Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Story of the Trees

The sun rose cold and bright on an autumn morning as the woodland woke and got ready for visitors. Toadstools sprouted, vivid and fateful, through the leafmould. Small faeries gathered, squabbling over the best vantage points to watch The Humans process through the woods. Colourful, cheerful and excited they crowded the rootholes and beech twigs. Winged faeries fluttered overhad, the vampire faeries hung themselves in grisly style over the path. Families of very small people tucked themselves under logs.

But deeper in the woods, the Tree Giants woke and lumbered into position. Grumbling, muttering, losing their leaders (again), they were relying on swarms of children to sort out who should be Monarchs of the Woods - because not everyone wanted Coombe to be King

And then the children came. There was noise
Giving presents to the woods and the river
so they would let us in to discover their stories 
a first story by an old Ice House

Shell horns grow, 
Through beech-leaf hair,
And seed-pod eyebrows lift
Over conker-case eyelids
Guarding deep brown chestnut eyes,
A long, prickly pine-cone nose
Wavers above twig lips
With small-cone teeth
Smiling through an oak-leaf beard

Grumpy Toadstools ( see their own blog entry for their song)
everywhere, there were stories
waiting to be told
Fatso-craig, the boulder boy,
Only three feet high, he is as wide as he is tall.
A boulder of a boy with a horn nose and a mouth as round as a cowrie shell.
Leaves grow as hair on his round stone head
And his gravel stubble needs shaving twice a day to stop it avalanching down his face

A curving seed nose
In a green leafy face
With wooden lips and acorn eyes
She runs through the wood 
With her twiggy arms
Tickling trees
Her clam shoes leave
Strange footprints in the mud

Night-giants are fierce,
Night-giants are dangerous.
Night-giants are the wind that whistles through the woods in the dark
Night-giants are the creak and crack of trees in the night
Night-giants are the touch of a twig on your neck

And, worse of them all, is Coombe their king.
He lives apart from other giants,
In the darkest corners of the deepest wood. 
No light comes here.
No sunlight disturbs him
Even in the brightest summer day.
He lives apart, alone but for his animal friends, bats and owls,
Fierce and ferocious, he haunts the night-time woods
Hating sunlight, loving shadows
The Giant Sentinel. With only one eye,
she still sees everything that goes on in the woods

He lives deep in the forest
With a squirrel in his beard and birds in his hair
Tall as a tree, he would make friends with anyone
But as soon as people come through the woods in groups
He hides, shy as a deer.
So, walk through his woods, quietly
Carefully,Pause in the green shade and listen,
Listen for his breath in the wind in the leaves
Listen for his footsteps in the leaves on the ground.
Green-and-leafy might come to meet you!
Children read stories to each other

we found a new Leaf-King for the woodland
storytellers collecting acorns as they leave
With thanks to the Forestry Commission who organised it all, and to the delightful pupils and staff of Newtongrange and Hawthornden Primary Schools, Midlothian and  to the members of 12th Midlothian Scouts and Danderhall Brownies for goblins, faeries and some Strange Woodland People

and peace returns to the woodland

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