Friday, November 30, 2012

Random Nano 2012 snippet 2

For the record, I won NaNoWriMo again this year. 50,000 words though the novel has yet to reach the end.

Now for the new snippet.

“Well, what kind of story do you want to hear?” I asked her.
“I want to hear a story about a proper princess.” “Who has a pony.” “And a knight.” “And something really scary.” Well, I only asked one of them but ideas were bouncing everywhere.
I put one hand up. “That’s enough. So somewhere far away, there lived a lovely princess called …”
“Yes, exactly, her name was Daisy. And she was growing up in a castle because that’s where all princesses live, right?”
Every head nodded at that.
“Princess Daisy was very very bored. She had lessons; music, dance, geography, languages, history, and more. And she knew how to sew and do a variety of fancy stitches and everything else that a princess needs to know. But it wasn’t what she wanted to do.”
“What Princess Daisy wanted to do was to go explore the world beyond the castle. What good was learning geography if you never left the place you were born? Why learn a language that you never used? Why not visit some of the places mentioned in history?”
“But wouldn’t she travel with her clan?”
“No, her parents, her family always stayed in the same place. She never got to go outside at all. So one day, she decided that she was old enough and she wanted to go into the world away from her castle. So first she borrowed clothes from…”
The children looked at each other. “A maid?” “A servant?” “Someone who tended the ponies?”
“She borrowed clothes from the boy who tended the ponies. ‘You have to promise not to tell anyone.’ She said. ‘I cannot lie to the king,’ he replied. ‘If the king asks, I must tell him everything.’”
“Princess Daisy had to think about this but she realised that the boy could be in real trouble if he didn’t talk to the king. ‘Well, ok. You have my leave to tell the king if he asks.’ ‘Thank you, Princess,’ he replied. Now once Princess Daisy was wearing the clothes of the boy, the ponies seemed to like her a lot better. They all gathered around her, looking for treats. She looked at the ponies and picked a pretty white one with many deep brown spots.”
“Now the princess knew a little about riding but not a lot. Sometimes her family rode the ponies for special occasions but they never actually rode them very far. So she had to have the help of the boy who tended the ponies to put the proper riding gear on it.” While I have seen a few beast being ridden, I had no clue what the equipment meant be called.
“She watched what he did very carefully and tried to remember everything. She did know that once she left, no one would know she was a princess and they might not do things for her. When he had finished, she gave him a coin and rode the pony toward the big castle gates.”
“Now Princess Daisy was very brave or she would never have decided to see the world. But once she was on the other side of the gates, she was very frightened indeed. The road went through a forest and the princess had never seen so many big trees before. She rode cautiously along the road, wondering if she were doing the right thing. But it was a nice day and the princess liked how the light looked as it came through the trees. She slowly relaxed.”
“As evening came, she realised that she hadn’t considered what to do at night. Her bed was far away and she couldn’t see any lights or anything at all. ‘Well, Spots,’ she said to her pony. The pony snorted at her, it was trying to say it was tired and very hungry after a long day of work, but the princess didn’t speak pony. Finally, she was just too tired and she still couldn’t find any place to sleep. She slid off the pony and stumbled to a nearby bit of grass.”
“While the princess was still asleep, the pony decided it had enough nonsense already and started the journey home. So the princess woke, she hurt all over because she hadn’t slept on her beautiful bed and the pony was nowhere to be seen. ‘Oh dear,’ thought Princess Daisy. ‘This isn’t the best start to seeing the world. Still, I’m not ready to go home yet.’ So she decided to continue on down the road.”
I took a long pause and had a big drink. Not one of the children made a single sound while I had my drink. I put down the cup and just looked at them for a moment.
“Now a princess learns many things but there’s still a lot she doesn’t know. If she had known what to do with the pony at night, it wouldn’t have wandered away. And after she’d been walking down the road for a few hours, she discovered a new thing. That was that walking can make your feet hurt when you aren’t used to it. She sat down and rubbed her feet but soon after she started walking again, they started hurting again.”
