The Old Fish with One Wish – a children’s story

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pixabay images

This is a bedtime story told by one of my Dragon Soul characters, Morgen, to a small boy named Aidan. You must read it in a dramatic voice (lol) and please feel free to share with little ones.

The Old Fish with One Wish

There once was an old fisherman who lived in old cottage with his old wife, and in the sand outside his front door, he flipped over his old cockleboat. Now, across the cove, lived a young fisherman with his young wife. They owned a grand house with a fine fishing boat moored in the deep water. Every day the old fisherman would row to sea and fish, and complain about the unfairness of life and how he wanted a pretty wife and a grand house and a fine boat.

Then one day the old fisherman caught an old wrinkly fish that he dropped in his leaky bucket. He thought nothing of the ancient fish until the fish raised its slippery head out of the salty water and offered the old fisherman one wish if the man agreed to toss him back to the waves. It was a magic fish, you see, of which there are very few left in all the green seas. Well, that proved a difficult decision, because he wanted three things and the fish would only grant one wish. He wanted a pretty young wife; he wanted a grand house on the bay, and thirdly, a well-rigged fishing boat. The old fish told him to think long about it; the fish wasn’t in any hurry.

Well, the old fisherman thought about it all day. He didn’t want a young wife who wouldn’t want an old fisherman; he didn’t want a grand house if he was too idle to patch the roof, and he didn’t have any use for a hold full of salty fish. So it happened as the sun set, the time came to finish his thinking and make a choice. The old fisherman peered into his leaky bucket at the old wrinkly fish, and said, “See’s as if me life is just fine as it is. You can have me one wish, you old fish!” Then he tossed the fish back in the sea and rowed home.

When he got home, he flipped over his old boat and realized he had just the right boat for an old man to flip. When he opened the door to his old cottage, he saw a warm fire and supper on the hearth, and he thought he owned the coziest home an old man could own. And when his old wife laughed at his tale of the wrinkly fish with one wish, he laughed because he loved the sweetest old wife an old man could love. And he knew then that the fish had granted him each and every wish.”

– Eye of Blind, Dragon Soul Quartet

Water Moon

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In my fantasy world, the winter rains blend the sea and sky into billowing hues of blue and gray. They paint the islands with a steady brush of storms, drum cold fingers on diamond panes, and drip through the draped boughs of evergreen. The last mottled colors of autumn skitter away with the wind.

Villagers venture down puddled lanes, hooded cloaks clutched against the sheeting rain. In the gray twilit mists, roadside bramble twists black, brittle and forlorn, and the smoke of wood fires scents the air with memories of home. Inside, a warm hearth awaits them, a welcoming blaze of vermillion in the deepening dusk of the year.

The full Water Moon shows her face in tonight’s night sky. This will be a supermoon, larger than usual because it’s orbit is closer to Earth. If you have a clear sky, I hope you catch a glimpse of her magic.

water-moon

Excerpt from Eye of Fire, Dragon Soul Quartet

Her skirt in her fists, Meriel rushed up the stairs to the gallery that stretched across the cliff’s face in the Compassionates’ Hall, connecting the public and private quarters. Long ago craftsmen had carved the gallery into the ivory rock and framed thirteen stained glass windows with a view of the sea, one for each moon. The windows weren’t only exquisite in themselves, the glass perfectly cut in a myriad of colors, but when sunlight shone through them, the gallery’s back wall came alive, mottled in soft hues, subtly edged and blending like pebbles under water. The sun promised to peek from behind the cloud cover, and she wanted to see it.

When she opened the door, the display dazzled her as it filled the air. Stepping into the color, her body became both a palette for the sun’s brush and a silhouetted shadow on the rock wall. She glided along the corridor, stopping at each window, noting the moon, the change of seasons in the hues, wondering at the artist whose work so sincerely and boldly reflected the complexity of creation.

“I never get tired of it,” Caron said.

As she turned, Meriel sought out his form in the liquid color. Her focus returned to the windows, and she continued down the gallery.

The tall man fell into step with her. “I especially like it during winter moons when the skies are brushed with gray.”

“Do you have time to talk?” Meriel touched his arm.

“I thought I already was.” He smiled.

“Yes, you were.” She let her hand drop. “Caron, I want to ask you about the dragons. Can we sit?” They moved to a stone bench bordering the rock wall.

