Thursday, December 23, 2010

Story Mash Up

--by Janin Wise

Okay, so I was wrong about being it just a single story a day (as yesterday was at least three, and today is going to be two.) "Two Princes/ Two Brothers" is a story that I made up for my children a couple of years ago. But in order to tell the tale of the Story Mash Up, I also needed to share this story.

*Please be advised, these have not been edited. They are just as they were typed for the
NaNoWriMo project.*

Wednesdays in our house tend to be the night that we relax. There’s usually no rush of desperation to –do- anything. So this evening, my boys decided we play a game called story mash up. It’s where you take two stories that you like, mix them up, add other parts and make a completely new story.

My oldest chose one of my boys’ favorite made up stories, so I’ll have to share it with before we can mash them up. My youngest son chose the more traditional story of “The Three Little Pigs.”

“I chose , “Two Princes”, Mom!” my oldest said gleefully.

Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a kingdom so very far away, there was a magnificent castle. And in it lived two princes. The older prince had dark hair and dark eyes, while his brother was fair haired with blue eyes. They were both kind and wise beyond their years.

On this particular morning, they decided to go out hunting, so they mounted up on their horses and headed out. But on their way, they came across a wagon on the side of the road where the axel had broken and an old woman was desperately trying to move the produce from it.

Now the princes had a choice, they could ride on about their way and do as they pleased, or they could stop and help the poor old woman. Being the kind young men that they were, they stopped.

“Pardon me, old mother, but what happened?”, asked the oldest Prince as he and his brother began to help her.

“I was driving my wagon into the market to sell my produce when I was run off the road by a fast moving caravan. I must get my good to the market, or I will starve!”

The Princes replaced the broken axel, helped the old woman load her goods back on the wagon, and then escorted her to the market to make sure that she arrived there safely.

“Thank you so much for you assistance! I shall repay your kindness. When you head out to hunt today, follow the golden stag, but do not shoot him! He will take you to a spring of cool, pure water, but do not drink! From the same fount, a golden bird will drink. Do not kill her, but strike only two feathers from her tail, and good fortune will befall you.”

The princes thanked her for her advice and headed out on the hunt. Just as the old woman had described, a golden stag leapt across their path. The older brother raised his arrow to shoot, but his younger brother stilled his arm saying, “Remember what the old woman said! Let us follow the beast and see where it leads. What harm could come of it?”

And so the princes followed the stag for a day and night and a night and a day on an exciting, though sometimes trechearous path until they came the most refreshing pool of water they had ever seen. The younger brother dismounted from his horse and went to drink from the pool, but his older brother stayed him, saying, “Remember what the old woman said! We must not drink from the spring. Let us see if the bird she spoke of comes to pass.”

And so the brothers waited in repast. It was not long that they heard beautiful music unlike anything their ears had ever beheld in this world. It was the song of the golden bird as the landed at the pool. When she dipped her head to taste of the water, the older brother knocked his arrow and taking careful aim, struck 2 feathers from her tail. The bird gave an ungainly squawk of pain and vanished into the sky.

Each brother gathered a feather and decided to head home. When they reached the market, they chose to stop and check on the woman, and she was still there, loading her cart to return home.

“I have had much success at market, thanks to you! And how did you fare on the hunt?”

To which the princes pulled out their golden feathers.

The old woman nodded and smiled and before their eyes turned into a beautiful, young woman. “I am a fairy,” she said, “and it is my job to test the hearts of men. You stopped to help me when you could have rode by. You followed the stag when you could have shot. You did not drink from the water though your thirst was great. And you bear two feathers because you would not kill the golden bird. You have passed each and ever test presented. And as your reward, I will grant you each one wish.”

The brothers thought for a moment, and then the oldest said,”I wish for peace and prosperity for me and mine, both family, friend and kingdom.” And the youngest said, “And I wish for health for me and mine, both family, friend and kingdom.”

