What is a bookshelf other than a treasure chest for a curious mind...
Happy Halloween everyone! We wish you a most wonderful day on this here hallows eve ~
And since today is Halloween we thought it would be the perfect time to introduce you to some smokey little spectres that you’ve probably seen before...although you might not have realised that you did. They visit hundreds upon thousands of dwellings every day, and they’ve most certainly visited your home upon a time or two (especially if you recently celebrated a birthday with some cake and candles). Those of you who are aware of their work will probably know them as the “candle ghost” or “dim reapers”, but we call them the “wee smokies”.
Don’t worry though, there’s absolutely no need to be afraid...even in light of the fact that we just told you wee phantoms pay regular visits to your home (truth be told, oodles of wee folk does...it’s the goblins you want to worry about, not the ghosties). Wee smokies are actually quite nice and always very polite. In fact, the only scary thing about them would be if they did not show up...
You see, when you blow out a candle most people think the flame just disappears...but very few things in this world just disappear into thin air, and neither does a flame. No, they are actually all collected by the wee smokies who take them back home to feed the wee dragon pups so they can grow big and strong...which, if you think about it, makes a lot more sense than thousands of flames just magically disappearing without a trace.
And this is a very good thing. Otherwise, once lit, a candle’s flame would just keep on burning forever. If you were to blow out a candle without a wee smokie around, you would just end up blowing the flame right across the room where it will start to burn whatever is closest to it...which would leave you surrounded by a smouldering shambles for sure!
So the next time you blow out a candle, keep a close eye on the wee pillar of smoke rising from it, because as soon as it starts spiralling about, the wee smokie has arrived. And with a well trained eye and just a touch of believe and imagination, you should be able to see the shape of the little guy as the smoke dances around him.
Hello everyone! We’re back and we made you a very special picture...but first we would like to say happy autumn to everyone (and happy spring time if it’s not autumn where you live). We love autumn; it’s one of our most favourite times of the year! There’s Halloween, spiced cookies, pumpkins, conkers and of course the turning of the leaves...but for us, the most magical moment of autumn has to be when the forest crowns a new faerie King or Queen.
Most people don’t know this but all faeries are Princes and Princesses. That’s because in the faerie realms it’s not lineage, but deeds that determines who will become the next King or Queen, so everyone is in line for the throne. The way this is decided differs greatly within each realm of the faerie worlds, but for the forest faeries it’s their leafy hair that declares their new role. As the leaves turn into their beautiful autumn colours, so does the hair of all the faeriefolk of the forest. For most their leafy locks turns into bright shades of reds or rich tones brown. But every year, in every forest one very deserving faerie’s hair will turn gold, crowning them the new King or Queen of the forest faeries.
And that brings us back to our new art picture. It’s a drawing of our good friend Leahann’riada. She lives in Howl-wind Hollows, an enchanted little forest near our house. Here she helps all the lost little bugs, beetles and creepy crawlies that wandered into these woods to find their way home, or if they’d like to stay she helps them to find a cosy wee burrow of their own and teach them all about the forest and its ways.
We went there this morning to finish our drawing of her and found her telling Howl-wind hollows’ latest resident the very same story we just told you, about of the turning of the leave and the crowning of the faerie Queen or King. About half way through the story the wee little bug reached out to her and slowly said the word “queen”. Leahann’riada gave a big joyous smile, framed by a blusing face and told the wee bug that she is most flattered but he must have misunderstood the story, knowing that he’s not yet fluent in the language of the forest. She was just about to re-tell the tale from the start when we noticed it too! Her hair was turning to gold right before our eyes! The forest chose her to be the new faerie Queen of howl-wind hollows and we were there to see it happen! It was amazing and we are so glad we could share a wee bit of this magical moment with you and show you the first official portrait of her majesty the faerie Queen! We hope you like it ~
We would like to introduce you to a new friend we recently made. He's a gnome named O'Hans but most of the weefolk around here call him veerman (which means ferryman in Dutch) because of the wee boat that he sails around the canals of Amsterdam.
At night it's a houseboat, of which he is the sole resident and during the day it becomes a ferryboat, of which he is the captain. It also happens to be the only ferry for the weefolk of the city.
He carved the boat himself when he was just a wee boy. The body of the boat has darkened with age and the hand carved patterns of interwoven waves and vines, once decorating the sides, were all but completely worn off.
The sail was made from an old piece of canvas which doubles as a roof at night. On one side of the sail is a painting of a sunflower and on the other is a hand drawn map of all the canals.
