Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nice Piece for a Witch Wedding Day

Deep in the forest a changeling child was left for a mortal child, and the changeling was a baby witch. 

She grew up with her forest family but she always knew she was different from the other children.  She had the ability to talk to animals.  She had a knack with plants.  And sometimes she was capable of disappearing.  Literally.

Mostly she kept to herself and worked on incantations and brews.  When she was of age, she fell in love with a mortal who had been a feral child raised in the forest by a family of ravens. 

He was fascinated by her skills and knowledge, and wished to learn all that she knew.  In addition, being a feral child raised by ravens, he had acquired a few skills of his own  -- like flying.  And so they were to be wed on Halloween night.

This is the necklace and earrings designed for her.  And this is this song to be sung at the wedding.

Hey little changeling what have you done?
Hey little changeling who's the only one?
Hey little changeling who's your superman?
Hey little changeling who's the one you want?
Hey little changeling shot gun!

It's a nice day to start again.
It's a nice day for a witch wedding.
It's a nice day to start again.

Hey little changeling who is it you're with?
Hey little changeling what's your vice and wish?
Hey little changeling shot gun (oh yeah)
Hey little changeling who's your superman?
Hey little changeling shot gun!

It's a nice day to start again (come on)
It's a nice day for a witch wedding
It's a nice day to start again.

(Pick it up)

Take me back home

Hey little changeling what have you done?
Hey little changeling who's the only one?
I've been away for so long (so long)
I've been away for so long (so long)
I let you go for so long

Come on
It's a nice day for a witch wedding
It's a nice day to start again.
It's a nice day to start again.
It's a nice day to start again

It's a small wedding, so you probably weren't invited, but you can celebrate with this necklace and earring sets.  (I made another for the witch and her Raven groom.)  Yours is here.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Hippo Tortoise Fairy Tale That's Not a Hippo Tortoise Fairy Tale

It sounds like a fable or a fairy tale. The main characters are an orphaned baby hippopotamus and a 130-year-old giant tortoise. The hippo was rescued from a natural disaster of biblical proportions, and the tortoise was meant to be dinner a century ago. But the story of Owen the hippo and Mzee the tortoise is absolutely true.

The animals are both the wards of Dr. Paula Kahumbu, general manager of Lafarge Ecosystems, which runs a sanctuary in Mombasa, Kenya. She tells Jennifer Ludden the story of a highly unlikely friendship and the children's book she helped write to tell the tale.

December 26th, 2004 started off as a normal, quiet day. My son Joshua and I were out for a morning walk along the beach in front of my home when suddenly the sea began to race in. Within minutes the ocean became threatening. The tide had risen well beyond the high water mark. At that instant it became apparent the Tsunami that had started nearly 4,000 miles away far across the Indian Ocean would impact us as well. In less than 12 hours the Tsunami had finally reached the coast of Africa from its point of origin in Banda Aceh.

We ran from the beach back to my house where my sister and her children were waiting for us. They were all crying having just seen on television the haunting images of the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami. Although we escaped the waves, a one year old hippopotamus 80 kilometers away was not as lucky. 

Just before Christmas the unseasonably heavy rains near Malindi town washed a family of hippopotamuses down the Sabaki River and out to sea. The residents of the town tried in vain to urge the family back up the estuary. When the Tsunami hit Malindi, the sea turned angry, the sky clouded over and for a moment the hippos disappeared and were forgotten as all efforts went to rescuing the stranded fishermen. 

The next day only one hippo could be seen. It was the baby and he was stranded on the reef. Hundreds of people came to watch the efforts to rescue the hippo. It took ropes, boats, nets and cars —though the hippo was tired he was still fast and slippery. It took a brave rugby tackle to finally capture him, and the cheering of the crowd could be heard over a kilometer away.

Lafarge Eco Systems agreed to provide a home for the baby hippo and I rushed to Malindi to collect him. Tangled in fishing ropes, angry and tired, the hippo did not seem to appreciate our rescue at all. As we left for Mombasa, the crowd unanimously agreed to name him 'Owen' in honor of the volunteer who tackled him to the ground. 

Exhausted, confused and extremely frightened, Owen immediately ran to the safety of a giant tortoise when we released him in Haller Park. Mzee, our 130 year old tortoise, just happened to be nearby and he was very surprised by Owen's odd behavior cowering behind him as a baby hippo does to its mother. Mzee quickly came to terms with his new friend and even returned signs of affection. The unusual relationship between this baby hippo and the ancient tortoise amazed people the world over and has featured in most countries on television and in news papers. 

Owen and Mzee continue to spend their days together in the pond, feeding and patrolling. Owen nudges Mzee to come for walks, and Mzee sometimes even follows Owen. 

Hundreds of people have witnessed this incredible spectacle first hand at Haller Park which is open every day to the public. Owen will eventually be moved to a bigger pond in Haller Park were he can socialize with other hippos. 

The NPR version, by Dr. Paula Kahumbu
Chief Environmentalist, Haller Park
Mombasa, Kenya

The charm version here and here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Lion and the Mouse, as Told by Charms

An Aesop's Fable

Once when a Lion was asleep, a little Mouse began running up and down upon him; this soon wakened the Lion, who placed his huge paw upon him, and opened his big jaws to swallow him. 

