Animal Mayhem

When I started to write my book, which was set in the spring and summer of 1588, the time of the Spanish Armada, I decided that I would stay as true to the time frame as possible.  The telescope had not been invented yet, but the first pencil had – a Cambia pencil – and I wrote those into the story.  But soon I found that some things are funny simply because they are incongruent.  So I revised my philosophy to be “I would stay as true to the time frame as possible, unless it was funny not to.”  And that worked.

This was especially true about animals.  I found that the Disney technique of humanizing some animal characters and not others worked well for me.

*     *     *

First, of course, there are the Devil Chickens, who speak without moving their beaks.  It must be noted here that, in this story, all chickens are named “Henrietta”.

High above them, in a tree at the edge of the meadow, two chickens covered in coal dust were reported to the Council of Chicken Knaves.  The members had been busy kibitzing with one another, while they waited for the spies return.  It was eerie to hear all that sound, but see no lips moving and it was difficult to finish a conversation, because whenever a chicken paused and asked “What do you think, Henrietta?” every other chicken tried to answer.

On seeing the spies land in the tree, the chicken in the highest branch call the council to order by the simple expediency of saying “Shut up, Henrietta!”

There was a sudden silence in the tree, except for the one rooster, whose name was Walter.  “Then, I told the fox,” said Walter, to the hen he was trying to impress, “Lets take this outside the coop and settle it mano a mano, if you know what I mean.”

“Walter, shut up!”

“Yes dear!”

“Henrietta, please give us your report.  No!  I mean that Henrietta.”

“First of all,” said Henrietta.  “Can we come up with an acronym for the ‘Council of Chicken Knaves’?  If I had to move my lips every time I said that, my beak would tire.”

“That’s a great idea.  What acronym shall we use?

“How about the CIA or FBI?” asked another Henrietta.

“How about MAFIA?” suggested another.

“I like HEN,” said the Leader.  “All in favor…”

“Wait a minute,” interrupted Walter.  “The initials for ‘Council of Chicken Knaves’ is C.O. C. K., as in rooster.”

“Walter, shut up!”

“Yes dear.”

“All in favor raise your wings.  Opposed.  The ‘ayes’ have it.  Now, Henrietta, give us your report.  No!  I mean that Henrietta.”

“We found the girl that Don Swan is looking for, a Rosita Lucilla Cecilia Maria Maria Rojo-Reyes, alias Rosa.”

Several of the chickens snickered at Rosa’s name, but one of them was offended.  “There’s nothing wrong with being named after two maiden aunts,” she insisted.

“We know, Henrietta-Henrietta,” said the Leader.  “No offence was intended.”

“She’s still accompanied by two sailors from the sloop that Swan sank.  We believe their intention is to take Rosa to England with them.”

“We’ll have to stop that,” said the Leader.  “Do you have any ideas how we can do that?”

“I have a plan,” the spy replied.  “Come closer.  This is what we should do.”

The chickens of HEN huddled and listened to the plan.  “They mustn’t take the Rhine River which is to the north” could be heard and “divert them to the east.”  A listener would have picked up several references to the pirates from Turkey being anchored in the Danube delta.

“I approve,” said the chicken leader, as the huddle broke apart and she flew back to her perch.  “Make it so,” she ordered and the spies flew off.

“Ouch!” said the hen, roosting in front of Walter.  “Something pinched me.”

*     *     *

In far north Lapland, we first meet the ten penguins.

The others strained their ears, at first they could only hear the howling of the wind, but then…

“Three French hens.  Two turtle-doves and a partridge in a pear tree.”

“Three French hens.  Two turtle-doves and a partridge in a pear tree.”

“Where’s the rest of the song?” asked Chevy.  “That’s only one line.”

“It’s not Christmas, is it?” asked Colleen.  “I think I’ve been away too long.”

Suddenly from deep within William’s bag, the lines were echoed.  “Three French hens.  Two turtle-doves and a partridge in a pear tree.”

Chris tugged at the strings and pulled opened the bag.  Out popped Walter.  “Boy, I’m hungry,” he said.  “Has anyone got an ear of corn?”  Outside the song continued.

