Friday, March 30, 2012

The Last Tale to Tell: Chapter 3: Going

When the name comes, however, Calicotail is shocked. The slip reads: Calicotail Vineswinger! Her mother, after reading the slip, says, “Well, you’d better get going, haven’t you?” “Going?” Calicotail asks, confused. “On your little quest!” Calicotail realizes what her mother is saying, and runs upstairs. How could she, the clumsiest and most forgetful of any monkey anywhere, go out to find the greatest heroes of all time? The thought alarmed and excited her. She decides she will take her atlas and history book…but she will be traveling through dangerous land, so she should not bring anything to heavy so she can be quick. She decides to bring a little extra food, too, and the next morning she sets off. Only on consulting her history book does she realize how much danger she is in. There seem to be guards everywhere, and she is not in a fit state to take on a chipmunk at the moment. She knew she shouldn’t have brought the history book!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Last Tale to Tell: Chapter 2: Back Again

All may seem peaceful, but trouble, it seems, will never run out. You were warned at the beginning of this book of the dangers to come, and the ship carrying the evil animals has set sail, this time holding ten times more than before. It has been spotted on the horizon, and all were hurried into hiding. Calicotail is worried, for it is certain that they will need more than one to save them this time. She remembers the stories she’s heard about Striper, Emeraldtrunk, Shimmerscale, and all the others, and she wishes they were here now to help them out of this mess. Then, a wild idea comes to her. They could choose a villager to go out and try to find Striper and Emeraldtrunk and the others, and bring them back to help! Yes, that would be a splendid idea! She tells her mother, who informs the chief. He sends out messages, saying that he will draw a name out of a barrel and that that person had better be good at locating people. Calicotail waits, feeling proud of herself, for the name to be drawn.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Last Tale to Tell: Chapter 1: Calicotail

Calicotail is a monkey. She is the youngest of 8 children, all of whom love to play sports. She has one problem, though. She is very clumsy, and has a tendency to forget things. She wishes she could nimbly swing and climb like the other monkeys, but the fact remains that she can hardly do a single tail-swing without falling to the ground. The first (and last) time she tried a gymnastics course, she flunked the cartwheels, bumped halfway across the room on the forward roll, and, the worst offense of all, fell off the monkey bars. She is, however, very skilled at making things. When anyone in the neighborhood needs a gift for their younger sister’s birthday, or a new pair of gym shoes, Calicotail is the monkey for them. She spends her days in her little treehouse, fixing and creating things. She wonders what life would be like if she could leap and tumble and swing like the other monkeys. Still, life is bearable until…

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Last Tale to Tell: Prologue

Dear Reader, do you remember the evil animals of the other island, that Striper fought off in the days of his youth? Some of these creatures escaped the great battle, and fled back to their old domain. The animals of Striper’s island did not know this, and believed they were forever rid of them. Reader, they were grievously wrong. After they have been biding their time on their own island, their plot is finally ready for action. They will attack once more, and the battle that follows will be remembered forever as The Last Tale to Tell.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Beluga's Song: Epilogue

Glowhump is congratulated for thinking of the idea and is presented a medal for services to the pod alongside the doctors, and she feels quite overwhelmed. At last, however, she knows where her talent should go. She goes to hospitals and orphanages, and there performs for free where she is delighted at the good she can do. Glimmernose goes on to be a doctor, to keep others from having her horrible experience at the hospital, and makes a great improvement in hospital services. Glowhump is remembered for ages to come as a beluga who helped to bring them through a very difficult time.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Beluga's Song: Chapter 6: Cured!

Slipping past her protesting parents, Glowhump swims as fast as she can to the school. She speeds in. “I need to see Miss Graceswim! It’s about the musical!” she calls out. Miss Graceswim swims out of her office. “Where have you and Glimmernose been?” she asks. “Glimmernose is sick, Miss Graceswim, but that’s not what I came about. The doctors told me that they’re on the brink of finding a cure, but the patients are so demanding. I think I’ve found a way to buy them some time.” The next morning, in the hospital, Glimmernose lies, very bored, in a bed. She has a blazing fever, and there’s nothing to do. Suddenly the doors burst open and belugas begin running in, preparing something that looks like a stage at the far end. The doctors seem as surprise as the patients, but run back to their labs. A show begins…and Glimmernose realizes what is going on. The school has brought The Little Mermaid to the hospital! When the show is over, a doctor suddenly shouts “I’ve found it!” and races in with a bottle. He gives a little to each patient, and within weeks, Glimmernose is back home.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Beluga's Song: Chapter 5: Thinking

