Monday, January 30, 2012

Memory Monday - My Earliest Memory

My earliest memory is of my dad showing me the front door right after a blizzard where the snow was as tall as I was. I had just turned two, or was almost two. I'm pretty sure the memory of Dad showing me the snow as tall as I am dates to that snowstorm, since I haven't seen all that many snowstorms where the snow is as deep as I am tall.

My mom has a picture of me leaning against the snow, but they're on her computer, and I'm writing this on my own computer, so I can't share.

I thought the snow being as tall as me was pretty cool, though.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Dad.

I am thankful for my Dad. No one has as great a dad as I have.

I mean, who has a dad with a sense of humor like my dad has? What other dad will suddenly break into song whenever you say something he thinks needs to be sang - and half the time he's rewriting the song? What other dad helps YOU rewrite songs?

What other dad takes you to basketball games because he's the ref? What other dad can program computers? What other dad studies the rapture and stuff like that?

My dad does.

I have the world's best dad.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Topic Study - Guidance

Guidance is defined as follows:

  1. the act of guiding; direction; leadership
  2. something that guides
  3. advice or assistance, as that given to students by vocational or educational counselors
  4. the process of directing the course of a spacecraft, missile, etc.
I am going more about guidance as the first three definitions describe, since guiding a spacescraft isn't mentioned much in the Bible, and it is from the Bible that I am studying.

So, what does the Bible have to say about Guidance? I'll enter the words "guidance" and "guide" into the the search engine on e-sword, which I have downloaded on my computer. I'll be using the King James Version, because that is the version I'm used to reading and studying.

The first verse I pull up is in Job and God is asking Job if he can guide something. I don't think it is quite relevant to the search I'm making. 

Therefore, I'll move on to the next verse, 
      (Psa 25:9)  The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. 
This verse says that God will guide the meek. The Hebrew word here is dârak. According to Strong's Concordance it means to tread; by implication to walk; also to string a bow (by treading on it in bending). So, God will guide the meek like an archer guides an arrow. He sends us where we need to go.  Another picture would be a  path that has already been drawn out. There is no other path, we just have to walk down it.

Another verse:
    (Psa 31:3)  For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. 
Here David is asking that God guide him and protect him. The Hebrew word used here is nâhal, meaning, properly, to run with a sparkle, that is, flow; hence (transitively) to conduct, and (by inference) to protect, sustain. So guidance, it appears, is not only in sending, but also in protecting. This gives a picture, not merely of sending, but going with and protecting while they go. When God guides us, he sends us, and comes with us. 

    (Psa 32:8)  I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. 
Here God is telling us that he will guide us where we need to go. The Hebrew word used here is yâ‛ats, which means to advise; reflexively to deliberate or resolve. So in this one, he guides by giving counsel. This gives the picture of someone watching and offering advice while the task is being done. God tells us what we need to do. And where do we find his advise? In the Bible, of course.

    (Psa 48:14)  For this God is our God for ever ever: he will be our guide even unto death. 
God will always guide us! The word used here is nâhag, which  means to drive forth (a person, an animal or chariot), that is, lead, carry away; reflexively to proceed (that is, impel or guide oneself); also (from the panting induced by effort), to sigh. This is the picture of someone doing something on their own, with instructions from their guide.

    (Pro 11:3)  The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them. 
This says that if we aren't guided by what we should do, we will destroy ourselves! The word used here is 
nâchâh which means to guide; by implication to transport (into exile, or as colonists). Picture the person behind the steering wheel in a car. If he has integrity, he will be a good driver, follow the traffic rules, have a good driving record. Without integrity, he would not be a man I would like driving me places!

   (Joh 16:13)  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 
So the Holy Spirit is our guide today. The Greek word used here is hodēgeō, which means to show the way (literally or figuratively [teach]). The Holy Spirit teaches us how we need to live. He is all of the things above. He holds our hand and protect us. He shows us our path that we need to go down. He provides us with advice (whether from the Bible or a mentor) when we need it. He gives us integrity. 

   (Act 8:31)  And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 
This was when Phillip met the Ethiopian Eunuch. The Eunuch is saying that it is impossible to understand the scriptures without someone else guiding and teaching you, for the word used here is the same word used in the previous verse. We have someone to guide us. We have the Holy Spirit.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The False Prince and The True

I discovered this Fairy Tale while looking for another one. 

The king had just awakened from his midday sleep, for it was summer, and everyone rose early and rested from twelve to three, as they do in hot countries. He had dressed himself in cool white clothes, and was passing through the hall on his way to the council chamber, when a number of young nobles suddenly appeared before him, and one amongst them stepped forward and spoke.

Not the normal start up. What happened to the usual Once upon a time? Guess it was getting outdated.

'Sire, this morning we were all playing tennis in the court, the prince and this gentleman with the rest, when there broke out some dispute about the game. The prince lost his temper, and said many insulting things to the other, who was playing against him, till at length the gentleman whom you see there struck him violently in the face, so that the blood ran from his mouth and nose. We were all so horrified at the sight, that we should most likely have killed the man then and there, for daring to lay hands on the prince, had not his grandfather the duke stepped between and commanded us to lay the affair before you.'

The young man was named Brenden.

The king had listened attentively to the story, and when it was ended he said:
'I suppose the prince had no arms with him, or else he would have used them?'


'Yes, sire, he had arms; he always carries a dagger in his belt. But when he saw the blood pouring from his face, he went to a corner of the court and began to cry, which was the strangest thing of all.'

Oh, dear. The prince, didn't defend himself. The prince was named Stanford, by the way.

On hearing this the king walked to the window and stood for a few minutes with his back to the room, where the company of young men remained silent. Then he came back, his face white and stern.

Uh, oh ... he's mad ...

'I tell you,' he said, 'and it is the solemn truth, that I would rather you had told me that the prince was dead, though he is my only son, than know that he would suffer such an injury without attempting to avenge it. As for the gentleman who struck him, he will be brought before my judges, and will plead his own cause, but I hardly think he can escape death, after having assaulted the heir to the crown.'

Now, since this is a Fairy Tale, he WILL find a way out of this mess. But until then ... poor Brendan ...

The young man raised his head as if to reply, but the king would not listen, and commanded his guards to put him under arrest, adding, however, that if the prisoner wished to visit any part of the city, he was at liberty to do so properly guarded, and in fifteen days he would be brought to trial before the highest judges in the land.
The young man left the king's presence, surrounded by soldiers, and accompanied by many of his friends, for he was a great favourite. By their advice he spent the fourteen days that remained to him going about to seek counsel from wise men of all sorts, as to how he might escape death, but no one could help him, for none could find any excuse for the blow he had given to the prince.

Don't get discouraged, Brendan, this is a Fairy Tale, you'll find a way out of your mess!

The fourteenth night had come, and in despair the prisoner went out to take his last walk through the city. He wandered on hardly knowing where he went, and his face was so white and desperate that none of his companions dared speak to him. The sad little procession had passed some hours in this manner, when, near the gate of a monastery, an old woman appeared round a corner, and suddenly stood before the young man. She was bent almost double, and was so wizened and wrinkled that she looked at least ninety; only her eyes were bright and quick as those of a girl.