“That’s not you, is it,” asked Gretel.  “You’re not throwing your voice without moving your lips?”

“No,” answered Walter, “and they’re leaving out the best verses.  There’s something about geese and swans, I think.”

“What are you doing here?” asked Rosa.  “Where’s my pan?”

“Wait…wait…wait,” begged Walter.  “I’ve reformed.”  When everyone looked dubious, he pouted, “I’ve got no place else to go and it’s your fault,” he told Rosa.  “That boyfriend of yours got me fired.”

“William Morris is not my boyfriend.  He’s a boorish simpleton who is rude, disobedient, not at all funny and he steals things!”

“Hey,” said Chris, crestfallen.  “I thought you felt that way about me.”

“At least he can kiss!”

One side of the carpet was thrown open to the wind and in marched ten emperor penguins, wearing backpacks, in double file singing at the top of their lungs.

“Yes, yes.  We know,” said Randolph.  “Three French Hens, a couple of doves and some bird in a tree.  What are you doing here?  Penguins belong at the South Pole.”

“Sound off!” ordered the lead penguin.  “One!”

“Two!  Three!  Four!   …No, I’m Four!  …I am!   …Only because you cut.   Four!  Four!  Six!  Seven!  Eight!  Nine!  Ten!”

“Parade rest!”

Randolph repeated, “What are you doing here?”

“Looking for pebbles, sir!” responded the leader.

“Looking for pebbles, sir!” responded the rest of the penguins.

“You’re looking for pebbles in Lapland?” asked Gretel.

Colleen made sure hers was safe.

“We got lost, Ma’am!” answered the leader.

“We got lost, Ma’am!” answered the rest of the penguins.

Randolph snarled.  “Stand at attention when you’re in the presence of a superior officer!”

“Yes, sir!  Captain, sir!” said the leader penguin.

“Yes, sir!  Captain, sir!” said the rest of the penguins.

“How did you know he was a captain?” asked Chevy

“Because he was polite when he gave the order,” answered the smallest penguin, from the back of the line.  “Sergeants are much meaner.”

“Thank you,” said the lead penguin.

Walter snickered, “You don’t have any kernels do you?  Ouch!  Who pinched me?”

“How can you end up in Lapland, all the way from the South Pole?” asked Gretel.

“Well, what are you doing here?” responded the sergeant.

“Oh.  I see what you mean.  We’re lost too.”

“I didn’t know penguins could talk,” said Irving, “and what are you doing so far north?”

“We talk, Ma’am, but usually its just name, rank and serial number.”

The smallest continued.  “We wanted to find pebbles for our sweethearts for Christmas.”  Colleen nudged Hombre in approval. ”We kept finding better ones farther and farther away and before you know it, five months later, we’re in Lapland and we’re lost.  Did you know the North Star doesn’t move?”

“If you have sweethearts, why are you singing about other birds?” asked Rosa.  “Do you even know a partridge?”

The penguins hung their heads.  “It gets lonely,” said one of the number fours.  “We’re just marching to it,” insisted the other four.

“I’ve met a French hen, once,” Walter interjected.  “Oh, la, la!”

“Walter, shut up!” said Rosa.

“Yes dear!”

*     *     *

Also in Lapland we meet Ekaraj, the Indian elephant who is a linguistics expert.

Christopher ran head long into a gray wall.  He grabbed hold of a rope attached to it to keep from falling.

“Hey, watch where you’re putting your hands,” said the elephant.

“I’ve been told that before,” Chris admitted.  “I wasn’t looking where I was going.  I thought I was following something…abominable.”

“I can’t help it if I have little ears,” said animal.  “I’m an Indian elephant.  You’re not that good looking yourself.  You’ve got a little nose!”

“I’ve been told that before, too,” admitted Chris.  “What’s your name?  And what are you doing here?”

“I’m called Ekaraj.  That means king in Hindu.  I’m a hermit.  My girlfriend was an African elephant, but she left me.  She said my ears were too small.  I’m running away from an unrequited love.”

“I had a friend with that problem.  Then they found they understood each other.  Couldn’t she understand you?”

