Once upon a time, in a lush and enchanted forest, grew a magical plant known as "Harmony Bloom." This extraordinary plant possessed the unique ability to allow birds and butterflies to communicate with one another. Whenever birds sang their sweet melodies, the butterflies would understand the hidden messages carried within the songs, and in return, the butterflies could convey their vibrant tales through the flutter of their wings.
The secret to this magical bond lay in the humble forest moths named Milo. Every spring, when the butterflies laid their eggs, Milos would visit their nests and gently touch them with their wings, leaving behind a special powder. Unbeknownst to the butterflies, this enchanting dust would bestow upon their young the ability to comprehend the language of birds once they hatched.
For centuries, this harmonious connection flourished in the forest, fostering a beautiful relationship between the birds and the butterflies. But as time passed, the forest faced a great threat - deforestation. Trees were being cut down, and the once sprawling forest was shrinking rapidly. With the destruction of their natural habitat, the population of forest moths, including the Milos, started to decline drastically.
Deeply concerned about the impending loss of the moths and the resulting collapse of the magical bond between birds and butterflies, a wise hummingbird named Klep called for a council. Klep had long admired the friendship and understanding shared between the two species, and she was determined to find a solution to protect it. Klep gathered all the birds and butterflies near the heart of the forest, where the last two remaining moths, the last two Milos... Tuckerfronk and Oie, fluttered restlessly. In the presence of the solemn assembly, Klep spoke passionately about the importance of preserving the magical bond and how it strengthened the entire forest community.
"But what can we do?" asked Oie, her wings quivering with worry.
"I have an idea," suggested Klep. "We must find a new way to work together to protect your next eggs and continue the tradition that Milos have been carrying for generations. We will form a team, with representatives from both birds and butterflies, so to safeguard your nests and make sure they remain undisturbed and your family will flourish once more."
The birds and butterflies embraced the idea wholeheartedly. They nominated a team of the wisest birds and the most experienced butterflies, and together, they devised a plan to protect the eggs from any harm. The birds would keep watch from the treetops, while the butterflies would build magical barriers around their nests using the Harmony Bloom plant.
As the plan took shape, hope began to blossom in the forest once again. The birds and butterflies worked together tirelessly to prepare to protect the coming seasons Milo eggs and ensure the survival of the forest moths' enchanting powder. One day, as the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a golden hue over the treetops, Oie and Tuckerfronk returned from a successful mission. They found the council waiting eagerly for them. "Tell us everything," chirped a curious bluebird. The two moths shared their adventure, describing how they had found the most potent Harmony Bloom plant in the deepest part of the forest. They gathered its seeds and planted them near every butterfly nest, ensuring a steady supply of the enchanted plant.
With the magical bond between birds and butterflies so closely secured once more, the entire forest came alive with newfound energy and joy. The birds' songs were more melodious, and the butterflies' dance was more graceful than ever before.
Plans of the future of the Harmony Bloom plant spreading far and wide, transforming the forest into an even more enchanting place created a frenzy of enthusiasm amidst the trees.
Birds and butterflies communicated freely, exchanging stories of their journeys and sharing their wisdom with one another. While Oie and Tukerfronk prepared to have a new clutch of eggs, just in time to be ready to fly as the Harmony Bloom would be at it's peak, the bird and butterflies of the forest shared songs and stories of all the new dustings would give to their own offspring, and how they had managed against all odds to preserve something where man was working tirelessly to destroy.
One last gathering of the winged things, and a celebration was had at the moths were celebrated before being left alone to reproduced and complete the organized circle of life. As the sun was setting, the creatures began to retreat to their own nests and branches, each wishing Tuckerfronk the best of luck and congratulations being giving in advance to Oie.
As the moon raised high, Shelpvickle- a local finch once rebuked for bringing sub-par nectar to one of the early meetings approached the couple offering the sweetest most delicious nectar from a very exotic and unique plant found only at the edge of the woods. "I have wanted to correct my actions since the night I shamelessly brought my mother's old recipe for health nectar and thank you for teaching me the importance of knowing what can happen when bird and butterflies communicate" he offered with the small gourde he sat before them. "Well", Tuckerfronk started, "I am touched by this act, we greatly thank you for ....." his words were not finished, as Shelpvickle flicked his head, grabbed the moth and ate him within seconds. His tiny antenna still partially in view from the corner of the bird's beak her turned to what was not the last of all the Milos in the world- "It's what's for the best, enjoy the nectar, you earned it" and he flew away in an instant to the park he had been living in since the incident. Before the last of the communication magic ended, before the blooms of the plants began, to commemorate what once was, an owl was invited to scribe the story to tell the other owls long after birds and butterflies would forget the story themselves. Some saw the sound of the chainsaws drove Shelpvickle to madness, others simply conceded it was indeed the rebuking of the nectar from concentrate.
