tirsdag den 30. april 2024

Ⓐ - Ⓩ ~ Zoo / Josh Traustason

This is a series of studies for my long-time-in-the-writings book about the magic in the Nordic countries.
We are in the 70es on Unicorn Island, an island off the coast of southern Zealand. A handful of teachers have gathered the broken threads of magic once again, trying to revive the magic in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Faroes and partially Greenland.
Our main protagonist is Susan (me) from Elsinore and her three co-apprentices and friends Heidi, Tage and Lis living at Unicorn Island.
I grasped the chance to write a little bit about some of the lesser known apprentices in this A-Z challenge.

Ⓐ - Ⓩ

Z for Zoo and Josh Traustason

Josh lives with his father Trausti and mother Vigdís in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. Although he has six older brothers and sisters, he is a very lonely boy, as they are all much elder than him and most of them have left home. Josh spends much of his spare time in the nearby Zoo, talking to the cows and horses there, or reading a book while in their calming company. His father has an inkling what young Josh is missing - magic - as he is of magical descent, yet untrained. None of the older siblings have any magic at all, and Trausti do not feel like passing what little he knows to Josh.
A burden is taken from their shoulders as Thora shows up on Josh's eleventh birthday and offers him a place on the Unicorn Farm, where he joins the flying and transformations team.
Josh is dark-haired, dark-complexioned and surly of disposition. He is better with animals than with humans; when David arrives, Josh is one of his first friends. Josh also flies for Team David in the broom race and is one of the main culprits, apart from David himself, in sabotaging the brooms belonging to other participants in the race.

  - - - - -

His wand is made from juniper and his sparks are black and white.
He survives the losing of his magic, only to get involved in a gang war and shot later on.

Ⓐ - Ⓩ

And this marks the end of the A-Z Challenge 2024. One of the coming days will see a post on the professors - I think they are missing a prequel.

Using the word
Missing from the Words for Wednesday.

mandag den 29. april 2024

Poetry Monday :: Quiet

Poetry Monday is a challenge, normally hosted by Diane at On the Border. But from Monday, January 8, 2024, Messymimi and I have conspired to keep the chair warm for her, as she's taking a break due to health issues. We will each set the topics for one month, I began with January, Mimi supplied for February, and so on until Diane returns.

Quiet? I'm not quiet, my house is seldom quiet, three Owlets, one Writer and one MotherOwl make a lot of ... not noise exactly -- but sounds.  I do not miss quiet, as all those sounds are signs of life being lived.

And the only word to somewhat rhyme with Quiet is diet -- not a fave here either. At least when talking of slimming diets, which is normally what is meant. Talking of the FODMAP diet, I'm happy ... this is a diet in the medical sense of the word. I'm not losing weight, I'm not saving the climate, only my own stomach from being grumpy and making my life intolerable.

-- 🫘 --

Now, can I make that into a poem -- well let me try:

Following the FODMAP diet
my stomach is happy and quiet
Eat some cabbage or a bean
wake the monster, it is mean.
No to apples, nuts and lentils
else I'm grumpy and not gentle
If you want me to be quiet
Let me keep the FODMAP diet.

 - - - - -

Next Monday, it is my turn again:
And for the weeks to come:
May 13: Event
May 20: Pizza
May 27: Politics

Ⓐ - Ⓩ ~ Finnbogi Yngvason

This is a series of studies for my long-time-in-the-writings book about the magic in the Nordic countries.
We are in the 70es on Unicorn Island, an island off the coast of southern Zealand. A handful of teachers have gathered the broken threads of magic once again, trying to revive the magic in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Faroes and partially Greenland.
Our main protagonist is Susan (me) from Elsinore and her three co-apprentices and friends Heidi, Tage and Lis living at Unicorn Island.
I grasped the chance to write a little bit about some of the lesser known apprentices in this A-Z challenge.

Ⓐ - Ⓩ

Y for Finnbogi Yngvason

Finnbogi is not related to any of the other magical people of Iceland, at least not in recent generations. But as he lives with his mother and father near Hella in the south of Iceland, he was also participating in the magic Saturdays, where we found Rósa and Selma. Finnbogi has always known about his magic, as both his parents are of magic lineage, and he is frustrated that he is not able to do more.
Finnbogi is softspoken, levelheaded and a fast thinker but prone to play ostrich if problems come his way.
Finnbogi loves it at the the Unicorn Farm, where he is one of the only three apprentices studying Portals major and discernment magic. He is really good at discernment magic, but a bit afraid of the responsibilities this places on him. His wand is of Pearwood emitting bright red sparks.
We meet him in earnest during the broom race, where the 15 year old boy is the leader of the opposition, making it to an overall 5th in the race.

 - - - -

Finnbogi survives losing his magic, and we find him again working with Rósa at the Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft in Iceland.

Tomorow Z for Zoology and Josh.

Using the word
South from the Words for Wednesday.

Colour24 ~ May

The colour of May is

søndag den 28. april 2024

Sunday Selections :: Pretty Flowers and more

This has been a busy week. Sometimes so busy that I forgot to get pictures.

Last Sunday we went here. We listened to music, saw people fighting with swords and  staves, looked at pretty things, and ate cakes with plums and yuzu and lunch with lots of rice. We were at the Sakura festival in Copenhagen.

Last event of the day - where I remembered I had a camera - was the Wadaiko, drum show

On our way home we saw these almost sculptural flowers,

and my long-expected dandelion finally bloomed, not as pretty as expected.

To make up for this, the sloe bushes did their very best.

-- 🌸 --

Some days later I biked through the woods on my way to town
and stopped here
by this tree
yellow anemones grew here,
and white ones, but they were not what I was after.
These were. Sweet woodruff for my soaping. The only plant I ever succeeded in using for a naturally scented soap. I picked a large handful. It was made into a herbal tea when I arrived home. A portion was frozen for later use, and one half waited patiently for next day.

Next day I made sweet woodruff soap - and have no pictures to show of this either.

lørdag den 27. april 2024

Ⓐ - Ⓩ ~ X ... Nata and Jouka

This is a series of studies for my long-time-in-the-writings book about the magic in the Nordic countries.
  We are in the 70es on Unicorn Island, an island off the coast of southern Zealand. A handful of teachers have gathered the broken threads of magic once again, trying to revive the magic in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Faroes and partially Greenland.
  Our main protagonist is Susan (me) from Elsinore and her three co-apprentices and friends Heidi, Tage and Lis living at Unicorn Island.
  I grasped the chance to write a little bit about some of the lesser known apprentices in this A-Z challenge.

 Ⓐ - Ⓩ

X for "X marks the spot" ~ Nata Kanerva and Jouka Mustonen. 

Friends, not siblings this time around.