Ekaraj gave him a look of exasperation.  “Elephants all speak the same language,” he said.

“But you understand English.”

“Well,” said Ekaraj.  “I have always been fascinated by the remote branches of the Indo-European language tree.”

The ground began to shake beneath them.

“Oh, oh!” said Ekaraj.  “I’ve been standing in one place too long.  Run for it!”  But before they could, the ground crumpled around them and they fell into a cave.

“Who are you,” asked Chris, when the dust settled.  He and Ekaraj were surrounded by a group of men.

“We’re hermits,” answered their leader.  “My name is Robin Hood.”

“Aren’t hermits supposed to live alone?” asked Chris, “and dress in rags?”

“We’re not fanatical about it,” said another hermit.  “We’ve formed a club.

“You’re not all that well dressed yourself,” added another.

“I’m a hermit, too,” said Ekaraj.  “Can I join your club?”

“There’s nothing in the rules that says an elephant can’t join,” said Robin.  “Sure!  The more the merrier.”

“I told you I don’t believe all this talk about merry men,” protested one of the hermits.  “I, for one, am only mildly content.”

“The only rule is against hags,” continued Robin.  “You’re not a hag, are you?” he asked Chris.

“No,” answered Chris.  “I guess I’m an outcast.”

“Close enough,” said Robin.  “Pay us your dues.”

“But you didn’t ask Ekaraj for dues,” Chris complained.

“Ridiculous,” answered the other hermit.  “Who ever heard of an elephant paying dues?  If he’s going to be difficult, don’t let him join.  Let’s rob him, instead.”

“No,” said Robin.  “I never want the name Robin Hood associated with an outlaw.”

“It might be too late for that.  There’s this guy in England…” Chris started to tell him when he was interrupted.

“We could claim we gave it to the poor.”  Several of them laughed heartily.

“But I don’t have anything on me,” said Chris

“What about luggage?” asked another hermit.  “Did you bring any luggage?”

“The elephant’s got a trunk,” said someone in the crowd.  “Ouch!  Who pinched me?”

*     *     *

 “One Wish” on Amazon Kindle.  (


Rosa Rojo (Rose Red) is the heroine of a roller coaster ride of a dash from Spain to the Pyrenees to Italy to the Black Forest to Budapest, Lapland and finally to England along with two sailors desperate to warn Queen Elizabeth about the Spanish Armada, and with a host of fairy tale characters.

Every wish that could be made goes wrong, leaving the travelers farther away from their destination.

Here is the start of Rosa’s adventure:


A flash of lightning, a cloud of smoke and the roar of thunder filled the bedchamber of Rosita Lucilla Cecilia Maria Maria Rojo-Reyes.  No harm was done to Rosa, as the seventeen-year-old beauty was known.  She was out on the balcony attempting an escape.

“I’ve come to grant your wish,” came a gruff voice, as a tall shape emerged through the smoke billowing onto the balcony.

“Be quiet,” hissed Rosa.  “Do you want to wake my father?”  She had one leg over the wall of the balcony.  Her red skirt was hitched up to allow freedom of movement.  She paused to consider the apparition before her.

It was a wizard in flowing purple robes and a tall pointed black hat with moons and stars on its sides.  He had a long gray beard with a string tied in the middle.  He wore leather sandals on feet that were otherwise bare and it was obvious that he needed to clip his toenails.

Squeaking wheels sounded below and Rosa looked down to see in the shadows an oxcart loaded with straw positioning itself beneath her.

“Wait just a minute,” requested the wizard.

But Rosa paid him no heed.  She acted as if ignoring wizards was a common occurrence in her life.  She swung her other leg over the wall, hung by her fingers for a moment and dropped into the straw.  The cart took off into the dark at an astonishing clip.

“Well done, Chevy!” she said to the fifteen-year-old boy driving the cart.  She crawled out of the straw and climbed onto the seat beside him.  “I’m glad you’re coming with me.”

“What’s to stay for, Senorita Rosa?  I have no family and, except for sometimes working for your father, there’s nothing for me here.  You do me a kindness allowing me to come.”

