Here is our first guest entry on Yearning for Wonderland for the Once Upon a Time Flash Fiction Contest, by Cameron Lawton. As always, feedback is appreciated.
Remember, if you don’t have your own blog just email me. I will be happy to post your entry on Yearning for Wonderland.
Otter becomes a Bard
All her life, Otter had wanted to be a bard. She knew that being a fishmonger was a good trade, but she wanted to be a Bard, she wanted to sing and tell stories to enchant others.
Sometimes she would hide in the reeds of the riverbank and harmonise with the birds that lived alongside – they were not the greatest of songsters, the ducks, herons, woodpeckers and jays but they sat of an evening and made music for their own entertainment.
A bard, however, must know history – so Otter sat under the trees and listened to them talking, she dived into the river and let the water talk in her ears. Rather than just swimming through the water, she let it tell her of its life, the mountain snows where it had come from and the sea where it was going.
But the wise ones, the owls, clever creatures, all hooted with laughter and told her that bards were not fishmongers.
One night, the animals gathered together for the solstice, each to their own stone, in a circle, facing the centre where the moonlight shone and the Spirit made herself known. Something moved the otter to stand on her hind legs. She sang – sang the song of her river, the trees who had stood for hundreds of years, the stones under which she made her holt.
As she sang, each creature joined in, until all life offered up one song – birds, insects, mammals, the stones and trees, all of creation offered up one song of Solstice to the Spirit and a ribbon of multicoloured hue rose from the earth to the sky to tie them together. And in that moment the clouds covered the face of the Moon apart from one beam that shone on the otter to make a circlet on her head – the gold of a grateful Queen to her Bard.
Standing on her hind legs, her forepaws clasped to her chest and her eyes closed, the otter swayed to the music and knew that she WAS a bard.