The Three Fat Hogs

Three little pigs were born to Daddy Fat Hog, a Rock Star. They grew up on Hog Heaven Estate in the Bel Air hills. When his money ran out, Daddy Fat Hog went to live in an ashram in India and became a spokeshog for Pigghadistra. Meanwhile, the three little Fat Hog triplets spent their days bickering and eating all the food from the enormous pantry. The sheriff came with twenty deputies, shook them down, and kicked them out. The three Fat Hogs were not allowed to keep any possessions, but waddled sadly out a side gate.

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They continued down the mile long drive toward the isolated hills of the Platinum Triangle. They passed Daddy’s Safari Outback where the elephants and giraffes nodded good-bye. They gazed mournfully at Daddy’s old Lear Jet with its bent wing and the Rolls Royce up on cinder blocks.

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The Giant Argument

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Miles pretended to be a mountain goat, jumping from rock to rock up a tall hill. Beyond a valley was another tall hill. Together the hills were called the Granite Twins. Ahead of him, a rock slide started, and Miles took cover behind a ledge of granite. Big rocks bounced by, but none reached him. Suddenly, the earth trembled. The tall twin across from him seemed to wobble, and then another landslide of even bigger rocks started across the valley. Miles started to hear voices.

“Get your elbow out of my ear!” the voice sounded like a knife screeching across rock. A deeper voice shouted: “Your knee has been in my back for a thousand years!” A fissure appeared in the valley below, and red lava hissed out of it. Clouds of sparks rose into the air from the lava. Before Miles’s amazed eyes, clouds of sparks swirled through the air, changing leaves into crystals and sparrows into cows.

The ledge Miles was sheltering behind started to rise up in the air. He was standing on the shoulder of a giant! A cloud of sparks drifted over him, and he felt a burning, stretching feeling. He opened his mouth to yell out, but he heard the scream of an eagle. He moved his arms, and flew high up over the hills.

His eagle eye saw the twin hills trembling in earthquakes, with lava churning and trees falling like flowers. He needed to stop them or the disturbance might harm someone. What could he do?

“You were always mom’s favorite!” the first voice screamed. The second deeper voice returned: “That’s silly! The rain falls on both of us equally, and the sun shines as many days on you!”

Miles flew past the giant’s heads, screaming out an eagle challenge. Their slow, clumsy hands turned to swat him away, but he was too quick and graceful in his eagle form. Miles noticed the earthquakes start to subside, and the lava fissure closing up. He continued to fly around the giant’s heads, screaming, like an annoying mosquito to the twins. They teamed up, and tried to catch him, but he rose up high in the air where they could not reach him. He was aided by the wind, which lifted him in clean-smelling gusts.

“I’m tired!” the first voice screamed. “Me, too!” the deeper voice agreed. Slowly, both settled back into tall hills. Miles landed back on the ledge of granite just in time. As the fissure closed, the clouds of sparks disappeared. The crystals turned back into leaves, the cows turned back into sparrows, and Miles turned back into a boy. Miles ran as fast as his legs would carry him back to his family and friends who were all talking about the earthquake.

“Did you feel it, Miles?” Miles didn’t even know how to begin answering them.

Copyright 2013 Brenda Davis Harsham

Prince Columbine

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Prince Columbine hung his head like the flower he was named for. His father, King Pine, wanted him to become a judge in the court, but Prince Columbine never had the right words. His sister, Princess Starflower, could talk rings around him.

“I would give anything to sit in the court like you do,” she said, failing to understand how he could be sad about it, her golden hair falling in petals around her glowing face. “If you had just told Farmer Wednesday that you would check the records and get back to her about the boundary marker, all would have gone well. Why did you have to tell her that a foot one way or the other doesn’t matter? Of course it matters to her.”

“Well, when you put it like that, I get it. She was so angry. It just didn’t seem that important.”

The princess huffed and gave up on him. “Ugh, if I see one more bleeding cut, I’m going to throw up!” she insisted.

“Why don’t we switch for a day?” Prince Columbine had always enjoyed assisting the healer when he had the chance. He knew his father would disapprove, but he did not think he would be angry. “Let’s tell the healers and ministers we have father’s approval, and then hope he’s busy all day. Then he won’t notice! He has plans to tour the castle walls with his architects.”

“I love the idea!” And so they switched.

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Hidden Island

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The Scottish village of Arisaig was huddled in close between the church and the harbor. Looking out past the ferry dock, islands appeared in and out of the mists that shrouded the Atlantic coastline.

The fairy queen lived lonely on Hidden Island, with only the seals, fish and seagulls for company. Lying on her bed of seaweed, she dreamed of olden days. She remembered when her people danced in the stone circles on the mainland, but long ago she had been exiled by the fairy king. Her heart yearned to see him again. Her husband and king had sent her away because of a terrible misunderstanding. Sometimes, the seals carried small boys to Hidden Island for her, but they always brought them back. This is the story of one of those boys.

Innis was visiting Scotland for the first time with his mother, whose people had left when the lairds ran sheep across their land.

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Princess Celestine

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The old woman spun her silks in moonlight, and in the warp and weft, a story was written. Some believe a person’s story cannot be changed. But restless fingers can pick at the threads, and what was written becomes changed forever. That is what happened to the story the old woman was weaving of the Princess Celestine of Gothmidland, who was favored by the stars, and intended for Prince Elgar the Northman. A thief’s fingers picked at the threads, and her story was changed forever.