Palm Sunday in the morning, Jouka once again sat on Nata's doorstep, Over his shoulder hung a canvas bag where he had lots of things, a pocket knife, matches, edibles, books, and even a clean shirt. He enjoyed the glorious siunise, then passed the morning reading until Nata woke up and found him there. "Hi Jouka," she said. "Circus going on again at home?"
"Yea," he replied, "Dad's drunk again, the older ones have been out dancing, arriving home all night, more or less noisy, smaller ones crying, getting into everything, ruining my schoolbooks and homework given half a chance, and mom as usual sad, as usual silently scolding. I am just trying to make myself as scarce as possible."
"You know you're always welcome here. Maybe it would be an idea to stash your schoolbooks here? That way they won't be ruined," Nata looked questioning at Jouka. A slow smile spread over his narrow face.
"But first," Nata said, "you need a bath and some breakfast."   
"I second that," Jouka said happily.

After breakfast Nata found her mother and asked if Jouka could have a shelf of his own somewhere.
"I can do better," Her mother said. "That small room in the attic, there's an old cupboard, Jouka could have his stuff in there - there's room for more than books."
"Mom, you're a darling," Nata said, and Jouka thanked her profusely.
"Well," mom said. "It's only right. You and I have so much room, and Jouka so little. If I did not know that his mom and dad would raise hell given a chance, I'd say he could move in, I always wanted a son."
Jouka gave a short, hard laugh. "No, not going to happen," he said. "They need the Lapsilisä (money paid from the state to parents of children under 18) I bring."
"But you still know you're always welcome," Nata's mother said.
"Thanks!" Jouka said simply.

"Now what are we going to do in the holidays?" Jouka asked when Nata's mother had left for work.
"I have an idea," Nata said, rose, and fetched an issue of the paper, Helsingin Sanomat. "There is a an event in the park today, starting off an Easter-treasure hunt with clues for kids. One clue a day and a prize for whomever presents most solved clues Saturday morning"

They went to the park and participated in the event. They had to walk around the beds, finding flowers that were pretty, but poisonous. Together they found Aconite: "Also known as Wolfsbane," Jouka added, Foxgloves and a Daphne tree. They were then given a booklet to fill out every day and had their names signed in a list.

Every day the two children met in Nata's house, and every day Jouka's dark head and Nata's blonde were bent over the daily issue of Helsingin Sanomat.

Thursday the clues were very tough and they brought the booklet and the paper to the park, where the clue allegedly should be found.
"A place of dying?" Jouka said. "I have no idea."
"Graveyards are out of bounds, they said so in the first clue," Nata added.
"We have been to many of the famous places in Helsinki," Jouka said, "The Sibelius monument, National museum, Finlandia Hall, The Cathedral, The Mannerheim statue ... what would be missing, if this was a list of places to be seen in Helsinki?"
"The big Hospital?" Nata asked. "At least people die there."
"I do not think the hospital would be happy to be known as the dying place!" Jouka said.
"Fair enough." Nata said, "Missing also: Sveaborg, Old market, Library, Orthodox church, Rock church, Senate ..."
"Yes," Jouka interrupted her "Uspenskij cathedral. Uspenskij means dying, That's it!"
"Let's get there," Nata said.  

When they got near there, two old people asked for their help. "We're a bit lost," the man said."We were looking for the Cathedral, but we can't find it."
"We know where it is," Jouka said, "it's quite close, we were there Wednesday." As they walked with the couple to the Cathedral, they told about the treasure hunt, and their love of solving riddles."
The lady asked Jouka and Nata: "Can you also solve this one.  I have cities, but no houses; forests, but no trees; and water, but no fish. Who am I?"
Jouka and Nata whispered together, and  then Jouka spoke up: "It's a map!"
Then the man said: "A father’s child, a mother’s child, yet no one’s son. Who am I?"
"That's easy," Nata said. "It's me, a daughter."
"And a final one"," the lady said. "I always run but never walk, often murmur, never talk. I have a bed but never sleep; an open mouth but never eat. Who am I?"

Jouka thought long and longer, Nata did the same. They whispered, they repeated the words. "It cannot be alive, Jouka said in the end. If it never eats and never sleeps ... It's not a road either, because roads do not speak or run, even if we say so."
"This one does not speak either, only murmurs," Nata said. "And it run, but does not walk .. Maybe time?"
"No," Jouka said, "Time has no bed." Nata shook her head. "A bed," he said slowly "I know, at least I think I do. A river. Try it out."
"Runs, but never walks; check," Nata said. "Murmurs, I suppose you could say so of the sound from a running river, never talks at least. Have a bed, yup, and never sleeps. An open mouth? ... what's the mouth of a river ... oh yes of course it is a river." The last she said loud enough for the elderly couple to hear.
"True it is a river," the lady said. "We'd like to treat you two to an ice cream here in the park."
"Yes please!" Jouka and Nata said in unison.
As they sat on a bench and table set in the park each eating an ice cream cone, Jouka suddenly said. "You were not lost at all. You live here in Helsinki, same as we."
"True," the man said. "We were testing you."
"Is it a part of the Treasure hunt from the paper?" Nata asked, "and is it true that today's clue is the Uspenskij cathedral?"
"No, sorry," the lady said. "We're magic snoopers."
"You're what?" Nata said. "That sounds like something out of a bad movie."
"No it's true," Josh said.
"You can feel it," The lady said.
"Yes, or maybe ... Don't laugh, sometimes when people are lying, I see some kind of colour over them. Like red, orangish. If on the other hand they tell a truth that seems unlikely - like what you just said. I see a blue or green light over you. No, I'm not crazy, and sorry Nata, I have tried to tell you, but you were not listening very much."
"It's because I see the same," she said, shaking. "Only not so much any more. I once told my mother, and she said to stop doing it. It was evil. Some sort of witchcraft."   
"But it is, some sort of witchcraft, that is, not evil," the man said. "We are wizards, and we're out to find apprentices for our new school, would you like to join? I'm Taavi, and this is Tähti," the lady rose and bowed. Suddenly the children noticed that while she was certainly old, she was in no way weak or senile. She smiled, and her eyes danced with mirth. "You should see yourselves right now," she laughed. "Your brains are whirring, and you're almost tying yourself into knots so as not to believe us."
She pulled out a slender branch and swished it through the air whispering a short command. Then she rose into the air. Taavi also pulled his wand and swished it with a few words. Rose petals began raining gently all over the table and surroundings.
Jouka and Nata sat down, Then Jouka closed his open mouth. "But how, I mean why, I mean I did not think magic really existed. And how did you find us?"
"We have looked for children with magic, as I said we're snoopers, or rather it's a part of our job."
"I'd like to come," Jouka said, but then his face drooped. "But I'll never get my parent's permission. They want me to stay in the school with no payment" - he said this last as if it was one word.
"The school will be in the holidays" Täthi explained. "And your parents need not know where you're going. For that sake, you can tell them you've gotten a job for the holidays."
"But that's lying!" Jouka said.
"Do your parents know when somebody are lying? or  any of your brothers or sisters?"
"No," Jouka almost whispered, "they don't."
"I thought as much," Täthi said. "None of them can do magic, You're the only one."
"And me," Nata said. "I'm fairly free to come and go. Mother always works during the holidays, she says it pays better, gives her goodwill and that I'm bright enough to be able to miss a week here and there for us to travel anyway."
"Smart Mom, and she's even right." Taavi said.
"It's a deal?" Tähti said. Nata and Jouka nodded, and Tähti added: "I'll send you a letter closer to the summer holidays, telling where to go and such. No problems, Jouka, it will look as a working contract for you, and for Nata like an invitation to a 4H course."
"We'll be able to pay you a small salary," Taavi said calmingly to Jouka. "You won't be found out!"
"Now off to the Cathedral of the Dormition you go. That's the technical name for the Uspenkij Catedral. It sure is the right clue." Tähti said.

