Posts Tagged ‘ Story ’

The Faery’s Last Song

I woke to her last song fluttering in my ear, through the cracks in my window-sill that kept no warm air in. She sung in mourning of her own death, and it contained all she ever was. It floated on that crisp wind that cuts through sheets and souls alike, and rested on my pillow, by my head, and it closed its eyes along with me.

It called to me, through my dreams, or better yet, despite my dreams, and I could not resist it. It was a story of death, and of emptiness, yet there was no struggle in it. There was loneliness, yes; but acceptance as well, and the song floated as a feather, and would not be weighed down by all that pulled at its barbs.

So I rose and went to her. Outside, into the forest, down along the streambed now frozen to a trickle, to a thicket of rosebushes at the trunk of a near-dead oak, blackening and snarled and twisted about itself. She lay among the roots, unmoving limbs and unblowing hair, though the cold wind blew hard from the North. Only her pale pink lips shimmered with life, and still her song went, so I listened.

It was a song of yesteryears, of time long spent in places worth spending it, of great heroes and towering cowards, of myth and of reality. They used to listen to her songs, dance to her songs, sing them to their children; and she would breathe in their hearing, and it fed her, sustained her. Like a strong liqueur she would feel it in her throat, in her blood, and from its boiling strength new songs would flow.

Their children would come to the towering tree with its twisted roots and hold hands, running in circles about her, shouting the stories she had told, and their words would drift up into the leaves, and she would draw them deep into her and need no more. From the children she drew such life, and from her they drew knowledge, and all was good.

Then men came with quill and ink and hardened hearts, and though they heard the stories, they listened not, but wrote them down on rough skins and strips of dried grass. They would hear the stories and frown to those who listened, and shush the children who sang, and they would write all they heard and saw, but would with sad eyes go their way.

Soon, they who used to listen too only heard, and though they would stand about her trunk as she sang her new songs, they would not tell them to their children, but would with sad eyes go their way.

Their children began to come and dance about the tree, but they did not sing, for they knew not the words, but would with sad eyes go their way.

So the tree withered, and her skin grew old and her leaves would crumble and fall earlier every year, and those who saw the tree saw not her underneath it, and they would with sad eyes go their way.

Thus her song ended, and I bent down to pick up her frail body, but I rose with only a flower as pink as her lips, and a gust of wind shaking me to my bones.

I lay down to bed, and rested the flower beside me, and slept. In my dream, I heard her voice, and she told me fragments of stories told in ancient times, in ancient voices, in ancient ways, but like the fragrance from the flower they drifted with the wind, and I could not see, only feel them. And though I still slept, I was awakened by all she said, and my spirit stirred and chased and grasped and slipped and gathered, and I collected the parts, and like a puzzle I pieced them together, though I knew not how they should look.

So, dear Muse, let loose your songs in my dreams. Tell tales of high import, though these days they are ignored. May all that you once were be revived, and I will listen and I will sing at the roots of your tree and I will leave with happy eyes.

If you enjoy this, please take a moment to read

The Boy Who Drew In The Mud and other parables

The Boy Who Drew in the Mud

There once was a boy who drew in the mud. Now, this was quite an ordinary boy, and his drawings were of nothing in particular, and of no significant artistry. Nonetheless, the boy would, as often as he could escape from the various chores and homework everyone seemed to enjoy giving him, spend hours with a stick, or maybe just his fingers, or occasionally a carrot or bit of celery he had smuggled into his pocket to avoid eating, drawing and drawing in the big patch of mud on the edge of his backyard, near the garden his neighbor had.

Now, this neighbor was quite an ordinary neighbor, and like all quite ordinary neighbors, was particularly nosy in matters he had no business being nosy in, and not nearly nosy enough in matters he well should have been nosy about. So this neighbor would watch the young boy drawing in the mud all afternoon long as the sky was starting to darken and the clouds were starting to build and blacken like a cloud of ash in a small room, and he would yell from his porch where he sat, “Boy! Why do you draw in the mud? It will just be washed away when the rain comes in, and you will be left with nothing!” But the boy would just look at him with those big brown child-eyes, give a half-hearted shrug, and return to his scribbling. And when the rain came, the boy would sit and watch as it washed away, and the neighbor would shout “Boy! What did I tell you! Now you must start from the beginning!” But the boy would just look at him with those big brown child-eyes, and give a big grin, and return to his watching.

