onsdag den 29. april 2020

WfW - Here There be Dragons IV

  The Words for Wednesday are delivered by Elephant's Child all during April. 
  I'm still spinning out the "Here there be Dragons" from the first, third and fourth Wednesday, and hope that Lee's words will allow me to continue and eventually bring the story to its conclusion on Wednesdays to come.
  The words are:




After several false starts they finally crossed the river. The moon still hung low in th sunlit sky and the gentle breeze seeming to come from the moon, made the broken branches whisper and murmur. Several larger and a larger number of smaller branches were hanging only in thin threads of torn and shredded bark from many of the trees. And this, finally made Sandra and the children realize that Kai's dragon was real and not a bunch of lies.

As they finally found the dragon, sleeping near the water, its body was black as the night on the underside, but the upper side was beautiful enough to make them want to cry. Then the dragon woke, and jumped into action.

Part 5.

mandag den 27. april 2020

Poetry Monday :: Birds

   Diane of On the Border and Jenny of Procrastinating Donkey are taking turns hosting Poetry Monday.
  This week we talk of Birds

  This is a modern form for petry - I think it's called Free Verse. I'm not sure it is poetry at all, but I felt tempted to make something like this today. 

I'm watching birds,
Owls and Eagles in livestream.
Sparrows in the garden.
Starlings on the rooftops,
Swallows in the air,
Wagtails in the street,
And blackbirds in my apple tree. 

Next week we'll talk of Friends.

søndag den 26. april 2020

W is for Wands

A direct continuation of Broom Racing - Aftermath.

"Susan, My, Anna, Aamu and Rósa! You come with me and Tähti, The rest of you will go to the potion room with Taavi and Gilvi" Thora said.

Tähti and Thora led the 5 apprentices down to the row of trees separating the Unicorn Farm from the rest of the island.
"I'm sure you all remember the day you got your wand," Thora said. "Wand-singing is a special branch of magic. And you are chosen to learn this."
Susan felt warm and happy inside. She clearly remembered the tree's song and she had looked longingly at the Japanese cherry tree each time she arrived at or left Unicorn Farm.

"We have chosen one apprentice from each country," Tähti continued. "Actually Sweden and in particular Norway could use two, considering the length of the countries, but none were found, maybe later well try to  teach some more apprentices, as it is a necessary ability to have." Thora directed the apprentices to leave their own wands at the big bales of hay and go to their own trees: "You all remember the tree, that gave you your wand. Go to them, place your hand on them and thank them."
  Susan walked slowly towards the Japanese cherry tree, she remembered the song, and was excited to hear it again. She placed her hand on the trunk and said: "Thank you, tree. I am very grateful for your gift. It has served me well so far. I hope you do not feel any pain where the wand left you." Susan was surprised by the tree's answer. It shook its branches, as if shaken by a gust of wind and then stood still. Simultaneously a melody spread Through Susan's hands, up her arms and from there into her ears and brain. It was such a lovely, harmonious tune, that Susan closed her eyes and let herself be swept away by the harmonies. Suddenly she was the tree, She was a cherry pit in the ground, stretching towards the light, drinking deeply from earth, sunlight and rain. She grew, extending her branches towards the sky. She felt the exquisite taste of sunlight on green leaves in spring, the sap returning from the leaves to the branches, down the stem in Autumn, and the opposite feeling of the sap raising, flowers and leaves unfolding in early spring. She felt frost bite the opening flowers and as a sustained bitter note the frustration over not bearing fruit. Once again she told the tree how much happiness it brought with its wonderful pink clouds of flowers. The tree thanked her and the song ended. Susan opened her eyes slowly to the sunlit world again. Still holding lightly to the tree she walked round it, looking at the tree and at all the other trees around her.
  Thora called the five apprentices to her. "Now you've heard your own tree, you need to be acquainted with other trees. Find one as different from your own tree as you can, not necessarily one, you do not like, but a different one. Think, look at the trees, or do both. Go and put your hands on the new tree. Tell them your name, and ask the tree to tell you theirs."
  Susan thought. A Japanese cherry was a tree of dreams and clouds. The opposite ... well a serious, fruit-bearing tree, or an ugly one? Serious, that would be an apple tree, and for ugly Susan remembered the Devil's walking stick in Granny's garden. Did such a one give any wands, and grow here? Susan looked at the closest trees. A big apple-tree stood near her, and she went to that one. As Thora had told her, she put her hands on the tree and said: "Good day, apple tree. I am Susan, an apprentice witch and wand-singer. How are you today?"
  Susan did not really expect an answer, but the tree sang to her. A welcoming, plain song of happy summers, busy bees and branches laden with fruits. Then it told her that  it was pleased to make wands for any needing it, but would Susan please remove some of the apples, because they were growing wrong?
  "Growing wrong?" Susan asked, and the tree sang of badly pollinated flowers, apples growing too close to one another and bugs. Susan stroked the tree and promised to remove the troublesome small apples. To reach the topmost apples, she had to climb, but she felt it impolite to just climb up a tree she had spoken to only minutes before.
  She considered asking the tree, but Thora saw her plight and came over. "Oh, the tree asked you a favour, that's just fine. The Snow magic can be used here, you just have to substitute sunrays for snowflakes. I think the other were taught in the first days of the holidays, while you were still with your family elsewhere." Susan tried the variation, and soared skywards on the sunrays to pick the bad apples from the tree. 
  "Now, Thora said, as the five apprentices once again stood around her. "Now you have to learn to sing the wand-song. Draw a deep breath, all the way down to your toes and sing with me."
  After an hour of singing, humming, breathing and standing on tiptoe to reach the highest notes, the five apprentices felt totally drained.
  "Oh, yes," Thora said with a tiny smile. "Wand-singing is hard work. Dinner is ready in a few minutes, you can all wash at the trough outside the barn." Not one of the girls had it in them to run there, they walked slowly towards the pump and trough to wash sweaty faces and hands in the refreshingly cool water. Thora manned the pump.  

