Drabble Diaries Folk and Fairytales

I am pleased to announce that my latest book, “Drabble Diaries Folk and Fairytales” is now available to buy as an ebook at Smashwords Here

The paperback version is due out in the next couple of weeks, in time for Christmas stocking fillers, but for now, here’s the blurb:

If you wonder why the world is the way it is, then this book is for you.
Familiar fairytales, worldwide folklore, and traditional religious stories nestle among the brand new imaginings of Carol Ferro, the famous “Short Story Lady”, all honed to perfection by the hugely talented Sharon Richards.
Within these covers, quests are undertaken, lessons learned, and princesses rescued.
Find out how birds got their colours and whose face is in the moon.
The wisdom of ages, distilled into 100 stories of 100 words, ideal for storytime or a quick read.
It’s what the world has been waiting for…

Front cover image

Front cover of the book

The Tortoise and the Hare

The tortoise and the hare
Once upon a time there was a hare, the fastest hare that had ever lived. He ran everywhere and all the time, and he knew how very amazingly fast he was. Because of this, he started to boast “I am the fastest creature in all the world! Nobody is faster than me”. The other creatures grew tired of his incessant boasting, and sought a way to bring the hare down a peg or two.
They called a meeting to which all creatures (except the hare of course) were invited, and asked who would race against this upstart animal. The creatures shuffled their feet, and looked nervously at each other. Who could be confident to beat the hare in a race? Only one creature from all gathered stepped forward, and it was a most unlikely challenger. Tortoise plodded out of the crowd, and said in his slow-and-steady voice “I’ll race the hare”.
The creatures laughed at such a ridiculous proposition. Tortoise was so slow that despite setting out for the meeting as soon as he heard of it, three days previously, he was still late arriving. His plodding ways were well known among all animals. Eventually the badger asked tortoise “why do you think you can beat the hare when all others can’t”, and the tortoise in his slow-and-steady way said “because I keep going, and I don’t stop. Slow-and-steady wins the race, that’s what my dad told me”.
The creatures could not argue with the tortoise’s logic, so despite their reservations they set up the race for the next day.
Hare ran to the start line in seconds flat, and hopped about while he awaited his race-partner. Hours later the tortoise appeared on the scene, plodding along in his slow-and-steady way until he arrived at the line. The starting pistol went “BANG” and the hare raced off into the distance. The tortoise began his slow-and-steady plodding, and plodded along all through the day and all through the night. The hare, meanwhile, saw a shady tree beside the race track, and decided that his lead was immense enough, and his challenger slow enough, that he could take forty winks and still trounce his opponent. The warm sun lulled the hare into rather a deeper sleep than he intended, and soon he was slumbering peacefully, safe in the knowledge that however fast the tortoise plodded, he, the hare, would always beat him. The tortoise was not at all surprised to see the hare asleep under the tree, and muttered to himself as he passed “slow-and-steady, that’s the way, keep going”.
The hare awoke some time later, aware he had been asleep for quite a while. He looked behind him and chuckled to himself “not even on the horizon! What a plodder that tortoise is”. He jogged along, confident of an easy victory, but as he neared the finish line he was met with a most surprising sight. There, a whisker away from the finishing line, was the tortoise! The hare was quite taken aback “but how…” He upped his pace and sprinted for the line with all his speed, but the tortoise had plodded across the line ahead of him. The hare, red in the face and sweating profusely, approached the tortoise, who looked cool and collected as usual. The hare asked the question that had been puzzling him; “How did you beat me in a race? I’m the fastest creature in the world!”
“Not now you’re not”, the tortoise replied with a wry grin, “I am. My father told me Slow-and-steady wins the race, and he was right. It does!”
Thus the tortoise enjoyed his unlikely title of “world’s fastest creature”, and the hare learned humility.
The other creatures noticed a change in the hare from that day onwards, as after his defeat he vowed to use his speed to help rather than to boast. The hare became the messenger for the other creatures, and the tortoise retired from racing, enjoying his retirement with good grace.IMG_0821[1]

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.

The Ugly Duckling

Once there was a nest, and in the nest there were five eggs. They were duck eggs, and the mother duck looked after them until they began to hatch. One by one the little ducklings emerged from their eggs, all eyes and beaks, and fluffy yellow down. four hatched, but the last egg, the largest egg, took its time. It was a full week later than the rest, and the chick that emerged was like none the mother duck had ever seen. It was larger than its siblings, with a longer beak, and its down was grey instead of yellow. The mother duck tried to love her strange chick as much as the others, but the ducklings were not so kind. They taunted the newcomer, nicknaming him the “Ugly Duckling”.

The Ugly Duckling was unhappy, but still he tried his hardest to fit in. He tried swimming with his siblings, but his long legs kept getting tangled in the water weed. He tried bobbing his head under the water to dabble for plants at the bottom of the pond, but his long neck meant he invariably got a mouthful of mud. He tried to join the other ducklings, shouting “cheep cheep” in their high-pitched voices, but his own voice was harsh and low-pitched, and said “Hooonk”.  After a particularly difficult day, where the Ugly Duckling felt he could do no right, he resolved to run away where he could do no harm.

The next morning, the ducks awoke to find the Ugly Duckling was missing. The mother duck looked high and low, but could find no sign of her odd duckling. By then he was far away, among the reeds by a river, and there he stayed all winter long, living alone and finding his own food.