“So the princess was very happy when she heard the sound of hooves on the road. Soon someone would come along and then she wouldn’t have to walk any further. When the rider was near, the princess stood in the middle of the road. ‘I demand a ride to the nearest town,’ she said. ‘Boy!’ replied the rider. ‘If I had time, I’d teach you better manners. Since I don’t have time for that, I’ll leave you to walk there.’ And he rode away.”
“Princess Daisy was very upset. No one had ever refused her anything before. She realised that she was dressed as a boy and finding a princess walking on the road might not happen too often. So she and her poor tired feet had to continue down the road. Another thing the princess was beginning to notice was that she was getting very hungry. She left before dinner the night before, no one brought her breakfast this morning and it was nearly time for a mid day meal.”
“So she was tired and hungry when she heard more hooves in the distance. This time, it didn’t sound like a rider but a wagon being pulled down the road. ‘So,’ the princess thought to herself. ‘I have to remember, they won’t know I’m a princess. They won’t do something because I tell them to.’”
“Again, she waited in the middle of the road. It was an old horse pulling a very ancient wagon. ‘Greetings,’ she said to the driver. ‘May I have a ride to the next town?’ The old woman stared at her and then nodded to the seat next to her. ‘You can have a ride if you like but Bess and I go slow these days. Might not get there any faster than you could have.’ Princess Daisy climbed up on the wagon. ‘I don’t mind, and thank you.’”
“‘Now my girl,’ said the old woman. ‘Why are you out on the road by yourself?’ ‘I’m a boy!’ protested the princess. The old woman stared at her for a moment and said flatly, ‘No, you aren’t. Clothes along won’t fool anyone for long. The road is a dangerous place for someone of your age.’ ‘Surely not. Our kingdom is known for how good the people are,’ declared the princess. ‘Believe me or not,’ said the old woman. ‘But don’t wander around too much at night by yourself. That’s just asking for trouble, that is.’”
“Well, the wagon reached town as dusk was falling. Princess Daisy remembered to thank the old woman then went off looking for food and a place to stay. It didn’t take her long to find an inn which served food and had beds for guests. ‘I’d like a room and food please,’ she told the host. He looked at the clothes and replied, ‘You’ve naught the money to pay, have you?’ Princess Daisy carefully pulled a half piece of silver from a pouch. ‘I do have money.’”
“The innkeeper took the coin and carefully looked at it. Then he hit her. ‘That’s for having stolen money, you young imp. There’s no one someone like you could have this much.’ The princess had been trying to be brave all day but this was the final straw. Tears flowed down her cheeks. ‘Tell you what lad. You can have a bowl of our stew and sleep in the hay outside the kitchen.’ While stew and hay certainly were not up to princess standards, she nodded. It would be better than no food and sleeping on the ground again.”
“The next morning, Princess Daisy quietly left. She wasn’t waiting to find out if the innkeeper was going to demand more coins or hit her again for stealing. The big world beyond her castle was so much stranger and more scary than she’d ever thought. Now when she reached the road, she had a choice. She could go back or go on. Now which do you think a princess would do?”
“Go home?”
“No, she’d go on. It has to get better.”
“Princess Daisy went on. She was determined to see something of the world and a few little things should never stop a princess. Now what the princess didn’t know was that the king and queen were frightened for their only child. They knew that the princess wasn’t ready to explore, she was much too young yet. They asked everybody in the castle if they knew anything. Eventually, they even asked the boy who tended the ponies. ‘Oh yes, she borrowed my clothes yesterday,’ he told the king. ‘She also took a pony but the pony came home yesterday.’ Now the king and queen were frantic when they found out about the pony. ‘Anyone who returns my daughter safely will be rewarded with gold,’ the king proclaimed. Well, many people thought they could find the princess and so rushed off to start looking.”
