Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A Hag Child of Forest and Mossed Bone

"Child go break off from the herd
go beyond the lowlands
leave the valley of shed antlers
the elders are sick
it is your time now"

"Listen to the Wind" - Barnie McCormack, Bard of Craigencalt 


Thursday, 31 July 2014

Soetkin Who Wished and Wished

At one time or another, we have all wished and sometimes those wishes have turned into dreams and there we have found ourselves lost in their midst for a day or three. Allowing oneself these wish-dreams can be a most exhilarating experience, but, perhaps somewhat reluctantly, we make our way back to our cups of tea or windy hilltops. Then, one fine and promising day, we endeavor to find the courage to take a first wobbly step onto a rickety-rackety path, not having the foggiest as to where it may lead.
There are others, who find the cutting of paths through thickets and the stumbling over boulders rather wearisome and so prefer to wish-dream over and over, from sunrise to sunset, barely walking on this Earth at all. 

One of these such wish-dreamers was known as Soetkin and so adept was she in taking flights of fancy, that the world around her faded and swirled around her ankles like a mist. There were times, of course, that it became as a curling cat tail, but, no more than that. Lunch would be forgotten and dinner and supper too. Which, was just as well or else unwashed pots and pans would have reached the roof! Spoils of her absent-minded visits to the grocer's shop laid silvered chocolate wrappers at her feet that peeked through the mists like bright, twinkling stars on a cloudy night.

Soetkin's constant companions were a shiny, silver needle and an old, metal biscuit tin full of reels of cotton, both bright and dark and everything in between. You see, when one dreams as frequently and fervently as this little one, one is hard pressed to remember them all. Sometimes, it's neither here nor there as to whether you can recall a wish, the mundane ones that is. The wish that the chocolate cake hadn't finished quite so quickly, or that a toe hadn't been stubbed quite so hard. But, there were those more precious than gold dust that needed to be kept and reopened at times when the dreaming was at its thinnest. And here, amongst the gold dust, the threads and that sharp, shiny needle danced and wove remembrance into the old cloth that Soetkin wore around her shoulders. The tattered cloth that kept her warm when she forgot to stoke the fire, each tiny stitch a memory of a wish-dream fit to remember.

Many years had passed since the dreaming began, though Soetkin could not quite recall how many. In fact, these days she could barely recall anything at all. She did recollect hair that was once as soft as spun silk and as gold as the falling sun, but the growing winter had covered the gold in frost and left twigs in place of the silk. No matter, for Soetkin's dreams were as bright as ever, even if she had to stitch more often. In time, as her fingers grew to aching and the needle danced more hesitantly, Soetkin wondered how many more wish-dreams she would have left.

One soft autumn afternoon, as the light faded from the sky and woodsmoke curled out from the chimney, Soetkin dreamt once more of walks as yet untaken, of forests rich and dark. Through the verdant gloom of fern and mossy branches, a shadow as silent as the darkest of nights emerged and at first Soetkin was mystified. " Was it really that time already?" She pondered. 

Softly and quietly The Governessa slipped her cold, bony fingers into Soetkin's papery hand and led her down to the roots of the Old Willow Tree.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Of Bone Trees and Old Cloth

A bone tree
Where drying limbs wait
Fingers or claws? Time will tell...

Voices waiting to be heard
Among bones and lichen
Horns and vintage cloth
Foraged horsehair with ferns and flowers yet to be pressed
A badger in red velvet
Hands await their silvering
A parcel sealed and ready to be sent...

Saturday, 10 May 2014


A dilly dallier by nature, a sitter on fences and a to-er and fro-er, was dear indecisive Ninnie. Life was the most terrible series of quandaries and decisions terrified the life out of this little one. Some time ago, she found herself at a crossroads in the forest and stayed there for three whole days. It would have been longer, had a traveller not taken pity and encouraged her to take tea in the village to which she was headed. How hungry Ninnie was, but, carrot cake or chocolate cake, how could she ever decide? Luckily, she was very hungry and so she ate both!

I'm sure that you  now understand the extent of Ninnie's dilly dallying and may imagine  that it makes life a somewhat tedious and drawn out affair, which of course, it can. Quite often by the time Ninnie had decided on breakfast it was already dinner time.
Have you ever heard the phrase that two heads are better than one? Dear Ninnie took this saying quite literally and fashioned herself an extra head from a burlap sack and a bag of straw. Needless to say, this experiment was rather unsuccessful as Ninnie's second head remained unhelpfully silent!

It had been an odd spring, as unsure and indecisive as the dilly dallier herself, as if unclear as to which followed next summer or winter and so the two battled it out on a rather regular basis.
On this one particular evening the rains beat the ground to a pulp and the wind, well, the wind tore the heads off flowers and threatened to pull the trees out of the ground they called home. Late in the afternoon Ninnie's neighbours had shouted warnings to each other over the low growl of oncoming weather and most sought safety in storm shelters in and around the village.

