Once In A Bluemoon ©
High over the Wolland Glen birds of prey often circle about. They have sharp eyes and see many things which others don’t see. One morning one vulture came across another and they got around to talk. Plink was the older of the two while Gizmo the younger had set opinions over everything. Hardly had they exchanged their names and their line of scavenging before they heard a frightful noise. It made Plink shudder. ( He was the fretful one). The older vulture hollered, ”Terrible! It has gone in the direction of Harper’s fork.”
“What has gone?”
“Noddle the Water-spirit. It goes only to collect.”
“What does it collect?” Gismo was getting annoyed. He was sure how a story should be told. The older bird was telling him, instead, a story in dribs and drabs. At length he said,“Noddle goes around only when any water-rat must be despatched to the blue yonder.”
The young vulture became interested. “Aha! we shall see some action then. Shall we not?”
“Sure, this is the day Grandma Doris shall holler her heart out. But Noddle always gets its victim.” Plink was often timid but he loved hearing misfortunes of others. He revelled in the gory details. Gismo of course at that moment asked if Noddle was a terrible spirit or not.
“Is Noddle a terrible spirit? Aha!” Plink the older vulture flapped his wings wildly and laughed, “No meaner water-spirit ever came these parts.” He relished every gory detail he could tell of Noddle’s past exploits. Gismo was convinced that Noddle was a dreadful bore and a bounder to boot. Plink made him feel horripilated to comment thus,‘ Noddle is someone I shall never want to come across.’
In the end of his blood-and-gore saga the older bird squealed, “ Grandma Doris!, before the day is out Grandma Dor-was she shall be!” Ho,Ho Ho. The older bird flew about in excitement.
At that moment Grandma Doris was having a fit of sorts. She had a temper and she burst out at Jamie who was her grand son. Whatever Jamie the water- rat did for her was not good. “How many times have I sent you on errands?”
“So many hundred times grandma.”Jamie truthfully answered. “Did you ever do anything right?”
“I guess not.”
“Yesterday I sent you for freshly baked bread. What did you bring me?” “It was fresh when I started,”he replied,” The baker lives across the river and swimming the river always spoils it.” “No excuse!,” Doris stamped her foot. “Listen, I give you a last chance. I want you to bring a loaf of bread which must be fresh. For today I have a visitor.”
“Is the bread for your visitor or for you?”
“For me,”Grandma Doris replied red in the face.
“What about your visitor?”
At this his grandmother began to howl and Jamie got afraid,”Why are you crying grandma?” Grandma Doris told him about Noddle the water-spirit. “When I leave you shall be all alone!” She cried again loudly,”who shall look after you?”
“Noddle the water spirit, is it really blind?”Jamie asked her. Grandma stopped crying and she replied,”Yes, It is blind. But it knows its way about. It will come stright to my bed and it will sniff at me and yank my single whisker left on my chin. That would be the end of me!” Again she started crying. “Will I get to eat a fresh loaf of bread before I leave?”
Jamie promised to give her wish. ”But you must follow my advice carefully.”
She agreed. He blindfolded his grandmother and took her into the house of his friend Bruno the bear. Having hid her he scooted back to the cottage at Harper’s Fork.
Jamie the water-rat took a broom and wrapped grandma’s gown around it. He collected bits of thread and made it into a long thread and stuck it into broom. Hardly he was finished before Noddle barged into the cottage. “My My,”Noddle said with a short laugh,”it is deathly quiet here!” It said,”Grandma, grandma where are you?”
Jamie the water-rat crouching behind the headboard squeaked,”Over here, I feel so cleaned up!”
“ That is the spirit,”Noddle cackled,”I shall sweep you off your feet.” The terrible spirit shrilled,”Put out your whisker so I may catch it.” “Not until you do me a favour, Noddle,”Jamie said,”I know my rights.”
“OK, what is that you wish?”
“I want a freshly baked bread.”
Next instant there appeared on the old sideboard a loaf of bread, the fresh smell of which filled the cottage. “Here take me, Noddle!” saying this he pushed the broom towards the awful visitor. Noddle took hold of the broom and vanished!
The two vultures saw Noddle carrying a broom and the Gismo the younger vulture asked,”That wasn’t Grandma Doris?” “No, that wasn’t,”the older vulture replied. He was obviously unhappy. He was expecting to see Noddle carry a bloody carcass but instead he was carrying a broom.”So Noddle doesn’t always getaway with murder?”Gismo thought there were things that didn’t end always in a way one was led to believe.