Nata and Jouka found the clue, they also found the Saturday one and each got a big bag of Easter eggs.

At the Unicorn Farm, Nata joined the healing and flying team, eventually flying for the Yellow team in the broom race, and Jouka was one of the only three apprentices taking to Portals major and Discernment magic.

Jouka's wand was made out of maple, and his sparks were bright red and green. Nata's birchen wand emitted yellow sparks. They both died after losing their magic again.

 - - - - -

Monday Y for Finnbogi Yngvasson.

Using the photo and the words
Foxglove and Event from the Words for Wednesday.

fredag den 26. april 2024

Ⓐ - Ⓩ ~ Hilde Westvold

This is a series of studies for my long-time-in-the-writings book about the magic in the Nordic countries.
We are in the 70es on Unicorn Island, an island off the coast of southern Zealand. A handful of teachers have gathered the broken threads of magic once again, trying to revive the magic in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Faroes and partially Greenland.
Our main protagonist is Susan (me) from Elsinore and her three co-apprentices and friends Heidi, Tage and Lis living at Unicorn Island.
I grasped the chance to write a little bit about some of the lesser known apprentices in this A-Z challenge.

Ⓐ - Ⓩ

Hilde Westwold from Norway

Hilde lives with her parents far from everything. She herself tells of her life here:
"I am an only child of two magical parents and they home-schooled me, and taught me everything they knew both about magic and the world. We live far away in the country, and we're used to being self reliant and hard working."
  Her appearance is homely in every sense of the word, squat, mousegrey hair, coarse features and manners. Combined with her obvious good brains and memory and having been taught much of what the others are fighting to learn, her aptitude to corect the other apprentices with a mine of "how hard can it be" makes Hilde not generally liked by the other apprentices of her nature team or indeed by any of the other apprentices. One day, not long after the Easter fire that changed this, she tells about growing up and magic.
"It seems that Nature magic is a kind of magic needing almost no wands," Hilde began her tale. "We lived alone, far from any big, or even small cities. We had an old, decrepit car, and once a month - more frequently in Winter and early spring, my father drove to the nearest town. Ther he shopped and sent off his work - to this day I do not know what he did. He worked all winter, rising early, going for a run, and then typing away all day in a small room in the upper floor. He always kept it carefully locked, and after he retired, it was cleared, and everything in there, even the furniture, burned. I suspect som kind of intelligence or espionage. Anyway -- from early spring well into autumn we worked from dawn to dusk, tending plants, feeding our cows, poultry and rabbits, weeding fields, hoisting water from the well, picking, canning, milking, picking seeds for next year, in short making sure to suevive another winter. Father also sold some of our surplus in autumn, and brought home sugar, tea and spices and needles, fabric and such. In winter, when my father wrote, mother and I sewed, wowe baskets, made spoons and containers from wood, we also learned and studied. We had one very old wand for all three of us, It had belonged to my mother's grandmother, it was decrepit, and for every use its magic grew less. So we only used it for real emergencies. But for the growing things, and such ... mom called it blessing magic ... only our hands were needed. We held our hands cupped around a plant or a chicken that was blighted or ill, then we sang, mom and dad taught me all the songs you have been studying here as well, and mostly the plants grew true and the small ones thrived. We also dabbled in potions, but we did not know enough, and we could not find anything to study.
  You can imagine our happines when Jon and Tähti showed up one day in Spring and sung wands for my parents and promised that I could go to school here. Singing of wands seems to have been a forgotten craft until recently, and only a few magic people have travelled far enough, or been lucky enough to find a wand maker in another country."

 - - - - - -

Hilde loses her magic same as all the rest of the magic society in the Nordic countries. Instead of expanding, they had to close down. Gilvi visited all of the parents, grandparents, cousins, friends ... in short all and sundry for whom Tähti or Thora had sung wands in the past three years, making them break their wands, and cast the forgetting spell on themselves, as a preamble to the terrible summer party at Unicorn Farm (not online).

Hilde's wand is made from spruce, emitting kitchen blue sparks. She survived the loss of her magic by efficiently burying herself in her studies to become a nurse. We meet her again as a busy nurse and grandmother in Birch Manor.

Ⓐ - Ⓩ

Tomorrow X for "X marks the spot"

Fredagsfrustration ~ Store bededag

  I dag er det fredag i fjerde uge i påsken. Tidligere var det store bededag denne dag, men i år er det en ganske almindelig hverdag. Ugleungerne er i skole, Skribenten er på vej ud af døren ... og det er overskyet og regnfuldt.
  Så langt jeg husker tilbage, har solen skinnet store bededag - i hvert fald her i Nordsjælland. Men i dag stod vi op til regn, og resten af dagen lover ikke meget bedre. Det er meget passende!

Jeg savner store bededag!

Og jeg citerer mig selv fra sidste år:
      Store Bededag er en fridag, der har betydet meget for mig i de forgangne år. Det er så at sige en "gratis" fridag. Butikkerne er lukkede, så vi kan heller ikke tage på indkøb. Vi får ikke gæster, vi skal ikke i kirke. Kort sagt, vi har bare fri, der er ingen, der forventer noget af os, ingenting vi skal.
     Det kommer jeg i den grad til at savne i de kommende år, det, og så den her lettede, boblende frie fornemmelse, når dagen ender af "Tænk, det er kun lørdag i morgen!"

Today is Friday in the 4th week of  Easter. Until now it was a holiday, Common (or great) prayer day, but this year for the first time it is just another Friday. The Owlets are off to school, the Writer is on his way out of the door as well, and the weather is cloudy and rainy.

So far the weather on this day has always been sunny, cold and windy maybe, but sunny. Today is the first rain on thins day for a long, long time. I woke up to the sound of rain on my window panes, and the rest of today looks the same.

I miss this holiday.

It was so to say a "free" holiday. Nobody expected anything from us, the shops were closed, so no shopping, we were not having any guests, we were not supposed to go to church (this was a Protestant prayer day only 😉). Not a thing in the calendar, and when the day ended, I always have had this light, bubbly feeling: Tomorrow is only Saturday! This feeling - of a week with two Saturdays - I am sorely going to miss in years to come.

Vejret sørger med mig ~ the weather commiserates.

torsdag den 25. april 2024

Ⓐ - Ⓩ ~ Sarah fra Vestegnen

This is a series of studies for my long-time-in-the-writings book about the magic in the Nordic countries.
We are in the 70es on Unicorn Island, an island off the coast of southern Zealand. A handful of teachers have gathered the broken threads of magic once again, trying to revive the magic in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Faroes and partially Greenland.
Our main protagonist is Susan (me) from Elsinore and her three co-apprentices and friends Heidi, Tage and Lis living at Unicorn Island.
I grasped the chance to write a little bit about some of the lesser known apprentices in this A-Z challenge.

