Nine Hundred Merry Tales

…or capturing Nico’s impromptu storytelling.

The Hungry Little Bear
Told some evening in the first week of September, 2015, during Frontier Days, on the porch at Hearthstone in the Landing.
Serenwy’s POV

Nicolao begins, “Once upon a time…”
Nicolao says, “…there was a bear. A very hungry bear. But he was a small bear.”
Nicolao nods once.
Ilande says, “I like small bears.”
Nicolao says, “Our small hungry bear was nosing about in an old orchard, looking for dandelions to eat.”
Ilande cocks her head.
Nicolao says, “It had just found a delightful patch of succulent leaves when something caught its eye.”
Nicolao points up.
Ilande gazes up into the heavens.
Nicolao says, “Far up in one of the twisted old apple trees was a single, bright red apple.”
Abrimel glances up.
Nicolao says, “Now, our bear was hungry. And that apple looked a lot more interesting than little green weeds.”
Nicolao says, “But it was very far up, and on a very dry and spindly-looking branch.”
Nicolao claps his hands.
Nicolao exclaims, “So!”
Nicolao says, “Of course, our bear started to climb the tree.”
Ilande nods approvingly.
Nicolao says, “He climbed, and slipped, and tumbled to the ground several times. Branches broke, leaves were shaken loose. It was a grand undertaking.”
Nicolao nods.
Ilande gasps.
Nicolao exclaims, “But!”
Nicolao says, “Eventually, our brave, hungry little bear squirmed and scrabbled his way up to the apple. Or very nearly. It was juuuust out of reach, and there was no way the branch it was on was going to hold his weight.”
Nicolao says, “He was a bear, after all, even if he was a small one.”
Abrimel furrows his brow.
Ilande nods slowly.
Nicolao says, “He stretched, and stretched and just couldn’t reach that bright, shiny apple. In a fit of frustration, he swiped at the branch it was dangling from, and snapped it right off.”
Nicolao shakes his head.
Abrimel blinks.
Abrimel snaps his fingers.
Abrimel asks, “Like that?”
Nicolao nods in agreement.
Nicolao says, “Precisely like.”
Ilande frets.
Nicolao says, “The apple, of course, went tumbling to the ground, riccocheting off branches as it went.”
Nicolao says, “The bear, our poor, tired, hungry bear, was aghast. So dismayed, he lost his grip while scrambling back down after the apple and took another spill, himself.”
Abrimel winces.
Ilande begins pouting.
Ilande says, “Poor thing…”
Nicolao says, “But, being a bear, he had a bit of fur and padding to spare and the ground wasn’t all that hard.”
Ilande is hugging herself.
Abrimel slowly empties his lungs.
Nicolao says, “The little bear collected himself and padded over to the downed apple to claim his prize.”
Nicolao grins slowly.
Ilande smacks her lips.
Nicolao says, “But when he found it, he discovered one side of the apple, the side that had been turned away, was disgustingly rotton, half-black and full of worm holes.”
You grimace.
Ilande says, “Aw…”
Nicolao shakes his head, clucking his tongue.
Nicolao says, “And in all his falls and efforts to clamber after the apple, he’d quite torn up the patch of dandelions he’d originally found.”
Ilande exclaims, “Oh no!”
Nicolao sadly asks, “What was the poor, hungry bear to do?”
You ask, “Eat a certain little blond Elf girl?”
Nicolao raises his voice in merry laughter.
Ilande smirks at you!
Nicolao asks, “I’m not sure, was Ilande, I mean… a certain little blonde elf girl… there?”
Nicolao raises an eyebrow in Ilande’s direction.
Speaking to Ilande, Nicolao asks, “Did she get eaten?”
Ilande shakes her head.
Nicolao grins impishly.
Nicolao concludes, “The bear ate the apple. It was still food, after all.”
Nicolao shrugs.
Nicolao exclaims, “The end!”
Nicolao claps his hands.
Ilande giggles.
You chuckle.
Speaking to Nicolao, Abrimel asks, “What?”
Abrimel frowns.
Abrimel exclaims, “I was waiting for a moral!”
Ilande says, “Worms probably have protein too.”
Abrimel folds his arms over his chest.
Abrimel frowns at Nicolao.
Nihrvanah appears to be trying hard not to grin.
You nod at Abrimel.
Nicolao says, “He worked hard for that apple.”
Nicolao nods.
You say, “Something about dandelions on the ground being worth more than apples at the top of the tree.”
Ilande exclaims, “He nearly died for it!”
You nod in agreement at Abrimel.
Nicolao grins.
Abrimel agrees with you.
Nicolao says, “Perhaps the striving made it all worthwhile anyway.”
Abrimel says, “I like dandelions anyway.”
You say, “I don’t think anything would make eating worms worthwhile.”
You grimace.
Nicolao grins.
Speaking to you, Ilande says, “Well, but you’re not a bear.”
You say, “I’ve noticed this, yes.”

