Sunday, 12 January 2014

A Handful of Tiny Tales and Unfortunate Demises



Hester - A Melancholy Sort Of Bookworm

Hester was a studious child who was prone to bouts of melancholy, quite at odds really, with the soft, bright apricot hair that shone like a halo around her elfin face. What Hester adored above all things was books, the smell of them, the crinkly-crispness of the pages and even the sharp, stinging cuts they could give if a leaf was turned too eagerly. Of course what she really loved was words...
She ate words for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But nowhere did words satiate her so completely than in the Parnassus of the great, romantic poets. Clutching a worn leather tome to her breast with one hand, she would claw at her hair with the other as tears rolled down her pale cheeks. Yes, it is true, this little one thrived on the raw edges of desolation.
There would be a poem for each moment of torment, be that the delicate crunch of a snail underfoot, or the ache of a cruel rose thorn, embedded in her thumb.
For Hester a walk in the garden became a litany of struggle, decay, death and brutality. Words began to feast on her like maggots in the belly of a vole and it was not long before she withered away with the fading racemes of Forget-Me-Nots.
The Governessa nearly tripped over Hester, laid face down on the barely warmed earth of early summer, a sorrowful sight to behold, make no mistake. She swaddled her in black and pressed a posy of Violets into her small, cold hands. A gentle half-smile played upon the thin lips of the Governessa that day, a poet would be most welcome under the roots of the Old Willow she thought...
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 The Tale of a Beflowered Bog-Hopper 

Viola was a sweet little thing, so sweet in fact that she couldn't escape being dressed in pink flowers and flounces. She couldn't understand why quite frankly because sooner than you could blink her fine frock would be covered in mud.
You see, Viola rather liked prancing around bogs and dipping her hem into the muddy waters as she good morning-ed the peat hags. Singing and bare of foot is how she wandered having lost many a shoe to the ever hungry mud when bog-hopping. The singing? Well, how shall I put this delicately? Perhaps, nails down a chalkboard? A cacophony of midnight cats? At any rate, far better to screech to your hearts content while the wind whistles a merry tune and a darting Meadow Pipit joins you for a chorus, than with shushes and stern stares!
It was a fine morning after a rather stormy night, the warming yellow sun would ensure plenty of pretty rainbows in the remains of the mist that clung to the sedge, thought Viola. Dressed in a frock that would make even the most romantic gardener blush, she set off bogwards, dew laden grass tickling her tiny toes.
A bog-hoppers life is a tiring one, even for one that sings with the pipits and has feasted on a whole pocketful of dried bilberries. So, Viola took a rest in the place she liked best, dangling her feet over the edge of an undercut and swinging them to and fro. Soon the sun rose high in the sky and Viola's thoughts turned to steaming stew, mashed potatoes and the sweet smell of peat smoke on the air. As Viola swung her legs back over the edge her pretty flowery frock caught on a twisted finger of bog oak that snagged her and tossed her into the dark waters below. It is perilous indeed to enter such waters on an ordinary day let alone after a storm when they are fast and impatient! And so, the waters rushed up and carried off dear Viola and she was never seen again, that is, until our bone skirted Governessa dried her off and took her to join her brood and it is said that an eerie caterwauling can be heard at the beginning of winter, when the old willow shudders and shrugs off it's leaves.

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Of Remembrances and Clouds of Hair

Philomena was a forgetful soul but resourceful enough to store reminders in her voluminous and fluffy, if somewhat wiry hair. Sea shells, birch bark with scribbles and words on it, sprigs of lichen and clumps of moss, not to mention the odd twig and boiled sweet. No one quite knew the significance of such things, no one except Philomena that is.
One day whilst laid in the meadow, Philomena, in the midst of such sweet remembering wove daisies through the tuft and locks at the front of her hair. The sun beat down and soon she began to snooze, as the afternoon wore on the raspberry flavoured boiled sweet she'd stashed away at the back of her head began to melt.
Something moved or rather slithered through the meadow not far from our dreaming one, it seems the sticky-sweet aroma of sugared raspberry had attracted a visitor...
Now, snakes like nowhere better than a cosy nest in which to lay their eggs and dear Philomena's cloud like barnet was perfect! So, in she slipped and curled up to have a rest in her new home.
Of course, Philomena wasn't expecting that one forked of tongue would take up residence in her remember-all and so when she reached in to retrieve a particularly interesting piece of lichen, she was rather surprised by the sharp teeth that sunk so deeply into her delicate palm.
When the Governessa finally stumbled upon our dear Philomena she found her blue of lip and covered in eggshells. The Governessa gently bundled her up taking great care not to dislodge all of Philomena's memories and remembrances and took her off to join the rest of her brood under the old willow tree.
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A Dear Ragbag Named Myrna