A young and majestic elephant, once revered for its gentle nature and grandeur, has taken a dark and unexpected turn. It all begins with a mysterious encounter under a luminous moon when he gazed a bit too long at the mid summer full moon.
In the heart of the jungle, where the lush foliage dances in the gentle breeze, the elephant stumbles upon an ancient and magical artifact. Unbeknownst to the world, this artifact possesses an eerie power that infuses the elephant with a malevolent force. Gradually, the gentle giant's demeanor shifts, and an insatiable desire for destruction takes root within. It's target however, was once a symbiotic family of thousands.
As the sun sets on the horizon, the elephant transforms from a creature of benevolence to a stealthy and calculated predator. Under the cloak of darkness, it shrinks in size, becoming a monstrous dung beetle of enormous destructive proportions. The once massive and relatively docile friend of nature- now a bowling ball sized beetle of rage.
Night after night, the elephant-dung-beetle strikes with precision and cunning. It roams the jungle in search of its prey - other dung beetles that once went about their humble tasks of recycling nature's waste. Now, they have become unwitting targets in this surreal and terrifying game of life and death.
The elephant-dung-beetle silently approaches its victims, its not so mammoth size inconspicuous in the darkness. It pounces upon the unsuspecting dung beetles, trapping them under its massive weight. The eerie moonlight casts haunting shadows as the elephant-dung-beetle rolls its victims into large balls of dung, imprisoning them in a nightmarish fate.
As dawn approaches, the elephant-dung-beetle leaves its gruesome masterpiece behind, scattering the dung balls throughout the jungle as a haunting warning to others. The once lively and harmonious ecosystem now lives in fear of the ruthless dung beetle serial killer that lurks among them. His use of the beetles own course of nature was so alarming that other elephants started paying attention.
But as the days turn into weeks, an unexpected glimmer of hope appears. A wise old owl, known for its deep knowledge of the forest's secrets, senses the malevolent force that has gripped the elephant's heart. Determined to restore balance to the jungle, the owl embarks on a quest to find a way to break the curse that has befallen the elephant.
The owl's journey leads it to the hidden lair of a reclusive praying mantis, who possesses ancient spells and remedies to undo the darkest of enchantments. As the owl pleads for her assistance, the mantis agrees to help, recognizing the urgency of the situation.
Together, they concoct a potion that can counteract the malevolent force that has transformed the elephant into the monstrous dung beetle serial killer.
The owl returns to the jungle, delivering the elixir to the bewildered and tormented elephant, now a small, fearful creature trapped in its own dark actions. With trembling hope, the elephant gulps down the potion. As the magical elixir courses through its veins, a powerful surge of emotions floods its being. Remorse, guilt, and the weight of the lives it has taken bear down upon its soul. Slowly, the malevolent force retreats, leaving the elephant with a newfound clarity and empathy.
Tears fall from the elephant's eyes as it gazes at the destruction it has caused, vowing to atone for its dark deeds. The jungle watches in awe as the once-dung-beetle serial killer transforms back into the majestic elephant it once was, carrying the weight of its past actions as a reminder of the consequences of darkness unchecked.
From that moment forward, the elephant becomes a protector of the jungle, using its strength to defend and nurture the delicate balance of life. And as for the wise old owl and the mantis, the owl travels far and wide telling others of the elephant that once went moon mad, warning all the other young pachyderms to never be out alone under the full moon at the peak of summer. The mantis was trampled by an iguana on her way home from a card game the day after making the elixir.
The screaming fields of Guffonstone’s sunflowers
Once upon a time, in a vast meadow nestled between emerald hills, of a village called Guffonstone and a lovely man made, yet massive pond, there existed a field of sunflowers that stretched as far as the eye could see.
One sunny morning, a fairy from old fluttered about accidentally spilling a bit of enchanted pollen into the wind, delivering a tiny dose of magic to the unsuspecting field. Instantly, a plant stirred to sentian life. Confused and bewildered, not knowing what to do- and much like most 'new born' things, the sunflower just started screaming into the air. Not long after, it heard another frantic cry from within the field. After several hours of experiments in screaming the two voices finally seemed to figure out getting synced enough to communicate.