lørdag den 25. april 2020

TUSAL 23 March 2020

Yesterday was the new Moon.

I have not been making much because of those stupid health issues, but the glass is a bit fuller than it was.

onsdag den 22. april 2020

WfW - Here there be Dragons III

  The Words for Wednesday are delivered by Elephant's Child all during April. 
  I'm still spinning out the "Here there be Dragons" from the first and third Wednesday, and hope that EC's words will bring the story to its conclusion next Wednesday.
  The words are:


And in addition two photos of a beautiful old locomotive , which I unfortunately can't find any use for.

They flew on, over the water until they reached the next island. "This island is part of the reservation, Sandra said. I'm not sure we're allowed to go there. But as the island was fairly big, overgrown with gnarled trees and flowers, they landed on a small clearing anyway.
Kai told that there had to be a map of the bird reserve down by the pier on the beach, and went to look, flying carefully between the trees and bushes.
Sandra and the children put away their brooms and waited.

Kai returned and drew a map of the island on the ground. Two small rivers crossed the island and natural forests covered almost all of it. In the middle of the island the two rivers came close and flowed away from one another again, leaving a small island of raised cliffs in the middle.
"Mark my words," Kai said "The dragon is sleeping between the two small rivers."
They had to follow the first river almost down to the beach to cross it, and as they looked out from the forest's edge in preparation to crossing the river, they saw a boat filled with people in sweaters and armed.
 Kai got upset and gave vent to his anger: "It's not a game for human hunters even of the cruel kind. I do not want these nincompoops to shoot at my dragon. He drew his wand and spoke again: "I just want justice, I want to show you five my dragon, not the whole world, and especially not those people with their big gun."
He was about to cast a spell when Susan stopped him: "Hold it, she said. They are not hunters they are ornithologists. Bird watchers," she added, seeing Heidi's blank expression. "My aunt told us about them the very first day we were here. If you look closely, you can see, that the gun is not a gun, but a humongous looking glass, like the ones from old pirate movies."
"By golly, You're right. Let's just stay here until they sail on." Kai said, letting his wand arm sink slowly. 

Part 4.

tirsdag den 21. april 2020

Susan's story -- Epilogue

  Dear friends. I want to know you  reactions. As promised the very last chapter in Susan's (my) story: 

LINK  has been taken down again.

  I will take down this link again in a week or so. I did not intend to reveal how it all ended, but I also did want to tell you how it all ended and hear what you thought about it.  

mandag den 20. april 2020

Poetry Monday :: Favourite Snack

My Favourite snack? Once again short and not so good due to poor health.

It is not very hard to find.
Now Easter time has come around.
The Owlets say "Oh, Mommy kind,
Give us an Easter egg or two."

