Wednesday
Apr262017

The telling Tale of the Cup

There was a cup. It was nothing special but it did have a handle. It had lived in a family for years. One day it was sitting on the kitchen table and weeping.

“Why are you weeping?” asked the saucer lying underneath.

“Oh, oh, oh, I am only wanted for my shape,” sobbed the cup, filling with tears.

“And what of that?” said the saucer. “I too am wanted because of my shape. See, you can sit upon me and I can catch the spills those messy humans make.”

“But I want to be special just for me and not for my shape,” said the cup.

“And how do you suppose you are going to do that?” asked the saucer.

“I shall jump off the table and break myself. Then the humans will see me for what I truly am,” and with that the cup ran off the edge of the table and broke into pieces.

“Are you okay?” asked the saucer.

“Yes,” said the cup. “I am still here, just not in one place.”

The mistress of the house walked in. “Oh!” she exclaimed, surprised to see the cup shattered on the floor. She fetched the broom and dustpan, swept the cup up and threw him into the garbage pail.

“Oh, woe,” cried the cup.

“Thought so,” said the saucer.

“Serves you right,” said the broom and dustpan.

“Thank you,” said the garbage pail. “I was beginning to agree with you, but now I know why I’m wanted.”

Monday
Apr172017

Why Cows do moo at the Moon

"Silly Willy, Silly Willy,” cried Peekaboo. “Do cows moo at the moon?”

“I won’t tell you,” said Silly Willy. “You’re not old enough.”

“Please tell me,” said Peekaboo.

“No,” said Silly Willy. “You have to stay up late to know the secret.”

“I’ll stay up. I will, I will,” begged Peekaboo. “I promise.”

So Silly Willy and Peekaboo stayed up late. They sat in a field full of cows and waited for the moon to rise. At last it came creeping up the hills and into the sky.

“Moo,” said the cows at the moon. “Moo, moo,”—but Peekaboo never heard. He was fast asleep.

“See. I said you were too young,” said Silly Willy when Peekaboo woke up.

“Let me try again,” said Peekaboo.

“Oh, I donno,” said Silly Willy. “It might be too much for you.”

“Please! Please!” begged Peekaboo.

“Okay,” said Silly Willy. “Let’s stay up again.”

That night Silly Willy and Peekaboo sat in the cow field waiting for the moon to come up. They waited and waited. Peekaboo ran around. He pinched himself. He told stories. He slapped himself in the face. Finally the moon came up and the cows began to moo.

“Moo, moo,” they moo’d. “Moo, moo.”

“They do moo at the moon!” shouted Peekaboo, jumping up and down. “But why, Silly Willy, why?”

“Because they’re angry,” said Silly Willy.

“Angry?!” said Peekaboo.

“Yes,” said Silly Willy. “It’s the cheese.”

“The cheese?!” exclaimed Peekaboo.

“It’s like this,” said Silly Willy. “The moon is made of cheese—everyone knows that—but where do you think the moon gets the milk to make the cheese? It steals it from the cows! That’s why they’re angry.”

“But how does the moon steal the milk?” asked Peekaboo. “That must be hard.”

“Not at all,” said Silly Willy. “It gets it from the supermarket when the cows aren’t looking.”

Friday
Feb032017

Kimber's Pig

I'll be posting chapters of my next book, Kimber's Pig, on the Stories and Tales page over the next while. Enjoy!

Saturday
Jan212017

Mosey Dawdle and the Great Snake

Mosey Dawdle went awandering. He crawled through the brush until he met a highway. He gazed up and down the sinewy street, aghast at its length.

“Oh, Great Snake,” cried Mosey Dawdle, “whither goest thou?”

But all the highway said was ‘whoosh, whoosh, whoosh’ as the cars swept by.

Mosey Dawdle followed the highway, he lumbered for a long, long time. Mosey Dawdle went a long way for a tortoise, but not so far for the highway.

“O, Great Snake,” said Mosey Dawdle, “thou art so long. Surely you are as wise as you are long. Tell me, where are you heading?”

‘Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh,’ said the highway and that is all it spake.

Mosey Dawdle trundled along, along he trundled, trundling along until night fell. The highway began to glow. White and red lights flowed past. Amber lights blinked. Sometimes flashing red and blue lights lit the night.

“O, Great Snake,” said Mosey Dawdle, “your lights are so bright! Where are they heading in the night? Are they going to the stars? They sound to me like rushing cars!”

But the highway only whoosh-whoosh-whooshed, its lights snaking on and on through the night.

For weeks Mosey Dawdle followed the highway. Finally it turned into a dirt road, then a track, then a path that petered out among the forest trees. The trees were tall and straight. They said ‘hush-hush-hush’ when the wind swayed their tops. They spoke and whispered to each other.

“Your tail,” said Mosey Dawdle. “O Snake, I have found your tail. That is not whither thou goest.”

Mosey Dawdle turned around. He crawled back down the trail to the highway that said ‘whoosh-whoosh-whoosh’. He lumbered for weeks until the highway became a freeway and the freeway ran into a city. The buildings towered over Mosey Dawdle. The skyscrapers blocked the sky. The noise was incredible. The freeway leaped a river. It changed into a boulevard. It stopped in front of a white building. It had a dome and columns. A great crowd was gathered before the building. Mosey Dawdle pushed his way through. People stepped on him. People tripped on him and cursed him. One child sat on him and laughed. Finally Mosey Dawdle came to the front of the crowd. A loud cheer went up. A man walked onto a balcony of the white house and waved. Mosey Dawdle stared. He stared and stared and stared. Finally the penny dropped in Mosey Dawdle’s slow head.

“O Great Snake, you lead from nature to the human being,” said Mosey Dawdle. “Your tail lies in the forest, while a man lives in your head. But, Great Snake, I still don’t know whither thou goest?”