“I don’t know very much about them, Meriel. In fact, you probably know more than I.”

“I told Gallard I would ask if anyone in the islands knows their nature, if anyone cares about what’s happening to them.”

The sun winked out behind scudding clouds, and the color vanished from the gallery, its windows still beautiful but flat and static. He rested his back on the wall and closed his eyes. With his hair newly shorn and beard tightly trimmed, the angles of his face lent him an appearance of weariness. “It seems I should know more than I do—a natural concern for the Compassionates, understanding and preventing cruelty. Why do I always feel I’m plodding uphill?”

Meriel knew the sensation. “I’m not blaming you for anything, Caron. I’m only asking questions.”

“The dragons live above us in the hills of Eydis. They abound in Anghard and fly deep in the mountains of Halle. Other than in Yula, we rarely see them, and that’s a good thing—for the dragons.”

***

This is my last moon post. A year of 13 full moons began last December, all marking time in the Dragon Soul series. Thank you for reading along and celebrating nature’s timekeeper with me. ❤

Reaper’s Moon

reaper's moon

In my fantasy world, the Reaper’s Moon signals the arrival of autumn. The heat of summer blows west with curling seawinds, and morning fog rolls on the inland sea like living smoke. On shore, milkweed bursts with silken wings and thistles shed their white beards. The land is softened by fields of grain in hues of copper and carnelian, apples bow the branches, and winter’s wood is stacked.

The Reaper’s Moon is a time of harvest, ripening roots, and gardens of green bolting with seeds. It’s the promise of neighbors and picnics, percussion and strings, the close of summer visible in calloused hands and sun-browned shoulders, wool evenings and fresh baked pie.

The full Reaper’s Moon glides across the night sky on September 16.

reaper's moon 3

Excerpt from Eye of Fire, the Dragon Soul Quartet

The noise of revelers faded as the sounds of the sea sang in the night. His head thick with drink, Morgen excused himself for a stroll back to the cove in the dark. “I’ll ride the longboat out to the Eadwynn and find a comfortable berth in the captain’s cabin.”

Neve winked at him, sharing the man’s preference for a ship’s gentle rock over the stillness of her floor where Captain Cradog snored. “I told you he’s a fool,” she’d said, observing the sleeping man. “But he’s a fine seaman with a good heart.”

After Morgen left, she lay a blanket over Cradog. Sitting on the edge of her bed, she watched him sleep, his mouth hanging open, face serene. She reached down and held his nose, only enough to silence his snoring. At times, she felt like his mother, not his lover, as if he were a lad in a man’s body, still growing into himself, unaware of his potential, the possibilities she saw and loved. She didn’t try to guide him or change him. His choices were his own and his life his to haul.

In truth, Neve simply remained true to herself and didn’t tolerate any foul from him or anyone else for that matter. She didn’t give a piss about what others thought or did with their lives and didn’t care if they liked her choices either. Cradog could take it or leave it, and he tried awfully hard to take it.

Oh, but, she was fond of watching him grow. The man was like her garden, full of gifts, things coming up she never expected, little seeds sprouting that she’d planted long ago and forgotten. He grew fresh and wild and weedy and delicious and abundant when she tended him and made sure he got plenty of sunlight.

Slipping from her clothes, Neve slid under her blankets. She peered over the edge of the bed and almost woke him up.

Thirsty Moon

Thirsty Moon

In my fantasy world, the Thirsty Moon ushers in the last of the summer’s heat. Rain is scarce and rivulets run dry in sandy streambeds. Late season gardens thirst for a long steady shower after weeks of waterless weather.

It’s a time for pickling and  stacking wood, blackberries and swimming holes. And now and then, a morning chill slides down with the stars, promising warm pies from cider-scented orchards and hinting of autumn.

The full face of the Thirsty Moon shines tonight, August 18th.

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Excerpt from Thirsty Moon, Eye of Fire

The days ambled by, and Mirah’s garden transformed, weeds pulled in an ever-widening circle, beds edged, produce picked and preserved. She lugged water from the well, determined that her life would flourish, no longer choked by fear and loss. Her modest bounty she shared at the forge, delivering a basket now and then of just-picked greens. Brend smiled when he found her silhouetted in his doorway, her invitation hanging in the air between them.