And as it is with everything
My favourite snack varies,
From Easter's eggs to Summer's berries
To Autumn's nuts, what Winters bring.

fredag den 17. april 2020

O is for Owl

After the lesson had ended all the apprentices went outside. Only Susan and a pair of the others stayed in the Barn. Susan did not want to go outside, she felt moody. She did not feel like going for a walk in the sunshine.

  She climbed the stairs, and navigated the narrow stairs leading to the libraries. She went into the smallest of them, as she remembered that the books on owls and other familiars were located there. After a short search she found a big, dusty volume called Information on Arcane Familiars. She looked in the index, and discovered that the animals were ordered alphabetically. This made it easier. She quickly flicked past Adder, Badger, Bat, Bear, Black Mamba, Blackbird, Boar, Buffalo and  Buzzard to arrive at Cat, and read: "Cats often choose the witch or wizard. A perfectly black cat is the best familiars, but also black cats with white markings or even a red cat can be excellent familiars. Sometimes ...
  Thora entered the room. "Hi Susan, studying on your own?"
  "Yes, I wanted to know more about cats as familiars, you see, I think I once had one, but something went wrong." And Susan told Thora all about Meow, the inbred, stupid cat, who had insisted on staying close to Susan at all times.
  "Yes," Thora said slowly. "That might have been the result of imperfect bounding, or something else. Familiars are not always as they should be."
  "And owls," Susan said. "My Grandma has two big owls sitting on her clothes line. They seemed to understand me, and I them. I would so like to have a owl as familiar. "
  "Maybe when you get older. An owl is a very messy familiar, demanding a lot of space. I live outside of town, just like your Granny. Owls need to hunt."

Haiku Day

  Today is the International Haiku Day, the Australian Haiku Society is celebrating International Haiku Poetry Day by holding a String on the theme of ‘Solitude’. "By sharing our haiku we can connect with each other, even in these days of social distancing, self-isolation and working and studying from home," they say on their home page - link provided me by the Danish Haiku Group.

  I am afraid I cannot be pessimistic for long even though time and subject call for it. 
  Here are my haiku and a Danish rewording: 

Flowers are blooming
Gardening things calling
I must stay inside.

Through my big window,
I greet my neighbours and smile,
We share a cuppa.

Teddies everywhere
for children to seek and find
Bear necessity.

   --  はいく  -- 

Blomsterne spirer
Haveredskaber kalder,
jeg bliver inde.

Gennem vinduet
ser jeg mine naboer,
Vi løfter koppen.

Bamser overalt
Børn, der leder og finder
Ét er nødvendigt.

onsdag den 15. april 2020

WfW - Here there be Dragons II

  The Words for Wednesday are delivered by Elephant's Child all during April. 
  I'm just sort of spinning out the  "Here there be Dragons" from the first Wednesday, and hope that EC's words will bring the story to its conclusion next Wednesday.
  The words are: 



  In the sunless pre-dawn of the spring day Kai led the little group back to the place where he had seen the dragon, or thought he had seen one. Soon they passed the line of trees separating Unicorn Farm from the rest of the peninsula. They ignored the warning signs telling them to stop, they ignored the branches and brambles trying to catch their hair or dangling feet, as the flew low through the woods behind The Farm. They had forgotten how cold the wind was and as they dismounted, Kai quickly hastened his slow walk to a brisk trot, and continued until he stood at the utmost tip of the peninsula. Sandra, Heidi, Susan, Tage and Lis were close behind him. Everything was quiet. The sun rose,  and made the sea glimmer like a thousand golden shards. A delicate pair of wings could just be seen at the horizon. "See," Kai said in a low but triumphant voice. "Do you see the dragon?" Their eyes were drawn to the strange phenomenon.
  "It's so not a dragon," Sandra said. "It's a whale blowing"
  "My dearly beloved wife," Kai countered, " How little I ever care to gainsay you, you are mistaken. A blow that size would take a monster of a whale to make, and it would surely not have enough water beneath its fleshy keel in these cold, shallow straits."  
  "Oh, Dad," Heidi said, her words almost inaudible over the surf. "It IS a dragon, I'm sure!"
  "Am I a witch or not?" Sandra asked of no-one in particular and mounted her broom. "I'll fly out and see!"
  "Let's all fly out," Tage said, "If it is aggressive, we are safer many together."
  All the others also mounted their brooms, and side by side they flew out over the glittering sea.