For as long as the neighbor could remember, this would happen every time it would rain. Yet never did the boy tire of the game; he would draw, and watch as it would wash away. And the neighbor thought, “This boy must be mad! There is no reason why he should so enjoy all his work and all his effort wasting away into the ground. Why, it is quite unnatural! Next time, I will go right up to the boy and drag him away from his mud, and I will explain to him exactly how these things should be done! With a pencil and clean sheet of paper, or maybe a scrap of charcoal from my fireplace! Yes, I will teach him how to draw properly, on proper things!”

So the next time he walked out on his porch and saw the boy drawing in the mud, he marched his way to where the boy stood, puffed out his chest, and looked straight down his nose, saying “Boy! You come with me right now! This is quite unnatural. Let us go get a pencil and a clean sheet of paper, or maybe a scrap of charcoal from my fireplace, and I will teach you how to draw properly, on proper things!” But the boy just looked at him with those big brown child-eyes, and shook his head. The neighbor, being, like all ordinary neighbors, quite stubborn, stomped his little dress shoe on the grass and said, “You must be mad! There is no reason for you to enjoy all your work and effort wasting away into the ground!” But the boy just looked at him with those big brown child-eyes, and gave a big smile, and said, “Wait one moment.”

The boy pointed down to the patch of mud where had been busy drawing an immense battle, with giants on one side with massive raised clubs, and knights on stick-horses with big pointed lances guarding little stick-princesses wearing pointy stick-hats. And a dragon with a long, curly neck was busy breathing fire on a bunch of little stick-peasants, while a bunch of stick-centaurs surrounded it from all sides, pointy bows and pointy arrows flying all about. As a big clap of thunder resounded about the yard, the neighbor said, “I am too late! This will be ruined, and you must start from the beginning!”

Then it began to rain.

The entire drawing seemed to stir to life as the water ran across it in sheets, and the trickles and streams of rain through the fluid mud breathed movement into all the figures. The knights were suddenly charging and the giants swinging their clubs down as the princesses swooned and fell to the floor. The dragons fire jetted about, and the peasants collapsed in terror, as the centaurs rode in circles, wildly shooting. Armies clashed and lovers met, and some men ran away like cowards, while others rode forth into death and fame. The scene swayed about, and, like a play, all the figures did their part. And the boy and the neighbor watched together, wordless, with big grins on their faces.

 

Get the full collection of short stories for free!

The Pig, the Horse, and the Dog

The Fable of the Pig, the Horse, and the Dog


On a comfortable farm surrounded by acres of rolling hills and gently swaying trees, there lived a Pig, a Horse, and a Dog. The Dog guarded the farm, scaring off the wolves and the foxes that tried to steal into the pens in the dark of night; the Horse pulled the plows through the fields and the carts into town; the Pig ate and ate, in hopes of bringing a good price at market. Every morning, after the rooster was roused by the sun, the farmer would bring out their meals; the Dog would get a large bowl of diced lamb and carrots, the Horse a trough with sweet feed and hay, while the Pig would get a bucket of slop, filled to the brim.

Now, one day, the Pig looked over at the Dog’s bowl, and looked over at the Horses trough, and became jealous. “Why should they have such choice foods while I have only this slop?” So he began to plot. When a clever idea came to him, he called the Horse over.

“Friend Horse, look at how wonderful the Dog’s meal is. There is lamb, sweet and succulent, and carrots, which I know you have a tooth for. Every day he feasts on these, while you have only your grain and molasses and I nothing but my slop! Is it not unfair that we never get to taste such delicacies? Let us divide all of our food in three parts, and each share our food so that we do not tire of our mundane meals. You can share of the Dogs carrots, and I will take some the Lamb, and together we will grow strong!”

So the Horse, who did indeed have a tooth for carrots, heartily agreed. The next morning, when the rooster greeted the sun and the farmer brought out the daily lunch, the Horse and the Pig approached the Dog and took his bowl, and each ate a portion of his food, and each left the Dog with a portion of theirs.

But though the Pig could eat the lamb, and the Horse could eat the carrots, the Dog could not eat either the sweetened grains of the Horse, nor the dirty slop of the Pig. And as the days wore on, the Dog weakened, and eventually died.

