Tag Archives: fable

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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Suluk

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.

Deep in Northern Canada, in Nunavut, the Inuit people speak of Angilak Suluk, literally, the biggest feather. Suluk is a griffon, a beautiful creature with the body of a lion and the head and powerful wings of an eagle. She spends her summers playing hopscotch along the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, flirting with the muskox.

Griffons are regal creatures. It is said that Apollo’s carriage (and subsequently, the sun) was not pulled by horses but by griffons instead. Strong enough to carry elephants in their talons and admired for their intelligence, griffons were used as heraldic symbols by the likes of the Republic of Genoa and Trinity College, Oxford. According to the New Dictionary of Heraldry by Stephen Friar, it was believed that a griffin’s claw had medicinal properties and a griffon’s feathers could restore sight to the blind.

Suluk is loved because of her intelligence and her strength. The Norse explorers returned home from their explorations of ancient Nunavut with horror stories of blood-thirsty yetis and sea monsters that could not be vanquished. Suluk has rid the countryside of the yetis, saving the native peoples from another century of terror and pain. And the sea monsters? They seem to have vanished as well, and some say on windy nights you can still hear the echos of screams from Suluk’s attacks on the feared beasts.

But she is not just a killer of killers. Suluk loves to make snow angels, rolling in drifts with her strong legs and enormous wings. She then flies across Nunavut, shaking her feathers and toes as she swoops over towns and roads, letting the remnants of her snow angel play scatter and fall from the sky. The people of Nunavut say that the first snow fall is always from Suluk, playing in the early snow high on Barbeau Peak.

John Milton wrote in Paradise Lost:

“As when a Gryfon through the Wilderness
With winged course ore Hill or moarie Dale,
Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth
Had from his wakeful custody purloined
The guarded Gold: So eagerly the fiend
Ore bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare,
With head, hands, wings, or feet pursues his way,”

When that first snow falls (and that could be very soon for many of us, though it is still October), tilt your head to the skies and think of Suluk. She may be shaking snow from among the stars, or perhaps it’s one of her brethren. Though fearsome, they are marvelous creatures. Thank goodness they still fly, reminding us of magic and protection.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

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Leech Girl

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.

It was a day much like this one – mid-October and cool but not cold. It had been raining for days and there were puddles everywhere. Little Eleanor shrugged out of her stuffy raincoat and ran into the field behind her house. She jumped from puddle to puddle, laughing as the muddy water flew from her pink galoshes into the air.

Her mother – a pragmatist from experience, as so many mothers are – called after little Eleanor, warning her to be careful in the dirty puddles. And to her credit, Eleanor listened to her mother. She skipped through the field to the little pond just beyond the drooping wildflowers. The little pond that was swollen with dirty water and, oddly enough, hundreds of leeches.

Eleanor giggled as she stepped into the brackish water – just up to the tops of her galoshes – and squealed with delight as the leeches latched onto the boots. She tickled her fingers into the water and gasped as the leeches sucked insistently onto her tiny fingertips. She named each one as they oozed and inched up her arms, doing a little dance when they slipped beneath her collar. She ignored her mother’s calls – telling her not to play with the leeches.

Only under the threat of no dinner did Eleanor leave the dirty pond. But she did not heed her mother’s warning, for beneath her brown hair ribbon, Eleanor had hidden three leeches. She ate dinner demurely and succumbed to a face scrubbing with an unusual amount of agreeability. Tucking her little Eleanor to bed, her mother thought how lucky she was, to have such a daughter.

Eleanor giggled in her bed as the three leeches slid from their hiding place and down her tiny cheeks. They travelled down her arms and kissed each of her fingertips. Overnight, the leeches worked their magic and by the morning, little Eleanor had transformed into Leech Girl.

Such a daughter, indeed.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

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