Monday, October 23, 2017

Waiting In The Wings......

The Dark Times.....

It was a Long Time Ago, Dear Readers, but not long ago at all, depending on who you ask, that Henry stopped Belle as she was preparing supper, with a question that had been bothering him for what seemed like ages. "Belle...." he said, "I had the strangest Dream.... but I 'm not sure it was a dream.... you were there too..." And he stopped and got a faraway look in his eyes....

"I dreamed the kitchen was full of children.... 
and I was telling them Tales...."
"Do you remember, Belle?" he asked.
"You were there too..."

Belle was not sure she remembered.... 
she was pretty sure she would have remembered
 a room full of children.... 
but she didn't want to disappoint Henry by telling him so.
She just nodded, but he wasn't really listening.

"They were a funny looking lot, I tell you.... " he went on,
"dressed in strange ways.... 
but they wanted to hear all about the Old Times....!
I was telling them about the dragon slayer... and the Wizard duels......
But then the strangest thing happened Belle......
They disappeared! Right before my eyes... they vanished... Poof!"
He sat down heavily. 
"I tell you, Belle, it makes me feel quite strange.... 
they looked so real... not like a Dream at all!" 

"Sometimes I wonder where they went, Belle..... 
if they all got home safely...."
"And where their homes are...." he added.
"I thought you might remember too, Belle...."

And need I assure you, that Henry was not the only one
 who had hoped the children all got home safely that strange night?
The Wizard waited all night on the shore...

Watching for the return of the tiny boat and the lad Peregrine...
who he had sent to the Far Forgotten Isle with the Ancient Book of Spells.

He had been so sure the lad would be safe....
 the boat had been wrapped with a spell of protection....

He waited in vain!
What had become of Peregrine?

Well, Dear Readers, Perry stood for quite a while on the porch of Hardwick Hall 
after he had taken the Ancient Book of Spells to the attic and left it there.
The Wizard had told him to "Not look back!"
He had carefully followed his instructions... 
he had not looked back at all!
But once he had put the book down, he had Turned Back.... 
and now he wasn't sure.... 
was that the same as looking back... 
now that he was turned ....?
 He waited for quite a while and nobody came. 
Even the dogs who had guarded the door upon his arrival
 were no longer there.
Should he go back anyway... he wondered?
He took two steps down from the porch 
and even the lights which had been shining went out...

He felt he had better try going back, 
even though the sea looked much wilder
than it had when he sailed over.
Besides, he reasoned, he had already looked back... 
if that was what he was doing... 
so there was no point in waiting.
He turned the little boat's bow towards the sea...

And pushed it off the sand and into the water....

Then he quickly climbed aboard and sailed into the surf....

The wind had been with him on the voyage to the isle.... 
now it fought his return....

He sailed for what seemed like hours! 
Could it have been that long going to the isle?
He could no longer tell if he was headed in the right direction 
because the waves tossed him up and down!

The little boat bobbed and bucked like a wild beast....

Perry felt himself tiring with the effort of steering in the waves.....

And then suddenly he felt himself falling backward into the sea....

And the little boat raced on without him....!
He knew how to swim...
but he had no idea where to swim...!
And he was tired.... oh so tired.....
But he was not alone, Dear Readers....
A Selkie Maiden had seen him fall.......

Perry was just beginning to despair 
when he felt strong arms cradle him and heard 
a song of indescribable beauty wash around him...

He felt he could float like this forever... he never wanted it to stop....

The Selkie swam him to shore and helped him climb onto the sand......

He was safe. But he had no idea where he was!

As for the other children, Dear Readers,
 most of them had made it home safely.
 But not all of them had forgotten!
Tommy was one who could not seem to forget
 the Tales of Ancient times.
He was sure there was Treasure in the Old Castle Ruins.
He was not supposed to play at the castle or even venture near it
 for fear that it was dangerous at best or at worst, haunted!
But he went there often, and even encountered 
people living there from time to time!

So it was that he set out this lovely autumn afternoon on his pony, Prince,
 and headed in the direction of the Castle Ruins.
He had even managed to leave without his pesky little sister, 
Beatrice, following him and insisting on coming along!

She was So annoying because she always managed
 to get into trouble and needed to be rescued!
Today he was going to explore the Whole Castle!