She's got to be a fairy. Old women with eyes like girls are almost always fairies!

'Sir,' she said, 'I know all that has happened to you, and how you are seeking if in any wise you can save your life. But there is none that can answer that question save only I myself, if you will promise to do all I ask.'
At her words the prisoner felt as if a load had all at once been rolled off him.

She must be a Fairy! Fairies always know how to get the young hero out of whatever trouble he finds himself in!

'Oh, save me, and I will do anything!' he cried. 'It is so hard to leave the world and go out into the darkness.'

And since she's a fairy, she'll be able to set him free, of course. Wonder what she want him to do for her? Rescue some princess?

'You will not need to do that,' answered the old woman, 'you have only got to marry me, and you will soon be free.'

Uhh ... that's a bit ... unusual ... most fairies don't ask the young men they help to marry THEM!

'Marry you?' exclaimed he, 'but--but--I am not yet twenty, and you --why, you must be a hundred at least! Oh, no, it is quite impossible.'

See my above reaction.

He spoke without thinking, but the flash of anger which darted from her eyes made him feel uncomfortable. However, all she said was:
'As you like; since you reject me, let the crows have you,' and hurried away down the street.

Wonder why she's so keen on marrying him.

Left to himself, the full horror of his coming death rushed upon the young man, and he understood that he had thrown away his sole chance of life. Well, if he must, he must, he said to himself, and began to run as fast as he could after the old crone, who by this time could scarcely be seen, even in the moonlight. Who would have believed a woman past ninety could walk with such speed? It seemed more like flying! But at length, breathless and exhausted, he reached her side, and gasped out:

There is something quite odd about that old woman.

'Madam, pardon me for my hasty words just now; I was wrong, and will thankfully accept the offer you made me.'

Well, if he doesn't marry her, he's going to die tomorrow, so, why not? I still think having him rescue some princess would have been a better plot, though.

'Ah, I thought you would come to your senses,' answered she, in rather an odd voice. 'We have no time to lose--follow me at once,' and they went on silently and swiftly till they stopped at the door of a small house in which the priest lived. Before him the old woman bade the prisoner swear that she should be his wife, and this he did in the presence of witnesses. Then, begging the priest and the guards to leave them alone for a little, she told the young man what he was to do, when the next morning he was brought before the king and the judges.

I wonder how she's going to get him out of his mess.

The hall was full to overflowing when the prisoner entered it, and all marvelled at the brightness of his face. The king inquired if he had any excuse to plead for the high treason he had committed by striking the heir to the throne, and, if so, to be quick in setting it forth. With a low bow the youth made answer in a clear voice:

'O my lord and gracious king, and you, nobles and wise men of the land, I leave my cause without fear in your hands, knowing that you will listen and judge rightly, and that you will suffer me to speak to the end, before you give judgment.

Is he flattering them?

'For four years, you, O king, had been married to the queen and yet had no children, which grieved you greatly. The queen saw this, and likewise that your love was going from her, and thought night and day of some plan that might put an end to this evil. At length, when you were away fighting in distant countries, she decided what she would do, and adopted in secret the baby of a poor quarryman, sending a messenger to tell you that you had a son. No one suspected the truth except a priest to whom the queen confessed the truth, and in a few weeks she fell ill and died, leaving the baby to be brought up as became a prince. And now, if your highness will permit me, I will speak of myself.'

Stanford's not the prince! Then there's no heir! Who's going to be king after the King? I think I'm going to name the King Reginald!

'What you have already told me,' answered the king, 'is so strange that I cannot imagine what more there is to tell, but go on with your story.'

I agree, Reggie, this story's quite interesting! Wonder how the old woman came by it. She must be a Fairy.

'One day, shortly after the death of the queen,' continued the young man, 'your highness was hunting, and outstripped all your attendants while chasing the deer. You were in a part of the country which you did not know, so seeing an orchard all pink and white with apple-blossoms, and a girl tossing a ball in one corner, you went up to her to ask your way. But when she turned to answer you, you were so struck with her beauty that all else fled from your mind. Again and again you rode back to see her, and at length persuaded her to marry you. She only thought you a poor knight, and agreed that as you wished it, the marriage should be kept secret.

And why did he want a secret marriage?

'After the ceremony you gave her three rings and a charm with a cross on it, and then put her in a cottage in the forest, thinking to hide the matter securely.

Except that Fairies can find out anything they wish.

'For some months you visited the cottage every week; but a rebellion broke out in a distant part of the kingdom, and called for your presence. When next you rode up to the cottage, it was empty, and none could inform you whither your bride had gone. That, sire, I can now tell you,' and the young man paused and looked at the king, who coloured deeply. 'She went back to her father the old duke, once your chamberlain, and the cross on her breast revealed at once who you were. Fierce was his anger when he heard his daughter's tale, and he vowed that he would hide her safely from you, till the day when you would claim her publicly as your queen.

And how, may I ask, was the king to claim her publicly if he couldn't find her!

'By and bye I was born, and was brought up by my grandfather in one of his great houses. Here are the rings you gave to my mother, and here is the cross, and these will prove if I am your son or not.'

I wonder what happened to his mother.

As he spoke the young man laid the jewels at the feet of the king, and the nobles and the judges pressed round to examine them. The king alone did not move from his seat, for he had forgotten the hall of justice and all about him, and saw only the apple-orchard, as it was twenty years ago, and the beautiful girl playing at ball. A sudden silence round him made him look up, and he found the eyes of the assembly fixed on him.

Earth to Reginald, come in, Reginald!

'It is true; it is he who is my son, and not the other,' he said with an effort, 'and let every man present swear to acknowledge him as king, after my death.'

Thus we take care of the problem of what to happen when Reginald dies.

Therefore one by one they all knelt before him and took the oath, and a message was sent to the false prince, forbidding him ever again to appear at court, though a handsome pension was granted him.

Actually, I think the false prince got the better deal, never having to be king. Being a king is hard work!

At last the ceremony was over, and the king, signing to his newly found son to follow him, rose and went into another room.

'Tell me how you knew all that,' he said, throwing himself into a carved chair filled with crimson cushions, and the prince told of his meeting with the old woman who had brought him the jewels from his mother, and how he had sworn before a priest to marry her, though he did not want to do it, on account of the difference in their ages, and besides, he would rather receive a bride chosen by the king himself. But the king frowned, and answered sharply:

And how did the old woman get them? And why didn't the Grandfather (who obviously knew, and WAS there) not tell him who his father was?

'You swore to marry her if she saved your life, and, come what may, you must fulfil your promise.' Then, striking a silver shield that hung close by, he said to the equerry who appeared immediately:

Yes, Brendan, you must fulfill your promises.

'Go and seek the priest who lives near the door of the prison, and ask him where you can find the old woman who visited him last night; and when you have found her, bring her to the palace.'