A Boy and His Ball
Told early morning 9/8/2015, in Solhaven (Light Tree)

Abrimel quietly says, “Tell me a story.”
You ponder the meaning of Abrimel’s existence.
You ask, “A true story, or a tall tale?”
Abrimel says, “A true one.”
You ponder the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.
You murmur, “Once upon a time, there was a little boy who picked pockets.”
You slowly say, “He wasn’t very good at it, but he was rather hungry, and he went barefoot everywhere. So he did it, and got better. But still not very good.”
You say, “One day, he fished a ball out of a pocket.”
With a slight flick of the wrist a simple clear crystal ball suddenly appears in your hand!
You remark, “This one, actually.”
Abrimel blinks.
You gaze thoughtfully at your clear crystal ball.
Placing your hand over your clear crystal ball, you cup it in within your palm. With practiced grace, you flip your wrist causing the ball to roll over the tips of your fingers.
You continue, “The pocket belonged a rather garishly-dressed traveler. The traveler noticed his ball was missing, but not before the boy was almost out of sight.”
You chuckle to yourself.
You ruefully say, “He raised a great ruckus, and had the loudest voice you ever heard. He boomed and shrieked, and all heads turned.”
You shake your head.
You lay your clear crystal ball upon the back of your hand and wiggle your fingers in a playful manner. The ball rolls from pinky to index finger then back again.
Abrimel shudders.
You say, “The boy would have gotten away if he’d just kept moving normally, but he startled at the sudden clamor and he bolted.”
You wrinkle your nose.
You say, “Well, then the chase was on.”
Abrimel gazes fearfully at you.
Abrimel says, “I hope he gets away.”
You carefully balance your clear crystal ball upon the back of your hand, then move your arm in a gentle wave. The ball dances across the length of your arm, past your elbow and up onto your shoulder, before slipping down your chest into your waiting hand.
You grin at Abrimel.
You say, “Down the street, past the temple, and flailing through the market, the chase tumbled. One dirty little boy in tattered clothing, and a good handful of angry adults after him.”
You nod.
You say, “It took three turns before the boy thought maybe, just maybe, he should go up.”
You point up.
Abrimel frets.
Balancing your clear crystal ball on the tip of your fingers, you give it a gentle spin with your thumb. The ball whirls into motion, and you draw your other fingers back so that it is left to spin upon your index finger only.
You gaze thoughtfully at your clear crystal ball.
Abrimel gazes in amazement at you.
You continue, “So the next turn he made, he jumped for a windowsill and kept going, scrambling for any hand-hold or foot-hold he could find.”
You note, “He’d tucked the ball into his shirt, though. It didn’t want to stay there.”
You shake your head.
You say, “He lost the crowd by going a direction they didn’t expect, but his pretty little prize went skipping across the stones.”
You shake your head, clucking your tongue.
Abrimel gasps.
You toss your clear crystal ball high into the air and deftly catch it moments before it hits the ground.
You say, “Fortunately, it went bouncing down a dark alley and was caught up in a mess of garbage. And in all the ruckus, which was moving off in another direction at that point, nobody heard the clatter.”
You conclude, “Eventually, the boy came down off the rooftops and fished his shiny toy out of the trash.”
You gaze admiringly at the clear crystal ball in your hand.
You admit, “It cleaned up nicely.”