Rosa unhitched her skirt and smoothed it out.  She removed the red scarf covering her ebony tresses and racked out bits of straw with her fingers.  Satisfied, she shook her curls and retied the scarf around her neck.

“Just call me Rosa,” she said.  “We’re fellow adventurers now.”  She paused, “I hope my father will be all right.”  She sighed.  “He’s such an impractical dreamer.  That’s not a good trait for a tax collector.”

“He’s one of the good ones.  I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

“Why didn’t you wait?” asked a voice from behind them.

Astonished, Rosa turned and looked at the odd figure sitting in the straw.  The wizard’s spindly legs were sticking out on each side of his body with his knees reaching nearly to his bearded chin.  His hat had fallen off and was stuck upside down in the straw, revealing the top of a head quite void of hair, except for scraggly strands of gray that hung to his shoulders from the back of his head.  He had bushy eyebrows and a fair amount of hair in his ears.  His robe and his beard were fluttering in the wind.

Ignoring his question, Rosa asked, “Who are you and how’d you get here?  Did you jump off behind me?”  She looked like she did not believe him capable of such a feat.

“I am Llywarch Gwyther Llewellyn of Wales.   No, I didn’t jump.  I used magic!”

“You didn’t burn the cart with all that smoke and fire, did you?”

*     *     *

Rosa meets the love of her life, although both resisted it, in Christopher Morris, the first mate on the sloop, the Good Queen.  And it is misunderstanding at first sight:

Chris was tongue-tied seated next to the young Spanish beauty.

Rosa soon changed that.  “Aren’t you a little old to be beating up that young man?”

“What?” said Chris.  “I’m only twenty-three and I didn’t hit him.  He hit me!  Besides, I’m all wet and I lost my money.”  He showed her his empty purse.

“Don’t get water on me!” she exclaimed, as she scooted away.  “Of course he hit you, when you insulted his beautiful sister.”

“I didn’t insult his beautiful sister.”

“So!” said Rosa, “You do think she’s beautiful!”

“Gretel?  I suppose so.”  Chris preferred dark-haired beauties, but he wasn’t going to tell Rosa that.

“It’s a shame that I don’t have a brother to beat you up when you say I’m beautiful and make passes at me.”

“But I didn’t say that,” Chris argued, but that didn’t seem to appease her.

*     *     *

Llywarch, the wizard, know as Larry, is Chris’s uncle.  Before he was forced to take the reins as the family wizard, he wanted to be a translator in the diplomatic service.  Even today anyone standing within 50 feet of him has any language spoken in that circle automatically translated.  This allows diverse characters to understand and not understand each other as Larry appears and disappears.  There is one exception.  If a couple falls in love, then their hearts speak to each other and a translator is not longer needed.  Chris and Rosa experience this phenomena as they race through the 7 dwarfs’s diamond mine fleeing a hive of angry bees:

“This tunnel is too small,” said Rosa, as she and Chris crawled through the hole they had taken to escape the bees.

He struck his flint, pausing to admire the sight of Rosa crawling in front of him.  “Small tunnels are a miner complaint.”

“You’re still not funny, Christopher.  Why did you steal that mime’s glove?”  She stood after the tunnel grew and waved her pan in his face.  It was splattered with bees.  “Do you love Gretel that much?”

“What?  You think I stole that glove?”  Chris climbed to his feet, dusting himself off.  “What would I do with one glove?  That’s not even a set.”

“For sentimental reasons, of course, because Gretel’s so beautiful.  …I suppose if I were beautiful, you would steal my red scarf?”

“But you are beautiful.  Say, you can understand me and Uncle Larry’s not around.  I think you’re in love with me,” he challenged, as the light faded.

Rosa was aghast!  She was glad the tunnel was dark, so Chris couldn’t see her face.

He restruck the flint.

“What did you say?”  She pretended.  “We must have passed out of Larry’s range, because I don’t understand a word you say.”

“But we left Uncle Larry way back there.”

The tunnel went dark, again.

“I am sorry, I still don’t understand,” Rosa lied.  “I suppose, Larry must have been in a nearby tunnel that took a sudden turn away from us.”

“That makes sense,“ Christopher had to admit.  “Wait!  I can understand you.”