Ninnie was at a loss, she had only just decided on porridge and it was cooking nicely on the stove. Wafts of cinnamon and vanilla filled the cottage and infused the green peas and carrots she had added to the pot, it was dinner time after all.
As the winds grew wilder and the weather fouler, Ninnie was forced to come to a lightening speed decision (for Ninnie, that is) to stay and eat her porridge. Sat at her table she was terribly proud of her decisiveness, which made the slightly odd combination of cinnamon-ed and vanilla-ed carrots and peas all the more delicious.

Perhaps in overexuberant celebration, or in simple foolhardiness, Ninnie threw open her window with a giggle and challenged the storm to do it's worst. Which, of course it did! The fierce wind pulled a large, old oak out of it's home and deposited it on top of Ninnie's tiny cottage.

When the Governessa pulled Ninnie out from under the heavy door she still had the handle of a tea cup between her fingers, as she removed it the Governessa sniffed the air, green peas and cinnamon? Surely not...

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Of Letters, Postcards and Shrouds

Tales Told and bound

Postcards sealed and ready to be posted

What once peeked from walls now adorns the wrappings of both postcards and letter

A fragile doll shrouded and awaiting her journey of four wheels and wings

Gilded lavender and a tale penned

A silvered crow feather sits above ferns and sealing wax

A new journey begins...


Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Story of Nan Who Told Some Very Tall Tales

Nan was a delighter in tall tales, in fact, the taller the better. She would stand atop a large rock and proclaim her fantastical adventures to star and tree, crow and worm and into any ear she could borrow for an hour or three.

She spoke of old ladies who lived in vinegar bottles, a mouse that could eat a giant in one mouthful and of a red haired girl carried off by an eagle. Of course, there were many more where they came from and if you gave the merest wiff of a hint. Even by accident and completely unintentionally that you would like a story, well, she'd be off again. Eyes rolling, arms waving and lips moving ten to the dozen!

There were those, however, who did not take kindly to Nan's colourful stories. They called her a trickster and an untruth teller. To which, Nan would put her fingers in her ears and poke out her tongue. Not before she'd ask them which was their favourite mind.

One night, by the silvery light of the moon, Nan told a spectacular tale of a monkey who flew up into the sky and sped past star and planet to who knows where. She told of a far off land where bears wore a moon on their chest and a magical crane wove exquisite cloth, from strands of it's own silken feathers.

Nan was just about to begin her next tale when it happened. Rough hands grabbed her tiny arms, lashed her to a chair at the end of a very long plank and plunged her, chair and all into the cold, dark waters beneath her feet. When they winched it back up, Nan was nowhere to be seen. The loudest voices said that tiny Nan had slipped from her bonds and perished at the bottom of the lake. Those who whispered had other stories to tell...

 It is said that a water dragon heard tell of a mysterious tale teller in a far, distant land. Now this particular dragon, loved nothing more than a gripping yarn and so he travelled day and night, valley, moon, sea and mountain to find her. When at last he arrived, she told him her very best tale of all, so overjoyed was the dragon, that he scooped her up and flew high up into the sky and down into the lake at breakneck speed. In his excitement, laughing as only a dragon can, shooting fireworks from his nostrils, he rolled like a happy pup one too many times and Nan slipped out of his grasp.

Down and down under the water she went, where, it is told, that she met a girl named Mildred who was covered in pondweed and had splendid furry feet. They talked of swimming with the otters in the river over the hill and Nan decided to stay a while. At least, that is, until the Governessa invited her for tea under the roots of the old willow tree...

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Jasper Who Bothered No One

There was once a boy unknown to most, for he lived his life quietly and bothered no one. This boy was called Jasper, who gave him the name he can't quite remember but he was fond of it all the same. Jasper spent many a day lost in thought enjoying the pleasures of his wandering mind.
There are many places beloved of the quiet and ponderous, armchairs by a glowing hearth, cool grassy banks along a babbling brook and even the hollows of old tree trunks. For Jasper, there was nothing quite so thrilling as the ancient magic of large, dark caves. One never knew what one may find, crossing the threshold of bright day into the ever growing gloom ahead.

There was a cave that Jasper had once, a long time ago, heard mention of, a place of deep magic, where tiny blue dots of light glow upon the ceiling like so many stars. The stories were no exaggeration, for when Jasper walked into the dark cavern he gasped at the galaxy of phosphorescence above his head, he seemed to marvel forever and a day until he had his fill of this natural wonder, though who could ever really have their fill of such a sight.

From the corner of his eyes, Jasper noticed an unearthly green glow emanating from what seemed to be the very back of the cave. He followed it deeper and deeper still, until all at once it disappeared entirely and our quiet boy was left alone, enveloped in pitch blackness. Turning around and around he strained his eyes but could no longer detect a glow from anywhere at all, after many an hour of feeling about and searching for tunnels, Jasper tired and hungry, sat down and took out the chocolate that rested at the bottom of his coat pocket. "Ah, well" thought Jasper "Someone will come looking for me soon." But, as Jasper spent his life bothering no one, no one bothered Jasper...

Fear not dear reader, for someone did indeed find Jasper, it was the Ghastly Governessa and she spirited him off to join the rest of her brood under the Old Willow tree, though between you and I, I suspect that Jasper would have rather remained in the cave to dream.