Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Listening for the story of Midsummer's first song

Quite a little while ago I received a lovely message from Summer of The Knothole Tree, asking me if I would like to write a small pictures story with special wee-folk, for her bird-zine Perched.
Though I loved the idea, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to do it, as most of the stories that I write about the fairies and gnomes seem to create themselves out of their own necessity to be told and I didn’t know if it would work if I tried to do it another way. However it was a lovely thing to be asked to do, so I said yes and sent a little wish into the air…. And then I wasn’t sure all over again!

I still wasn't sure for quite a while, until one morning our little Robin perched our the garden bench, and looking at this sweet little character I realised that in all my searching for inspiration I was perhaps being too grand - the Robin seemed to be saying, ‘what about me?’ and ‘just begin, everyone will come for their story, the way they do’

And so I began stitching, with love, with trust,
And sure enough the little ones came and they brought their story with them. As they took their form in my hands - an older sister, a littler brother, kind helpers of dear Robin, in his joyful delivery of fairyland mail. These magical children in their hooded capes could easily be mistaken for little robins themselves as they echoed the birds flutterings through the air.
When they were ready the story was nearly written too, but still I had no idea how Robin would appear in the pictures. Should I sew the little fellow, or try to take a picture of our garden friend and somehow merge it with the photographs of the fairy children? Then I remembered that at Christmas time our two year old had fallen in love with ‘a robin bird’ in the Granny’s nativity gathering. I remembered that little robin and felt he had the perfect feeling for the story, so I rang my mum and asked to borrow him.

However, when I got him out of the box I realised that though he was just the perfect little character, he did not actually have a red-breast as such! My remembering of this wee bird had clearly been filtered through my daughters seeing and loving of ‘robin bird’ at Christmas time!

I wondered what to do, and came to the decision that the feeling, the spirit of robin-ness was most important, more important that precise or correct physical characteristics and so I simply added a little kerchief which echoed the red of his kind helpers' clothing, and so connected them all more perfectly than might otherwise have been.
And so the most important wee ones of the story were ready, but I wasn’t sure of the story’s ending, its reason, its culmination!
I did have a sense of a special letter for Robin himself, and so I sat down with my tiniest paintbrush and painted... first the envelope for the snail, and then the rose with the sprinkling petals for tiny dancing feet, and then a fancy stamp on the largest letter….and Oh! The fairy queen just looked through the stamps window frame, leaving her dress and wings floating out behind! And then I knew, a letter from the Fairy Queen, an honour for Midsummer, a request from all of fairyland that Robin be the one to sing the first song of celebration!
And so I smiled at the air and said a little grateful thanks.
Though I had the words of the story, and the order of the small happenings, it was only when I took everyone out into the garden one sunny morning and took the photographs that the story truly came alive. As so often happens the wee fairy folk showed all the nuances unfolding.
The quiet way the small boy waited by the sleeping snail...
The warmth of the sun on the fairy girl's face as she tucked the rose's letter into its green star...
 the reverence of the children for dear Robin...

Robin's humbleness...
And the giggling celebration of all the fairy folk as they tumbled and danced their way into a haphazard procession while the Robin sang above with love for them all.

If you would like to read the story MIDSUMMER'S FIRST SONG and find all sorts of other bird orientated wonders, please go to Summers etsy page:

If you would like these little fairy children helpers to come and play and make stories and puppet-shows with your children please contact me:

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Advent Blessings for the Elemental Beings

 The first week of Advent, blessings for the Gnomes, children of Earth

Deep deep, deep beneath
Winter’s frost firm blanket of sleep
Magical children, dwellers of our ground
Hold love to be awakened and re-found
The Gnomes tenderly care
For Earth’s treasures resting there,
Each child polishes stones to glow,
With murmurings of ancient dreams they know,
And from pointing hats they draw, soft slumbering stories
Soon to urge, small seedlings into Spring’s flowering glories
Dear Gnomes
We are holding love with you
In gratitude
This Adventide

  The second week of Advent, blessings for the Undines, children of Water

Clear clear, clear within
Still moon pool reflections, where wonders begin,
Magical children swimmers of seas and stream,
Form love into patterns, spiraling powers to be seen.
The Undines gently shape,
Small Nooks of raindrops and glaciers great.
With the tip of his wand a young boy carves
Trees into sea-sand and puddles-glass stars,
And though Winter’s rivers surge fierce and rushing,
Soon with soft burbling, Spring’s babes they’ll be hushing.
Dear Undines
We are forming love with you
In gratitude
This Adventide