Part 3.

tirsdag den 14. april 2020

M is for Mondrian

Later, as they studied the book, Lis asked Susan about the potion, Ella's Granny had given to the werewolves and the Gargoyle.
"I think I've found it," Lis said, "The last chapter in the book is interspersed with notes in that crazy German Script, come over and help me read it. It's also written in German."
"Let's try ..." Susan said. "And let's begin with the ingredients, I should know what it says there."

Together they laboured through the sprawling letters, Heidi writing down each word as they agreed upon it. Tage ran after the big German dictionary and a thesaurus from the living room. In the end they were able to read the following verse:

"Mondrian is brewed in moonlight,
brewed in hope and love and fear
Are you bitten,
moonstruck, smitten,
Mondrian will set you right.
In your greed you'll be forsaken.
Mondrian in excess taken
make you lose what you hold dear"

"Ella's Granny was very careful not to let me or anyone else touch the potion. She did not tell why, but I guess she was afraid we wold lose our magic should we touch it. It sounds like a very potent potion."
"It sure does." Tage said. "A potion to take people's magic from them is very dangerous indeed. I'm not even sure, we should let the translation of this potion laying around."
"No, I agree," Lis said. "Let's burn it at once."
Heidi lit a fire and they burned the transcription and all of their notes.
"And now I suggest I go down to Unicorn Farm and hand this book over to either Gilvi or the twins. I think it is much too dangerous." Susan said in an earnest voice.
"I suggest we all go  together," Heidi said.

When they arrived at Unicorn Farm, the teachers were gathered in the kitchen, eating dinner. The four children waited outside at the bales, until the teachers had finished eating. The first one to get out was Torben.
"Why are you here now?" he asked.
 "I wanted to ask Gilvi about something in my homework, and the other three offered to keep me company. It's a  lovely evening for a walk." Tage said, offering the same explanation he had given their parents.
Torben eyed them with suspicion, and he looked at the books in Tage's hands, and then he cast a long searching glance at the old, worn volume in Susan's hands. Luckily all the other teachers came out through the open french doors and Gilvi walked over to the children. Torben hurriedly took his leave and went for the trees. "Now what are you four doing here?" Gilvi asked.
"Officially we're here to ask you some questions about the spell I had to practice for tomorrow, Tage said
"And unofficially?" Gilvi asked with a wry smile.
"Unofficially, and very much so I'm here to give this book into your hands. I think it is dangerous, well we all think so." Susan said extending the old bestiary.
"Griffon's old bestiary!" Gilvi exclaimed. "Where on earth did you pick that one up? It was thought lost at least  200 years ago. Let's go inside the kitchen."
In the kitchen Thora still stood, packing a big cake into her handbag.
"Thora, pull that cake back out again and get hold of the Kuusisaaris before they leave." Gilvi said, as he poured water into the big shiny kettle and made ready for tea.
Soon all eight sat around the cozy kitchen table with steaming mugs of tea and generous slices of cake. "Thora, would you please..."
Thora pulled out her wand and made some complicated gestures with it, before she gave a small sigh. "Now we're safe," she said.
Gilvi placed the book on the table, and Tähti almost spilled her tea in surprise, Taavi actually dropped his slice of cake.
"From where do you have this book?" Tähti asked, as she got her voice back.
"From Susan here," Gilvi said. "Settle down, I think we have a late evening in front of us."

mandag den 13. april 2020

Poetry Monday :: My Favourite Lunch

Because my health is still not good, my verse today is short.

My favourite lunch is plain,
Now please let me explain.
It's homemade bread with honey
Best eaten somewhere sunny.

Next week, we stay with food: My favorite snack.

onsdag den 8. april 2020

Words for Wednesday - April 8

The Words for Wednesday are delivered by Elephant's Child all of April.  Again we meet Susan and the people from the Unicorn Farm, and again this is just for fun, I suppose it's not going into the book, but I needed some lightness and fun in these times. I'm sorry not to continue the "Here there be Dragons" from last Wednesday, but  maybe next week. 
  The words are:



Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire.