The next morning, Glowhump stays in her room, thinking and thinking. If she couldn’t figure out a scientific cure for the sick belugas, at least she could make it easier for them until the doctors finally picked up their pace. They had informed all the families that the reason for the delay was that the patients had nothing to do and required constant attention. The next day she brought packs of ice and a bit of mild seaweed salad to the hospital. There weren’t quite enough, but the doctors thanked her for her efforts. Returning, however, she finds that her parents do not appreciate this little effort as much as the doctors do. “For all we know, you might have caught it!” they tell her, and she is obliged to go back to her room. From her bedroom, Glowhump sighs. How can she find a cure for this sickness if she cannot leave her bedroom? She thinks of the musical, to happen in two days (they will have to find another Little Mermaid, of course,)… but then she gets an idea that could buy the doctors some time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Beluga's Song: Chapter 4: Oh, No!

The next morning, Glimmernose isn’t at breakfast. Glowhump decides to go check on her. Glimmernose is usually a late sleeper, so she’s not too worried. She knocks on the door. No answer. She calls in “Glimmernose, breakfast!” No answer. She opens the door, and walks in. A muffled moan comes from under the covers. “What is it, a nightmare?” Glowhump asks, pulling back the covers. She gasps. Glimmernose’s cheeks are rosy red, and her temperature is way above normal. How could she have caught it? Had a friend been secretly coming to see her? She raced downstairs to alert her parents. The next day, Glimmernose is rushed to the hospital. The doctor groans, but lets them in. Glimmernose confesses to having been sneaking out the window at night to visit Shimmerfin before she got sick and was taken to the hospital. Glowhump now wishes more than ever that they would find a cure, and that night, safe in bed, she makes a decision. If the doctors themselves can’t cure her sister, then she will do it herself!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Beluga's Song: Chapter 3: What To Do?

Soon, however, the excitement over the musical fades as a bigger worry begins to cross everyone’s minds. A never-before-heard-of sickness is spreading, and no one can find a cure. Fortunately, no one in Glowhump’s family has caught it, but poor Shimmerfin is currently at the hospital as one of the first to fall ill. Doctors everywhere are in a fluster, hospitals are overflowing, and Glowhump’s parents have banned her and her sister from contact with other children. Glowhump does not approve of this measure, because she hates feeling so contained, and sincerely hopes the doctors find a cure soon so she can go out and play again. She passes the time by making up short songs and practicing her lines for the play, even though she very much doubts that she will be allowed to perform. If only someone would find a cure soon, please, please, please!

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Beluga's Song: Chapter 2: A School Musical

One day in school, Miss Graceswim announces “We will have a musical this month. It will be The Little Mermaid, and we will receive parts now.” Everyone waits. They are sure they know who will play the lead. “The part of the Little Mermaid will be played by…Glimmernose!” What? Glowhump applauds loudly, and Glimmernose looks as shocked as everyone else. Miss Graceswim goes on to announce the rest of the parts, and hand out lines. When they get home, Glowhump congratulates Glimmernose and tries to help her with her lines. It is clear that she is glad to be out of the spotlight for once. It is her great pleasure to help Glimmernose with all the hard notes until bedtime, and help her feel more confident. For the next few days, Glimmernose and Glowhump attend rehearsals, learn songs, and generally do all the things that are done when you are preparing for a big performance. Glowhump herself is a sister of the Little Mermaid's, fittingly, since she really is.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Beluga's Song: Chapter 1: Glowhump

Glowhump is a beluga. She and her parents are part of a pod that believes in a good education for young belugas, and so she goes to a very good school. You would think she was a very normal young beluga…until you heard her sing. She has the most beautiful voice of any of the calves, and she is often complimented on her talent. She has one problem. She does not know what to do with her talent. She has considered calls from curious beachway (broadway) directors and seater (theater) groups asking if she would like to train with them, but the job never sounds quite right. “I want to put my talent to real use,” she always says, and she is right to think so. Her best friends, twins named Shimmerfin and Sparklefin, take singing lessons from her. They also chat about what they would do if they could sing as well as she. Glowhump’s younger sister, Glimmernose, is a bit jealous but helps out whenever Glowhump and her friends plan a production. Glowhump is a very happy beluga.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Rat's Nose: Epilogue

Cheddarnose (unsurprisingly) finishes school with full marks in very subject, and proceeds to become an Olympic swimmer. He makes friends with a beluga whale named Humphead, and has many more adventures. When Cheddarnose retires, he becomes a baker, selling banana-filled-nuts and walnut shell cakes.