Ⓐ - Ⓩ
Sarah Poulsen from Denmark

Vestegnen - meaning "the western parts" - is the build up areas west of Copenhagen, characterised by apartment blocks, concrete and steel, and modern architecture. It was not a nice life for many of the children in this modern desert. In some areas almost half of the grown-ups were unemployed, the number of immigrants and families having trouble with the police or social authorities were the highest in al of Denmark. From kindergarten up many children were latch key children, older children vere often sent to the pub to get father home, and many younger were sent shopping for alcohol and cigarettes before school. Many were the children who swore never to touch these things, but as they grew into adulthood and unemployment, the numbing effect of beer became alluring and former promises forgotten.
Despite all this it was in many ways a safe place to be a small child. You could always find someone to play with, always some one to go shopping together with and if your parents were too drunk or away, some other family always took care of you.

In one of the many apartment blocks lived a girl, Sarah, with her parents and two sisters, one older and one younger. Her mother worked as a cleaning woman at a nearby school, working early hours and only returning home after the three sisters had already left for school. Father had been laid off as a caroenter some years ago, he had hurt his back in an accident, and could not find a new job. His bach and his inability to fend for his family hurt him and drove him to drinking. The oldest sister Lone, cared for her smaller sisters, Sarah and Hanne. And this worked fine until  one day Lone found a sweetheart at a local pub. Then she too started drinking and dancing with him in the evenings. Sarah felt betrayed by Lone and began getting behind in school. She also felt excluded in school. She loved reading, she actually liked doing her homework and doing it properly. Sarah got into the habit of staying at the local library every day after school. It was a nice place, and the librarians knew the background of the children, so they were loving, but strict. A mixture that fit Sarah perfectly. One of the first days in the summer holiday Sarah met a strange man at the library. She was fascinated by him and his beard when she noticed him. But he just sat there, reading, same as her, and when she left for the cafeteria, to drink a coke and eat a sandwich - empty bottles earned her quite a nice sum - he did the same. That is, he drank a beer with his sandwich.
When they were all alone in the cafeteria, the tall, bearded man asked Sarah if she would like to help him. Sarah had heard enough of dangerous men to flatly say no to his request. But when she left the library a good deal later than she had planned, he stood outside. "Can I walk you home?" he asked.
Sarah could see nothing wrong in this, she counted on being able to outrun and out escape him if he was up to tricks, and as a gang of older boys had recently begun harassing whomever they found all alone on the walkways, taking their money or slicing them if no money were to be had, she accepted.
On the way home he kept quiet until they were more than halfway. Then he asked how she liked school here. This was what grown-ups always asked for starters, and Sarah answered truthfully that she liked school, that she loved reading, maths, languages ... in short all subjects, only not sewing and P.E.
"What would you like to study if you could choose anything at all?" he asked. Sarah thought for a while, then answered: "I'd like to invent a society where nobody needed to drink, where no pubs and no gangs are allowed. But to do this, I suppose I'd have to do magic."
"Do you think magic would solve all problems?" The man asked
"That's not how I meant it, and you know it," Sarah said. "But to do magic .. that would b nice. Just swish your wand and say a word, and bam, job's done, or mix up a potion to cure someone. Wow, that would be nice. Then I could cure my dad's back, mothers knees, and sister's stomach and ... oh everything. But magic is not real. It's only something you read about in books." Sarah sounded bitter.
"Would you like to learn magic?" the stranger said. "I, or rather we, as I'm not in this alone, can teach you. And we, that's I, have been studying you for some time. I'm sure you can do magic. same as us. Would you like to study real magic?"
"Would I?" Sarah said. "Of course I would. But how can I be sure it is real magic, not just rabbits out of hats?"
"Watch me," Torben answered - this is who it was - and pulled his wand out. He found a wizened bush, broke off a branch and swished his wand over it. Slowly the branch changed shape, turned into a wooden spoon and then into a drumstick.
Then he handed it to Sara. "Hold it," he said, "that way you can be sure, I'm not cheating." While Sarah held onto the branch, Torben turned it into a miniature flagpole and back into a spoon, this time with holes in it. Then he stopped doing anything, and the branch slowly turned back into a branch.
Sarah was convinced. "What do I have to do to learn this?" she asked.
"Follow me to school tomorrow morning, and after this every morning in the summer holidays. Study diligently and do your best. And do not tell anybody where you're going."
"Will do," Sarah said. "Where do we meet tomorrow?"
"What about right here? Then we walk to my portal that will take us to the magic school."
"That's a deal," Sarah said. "See you tomorrow!"

At the Unicorn Farm Sarah is a mediocre apprentice, but thoroughly enjoying her time there. She always had a remark that she herself called realistic, but others described as embittered, to people's motives and behaviour.
Sarah was 13 when she arrived at Unicorn Farm, and we first meet her when wands are sung for everybody. She joined the potions team, with a propensity for everyday magic; her wand was made of oak emitting yellow-greenish sparks.
She survived losing her magic, but turned into an old, embittered and mean drunkard. She is the only original apprentice never to have her magic back after Birch Manor was founded.
Read more here if you like to: Sarah and Her Children.

Ⓐ - Ⓩ

Tomorrow W for Hilde Westvold

Using the word
Summer from the Words for Wednesday.

onsdag den 24. april 2024

Words for Wednesday :: April 24 :: The Words

 This challenge started a long time ago. Now it has turned into a movable feast with Elephant's Child as our coordinator; and the Words are provided by a number of people.

The general idea of this challenge is to make us write. Poems, stories, subtitles, tales, jokes, haiku, crosswords, puns, ... you're the boss.
Use all Words, some Words, one Word, or even none of them if that makes your creative juices flow. Anything goes, only please nothing rude or vulgar.

 It is also a challenge, where the old saying
"The more the merrier" holds true.

So please, remember to follow the links, go back and read other peoples' stories. And please leave a comment after reading. Challenges like this one thrive on interaction, feedback and encouragement. And we ALL need encouragement.

-- 🏅 --

The Words for the Wednesdays in April are provided by
Elephant's Child.

For today we had:


And this photo

I have been busy elsewhere and writing the last A-Z chapters - alas these words did not fit today.
I hope to use them in some coming chapters as they sure fit the contents much better than last Wednesday's. 

Ⓐ - Ⓩ ~ U ... My from Uldervik

This is a series of studies for my long-time-in-the-writings book about the magic in the Nordic countries.
We are in the 70es on Unicorn Island, an island off the coast of southern Zealand. A handful of teachers have gathered the broken threads of magic once again, trying to revive the magic in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Faroes and partially Greenland.
Our main protagonist is Susan (me) from Elsinore and her three co-apprentices and friends Heidi, Tage and Lis living at Unicorn Island.
I grasped the chance to write a little bit about some of the lesser known apprentices in this A-Z challenge.