“Wise and honorable wishes,” the good fairy responded. “These do I grant.” And she vanished as though she had never been.

The princes, their family and all of their people lived their lives in peace, prosperity and health, and are doing so still if they’ve not yet passed from this world.

And so began our mash up:

“Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a kingdom so far away it’s hard to image the distance, there were two princes, who lived in a maginificent castle.

One morning, the princes decided to go out hunting. So they mounted up on their horses and headed on their way. It was not long that they came across a wagon on the side of the road with a broken axel, where a little pig in a funny suit was trying to remove the load of hay and straw he had piled, that he could repair his wagon.

Now the brother’s had a choice, they could stop and help the befuddle creature, or they could continue on their way. Being the kind hearted young men that they were, they chose to stop.

“Pardon me, Oh Curly Tail, but what happened?” asked the oldest brother as they began to help the pig.

“Oh me, oh my!” replied the Little Pig. “Just this morning, my brothers and I set out on the world the find our fortunes. I found the absolutely most wonderful location to build my house—why it’s just over that ridge there, with a clear view of the forest below—I’ll be able to watch the changings of the seasons from my porch if I wish! But I was run off the road when a large caravan came through. I doubt that they even saw me in their haste. If I do not get my home built, the Big Bad Wolf will gobble me up!”

So the brothers fixed the pig’s axel, helped him bring his wagon to the rise of the cliff, then helped him build his house of straw and hay.

“It may not look like much, and I’ll probably need pots and pans when it rains, but the view! Oh the view is completely worth it!” said the Little Pig contentedly. “Thank you so very much for you assistance! I never could have done it without you.”

The brothers acknowledged the pig’s gratitude and turned to enjoy the view the Pig valued so much—when they saw a golden stag running through the very same forest below.

The brother’s glanced at each other in excitement, said brief good-byes to the pig, and raced down the path to catch another glimpse of the stag, and perhaps a clean shot.

They followed the stag for a day and a night and a night and a day, never getting a clear shot. And then they came to a beautiful, clear, pure spring.

The younger brother lept from his horse’s back and stooped to take a drink, when he was interrupted by the sounds of desperation and frustration coming from just beyond the spring.

The two princes decided to investigate. And what do you think they found?! Why, it was –another- little pig, dressed similarly but different to the first little pig. They knew that this must be the first little pig’s brother. And he was having a –terrible- time, for his wagon full of twigs and sticks was stuck in the mud by the pond.

“Pardon me Pig, but it appears that you could use assistance,” said the younger brother.

“Oh me, oh my!” said the second Little Pig. “My brothers and I set out to find our fortunes and when I saw this spring I knew that this is where I wanted to build my house—but I was distracted listening to the mostly marvelous music that I got my wagon stuck in the mud and I cannot get it out again and if I do not build my house, the Big, Bad Wolf will gobble me up!”

Well the brothers pushed and pulled and helped the pig free his wagon from the mud, then they helped him build his house of sticks and twigs.

“Thank you! Thank you!,” said the second Little Pig. “I know it will be drafty in the winters, but, Oh! To hear that music every day! That will be completely worth it!”

And at that moment, the air was filled with the most astonishing music, unlike anything they had ever heard. It was the song of a beautiful golden bird and she had stopped to take a drink from the pond.

As the princes drew their arrows to knock, there must have been a creaking in the string, for the magnificent creature suddenly took flight.

With a quick farewell to the pig, the brother’s mounted up on their horses in hot pursuit of the marvelous bird. The followed the bird for a night and a day and a day and a night when it landed on a perch for a perfect shot. The older brother knocked his arrow and prepared to let fly, when a donkey ran into his horse and threw off his aim. Instead of piercing the bird cleanly through the heart as he had intended, the shot merely knocked two feathers from it’s tail. The beautiful bird gave an ugly squawk of pain as she vanished into the forest.