The next night, a Wolf crept into the farm, vicious and hungry, but the Dog was not there to alert the farmer. So the Wolf stalked into the Pigs cage and ate the Pig, and as he left, the Horse saw the Wolf and reared, so the Wolf bit the Horses leg before running off, full and satisfied. The next morning, the farmer saw the Horse could no longer work, for the bite was deep. His heart torn with sadness, the farmer took the Horse behind the barn and shot him.

Eliza’s Fancy

SEE BELOW THIS SUMMARY FOR NEW POSTS

Updated 3/1/2015

Eliza’s Fancy; a faery romance.

A Quick Note:

As there has been a rather unexpected rise in the amount of downloads, it is probably best for me to keep you few and dedicated readers updated on where things stand. I do not enjoy the thought of what torment you must be going through wondering ‘Is he still writing? Will I ever know the end? How will I survive without a new influx of epic poetry I probably didn’t even mean to start reading because I thought it was prose?” Alas, the anguish must be so great in you, I am sure. It pains me to know that I may well be the cause.

But worry not. It will be finished someday, that is not in question. The delay has been due to a combination of personal life (finding a faery-princess of my own who required no insignificant amount of effort to wrestle from the hands of all her other suitors) and intellectual trepidation about how to move the story from where it was to where I wanted it to be.

Luckily, the intellectual trepidation is no more, and I have even begun slowly churning out stanzas once again. I finally have settled on the complete story arc, and now it is but a matter of finding the time to put it into poetics. And I assure you, I am focusing far more on the meter and flow with these last four Parts than I did with the First, partially because I have hopefully improved as a poet, and partially because whereas the first Part was very careless in story as well as meter, and thus the loose flow matched the mood, these last parts are far tighter in both.

I deeply appreciate everyone who has asked me about my progress on the story, I sincerely didn’t expect anyone to read this unless forced upon them by my insistence. Those few strangers who have said such sweet words in reviews and shown such unwarranted interest have my humblest gratitude. And to  you friends who always ask about how it is going even though you likely do not truly want to hear me babble once more about it, thank you for continuing to humour me and for pushing me to finish.

My hope is now to at least get the first draft of Parts Six and Seven done by the end of the year. It is likely overly optimistic, but writing has been clipping along the last few weeks, and so I will hope for the best for as long as hope will float!

Thank you for reading my measly addition to a long-dead genre, I can but hope the ending I have will make the long wait worth it.

This page will be continuously updated as the progress on Eliza’s Fancy furthers. It will provide the best estimate as to the completion of the next Part, as well as periodic updates as to length in total and estimated release dates, though all such estimations are only that, and are thus subject to constant change.

Chapters in italics indicate currently in progress, or sketched out in content.
Chapters in bold indicate finished in skeletal form, to be reworked in some noticeable amount.
Chapters in regular indicate finished in near complete form, with changes being mostly in style or wording.

Parts will be released via Smashwords in chunks of nine chapters (one to two Parts released at a time), the first Part being free.

Currently:
Looking to wrap up art work, then release it to the world. Soon, though not soon enough.

Part One

Released: February 25th, 2011

Part Two
Part Three

Released: February 25th, 2011

Part Four

Part Five

Released January 24, 2012


Part Six – Writing

Chapter XLVI – 1407 Words
Chapter XLVII – 2104 Words
Chapter XLVIII – 1216 Words
Chapter XLIX – 1610 Words

Chapter L – 758 Words
Chapter LI – 685 Words
Chapter LII257 Words
Chapter LIII324 Words
Chapter LIV

Part Seven – Plot hatched, basic outline in progress

Eliza’s Fancy is a faery-romance set in a whimsical world full of sylphan magic and demonic temptation. When Eliza wanders into an enchanted forest, she sees amidst the trees a Black Knight who steals her heart before riding off into the unknown distance. Pulled by this sudden love, she sets out to find him once again. Along the way, she meets fantastic friends and faces formidable foes in an adventure that delves into both the life-giving power and the dark-sided danger of love.

The Six Young Sailors

Under the moon, on deck they stood,
saying
“For change! For progress!
For the greater good!”

For two long years the schooner hopped,
like a bullfrog between lilly pads,
from island to island carrying crops
‘tween Turner Cay and Trinidad.

Ne’er before had the Captain led
to bad port or dangered reef,
keeping stocked with rum and bread
keeping trips easy and brief.

But to-day, the winds had suddenly turned
and becalmed the ship in open water;
Oh! how the crews face did darken
though they still feared the Flogger.