Rosa smiled in the dark.  So, he loved her.  But why did he steal the mime’s glove?  Wasn’t that just like a man?  He’d just fallen in love and already he was a cheat.  Besides disobeyed his parents and telling bad jokes, he was a glove thief.  He was Welsh to boot and what did he do for a living?  He was a first mate.  Not a captain, just a mate on a boat.  No, she corrected herself.  It was not a boat; it was a ship, but a tiny little ship.

Well, she couldn’t stay in love with him and she wouldn’t let him stay in love with her.  She’d see to that.  She’d give him no encouragement…if only she didn’t understand him.

“I can still understand you,” Chris repeated.

Try and understand this, she thought.  She remembered what Chevy told her in the valley, “A Hemi engine is a four-stroke engine with a camshaft that has a timing ratio of 1 to 2.  It’s a 420 cubic inch V-8 engine with 399 horse power, an 8 to1 compression ratio and 400 pounds of torque.”

“I didn’t understand that,” he admitted.  “I guess I was mistaken.  I’m not in love after all.”  He sighed.

Somehow, that didn’t make Rosa feel better.  “That’s typical of a man, not knowing his own heart,” she muttered

“Wait a minute.  I understood that!”

Oops!  Thinking quickly, She added, “Knit one, purl two…double the loop and draw the needle through.”

“That makes no sense, at all!”

Good!  In the darkness, Rosa shoved her red scarf into his pocket.

*     *     *

William, Chris’s older brother is a ner-do-well, so naturally all the women find him interesting.  Rosa’s problem is that he looks just like Chris.  And kissing is the only way to tell them apart:

“William?” asked Rosa suspiciously, eyeing the Morris standing before her.

“That settles it.”  The Admiral was satisfied.  “She says he’s William – and she’s kissed both of them.  …Er…Does your father know about that, young lady?”

“Do you know my father?”

“Er… Ia ‘anca ‘alkta ‘igPa ‘atinLa.”

“Rosa,” said Chris.  “You’ve got to help me.  Tell them I’m Chris.”

“You’ve lied to me before,” responded Rosa.

“Not me.  That was William.”

“Both of you,” insisted Rosa.

“Then, kiss me.  That’ll prove it.”

“Well,” said Rosa, after the kiss.  “It was better than the frog.”


“I mean…Chris could have gotten better…or William could be feeling poorly…or I could just be tired.”

“I can do worse; try it again.”

“You’re right.  This is Chris,” said Rosa, wiping her lips.

“Oh, no!” said Admiral Watanabe.

“What are you complaining about?  I’m the one that kissed him.”

*     *     *

You can read more about Rosa in “One Wish” on Amazon Kindle.  (

A famous painting of the Battle of the Spanish Armada

Cover Art for One Wish

One Wish

I am trying to sell a book – a  funny book, I think – entitled “One Wish” on Amazon Kindle.  (

This is a fairy tale (shades of Monte Python) set at the time of the Spanish Armada.  Rosa Rojo is escaping Spain with the help of a wizard who can see the future in walnuts and whose quest is to grant one lifetime wish to anyone who does a kindness to his family.

Rosa has earned one, but is not sure why.  Along the way she meets English sailors, pirates, Devil Chickens, Hansel and Gretel, the Blue Fairy, seven dwarfs, penguins, the Snow Queen, goblins and Shakespeare.

Pandemonium ensues as history and fairy tale fiction intermingle in a race to warn the English Queen Elizabeth of the impending invasion

*     *     *

I had this posted for many years on Geocities and on a writer’s forum called Urbis.  The book sat for years with 2 1/2  chapters left to finish, but my characters did not like anything I asked them to do.  Some of them stuck their tongues out at me.

Several weeks ago, several things made me go back and listen to what they had to say.  And everything worked.  I was particularly impressed with the resolution of a dwarf masquerading as a Devil Chicken and with Admiral Watanabe, a Scottish-looking Japanese naval officer who really speaks Pig Latin.

*     *     *

Below are reviews on the book from when it was posted on the Urbis web.