   "Practice, always practice," Susan said irritated. "I know, I'm good at this, why do I still have to practice?"
  "Good is not good enough," Heidi said, her head bent over the book. "Remember what happened with the clothes peg?"
"Oh, yes I remember. We were lucky that day that it was nothing worse," Susan said in a more agreeable voice.
  It was late in the evening, maybe already night, Lis had her wand emit a witchlight and read aloud by its eerie glow: "Faeries," she read from the slim, red book, "come in at least four different varieties, just like the elements."
  "I then suppose far more than four," Susan said. "Do you remember Teiko and Kensuke, they counted five elements, and more appropriate for fairies, what with wood being one of them. And are you sure this book is not totally wrong? I have trouble imagining earth fairies following our elements, and maybe even more trouble with metal fairies when using the Japanese five."
"Fair enough," Heidi said. "I never saw a metal fairy, nor an earthen one. I think we better stop here and ask Jon tomorrow. If the book can't be trusted, Its no good going along with it."
"Yes let's," Susan said, calling her greenish witchlight with a liquid move of her wand. "Time to get home! See you tomorrow."

tirsdag den 7. april 2020

G is for Ghosts

  "But we were talking about cats," Thora continued. "The cat, when not totally black is a harmless enough familiar, so that some of you, I am sure, already has a cat as familiar. Maybe even without knowing it."
  Susan thought back on the summer before last. She and Linda had been sure they had a poltergeist or some other ghost in the cellar. Often when one of them came down there a big wooden plate that father had bought to make some project, was swaying from side to side as if pushed by an invisible hand. They even tried placing an old tape recorder in the cellar, but the noises on the tape were indistinct and could be only the muffled sounds of  family's activity or echoes from the laundry service across the road. Then one day Susan and Linda were in search of screws for their homemade letterboxes and once again they saw the big board swaying to and fro. But now there was a sound, a recognizable sound. A soft meowing came from behind the board. Susan and Linda ran up the stairs and told mom and dad that the ghost in the cellar was not a ghost, but a cat! Some hours later they went back down again, and the meowing resumed, louder, more insistent. They looked behind the board. A small black and white kitten looked up at them. Father with his long arms came to the rescue and pulled the kitten from behind the board They named it Meow, because it was fun to have a vat able to say its own name, and fed it milk and bread with liverwurst and it grew and thrived. 
  Unfortunately their mother was right when she told them that when a mother cat feels threatened, she moves her litter, and the last kitten to be moved is always the weakest. As the cat grew it became clear that it was almost blind and could not learn how to handle this handicap. It kept on just running straight ahead, banging it's head into things and getting caught in between table legs and in odd corners. In the end Susan, Linda and her mother found out why. All the black cats with white markings, like Meow, fell from the same tomcat, called Gravestone Tom. He was big and beautiful, with a shiny black fur and torn ears. He lived in the graveyard where he was often seen sunning himself on the gravestones. He dominated all the cats in the nearby streets, and chased all other tomcats out of his territory. He was father, brother, grandfather as well as uncle to Meow. In the end Meow was brought to the vet and euthanized. She was a danger to herself and a full time job for the family.
  Susan did not hear much of Thora's lesson on cats, but as she, maybe inevitably, drifted to owls, Susan pricked up her ears.

mandag den 6. april 2020

Poetry Monday :: Not Afraid

  Diane of On the Border and Jenny of Procrastinating Donkey are taking turns hosting Poetry Monday.
   This week
Diane had said, we'll talk of Things that Scare Us now

 A repeat post from Tuesday February 17, 2015

One of my favourite poets, Halfdan Rasmussen is famous for his playful and equilibristic poems for children. But he had a serious side too; he wrote poems filled with social indignation and courage. This verse was translated into English (by Mary McGovern?);  Roger Waters used it as the first verse of his Each Small Candle:

Not the torturer will scare me
Nor the body's final fall
Nor the barrels of death's rifles
Nor the shadows on the wall
Nor the night when to the ground
The last dim star of pain, is held
But the blind indifference
Of a merciless unfeeling world.

For next Monday Jenny has given us: Your Favourite Lunch.
  - - - - - -

Gentagelse fra tirsdag den 17. februar 2015

Halfdan Rasmussen er nok mest kendt for sine vidunderlige og sprogligt legende børnerim, men han var også en alvorlig digter med et stort samfundsmæssigt engagement. I dag er det på sin plads med et af hans mere alvorlige digte:

Ikke bødlen gør mig bange.
ikke hadet og torturen,
ikke dødens riffelgange 
eller skyggerne på muren.
Ikke nætterne, når smertens sidste stjerne styrter ned,
men den nådesløse verdens blinde ligegyldighed.
 - Halfdan Rasmussen (1915-2002)

søndag den 5. april 2020

F is for Familiar

  Once again the apprentices were gathered in the barn for education on magical animals.   "Today we're going to hear about cats," Thora said. "Almost everyone, wizards and non-wizards alike agree that cats are an aloof species. In many cultures black cats were associated with witches or wizards and thought to be familiars."
  Heidi put up her hand. "Yes, Heidi," Thora said.
  "When the wizards and witches from the Hungarian Academy of the Arcane were visiting, I noticed that many of them had either cats, owls, toads or other familiars with them. I'm even sure one of them had a bat. Then why don't we have familiars?" Heidi sat down again.
  "The answer is at least partly in what I already have said." Thora answered. "Cats, especially the black cat is associated with witches, the same goes for toads and partly owls. And as many of you Nordic witches and wizards come from non-wizarding families, we decided to not complicate the matter by adding familiars. Some of us do in fact have familiars, but we are all better off if they are not taken notice of. I agree with Cassandra, your dear mother, on this. There's no reason to tempt a further investigation in this school."
  Thora went over to the open window and made a peculiar sound, something between a meow and a hoot. A smallish owl flew through the window and landed on the table in front of her. It hooted softly and folded its wings.
  "This is my familiar," Thora said in a soft voice. "Her name is Brúnleit, she is a Short eared owl, in Icelandic a cat-owl, kattugla. Normally you cannot see the ears, as they only stand up when she feels threatened." The owl turned around, facing the apprentices, Its claws mad clicking noises against the table as she turned.
  Susan sat looking at the small owl. It was maybe half as big as the owls from her grandma's clothes line. But the coloration was much the same. Only the eyes were brighter yellow instead of orange and surrounded by black rings, which looked as if she was wearing a mask. She was beautiful. Susan wanted to stroke the owl.  The owl slowly turned its head back at Thora and then around at the apprentices again. The owl locked eyes with Susan and clicked her beak. Susan smiled.
  Then Thora made the strange sound once again, fed Brúnleit a small biscuit from her pocket and carried her to the window and let her fly into the beautiful Autumn afternoon.

lørdag den 4. april 2020

D is for Delay

  MotherOwl's health is not at its best right now. The A-Z stories I have already written, will be published on the relevant day, But I'm not sure how many new ones I will get written.
  Now is not a good time to come down with anything but Corona - which it is not.

fredag den 3. april 2020

C is for Clogs

  Susan hated clogs. Her mother insisted that they were good for the feet. Every time she said that, Susan replied: "Not for my feet, I always kick myself on that knobbly bone at my ankle. It hurts! a lot!"
  "You'll get used to it!" Mum answered.
  "Get used to it," Susan mumbled, almost slamming the door on her way out, The weather was lovely, it was Saturday, and the street slowly filled with children. At first Susan sat in her garden, reading last week's Mickey Mouse, Linda went to the neighbours, who had just gotten a new guinea pig. But then the girl from across the street and her brothers came out. The girl had long, black hair, braided in a long, long braid. She did not use any hairband.
  "How is it, that your hair never ever unravels itself?" Susan asked, "I would like my hair to do the same, then I could maybe keep Mum happy by not losing my hairbands every day."
  The girl said: "Well my hair has never ever been cut. My Mum says it helps it not to unravel. And then it's curly." Susan sighed. Her hair was straight and boring blonde, and Mum inisted on having it cut at regular intervals at hhirdressers next to the grocery store. She so loved Fatima's long black braid.
  "Do you want to skip a rope with me," Fatima asked, "I just learned how to do double swings, my biggest brother's wife showed me how to."
  "I'd love to," Susan answered with yet another sigh, but I can't jump with these clogs on, the rope often as not snatches underneath them. It''s no fun."
  "Take them off," Fatima said. "Or can't you skip barefoot!"
  "Genius!" Susan exclaimed, hugged the smaller girl, and hurried in after her rope and some other playthings.
  All the long morning they jumped, skipped, played wall ball, keep away, and sevensies. Just before lunch Susan put her feet in the clogs. and had them on when Mum came out and called them in for eating. Susan looked at her socks, they were dirty and not in one piece any more. Quickly she washed hands and feet and hid the socks in the laundry basket.
  After lunch she found a new pair of socks and went playing. This time they played in Susan's garden. They played freeze tag, hide and seek and more rope skipping, this time with a long rope and everybody taking turns. Susan was not very good at this, Linda was better, and Fatima too, even Fatima's younger brother was better actually. But they had loads of fun. Much more fun than in school, where Susan's class mate always made her swing the rope forever, because she was not good at jumping.
  Two of her class mates, Fatima's elder brother and his friend Jens, came and joined in the jumping as well. Susan's clogs stood forgotten in the driveway. Jens had a Pogo-stick. It was a new craze, and they all took turns trying it. It was fun, heaps of fun.
  "Wonderful!" Susan said as she returned from her trip to the corner of the street and back and gave the Pogo-stick back to the waiting Jens. "My birthday is soon, I'd like a Pogo-stick. It is really fun."
  "You did very well," Jens said, his surprise showing. I did not think you were good at jumping, you always fumble at the rope skipping, but you were the one doing best on the Pogo!" Susan went a bit red, but she was happy.  Soon, far too soon the sun sunk behind the houses, and the mothers came put, calling their children home for dinner. "See you tomorrow!" they called, as they drifted off in twos or threes.
  Once again Susan put her holey and dirty socks deep inside the laundry basket. But laundry baskets are not good at keeping secrets, and  mummies are not stupid.
  Some days later, Susan's Mum caught Susan in the door as she returned home from school. "Susan. What on earth is happening to your socks?"
  "My socks?" Susan asked innocently. "Why?"
  Mum sighed: "You know perfectly well what I mean. Your socks!" She pulled a dirty, holey sock from her pocket. "How did it, and all the rest of your socks, end up like this?"
  "Oh!" Susan said. "It just happened. Fatima asked me if I wanted to skip together with her, but I could not skip with those, those ... idiotic cogs on." Susan knew better than to swear around her mother. "I fell over the rope. Then I tried without them, and it was just perfect, wonderful to be skipping again."
  "Susan!" Mum said, "If you pull off your clogs, then please pull off your socks as well. But I think I won't buy you any more clogs after this."
  Mom saw Susan's smile and added. "Don't be too happy. I'm going to buy you a pair of those natural shoes, they should be healthy for your feet as well!"
  This time Susan was careful to hide her smile. She loved running barefoot, and "duckfeet" as those shoes were jokingly called after their ugly looks was almost as good - at least according to the two flower power girls in her class.
  No more clogs!