Six young sailors gathered ’round
at night as the moon shone brightly down,
and the sail covered her face like a silken shroud
as if she wished to hide her frown.

In the dark, on deck they stood,
saying
“For change! For progress!
For the greater good!”

“The Captain brought us to this fate,
his methods have long been out of date.
All but his officers he most certainly hates,
the Captain has led us to this fate.”

“The Navigator is his right-hand man,
he is the one who writ this plan –
he knew the globe would stop her fan!
The Navigator is his right hand man.”

“The Quartermaster has late been rather stingy –
drinking with the nobles and acting fishy.
He wishes not for it to be breezy,
the Quartermaster has late been rather stingy.”

“The Flogger has gained from our plight,
he flogged ten people just last night!
He’s no sailor, that’s quite right.
The Flogger has gained from our plight.”

Having chose who were at fault,
the six young sailors planned revolt,
the next night they would strike
as blindly as a lightning bolt.

In the shadows, on deck they stood
saying
“For change! For progress!
For the greater good!”

When the moon returned and hid her eyes
behind the mast and crossing ropes,
the six young sailors called upon
all the crew who’d lost their hope.

“Come friends! Come friends!
Listen here!
The Captain has sold us all,
though for what is unclear.”

“He and the Navigator did plan the route,
He and the Quartermaster do nightly flout,
He and the Flogger with glee do clout,
The four of them all have sold us out!”

“To arms! To arms!
It is not mutiny
if they deserve all the harm
when we beat them bloody!”

The boys did cheer and praise the six
for finding the cause of their predicament,
grabbing bats and bars and guns,
a little revolution did foment.

Amidst the crowd, on deck they stood,
saying
“For change! For progress!
For the greater good!”

They bagged the Captain first of all
and hauled him before their fellowship,
charged him with lying through his teeth
’bout the reason for this curs-ed trip.

“Did your business pals back on land
promise, at exorbitant price, to buy
if you would take this dangerous path
though all us poor sailors die?”

“No! No!” the Captain cried,
“We’ve actually been this way before,
sometimes the sea is cruel and harsh
and strands you far, far offshore!”

“Off the gangplank!” said the sailors,
ignoring all his desperate pleas –
and with cannonball attached to foot
sank the Captain into the sea.

Next was the Navigator, they caught him ‘midst
trying to trace the path they took
on one of the hundreds of detailed maps
in one of the hundreds of dusty books.

“How kind of you to trace
this path into motionlessness.
I’d bet the Captain paid you well
to sacrifice us to richness!”

“No! No!” the Navigator cried,
“I don’t control the weather!
I get paid exact the same
whether stopped or floating like a feather!”

“Off the gangplank!” said the sailors,
ignoring all his desperate pleas –
and with cannonball attached to foot
sank the Navigator into the sea.

The poor Quartermaster was grabbed
while sorting through all the rations –
though the last two had been higher-up,
hoarding food stirs higher passions.

“We’ve seen you bringing all the best
of wine and rum and bread and fish
to the Captain’s quarters every day
while leaving the rest of us to famish!”

“No! No!” the Quartermaster cried,
“I’m only showing which food got wetter!
I’ve eaten the same portion as you –
and the Captain only little better!”

“Off the gangplank!” said the sailors,
ignoring all his desperate pleas –
and with cannonball attached to foot
sank the Quartermaster into the sea.

By now the crowd was quite unruly,
and the Flogger got the worse of it –
for each man he’d flogged for flagging,
thrice did he get whipped.

“Oh, Taskmaster! Did the Captain give
promises of name and fame
if you beat all us blind
in order to keep our class tame?”

“No! No!” the Flogger cried,
“I only do the job I’m told!
I’ve never even met the Captain!
I’ve never seen an ounce of gold!”

“Off the gangplank!’ said the sailors,
ignoring all his desperate pleas –
and with cannonball attached to foot
sank the Flogger into the sea.

“We’ve won! We’ve won!
Their dastardly plans are foiled!
For change! For progress!
For the greater good we’ve toiled!”

Carrying the smell of newer places
the winds picked up quite suddenly!
The casks of rum were broken open,
a cry was raised of victory!

“Who will be our new Captain?
Who will lead us home?
Who will be our Navigator
to guide us through the breaking foam?”

But none of the sailors really knew
what the Captain did really do;
none of the maps in the Navigators room
could give them a single clue.