“Princess Daisy had gotten very very thirsty following the road. She thought she heard water nearby and went searching for the stream. It didn’t take long for the princess to realise that she hadn’t heard a stream and she couldn’t find the road again. She was tired, thirsty and hungry again. Being lost was the final blow. She sank down to her knees and started crying. This time, she let herself cry for a long time, she hadn’t done that when the innkeeper hit her. When her tears finally stopped, she was even more tired but she did feel a bit better. ‘I just wish I knew how to get out of this dreadful forest,’ she said. ‘But why would anyone want to leave the forest?’ a voice behind her asked. Princess Daisy gasped, she hadn’t heard anything creeping up behind her. Now when she looked around, she nearly screamed. There was a monster behind her. It was huge, over twice as tall as she was. It was dark red with big purple spots and when it smiled…well, it had the biggest sharpest teeth the princess had ever seen. She was certain the monster was the one who had spoken, there was no one else she could see. ‘No offence, kind sir,’ she started. She decided to be extra polite to someone with such large teeth. ‘It’s just the forest is dark, and there’s no food and there’s no water and I don’t like it.’ ‘There’s plenty of food and water. You just have to know where.’ Poor Princess Daisy trembled. She was terribly afraid that the food the monster could see was one princess. It started to walk away. Princess Daisy thought that maybe this would be a way to be rid of the monster but it turned around and said, ‘Well? Come on then.’ She knew the monster could easily carry her away if it tried, so she followed it.”
“Now the monster first lead her to a stream. She drank her fill of the cold water. ‘At least I won’t be thirsty if the monster eats me now,’ she thought to herself. Then the monster took her to a little meadow and showed her some berries and small plants that she could eat. ‘At least I won’t be hungry if the monster eats me now.’ ‘Are you feeling better, little princess?’ the monster asked. ‘How did you know I’m a princess? I’m not wearing my proper clothes or anything.’ ‘Don’t you think a monster can smell a princess when they meet one?’ ‘On my,’ thought the princess. ‘Would a princess smell?’ She decided to ask the monster a different question. ‘What’s your name?’ then she hoped that wasn’t a rude thing to ask. ‘My name is Balthus,’ the monster replied. ‘And you are?’ ‘Princess Daisy.’ ‘Well met, Princess Daisy. Is there anything more that your heart desires?’”
I paused for a little break and heard a few whispers among the audience. “The princess only thought for a few moments. ‘I wish to go home, Balthus. I thought the world outside was full of adventure and fun things. It isn’t what I wanted, and now I want to go home.’ ‘If I help you today, will you promise that someday, you will help me?’ Balthus asked. Princess Daisy nodded. ‘All right then,’ said Balthus. ‘Just follow me.’ He went off at a very fast walk and soon the little princess was far behind. She wasn’t sure if she should keep going or stop. Soon though, Balthus came back. ‘Why aren’t you following?’ ‘I was trying,’ replied the princess. ‘But you are so much faster than I am.’ Balthus lifted the princess into his arms.[arms?] and started off again. Because he was so much quicker than the princess, it didn’t take him long at all to go past the village where she’d spent the night. A few hours later and he was getting quite close to the castle. He approached the road and told the princess, ‘It’s best if you find your way from here. Everyone must be looking for you.’”
“‘Unhand our princess,’ said a gruff voice. Princess Daisy and Balthus turned around to find a knight ready to attack. ‘The princess is safe and well,’ replied Balthus. ‘I was just bringing her home.’ But once Balthus put the princess down, the knight attacked him. Balthus collapsed on the road, a huge gash in his chest. ‘How could you?’ the princess demanded of the knight. ‘He was going to eat you, I know his type,’ said the knight. ‘Now I can take you to the castle for the reward.’ The princess knelt by Balthus sobbing softly. ‘Is there anything I can do? You’ve been so kind to me.’ She took Balthus’s hand and squeezed it. It was then that Balthus started to change. He grew smaller in size, he went from [] to a human colour, his teeth changed and his wound healed. He sat up, ‘You have done all you need to do. I was under a spell and someone had to truly care for me to break it. You broke the spell.’ The princess and Balthus went to the castle together, since he wasn’t a monster now. Her parents were very happy to see their daughter and rewarded Balthus with gold and some titles. When the princess was old enough, she and Balthus got married and lived a long and happy life.”