Dear Myrna loved to wrap up in old rags, snuggle down and take a nap. She would sleep anywhere, sometimes in the most awkward places such as underneath train seats and on top of bushes. Myrna was a dreamer and this is why she particularly loved rags and sleeping, she fancied that the old scraps of cloth would whisper long gone tales into her tiny ear and reveal magical secrets as she slept.
Her yearning for these dreams and whispers was so strong that sleep came upon her easily and deeply whenever she willed it.
And so it was, that young Myrna set herself down in the middle of a field one November afternoon, the smell of woodsmoke on the air and the early winter chill had set her to yearning. With her favourite rags strewn around her she began her ritual of shuffling and rolling until she was bundled up like dirty clothes in an old washing basket. In no time at all her eyelids began to close and she drifted off into a dream filled sleep of frosty woodsmoke and tattered silk.
As Myrna slept, the frost lessened and the smell of woodsmoke grew stronger, in fact it grew so warm in those rags that small beads of perspiration dropped like tiny damp crystals from her reddening brow.
The onlookers marvelled at the height and ferocity of the bonfire, it was the biggest they had seen in a long time and how glad they were to find that some kind soul had left a bundle of rags for them to build their fire around. Though the fire was hot there were some who felt an unearthly chill at the peculiarly eerie screaming sounds (instead of the usual whistle-hiss) coming from the direction of the roasting chestnuts...
The long bony fingers of the Governessa delicately swept Myrna's ashes up and wrapped them in fine silken cloth with a sprinkle of mugwort, this tiny soul was destined to join the others under the old willow tree.  
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A Tatty Headed Tail Tugger

 Willow spent many an hour watching the horses gallop and prance in the fields. She adored the frolicsome foals but she especially loved the sight of the wind's nimble fingers tangling and pulling on glorious manes and long tails.
Willow's hair was neither glorious nor particularly long, in actual fact it hung rather limply from her tiny skull not altogether unlike day old spinach! Oh, how this little one desired those thick flowing locks and so she set about collecting horsehair where ever she could find it. Sometimes she even sneakily pulled the odd one or two out while she was feeding them carrots.
"Fair trade" thought Willow as she wrapped them round a burr and cleverly tangled it in to her own hair. Creating a glorious mane hair by hair was going to take a very, very long time and Willow's patience was as thin as her hair!
One morning Willow headed down to the fields with a handful of carrots and an even bigger handful of burrs. As the sun grew rounder so did Willows eyes, for there, at the very top of the field, was a beautiful dapple grey mare whose tail was all at once, as bright as silver and as dark as slate. Quite forgetting the etiquette of carrots, Willow grabbed a handful of this magical tail and tugged as hard as she could manage.
It is never a wise thing to approach a horse from behind and even worse to pull it's tail without so much as a good morning.
The Governessa found Willow in a tangle of horse hair and burrs with a rather large hoof print in the very centre of her forehead. Once she was swaddled in a soft travelling cloak, the Governessa spirited our tatty-headed, tail puller away under the roots of the old willow tree.

(By the way, Willow was rather pleased they shared the same name... )
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Prudence Who Glittered and Shone...

Prudence loved anything shiny or colourful, in fact, she was a bit of a magpie if you must know. Forever chasing after pieces of tin foil blown around in the wind, or reaching up to try to catch the rainbow prisms of sunlight that danced through windows. Her most favourite treasure of all were colourful, transparent sweetie wrappers. Not only did they smell wonderful but if she held two or three over her eye and squinted at the sun it was almost like having a kaleidoscope and sometimes, they were just sticky enough, that she didn't even have to hold them there!
One blustery day something glittered overhead and caught dear Pru's eye, it was the loveliest, shiniest golden ribbon that she had ever seen, whisked clean out of someones hair by the wild wind no doubt, thought Pru as she leapt after it.
Over hill and field she chased it until at last it was caught, not by Prudence, but by the raggedy branch of a very old tree. There was nothing else for it, she simply must have that ribbon and so slowly and steadily she climbed the gnarled bark and inched along the raggedy branch.
Now, you or I may be tempted to look down at the world getting smaller beneath out feet but not Pru, her eyes were fixed on that shiny ribbon. With her tongue tip poking out more for concentration than balance, Prudence leaned forward for the lustrous fabric now ever so close to her wriggling fingertips. No sooner had Pru reached out to grab her quarry when a gust of wind rudely pushed by and toppled this wingless magpie from her branch. The Ghastly Governessa found Prudence quite easily for she was glittering in the moonlight, at the base of the old oak, covered in bits of tin foil and colourful cellophane and in her hand she grasped the most beautiful golden ribbon that the Governessa had ever seen...
 


                                                            The End (or is it...)

7 comments:

brandi said...

never the end...oh please...oh please...I have always adored the magically beautiful tales you weave...and the precious wee little ones you create...I would say I love but one but each as I scrolled made my heart soar...new years wishes and blessings be with you this year!!!

Debbie said...

How good to find you on here again and with so many tales of soulful creatures.
One a day I think I may read before the Governessa reaches out again.

Anonymous said...

I wonder when the Governessa shall reach me??
- AnonymousA

Rhissanna said...

I understand Myrna and Prudence! I understand them both, with their rag hoards and their desire for pretty gold ribbons. These are a cautionary tale for doll makers, then? So sweet and so sad. I love the narratives you build for them, and their gently melancholic fates.

Anthropomorphica said...



Thank you Brandi, I'm glad you're still tuning in to this often neglected blog...

Debbie, the Governessa is up to her old antics, there'll be a few more tales on the way!

AnonymousA, she'll reach us all in time...

Rhissanna, it's true! I think we're done for with our magpie tendencies and tatty rag baskets. Thank you m'dearie!

JJ Beazley said...

I've only just found this, Mel. It mustn't have been posted to my previews. Sorry I'm late.

So, where did this sudden burst of creativity come from? These are splendid, apart from one. The Myrna story upset me badly! Hester, on the other hand, was eerily familiar.

They should be published.

Anthropomorphica said...

Oh, oh... I knew that was a step too far, even for me. I still chortled though, especially when I pressed publish. It's my wicked streak you see...
The burst of creativity was paid for... it's taken me a month to get it back!
I'm glad you liked Hester, I had a soft spot for her and her melancholy too.