As the older brother gathered the two feathers, the younger brother rounded up the mule and they began to search for the owner of the beast. It was not long that they came across a third little piggy, this one with a wagon full of mud bricks, with his head buried in his hands for loss of his mule, for he could not move this load without the beast’s assistance.

“Pardon me, Forked Foot, but does the beast belong to you?” asked the younger brother.

“Oh me, Oh my!” said the third little pig, “Why yes indeed! He broke his strap and I feared him lost! My brothers and I headed out into the world to seek our fortunes and I found the perfect site to build my home—but without the mule, I cannot move these bricks to the site. And if I do not build my house, the Big Bad Wolf will gobble me up!”

So the princes helped the pig attach the mule to the cart, helped him bring it over the ridge, and helped him build his home of bricks and mud.

“I chose this spot because there’s a clear, pure pond just around the corner, where the song birds love to gather and I can hear them sing.” Began the third Little Pig, “There’s also a delightful ring of mud around the pond for wallowing. And from my porch I can watch the changing seasons of the forest. My house is strong and sturdy, and would not exist without your help. Thank you so much for….”

But he was interrupted! For at that moment his brothers came running as fast as their little legs could carry them, saying, “Brother! Brother! The Big Bad Wolf is coming! And he is going to gobble us up!”

The pigs rushed into the house of brick. But it was too small a home for full grown Princes to enter, so they slipped into the woods to see what would happen.

Just then, a great big wolf appeared, who knocked on the door saying, “Little Pigs! Little Pigs! Let me in!”

To which the pigs replied, “Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!”

“Little Pigs! Little Pigs! Let me in!” bellowed the wolf in frustration.

“Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!” was the only reply.

“Little Pigs! Little Pigs! Let me in! Or I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll BLOW your house in!”

“Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!”

So the wolf huffed! And he puffed!....and he huffed! And he puffed! And he huffed and he puffed some more and still to no avail. The house of brick could not be blown down.

At this moment, the brothers came from their hiding spots, their arrows ready and ended the threat of the Big Bad Wolf.

The pigs thanked them for their kindess and the brother’s gathered up the wolf’s pelt to take back with them on their journey home.

As they reached the forest outside of their castle, they saw yet another wagon on the side of the road, and expecting it to be another pig, were more than a little surprised to see an old woman removing produce that she could fix a broken wheel.

The brothers chose to stop and offer her assistance, “Old Mother, what happened?” asked the youngest Prince as they began to help her.

“I was driving my wagon into the market to sell my produce when I was run off the road by a fast moving caravan. I must get my good to the market, or I will starve this upcoming winter!”

The Princes replaced the broken axel, helped the old woman load her goods back on the wagon, and then escorted her to the market to make sure that she arrived there safely.

“Thank you so much for you assistance!,”said the old woman, and then she nodded and smiled and before their eyes turned into a beautiful, young woman. “I am a fairy,” she said, “and it is my job to test the hearts of men. You stopped to help me each of the little pigs, when you could have rode by. You followed the stag when you could have shot. You did not drink from the water though your thirst was great. And you bear two feathers because you would not kill the golden bird. You killed the wolf that he could not continue to threaten the pigs. And you stopped to help an old woman when you were ready to be home. You have passed each and ever test presented. And as your reward, I will grant you each one wish.”

The brothers thought for a moment, and then the oldest said,”I wish for health for me and mine, both family, friend and kingdom.” And the youngest said, “And I wish for peace and prosperity for me and mine, both family, friend and kingdom.”

“Wise and honorable wishes,” the good fairy responded. “These do I grant.” And she vanished as though she had never been.

The princes, their family and all of their people lived their lives in peace, prosperity and health, and the three little pigs are enjoying the song of the golden bird, the changes of the seasons from their front porch, wallowing in their mud hole—and not needing to put pans out every time it rains!”

“And now it is time that two little boys close their eyes and see if they can find the sweet pure pond. Perhaps you’ll get to hear the song of the lovely golden bird when you rest tonight!”

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