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Random NaNo2012 snippet time

“Please can you tell us a story?” the little girl asked me. She patted one wing gently.
The chorus of “Please,” was almost deafening this time.
I nodded. “I’ll tell you a story, but I am going to need help. Once upon a time, there was a little boy called…” I turned to one of the little boys, “what do you think his name was?”
“Dario,” he said.
“Well done, exactly right. There was a boy called Dario who wanted to prove how big and brave he was. So he went deep into the forest all by himself. Now the forest was a big and scary place and Dario was sorry he had decided to go on his own. But he’d gone very far, and wasn’t sure how to get home. So he sat down on a rock to think. And when he sat down, the bushes nearby started to move. From behind the bushes came a huge and scary…” I looked at one of the girls, “What do you think it was?”
“A hufernut?” she replied. There were a few giggles at the answer, I wonder what this hufernut looks like.
“Huge and scary hufernut. Well, that scared Dario so much that he jumped up and ran faster than he’d ever run before. He ran as long as he could. When he finally looked back, the hufernut was no where to be seen. So he took a deep breath. When he looked around, he realised that he was twice as lost as before.”
“Wait,” said one of the older boys. “You can get lost but you can’t get twice as lost. Lost is lost.”
“True enough,” I replied. “He was lost and had no idea how he might ever get home. He tried yelling for help but no one answered. So he started walking the direction he thought might be home. Now after a bit, he knew he’d gone the wrong way when he found a very pretty house, deep in the woods. He walked up to the house and knocked on the door.” I paused. “What do you think was behind the door?”
“Another hufernut?”
“A beautiful princess?”
“An angel?”
“The door opened and he saw the most beautiful princess in the world. She smiled and led him inside. The first few rooms were the biggest and prettiest that he’d ever seen. But she didn’t stop there. The next rooms were still nice but she didn’t stop there. They went further and further, Dario was starting to wonder how big the house was. Finally she turned and smiled sweetly at him, ‘could you go in here and fetch me the brush that’s on the highest shelf?’ Dario dashed in only to find that she slammed the door behind him. ‘Foolish boy, so trusting. Soon I can eat you for my supper.’”
I paused for breath and looked around. All the children were staring intently, ready for the next part of the story. “Maybe I should stop there,” I said teasingly.
“No, we have to know,” several of them protested.
I felt the wagons draw to a stop. Since it was the middle of the day, I had to assume it wasn’t the camp for the day. “We stop in town. Marko and others trade. They trade things we make for things we can’t make. Be here a couple of hours,” Lina said.
I nodded. “So Dario heard the beautiful princess say she wanted to eat him for her supper. Then he watched in horror as the princess changed into…”
“A ranticor?”
“A huge yijer?”
“A wicked troll?”
“The princess turned into a wicked troll. Dario was very afraid, the troll was four times his size. ‘Oh no,’ thought Dario to himself. ‘If only I hadn’t gone for such a long walk. I’ll never go home again, the troll is going to eat me.’ Dario sat on the floor crying his eyes out.”
“‘Stop that,’ rumbled the troll. ‘You’ll make yourself all bitter and not good to eat if you do that.’ Dario cried all the harder. ‘If you don’t stop, I’ll come in there and shake you until you do.’”
“Now Dario didn’t like the idea of being shaken by the troll but he couldn’t just stop crying. And worse, he started hiccuping at the same time. The troll slowly opened the door, Dario backed as far into the corner as he could. The troll took one step into the room, and then another. Dario could smell the evil breath of the beast. Then they both heard a knock on the door.”
“‘You wait here, dinner,’ said the troll as he left the room and closed the door. Dario heard the troll walk away and could tell that it had changed to looking like a beautiful princess again.”
“How could he tell that?” asked one of my listeners.
“The princess had shoes that made a different noise than the troll’s bare feet did. When the troll changed, he was wearing clothes appropriate to a princess,” I explained. They all nodded.