The Mice and the Trencher
Told very early morning 9/11/2015, in Solhaven (Dark Tree)

Abrimel sighs.
Abrimel folds his arms behind his head.
Abrimel asks, “You have any other exciting stories?”
You chuckle.
You say, “Thousands, or perhaps none, depending on how well I’m thinking on a given day.”
You ask, “What sort of story did you have in mind?”
You give your eyebrow a little workout.
Abrimel ponders.
Speaking to you, Abrimel says, “A love story.”
Abrimel appears to be trying hard not to grin.
You squint at Abrimel.
You doubtfully say, “I’m not sure I have any of those.”
You rub your chin thoughtfully.
You realize there are some important matters you should tend to . . . later.
Abrimel gently says, “I’m teasing you, silly.”
Abrimel pokes you in the ribs.
You scoff.
You say, “Too late.”
You shake your head.
You thoughtfully say, “Once upon a time, many years and several leagues from here, there was a small room with two mouse holes.”
You say, “The room had a heavy door, and most of the time it was locked.”
Abrimel blinks.
You continue, “Once a day, a little slot on the door would slide open, and a trencher of something that vaguely resembled food — usually — would slide through to clatter onto the stone floor.”
You say, “Every day, a grey mouse would scamper out of the mouse hole on one side of the room, and go inspect the trencher.”
You ponder.
You say, “The mouse would find some interesting morsel, stuff its face, and then scurry back to its hole. Not long after, a little brown mouse would poke its nose out of the other mouse hole on the other side of the room, and also take what it wanted from the trencher.”
You nod at Abrimel.
You say, “The mice never actually saw each other.”
You grin impishly.
Abrimel blinks.
You say, “This kept on for weeks and months, with the mice never crossing paths, but feeding from the same plate daily.”
You say, “Then, as you might expect, one day something changed.”
You say, “One day, there was no food.”
Abrimel furrows his brow.
You say, “The time came, but the slot didn’t open, and no trencher laden with mush or bits of whatever clattered to the floor. All was quiet.”
You shake your head.
You say, “Eventually, the grey mouse tiptoed out of its hole and went sniffing toward the door.”
You say, “At about the same time, the brown mouse peered out and saw the grey mouse, and no food.”
You cock your head.
Abrimel sits up.
Abrimel leans forward and rests his chin in his hand, a thoughtful expression on his face.
You say, “The brown mouse burst into a flurry of squeaks, and sounded quite wroth. The grey mouse was clearly an interloper and had absconded with all of the food.”
You laugh softly, trying to hide your amusement.
You say, “The grey mouse was quite taken aback by this outpouring of mousy vitriol, and squeaked back its own indignant reply — it was here first, the food was nowhere to be found, but if it was, it belonged to the grey mouse by right of first discovery.”
You say, “A heated rodent argument ensued, until the whole room resounded with the squeaking of it.”
You shake your head, clucking your tongue.
You clap your hands.
You exclaim, “Suddenly!”
You say, “Yes, quite suddenly.”
You grin impishly.
Abrimel gets a blank look on his face.
You exclaim, “Suddenly, there came a scraping at the door!”
You say, “The slot on the door slid open, and a trencher rattled through, piled with some mess or another only interesting to hungry, argumentative mice.”
(Abrimel begins to bite his fingernails, his eyebrows drawn together with anxious wrinkles.)
Abrimel grins crookedly.
You say, “The trencher narrowly missed the two mice, now up in each other’s whiskered faces and seeming likely to come to blows.”
You chuckle to yourself.
You say, “Both mice were so shocked by the late appearance of the food that they quite forgot their argument and fell upon it together. There was, of course, plenty to go around.”
You say, “Once they’d eaten their fill, their mood was much improved, and the squeaking that followed was quite apologetic.”
You brightly say, “In fact, the brown mouse convinced the grey mouse to come back to its hole for tea and fly legs. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
You exclaim, “The end!”
Abrimel’s face lights up with joy.
Abrimel lets out a cheer!
Abrimel exclaims, “I loved it!”
You raise your voice in merry laughter.
You say, “Good.”
You amusedly say, “I’m sure the mice would be quite happy to know the rocky tale of their meeting had been told and well-received.”
Abrimel snickers.