And I am sure you are not at all surprised that 
It was not too long after he left that Beatrice noticed he was gone.
 She knew where he would be headed, and decided to follow him.....
But her legs were short, and she had no pony of her own to ride.
She wondered when Father would get her a pony of her own...
she wondered if she should go back, she was getting tired.

And now she wasn't even entirely sure she was going the right way... 
there was no path to follow.
And across the meadow, 
she spotted something she had never seen before....

A pair of brightly painted wagons stood in the shadows 
at the far side of the meadow.

She went a little closer to have a better look....
And then she realized that maybe they were Gypsies...!
And maybe she should be careful.
Didn't Gypsies steal children from their cradles....?

But then the most beautiful Lady she had ever seen approached...
"Are you lost, my child...." she asked?
She had the most enchanting voice Beatrice had ever heard..... 
gentle and musical and merry and loving all at once....!
Beatrice was completely tongue-tied....
 she nodded then quickly shook her head "no" 
in case the Gypsy would try to steal her!

The Lady just laughed... 
a delicate delightful sound... 
as she took Beatrice's hand.
"Let me guess...." she said. 
"You are headed to the Castle looking for your brother...."
Beatrice could only stare in amazement.... 
How did she know that?
"I am Rowena" she said.... 

"And this is Raven" she added as an enormous black horse 
trotted to her outstretched hand. 
"We are going to the Castle for the All Hallows Eve Party" she said.
There's a Party at the Castle....? thought Beatrice. 
Who ever heard of such a thing!
"He can easily carry both of us if you like..."
added the beautiful Lady.

And before Beatrice knew what was happening, 
she was swept up into the Lady's arms 
and onto the broad back of the enormous horse!
She only had a moment to be afraid...

Before they were off!
And then all she could think was 
"what will Tommy think when he sees me riding on this horse!"

Well, Dear Readers, 
I can only hope you don't mind me leaving you here, 
Barely at the beginning of yet another tale... 
at the Very Edge of The Dark Times...
Yes, there is a great deal more waiting in the wings....
And I do hope you will come to the Party!


  1. Hello Betsy,
    I am dying to know where Perry is. your post looks like a bunch of movie stills. You take such trouble to make the story come to life and I just love it. I can't wait for more.
    big hug

  2. Gorgeous! How real are those waves, and the gypsy wagons and the horses and ... and... and... the story! My breakfast almost got cold as I ravenously turned page after page... Can't wait to read (and view!) the next installment. A+++
    Much love,
    Mom xoxox

  3. Yes, I'm asking the same: where is Perry....?? I love how you've created the waves, Betsy, but also the scenery for the rest of your story. It's so creative, inventive and clever of you! I can't wait to read more of your wonderful story!
    Hugs, Ilona

  4. I love your stories. I hope Perry finds out where he is and that he is safe. Lucky Beatrice to get to ride on that beautiful horse. Looking forward to the party :P
    Hugs Maria

  5. Another beautiful story! The scenes are perfect and funny.

  6. your stories and pictures always brighten my mornings! Thank You!

  7. Another terrific tale from THE foremost story-teller :D


  8. Somebody's doing the happy-dance over here!!! Hooray!!! The Halloween story continues!!! And in what a stunning, brilliant, awesome, gorgeous way it continues... I'm almost running out of exclamation marks!!! *LOL* In case I never told you this before let me point out that your story telling skills are extraordinary... and all of your photos brilliant (Perry fighting the waves... Beatrice approaching the Gypsy camp... awesome!). Reading this post means diving deeply back into this fantastic story. And I can only guess what Tommy will think when spotting his little sister on the back of this awesome stallion - but I know what I was thinking: Who would not love to have a ride on this beautiful Shire showing the extraordinarily talent of sculptor Kathleen Moody so well? *LOL* Thank you so much for this post... and you can count on me to not miss that party of the year!!! (Hopefully until then I will find me some more exclamation marks... *grin*)


  9. You truly are an artist AND a storyteller! How do you spin these intriguing yarns?

  10. Hello, Betsy - Your stories just get better and better; I love the intrigue and suspense that you create. I also love your scenery creations - that mysterious shimmering water; the frothy, lacy waves; the starry, starry sky. And of course the beautiful, colorful gypsy wagons! I'm looking forward to more - and to the party!

  11. the chiaroscuro is fantastic

  12. What an imagination you have! Hardwick Hall looks so atmospheric and you clearly take time to set up all your little scenes. Where IS Perry?