Ⓐ - Ⓩ

U for My Birkeland from Uldervik in Norway

My at 10 is the youngest of the apprentices and one of the exceptions from the age rule. She is absolutely not one of the unknown apprentices, but we hear little about her background in the online chapters. She comes from the same place as Jon, Uldervik, near Tromsø in the far North of Norway, where he works as a mail-man, and she is an only child of a single mother, her father died almost as soon as My was born. Her mother works as a modiste and is known and treasured in the theatre and literary circles of all Norway, so even if they live in a faraway place, My's mother often entertains celebrities and little My learns how to look and behave as a movie star. One thing is the looks, another thing is the interior, and My -- and for the most part her mother too -- did not like the gossipy, elbowing, knife in the back atmosphere of most of the crew.
My's copper red hair makes everybody bear with her as they write it down to red hair equals temper, but her mother persists on My's ability to keep her temper in tow.

My had turned 10 at one of the darkest, most rainful days in a wet and dark November, and not long after something happened.
Much of the afternoon, from school's out until her mother arrives back home, My is alone. She is allowed to bring one friend home, and to use all the scraps in the scrap basket for sewing doll's clothes - or even some for herself if she can manage. But My prefers to play in the attic with some of the neighbouring children. They play mostly folk tales, where My is the witch casting terrible spells and curses on whomever antagonizes her. Small and lithe with her coppery hair loose and tufted, and with skirts made from coloured pieces from the scrap basket, she looks the part.

Sometimes, mostly in winter, when it was pitch dark when she returned from school, she liked to stay in the big apartment, reading and eating cookies. Often the mail-man came, delivering orders or swatches in big manilla envelopes for her mother. The mail-man was a wonder to My, she was as dark as she was fair, his hair as black as hers was red, and in his red and black mail-man uniform with a double row of bright buttons he looked like something from a fairytale himself. It took weeks before My dared to say more than Hello or Thank you to the tall, dark stranger, but Jon, our postman, kept greeting her every time, and after some more time he got more words out of the girl. When after more than a month of chance meetings, he found My in a bleak mood sitting outside the apartment door, she was no longer afraid to speak to him. "Oh, Mr. postman," My said, "can you help me? I have lost my key. Mum is going to scold me so much. She said I was not old enough for my own key ..."
"How did you lose it?" Jon asked.
"Those girls ... " My said, and then stopped.
"Those four that have been following you, and teasing you ever since the Autumn holidays?" Jon asked, his voice low and caring.
"How did you know?" My asked, "but yes those four."
"You have no idea how much you can learn by walking the same rounds, and seeing the same persons, stairs and houses every day," Jon said. "But what happened to your key?"
"They teased me again, and I became so mad," My admitted, "and I threw thinks at them and stones and sticks. Then they sang 'Sticks and stones may break our bones, but My can never hit us.' Of course this made me even madder, and I looked for even larger stones to throw at them. In the end, I was home, and found I lost the key somewhere on the way. It must have fallen out of my pocket when I picked up my projectiles."
"Come with me for the last of my round, and then let's go and search together. That'll be better than sitting here on the staircase and grow cold."
My saw the logic in what Jon the postman suggested, she left her schoolbag at the door, and helped Jon empty the bag of letter; and then, in the dark they walked to the woody stretch of the road where she had ran around looking for stones to throw at the girls.
On the way Jon told about bing a postman, that was quickly over and done with, then they talked of stamps, and then of Fairy tales, and My told of her role as a witch in the childrens' plays.
"How are we ever to find my key here in the dark?" My asked.
"Do you believe in magic?" Jon asked.
"Like in the fairy-tales?" My asked, and Jon nodded. "Hmm, I do not really know," My said. "Everybody says magic is only inside the books -- oh! I love books -- but I would like magic to be real. Good magic that is, not like all the curses and spells I pretend to cast on my enemies when I am Barbara, the witch in our plays. Or even the thinks I try to send at them to make them fall and so on. They also seem not to work. I'm afraid I feel too much like evil Barbara doing that."
"I can do magic, real magic," Jon simply said. "And I think it is the only way to find your keys."
"Ljós!" he said, swishing a branch and a small, reddish light rose from the tip of the branch to hover over the path.
"Here, you hold it," Jon said and gave her the branch.
"It is a magic wand, isn't it?" My whispered and accepted the branch.
"Yes it is," Jon said, "just hold it upright and concentrate on the light."
My did, and slowly the light grew a bit brighter, more silvery. "You can do it!" Jon encouraged her. "Now think of the key! Make a picture of it inside your head." My tried to imagine her key, it was old, worn and silvery. It was her key. And suddenly the ball of light veered to the left and a weak echo of it could be seen under a tree. Jon went over there and quickly picked up the eerily shining key. "Here it is! You found it with magic."
The light faltered and gave out. My sat down on the nearest bench. "Ohh, I am so tired now, and hungry."
"Of course you are," Jon said. "I forgot how tiring magic is. Do you like bananas?" And he pulled a large, perfectly ripe banana from his mailbag.
"More magic?" My asked, warily.
"Nope, a totally normal and mundane banana, magic food is not nourishing, You must know from your tales." Jon smiled broadly, and his teeth shone in the last of the witchlight as he put the wand back in the bag.
My ate the banana, and soon felt well enough for the return journey.
"Don't tell anybody about your magic," Jon warned her. "They won't believe, and maybe trouble will come from it."
"Not even my mother?" My asked. "I do not like keeping secrets from her."
"Did you tell her about the four girls?" Jon asked.
"Yes I did," My said, "but she did not listen very closely. She just told me to not lose my temper ... and now I did."
"I'll come with you home, and do some explaining, I think. You mother need to know. You're right."
Jon sat quietly on a chair while My served tea and made her homework.
When My's mother arrived home, she was shocked to see a strange man sitting in her living room, drinking tea with her daughter, but then My explained about the key, and that Jon had helped her find it.

"And where did you say you found it?" My explained, and her mother sat quietly for a short while. "But it's pitch dark out there!" she protested.
My looked at Jon, as if to say 'I told you so'. And he drew a deep breath. "Sorry Mrs. Birkeland. May I explain. My name is Jon Solstad, and I can do magic. And so can your daughter."
"I suspected it. And I'm Ann," My's mother said. "My's father was the same. He could always find whatever what was lost, if not lost in deep water. I suspected that My inherited the gift ... or is it a curse?"
"It is a gift," Jon answered smiling. "And furthermore I have an offer you cannot resist - or at least I hope so. This summer, during the holidays, we will open a school for magic, and we hope to welcome My as one of the apprentices!"
My jumped up: "Oh mom, can I go. This sounds wonderful!"
"I do not think I would be able to stop you. And if I tried, you'd be pestering me forever!"
My gave her mother a big hug. "Thanks mom! I love you!"  She  turned to Jon, "And thank you too, Jon."
"I have to leave now," Jon said, but I'll be back. Both as a postman and to pick you up on your first day in magic school!"

My is the youngest of the apprentices, she joins the  potions team, where she is among the best, if not the best, and always willing to help, teach and share. She is a brilliant apprentice all round, only really bad at divinations and chiromancy.
Her wand is long and slender, made from sugar maple, and her sparks are silvery white, often likened to snowflakes.
My will be one of the teachers at Birch Manor.

Ⓐ - Ⓩ

Tomorrow V for Vestegnen, where Sarah Poulsen lives.

