Ten Taster Tales – free sample PDF ebook

I have had feedback that some people haven’t bought my book, “Drabble Folk and Fairy Tales” because they don’t know what a Drabble is.

To answer this, I’ve made a taster PDF containing 10 of the 100 stories from the full book.

These delightful little stories are ideal for a quick children’s storytime or as the basis for crafting a longer tale….or just to read for your own pleasure.

Enjoy and let me know what you think. Please feel free to pass them on to anyone who may also enjoy them.

Download it free here:

Ten Taster Tales

Agaric and the Flower Fairies

toadstool image

Every spring, the flower fairies awoke from their winter sleep, and they painted the spring flowers. They arranged the petals facing the sun to make it smile, then they danced among the stems to shake the flowers and make them wave to the bees.
I say all the flower fairies, but one is missing. Agaric has overslept. She stayed up late last autumn painting the leaves orange, and forgot she still had the red leaves to paint, but then she was always so easily distracted.
As spring gave way to summer, the flower fairies were busy making ever larger and brighter blooms for the butterflies, but still Agaric slumbered on.
Only when the summer was giving way to autumn again did she stir.
She was bleary-eyed and drowsy after her long sleep, and when she made her flower, she realised she had no green to paint the stem. She had also put the flower on upside down, with the petals facing the ground instead of the sky!
She went to paint her flower with the red paint she still had, but as the paint dried it cracked, making the flower look spotty.
Agaric sat down under her flower and cried. She felt she was the worst flower fairy in all fairyland. As she sat, it began to rain, and Agaric realised that she was still dry, because the flower was like an umbrella, pushing the water to the sides because it was upside down.
She saw a pair of green legs appear in front of her, and Mr Toad addressed her in his croaky voice “thank you Agaric, I’ve been looking everywhere for a comfy seat, and you’ve made me a lovely Toad Stool.
“That’s it!” Said Agaric, “a toadstool!” She made the toadstool so perfectly that she was given her wings, to be a flying fairy. Now every year, Agaric makes Mr Toad lots of toadstools just the way he likes them.
You’ll know which are Agaric’s, they have speckly red tops, and are pure white underneath.
If anyone asks, you can tell them the name of those toadstools is Fly Agaric, and you can tell them why.

The strangeling and the lost pencil

A teacher walked a lonely road one day long ago. As he walked one path, he saw a pencil on the ground. Unthinking, he picked it up, put it in his pocket, and carried along his way. He arrived at a small village and took up his post as a school teacher for the local children.
All went well for him until one day a strange child entered his classroom. The child was unlike any he had met before, he did not speak, nor did he play. He just sat silently in the classroom, with watchful eyes on the teacher’s every move. Nobody knew where the boy had come from, or what his name was, so they called him “strangeling”.
The teacher wanted to find out more about the strangeling, so asked the class to write a story about their lives and families. All began their tasks diligently, except the strangeling. The teacher offered the strangeling a pencil (it just so happened to be the same one he’d found all those years before), and the strangeling smiled his strange smile, then began to write.
He wrote pages and pages of dense prose, then stood up and left quietly never to be seen again, taking the pencil with him.
The teacher picked up the strangeling’s story and began to read. He was still reading as his students left for the day, and when they returned the next morning the teacher was still there, with a strange faraway look in his eyes. Nobody knows for sure what became of the story he had read, some say he locked it away, some say he burned it, some say the story became a part of him, but no scrap of it was ever seen.
From that day a change came over the teacher, he seemed to be searching for something, and began collecting pens, pencils, straws, twigs, anything that resembled a pencil. All these he would collect together in a tin, and woe betide anyone who forgot their pencil, as they would be forced to endure the punishment they dubbed the “Russian Roulette of Calligraphic Dysfunction”. Poor unfortunates would reach into the tin, and their choice would determine their punishment. The lucky ones would find a pen that worked well, and they would return to their desks unscathed. Others would select pencils empty of lead, and would return home to find all their possessions had vanished mysteriously. One child was especially unfortunate, he picked what he thought was a pencil, but it turned out to be a twig. As the child looked at the twig, she stood rooted to the spot. leaves sprouted from the twig, and blossomed before her eyes. She tried to run, but found her legs were stiff. She tried to throw the twig away from her, but found it was part of her hand, although her hand began to look strangely wooden. Too late, she realised she had been turned into a tree, and she saw her classmates flee the classroom, all except the teacher, who calmly stood up and cut a twig from what had once been the girl’s hair. She saw the faraway look leave the teacher’s eyes as he calmly whittled the twig into a pencil and added charcoal from the grate as a lead.
The teacher turned to the girl and said “sorry, and thank you, the enchantment of the lost pencil was difficult to break, but I have finally done it! I’m free!”
The teacher was seen rushing from the village clutching the tin of pencils, nobody ever saw him again. Some say he leaves rogue pencils for unwary travellers to find, perhaps that’s the truth, but somewhere out there is a school house, in a long abandoned village, with a tree growing right through the centre of it. There are many stories of how that tree came to grow there, each as unlikely as the next, but whatever the story, nobody is willing to cut it down or prune its branches…IMG_0782[1]