That is a funny story! Great job, wonderful sense of timing to the whole thing! I was reminded of Christopher Moore, which to me is a great compliment! Devil chickens and walnuts.  After reading the description I knew I was in for a treat, and you did not disappoint.

This story is ridiculous..but great. very Monty Pythonish.  Only being 37, it really made me want to cry that she thinks 30 is old couldn’t we make old 50 or older?  LOL

I have not chuckled and laughed so much in a long time. You take different, innocent fairy-tales and warp them up nicely.

I love the Devil Chickens, especially since they talk without moving their beaks. They do sound evil.

But for me it was the nuts. It works, especially since being a druid they would use natural implements, not crystal ball. And the aside about acorns: They are tough nuts to crack had me guffawing.

And at the same time, you do provide some good details about the characters themselves. You just don’t focus on the silly but are starting to provide flesh to them.

Amazingly imaginative and well written.  Charming and witty.

At first blush this seems like a kid’s story, but I don’t think so. Who IS your intended audience? I laughed out loud at the crack about the Norman Invasion, and that’s no kiddie reference.  I am going to read the whole thing. This is clever and charming without being “cute”. That’s a tough trick.

Keep going. Ken,  This is the funniest thing I have ever read.  Can’t wait to read more

I love Rosa’s name! How it goes on forever.

I loved this story.  It was amusing and most definitely creative.  It reminded me of the silliness in Don Quixote for some strange reason

Again, there are not enough good things I can say about this story! It has all the great elements, humor, fairytales, and wonderful dialogue…

The Hansel and Gretel cracker house and the non-English fight (shades of Monty Python) had me laughing out loud, so now everyone in the office thinks I’m a nut.

The silliness continues and continues well.  I’m loving how you are weaving ‘real’ things with characters from fairy tales.

The thing with Hansel and Gretel had me chortling.  And the stuff with the English sailors reminded me of Monty Python.

I don’t know for sure if you are aiming this for a younger audience or not, but it works for someone older like myself.

I also like the snappy dialogue you have. It is back and forth, but not like watching a tennis match. I am enjoying what you are weaving here.

By the way, turning “Si” “Bueno” and “Adios” into a refrain like you did was simply inspired, especially in the scene where the misunderstanding turns into a fight.

Alright, you have to give a disclaimer with your pieces: Do not imbibe any beverages upon reading. I actually had to put my Corona aside to finish this piece. More than once up through the nose is enough for one sitting!  You keep up the completely utter silliness I am expecting. And it is not just the obvious. I was wetting myself when I read: took it upon themselves to go down to the brig where the old cook was incarcerated and weld the door shut.  For me, that is what is making this work. You have the broad silliness but keep your attention to details.  Well, onto the Alpine trek…

*     *     *

On the next blog, I will tell you about Rosa or Rosita Lucilla Cecilia Maria Maria Rojo-Reyes.  Who is Rosa?  Rosa is everything.

Thanks, Ken.

A famous painting of the Battle of the Spanish Armada

Cover art for One Wish

I was forced!

The characters in my book made me name this blog.  They think it’s funny to call it “World Famous Author”.  And they know it embarrasses me.   Obviously, I’m not a world famous author.  And odds are greatly against it.  But if something is outlandish, that’s what my characters like.   Once  this title popped into my head, they would not let me be.  When you live with – and love – characters for months and years on end, they tend to become very real in your life.

I am trying to sell a book – a  funny book, I think – entitled “One Wish” on Amazon Kindle.  (

There is a misconception about Abraham Lincoln that he was a veracious reader,  This would have been true about newspapers and current events.  But when it came to books, he had old and trusted friends that he read over and over.  Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” comes to mind.

I am like that.  Kathryn Forbes’s “Mama’s Bank Account”, I have read many dozens of times.  I find myself doing that with this book.  And I laugh.

I don’t remember the word as having come from me.  They belong to characters who have sprung lives of their own.

“One Wish” is a  fairy tale intermingled with the actual events of the Spanish Armada.  Supporters call it funny and Monty Python like.

