The Captain and The Storm King of Dunderberg Mountain

Here’s yet another fractured fairy tale. I hope to include this one in my Watchmage Chronicles collection, as it’s a variation of an old folk tale of New Amsterdam (the name of New York when it was first colonized by the Dutch).

Note: My Captain Antony Van Corlear is not-so-loosely based off of the real Anthony Van Corlaer…or likely real, anyway.

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The Frog and the Hen: Another Fractured Fable

Once again, I am adding another fable to my collection. I will probably add this one to an anthology I’m working on about stories, fables, and fairytales from the Watchmage Chronicles’ world. Now that The Watchmage of Old New York and Cold Iron are both out, I can work on both these and the third book, The Fiddler’s Bow.

Oh, and if you’d like to jump in on The Watchmage Chronicles, the first book, The Watchmage of Old New York, is only 99 cents. Both books are free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

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The Frog and the Hen

by C.A. Sanders

Once upon a time, though it happens every day, there lived a frog named Bud. He lived in a swampy pond, not far from a chicken coop. He slept all day and spent all night drinking fly-flavored beer (Coors Flight: “the Buzzy Bullet”) and croaking as loud as he could with his frog buddies, Err and Weis. The croaking was so loud that it kept the chickens awake, and sometimes Weis would play his banjo, making the party even louder.

One day, Henrietta the Hen made a racket, clucking away as loud as she could. Annoyed, (because how dare someone keep him awake) Bud hopped over to the chicken coop.

Damn, Henrietta, will you please shut up? Some of us are trying to sleep.”

You’ve got a lot of nerve,” Henrietta clucked. “I just layed an egg and it’s hard work, harder than you’ve ever done. What have you accomplished in your life? You sleep all day and croak all night while drinking fly-flavored beer. Next time you want to complain, bring some proof that you’ve accomplished something in your pathetic, ambivalent, amphibious life.”

Bud hopped away, embarrassed by Henrietta’s tongue-lashing, especially since Bud’s tongue was so much longer. She’s right, he thought. I’ve done nothing in my life except croak and drink Coors Flight. I’m gonna prove her wrong. There’s nothing a chicken can do that I can’t do better.

Bud first mentioned his plan to Err, who laughed so hard that he fell off of his log. “Bud,” Err said. “You’re an idiot.”

Why? My mom said can do anything I want if my put my mind to it.”

First of all, frog-bro, you’re a frog, bro. You can’t scratch, you can’t peck, you can’t fly. How the hell do you not know this? Has the Coors Flight softened your head?”

Screw you, Err,” croaked Bud. “I don’t need your help. I’m gonna chicken so hard that Henrietta will molt in shame.”

You’re a dumbass, but do what you want.” Err opened a can of Coors Flight, popping the top with his tongue. “It’s your right as a Swamperican.” Err downed his beer and leaped away.

Bud decided that he needed to observe first He went to the chicken coop. First he talked to the hens, but they all clucked in his face and said “bless your heart.” Then he found Earl the Rooster, all decked out in red and white, with long, sharp spurs in case a chicken with other-colored feathers showed up.

Hey, Earl,” Bud croaked.

Hey, Bud,” Earl clucked as he strutted around the coop, full of Big Cock Energy, as most roosters are.

Bud hopped after Earl. “I need some advice.”

Well, maybe I can give it to ya. I’m the smartest rooster in these here parts.”

Bud held in his comment that he was the only rooster. “I want to do what chickens do, and I want to be the best.”

Ba-gawk! What!?” Clucked Earl. It took a while for Earl to stop laughing, but when he finally did, he showed Bud how to scratch, how to peck, and how to fly.

But Bud’s froggy body had no claws, beak, or wings, and Earl laughed him right back into the swamp.

Bud had one last friend to go to for advice: Weis, the wisest frog in the swamp. Weis liked to hang out during the day on a lily pad in the center of the pond, picking his banjo and singing about rainbows and connections. Bud sat down next to him.

I want to be like a chicken,” Bud said.

Weis plucked a string, then turned a tuning peg. “Why do you want that?”

Bud stumbled over his response. Why do I want to do that? Bud thought. While Bud mused on the simple question, Weis played his banjo.

I think I know,” Bud said. “I want to show Henrietta up, and do what she does better than her.”

Weis said, “Instead, why don’t you do what you already do better than her. Don’t try to be the best her. Be the best you.” With that, Weis broke into a song about being green and how it wasn’t easy. Bud had heard it a thousand times, so he hopped away.

Bud thought all day about what he was best at. It wasn’t hopping. It wasn’t catching flies. It wasn’t drinking Coors Flight. He thought and thought and thought until he had a frog-piphany, which is like an epiphany, but for frogs.

I’m the best croaker in the swamp! And that’s what I’m going to do.”