One spring morning, the Ugly Duckling awoke to an odd sound, a hooting, honking sound. He looked for the source of the sound, and saw a flock of the most magnificent birds he had ever seen. They had long, graceful necks, broad white wings and strong yellow beaks. He plucked up all his courage, and spoke to them in a small voice “er, excuse me, but what kind of birds are you?”  The largest of the flock turned his majestic head toward the Ugly Duckling quizzically, and said “we’re swans, like you”.  The Ugly Duckling didn’t know what to make of this statement, so replied “but I’m a duck, and not a very good one at that”.

The swans beckoned him out into open water, and looked him up and down. “you’re definitely a swan, and a fine handsome one at that! No wonder you didn’t fit in! A duck indeed!” The swans bade the Ugly Duckling swim to a calm area of water, that he could see his reflection in the looking-glass smoothness of the water’s surface. The Ugly Duckling was astounded at the sight that met his eyes. Gone was the straggly grey down, replaced by sleek white feathers. His long neck was now strong and graceful, and his wings were broad and strong. The other swans said ” join our flock, and we’ll show you how to curve your neck, how to preen your new white feathers, and best of all, how to fly for hundreds of miles, to see far off lands, and taste exotic grasses.”

They gave him a new name “Handsome Swan”, and he grew strong and happy in the company of his flock. He was renowned throughout the land as the finest swan around, and he lived

Happily

Ever

After

The End

Once upon a time, there were three billy goats

Once upon a time, there were three billy goats. They were brothers, one was small, one was middle-sized and one was huge, and they lived in a valley, eating the grass of the meadows.

Every day, they looked across the valley at the lush green grass on the other side, but they couldn’t get over to eat it, because the only bridge over the rushing river was guarded by a terrible troll who ate all passing creatures.

The goats thought how they might defeat the troll to cross the bridge.

One afternoon, the smallest goat approached the bridge. His little hooves went “tip, tap, tip, tap” on the bridge, and out came the troll, shouting “WHO’S THAT TIP TAPPING OVER MY BRIDGE? I’M A BIG SCARY TROLL AND I’LL EAT YOU FOR LUNCH!!!”

“Err, I’m only a tiny billy goat, mostly skin and bones, don’t eat me mr troll sir” trembled the little goat “my brother is coming along, he’s much bigger and fatter than me, you should eat him instead”
“VERY WELL THEN” bellowed the troll “OFF YOU GO, BUT WHEN YOU ARE BIG I’LL GOBBLE YOU TOO”

The little goat tip-tapped across the bridge and away, and the troll sat drooling under the bridge, anticipating his lovely goaty dinner.

Later that day, along came the middle goat, Trip Trap Trip Trap, on the bridge. Out came the troll, shouting “WHO’S THAT TRIP TRAPPING OVER MY BRIDGE? I’M A BIG SCARY TROLL AND I’LL EAT YOU FOR DINNER!!!”

The middle billy goat replied (his knees trembling a little) “I’m really not much bigger than my little brother, not very much of a meal. Our big brother is coming along, he’s biggest of all, you should eat him.”

“VERY WELL, OFF YOU GO, BUT WHEN YOU’RE FAT I’LL EAT YOU TOO”

The middle goat Trip-Trapped off to join his brother, and the troll settled under the bridge to await his feast.

Later still, along came the biggest goat “BOOM, BOOM” went his hooves on the bridge. Out came the troll, “WHO’S THAT BOOM BOOMING OVER MY BRIDGE? I’M A BIG SCARY TROLL AND I’LL EAT YOU FOR SUPPER!”

The huge goat lowered his head, showing his big curly horns, and replied “I’m a big scary billy goat, and I’ll eat YOU for supper!”, and the goat charged at the unfortunate troll, knocking him clean off the bridge, up into the air. The troll landed with a splash in the rushing river and was never seen again.

The three goats, however, ate the lush green grass and in time were all as big as each other, and they all lived Happily Ever After

The End

Once there was a tailor…

Once there was a tailor, and he was famous throughout the land as he wove the finest fabrics to make magnificent garments for kings and emperors.

One king set out to find the tailor’s secret. He travelled far and wide until he saw a forest with strange lights glowing in the centre. He entered the forest and found himself in a fairy glen, bedecked with fireflies and will-o-the-wisps.

In the centre of the glen was the famous tailor, and he listened to the fairy’s stories. As he listened, gossamer threads appeared in the air between them, which he skilfully wove into a fabric. The king was about to leave, glad he had discovered the secret at last, when he stepped on a twig, and the fairies stopped their tales, and the tailor stopped his weaving, and they all turned to look at the king.
The tailor invited him into the glen.

“It is time to weave your story into the fabric, you have found my tapestry of words, you must add your own”.

The king sat down and recounted his adventures, and as he spoke, the tailor took the very words from the air, and span them into shimmering threads, then wove them into as fine a fabric as you have ever seen.

When the king had finished speaking, the tailor sewed the fabric into a cloak, then handed a needle and some scissors to the king.

The king was surprised, and asked why he had been given such fine gifts.

“It is the curse of the story weaver to carry the needle until such a time as he can weave a cloak from the life of another. I have woven your life into my cloak, and shall wear it henceforth. I wear your life and it is mine.”

The truth dawned on the king “but what will I do without my life?”

The tailor had put the cloak on, and looked just like the king now “I have been where you are now, and my advice to you is to do the very best story weaving you can, for once you have woven the finest stories you will ignite the curiosity of one who will tell you theirs, and perhaps one day we shall meet at my palace.”

The old king replied “you mean my palace!”, but found himself alone, save for the needle and scissors. He set out to search for stories to weave, a long journey, and the hope of redemption.