Growing on the hull, just above the waterline is a large mushroom, which he says he's saving for a winter stew.
Other than that, there's a book underneath his seat, a pencil which is sharpened at both ends and an empty pickle jar tied to the back of the boat with an old shoe string, which is there for passengers to store their luggage during their journey.
And that was it. There is nothing more in or around the boat and as far as we could see there were no other nooks or crannies to keep things. And since the boat was also his house it got us wondering...where did he keep all his belongings?
When we asked him he laughed wholeheartedly for a while before pointing to his head and saying "everything I need fits in here just fine".
We laughed along with him although we didn't quite understand why and we were still wondering where he kept all his important things. There was that one book under his seat, but where did he keep all his other books, where were his treasured keepsakes, his shiny things and his sweets? We thought he probably misunderstood our question so we decided to make our questions a wee bit more specific...
"But where do you keep all your books?" we asked.
"All the stories I have read are up here" he said once again pointing to his head.
"The books themselves I passed on. But the stories, those I kept."
He reached down and pulled out the book he kept under his seat.
"This book was given to me a moon ago by a passing passenger from up north and once I'm done reading it, I will pass it on again. I'll probably give this one to Atook the little cobbler elf from Van Baerle Steet. It's a story about a magic pair of boots, I think he would like it."
He reached for his pencil and wrote "Atook" inside the cover and returned the book to its place under his seat.
"But then you have no books" we all said at once.
Yes, that is true." he said. "But I could close my eyes anywhere I am and recall all the stories I've ever read, and if there are any I forgot I have a great reason to go visit whoever I gave that story's book to, and we can recall it all over a nice hot brew. And who knows...before long someone might pass another book on to me which they have read and thought I might like*.
We never thought about it like that before, but it's true...that's the magic of books isn't it? You always get to keep the story. Even if the book itself was no longer around.
But what about his treasured keepsakes? Surely he had to have a few mementos around to remember his most special moments?
He nodded when we asked him about these.
"I did have a few of those when I was younger" he admitted. "but more often than not, the thing itself replaced the actual memory. So these days I prefer to carry just the memories with me...which is best because there would be no way this boat could fit them all."
He gave a short chuckle and got up to adjust the sail.
"But I have to admit..." he whispered as he tied the sail into place, "...I don't keep all of those in my mind, some of those I keep in my heart."
He smiled to himself as he sat down again. We did not know what treasured memory he recalled in that moment, but we could tell it was a special one.
We were starting to see that his boat is not as empty as we first though. In fact, we were starting to worry that the boat might sink if we let him recall much more...but there was still something we were unsure about. His shiny things and sweets! All weefolk have some sort of shiny trinket and a bag of sweets hidden somewhere...and gnomes were no different.
"Well, I do sometimes keep a candy or two in my pocket, but those are not for me" he said.
"You see...almost everyone who comes on board brings a little something to eat on route, and everyone who does always shares. That's what makes this such a special place. You've just shared one of your cookies with me, and earlier this afternoon I took some Elderfaeries down the canal who gave me a whole handful of sugar candies. I ate one of the candies and kept the rest right here in my pocket, because somewhere down the line someone will get on board who didn't bring something to eat...and then it will be my turn to share.
And as for shiny things...Oh, I have more than anyone could ever imagine. Tonight, after I've taken everyone where they needed to go, I will steer my little boat down the Prinsengracht canal and be surrounded by the shine of the city. Lights from the people folk's houses, flickering candles from the faeriehollows, lanterns on cafe tables and faerielights in trees, streetlights, bicycle lights, the moon..all filled with life, and each one of these glistening on the water around me. Not even kings and queens could ever wish for that many shiny things.
You see wee ones" he said, "for me, belonging, is so much more important than belongings.
That evening he invited us to sail with, and it was true. All the gold trinkets in the world could never shine that way. It was one of the most beautiful thing we've ever seen. We shared the rest of our cookies along the way and gave the last one to a wee river troll catching a lift back to his bridge.
Many more stories were also shared that day, he told us a few, and we told some too...we even told him about you! We'll be sharing some of those stories with our friends in the park tomorrow but he asked us to pass this one on to you...we hope you like it, and if you do, don't forget to pass it on too.
* He was quite right, the very next day we went to give him one of our favourite books. It's a story about a captain who sailed the seven seas, we think he would like it.
|Hello everyone, we are the Picsees and we love to make art pictures of our friends and our adventures, also we like to play and look for bugs in the park. you must come say hello to us on the twitters ok, just go to the www.twitter.com/thePicsees|