It took some time to discover the whereabouts of the old woman, but at length it was accomplished, and when she arrived at the palace with the equerry, she was received with royal honours, as became the bride of the prince. The guards looked at each other with astonished eyes, as the wizened creature, bowed with age, passed between their lines; but they were more amazed still at the lightness of her step as she skipped up the steps to the great door before which the king was standing, with the prince at his side. If they both felt a shock at the appearance of the aged lady they did not show it, and the king, with a grave bow, took her band, and led her to the chapel, where a bishop was waiting to perform the marriage ceremony.

And I mention again that this is a very odd old woman.

For the next few weeks little was seen of the prince, who spent all his days in hunting, and trying to forget the old wife at home. As for the princess, no one troubled himself about her, and she passed the days alone in her apartments, for she had absolutely declined the services of the ladies-in-waiting whom the king had appointed for her.

You know, I wonder if this is the prequel to last week's Fairy Tale, and this is how the old man me the old woman.

One night the prince returned after a longer chase than usual, and he was so tired that he went up straight to bed. Suddenly he was awakened by a strange noise in the room, and suspecting that a robber might have stolen in, he jumped out of bed, and seized his sword, which lay ready to his hand. Then he perceived that the noise proceeded from the next room, which belonged to the princess, and was lighted by a burning torch. Creeping softly to the door, he peeped through it, and beheld her lying quietly, with a crown of gold and pearls upon her head, her wrinkles all gone, and her face, which was whiter than the snow, as fresh as that of a girl of fourteen. Could that really be his wife--that beautiful, beautiful creature?

Guess not. But, as I said last week, it appears to be okay to get married at fourteen in Fairy Tales. Just make sure you wait until you're older.

The prince was still gazing in surprise when the lady opened her eyes and smiled at him.

Typical man in presence of beautiful girl, "Uhhhhhh ...."

'Yes, I really am your wife,' she said, as if she had guessed his thoughts, 'and the enchantment is ended. Now I must tell you who I am, and what befell to cause me to take the shape of an old woman.

I don't think it would be very hard to guess his thoughts.

'The king of Granada is my father, and I was born in the palace which overlooks the plain of the Vega. I was only a few months old when a wicked fairy, who had a spite against my parents, cast a spell over me, bending my back and wrinkling my skin till I looked as if I was a hundred years old, and making me such an object of disgust to everyone, that at length the king ordered my nurse to take my away from the palace. She was the only person who cared about me, and we lived together in this city on a small pension allowed me by the king.

So, she wasn't a fairy, she was just enchanted by one!

'When I was about three an old man arrived at our house, and begged my nurse to let him come in and rest, as he could walk no longer. She saw that he was very ill, so put him to bed and took such care of him that by and bye he was as strong as ever. In gratitude for her goodness to him, he told her that he was a wizard and could give her anything she chose to ask for, except life or death, so she answered that what she longed for most in the world was that my wrinkled skin should disappear, and that I should regain the beauty with which I was born. To this he replied that as my misfortune resulted from a spell, this was rather difficult, but he would do his best, and at any rate he could promise that before my fifteenth birthday I should be freed from the enchantment if I could get a man who would swear to marry me as I was.

I personally would have said at least seventeen. Hey! Just my personal opinion!

'As you may suppose, this was not easy, as my ugliness was such that no one would look at me a second time. My nurse and I were almost in despair, as my fifteenth birthday was drawing near, and I had never so much as spoken to a man. At last we received a visit from the wizard, who told us what had happened at court, and your story, bidding me to put myself in your way when you had lost all hope, and offer to save you if you would consent to marry me.

Couldn't do it the honest way, so they had to consort to bribery. Still would like to know how she got the rings and charm.

'That is my history, and now you must beg the king to send messengers at once to Granada, to inform my father of our marriage, and I think,' she added with a smile, 'that he will not refuse us his blessing.'

And they, of course, lived happily ever after. Except that that is an outdated closing. So forget I put it there.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday - My Mom

I have an AWESOME mom. All other moms PALE in comparison with mine. You see, for one thing, my mom homeschools me. Not all moms will do that. But my mom loves teaching, so she decided that, rather than teaching other people's children at some school, she'd teach her own at home.

Another thing, my mom OUGHT to be an author herself. She has a gift for storytelling, although she has never gotten any of her books to a publisher. (and the only one I have my hands on that I COULD get published isn't finished yet) Whenever I run myself intg a brick wall on one of my books, I bring it to her, and she USUALLY gets me straightened out. When she can't, it's usually because I haven't explained my problem right. She will be a published author soon, though, as soon as I can get the book I've cowritten with her finished and published.

Another great thing about my mom is that she can't cook. This means that, since I CAN cook, I get to cook. HAH!

There are so many other great things about my mom, and it'd fill several books if I had to write them all down, so, suffice to say, I have an AWESOME mom, and I'm thankful God gave her to me.

Thought for the Day.

I love palindromes. I also like saying things spelled backwards. (My Pen Name is evidence of that). Well, one day, I was messing around with various words, and realized that Aim, spelled backwards, was Mia. A name. 

But it's also the abbreviation M.I.A.

Which stands for Missing In Action.

So, my thought was, if you have no aim, or a bad aim - then you're Missing In Action. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tasty Tuesday - Syrup

2 c. Sugar (doesn't matter which type, I usually use a cup of powdered and a cup of granuled, but any type of dry sugar works)
1 c. water
1 tsp. maple flavoring. (opt)

Put everything in a small sauce pan, and heat, stirring constantly. When desired consistency, remove from heat and let cool. Pour over pancakes, waffles or anything else you put syrup on, and Enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Memory Monday - Training Wheels.

There once was a girl with a curl
Right in the middle of her for'ed
And when she was good, she was very good,
But when she was bad, she was hor'id.

Now, this girl was seven or so years old, and she had a bike, which still had training wheels on it. She rather liked her training wheels, and didn't think herself quite ready to give them up.

But when two of her uncles came to visit, and found out that she was still using training wheels, they had other ideas. You see, when they were her age, their training wheels had long been off.

So they took her training wheels off even against her most valiant objections. Then they proceeded to try to teach her how to ride her bike without training wheels. Now, self-image can really effect how you learn things. Since the girl didn't see herself as ready for the training wheels to  come off, she wasn't.

So, once the uncles left, she refused to even touch her bike. Finally, she convinced her Grandfather to put the wheels back on. Her mom told her that, next time the wheels came off, they weren't going back on.

And, when she finally deemed herself ready and took the wheels off, she never asked for them to go back on, because she felt herself ready, and therefore was ready.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Little Wildrose

Once upon a time the things in this story happened, and if they had not happened then the story would never have been told. But that was the time when wolves and lambs lay peacefully together in one stall, and shepherds dined on grassy banks with kings and queens.

I love this start!

Once upon a time, then, my dear good children, there lived a man. Now this man was really a hundred years old, if not fully twenty years more. And his wife was very old too--how old I do not know; but some said she was as old as the goddess Venus herself. They had been very happy all these years, but they would have been happier still if they had had any children; but old though they were they had never made up their minds to do without them, and often they would sit over the fire and talk of how they would have brought up their children if only some had come to their house.