After a pause Plink, ”Once in a blue moon anything can happen. Even Noddle, I dare say must accept that.”
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A Day In Slugville ©
Grandma Doris was a water rat who lived in a cottage by Harper’s Fork. By sunrise she was up and she knew it was going to be a glorious day. “Oh I am happy!”she said. “Is there anything I can do to make you happier, grandma?”asked Jamie her grandson. Silence. “Perhaps I can go to the town? run an errand for you?”
”You run along and enjoy yourself.” So Jamie took off instantly.
On the way he came across a slug with a woebegone face. “Never have I been put to shame as this morning.”
“Aha this sounds promising,”Jamie thought he was going to hear a story. “How did that come about?”Jamie asked helpfully.
Tim was his name and he replied morosely,”the gnome who tended the cabbage patch saw me stepping out prim and proper, and he tells me roughly, ‘don’t you run as if you own the whole place.”
“But you don’t run. You crawl at a snail’s pace.”
“What! I don’t run?”Tim looked as he was shocked and he asked,”am I going at a snail’s pace as you put it?”
“Of course!”Jamie replied,”snails are slow and they can never run.”
In reply to this Tim the slug burst out in tears.”Oh shame!” “come, come there is no shame in that,”Jamie said softly,” snails and slugs move very slow. It is common knowledge.”
“Common knowledge!” the snail raised himself on his belly and exclaimed,”Poppycock!” Jamie kept silent.
“We slugs have been vilified! Oh double shame!”
Jamie at first thought that Tim was pulling his legs. But Tim cried loud and tears fell thick and fast. “There, there take hold of yourself Tim!” Jamie said sharply. But Tim was not to be silenced. After he had dried himself he lashed out at everything in sight and in the end he accused the world had some grouse against the folks from Slugville.
“So you live in Slugville,”Jamie asked in excitement,”and there slugs are fast on feet. Is that what you wanted to say?”
“Of course we are the fastest creatures that have ever seen the daylight.”
“See, there you go again, with your unfriendly comments.”
“How can I comfort you then?”
“Plenty of ways I can suggest.”
“You can say slugs are intelligent.” “Are they?”
At this Tim did a somersault and said in a fury ,”You are bent on annoying me. Ask me anything.” “OK” Jamie said in seriousness,” Does a hungry bear watch salmon run?”
“A salmon can barely run !”replied Tim off-handedly,”with a hungry bear around.”
“Bravo!,”Jamie observed,”You are the sharpest slug I have ever come across. But do you run? Well. Ahem”.”
“ You are being unfair.”Tim said among sniffles,” Have you ever been to Slugville?”
“No, I have not.”Jamie replied. He said,”It is only fair that I see for myself.”
“Good,”Tim replied drying his tears. “I shall take you there.” Suddenly he stopped short and said,”You must know the password. Without which no one can come in.”
“Yes,”Tim replied,”Slow in reverse is wols.”
Tim took Jamie to the cabbage patch and whispered,”see that gnome, he has not moved even by a hairbreadth?”
“How can he?”the water-rat asked in amazement,”he is stuck on a pedestal and shall not go anywhere even if he wants to.”
Tim and Jamie stopped before the gnome who introduced himself as Gnome Bert. Jamie said the password and the gnome observed, “I guess I will have to let you in.”
As they were about to go in he called out,”Hey Tim you have been out for sometime. Ages I must say.”
Jamie thought it was some mistake. “The day has just begun. Tim only came out to say hello to me!”
“So? He took ages just the same!”
“Really?” Jamie thought something was wrong. He asked, “Bert tell me how many hours make your day?”
The gnome in red and blue dress with a cap almost crumbling at the point thought for a while,” A trillion and three hours and five minutes to be exact.”
Tim nudged Jamie to whisper,”Hurry up, my folks must be frantic with worry. I told them I shall be back for soup. It must be getting cold. ”
Later that night Grandma Doris wanted to know where he had been. Jamie replied:”Slugville”.
“So quickly you came back,”she asked with some concern, ”what, weren’t you sufficiently entertained?”
“I thought a minute in Slugville was the longest hour I spent.” He groaned and said,”I feel as some antediluvian!” His grandma snorted and said,”Whatever it is, you are using words with syllables that go on and on. Don’t spoil my day!”
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