The least of my brothers

Once there was a man called Simon, and he trudged his weary way to work one morning, unaware that this was no ordinary day. As he walked along, he passed an old man who was busking on the high street, playing a battered old acoustic guitar. The old man looked hungry, and his hands were blistered from playing the guitar, but the music he played was so beautiful Simon stopped a while to listen, and when the song ended, he talked to the old man.
Simon found out that the man’s name was Paul, and that he had been busking that part of the high street for years, initially singing, then adding the guitar once he had raised money to buy it. He was now saving for an electric guitar and an amp, but was finding busking increasingly hard as the cold weather bit, and his old voice showed his age.
Simon’s heart was touched, and he gave the old man a plectrum (he always carried a plectrum in his pocket in case of impromptu jamming sessions). Paul thanked him, then took the plectrum and played a new song for Simon. Simon recorded the song on his phone, then continued to work, thinking how dull his day would be after that bright interlude.
As Simon sat in his office, with nothing much to do, the song drifted to the front of his mind, and he uploaded it onto his work computer, then played it on the speakers. Hearing it again, Simon noticed new messages coming through the song, and his heart was moved anew. He forwarded the song to his friends, along with a plea for them to take a few minutes out of their day to visit Paul, the lonely busker, and to hear his wonderful music in person.
Simon had a few days off after that, and it was almost a week before he saw Paul again, but when he did, he was happy to see him playing an electric guitar (albeit a shabby second hand one with a small amp) and still using Simon’s plectrum.
Paul stopped playing, and shook Simon’s hand “I am happy to have met you, since you gave me this plectrum people have stopped to hear my music, and smiled at me. I have earned enough for this guitar, and all my dreams have come true”
Simon’s heart was touched anew by the man’s gratitude and small dreams, and he told Paul how he had shared the song with his friends. Paul was moved by Simon’s kindness, and began to weep. Simon gave Paul his handkerchief, and a scarf to keep out the cold. He also gave Paul the sandwich he’d brought with him for lunch, and a fully stamped coffee shop card that Paul could use to get a free coffee. Paul pressed a piece of paper into Simon’s hand, and said “God bless you, and thank you for your kindness”.
As Simon left Paul, to trudge to work once more, he heard him play a new song, a song of joy, he felt he’d heard it somewhere before. He looked at the paper, which said “Mt25:40″.
When he got to the office, he looked up the bible passage at Matthew chapter 25, verse 40, which read “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”, and he knew where he had heard the song before.
Once, in his younger days, he had heard the song of the angels, along with a promise that he would hear it again someday. He ran out of the office to the high street, and there was Paul, playing his wonderful music. Just for a second, Simon was sure he saw a glow from Paul, and wings tucked behind his hunched shoulders, then Paul, the guitar, the music and all were gone in a blaze of light. While Simon’s work was no more interesting from that day onwards, he found a new strength to face it, and a renewed joy in working, not for his employer, but for the glory of God.
Simon learned that day that angels can be found in all shapes and situations, and that generosity returns in unexpected ways.

Seeds of stories

A discarded, once well-loved story book lies on the dusty floor of a long-abandoned cottage. A breeze ruffles the pages and reveals a brief glimpse of one of the pictures.
For a moment it looks as if something has come loose on one of the pages, or come alive, but that’s not possible, surely?
A little glint of fairy dust, the sound of tiny footsteps, and something wondrous begins to happen.
From the dusty depths of the yellowed pages, a shoot emerges, the shoot of a plant as yet unseen in the human realm.The words of stories long untold feed the shoots of new stories beyond imagination. The leaves of paper transform into the leaves of the plant. As the magic of each story grows and branches out, flowers grown of pure fantasy emerge and bloom.
The story-flower twines itself around furniture, and extends upwards towards the sunlight, where the light glinting on it catches the attention of a robin, the sole observer of the desolate scene.
The robin perches on the window ledge, and looks quizzically at the new flower, then swoops down and picks it, flying off triumphantly with its prize.
The robin flies until it reaches another lonely place, where a small boy sleeps all alone in a house. He knows no stories, as there has been nobody to tell him them. The robin drops the flower by his head, and as he sleeps, stories fill his dreams and grow in the rich soil of his imagination.
Back in the lonely cottage, the story-plant withers and dies, the words of dusty stories returning to the ground, safe in the knowledge that the seeds of new stories were growing and alive for the future.

Ben and the Midnight Mouse

Once upon a time there was a little boy called Ben. He was playing in his bedroom when he noticed a toy he’d never seen before, a tiny mouse toy with a pink nose. He picked it up, and touched his nose to the mouse’s, and the mouse came to life! The mouse said his name was Sam, and he was a travelling mouse. Wherever Ben wanted, they could travel, but only for an hour at midnight, because the midnight hour is the most magical.

Ben waited until midnight, asked to visit the moon, and Sam Mouse took him there in a shake of his tail.
They played among the moon rocks until their hour was up, then Ben found himself back in his room.
The next night they went to Rio and joined in a carnival, dancing and celebrating until the hour was up.
Each night they had adventures in different places until one day Ben came back from school to find his mum had tidied his room. All his toys were neatly put away, but Sam Mouse was nowhere to be found!
Ben’s mother said that as she was tidying she saw a little girl crying outside, and had given her the mouse to cheer her up.
Ben grew up to be an adventurer, travelling the world to see all the places he’d visited with Sam Mouse. Eventually, he met the little girl who his mother had given Sam mouse to (she in turn had passed it on to another child) and they travelled together, and lived Happily Ever After
The End.