Classic dilemma. Old man and old woman want child. Although, I'm not sure what to say about the ages. The man was 100 - 120, but the woman was as old as Venus herself! How old was she when they got married? Might that have been a factor in them never having children?

One day the old man seemed sadder and more thoughtful than was common with him, and at last he said to his wife: 'Listen to me, old woman!'

Honestly, calling her old woman ... even though she IS old. But if I were her, being called old woman would make me grumpy.

'What do you want?' asked she.

See, it makes her grumpy, too.

'Get me some money out of the chest, for I am going a long journey--all through the world--to see if I cannot find a child, for my heart aches to think that after I am dead my house will fall into the hands of a stranger. And this let me tell you: that if I never find a child I shall not come home again.'

And now that you make her grumpy, she'll let you go just to get rid of you.

Then the old man took a bag and filled it with food and money, and throwing it over his shoulders, bade his wife farewell.

And she bade him farewell, because, even though she's grumpy, she really does love him.

For long he wandered, and wandered, and wandered, but no child did he see; and one morning his wanderings led him to a forest which was so thick with trees that no light could pass through the branches. The old man stopped when he saw this dreadful place, and at first was afraid to go in; but he remembered that, after all, as the proverb says: 'It is the unexpected that happens,' and perhaps in the midst of this black spot he might find the child he was seeking. So summoning up all his courage he plunged boldly in.

I like that proverb. "It's the unexpected that happens." Wonder where he heard it.

How long he might have been walking there he never could have told you, when at last he reached the mouth of a cave where the darkness seemed a hundred times darker than the wood itself. Again he paused, but he felt as if something was driving him to enter, and with a beating heart he stepped in.

How did he see the cave if there weren't any light. Just sayin'!

For some minutes the silence and darkness so appalled him that he stood where he was, not daring to advance one step. Then he made a great effort and went on a few paces, and suddenly, far before him, he saw the glimmer of a light. This put new heart into him, and he directed his steps straight towards the faint rays, till he could see, sitting by it, an old hermit, with a long white beard.

Ah, the old hermit in the cave. One thing you should know, hermits are almost always good. I can't think of a single Fairy Tale where they aren't, which means they have a better record than Fairy Godmothers - because there are Fairy Tales with bad Fairy Godmothers.

The hermit either did not hear the approach of his visitor, or pretended not to do so, for he took no notice, and continued to read his book. After waiting patiently for a little while, the old man fell on his knees, and said: 'Good morning, holy father!' But he might as well have spoken to the rock. 'Good morning, holy father,' he said again, a little louder than before, and this time the hermit made a sign to him to come nearer. 'My son,' whispered he, in a voice that echoed through the cavern, 'what brings you to this dark and dismal place? Hundreds of years have passed since my eyes have rested on the face of a man, and I did not think to look on one again.'.

Which means that the hermit is about as old as the old man's wife.

'My misery has brought me here,' replied the old man; 'I have no child, and all our lives my wife and I have longed for one. So I left my home, and went out into the world, hoping that somewhere I might find what I was seeking.'
Then the hermit picked up an apple from the ground, and gave it to him, saying: 'Eat half of this apple, and give the rest to your wife, and cease wandering through the world.'

An apple? He gives him an APPLE! Interesting.

The old man stooped and kissed the feet of the hermit for sheer joy, and left the cave. He made his way through the forest as fast as the darkness would let him, and at length arrived in flowery fields, which dazzled him with their brightness. Suddenly he was seized with a desperate thirst, and a burning in his throat. He looked for a stream but none was to be seen, and his tongue grew more parched every moment. At length his eyes fell on the apple, which all this while he had been holding in his hand, and in his thirst he forgot what the hermit had told him, and instead of eating merely his own half, he ate up the old woman's also; after that he went to sleep.

One word. BAD IDEA. (two words, actually). When an old hermit gives you an apple and tells you to only eat HALF of it - only eat HALF of it!

When he woke up he saw something strange lying on a bank a little way off, amidst long trails of pink roses. The old man got up, rubbed his eyes, and went to see what it was, when, to his surprise and joy, it proved to be a little girl about two years old, with a skin as pink and white as the roses above her. He took her gently in his arms, but she did not seem at all frightened, and only jumped and crowed with delight; and the old man wrapped his cloak round her, and set off for home as fast as his legs would carry him.

But he gets the child anyways, even if he didn't follow instructions.

When they were close to the cottage where they lived he laid the child in a pail that was standing near the door, and ran into the house, crying: 'Come quickly, wife, quickly, for I have brought you a daughter, with hair of gold and eyes like stars!'

So the little girl has golden hair and starry eyes as well as white and pink skin. Why do I feel as though something bad is going to happen?

At this wonderful news the old woman flew downstairs, almost tumbling down ill her eagerness to see the treasure; but when her husband led her to the pail it was perfectly empty! The old man was nearly beside himself with horror, while his wife sat down and sobbed with grief and disappointment. There was not a spot round about which they did not search, thinking that somehow the child might have got out of the pail and hidden itself for fun; but the little girl was not there, and there was no sign of her.

And she's gone!

'Where can she be?' moaned the old man, in despair. 'Oh, why did I ever leave her, even for a moment? Have the fairies taken her, or has some wild beast carried her off?' And they began their search all over again; but neither fairies nor wild beasts did they meet with, and with sore hearts they gave it up at last and turned sadly into the hut.

Well, as a proverb these days goes, "Easy come, easy go."

And what had become of the baby? Well, finding herself left alone in a strange place she began to cry with fright, and an eagle hovering near, heard her, and went to see what the sound came from. When he beheld the fat pink and white creature he thought of his hungry little ones at home, and swooping down he caught her up in his claws and was soon flying with her over the tops of the trees. In a few minutes he reached the one in which he had built his nest, and laying little Wildrose (for so the old man had called her) among his downy young eaglets, he flew away. The eaglets naturally were rather surprised at this strange animal, so suddenly popped down in their midst, but instead of beginning to eat her, as their father expected, they nestled up close to her and spread out their tiny wings to shield her from the sun.

The Eagle has taken her - and tried to feed her to his kids. Um .... at least they AREN'T eating her.

Now, in the depths of the forest where the eagle had built his nest, there ran a stream whose waters were poisonous, and on the banks of this stream dwelt a horrible lindworm with seven heads. The lindworm had often watched the eagle flying about the top of the tree, carrying food to his young ones and, accordingly, he watched carefully for the moment when the eaglets began to try their wings and to fly away from the nest. Of course, if the eagle himself was there to protect them even the lindworm, big and strong as he was, knew that he could do nothing; but when he was absent, any little eaglets who ventured too near the ground would be sure to disappear down the monster's throat. Their brothers, who had been left behind as too young and weak to see the world, knew nothing of all this, but supposed their turn would soon come to see the world also. And in a few days their eyes, too, opened and their wings flapped impatiently, and they longed to fly away above the waving tree-tops to mountain and the bright sun beyond. But that very midnight the lindworm, who was hungry and could not wait for his supper, came out of the brook with a rushing noise, and made straight for the tree. Two eyes of flame came creeping nearer, nearer, and two fiery tongues were stretching themselves out closer, closer, to the little birds who were trembling and shuddering in the farthest corner of the nest. But just as the tongues had almost reached them, the lindworm gave a fearful cry, and turned and fell backwards. Then came the sound of battle from the ground below, and the tree shook, though there was no wind, and roars and snarls mixed together, till the eaglets felt more frightened than ever, and thought their last hour had come. Only Wildrose was undisturbed, and slept sweetly through it all.