The Snake did not hear his question. All around the white house the people were raising their voices. They shouted, and no matter how loud, or how many the voices, Mosey Dawdle didn’t hear the answer to the question: ‘Where are you going, O Great Snake?’

Wednesday
Jan042017

How Children come to Be

There was a child with wings. It flew in the starry sky for many years until it remembered the Earth.

“I will go back to the World,” it said and flew round and round the planet. It sought its parents here and there, in Europe, in Africa, in Asia, in everywhere. At last it found its father. He was living in France. Then it found its mother. She was living in Brazil.

“What do I do now?” the child asked of its angel who always and ever kept a watchful eye.

“You must bring them together,” said the angel. “There is no other way.”

So the child flew around, whispering in the ear of this person and pulling the elbow of that person, trying to get its parents together. Finally the father’s boss called him into the office.

“You’ve been working much too hard,” he said. “You need a vacation.”

“Where shall I go?” the father asked his sister who he happened to meet on the street.

“To Brazil,” she said. “I have a friend who loves it there.”

So her father went to buy a ticket to Brazil.

“Where do you want to go in Brazil?” asked the ticket lady.

“I don’t know. I’ve never been there before.”

“Then you have to go to the jungle,” said the ticket lady. “My uncle says the jungle is wonderful. The biggest river in the world lives there. It’s called the Amazon.”

So the child’s father bought a ticket to the jungle in Brazil, to a city on the shores of the great Amazon river.

But what about the child’s mother? Oh, the child had to work hard to get her mother to go to the jungle. The mother didn’t like the idea of the jungle—not at all. So the child got all her mother’s friends to tell her she should see the jungle, that she could never call herself a true Brazilian if she hadn’t been to the jungle where the Amazon flows.

“Okay! Okay! Okay!” laughed her mother at last. “I’ll go to the jungle. But who is going to take me?”

“I will,” said her best friend,” and they jumped into the car and zoomed off.

“Why are you driving so fast?” asked the child’s mother.

“I don’t know,” said her friend. “I just have a feeling that we must get there quickly—we’ll be there in three days.”

And they did have to get there quickly for the father’s airplane was already landing in the middle of the jungle. The father hired a car. He was told it was a good car; that it never broke down and the tires were new. Off he drove; for miles and miles he drove in the jungle, staying at little towns and villages. The people there were friendly and took him into the trees. They showed him the many kinds of trees. They also showed him the animals whenever they spotted them hiding among the leaves. And they took him fishing on the Amazon. O, that river was big, that river was wide, that river was huge. And so were the fish – and some had teeth! Lots of teeth! And some made electricity – lots of electricity! Yes, they did. One even gave him a shock!

One day he was driving from one village to the next, following the winding river. It was a long way. A very long way. Suddenly all four of the car’s tires burst with a BANG! He slammed on the brakes and came to a stop. He got out. He looked at the tires. For no reason at all the four tires had burst.

“Now what?” he said, scratching his head. “I guess I’ll have to wait.”

And wait he did. He waited and waited and waited beside the river and not a single car came along. He saw a toucan with a monstrous beak flying over the water. He heard parrots squawking loudly in a Brazil nut tree. He spied a spider monkey swinging from branch to branch. He even saw a jaguar prowling down the road. He jumped back into the car until it went away. But he never saw another human being. He waited and waited.

Finally he saw dust rising from the road. He heard an engine humming. Whizzing down the road was a white car badly in need of a wash.

“Stop! Stop!” the child’s dad cried, waving his arms.

The car screeched to a halt. Two ladies stared at him and he stared back at one of them, the one sitting in the passenger seat. She’d caught is eye. She was beautiful. Her eyes were liquid pools. Her skin was smooth and soft. Her hair was black and she smiled sweetly. All around her was a golden glow of light.

“What happened to you?” asked the lady driver.

“All my tires burst at once,” said the child’s father. “I don’t know why. It’s mighty mysterious.”

“You’d better come with us,” said the lady driver. “Grab your stuff. You can’t spend the night out here, that’s for sure. There are jaguars prowling around, and crocodiles too! They will eat you for a snack if you are not careful.”

And that’s how the father and mother met. Right there in the middle of the jungle beside the great river. But the child’s job was not done. It had to find a way to get the father money so he could fly back to Brazil to visit the mother, and then find the money for the mother to fly to France to visit the father.

One day, after the visits had happened, the child noticed that its wings were getting small.

“Why are my wings getting small?” the child asked its angel.

The angel just smiled.

As the days went by, the child’s wings got smaller and smaller. It became much harder to fly. In the old days the child would whizz around the world in minutes. Now it could hardly get further than the town the father and mother were living in.

“What’s happening to me?” the child asked its angel.

The angel smiled again as the child’s wings grew smaller and smaller. One day the wings were only the size of a butterfly’s wings. They were still beautiful, but only the size of a small butterfly’s wings and the child was obliged to stay beside the mother. That day the angel stayed close. Very close.

“I’m forgetting everything,” said the child suddenly. “I can’t even remember the names of all the stars and who lives on the sun.”

“Shush,” said the angel, placing its finger on the child’s lips. “Shush,” said the angel again as the child’s wings disappeared altogether.

“Waaaaaaa!” cried the baby in its mother’s arms. “Waaa! Waaa! Waaa!”

“O, she is so beautiful,” exclaimed the mother.

“She’s a piece of heaven,” cried the father. “See how she shines like gold.”

That’s how the star child became a girl who lived in France and spoke French, but also visited Brazil every year and spoke Portuguese. And the place where the angel pressed its finger is still on the girl’s upper lip. It dips inwards beautifully to this day.