 - - - - -

PS. Don't try looking for Uldervik, it does not exist on any map of Norway. It is my misreading of Oldervik near Tromsø. I only noticed yesterday, and I am not going to change it.

tirsdag den 23. april 2024

Ⓐ - Ⓩ ~ Terje

This is a series of studies for my long-time-in-the-writings book about the magic in the Nordic countries.
We are in the 70es on Unicorn Island, an island off the coast of southern Zealand. A handful of teachers have gathered the broken threads of magic once again, trying to revive the magic in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Faroes and partially Greenland.
Our main protagonist is Susan (me) from Elsinore and her three co-apprentices and friends Heidi, Tage and Lis living at Unicorn Island.
I grasped the chance to write a little bit about some of the lesser known apprentices in this A-Z challenge.

Ⓐ - Ⓩ

T is for Terje Myhre from Norway

Terje is the only son of a big businessman in the wealthy suburbs of Oslo. His mother is a real estate agent, rich and efficient as well. He has three sisters, all older than him, and he is the big disappointment of the family specifically of his energetic father. Finally a boy, but then this boy! Big, painfully slow, clumsy, eccentric and not the least bit interested in big money.
  Terje spends most of his days trying to keep away from his father and with his nose in a book, the latter not helping with the former, as Terje normally gets so absorbed in his reading, that he does not notice the world around him.
   Animals always love Terje, and he spends many hours with the family dog when he is out visiting with his father and mother. He once happened to claim he could understand what the dog told him, but his father laughed so hard, Terje never said anything about this ever again.
  Because of his clumsiness his weekly allowance is always spent on repairs and making up for accidents. His father is unyielding when Terje asks for more hoping he will eventually learn prudence. Hence the rich boy is in reality the poorest of his classmates, always on the lookout for an extra job, which his slowness and inattention never let him keep for long. Luckily he is as helpful and generous as he is slow. Always happy to lend a strong, helping hand to whomever needs it.

When Martine first finds him, he's sweeping up the splintered window panes in his fathers garage, of course having cut fingers and arms in numerous places, he looks like a murder case.
"Hello," Martine said, "I think I am looking for your father, Mr. Myhre. But you seem to be in need of help. Can I do something for you?"
"Can you pick up glass without cutting your fingers, and all the glass?" Terje asked despondently. "I'm not allowed to do my homework before all the pieces are swept up."
"I can try." Martine simply said, drew her wand and swished it through the air while speaking a short command Terje did not understand. All the pieces of glass, even the tiniest, gathered in a nice heap and crept unto the dustpan on the floor.
"That is fabulous, Terje said. I wish I could do this! It would make my life so much easier."
"Do you want to learn?" Martine asked.
"Is it possible? You're not pulling my leg or trying to have my money?"
"What a refreshingly honest response," Martine smiled. "No, I'm not after your money. I know that you haven't got any. And as for  making fun of you - no I don't, and if you look at me like you would on a dog, you can feel it."
Terje looked at Martine. "Yes," he said, slowly, "you are speaking the truth, and you do want me to learn."
"Then nothing is holding you back."
"Yes. My parents, and money," Terje said.
"Give your father and mother this flyer. They will read it as a course in behaviour and bodily balance or words to that account, and think that this would be a fitting way for you to spend your summer holiday. I'll come here and pick you up the first days. You'll have to go there on your own after that." Martine ended. She swished her wand again and said: "Sár, lagiði!" whereupon all the small wounds on Terje's fingers and arms closed themselves.
"Wow!" he said, "Thanks a lot!" Then he accepted the flyer from Martine and she left, promising to be back to pick him up.
Terje's father smiled when he saw the flyer and said: "This sure is the summer school for you, Terje!" I'll pay that fee happily.

 - - - - -

Terje joined the green team, happily speaking to animals and mending plants and so much more in his three years at Unicorn Farm, It even helped his slovenliness quite a bit.
His wand was made of Ash, emitting purplish-blue sparks. Terje did not survive the loos of his magic either.

Ⓐ - Ⓩ

Tomorrow U for My Birkeland from Norway - none of this begins with U, but her home town, Uldervik, does.

mandag den 22. april 2024

Poetru Monday :: Running

Yes Running is all I have been doing for days now. And the only "poeming" I've done was a tiny verse that jumped into my brain and down to the paper during a train ride - not all running is done on foot.

Although it is not yet the season - we had frost in the morning and a few snowflakes later on - I present:

MotherOwl and the Mosquitoes!
All the bad mosquitoes think that this
poor old MotherOwl she is
a mosquito self-service

 -- 🦟 --

Og så på dansk:
Running - løbe, føler jeg er hvad jeg har foretaget mig den seneste uges tid. Det eneste digteri der er foregået, var i toget - Ikke al løberiet forgik til fods, der hoppede dette mini-digt pludselig ned på papiret.

Så selv om det slet ikke er den rette årstid, får I

Uglemor og myggene:
Og de stygge myg de tror,
at den arme Uglemor
er er mygge-tag-selv-bord.

 - - - - -

Next Monday: Quiet

Ⓐ - Ⓩ ~ Selma

This is a series of studies for my long-time-in-the-writings book about the magic in the Nordic countries.
We are in the 70es on Unicorn Island, an island off the coast of southern Zealand. A handful of teachers have gathered the broken threads of magic once again, trying to revive the magic in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Faroes and partially Greenland.
Our main protagonist is Susan (me) from Elsinore and her three co-apprentices and friends Heidi, Tage and Lis living at Unicorn Island.
I grasped the chance to write a little bit about some of the lesser known apprentices in this A-Z challenge.