Oddly enough, this section has been removed from the illustrated version I have of this Fairy Tale.

In the morning the eagle returned and saw traces of a fight below the tree, and here and there a handful of yellow mane lying about, and here and there a hard scaly substance; when he saw that he rejoiced greatly, and hastened to the nest.

Yay! It's dead!

'Who has slain the lindworm?' he asked of his children; there were so many that he did not at first miss the two which the lindworm had eaten. But the eaglets answered that they could not tell, only that they had been in danger of their lives, and at the last moment they had been delivered. Then the sunbeam had struggled through the thick branches and caught Wildrose's golden hair as she lay curled up in the corner, and the eagle wondered, as he looked, whether the little girl had brought him luck, and it was her magic which had killed his enemy.

Interesting thought ...

'Children,' he said, 'I brought her here for your dinner, and you have not touched her; what is the meaning of this?' But the eaglets did not answer, and Wildrose opened her eyes, and seemed seven times lovelier than before.
From that day Wildrose lived like a little princess. The eagle flew about the wood and collected the softest, greenest moss he could find to make her a bed, and then he picked with his beak all the brightest and prettiest flowers in the fields or on the mountains to decorate it. So cleverly did he manage it that there was not a fairy in the whole of the forest who would not have been pleased to sleep there, rocked to and fro by the breeze on the treetops. And when the little ones were able to fly from their nest he taught them where to look for the fruits and berries which she loved.

And this is where the rhyme "rockaby baby" comes from. Only, she was in a nest, and the bough never broke, and she never fell.

So the time passed by, and with each year Wildrose grew taller and more beautiful, and she lived happily in her nest and never wanted to go out of it, only standing at the edge in the sunset, and looking upon the beautiful world. For company she had all the birds in the forest, who came and talked to her, and for playthings the strange flowers which they brought her from far, and the butterflies which danced with her. And so the days slipped away, and she was fourteen years old.

One thing you should know before we go on, it is apparently OK to get married at 14 in Fairy Tales. I just suggest that you wait until you're quite a bit older, because we are not in a Fairy Tale, we are in real life.

One morning the emperor's son went out to hunt, and he had not ridden far, before a deer started from under a grove of trees, and ran before him. The prince instantly gave chase, and where the stag led he followed, till at length he found himself in the depths of the forest, where no man before had trod.

Now, there is a common misconception. Most people think that most Fairy Tale princes find their brides at balls. Not true. Most find their brides ... up a tree.

The trees were so thick and the wood so dark, that he paused for a moment and listened, straining his ears to catch some sound to break a silence which almost frightened him. But nothing came, not even the baying of a hound or the note of a horn. He stood still, and wondered if he should go on, when, on looking up, a stream of light seemed to flow from the top of a tall tree. In its rays he could see the nest with the young eaglets, who were watching him over the side. The prince fitted an arrow into his bow and took his aim, but, before he could let fly, another ray of light dazzled him; so brilliant was it, that his bow dropped, and he covered his face with his hands. When at last he ventured to peep, Wildrose, with her golden hair flowing round her, was looking at him. This was the first time she had seen a man.

Or, at least, the first time she had ever seen a man since she was two. 

'Tell me how I can reach you?' cried he; but Wildrose smiled and shook her head, and sat down quietly.

She's having too much fun in a tree. Besides, she's never heard human speech before, she probably can't even understand you.

The prince saw that it was no use, and turned and made his way out of the forest. But he might as well have stayed there, for any good he was to his father, so full was his heart of longing for Wildrose. Twice he returned to the forest in the hopes of finding her, but this time fortune failed him, and he went home as sad as ever.

And Wildrose is having as much fun as ever up the tree dancing with the butterflies.

At length the emperor, who could not think what had caused this change, sent for his son and asked him what was the matter. Then the prince confessed that the image of Wildrose filled his soul, and that he would never be happy without her. At first the emperor felt rather distressed. He doubted whether a girl from a tree top would make a good empress; but he loved his son so much that he promised to do all he could to find her. So the next morning heralds were sent forth throughout the whole land to inquire if anyone knew where a maiden could be found who lived in a forest on the top of a tree, and to promise great riches and a place at court to any person who should find her. But nobody knew. All the girls in the kingdom had their homes on the ground, and laughed at the notion of being brought up in a tree. 'A nice kind of empress she would make,' they said, as the emperor had done, tossing their heads with disdain; for, having read many books, they guessed what she was wanted for.

I actually agree here, girls raised by birds up a tree don't make good empresses. I like the comment about having read enough books, though.

The heralds were almost in despair, when an old woman stepped out of the crowd and came and spoke to them. She was not only very old, but she was very ugly, with a hump on her back and a bald head, and when the heralds saw her they broke into rude laughter. 'I can show you the maiden who lives in the tree-top,' she said, but they only laughed the more loudly.

And HOW do you know where she is? Where did you come from, old woman?

'Get away, old witch!' they cried, 'you will bring us bad luck'; but the old woman stood firm, and declared that she alone knew where to find the maiden.

Maybe she's the old hermit's sister?

'Go with her,' said the eldest of the heralds at last. 'The emperor's orders are clear, that whoever knew anything of the maiden was to come at once to court. Put her in the coach and take her with us.'

A fairy?

So in this fashion the old woman was brought to court.

The old woman who's as old as Venus?

'You have declared that you can bring hither the maiden from the wood?' said the emperor, who was seated on his throne.

Come on! Tell me how you know!

'Yes, your Majesty, and I will keep my word,' said she.

I'm waiting ...

'Then bring her at once,' said the emperor.

He's not interested in HOW the old woman knows, just bring the girl!

'Give me first a kettle and a tripod,' asked the old women, and the emperor ordered them to be brought instantly. The old woman picked them up, and tucking them under her arm went on her way, keeping at a little distance behind the royal huntsmen, who in their turn followed the prince.

A kettle and tripod? Well, since the Fairy Tale rule of thumb is, never question old women, I guess she knows what she's doing.

Oh, what a noise that old woman made as she walked along! She chattered to herself so fast and clattered her kettle so loudly that you would have thought that a whole campful of gipsies must be coming round the next corner. But when they reached the forest, she bade them all wait outside, and entered the dark wood by herself.
She stopped underneath the tree where the maiden dwelt and, gathering some dry sticks, kindled a fire. Next, she placed the tripod over it, and the kettle on top. But something was the matter with the kettle. As fast as the old woman put it where it was to stand, that kettle was sure to roll off, falling to the ground with a crash.
It really seemed bewitched, and no one knows what might have happened if Wildrose, who had been all the time peeping out of her nest, had not lost patience at the old woman's stupidity, and cried out: 'The tripod won't stand on that hill, you must move it!'