A Rat's Nose: Chapter 8: Returning

The door is opened by his mother, her face tear stained. She had obliviously been weeping over his lack of return. Upon seeing him, she gives a squeak of delight and flings herself into his arms. He shows her the topaz, and she scolds him for going chasing after a silly gemstone, though she thanks him just the same. That evening, Cheddarnose’s mother makes banana-filled-nuts, and writes to his father, telling of their son’s return. Cheddarnose is delighted.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Rat's Nose: Chapter 7: Off

The next day however, Cheddarnose’s luck is better, and he spots the topaz glistening in an orange tree. He decides to put his plan into action straight away. He sniffs out the strongest leaves, and fashions a sort of pack out of them, putting the topaz and some bits of foam inside. He then finds a vine, and ties some more foam together into a kind of vest, to help him stay on the surface of the water. He set off. Pack over one shoulder, he paddles over the surface of the water to the now-not-so-tiny speck that was his island. That night, he brings out a spare bit of leaf and sticks it straight up from his vest as a sail, to make sure they don’t go off course while he doses on the water. All the time, the little leaf bag containing the topaz floated next to him, clutched in one paw. He is almost there, he can tell by the sounds and smells of the beach. Cheddarnose is beginning to warm towards the water, and decides that when he gets home he is going to sign up for swimming classes. Finally, he lands and brings the topaz up the path, and knocks on his front door.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Rat's Nose: Chapter 6: Lost!

The next day, Cheddarnose awakes to the bright sun shining on the shore. It takes him a few moments to register where he is, and why he is there. He then proceeds to zing up a tree to look out over the island and getting a better view. He remembers school, the feel of his old leaf backpack…then suddenly, inspiration strikes! He will build a pack out of leaves and place the topaz in it. He will also fill the pack with foam that will keep the pack and himself to the surface of the water until he can get home. He zings back down the tree and runs to the topaz…but where is the topaz? It seems to have disappeared! Cheddarnose scampers about, in a panic. After coming all this way to save his mother’s birthday present, it seems unfair that it should simply disappear into thin air! Cheddarnose searches, and searches, and searches, but finds nothing. He is very upset. Where could his mother’s topaz be?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Rat's Nose: Chapter 5: What to do?

Cheddarnose’s lungs feel like they are about to burst. He has to let go of the topaz! He does, and rushes to the surface. He takes a deep breath, and dives down again, unfortunately not noticing the large wave sweeping down upon him. The topaz is swept away as he reaches for it, and he is swept away, too. He closes his eyes. When he opens them again, he is on a completely unknown shore, buried halfway in a sandbank. He claws his way out, spots the topaz a few feet away, and grabs it. Cheddarnose wonders where he is. He wonders if it is a safe place to be, and most of all he wonders how he will ever find his way back home again. He sits a while, staring at the sky. It must be around noon by now. He looks at the topaz. Then he looks back to the sea. In the distance, no more than a speck on the horizon, is his island. If only he were a stronger swimmer. That night, Cheddarnose plucks a leaf from a tree and wraps himself in it. What will he do?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Rat's Nose: Chapter 4: Stolen!

The next morning, Cheddarnose’s mother scampers into the living chamber. “My beautiful topaz-it’s been stolen!” They turn the burrow over looking for it, and Cheddarnose’s father inquires everywhere to see if anyone saw the thief. It was to no avail however, until Cheddarnose sniffs the air with his ultra powerful nose. “Stop!’ he shouts. “The thief spilled some fur oil on the floor! I can track it!” Everyone is quiet as Cheddarnose sniffs along the dirt floor, and everyone follows him as he follows the scent straight out the door. He stops at the lake’s edge. He stops, and thinks. He hates water, but it is the only way to get his mother’s topaz back. Everyone watches expectantly. Cheddarnose sighs, takes a deep breath, and dives headfirst into the freezing cold water of the lake. He instantly wishes he hadn’t. On the bottom of the lake, however, glints his mother’s topaz. There is no sign of the thief. With great relief, he grabs the topaz, and tries to swim back to the surface…but it is too heavy. He cannot go anywhere.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Rat's Nose: Chapter 3: Happy Birthday!