That night instead of croaking and drinking fly-flavored beer with his friends, Bud went by the chicken coop “Hey Henrietta! This is what I can do! Listen to this!” And Bud croaked as loud as he could. He croaked and croaked and croaked and croaked and croaked and croaked and croaked the whole night through.

Weis and Err found Bud in the morning, covered with chicken scratches. He had croaked.

The morals of the story: Don’t complain about other people doing stuff if you do nothing all day long.

Or: Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you should be an asshole about it.

doge in space card redux

 

 

Maribell of the Needles: A Watchmage Story

I’m working on a bunch of fairy tales and short stories that take place in the world of The Watchmage Chronicles. I’ll release them in an anthology after the 3rd Watchmage novel comes out (since some of the stories take place after that book). Here’s a variation of the White Lady myth called “Maribell of the Needles.”

I decided to have two endings: A sad one and a happy one. Let me know which one you like better in the comments section.

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Maribell of the Needles

By C.A. Sanders

Once upon a time, though it happens every day, there lived a young seamstress named Maribell. Still apprenticed, she was at that tender age between the pins and the needles, where love takes hold and never lets go. It was a dangerous age indeed.

On a bright Spring morning, a knight and his squire came to her village and visited her mistress’s workshop. But these shining warriors had a secret. They were not men, but the mysterious Sidhe, faerie nobles from across the Veil, where time is not the straight stitch of a hem or seam. Time is the loops, swoops, and twists of embroidery.

They entered the workshop and the knight, with slender sliver sword at his side, requested a new tabard be sewn. The squire, Lutrin, locked eyes with young Maribell, and swore that no woman would ever take the place of the sweet, cherub, brown-eyed, girl before him. And Maribell felt the same, for she looked into his eyes, a soulful shade of blue. No longer was she of the pins, but solely of the needles.

The knight laughed at Lutrin’s stammers and hitches, and the seamstress pricked Maribell on the palm and snickered at the blood. The youngsters shuffled away, stealing glances at one another, their souls sewn together.

That evening, Lutrin rapped on Maribell’s window. It would not be the last.

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The Shepherd Boy Dovid

This developed from a chat with a friend, and I decided to finish it for her. It’s very silly, but so am I…

Come gather round dear children, and heed the words I say
A tale of bravery and woe to make you cry “oy vey!”
For when the sky grew dark, and so many ran and hid,
There stood one boy against the wolves, a shepherd boy Dovid.

Dovid he was out one day, a-minding all the sheep,
He listened to them “baa” and he listened to them bleat.
He put his horn up to his mouth and played a tune he did,
For no one blew his horn quite like the shepherd boy Dovid

The sheep oh they did dance around, The chickens and cattle too
Goats swung each other by the beards, a 23 Skiddoo!
The dogs! The Cats! The bunnies! The Bats! They frolicked and they slid.
They loved to hear the music of the shepherd boy Dovid.

The villagers–boo– they did not like young Dovid and his tune.
He should be far more serious, not horning to the moon
Until one fateful day, when the troubles flipped its lid.
They learned their one true hero was the shepherd boy Dovid.

10 packs of wolves came from the west, all nasty fangs and fur,
they gnashed their teeth and how they howled, they “grrred” a fearsome “grrr”
The people they all ran away from both ends to the mid,
All except that horney boy, the shepherd boy Dovid.

The wolves prepared to feast upon the animals a-dancin’
They circled round the sheep, oh, no escape a-chancin’
The sheep all bleated: mistreated, left feeted, and scared from tail to nib
But the wolves were in for a surprise: the shepherd boy Dovid.

Dovid put the horn back to his lips and he began to blow
A tune no wolf had heard before nor one they’d ever know
For wolves are smart and wolves are fierce but wolves know no music,
especially not the tunes of the shepherd boy Dovid

The wolves big paws, they came with claws, and now began to dance
They wagged their tails and booped their snoots, a prelude to romance.
They twirled around the sheep and goats but did not bite or nip,
For they were too entranced by the shepherd boy Dovid

And all those wolves, they danced all night to the music of the horn,
and they were all a-fast asleep by the coming of the morn.
And Dovid led his sheepies home to where the sheepies lived
And not a sheep was lost because of the shepherd boy Dovid

The next day all the people returned and oh to their surprise
Their sheep, their chickens, their goats, their cows all staring with big eyes
The animals they had judged them all, they knew what they had did,
And not one of them was half as brave as the shepherd boy Dovid

Now no one ever complained again when Dovid played his horn,
And secretly they smiled, and they never were forlorn,
They learned that music is special, and worth a hefty bid,
And especially the music of the shepherd boy Dovid

doge in space card redux

 

 

The Fly on the Wall: Another Weirdass Fable

The following was inspired by a huge fly that got into Katie’s apartment last night and pissed me off with its flyness and flyosity.