Ⓐ - Ⓩ

S is for Selma Finnbogadottir

And I continue the story from yesterday

"Yes you're going off to the School for magic, Rósa, as are Kirstin, Finnbogi and Grani, but sorry to all other sons and daughters of Starri, not this time. Maybe in a year or two, when we have found more teachers," Gylfi said.
Thora got up and left the room, while Grani's older siblings looked angry and the younger ones vented their frustrations. Their mother had to shut some of them up with more cake.
When he again could be heard, Gylfi continued: "And then I have a surprise co-apprentice for you: Selma Finnbogadottir. You all know her, as she visits the same school in Hella as you all do, but none of you knew, I think, that she had magic. Her parents have not, but such things happen, as do the opposite."
"I knew," Finnbogi said. "Or at least suspected."
Thora entered with a pretty girl, she had blond hair in two long braids, longer even that Rósa's. She was dressed in practical yet neat clothes, and Finnbogi and a couple of Grani's older sisters suddenly felt rural and clumsy.
"Hello, Selma," Finnbogi greeted her, "how did they find you?"
"Do tell your story," Thora encouraged her.
"But first sit down," Grani's mother said and placed a mug of tea and a plate of cake in front of an empty chair.
"I was watching you," Selma said. "Almost every Saturday, I have sat outside the barn and listened. I found out that I too could fly a broomstick. I have tried a couple of times, when you were all in here drinking tea."
"Show us!"  Kirstin said.
"That might actually be the best ... in a short while," Thora said, "But first have some tea and cake and tell us a bit about your family, and the whole story."
Selma looked at the others, she knew them all from school, and Thora had told her not to be afraid. She trusted Thora. No reason to be afraid, she had been afraid for far too long. She nibbled at the cake, it was good, and drank some tea. Then she began: "We, that is My father, also called Finnbogi, of course,  my mother, Gilla, and my sisters Frey and Frigg, moved here some years ago. My father got a job planning the new thermal heatings, and the rest of us just came here. Of course I knew about magic in days of old. We hear about it in school, and in the sagas. I always felt fascinated. The library here had many books on magic, and many more stories of people from older times doing magic. I avidly read all those. One day I overheard Grani and his brothers talk of broomsticks and Saturday. I went out here next Saturday, wanting to have a look. But when I arrived, I could not find anybody."
  Selma drank some more tea while everybody waited, and she continued: "Then I realised that you could not very well be flying around in open air, or inside the house. You just had to be in the barn. I walked over, but as I was about to knock, I heard someone, I think Grani's mother, talking about potions. I sat down under the window and I listened. I was afraid to be discovered, but the bushes were close by, and I hollowed out one of them while you practised flying. As I said, I was afraid, afraid of being discovered, afraid of what you would do to me, if you discovered me. Change me into a toad or worse maybe. But most of all I was curious, curious enough to stay even when afraid. Could I learn how to do the same, could anybody?"
  She sighed deeply. "My curiosity was awakened, and I could not stay away. Next Saturday I returned. And the next. Ever more afraid to be found out. One Saturday I heard Sigurdur, Kirsten's father, tell you about diminishing spells, Then you all left for tea and cake. I sneaked into the barn, I tried flying ... and I could. It was fun," Selma smiled at the memory. "And then I grasped a wand and tried diminishing some pieces of straw left there. I could do that as well. I became so absorbed that I almost did not hear you return."
"Ahh that was why the broomsticks were in disarray," Finnbogi said. "We tough it was the cats. And I could feel that somebody, a girl even, had used that old wand. But I did not say anything. And you used it again later, didn't you?"
"Yes I did. Two Saturdays ago, you were brewing some simple potion, and I would so much have liked to learn. During the tea break I again tried flying. I was better at it, and the diminishing as well."
"Now let's see what you can do!" Grani's sister said.
They all went into the barn. Grani and his older brothers first flew a couple of rounds, then Grani handed Selma his broom: "Here, it's the best broom we have!"
Selma straddled the broom, and said the words, and gingerly she rose. flying in sloppy, but steadily improving circles inside the barn. She rose and fell, and then landed in front of Thora and Gylfi. "I can do it," she said triumphantly.
"We never doubted you," Thora said. "Let's see your spelling too."
Selma picked up the old, slender wand from one of the workbenches along the side of the barn. She held it in a tight, yet not too tight grip, swished it and said the words, as she had already done a couple of times. An poof, the straws in front of her shrunk as much as to be nearly invisible.
"You have earned your apprenticeship on The Unicorn Farm!" Gylfi said in a loud and clear voice, and all cheered for Selma.

 - - - - -

At the Unicorn Farm we do not see much of Selma in the chapters I have written so far. She is an all-round good apprentice, but as she herself suspected, best at brewing potions. Her wand was of linden wood and her sparks a light green.
Later she married Grani, and they both died (were killed actually) on their honeymoon.

Ⓐ - Ⓩ

Tomorrow T for Terje

lørdag den 20. april 2024

Ⓐ - Ⓩ ~ Rósa

This is a series of studies for my long-time-in-the-writings book about the magic in the Nordic countries.
  We are in the 70es on Unicorn Island, an island off the coast of southern Zealand. A handful of teachers have gathered the broken threads of magic once again, trying to revive the magic in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Faroes and partially Greenland.
  Our main protagonist is Susan (me) from Elsinore and her three co-apprentices and friends Heidi, Tage and Lis living at Unicorn Island.
  I grasped the chance to write a little bit about some of the lesser known apprentices in this A-Z challenge.

 Ⓐ - Ⓩ

R is for Rósa from Iceland

I know, I have written in the introduction above, that I am going to tell about some of the lesser known apprentices in this A-Z challenge, Rósa sure is not one of those. But from A to P I have written about 26 of the 41 apprentices. There are almost no lesser known ones left. And I am not going to tell about Susan, Knud, Heidi, Tage or Lis. A bit of figuring is in it's place here: 26 plus those 5 makes  31 apprentices. 31 out of 41 means I have 10 apprentices left, and nine days left to write in, this means, that only one apprentice will be possibly left out - no more siblings! 
  I don't know yet which one will be left out, if any. I have a tough time filling in those last ones
- X and Z will be random. I'll be using last names, patronymics and even city names and maybe "X marks the spot", and Zoology or some such.

 - - - - -

But today R for Rósa.

Rósa Sigurdsdottir lives with her father Sigurdur and her mother Lilja in Hella, one hour by car from Reykjavik - the capital of Iceland.  Hella is a nice, small town, and Rósa spends quite a lot of time walking in the surroundings. exploring the nearby caves (now the famous Caves of Hella), and she spends almost every Saturday studying magic at Grani's place together with Kirstin, Grani and his siblings, and a few other children from the neighbourhood.
They mainly learn how to fly, as they can not really make their magic work. Grani's parents have a few, old wands laying around, but never enough to go around, and the wands are growing less and less responsive to the few spells, they have learned to master.
One day, as they practised in Grani's barn, Grani's oldest brother came running: "Mom, someone's here to see you!"
Grani's mother parked the broomstick and ran to the main building with the brother. A bit later the brother returned, looking as if he had seen a ghost. "We're all to come into the living room. It seems the cover is blown."
Rósa landed in front of him: "What do you mean?"
"They know what we're doing. I mean the flying, and everything," the young man said.
Rósa put her broom away and led the others to the main house. Even though she was almost the youngest here, she suddenly looked way older. She spoke: "OK, everybody, in we go. Let's face whatever awaits us as true magicians, with serenity."
In the living room two older people sat at the head of the table. They asked everybody to sit.
The old man at the head of the table asked if everybody was present.
"No," Rósa answered truthfully, "My mom's not here, she's having extra work today. But she'll come soon."
"My father is missing as well," Kirstin said. "One of the mares was about to foal, he stayed with her."
"No-one else?" the man asked. Everybody looked around them, Grani's mother even counted her children, and everybody shook their heads or answered in the negative.
"Fine," the old man continued. "My name is Gylfi [pronounced Gilvi], and this is Thora. We have kept an eye on you for quite some time now. You are doing magic. You're flying. And I don't know which you're doing worse! It's time to learn better!" He stopped at their indrawn breaths and gasping sounds. "Yes," he continued, "we're not here to punish you for doing magic.  Quite the opposite, We're here to give you a chance to learn. To do it right. This summer during the holidays we open a school in Denmark. We'll have to put up some portals until then so that you can go there. There's only one problem. No way we'll be having room for all of you. We have decided to take only apprentices between 11 and 15 years of age. Exceptions will be made as appropriate."
Thora spoke for the first time, and her voice sounded just like everybody's favourite aunt: "You are kindly, but strongly asked to bring wands, cauldrons, books, everything in short you can think of, but no brooms. Brooms will be supplied as will plants and material components. Any questions?"
While the grown ups discussed the nitty gritty details of setting up portals, of the placement of the school and similar points of no interest with Thora and Gylfi, the children started thinking and dreaming. A real school for magic. They would fly broomsticks, run races, brew potions and maybe even have a black cat or a toad for a Familiar. They sat dreaming pleasant dreams, imagining heroic deeds ... those too old or too young of course comforted themselves that they would be the exception.
All apart from Rósa. Wen she realized that she was not old enough, she was only 10, a silent tear ran despite her best effort, and her brave words earlier. Grani realized almost simultaneously that he would probably be the only one in his family to go, at 13 he was good to go, but his younger brothers and sisters were all nine down, and the older ones were 16 and up, he felt happy and sad at the same time.