“Dario very very carefully walked to the door. He touched it and found that it hadn’t closed completely. Dario opened it as quietly as he could. He left the room and looked around for another way out. There was absolutely no where for him to go but out the way the troll was. He crept along the hallway watching for the return of the troll.”
I paused and waited. “Please?” said Peter.
I smiled at him. “Well Dario was creeping along the hall, heart pounding as he wondered when he’d see the troll. He moved as quietly as he could and there was just no sign of the evil troll. As he got closer to the door, he heard a lot of noise. Metal banging against metal. ‘What could that be?’ he wondered.” He got to the door and saw a brave hunter fighting the troll. The troll looked pretty silly really because it was half in the beautiful princess disguise and half not. Beautiful hair and a troll face. A slender body and huge thick arms.”
“Dario wanted to help the hunter but he had nothing at all in his pockets. He was too young to carry a weapon yet. The hunter and the troll were fighting in the doorway, Dario was still trapped. Then he noticed that there were logs by the fireplace. He found one that was as big as he could pick up. He walked up behind the troll and hit it on the head as hard as he could. That distracted the troll enough that the hunter could finally plunge his spear well into the troll. The troll fell over, dead.”
“‘That troll wanted to eat me,’ said Dario. ‘Well, you should not go playing with trolls, that is what they like to do,’ the hunter replied. ‘I didn’t know it was a troll. It was a beautiful princess,’ replied Dario. ‘Use your brain, boy. Why would a real princess be way out here, by herself. Come to think of it, what were you doing out here?’”
“‘Well, everyone said I was too young to wander off by myself. Then I got lost and then I got scared and then I was here.’ ‘It seems to me, they were right. If you walked into a house in the middle of the woods knowing nothing about the owner, you are too young to wander by yourself. Where do you live?’ At those words, Dario told a lot of things about where he lived, the shops, the farms, and lots of things. But none of them helped the hunter work out where Dario actually lived. It took the hunter many patient questions before he finally could identify where Dario lived. He cut off the troll’s ears…”
“Ewww,” said several of the older girls.
“He cut off the troll’s ears to prove that he had really killed it. That troll had been eating people for a long time and there was a reward for those ears. Then he took Dario back to his home. ‘Boy, I hope that you learned a few things today.’ ‘Yes sir, I did.’ ‘Just remember, there are always things like trolls waiting to catch you if you aren’t careful.’ ‘And maybe they were right that I should be older before I wander in the forest alone.’ The hunter nodded and went on his way.”
“Now can you guess how Dario’s parents felt?”
“All that and more. They were scared half to death when they realised that the boy was missing. They couldn’t stop worrying about what might have happened to him. And when he finally walked in the door, they were very angry that he’d gone off into the forest that way. So they scolded him, then hugged him and then scolded him again. Dario told them about the troll and the hunter and everything else that had happened. They made him promise to never do anything like that again, which Dario did. After that, he was very careful to listen to what his parents told him.”
“What happened to the hunter?”
“He was very successful because he made sure he knew what he was doing. He killed many more monsters.”
“Did everyone like the story?” Lina asked. All the children nodded. I noticed that they all were more relaxed, the story had broken the barriers between us.
“Another story?”
I shook my head. One story was plenty for one day. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I'm sure I dream a lot more than I remember.

So it's only the wild and weird that happen when not not in deep sleep that you do.

So the dream where I'm talking to David Attenborough while he eats and he tells me that he needs a femistist to say a certain term to annoy his director was very odd indeed.

Though not quite so much as a vaguely remembered dream about pashing a girl.

No idea where either of those came from.