 Note: Now we're really back in time. We are in the Spring before the first summer at Unicorn Farm. Susan will have a Pogo-stick, a red one, for her birthday. And she loved the "duckfeet" shoes. 

torsdag den 2. april 2020

B is for Bestiary

After the Lion dancers and all the other Christmas guests from near and far had gone home again, the Unicorn Farm was a quiet place. Many of the apprentices stayed i the guest rooms, Susan stayed with Heidi and her family, enjoying the few days left of the Christmas holidays before normal school was supposed to begin again.
  As they lay in their beds in Heidi's room, Heidi asked Susan. "I saw Ella, Teiko and Kensuke slipping you a book, what was that?" 
  "Oh, haven't I told you about it already. The book, I bought in Paris together with my parents, Ella's Granny borrowed it to copy it. They promised to bring it to me. I intend to give it to Thora or Tähti and Taavi. It is mostly a bestiary with some wild ideas about some the animals. I remember reading through a chapter on black roosters being immortal while driving home."
  Can I see it," Heidi asked, "and is there anything on transformation in it?"
  "Of course you can see it, but it had better wait until tomorrow in the dayligth."
  "Is it that scary?" Heidi asked.
  "No, it's not that, it's the print. It is hard to read even in good light. It's an old German book, it's printed mostly in Blackletters and blurred too. And here and there some notes are added in handwriting. I can't read that very well."
  "I'll wait, then."

They slept. Next morning after an ample breakfast they studied the Bestiary before going off for Unicorn Farm. "You're right," Heidi said" I cannot read this print at all, except for the names of animals and such. Those letters there look more like the ones I know."
  "It's because Latin, French and Italian and  so on are printed using another type. My Auntie G taught me how to read Blackletters and Deutshce Schrift, that's the crazy handwriting there," Susan said pointing to an almost illegible scrawl in the book. "She told me that there existed two different types of letters side by side. Blackletters and our normal letters, Antiqua. And they fought for supremacy, and in the end Antiqua won everywhere, last of all in Germany, where some old people still use Deutshce Schrift."
  "Maybe Lis could help us, she's a handwriting nerd, as you might remember from last Christmas." Heidi said,  nodding  her head at the book.
  "Oh yes, I do remember," Susan said. "I think I'll wait a couple of days to hand over this book. Let's try and get Lis help us after school today. Now I think we should be off to The Farm."