Once upon a time, there was a fly. He was not a sly fly, nor a cry fly. He was not my fly or your fly or anybody’s fly. He was Guy the Fly, just a simple fly in an unsimple world, a world where he could find no picnics to sample and faced all sorts of predators that wanted to predatize him with their predatory ways.

One day Guy was fleeing…no…flying…away from one of these predators when he saw with his hundred eyes a rectangular-shaped cave. It was cool in the cave, and Guy could see with his hundred eyes that there was raw chicken breast on a baking sheet in the kitchen. “What luck!” He buzzed. “I can eat a tiny bit of that chicken and there is nothing that will attack me. This is paradise!”

The cave closed shortly after Guy the Fly flew into it, but Guy was not perturbed. He had flown a long way before he saw the cave, and was not afraid of such odd occurrences. But when a giant, fleshy hand swatted at him, Guy went from unperturbed to very, very perturbed.

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The Canadian Burning of the White House (A totally true history…seriously)

Most Americans foolishly believe–as our lying teachers and textbooks have told us for 200 years–that it was the English that sailed from Chesapeake Bay and laid waste to Washington DC, burning the White House. Of course, this is a lie made by lying liars for their own agendas. The truth is far more sinister and involves our “polite” neighbors to the North: Canada.

In the Spring of 1814, after the glaciers receded from the Canadian wilderness, the Sovereign State of Canada launched a dastardly attack, cutting a swath of destruction from New York to all points south, ending with a deplorable burning of the sacred American Capitol. Here is the absolutely true story of the Candian assault on our land.

The Armored Moose Cavalry

Beginning in Montreal, the Canadian forces crossed the St. Lawrence River and marched south. At the head of the attack was Lt. Colonel Tim Horton, who led the feared Canadian Armored Moose Calvary. The moose were layered in steel, with spikes adorning their antlers. Their riders carried curved axes called “hockey sticks.” They trampled through the Adirondack Mountains of Northern New York. Wherever they stopped, they built a coffee shop named after their leader. Some stand even to this day, though under the name “Stewarts.”

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Lt Col Horton in his dress uniform

Following the cavalry shock troops were massive cannons mounted on Zambonis fueled by something later called “Crown Royal.” Carried in special pouches, this mighty fuel allowed the Zambonis to travel great distances, gliding across the terrain as if they were on ice. Behind them were the Canadian riflemen, bedecked in their plaid, flannel uniforms, though the officers wore denim trousers and open denim jackets with a wolf shirt beneath.

Supporting their assault was perhaps the Canadians’ most vicious and barbaric weapon, the Canadian Geese Air Corps. These fierce creatures rained fetid death from above, from which there was no escape. When opposing troops saw their flying V pattern overhead, they ran, for no man can match the ferocity of a Canadian Goose.

The Canadians sacked Albany, then plowed south, skirting New York City and instead attacking the port of Newark. Oh, how the streets of Newark ran sticky with syrup that day. The barbarous Canadians celebrated their victory with a feast of sliced and fried potatoes smothered in gravy and cheese curds. They called this food  “cheese fries with gravy (note: translated from Olde Canadian).” It is still on the menu of most New Jersey diners, though I dare say that they don’t know its sinister origins (or do they?).

The Canadian March South

They continued south, and the American militias were helpless against them. They fled at the sight of the armored moose and geese assaults, and Horton’s hockey hackers cut them down. After bringing polite destruction down on Philadephia, Horton split his forces. One-third of Horton’s troops headed west, laying waste to Appalachia in Virginia and Kentucky. The most famous battle of their western campaign was the Bowling Green Massacre #neverforget.

The rest of Horton’s troops moved south toward the Capitol. The American troops stood ready, but with a fierce battle cry of “yeh hoser!” the armored moose cavalry charged. There was no stopping the massive beasts, and the moose were just as fearsome. The Zamboni artillery fired double-doubles upon the left flank of the American troops, scalding them and driving them to flight. President Madison and his wife Dolly fled the White House, Dolly taking the portrait of George Washington with her before the Canadians could desecrate it with slabs of Canadian Bacon.

And there, on the 24th of August, 1814, Lt. Col. Horton sacked Washington DC and burned the White House. They then celebrated with some Molsons and danced to Nickelback all night long.

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Nickelback: the greatest of outrages

Aftermath

Eventually, there came peace, and Horton’s Hackers returned to the Great White North. But they left a legacy across America. You see, no Maple Tree ever grew in America before the Canadian assault, but one intrepid rifleman named Johnny Mapleseed planted acorns along the Canadian army’s path. Without this young man, there would be no American maple syrup.

The discarded bags for the Crown Royal were later discovered to be excellent dice pouches for 19th-century games such as “Cellars and Cholera.”

Canada later said that they were sorry for the burning, and especially for Nickelback.

doge in space card redux

The Frogs and the Milk

doge in space card redux

One day a forgetful farmer forgot to bring his bucket of milk back in before bed. Overnight, two frogs landed in the bucket and couldn’t get out.