All of the crew began to mutter
about how they wanted more butter,
so they took to the Quartermaster’s clutter
and on their bread put more butter.

“This can’t be allowed!
We’ll run dry!
We need a new Flogger
to protect the supply!”

But none were as strong
as the one they drowned,
and of the six young sailors
no Flogger was found.

So six younger sailors gathered round
at night as the moon shone brightly down
and the sail covered her face like a silken shroud
as if she wished to hide her frown.

In the dark, on deck they stood,
saying
“For change! For progress!
For the greater good!”

Six months later, by chance one day,
crashed on a reef the ship was found –
filled with corpses, starved or shot,
but a few short miles from the ground.

Scrawled on the deck, carved in the wood
was a saying:

“For change! For progress!
For the greater good!”

The Farmer and the Eagle

The Parable of the Farmer and the Eagle

There once was a farmer whose land was infested with hares, and whose crops were constantly eaten. One day, an eagle flew over his land, and saw the many hares, and found the place good. So the eagle hunted in the farmers land, and the farmer became proud of the eagle, and told his neighbors how it defended his crops. Soon, in his mind, the majestic creature was his, and all it accomplished he accomplished.

But after a time, the eagle had hunted many of the hares, and there was little left to eat, and it moved to another farm. The farmer was angry, and accused his neighbor of stealing the eagle, and set out to capture it. So with snares and nets, he brought the eagle down, and tied the birds foot to a rope, and put it in a cage, and fed it meat from his table. Not long after, the hares came back, and ate the farmers crops again, but the eagle had forgotten how to hunt. The farmer’s land was no longer protected, and he was left with nothing but a caged eagle and a ruined farm.

The Fable of the Three Birds

The Fable of the Three Birds

On the edge of a forest lived three birds: a songbird, a crow, and a mockingbird. Every morning, the songbird woke and flew to the highest branch in her tree to sing to the forest a most beautiful song – the joy of her tiny heart bubbled and fizzled and burst out through her beak, and the song would float along the wind and into the sky . But the crow, a nasty and spiteful beast, would daily land on her branch, and with the smell of carrion on his breath, lambasted the little songbird with jeers and biting words. “Who do you sing to, little bird? The wind? The sky? They hear you not, and they enjoy it not! How your little tweets and hoots are wasted on deaf ears, and how you do make such a fool of yourself to the forest!” And the mockingbird, a mis-shapen and dark-minded beast, would daily land on her branch and sing his own mocking song, but it had not the beauty or heart of the songbirds, and it’s song would fall flat to the forest floor.

One day, a torrent raged upon the trees, and the branches were whipped to and fro, and the birds knew that it was only a matter of time before the tree they lived in was swept away. But the songbird worried not, and flew to the highest branch and sang, the wind crashing like waves on the tree, but her voice flying ever higher, and the rain couldn’t drown her melody out. The crow flew to her branch, and while the branch swang wildly, laughed a most hideous laugh, and said “Why sing such a beautiful song, poor wretch? Don’t you know this tree will be carried off, with us in it? This storm will end us, and no one will ever hear you sing again!” And the crow, with his chest puffed and his pride bursting, laughed and walked to the edge of the branch, where the wind picked him up and threw him off deep into the forest. And the mockingbird waddled his way to the songbird, and blasted his dissonant tune that fell even faster than the rain, stopping only to cackle at the songbird, until the wind picked him up and threw him after the crow. And as the storm grew stronger, so did the songbirds song, until she too was thrown into the forest.

The next morning, the three birds, with their wings broken and nests scattered about, sat on the forest floor, yet still the songbird began to sing her most beautiful tune, and it was lifted up into the freshly cleaned forest, and seemed to wash it again with her soulful cry. And the crow grew hot with fury, yelling “What makes you sing, damned fool! Your wing is broke and nest is shattered, and there is still no one to hear you!” And the mockingbird sang his most mocking song, shaking the leaves and boiling the puddles, and the screeches burrowed into the ground like worms.

But the songbird’s song was carried by the wind, and reached the ear of an elderly woman who walked the forest, and had often stopped to listen to the songbird. She knew the voice, and found the songbird with her broken wing and scattered nest, and scooped both up and brought them home. She mended the wing and rebuilt the nest in a light-fixture above her front door, and every morning the songbird would sing for the old woman, and every night the old woman would feed the songbird, and both pleased each other’s soul greatly.