One day, the Princess Celestine boarded the ship, Starspun, headed for the shores of Northland. At that moment, the ship’s Captain was off buying barrels of oranges from sunny Spain. A thief cut his purse strings, but missed his money. Captain Ferdinand had cleverly hidden that under his waistband beneath a thick leather belt. Instead the thief made off with his gold astrolabe. The oranges were duly delivered, and the Captain returned to his ship without noticing his loss.

Meanwhile, the first mate had been so busy yelling at the ship’s boy, Leo, to carry the Princess’s bags, and bowing repeatedly to the beautiful princess that he failed to taste the water being siphoned into the tanks below the deck.

Princess Celestine admired the last view of Parvenue Harbor as the ship passed out of the narrow opening into open water, not knowing that she would never reach her destination.

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Donal Outwits the King

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Deep in the forest, someone was sleeping. Covered in leaves and moss, with a windbreak lashed snuggly in the bracken, he was dreaming of a king, a curse and a drumming in the dark.

In another part of the forest, a young boy was disguised as a fox. He heard the pounding of hooves behind him. He ducked under a tree root, but was soon surrounded by baying dogs. The horses approached, and their riders were holding bows and arrows. Their velvet cloaks were lined with fur, and one wore a silver crown. Donal stood up fast, and threw off his fox hood before an arrow could be nocked. His costume had a real fox tail dragging on the ground, and it must have drawn in the dogs.

“You’re no fox!” laughed the King with the silver crown. “Who are you to be on my land? Trespassers are made into slaves here.” The King’s face turned dark.

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The Talking Fish and the Pirate Key

Photograph 2013 by K. Harsham entitled Rock and Water

Photograph 2013 by K. Harsham

One summer day, Collin went to stay with his cousin, Russell, who was thirteen. Colin was four years old (practically full-grown!). Together, they had an adventure involving a river, a key and a talking fish.

They bellied down on big rocks by the Bass River. They held their hands very still in the water, hoping a fish would swim into them. Collin’s hands got very cold, and he fidgeted. Russell was still as stone. A large fish swam into Russell’s hands. He moved like lightning, and he threw the fish onto the riverbank.

“Let me go! I can’t breathe!” the fish exclaimed, its mouth gasping and its brown speckled sides heaving.

Russell was startled and fell into the water, shouting: “It talks!” He stood up, hair dripping.

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The Lost Magical Power

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Jason had a secret, and he did not tell anyone. He knew how to keep a secret. He knew if he walked behind the bush in his backyard, he would be on his secret road. Every time he walked on this road, it took him to a new place.

One very windy day, he took a step on his secret road while his father was talking to the neighbor. The road carried him through hills, down valleys and over stone bridges. He followed it until he heard singing.

“I’m a sprite day and night, my feet are light, and my eyes are bright. The sky is blue, the wind smells new, but I don’t know who could be so true,” a pretty voice sang high and sweet. Jason saw the sprite, slender as a willow branch and dressed in all the colors of the valley. She had a red dress like one hundred roses, blue tights like river water, and green bracelets like rings of grass. She was dancing and twirling in a green meadow surrounded by purple flowers and Queen Anne’s Lace. She stopped singing and dancing when she noticed Jason, standing on the secret road. “Hello. Are you true?” The sprite asked Jason.

“I don’t know what you mean,” answered Jason, feeling a bit confused.

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The Ring of Peace

Watercolor painting by K. Harsham 2013

Watercolor painting by K. Harsham 2013

Gabriel sat down on some rocks by the Ganges River with a pita and kabob sandwich. He was on a holiday with his parents touring India.

As he took his first bite, he heard sobbing. At first he thought it was the wind. He looked around at the trees, but they were still. He could not feel any breeze. The sobbing came again. It was not the water, and it was not his parents, sitting up the slope behind him on a blanket with some friends. He got up and explored among the rocks.

A small boy with black hair and eyes was hiding behind a boulder wailing. When he saw Gabriel, he dashed away his tears and turned his back.

“What’s wrong?” Gabriel asked the boy.

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The Lost Dwarvish Treasure

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Long, long ago, in the land of dwarves, an amazing treasure was forged. One part was a helmet that let the wearer see through stone, wood and water. The second and last part was shoes of gold that made the wearer silent and invisible. For generations, the king of dwarves held these treasures until the great battle of Stone Circle, where the dwarves were defeated by humans. The dwarf king was fatally wounded, and the humans took the treasure, never realizing what they possessed. The treasures were child-sized to humans. Many more generations passed, and the treasures became forgotten by time and memory, until Simon visited Castle Archer and Castle Thunder on his summer vacation. Although Simon missed his family during his travels to see his school friends, he didn’t miss his archenemy, his neighbor Tristan.

Simon liked to play hide-and-seek, hunt the treasure and capture the castle. One day he played a new game combining all the other games with his friend Sir Alec of Castle Archer. The boys called the new game hide-and-hunt. They made an old dirty helmet the treasure, and asked Sir Alec’s father to hide it. Simon ran from hiding place to hiding place, found the treasure and captured the castle by hiding the treasure in his suitcase without being seen. Sir Alec’s father let him take the dusty old helmet as a prize for winning.

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