The first frog said “We’re doomed! Oh, death by dairy, a disgusting demise.”

The second frog said. “You presume our passing. If we persist, we will pull ourselves out.”

First Frog: Don’t placate me. I can’t persist in persisting. Such persistence is puddingheaded.”

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The Ants and the Grasshoppers

Once there was a terrible winter, with terrible cold, terrible snow, and a terrible lack of hot chocolate (with tiny marshmallows). The insects in the Woodly Woods barely survived, except for the ants, who had foresight and hid away enough food to survive the terrible cold, terrible snow, and terrible lack of hot chocolate (with tiny marshmallows).

Come Spring, Alexandra Ant, the leader of the ants, realized that the ants must help their fellow insects. They set up a great insect convocation. The beetles were there. The stinkbugs were there. All of the bugs were there.

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Gary the Gingerbread Man

Once upon a time, there was a town full of live baked goods. There was Bill the Breadpudding, Terry the Tiramisu, Christine the Cookie, and far, far more. There was also Gary the Gingerbread Man, and he was one far different.

You see, Gary the Gingerbread Man never agreed with anyone. He wanted things his own way. If Bill the Breadpudding said water was wet, Gary the Gingerbread Man said it was dry. If Terry the Tiramisu said the sun was hot, Gary the Gingerbread Man said it was cold. And Gary the Gingerbread Man never changed his mind, even when he knew he was wrong.  Gary the Gingerbread Man knew that changing your mind is weakness. Gary the Gingerbread Man was inflexible and brittle, so he pretended to be hard.

Gary the Gingerbread Man decided that he was finished with such small-minded fools. They were all sheep, he thought. I know the Truth, though I am freshly baked. Admitting wrong is weakness.

Gary the Gingerbread Man ran away, into the deep woods away from the town. And when Bill the Breadpudding, Terry the Tiramisu, and Christine the Cookie went after him to bring him home, Gary the Gingerbread Man said “run, run, as fast as you can, I know the Truth, I’m the Gingerbread Man. And when Bill the Breadpudding went after him, Gary the Gingerbread Man said “run, run, as fast as you can, you’re just a sheep, I’m the Gingerbread Man.

And on and on he ran, refusing to see things any other way, for Gary the Gingerbread Man was inflexible and brittle, so he pretended to be hard.

And on and on he ran, until he was alone with his thoughts. But he was not alone with himself. Frankie the Fox found him until a Poplar tree. Frankie he Fox said “I like the way you think, Gary the Gingerbread Man. You are right, they are wrong. Everything they say is a lie, but you know the Truth.” And Gary the Gingerbread Man believed him, for what is a gingerbread man without frosting to sweeten him?

Gary the Gingerbread Man and all the foxes became friends. They said “I like the way you think, Gary the Gingerbread Man. You are right, they are wrong. Everything they say is a lie, but you know the Truth.” And Gary the Gingerbread Man believed them, because he believed himself.

Gary the Gingerbread Man told his fox friends about the town of baked goods. They pretended not to lick their lips and told him that they are wrong. They must be shown the Truth. Lead us to them, Gary the Gingerbread Man, and we will help you show them the Truth. And Gary the Gingerbread Man believed them, for what is a gingerbread man without frosting to sweeten him?

They all returned to the town of baked goods. When Gary the Gingerbread Man tried to tell him that he found others that knew the Truth, the foxes rushed forward and ate all the baked goods. They ate Bill the Breadpudding. They ate Terry the Tiramisu. They ate Christine the Cookie. They ate all of the villagers. And Gary the Gingerbread Man was happy, because they were sheep and deserved to be eaten by those that knew the Truth.

And then Gary the Gingerbread Man was alone. And then the foxes turned on Gary the Gingerbread Man. They said “thank you for the meal.” They circled Gary the Gingerbread Man. They said, “we are not finished. You must feed the Truth.”

The foxes ate Gary the Gingerbread Man. And as they bit off his legs and arms, Gary the Gingerbread Man was happy. He was feeding the Truth. He would die for the Truth. He was not inflexible and brittle, he was a hero.

Gary the Gingerbread Man didn’t care about Bill the Breadpudding. He only cared about himself. He never knew the Truth. He knew a Belief, and refused to listen to anything else.

Gary the Gingerbread Man died a fool, and everyone in the town of baked goods died because of him. Because Gary the Gingerbread Man was inflexible and brittle. And Gary the Gingerbread Man was wrong.

Gary the Gingerbread Man was always wrong.

Hey, did you like this story? Check out my historical fantasy, The Watchmage of Old New York. It’s only 99 cents for the holiday season, and available in paperback too! Books make great gifts, and ebooks are great (cyber) stocking stuffers.

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doge in space card redux