Note: This happens in the second Christmas holiday on Unicorn Farm. Wizards and witches from other schools and academies have been visiting, and the Lion dancers from Germany were among them. We will probably hear more of their visit under L for Lion Dancers; and maybe even more about what Susan and the magician's children discover in the old Bestiary.

onsdag den 1. april 2020

A is for Alchemy

  On this first day of April, I am ready to join the A-Z challenge. Some letters I have already written and pre-posted, others, I simply have no idea. I am going to publish the letter-posts in the evening my time, not as I normally do around midnight. Partly to make room for Poetry Monday, Words for Wednesday, TUSAL and other MotherOwlish endeavours, partly to give myself a chance to write a post with the relevant letter during the day.
  Only one thing is certain, we're going to meet Susan, her family and the witches, wizards and apprentices from Unicorn Farm. I have a whole lot of loose ends and unfinished tales hanging around, some of them at least will be tied and told here.
  These small vignettes, long and short, magic and mundane mixed, are connective tissue of the story. I hope that you enjoy reading them just half as much as I enjoyed writing them.
  In the end of each story an approximate date and further notes are given if relevant. 

A is for Alchemy:
After the brewing of the Sunshine potion (a story not online), the apprentices on the Green team were not as afraid of alchemy as they had been. And being afraid or not was a key to success or failure. Now they knew that even though they did not excel at alchemy like those on the blue team, they could brew a potion, whip up an antidote or mix an elixir. In the library Susan and her team mates read books with names like Core Compendium of Cordials, Elixirs Explained or Philters for Everyday Use. They all slowly learned to read Tähti and Taavi's sprawling script and the difference between gold and copper, sand and salt and a heap of other ingredients.
  One day they were tested again. They had been on an expedition to the farthest end of the island where Unicorn Farm was situated to meet the unicorns, sea serpents, which were spawns of the Midgard Serpent, the sea horses and other exotic critters hidden there. On the way they had waded through brooks, woodlands and meadows, and somehow many of them had touched the giant poison ivy growing somewhere. The challenge of saving themselves and their team mates from the gruesome rashes that broke out, was a spur to their ingenuity.
  They called on the Stockholmers from the blue team, as Helge and his cousins Harald, Bo, Lukas, and Britta were really good at alchemy. Britta and Lukas were sure the solution was somewhere in the library, and together with Susan, Veronika and Kalle they read through all the aforementioned books on alchemy, only to find the solution in a small insignificantly looking volume aptly called Infamous Shrubs. They returned to the alchemy room in the attic with the book raised in triumph as a standard in front of them, and no antidote was ever brewed faster and with more helping hands than this one. All the afflicted apprentices made sounds of gratitude and ease, as the vividly purple ointment was smeared upon rashes and sores.

Note: This happens somewhen during the first summer at Unicorn Farm, late in the Summer holidays or maybe in the Autumn holidays.

Words for Wednesday April 1st - Here there be Dragons

  Now Elephant's Child has taken over Words for Wednesday in April, we're off for lighter matters. Again we meet Susan and the people from the Unicorn Farm, this is just for fun, I suppose it's not going into the book, but I needed some lightness and fun in these times. I hope to continue this story on the coming Tuesdays.  




"Stop!" Lis said. "Please be rational, I'm sure there's got to be an explanation somewhere."
"The best kind of explanation would be the truth," Sandra said. "Dragons do not exist, not even on Unicorn Farm! And that's it! Definitely!"
"I don't think Daddy has been drinking," Tage added slowly. "That would not be like him. I've been thinking, that there might be a darker explanation. Somebody wants to put Daddy in a bad standing."
"Who would do this?" Heidi exclaimed. "He could not hurt a fly!"
"Have you ever heard him sing?" Susan asked, trying to lighten the mood. "That sure hurts my ears."
"Oh, Susan," Sandra said smiling. "Bless you child, for your humour, Yes that's a sound to scare maybe even a dragon away."
Kai entered the living room. "I heard you," he said. "I swear, I saw a dragon yesterday out in the end of the isthmus. I was picking some flowers for My dear Sandra, when I saw him. I was surprised, I never saw a dragon before."
"No of course you did not," Sandra said harshly, "They do not exist!"
"Let's stop discussing," Kai said, "it will only foster dissent and strife among us. Let's go and see."
 "Those are the wisest words you have spoken yet today." Sandra said. "Should we go by car or fly?"
"Oh, let's fly," Heidi said. "I am sure we all could use some fresh air."

Part 2.