day a rabbit fell against the moss-covered stone, and in the process of righting herself, she looked deep into the window and vanished.     The next day, a chipmunk dropped an acorn by the stone, and when he went to pick it up he found himself gazing into the universe on the other side. He vanished, too.     The day after that a little girl walked by the stone, and thinking it looked friendly, bent closer to have a chat. That was when she looked through the window.     Suddenly she felt herself disappearing, a pulling that came from the universe on the other side of the window. In one desperate effort, she waved frantically. 'Hello self!' she cried out.     And then, just as suddenly, she didn'

The Fairy and I (Part IV)

  That very night I went home slowly, for I had much to think over.   As I walked I passed a tree trunk, and its familiarity beckoned me to its side.   Around the trunk I saw the pool, and dangling on a limb above the pool, there sat three silver fairies.                   “Hello,” I said, for age had made me confident.                 They looked up at me with startled gazes, and almost fled.                 “Don’t go,” I said.   And to my great surprise, they did not.                 “Why do you want to look at us?” One of the fairies asked.                 “It is a shame that you should see us like this, and not in the glory of our golden youth,” said another.                 “Oh, but I did see you in your golden youth,” I said, before any could say more.                 “Ah, did you?   How glorious we were!” the third reminisced sadly.   “And this is all that is left to us,” she added, and gestured the length of her small body.                 “What wondrous fairie

The Darkest Darkness

Once, when I was walking down a road in the middle of a forest, I noticed a path I had never seen. That should have been my first warning. But I traveled down it anyway, deeper and deeper, into a darker and darker wood.      Do you know what I found when the wood got to it's darkest point?     I found that it could get no darker.     I smiled then, and kept going, for when a wood can get no darker, there is nothing that can happen except that it grows lighter again.      And when the darkness faded all away and I found myself walking on the road that I knew once more, I was not sorry that I had gone into the dark — I was only happy that I knew the way.

The Garden Hole

There is a little garden. In the garden there also happens to be a hole. And this particular hole is infinite.     It goes down, down, down forever.     Well, at least that is how I imagine it in my head when I look down into it and squeeze my eyes so that they are nearly shut. I imagine that if I were to fall in, I would never stop falling—for the stories of little girls who fall into holes and have magical adventures seem to marvelous to be true.     Naturally, I cannot resist.     I don't fall into the hole, so much as jump.     And down, down, down I go.     Though not forever, as it happens.     I'm in the middle of a magical adventure, you see.      And when it is all done with, and the wicked queen is vanquished, I'm sure I'll find all the time in the world to tell you everything about it.

The Purple Moon

 There was once a little girl who decided to visit the moon. She took a passing ship that stopped kindly outside her window, and set off. But when she arrived, the moon was nothing like how she imagined it would be.       Instead of being white or grey or blotchy-somewhere-inbetween, it was covered in a forest — and it was purple.     The trees and leaves and shrubs, even the path on the ground, were all kinds of purple. She saw ants that were purple. There were butterflies, and flies, and honey bees — all purple. There was even a cat up a tree with a grin spread so wide across teeth so shiny that the little girl could see her face in them.     When she had seen her fill of purple things, she went back to the ship that sailed again, bound for her bedroom window.     And as she lay in bed a moment later and looked at the moon, thinking of all the purple things she had seen, she thought that it very strange that nothing is very much like what it seems.

The Little Flower Who Lived

 Once upon a time there was a little flower who wanted very much to do big things. Each morning it woke to the same sky, the same air, the same morning dew, and felt that it was incomplete.       You see, what the flower wanted exactly was to be picked and cut and then travel all over the wide world in order to see everything. It wanted to reign supreme over all the other flowers, touting its knowledge and lording its beauty for all to see. It wanted to be placed in the button hole of the strongest leader in the world. It wanted to move from place to place, tipped over handshakes with all the queens and kings there ever were. It wanted to see all the greatest dances and hear all the most illustrious music, smell all the finest food, and then grow old and weary in only a heartbeat of a moment before it died.     The flower did not do all those things. But it did something very grand, all the same.     The grand thing happened in a moment, in an instant, in a heartbeat.     It happened a