At day’s end, she left him leaning on the doorjamb, arms crossed, watching her walk into the dusty lane. She strolled past her home, admiring her neighbor’s gardens, the round-bellied pumpkins and hard-shelled squash, bee balm and buttercup crowding each other for space in the sun.

Not long ago, Wyn told her that the myth of a person’s life entailed more than a compilation of facts, the particulars of one’s history. More importantly, one’s myth rose from the way a person was perceived by others and by what one believed about oneself. Myths were amorphous, changeable, imbued with feeling, rich with dreams and reflections. They could be altered by a change in perception or a change of heart.

Not ready for home, she climbed a narrow path to the meadow above Taran Leigh, a path she knew well, like the myth of her life. The air carried a hint of coolness, signaling the coming of fall. Pulling herself up over a stone stile at the top of a small rise, she paused, drawn from her reverie. The meadow unfolded before her, awash with blue dannies fluttering endlessly, delicate petals raised to the sun. The flowers filled her with memories as if they lingered there only for her to find.

When she stepped into the meadow, the petals closed around her, bearing her as if on a wave. Floating through them, she touched them with her fingertips, felt their soft kisses. In the center of the meadow, she surrendered her burdens, lay them down with her fear to be carried away with the flowers when the wind came. The graceful alder bent its branches, alone in the waterless sea. She gazed up at a sky as blue as the dannies and saw a glint of copper wings, a dragon coming for her.

Coming Next Week!

The Verdant Moon

Claude Monet

Claude Monet

In my fantasy worlds, the Verdant Moon heralds the high heat of summer. On the sea, winter’s iron clouds have long blown west and the island’s white bluffs are alive with nesting fishers and heckling gulls. The village shores idle, embraced by calmer waters, and small single-masted fishing boats rest on the beach, keels cutting long grooves in the sand.

No one lingers inside their narrow harbor homes when the markets brim with crabs’ legs and smoked redfish, squid with coiling tentacles, and the slimy innards of crusty shells. Summer brings more familiar fare from the dark-loamed farms: honeyed cakes and salty bread, ripe fruits, and bouquets of greens. Few go hungry during the Verdant Moon.

The Verdant Moon shines on the world tomorrow night, July 19th.

Vernal Moon

Excerpt from the Vernal Moon, Eye of Sun
The Dragon Soul Quartet

Treasach made the decision to sail the Seabourne onto the rocky shore of Anghard, and Morgen didn’t question the choice. The Rogue would impale her or drive her into the Narrows. The beautiful Seabourne would be lost regardless, so Treasach saved her crew.

He roared his orders with such force even Percy shut his gaping mouth and listened. In mere seconds, the men lashed themselves to the ship. Morgen swung a line around himself and the captain, tying them loosely to the helm. Arful stood at the bow, barking inanely at the gulls, and Morgen was helpless to save him.

Treasach spun the wheel and Morgen held on. The Seabourne plunged through the waves, her sails taut with wind when she slammed into the rocks that littered the shallows. The deafening impact ripped Morgen from the wheel and flung him under the line against the gunwales. Wood splintered and shrieked as the ship broke free and spun, the maw of the Narrows yawning open.

“Make for shore!” Treasach bellowed over the crush of fracturing wood, wind, and waves. The crew scrambled out of their bindings, and Morgen attempted to stand. The Seabourne smashed into the underwater shelf that would mark its grave, and the ship lurched, sending him sliding across the deck toward the sea. He caught a standing line and held on. Arful yelped and slipped over the edge as the ship groaned, cracked, and began to list.

“To shore,” Treasach yelled. For a heartbeat, the Seabourne stuttered, wedged on the rocks, but their chance of escape narrowed as she started to spin back into the current. Men scuttled down the slanted deck and dropped into the sea.

“Watch for rocks,” Morgen shouted. The water between the ship and Anghard’s shore wasn’t deep but treacherous, and the Seabourne offered small protection from the tide’s pull. He caught sight of Arful sweeping toward the Narrows and paddling for shore.

As men scrambled to safety Morgen counted them, and when satisfied, he slid from the ship into waist deep water. “Now, Captain!” he yelled for Treasach. The captain climbed over the gunwale, and before Morgen could shout a warning, he let go, falling onto a slick black rock. Treasach nearly drowned before Morgen grabbed him and hauled him ashore.

(Coming in August)

**Images from pixabay.