The two voices, now calling one another the names Scunnmpt and Bronixchomperbit, began communicating regularly. They both possessed the gift of a speech they understood through the fairy's little spill. The two exchanged greetings each morning and soon formed a strong bond as the only voices brought to life in the vast field of sunflowers. It was a comfort for the once-screaming Scunnmpt- as the beauty of the summer moved on the field when there was someone to share it with.
As the days passed, Scunnmpt and Bronixchomperbit watched the seasons change from the sweltering heat of summer to the cool embrace of autumn. At first, after assimilation, their days were filled with joy and laughter as they witnessed the beauty of nature around them. But soon, happiness started to change into something different. The night fell sooner in the day, and the air became cooler, and things started to ... change. The trees bursting into vibrant colors all around the valley was the last 'normal' thing the voices in the field shared enjoyment in. Scunnmpt called out one evening asking if the cold was also affecting Bronixchomperbit with a heavy and tired feeling. There was no response.
As the trees began releasing their leaves, so too were the sunflowers changing. The days went on, exposing more and more of the environment around the field and regularly, Scunnmpt would call out seeking response from the comfort of her friend, and not understanding where Bronixchomperbit's voice could have gone. One evening, Scunnmpt watched as birds started collecting within the field and upon the heads of the other sunflowers and in horror was forced, stuck in place to watch everything that resembled summer now represent a new feeling, fear.
When the head of the sunflower next to Scunnmpt snapped under the weight of a large black bird, landing hard in the ground- ending in the sound of it's final seeds being rattled to the earth and quickly descended upon by a blanket of winged murderers, the field was nearly half gone. Scunnmpt saved up the energy from days of silent onlooking of autumnal horrors to try once more and call out for the comfort and hope Bronixchomperbit's voice could bring. Dozens of seeds fell from the force of this last attempt of being removed from isolation in the once lively field turned into a macabre scene as the birds' merciless beaks scattered petals and leaves, leaving trails of destruction in their wake. There was no answer and the energy expelled caused the day to end before the dark came.
As winter approached, the field transformed into a desolate landscape. The birds had long departed, leaving behind a haunting silence. Scunnmpt still stood, once vibrant petals now withered and worn. Now and again, the shaking of different weighted squirrel and small animals would wake Scunnmpt just before the sensation of seeds being ripped from what was left of the once vibrant and full face of the sunflower and random teeth piercings would be the only interactions of the day.
Unexpectedly one early frosty morning, Scunnmpt heard the familiar sound of Bronixchomperbit's voice- and felt a spark of hope rekindle from decimated head to roots. Despite the previous helplessness, a sense of joy seemed as warm as the sun once was, when the days were longer and the field full of life and yellow.
Bronixchomperbit's voice seemed strong, hearty, and closer than it had been all summer. Perhaps it was just because it had been so long since feeling comfort... perhaps due to the emptiness of the field. Just then, a small squirrel, one without the brushy tail or heft (it was in fact a rat) simultaneously started climbing Scunnmpt, searching for what last plunder the plant had to offer. "You are one of the last flowers in the field Scunnmpt" Bronixchomperbit's voice now louder than it had even been, even in a whisper filled the air. "you think it was waiting for me to answer, or do you think maybe enchanted sunflowers are somehow stronger?" Several seeds ripped from the sunflower who stayed silent. "You have produced the largest most succulent seeds in the field Scunnmpt. I watched all the other rats treasure your seeds and you became a legend as you lived here offering up massive amounts of winter harvest long before and after all the other plants." More seeds ripped out. "It took me weeks of our calling out back and forth to find you, but thankfully you continued to communicate so I knew where to come." A few sharp bites and tugs as more seeds ripped out and left holes gaping in the face of the sunflower who offered no word, no reaction; only seeds for the rat, called Bronixchomperbit. "I realized you may have thought I was also a sunflower- at first I thought you would be eaten and die and then I did not want to waste your energy so you would make more seeds- so... I just stopped talking.
To make it up to you, I have collected more of your seeds than any other animal in the field- I am certain they are also enchanted and will get to enjoy the same wonderful life you did, but from birth so not to miss any of it. Like one big field of your families that YOU made happen, Scunnmpt! Generations of your kind will get to witness the beauty of life you have been prevailed to, and until I die- I will teach my children to continue the cycle of harvesting their seeds and continue to expand your experience." Bronixchomperbit paused, realizing the sunflower had said nothing as it's last seeds were ripped from it's head and the voice of it's former friend and comfort explained what is now the legend of the screaming fields of Guffonstone's sunflowers, where magic once shone bright before life understood death, and trust realized manipulation.