Wait ... wait ... wait ... she CAN speak English? How? She's never spoken to another human before. Talking animals, maybe?

'But where am I to move it to, my child?' asked the old woman, looking up to the nest, and at the same moment trying to steady the kettle with one hand and the tripod with the other.

The old woman's appears not quite right in the head ...

'Didn't I tell you that it was no good doing that,' said Wildrose, more impatiently than before. 'Make a fire near a tree and hang the kettle from one of the branches.'

And how does Wildrose know about fire?

The old woman took the kettle and hung it on a little twig, which broke at once, and the kettle fell to the ground.
'If you would only show me how to do it, perhaps I should understand,' said she.

Ah ... she's tricking Wildrose to get out of the tree all by herself.

Quick as thought, the maiden slid down the smooth trunk of the tree, and stood beside the stupid old woman, to teach her how things ought to be done. But in an instant the old woman had caught up the girl and swung her over her shoulders, and was running as fast as she could go to the edge of the forest, where she had left the prince. When he saw them coming he rushed eagerly to meet them, and he took the maiden in his arms and kissed her tenderly before them all. Then a golden dress was put on her, and pearls were twined in her hair, and she took her seat in the emperor's carriage which was drawn by six of the whitest horses in the world, and they carried her, without stopping to draw breath, to the gates of the palace. And in three days the wedding was celebrated, and the wedding feast was held, and everyone who saw the bride declared that if anybody wanted a perfect wife they must go to seek her on top of a tree.

Honestly. What does he do? Does he say, "Hi, my name's Joe, want to go to supper tonight so we can get to know each other, and see if we want to marry each other" ... nope, he kisses her, puts a dress on her, takes her home, and marries her.

But, since it's a Fairy Tale, they will, of course, live Happily Ever After.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thankful Thursday - My Bike

I got my first bike when I was six. It was pink. I named it Kimberley after a friend I once had. I rode Kimberley for until I was about 10 or 12, when a neighbor of my Gpa's gifted me and my sister each with a new bike. Mine was red, and covered in black squiggly lines, which reminded me of spider webs, so I named it Spider. Unfortunately, it was already borderline too small for me. I wasn't going to complain, though, Spider was WAY bigger than Kimberley

I rode that bike until my aunt and uncle discovered that the bike they had just bought for their son (who was 8 years younger than me) was exactly like my bike except for the fact that his had handbrakes.

In other words, my bike was WAY too small for me.

They had also bought a bike for each of them, but, unfortunately, the bike they bought for my Aunt was a size too small. It fit me pretty good, though, so they asked if I wanted to buy it off of them. I managed to scrape enough money together (and my Gma and Gpa gave me what I couldn't scrape up) and was able to buy the bike.

It was a purple bike, my favorite color as well as my aunt's. I decided to name it Violet. I've been riding Violet ever since.

Unfortunately, some time last summer, the front tire went flat, so I was no longer able to ride.

Until last week. My uncle finally looked at it, and told me that I needed a new inner tube (or whatever the thing that goes inside a bike wheel is called). I gave him the money to buy a new one, and he fixed it for me, and now I can ride it again.

I'm so thankful for that, and for everyone else that has helped me keep riding a bike.

However, the thing is, it's been so long since I last rode ... I'm very sore today.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Consider the Lilies

Luk 12:27  Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tasty Tuesday - Pancakes.

I love pancakes. This is the recipe I use when I make them, although I usually triple or quadruple it.

1 egg
1 c. flour
1 c. keifer (Buttermilk works, too)
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. shortening, vegetable oil, or coconut oil
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Some sort of flavor (I usually use vanilla) to taste.

Beat egg until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients just until smooth. (oh, and if you're using a cast iron griddle, make sure it's already heating before you start beating up your ingredients. Oh, and make sure you add the keifer to the batter BEFORE the flour and the egg have completely been beat in ... if you don't - it's not pretty.)
Grease griddle. To test if hot enough, sprinkle a few drops of water on the griddle. If bubbles skitter around, heat is just right.

For each pancake, take the ladle that comes with silverware sets (you know, small ladle) and spoon it onto the griddle. Experiment to see how much batter you like to use. Cook pancakes until puffed and dry around edges. Turn and cook until golden brown.


Next week: Syrup!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Memory Monday - Tea Party

There once was a little girl of four or five who liked to do things that she read in books. One of these things was have tea parties.

So she wanted to have a tea party - never-mind the fact that she hated the taste of tea.

She had a tea set - plastic. All she needed were some friends (and some sort of tea that didn't taste nasty).

She decided to get her mom in on the project. Her mom contacted some of the girl's friends, and invited them over, and provided them with apple juice. Apple juice was good. It looks like tea, but it doesn't taste nasty.

So three of her friends came over and they had a tea party.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Enchanted Deer

I love Fairy Tales. Especially the more obscure Fairy Tales. One reason I love Fairy Tales is their sometimes illogic.

A young man was out walking one day in Erin, leading a stout cart-horse by the bridle. He was thinking of his mother and how poor they were since his father, who was a fisherman, had been drowned at sea, and wondering what he should do to earn a living for both of them. Suddenly a hand was laid on his shoulder, and a voice said to him:

You know, one thing I don't like about Fairy Tales is that they never mention names of the characters. No matter. I guess I'll name him Fred.

'Will you sell me your horse, son of the fisherman?' and looking up he beheld a man standing in the road with a gun in his hand, a falcon on his shoulder, and a dog by his side.

'What will you give me for my horse?' asked the youth. 'Will you give me your gun, and your dog, and your falcon?'

Hey, Fred ... shouldn't you ask your Mom first? And what, exactly, are you planning to do with the gun, dog and falcon?

'I will give them,' answered the man, and he took the horse, and the youth took the gun and the dog and the falcon, and went home with them. But when his mother heard what he had done she was very angry, and beat him with a stick which she had in her hand.

Told you you should have asked her.

'That will teach you to sell my property,' said she, when her arm was quite tired, but her son answered her nothing, and went off to his bed, for he was very sore.

The only thing missing are the magic beans.

That night he rose softly, and left the house carrying the gun with him. 'I will not stay here to be beaten,' thought he, and he walked and he walked and he walked, till it was day again, and he was hungry and looked about him to see if he could get anything to eat. Not very far off was a farm-house, so he went there, and knocked at the door, and the farmer and his wife begged him to come in, and share their breakfast.

How convenient! You know, I think almost every Fairy Tale that has a wandering lad, also has a farmer and wife that are quite willing to take him in.

'Ah, you have a gun,' said the farmer as the young man placed it in a corner. 'That is well, for a deer comes every evening to eat my corn, and I cannot catch it. It is fortune that has sent you to me.'