 The third week of Advent, blessings for the Sylphs, children of Air

High high, high above,
Tree tops listen for the song of the turtle dove,
Magical children, beings of fair air,
Breathe love to sustain life here, there, and everywhere.
The Sylphs joyfully twirl and gustily blow
Golden leaf flutterings and flurries of first snow,
And while caught in the woosh of windy wild dancing
The air they’re preparing for dandelion wishing.
 Dear Sylphs
We are breathing love with you
In gratitude
This Adventide

 The fourth week of Advent, blessings for the Salamanders, children of Fire

Free free, free beyond
Flickers of starlight in dreams are thronged
Magical children creators of fire
Nourish love in harmony with Sun’s heavenly choir.
The Salamanders guide warmth and light
To comfort the world on cold winter nights
And the flames of our hearths serve to remind
Our hearts to share love with all living kind

Dear Salamanders
We are nourishing love with you
In gratitude
This Adventide

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Mamma Blackberry's first Autumn walk with her children

  Stepping neatly from between the brambles down the little hidden pathway from fairyland, comes Mamma Blackberry and her three dear children. 

They are here to welcome Autumn time as they take a little stroll humming harvest songs on a crisp bright morning. 

The baby sits up against a pillow in her beautiful pram, while the little girl carries her new satchel with pride, walking along with her mother and then forgetting all about her secret plan of being all-grown-up and running up and down the bramble hedge instead, balancing and playing chase with her brother.
Soon Mamma Blackberry pauses and lifts her baby for kisses, 
  She gathers her children around her to look together at the changing colours. Perhaps she tells them a little story, and shares some praise-full words about each of them, causing their eyes to shine brighter and  letting them love each other even a little bit more, and notice anew all the tiny treasures of the earth.
Then the children play, making a den amongst the biggest bramble leaves.
And while the baby gets ready for her nap....
The older children day dream a little into the warming midday air wondering what this new season will bring.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Apprentice Puppeteer

There is an ancient winding trail that gleams o’re fairyland. It is not laid in stone or tar or even from long trodden earth and leaves. This way is made of wisps of mist, layered think and thin enough to forget journey’s toil and drift within.

For almost all of each hour and day and for nearly the full turning of the year, a cart and unicorn travel this wayward road. Sometimes a faint or louder hoof fall can be heart and sometimes it may simply be imagined that the travelers glide.
It would be foolish to hope to see them as you went about your busy day ordinarily, but if you gaze for long moments through the shimmer around the sun-kissed petals of a rose, or breath the morning dew blessed air with your eyes half closed….then, who knows.

Children of fairykin or human kind, and older folk who know how to stretch still seconds, are often lucky enough to see the pathway in the distance. And to remember that, there, to the rhythm of clippety clop, and turning wheels, is where wishes dance and tangle with story and what might be.

Perched high upon the cart’s hollowed bark seat, from which wild sweet strawberries tumble and climb, and looking out over and past the horizon where the unicorn’s horn pricks new stars into the sky, rests the Apprentice Puppeteer.

This ageless being is not apprentice by the usual human understanding of the word, but apprentice in all humility to the stories of worlds, never presuming to know what will unfold.

Once in a while, at times that are not most times, or when a story needs to be told, or when a being needs to be held and rocked by marvel, the cart pulls into a clearing, into a pause, or a bubble of glistening air. And all around little announcements and invitations can suddenly be found.

And whispers fill the air…. The Puppeteer is here, the theater cart has come, stories of tenderness and glory will be shown and told, gather gather young and old!

Once upon a time the puppeteer wove a story for the little pussycat blue who had no home in a busy dark town and who weary and hungry one long night had slipped and dipped his paw hopefully into milky mist, and there found the answering longing of a flowering fairy girl in need a galavanting furry friend.

Once upon a time the puppeteer lent her hand to the wind who was unknotting a mother’s wash basket of worries, teasing each care free and tossing it up to float away in the arms of the dancing trees.                
This story when it was told, began at dawn with the twitter of early rising birds and babes...

....and continued all day,
 moving through the magic cart's theater windows as evening came and settled into night.

And then that story went to sleep with the Apprentice Puppeteer and hummed and danced with the other stories that were sighing themselves into her dreams.


Often it is the children who bring stories that want to be told
and they delight in sharing the telling of these stories

And always the puppet show is brought to a close with the story or the young girl, who was born in fairyland, but gave her wings to an old lady who needed them where she was going, and received in thanks from the stars, the possibility to hear and tell stories, and guardianship of the gleaming pathway,

The story tells of the unicorn who heard her loneliness one day, when she felt sad that she could no longer fly, and helped her and kept her company...

and of this story tells of the heart that grew on her back, just gently where her wings had once been.