Friday, February 29, 2008

Fairies and Luncheon Baskets



Root children dolls from Silken Sky

Bedtime stories these days consist of the Snowdrop Fairy and the Crocus Fairy running outside to prepare the way for Lady Spring. Often, the Snowdrop Fairy and the Crocus Fairy meet up with their friends, Shy Violet, Jonquil and Grape Hyacinth. The rest of the story goes one of two ways:

1) They meet up with Iris, the Rainbow Fairy, who lets them climb the rainbow bridge and slide down the other side until it's time to go home for supper and bed

2) A picnic with long descriptions of what they ate followed by going home to bed

I do not deny that The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle von Olfershas played a large role in these stories that Lucia requests. By the way, Lucia was looking at the pictures one day, and asked, "Why are the Root Children all blonde?"

"That's a good question," I replied. "I think it's because the author was German." (To be exact, she was East Prussian.)


As far as the second item, it's obvious what influences my food descriptions. I am indebted to The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Graham. Notable examples:

From chapter one, a description of what's in Rat's luncheon basket

`There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; `coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrolls
cresssandwichespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater -- -- '

`O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: `This is too much!'

`Do you really think so?' enquired the Rat seriously. `It's only what I always take on these little excursions; and the other animals are always telling me that I'm a mean beast and cut it very fine!'


From chapter eight, a description of Toad's prison food

When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in it in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice...

From chapter nine, the contents of Rat's luncheon-basket once again

There he got out the luncheon-basket and packed a simple meal, in which, remembering the stranger's origin and preferences, he took care to include a yard of long French bread, a sausage out of which the garlic sang, some cheese which lay down and cried, and a long-necked straw-covered flask wherein lay bottled sunshine shed and garnered on far Southern slopes.

Really, it is all too much. If I had paws, I'd be waving them in ecstacies. I shall leave you with a new photo of my garden. Today, I edged the sidewalk with decorative bricks that hold up the dirt and make the garden spot look tidier. Now that there's a definite border, some of the hardy succulents can trail over the sides. With all of the digging and delving I've done to remove roots (but not root children!) from the soil, I have reasonable hopes that the shade plants will actually grow in the part of ground that has been inhospitable to my offerings in years past.


May you all have a relaxing weekend. Happy Leap Day!

12 comments:

Phil said...

I do not see the aforementioned photo of your garden.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Phil: Now you do!

TadMack said...

(The above junk in Chinese appeared on our blogs, too. We deleted it; it's probably spam.)

Have you see Sally Mavor's Wee Folk Studio dolls? Non-blondes, and SO CUTE. They'd be such great storytelling helps, but I think you'd have to arm-wrestle the kids for them afterwards. *I* want these!

Lone Star Ma said...

Those stories sound enchanting! I'm usually the mean parent who feels compelled to point out that faeries aren't nice like that. They have their own priorities - different from ours.

I was once stuck at a meeting next to a disgusting fellow in our community who is always trying to make his way as someone who provides services to at-risk youth, though he has no proper licensure and gives all the women in the social services community the heebie-jeebies. He kept trying to show me his illustrated book for youth and asked me what I thought of it. Attempting not to be too rude, I confined myself to mentioning that his all-blonde drawings were not very diverse. He was excited about this revelation. Only 25% of the youth in our community are white, so it seemed a bit obvious to me. But he may actually be German, too, now that I think of it.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

TadMack: I was thrilled to see that I had 6 new messages in my inbox, until I found out that four of them were spamming my blog. I deleted them all. Thanks for the Wee Folk Studio link. (Pssst, I think you should indulge in a faerie friend for your own.)

LSM: Thanks! The fairies about whom I tell stories are really more along the lines of Root Children and Little Ones. I just put wings on sometimes because Lucia likes them. Iris the Rainbow Fairy is actually Iris the Greek demi-goddess of the rainbow, but you probably knew that, right? I like how she shows up in the Percy Jackson novels. When I am really, really tired and Lucia wants a story, I talk in a light, lilting voice about fairies tripping merrily through the forest to talk to the wee flowers. I'm channeling Nigel Molesworth then.

You had a good answer for that guy. When people come up to a person asking, "What do you think of my book?" they often don't want to hear real criticism. They want to hear, "It's brilliant. Publish it." Sometimes I get very promising manuscripts to read-- and every now and then, someone really wants edits.

Lone Star Ma said...

People send you manuscripts? A sideline I didn't know about, perhaps? Maybe I will send you manuscripts. Some day I am going to get back to my story with the fatal flaw and figure it out....

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

LSM: Most often people would come to the library asking me to look at manuscripts. While it is totally not our job to do that, sometimes I would say, "Yes, I'll be happy to look it over and give you some feedback, but I can give you no guarantees about when you'll get it back." I've always been tempted to add, "I charge 25 dollars an hour." I felt bad for this one writer who had done so much research about a baseball player, and then wrote a very unhelpful rhyming text. I suspect he didn't really appreciate my advice to rewrite the book as an easy prose biography!

HipWriterMama said...

I decided all manufacturers must be owned by blondes. The really pretty dolls, adorable fairies and even most of the cute catalog kid models are blonde. It seems so sad that kids are geared from a young age to think blonde is what makes the world go around.

My latest complaint has been with a certain catalog order doll company. The blonde dolls have pretty styled hair and one even has earrings. Not to mention the blonde dolls model the cuter clothes.

You don't see this special treatment for any of the other dolls. Plain hair, no earrings.

Sorry for this long-winded rant. But good for Lucia that she noticed!

And here's good thoughts for your garden!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

HWM: Blonde hair is lovely. So is brown hair, black hair, "red" hair, white hair, silver hair, and when it's really, really done right, purple hair can be quite striking. Dolls need to reflect that. I'm curious to know what this mail-order doll company is. These Waldorf dolls are way out of my budget, but check out this link: http://www.joyswaldorfdolls.com/

adrienne said...

Now I'm hungry.

Your garden looks so tidy and hopeful there, and I like that new brick border. It's still too cold and frozen here to worry about the gardens. Alas. We're having more thaws, though, so we're getting there. Another five or six weeks, I'd guess.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Adrienne: I often get hungry reading your blog. So, it's only fair!

TadMack said...

Okay, I just looked at the Waldorf dolls. I *want* the Dad and Baby.

That actually kinda made me cry for a second.