So, well, another project. I like this one lots. New direction, which is also cool.
This one is nearly finished. It's a children's story—a chapter book—and fairytale. I like fairytales. I used to have a radio show where I read a traditional fairytale every week. I've got a little section of my library that is devoted to fairytale books…of course, I have another section of my library devoted to bathroom renovation books, so it's not like there are any real standards (that's a joke. there are standards…although I do have a bathroom reno section).
What follows is an excerpt from the story. It's really most of the first chapter—which, I guess, is just a tease, because nothing but set-up happens in the first chapter. Oh well.
It's about 860 words. The whole tale is a little over 6,000 words, which is just within the count needed for a chapter book. I could go longer, there are places I might develop some more, but I'm pretty happy with the read right now.
I had fun. Let's hope it wasn't just a happy little distraction from what I'm supposed to be doing. Hell, let's hope I get published again, regardless of whether it's words, pics, or words and pics.
Here's the excerpt:
Once upon a time there was a tiny village nestled in a deep green valley surrounded by towering mountains. The people who lived in the village were very happy, and very hard working. Their fields grew wheat and corn and their gardens grew all manner of vegetables. They tended sheep and fished in the nearby river. They kept their village neat and tidy, and everything they built, they built well.
Every grown-up had a job and every child, as soon as they were old enough, had chores. Some children helped plant gardens. Some children helped make chairs and tables. The grown-ups taught them what to do so when the children grew up, they could do those things just as well.
Every family in the village had their own little stone cottage with a thatched roof. Each cottage was the same size and the same shape and had the same furniture inside. They were all very well made, very sturdy and very orderly.
Any time a new house needed to be built, the villagers who were stone masons would gather the best stones and build strong walls; the carpenters would make handsome doors and windows, rugged shutters and sturdy roof beams; the cabinet makers would build wooden shelves and tables and chairs and beds; and the thatchers would bring bundles of straw and tightly weave it into a thick roof. The metalsmith would come with latches for the windows, pots to cook with in the fireplace and a cheery little metal lantern to hang by the door to be lit whenever the family was home, so neighbours would know they were welcome to visit.
With so many talented people in the village, every house was always the best house any house could be. They had to be, because sometimes wild storms blew through the village.
In the spring there were rain storms when sheets of rain fell from the curling edges of the thatch. In the summer came loud lightning storms when thunder would shake the stone walls.
In the fall, the wind storms blew all around the cozy cottages, plastering leaves to the doorposts.
And in the winter, came blizzards. They were loud and wild and full of snow that would pound against the shuttered windows and leave the village buried sometimes right up to the roofs.
Whenever the storms blew down from the mountains all the villagers would run into their cottages and call their children inside.
They would close all the shutters on all their windows.
And they always made sure to put out their cheery lanterns.
Through the long stormy nights, in every cottage, each family would pull their chairs close to the little fire in the dark and tell stories about the Storm Fairy and her wild, wild storms.
Little Erin’s father told the best stories of all the parents in the village.
“The Storm Fairy, lives high in the mountains,” he would say. “She makes all the storms that ever blow. If she would stay in the mountains it would be sunny in our village all the time, but she never stays where she should.
“She comes down the valley to walk through our little town, looking for a light to tell her she’s welcome. But she brings her storms with her and so she is never welcome here. The winds she creates scatter everything we own all around, the rain soaks through everything and floods the fields.”
“Is the Storm Fairy in the village, tonight, father?” little Erin asked one spring night when the rains pelted against the shutters.
“If you listen very closely,” her father replied, “you can hear her wailing and crying in the winds.”
“Can I see her?”
“You can’t see out the shutters, dear,” her mother said. “And we must keep the shutters closed.”
“For the same reason we put out our lamps and stay inside. We can’t let the Storm Fairy know we are home, or she will want to come in.”
Her father smiled and winked at her. “Come sit with us by the fire and listen to stories, Erin.”
But Erin really wanted to see the fairy. She found a little gap in the shutters on the window by the door. It was big enough to peek through, and she could reach it if she stood on a chair.
So that is exactly what she did. She stood on her toes on a chair by the window, peeking out the crack in the shutters all through the storm.
Erin stood for a very long time, listening to the hard winds blow and the rain pour off the thatch roof, until she finally thought she heard a wailing cry in the wind.
She looked even harder through the tiny crack and listened even more closely. She squinted her eye and turned her head one way and the other.
“I see her!” she finally announced. For there, out in the terrible storm she could see a strange young woman struggling to walk against the wind. She wore only a simple green dress. Her hair was every colour there ever was, and it whipped around her head in wild wet locks.
“She’s sad,” Erin whispered.
Well, yes, there's more. Some of it is magic. Some of it is learning how to be a good friend.
I talk more about the art side of this in my "oh, so artsy" blog thingy, here. I haven't really paid attention to anchor points thus far on this blogsite. I'll come back when I work it out and better connect the two. Luckily, I don't post lots, so it's not hard to find.