"Are you crying Rósa?" It was Kirstin, who of course having had her 11th birthday was sure to go off to the wonderful school. Rósa swept the treacherous tear away.  "But why?" Kirstin asked. "It's going to be wonderful."
"I'm too young," Rósa said.
"Nonsense," Kirstin said. "When is your birthday? June, right before the holidays, eh?" A big smile spread over Rósa's face. She was going off to the magic school!

 - - - -  -

Kirstin of course was right. Rósa joined the Unicorn Farm, Nordic school of Magic. She went to the Green team, being good with animals and nature. We meet her the very first day, but in earnest on the second in the chapter on wand measuring. Her wand was from rosewood emitting golden sparks

 Ⓐ - Ⓩ

Monday: S for Selma

fredag den 19. april 2024

Ⓐ - Ⓩ ~ Q for Questions

This is a series of studies for my long-time-in-the-writings book about the magic in the Nordic countries.
  We are in the 70es on Unicorn Island, an island off the coast of southern Zealand. A handful of teachers have gathered the broken threads of magic once again, trying to revive the magic in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Faroes and partially Greenland.
  Our main protagonist is Susan (me) from Elsinore and her three co-apprentices and friends Heidi, Tage and Lis living at Unicorn Island.
  I grasped the chance to write a little bit about some of the lesser known apprentices in this A-Z challenge.

 Ⓐ - Ⓩ


Q: From River: Why would Olav's father try to keep his magic secret and not tell his wife who surely would understand?
A: In one of the first chapters Thora tells us why the Unicorn Farm is situated in Denmark. Talking about magical animals, giants and such she says:
  "Such creatures need two things: Wild forests, vast, desolate areas, and for people to believe in them. In days of old there were Little People at the farms, elves on Møn, trolls in the forests and goblins along the beaches. The Klabautermann, mermaids, and the flying Dutchman thrived and threatened people at sea. People respected such creatures, even feared them.
  But now? Forests are tamed, fields are ploughed right up to the rivers and forests. Radar, radios and GPS systems have taken the mystery out of seafaring life.
  If you said you'd met a troll or an elf in the forests here, people would laugh at you and say you had a vivid imagination. They would never believe you.
  The school is located here for exactly the same reason. People here in Denmark don't believe in anything supernatural any more. That's why it's easy to hide here. At most they half-believe in ghosts like the white lady in the manor house. Otherwise, everything has a rational explanation. And people very much see what they think they see or want to see."

But to really understand why I'll have to tell a bit about Denmark, this goes for Norway as well, and to a lesser degree for Sweden.
  Olav's father, and with him many other fathers and mothers who knows about, or even suspect the magic in the family, tries to suppress it. They have read all about the persecutions and the witch-burnings under Christian IV (King of Denmark and Norway from 1588 to 1648). They remember lynchings and mobs when people deviated too far from the norm, and even in the 70es  in little happy, frivolous Denmark, it was easy to cross the line. People fear what they do not understand. People - especially in Denmark, because of the law of Jante - kills anything bigger and better than themselves. Actually I think the law of Jante, is the best explanation to this question.

Q: I have one myself. Always at the Unicorn Farm we see the apprentices have trouble remembering the Icelandic words for things and to pronounce their spells the right way. Why is this when Gylfi every morning cast the Mál sameinast - the language spell, allowing the apprentices to understand one another?
A: Because the Mál sameinast only allows the professors and apprentices to understand the spoken word. They cannot for instance read Japanese or Arabic if they do not know the letters. And they still speak their own languages. Also the casting of spells is so to say immune to the language spell, they still hear the word said in Icelandic whenever anyone is casting a spell.

Q: From Mesymimi: it would be nice to have a list of which apprentices survive to join Birch Manor.
A: I fully understand that you do not feel like reading through the chapters Finding out I & II and compile one yourself   😉. I actually do have such a list. Nnn Mmmmm means dead.

In Finding out II, Knud has this comment to the list:  "Actually an incredible number of apprentices have died. I let my former colleague do the maths. Out of 39, far more than 19 should be alive today. 33 would be the expected number. I have not counted in the teachers, as they were older."

An even more extensive spreadsheet over only the living and their spouses, children and grandchildren can be found at my Unicorn Farm/Birch Manor Blog.

Susan Olsen

Main person - storyteller

Fiona Andersen

Painter and healer in Hundested

Veronika Andersen

Dead in a traffic accident

Heidi Bach

Now Tanja

Tage Bach

Now Svend. Stage magician like his dad

Lis Bach

Now Ida

David Hansen

Joined the squatters and suffered a cannabis psychosis. He jumped out the window one day the police stormed the building

Knud Thorsen

Married to Susan

Sarah Poulsen

Drunkard, consprationist 2 children with magic.

Josh Traustason

Shot in bande rivalries (not magic related accident)

Kirstin Jonsdottir

Almost drowned, severely handicapped.

Rósa Sigurdsdottir

Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft

Selma Finnbogadottir

Married Grani, died on honeymoon

Sif Reynisdottir

Flew hanggliders, crashed

Elvin Reynisson

Finnbogi Yngvason

Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft

Grani Starrason

Married Selma, died on honeymoon

Helge Nyström


Harald Eklund

Died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a summerhouse

Bo Eklund

Lukas Eklund

Britta Eklund

Kalle Berggren

Died much later from a disease (not magic related)

Anna Berggren

 Alive in Helsingborg

Ingrid Karlsson

Died in a traffic accident

My Birkeland


Marit Ravndal

 Married to Jan-Wine and party

Astrid Ravndal

Travelled to India with Nata - found dead in Goa

Olav Ravndal

 Wine and party Married to Monica

Hilde Westvold

 Head nursie in Nordnorge, last name Haugen.

Monica Bakke

 Married to Olav-Wine and party

Terje Myhre

Dead from drugs

Bjørn Anderson

Dead from drugs

Jan Espedal

 Wine and party married to Marit

Jouka m Mustonen

Dead from drugs

Nata Kanerva

Travelled to India with Astrid - found dead in Goa

Marja Koivu

Dead with parent, aunt and her children wen a summerhouse burned.

Paula Koivu

Aamu  Raita

 Now Clara Married to Uwe Weber in Shiltach.

Niklas Joensen


Sanne Joensen