I write silly things.  When I was young, I wrote a science fiction story in 8th grade English and the teacher threw away the critique sheet from my classmates because it was so harsh.   Later in high school English, I was given a picture of an illuminated life raft and told to make up a story on the spot.  I wrote, tongue-in-cheek,  about 3 people being thrown out of a drive-in movie when they could not turn the lights off on their  round car.  A professional editor, who was asked to review the classes writings, thought it was hilarious.  And she was surprised that it came out of a high school class.

So I write silly.

When you write silly, the characters take the bit in their mouths sometimes.  You can keep it or throw it away later on, but you have to let them talk.  Below are two examples of my characters running away from me and saying things I had not planned.  (Llywarch, a Welsh wizard, is especially good at this.)  When I wrote down what they had to say, I realized that it was funny and good.  And I understood that these characters had become so real that these words did not come – at least consciously – from me.

*     *    *

Example 1)

As they reached the top of the stairs, a feminine voice could be heard in a far room.  “The stone,” she said.  “I must have the stone.”

“I know how you feel,” Llywarch called out.  “I had a stone once.  It took a week to pass.  I thought I was going to die,” he told Gretel.

A tiny frizzy red head with bright blue eyes poked itself around the frame of the door.  “Please don’t hurt me,” she said.  “I have gold.”  A woman, shorter than Hombre, stepped out into the hall.

“My dear,” said Llywarch.  “We wouldn’t hurt someone while they were passing a kidney stone.  That would be redundant.”

“What Larry means,” Gretel interjected, “is that we wouldn’t hurt  anyone at any time.  We want to help.”

“Yes, of course, that’s what I meant,” Llywarch harrumphed.  “Just how much gold do you have?”


“I’m sorry.  It’s just that I need to buy some nuts.”

“You’re beautiful,” Hombre whispered.  “Are you a dwarf?  My name’s Hombre.”  He flexed his muscles.

“No.  I’m a Leprechaun.  I’m Colleen.”

“That’s a b…beautiful name,” Hombre stuttered.

“Thank you.  Have you seen my stone?”

“Here now,” said Llywarch.  “We’ll have none of that.  We’re decent folk.”

“I don’t think she’s talking about a kidney stone, Larry,” said Randolph.

“Oh!  Gall stone then…that’s just as bad.”

“No.  I’m talking about the Blarney Stone,” Colleen said in distress.

“Blarney, huh,” responded Llywarch.  “I don’t know what part of the body that’s near, but if it’s decent, then sure we’ll take a look at it.”

*     *     *

Example 2)

“What do you want with us?” demanded Randolph, feeling helplessly for his sword.

“Not you!  Her!  Princess Georgette!”  The Queen pointed to Irving.  She turned to Eddie and said, “You were supposed to kill her when she was a baby, and bring me back her heart – still beating.”

“Achoo!  Are you sure it’s her,” asked the goblin, defensively.  “Everyone here calls her Irving.”

Llywarch said, “No, Georgette’s really her name.  She just likes to be called Irving.”

“Uncle Larry,” Chris whispered.  “Hush.”

“Oh…you’re right.  Forget I said that.”

“I knew it.  Eddie!  What did you do with her before?”

Eddie ducked his head.  “I gave her to Helga’s niece.  She was visiting at the time, and I bribed her to take the Princess away”

“And what did you, in your perfidy, bribe her with?”

“Huh?  Oh, you mean how did I pay her?”  He brightened up.  “It wasn’t much…a few bags of coal and a copy of my mother’s gingerbread recipe.

“And what of the heart?” shrieked the Queen.  “I held something beating in a box.  What was it, a pig’s heart?”

Hombre gasped in horror.

“N…no,” Eddie was shuffling his feet.  “It was a sugar beet.  I cut a hole in the bottom of the box, and I was thumping it with my finger to make it move.”

“You mean I gave a sugar beet to Helga to keep safe all those years ago.”

“I thought it tasted sweet,” the witch said.

*     *     *

Now you’ve met some of my characters and I hope you like them as much as I do.  Understand that they can be very  real and stubborn and headstrong.  They take me by surprise – often.  And I feel that if I do not listen to them, they may quit talking to me.  They have quit before.   So, I am trying to listen.  And I hope, you will allow this title.

Thanks, Ken

Cover Art for One Wish