"Pardon, O King," cried the little Mouse: "forgive me this time, I shall never forget it: who knows but what I may be able to do you a turn some of these days?" 

The Lion was so tickled at the idea of the Mouse being able to help him, that he lifted up his paw and let him go. 

Some time after the Lion was caught in a trap, and the hunters who desired to carry him alive to the King, tied him to a tree while they went in search of a wagon to carry him on. 

Just then the little Mouse happened to pass by, and seeing the sad plight in which the Lion was, went up to him and soon gnawed away the ropes that bound the King of the Beasts. 

"Was I not right?" said the little Mouse.

Little friends may prove great friends

You never know when you may need a lion or a mouse.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Buddha Story Continues ~ The Pleasure Palaces

In earlier posts, we have seen the story of the Buddha: Birth of the Buddha, The Young Prince, The Wise Men's Predictions, and The Marriage Contest.  Today, The Pleasure Palaces.

Having won the marriage contest, Prince Siddhartha and Princess Yasodhara were married. The King wanted to be sure his son would never wish to leave the kingdom, and so he had three palaces  built for the young couple.  He wanted them to be so beautiful, so magnificent, that anyone who entered would think he was in heaven.

He commissioned a summer palace with pools and fountains, a warm and luxurious winter palace, and a palace for the rainy season.  The palaces were to be placed in a park, with scenery wherever one looked.  Each would be surrounded by a large wall, so that nothing unpleasant would ever be able to enter.  That way, Prince Siddhartha would never be tempted to leave.  

The King did not stop there.  He hired the best musicians to play all day and all night.  

The servants were beautiful dancing girls.  The chefs were trained to make an endless variety of delicious and tempting foods.  Nothing was allowed inside to disturb the prince in any way.

For many years Prince Siddhartha lived in these heavenly surroundings, entertained from morning until night.  He never heard or saw anything even slightly unpleasant.  If one of the servant girls fell ill, she was taken from the palace and not allowed to return until she was in the bloom of health once again.  If a plant began to droop, it was quickly replaced with a strong healthy plant.

The Prince knew nothing of sickness or sadness. He never even saw a wilted plant.  Thus he was kept ignorant of all the suffering and unpleasantness of the world.  

Soon Yasodhara gave birth to a son, who was named Rahula. Everything was perfect and the King felt sure that his plans to keep the Prince interested in the royal life were working perfectly.

 Buddha charms here and here.

Next:  A Song of Beauty

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's SuperPig!

Faster than a speeding pullet.
More powerful than a mule on Wheaties.
Able to leap tall pigpens in a single bound.

Look! Up in the sky!
It's a bird. It's a plane. It's SuperPig!

Yes, it's SuperPig - porcine visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal pigs. SuperPig - who can change the course of mighty feed troughs, bend picket fences with his bare hands, and who, disguised as Fred Bacon, mild mannered pinch hitter for a great metropolitan farm team, fights the never ending battle for Truth, Justice and the American Way.

  SuperPig is available here and here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Kitty Confessions, Part VI

I told Mom I wanted canned food every meal. Fancy Feast.

Mom said, "Get a job."

I said, "I want a new kitty bed.  One with a catnip pillow."

Mom said, "Get a job."

I said, "I want a continuous stream of fresh kitty litter in my box."

Mom said, "Get a job."

She was making a necklace and earrings out of aventurine.  While she was dropping beads on the floor and cursing like a sailor, I was reading up on aventurine.

I found this on a website:

"Shortly after she started wearing an aventurine necklace regularly, a close friend got a job offer she wanted but never expected. She loaned her necklace to another friend who was going on vacation. That friend came back with a new love interest. While neither of them gave aventurine all the credit, they both said they felt different when they were wearing the necklace. It was as if a secret dream that had felt out of reach was worth pursuing and could actually happen. That's the power of aventurine."

Clearly I needed that necklace... and the earrings, too, if I was going to get a job.  I waited until Mom set the piece down so she could make Esmeralda stop barking at the dog next door.  Dumb dog.

I wrapped the necklace around my neck a couple of times (it was 20", so I had some give there). 

Since I don't have pierced ears (or anything else, for that matter) I tucked the earrings into my collar.  Then, with Esmeralda still barking, I headed for the front door.  I heard there was an opening for a nightclub singer at a hot little place called Doggie Night Care.

Do you think I look sexy enough? 

Sure enough, I got the job.  I sang all night.  The customers were a bunch of dogs.  No.  Really.    By the end of my shift, I'd been drooled on, pawed, and licked.   Some of them shared their fleas with me.  It was the most disgusting night of my life.  I took my tips and got out of there.  Some of the tips were pig's ears.  Partially chewed.  Really.

I went home, put the necklace and earrings back on the bead desk, and went to bed.

I'm never gonna leave the house again.  Who needs Fancy Feast?

But if you need a job, Mom listed the necklace and earrings on etsy.  Tell her Rhino sent you.