And the gun comes in handy! Now let's see if the dog and falcon come in handy as well.

'I will gladly remain and shoot the deer for you,' replied the youth, and that night he hid himself and watched till the deer came to the cornfield; then he lifted his gun to his shoulder and was just going to pull the trigger, when, behold! instead of a deer, a woman with long black hair was standing there. At this sight his gun almost dropped from his hand in surprise, but as he looked, there was the deer eating the corn again. And thrice this happened, till the deer ran away over the moor, and the young man after her.

Hey, Freddy ... hasn't your mother ever told you not to chase after deer that turn into beautiful women? Guess not.

On they went, on and on and one, till they reached a cottage which was thatched with heather. With a bound the deer sprang on the roof, and lay down where none could see her, but as she did so she called out, 'Go in, fisher's son, and eat and drink while you may.' So he entered and found food and wine on the table, but no man, for the house belonged to some robbers, who were still away at their wicked business.

Robbers ... hey, deery, did you warn Freddy of this?

After Ian, the fisher's son, had eaten all he wanted, he hid himself behind a great cask, and very soon he heard a noise, as of men coming through the heather, and the small twigs snapping under their feet. From his dark corner he could see into the room, and he counted four and twenty of them, all big, cross- looking men.

Who's Ian ... wait! So he DOES have a name. Wish they'd told us sooner.

'Some one has been eating our dinner,' cried they, 'and there was hardly enough for ourselves.'

'It is the man who is lying under the cask,' answered the leader. 'Go and kill him, and then come and eat your food and sleep, for we must be off betimes in the morning.'

So four of them killed the fisher's son and left him, and then went to bed.

And this is precisely why you should not follow deer that turn into beautiful women. So ... end of story. Fre - I mean Ian - is dead. Let's all go home.

By sunrise they were all out of the house, for they had far to go. And when they had disappeared the deer came off the roof, to where the dead man lay, and she shook her head over him, and wax fell from her ear, and he jumped up as well as ever.

This is my favorite part of this Fairy Tale. Ear Wax. She uses Ear Wax to bring him back to life.

'Trust me and eat as you did before, and no harm shall happen to you,' said she. So Ian ate and drank, and fell sound asleep under the cask. In the evening the robbers arrived very tired, and crosser than they had been yesterday, for their luck had turned and they had brought back scarcely anything.

'Someone has eaten our dinner again,' cried they.

'It is the man under the barrel,' answered the captain. 'Let four of you go and kill him, but first slay the other four who pretended to kill him last night and didn't because he is still alive.'

Then Ian was killed a second time, and after the rest of the robbers had eaten, they lay down and slept till morning.

Ian, I have an idea, why don't you sleep outside?

No sooner were their faces touched with the sun's rays than they were up and off. Then the deer entered and dropped the healing wax on the dead man, and he was as well as ever. By this time he did not mind what befell him, so sure was he that the deer would take care of him, and in the evening that which had happened before happened again--the four robbers were put to death and the fisher's son also, but because there was no food left for them to eat, they were nearly mad with rage, and began to quarrel. From quarrelling they went on to fighting, and fought so hard that by and bye they were all stretched dead on the floor.

And all Ian had to do was eat their food and go to sleep. Oh, and get killed a few times.

Then the deer entered, and the fisher's son was restored to life, and bidding him follow her, she ran on to a little white cottage where dwelt an old woman and her son, who was thin and dark.

Son is thin and dark. Got that. Will there be a quiz on that?

'Here I must leave you,' said the deer, 'but to-morrow meet me at midday in the church that is yonder.' And jumping across the stream, she vanished into a wood.

Next day he set out for the church, but the old woman of the cottage had gone before him, and had stuck an enchanted stick called 'the spike of hurt' in a crack of the door, so that he would brush against it as he stepped across the threshold. Suddenly he felt so sleepy that he could not stand up, and throwing himself on the ground he sank into a deep slumber, not knowing that the dark lad was watching him. Nothing could waken him, not even the sound of sweetest music, nor the touch of a lady who bent over him. A sad look came on her face, as she saw it was no use, and at last she gave it up, and lifting his arm, wrote her name across the side-- 'the daughter of the king of the town under the waves.'

Maybe you should have picked a better cottage to stash him ... can I call you Elain? You won't, suddenly, pop up with another name. Other than Daughter of the King of the town under the ... did you say waves?

'I will come to-morrow,' she whispered, though he could not hear her, and she went sorrowfully away.

Then he awoke, and the dark lad told him what had befallen him, and he was very grieved. But the dark lad did not tell him of the name that was written underneath his arm.

At least the boy's trustworthy. Mostly.

On the following morning the fisher's son again went to the church, determined that he would not go to sleep, whatever happened. But in his hurry to enter he touched with his hand the spike of hurt, and sank down where he stood, wrapped in slumber. A second time the air was filled with music, and the lady came in, stepping softly, but though she laid his head on her knee, and combed his hair with a golden comb, his eyes opened not. Then she burst into tears, and placing a beautifully wrought box in his pocket she went her way.

Ooh... a box. Must remember box.

The next day the same thing befell the fisher's son, and this time the lady wept more bitterly than before, for she said it was the last chance, and she would never be allowed to come any more, for home she must go.

Maybe you should have eliminated the Spike of hurt.

As soon as the lady had departed the fisher's son awoke, and the dark lad told him of her visit, and how he would never see her as long as he lived. At this the fisher's son felt the cold creeping up to his heart, yet he knew the fault had not been his that sleep had overtaken him.

Nope. It was Elain's. She's the one who stashed you with the woman who didn't like you. By the way, what, exactly, did the woman have against the two of you - and where did she get that Spike of Hurt?

'I will search the whole world through till I find her,' cried he, and the dark lad laughed as he heard him. But the fisher's son took no heed, and off he went, following the sun day after day, till his shoes were in holes and his feet were sore from the journey. Nought did he see but the birds that made their nests in the trees, not so much as a goat or a rabbit. On and on and on he went, till suddenly he came upon a little house, with a woman standing outside it.

Now, this is a common Fairy Tale occurrence, too. Find a house with a woman outside. (Although it's sometimes a man) Watch - she's not going to know, and she's going to send him to her sister.

'All hail, fisher's son!' said she. 'I know what you are seeking; enter in and rest and eat, and to-morrow I will give you what help I can, and send you on your way.'

Gladly did Ian the fisher's son accept her offer, and all that day he rested, and the woman gave him ointment to put on his feet, which healed his sores. At daybreak he got up, ready to be gone, and the woman bade him farewell, saying:

'I have a sister who dwells on the road which you must travel. It is a long road, and it would take you a year and a day to reach it, but put on these old brown shoes with holes all over them, and you will be there before you know it. Then shake them off, and turn their toes to the known, and their heels to the unknown, and they will come home of themselves.'

See? Now, they usually come in threes ...

The fisher's son did as the woman told him, and everything happened just as she had said. But at parting the second sister said to him, as she gave him another pair of shoes:

'Go to my third sister, for she has a son who is keeper of the birds of the air, and sends them to sleep when night comes. He is very wise, and perhaps he can help you.'

