Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sunday Scribblings--Turtles, Books, Dreams--a fairy story

Last night, a woman fell asleep after weeping with despair. A passing raven heard her sighs and was moved as he was never before. After a quick flight around the towers of the city to clear his head, he grumped back to the other ravens and the Great Spirit of the Forest. They agreed with him, so he returned to the woman’s window and sang a dream to her.

And this is what she dreamt.

A young girl sat weeping in a castle room with a spire reaching to the tops of the sky. The walls were lined with bookshelves groaning with books of all shapes and sizes and topics and kinds. Books to tantalize even the most inveterate book loather. And our young girl was anything but. On the contrary, she loved them heart full to bursting. But...the books did not love her back. She tried everything to honor them—created altars to their majesty and wisdom, slept with them under her pillow, danced with them in the sunlit morning, even snuck up on them. But, it could not be helped. Every time she opened one of the books, she read the first sentence, eyes thirsty and greedy, and...that’s all she could read. The words would begin to jumble up, the letters would scatter like raindrops spattering on a windshield. And the book’s wonderful contents would remain forever just out of her reach.

She tried to console herself, say that it was obviously meant to be this way, for her. That she was doomed to be a collector of first sentences, read over and over, and nothing more. She told herself to be contented with this, reminded herself that at least she had her health, her pet cat and pet turtle. But something rankled, something greedy and lava-hot inside of her, and one day she could take no more.

So the young girl called upon her Kitty (her favorite pet) to investigate. Late one night, after the young girl had gone to bed and dreams, Kitty crept closer to the books and opened one with a poke of her paws. Soon enough, the words and letters began their crazy chaotic dance. Kitty was quite enchanted as she watched the alphabetic ballet, and forgot all about the young girl’s desires.

The following morning Kitty confessed, sheepish, that she was no nearer to solving the mystery.

Our young girl was vexed and despairing.

“I can try.” Said Turtle. But Turtle was so slow, could the young girl wait that long to feed her literary hunger?

“You’ll be older either way.” Replied Turtle complacently. “Time does carry on so.”

Well, our young girl couldn’t argue with THAT, so that very night, Turtle crawled to the edge of the room and hunkered down with a half dozen open books. And of course, soon the words swirled and danced and swooped. But Turtle only watched. The movements grew frantic. Turtle watched. The movements grew slower, and slower, and slower. And Turtle watched.

And finally the words stopped.

And they weren’t words at all.

“So, you’ve found us out.” A thousand sad little voices chorused. “What will you do now?”

For the dancing words were actually little ants, black ants who chose to celebrate on the page every day, and to have a little fun at the young girl’s expense.

The Turtle turned away from them, satisfied, and slowly crawled back to her rock.

Our young girl woke up feeling hopeful, like something had shifted in the night. She asked Turtle, “So, so, so....? What is it?”

Turtle said, “I know the way to your heart’s desire now.”

“Yes, yes...?”

“You need to drop the next book you want to read on the floor.”

The young girl was horrified. “Drop it? On the floor?! I love could I treat them thus?”

But all Turtle said was “Drop the story.”

And so our young girl picked up the nearest book, the book she most longed to read, Life and Death and Love and Hate and War: Being the first in the Larry Lottery Series. She ran tentative fingers over the glossy spine, and was still, until she could no longer contain her longing.

The book fell fast and hard from her hands.

The ants scattered with a thin cry, knowing that the young girl finally meant business.

And our girl fell onto the book with a shriek of happiness, of desire fulfilled. Somehow, she managed to gasp out a “thank you” to her trusty Turtle, who nodded with a slow smile.

Forevermore after that, she read and read to her hearts’ joy. Sometimes, she even let the ants do their mischievous dance on the page. Knowing that it never lasts forever made all the difference.

The woman awoke with a start to the sound of a raven’s beak rapping at her window, awoke with a smile.

She knew now just what she needed to do.
To dream new and different dreams, go here. My image is by D.P. Lathrop and was found here.


Blogger Susan Abraham said...

An abstract surreal feel to this description of a dream. :-)

3:59 AM, March 11, 2007  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Yes this works - I like it very much. A great story - charming, and with that surreal touch all great tales have.

5:30 AM, March 11, 2007  
Blogger Jemima said...

“You’ll be older either way.” Replied Turtle complacently. “Time does carry on so.”

So true.

I've always been suspicious of insects' motives, this goes some way to explaining why ;-)

7:45 AM, March 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this!
What a magical story!

7:49 AM, March 11, 2007  
Blogger [a} said...

i agree, completely surreal, and very cute. love the ending, how it connects everything to reality!

9:36 AM, March 11, 2007  
Blogger Regina Clare Jane said...

I was toally taken in from the start! Sometimes I feel like that young girl, having all these books and not being able to read them! Except I don't have a pet turtle!
Just a lovely fairy tale- it made me feel good!

9:53 AM, March 11, 2007  
Blogger david santos said...

this work is very good, thank you
have nice wkend

10:40 AM, March 11, 2007  
Blogger paris parfait said...

A wonderful story! You're so clever with your stories.

1:47 PM, March 11, 2007  
Blogger Sophie said...

It does indeed make all the difference.

I hope you writing all your beautiful fairy tales into
a book for your little one.


2:41 PM, March 11, 2007  
Blogger Remiman said...

Nicely told...a perfect fairy-tale. I was captivated throughout.

3:50 PM, March 11, 2007  
Blogger Waspgoddess said...

"alphabetic ballet" - lovely imagery.
I enjoyed reading this slightly surreal tale very much.

5:10 PM, March 11, 2007  
Anonymous KG said...

Adorable and fun! Animal helpers are the best — they are some of my favorite characters in literature ever.

I bet a little bit of yourself is in the character of this little girl who loves books so, yes?

I'm imagining all the stories of your own you'll be able to read to your little one when no longer a baby and old enough to appreciate your storytelling skills. :)

5:22 PM, March 11, 2007  
Blogger Becca said...

This is a wonderful, charming story, yet as with all your writing, I sense a poignancy, a yearning underneath the words, that always touches my heart. These lines were particularly striking to me..."Sometimes, she even let the ants do their mischievous dance on the page. Knowing that it never lasts forever made all the difference."

You do write beautifully...

9:32 AM, March 12, 2007  
Blogger Amber said...

Wow! Your imagination! You are so good!


11:16 AM, March 12, 2007  
Blogger earnest and game said...

Fun, fun fun. Have you read Dianna Wynne Jones? She wrote Howl's Moving castle--among many other wonderful tales. This feels a bit like that. I love the idea of a cat detective. Later and soon. XOoxoxo

PS can you email me your mailing address--1 more time?!

2:31 PM, March 12, 2007  
Blogger deirdre said...

Perfect!! I love your fairy tales, the magic is so real.

9:00 PM, March 12, 2007  
Anonymous krista said...

Wow. You know what this story meant for me? It took me back to the time when I was on so much psychiatric medication that I couldn't read- my attention span was shot. I'd read the same line over and over again. In psychosis, I'd often see words dancing around me. At the time I was being forced to take way too much medication, and when I finally broke free from that force, and was able to wean myself off the meds I could finally read again.

I love this story. It spoke directly to my wounded 16 year old psychiatrized self and did so with magic and metaphor.

11:55 PM, March 13, 2007  

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