Cheddarnose’s mother’s birthday is approaching, and one day in class he is in tunneling class when he sees a glint of orange in his tunnels left side. Looking closer, he sees that it is a topaz, his mother’s favorite gemstone. At the end of class, he brings it home, thinking to give it to his mother for her birthday present. He polishes and polishes it, until it shines brighter than the sun. On her special day, he gives it to his mother, who gasps, hugs him, and rushes to her room to find a safe place to keep it. At dinnertime, he brings out a large cheesecake he has made for her, and they have plenty leftover when they were full. They receive a letter from Cheddarnose’s father saying that he was sorry he’d missed the party but that he would be home tomorrow. Everyone is happy when they go to bed tonight, and Cheddarnose whispers “Happy Birthday, Mom!”

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Rat's Nose: Chapter 2: Helping in the Kitchen

The only thing Cheddarnose likes better than challenging his friends is to help his mother with her cooking. He likes to mix things like nutshells and dandelion petals around in different ways, and see how they turn out. Today, however, he is helping his mother make walnut shell cakes for the special Valentine’s Day dinner they always have. He brings her the walnuts which she cracks open, filling the insides with sugar and cinnamon, and coating the outside with honey. He is then obliged to get a few chunks of ice to store the nuts in. They taste very good, and he sneaks a few tastes on his way to get the ice to pack them in. On Valentine’s Day, the honey coating has frozen nicely, and Cheddarnose’s father sends his compliments to the chef. That night, Cheddarnose snuggles up in his share of the straw. When he is certain his parents are asleep, he sneaks down to the kitchen, and takes one last nibble of that delicious spicy, sugary, honey-coated treat.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Rat's Nose: Chapter 1: Cheddarnose

Cheddarnose is a rat. Like most rats, he has an extremely large stomach, and a love for snack food. Unlike other rats, he can climb anything faster than it takes you to say the name of his favorite food, banana-filled-nuts (made by slicing open a walnut, stuffing it full of banana and shoving it into your mouth) and an uncanny sense of smell. He likes to challenge his friends, and to try new things. One time, he went a little too far and challenged his best friend, Sqeakstomach, to see who could swim across a 1 mile long lake the fastest. Sqeakstomach won, because Cheddarnose was to busy swimming to notice that the tide was coming back in, and had to be rescued by the lifeguard, Mr. Nuttooth. He has always been nervous about water since and won’t even wash his claws before supper. In class, he is always eager and intelligent. He was the first in his class to successfully bury his lunch, and always gets A+ in gnawing lessons. His favorite subject (surprise, surprise) is lunch. His mother adores him, and he is allowed to sleep in the largest chamber in their tunnel. His father is a successful tunneler, and does not see his son much, but Cheddarnose is a very happy rodent all the same.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Swan's Grace: Epilogue

Lilacfeather is very happy living with her mother and siblings, and she invites Nuttooth and his family to come too. He declines, though he often visits them, and, when Lilacfeather has cygnets of her own, (Rosehonk and Lilysleek) he earns the title Uncle Nutty, which they all find quite funny. Lilacfeather’s mother celebrates her 5th birthday with them, and Lilacfeather is very happy until…(read A Rat’s Nose to find out).

A Swan's Grace: Chapter 7: Reunited

It is nearly sunset at the squirrel’s house, and Lilacfeather can still see no sign of the squirrel, or her younger siblings. She sighs, and is just turning to go to bed, when she hears a squeaky yell. Silhouetted against the brilliant pink sky are Nuttooth, Petalwing and Nettlebill, and one figure she had been sure she would never see again. “MOM!” she yells, tears streaming down her cheeks as she flings herself into the comforting wings of her mother. “PETALWING! NETTLEBILL!” They all hug her back, and they have a special dinner that night to celebrate. The squirrels are invited too, of course.