Yep, three sisters!

Then the young man thanked her, and went to the third sister.

The third sister was very kind, but had no counsel to give him, so he ate and drank and waited till her son came home, after he had sent all the birds to sleep. He thought a long while after his mother had told him the young man's story, and at last he said that he was hungry, and the cow must be killed, as he wanted some supper. So the cow was killed and the meat cooked, and a bag made of its red skin.

Joe, (which is what I'm going to call this man) that's all you can say. You're hungry! And you need the cow killed. And what's with the bag?

'Now get into the bag,' bade the son, and the young man got in and took his gun with him, but the dog and the falcon he left outside.

WAIT! The dog and falcon haven't been useful yet! I hope you're not claustrophobic, Ian.

 The keeper of the birds drew the string at the top of the bag, and left it to finish his supper, when in flew an eagle through the open door, and picked the bag up in her claws and carried it through the air to an island. There was nothing to eat on the island, and the fisher's son thought he would die of food, when he remembered the box that the lady had put in his pocket. He opened the lid, and three tiny little birds flew out, and flapping their wings they asked,

'Good master, is there anything we can do for thee?'

Three tiny birds? Okay ... I'd like a nice supper ... I mean you're too small to do anything else ...

'Bear me to the kingdom of the king under the waves,' he answered, and one little bird flew on to his head, and the others perched on each of his shoulders, and he shut his eyes, and in a moment there he was in the country under the sea. Then the birds flew away, and the young man looked about him, his heart beating fast at the thought that here dwelt the lady whom he had sought all the world over.

Maybe they're not too small ... Ahh ... young love.

He walked on through the streets, and presently he reached the house of a weaver who was standing at his door, resting from his work.

'You are a stranger here, that is plain,' said the weaver, 'but come in, and I will give you food and drink.' And the young man was glad, for he knew not where to go, and they sat and talked till it grew late.

'Stay with me, I pray, for I love company and am lonely,' observed the weaver at last, and he pointed to a bed in a corner, where the fisher's son threw himself, and slept till dawn.

'There is to be a horse-race in the town to-day,' remarked the weaver, 'and the winner is to have the king's daughter to wife.' The young man trembled with excitement at the news, and his voice shook as he answered:
'That will be a prize indeed, I should like to see the race.'

A race! Ian what are you going to do? Your lady-love is the prize!

'Oh, that is quite easy--anyone can go,' replied the weaver. 'I would take you myself, but I have promised to weave this cloth for the king.'

'That is a pity,' returned the young man politely, but in his heart he rejoiced, for he wished to be alone.

And just what are you planning to do, Ian?

Leaving the house, he entered a grove of trees which stood behind, and took the box from his pocket. He raised the lid, and out flew the three little birds.

'Good master, what shall we do for thee?' asked they, and he answered, 'Bring me the finest horse that ever was seen, and the grandest dress, and glass shoes.'

Okay ... This must have slipped in from Cinderella. What he meant was the grandest riding habit and fine leather boots.

'They are here, master,' said the birds, and so they were, and never had the young man seen anything so splendid.

I'm glad the birds understood what he meant.

Mounting the horse he rode into the ground where the horses were assembling for the great race, and took his place among them. Many good beasts were there which had won many races, but the horse of the fisher's son left them all behind, and he was first at the winning post. The king's daughter waited for him in vain to claim his prize, for he went back to the wood, and got off his horse, and put on his old clothes, and bade the box place some gold in his pockets. After that he went back to the weaver's house, and told him that the gold had been given him by the man who had won the race, and that the weaver might have it for his kindness to him.

Ian ... now, I'm worried about you. The girl you want to marry was WAITING for you. And what did you do? You rode back home.

Now as nobody had appeared to demand the hand of the princess, the king ordered another race to be run, and the fisher's son rode into the field still more splendidly dressed than he was before, and easily distanced everybody else. But again he left the prize unclaimed, and so it happened on the third day, when it seemed as if all the people in the kingdom were gathered to see the race, for they were filled with curiosity to know who the winner could be.

Ooh! Ooh! I know! It's Ian the Fisher's son! He's at the tailor's shop!

'If he will not come of his own free will, he must be brought,' said the king, and the messengers who had seen the face of the victor were sent to seek him in every street of the town. This took many days, and when at last they found the young man in the weaver's cottage, he was so dirty and ugly and had such a strange appearance, that they declared he could not be the winner they had been searching for, but a wicked robber who had murdered ever so many people, but had always managed to escape.

Yes, Ian, I am very, very, very worried about you.

'Yes, it must be the robber,' said the king, when the fisher's son was led into his presence; 'build a gallows at once and hang him in the sight of all my subjects, that they may behold him suffer the punishment of his crimes.'
So the gallows was built upon a high platform, and the fisher's son mounted the steps up to it, and turned at the top to make the speech that was expected from every doomed man, innocent or guilt.

Ian ... what are you doing. You could of married the princess - and you're letting yourself get hung!

 As he spoke he happened to raise his arm, and the king's daughter, who was there at her father's side, saw the name which she had written under it. With a shriek she sprang from her seat, and the eyes of the spectators were turned towards her.

Ian, were you planning this? But the dark lad didn't tell you of the name she wrote under your arm ...

'Stop! stop!' she cried, hardly knowing what she said. 'If that man is hanged there is not a soul in the kingdom but shall die also.' And running up to where the fisher's son was standing, she took him by the hand, saying,
'Father, this is no robber or murderer, but the victor in the three races, and he loosed the spells that were laid upon me.'

Ian, I hope you don't plan to make a habit of this, letting her save your neck, cause if you do, your marriage is NOT going to work.

Then, without waiting for a reply, she conducted him into the palace, and he bathed in a marble bath, and all the dirt that the fairies had put upon him disappeared like magic, and when he had dressed himself in the fine garments the princess had sent to him, he looked a match for any king's daughter in Erin.

Dirt that the FAIRIES put on him? This is the first time I'VE heard of fairies in this Fairy Tale. And dirt usually DOES come off like magic in a bath. But, then, we must remember, these Fairy Tales were originally told to people who didn't know much about bathing.

He went down into the great hall where she was awaiting him, and they had much to tell each other but little time to tell it in, for the king her father, and the princes who were visiting him, and all the people of the kingdom were still in their places expecting her return.

'How did you find me out?' she whispered as they went down the passage.

'The birds in the box told me,' answered he, but he could say no more, as they stepped out into the open space that was crowded with people. There the princes stopped.

'O kings!' she said, turning towards them, 'if one of you were killed to-day, the rest would fly; but this man put his trust in me, and had his head cut off three times. Because he has done this, I will marry him rather than one of you, who have come hither to wed me, for many kings here sought to free me from the spells, but none could do it save Ian the fisher's son.'

Okay, Elain, that sounds all romantic and everything, but maybe it's because you didn't tell him about the robbers the first time, and after that, he KNEW you could bring him back to life.

They live Happily Ever After, by the way.
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