Tag Archives: storytelling

Waldorf

Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.

Jessica Battersea is an 87-year-old former librarian. She lives alone in a little cottage on the very edge of the Dark Peak Moors, spending her days catching up on back-logged reading and gardening. In the Dark Peak area of Northern England, good gardening weather is scarce, the climate keeping steady around 50 F and the wind being strong and wet.

Jessica had scared herself silly reading a short story by Edgar Allen Poe when she went into the garden one particularly dark and bracing day. She clutched an enormous cup of tea in her tiny hands and shivered looking out across the bleak landscape. Then she heard it. A thick Scottish brogue from somewhere behind her. She nearly fainted, her heart nearly stopped, and she dropped her tea.

She turned to find Waldorf, huddled beneath the cement umbrella of a particularly ugly garden statue. Habitual politeness overran shear fright and Jessica stammered a “pardon me?” Waldorf continued to mumble something about “moo cows angry” and he looked slightly malnourished and pitiful. Jessica decided, perhaps idiotically, that he was harmless.

He is, but little old ladies tend to romanticize garden creatures, don’t they? She brought Waldorf inside her warm little cottage and she immediately learned two important lessons: he is terrified of cats and he hates hot chocolate. He dashed the hot mug of cocoa Jessica handed him against the tiny fireplace and shrieked like a banshee when approached by her oversized tabby Waffles.

Through patient trial and error, Jessica learned that Waldorf adores canned beans and single malt scotch, so he sits in a fleece-lined garden pot most days, looking out across the moors, snacking on beans on toast and sipping good scotch long into the night. He and Waffles eye each other warily, but can agree that a nap in a warm patch of sun is truly rejuvenating.

Waldorf’s origins are as-of-yet unknown, and any story that he tells is hardly intelligible, due to his thick brogue. His moods are stormy like the countryside, but Jessica is content to watch the frost cover the land silently, carefully crocheted afghans around each of their shoulders.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

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The Odd Forest

Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.

Have you ever been in a park, or walking in the woods, or poking in an overgrown garden and found yourself – just for a moment – befuddled by your surroundings? Perhaps the air took on a chill, or the vegetation looked momentarily askew. You were there. You were in The Odd Forest.

The Odd Forest is always just around the corner, and were you to spend more than a moment there, you’d see just what makes it so odd. Trees grow backwards – their tops are underground and their roots reach high into the sky. Rocks scuttle in the wind like tumbleweed and leaves are heavier than slate. Creeks run uphill and brooks don’t babble – they scream.

And in the center of it all, skips the Creepy Bunny.

CB, as she’s known to the other inhabitants of The Odd Forest, lives in a warren beneath a weeping willow (that grows upside-down and backward, naturally). CB loves to run her paws through the weeping willow’s tendrils, murmuring to herself “So pretty. So pretty.” Even in the darkest hours, CB skips unafraid through the caves and meadows, often trailing a wooden stake behind her. She’s not out hunting for vampires, though. Whenever she takes a rest, she thrusts the stake into the ground and leans against it casually. Even for The Odd Forest, our Creepy Bunny is weird.

When the Dagger-Hoofed Deer lopped the tails off of the Cycling Chipmunks as a prank, CB followed behind, gathering their tails. She sewed them into a glorious coat and wore the coat proudly every Thursday.

When the Half-Blind Badger mistakenly poured mercury into the water hole, CB made extraordinarily strong cocktails from the poisoned water and sipped them from high on Wayfarer’s Rock until nobody knew whether she was drunk from whiskey or mad from mercury.

She writes poems on thin strips of bark and hangs them from the roots of trees, makes fetching hats from moss and tends to over-emphasize the wrong syllable in three syllable words.

Even when the Twice Reanimated Vulture hunts after midnight, CB will fearlessly pull late wanderers into her warren, saving them from certain death, seemingly oblivious to her own possible peril.

She is a big-hearted bunny, and odder than The Odd Forest is large. (And it is very very large. Too large for any map, though unaccountably impossible to find.) Yes, she is creepy. Yes, she moves like a stuttering robot and, yes, she does murmur questionable things while standing a hair too close, but remember, we are visitors in The Odd Forest. We must seem terribly creepy to CB. And still she’ll let us lean upon her stake anytime. And she’ll always offer up a cocktail.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

 

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The Night Story Birds

It is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.

Tonight, as you lie in bed, still your mind. Turn off your television, your computer and your radio. Get comfortable and listen. Do you hear voices? Quiet, lilting voices, reciting fables and fairy tales on the wind? These are the Night Story Birds. They do not sing or twitter, but tell stories under the veil of night.

Light of body and soft of feather, the Night Story Birds coast along the air currents, listening to the stories of the world. Fables from Africa, ghost stories from Japan, spirit stories from the American West. These small birds have marvelous memories, and they retain these stories for years, mulling over them and melding them with each other as they soar through dark clouds.

They retell these stories during quiet nights, when there are no storms or celebrations, when we are all sleeping and our minds are receptive to the ancient stories all but some have forgotten. With silky black feathers and red eyes for night vision, the Night Story Birds nestle in trees outside our windows and retell these stories for us. Do you remember them when you wake?

Tell stories, my oddlings. Listen to the Night Story Birds and tell the fables and fairy tales they have whispered. This is how we stay eternal – through stories told in the night, over fires, beneath soft covers, besides rivers and underneath the stars. The stories and the Night Story Birds are always with us, even if we can not always see them. So tonight, listen. Turn off all the humming and currents and let your ears soften to the stories in the air.

Do let me know what you hear.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

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