In the spring of 1936, a family with a small child bought a log cabin, near a lake. by stream. out in the sticks.
The paths along the walkways, the garden where they strolled at night, would all but get closed up in the darkness- when the sun dipped and took the light.
The father built a barn there; near the lake, by the stream. He put up several lanterns- where with illumination from oil, could beam. The child, oh so happy, added hours to her day- where now there was light; she could swim, run, and play.
Her job as the sunset on the skyline each evening into night, was to climb and put to use the lamps, keep the oil filled- ignite the light. One evening crossed her path- a lone and somewhat thin frog... he called out into the darkness to her, appearing in the glow from his log.
What is this you do here child?
Making the night into day?
How is it that I can see you in the darkness?
Way past evening... can you say?
Startled by his speaking, and at first not knowing what to do- she remembered her books in the nursery, all about a talking frog and stories many knew.
With joy she told her new friend not just of the illumination made above- but all about her watercolor books, all the forest friends she had read about- all the ones she loved.
Eventually the toad had asked- "could I help somehow; to watch the lamps be lit. I'd come along to be company and help you with the task"
This then became both their routines.
The toad and little girl- she would tell him all about the lamps, how they work and in turn he would tell her of 'toady' things.
He inquired of her story books one night as they filled the lamps. He asked to share the watercolor pages with all the forest friends in the stories that truly lived in the darkened paths.
He told her all her paper friends existed in real life- the hare, the turtle, the cricket, the dove, himself proof the stories never really closed- they were real and so in life, no limits, no 'the ends'.
She excitedly told her father and mother, and dog, and the goats, of all the excitement of her 'real life' water-colored friends. Pleased, they listened to her imagination where her new life and the imagination of her story books seemed to blend.
When fall began to come and colors appeared bit by bit- near the lake, by the stream, the toad's personality also changed... out there in the sticks. The little girl asked her friend what was the matter... "The sticks that make the fire, I love the way they smell. I've told everyone about them- but lies they think I tell."
"Oh dear" she sympathized, "it's no trouble if you'd like to take a few of my matches- you can show them they are real if you like." The toad was pleased and accepted the proof.
"now they'll see... little girl, the fire sticks are not just a spoof."
Happy not to dismay the toad and lose her real life watercolor friend, she gave him things he'd ask for and the items he would inquire her to lend. A small glass jar of father's paint, some parchment, and a ribbon from her hair- the two gathered little treasures of her world for her storybook friends, from here and there.
When the days started becoming much too cool to be out long after supper- the toad asked the little girl if he could perhaps meet her mother. Delighted, she agreed, and thought maybe while they were at it- she could perhaps also meet the other real life water-colored friends in the woods who were always afraid and scattered.
"When the moon is full and the trees empty of their leaves, on an evening without a chilly breeze- I will bring the hare, the turtle, the cricket, the dove... and they will meet you, and the other humans, maybe that dog you love"
She made up invitations with leaves, crayon, and string, a night of make-believe come true involving all her favorite things! Father checked the farmer's almanac to find the day of perfect weather, and he played along with the game of bringing water-color and real life together.
The house smelled like cinnamon, and the apples freshly picked. The evening breeze was light through the windows, everyone's anticipation pricked. For supper they ate braised beef, carrots, and onion pie with cream.
As the little girl reached for her flashlight, she heard a crash, and a scream.
There, along paths near the walkways, by the garden where they strolled at night- blazed a giant fire. The barn near the lake, by the stream had been set a'light.
The family watched in horror, several lanterns- filled with oil burst into flame- it burned for several hours past when the firetruck and help had came. The little girl was sore afraid for her little toady friend, and all the creatures she did not get to meet that night when water-color and real life were meant to blend.
"We have to move back to the city, at least for a little while- the insurance won't cover arson... there may even be a trial..." It seems a small glass jar of father's paint with a wick of ribbon meant for hair, was placed under the lantern oil tin- and the fire started there.
One day while sitting quietly, packing up her favorite watercolor printed book- she thought of her summer woodland friend, and her heart wanted one more look. Tucked among the pages of her favorite tale, of a frog and toad- a bit of parchment paper, slightly larger than the book, showed.... as she pulled it from the covers of her favorite nursery rhyme - atop the page she say a drawing of a wooden roadway sign:
'Along this stream a witch does live, who was hexed upon this road.' Underneath the wooden sign, in water-colors shown- matches being carried off to the woods... by a little thin toad.