Saturday, January 16, 2010

In which we celebrate Saturday Stories : a sleepy kind of tale

It's that sleepy time of year. Wouldn't you like the perfect bed to sleep in until it's spring again? I found this story in a book called A Bed Just So. The author's notes say that the book is based on an old story, but I've never been able to track down the original "old story." Nevertheless, I've changed and adapted the story to suit myself. The book is now out of print, and the price is outrageous, but sometimes you can find a copy in libraries.--A

A Bed Just So

Once there was a little tailor who fell asleep at his work every day. He was always sleepy because he could never sleep at night.

He could never sleep at night because someone—or something!—pulled the cover off his bed.

He couldn’t sleep because something—or someone!—yanked his pillow this way and that way.

He couldn’t sleep because a little voice somewhere was always grumbling and complaining and pacing back and forth.

The tailor finally went to see the wisest woman in the village to ask for help.

“I think I’ve been cursed,” he told her.

“No, you haven’t been cursed,” she told him. “If you had been cursed, you’d fall over furniture, and drop your scissors and scald your tongue on the morning tea.”

“Well, then, I think I’ve been bewitched,” he said.

“No, you haven’t been bewitched,” she told him. “If you had been bewitched, your feet would walk backwards and your buttons would all come off as soon as you’d buttoned them and your broom would sweep all by itself.”

“Then what?” he asked.

“A hudgin,” she told him.

“A hudgin?”

“A hudgin.”

“What do I do with a hudgin?” asked the tailor.

“Make a bed for him,” suggested the woman. “Then he will sleep all night and leave you alone.”

So the tailor bought a fine oaken bed, much finer than his own. He made it up with fine linen sheets and covered it with warm woolen blankets.

“Now,” thought the tailor, “the hudgin has his bed and I have mine. We can both sleep the whole night long.”

But as soon as he lay down to sleep, the tailor’s bedcover was pulled away, and his pillow was yanked this way and that way, and he could hear the hudgin grumbling:

Too high and too hard!
Too high and too hard!
I want a bed, a bed just so!

The next night the tailor made a low bed and covered it with ferns and feathers. “Now,” thought the tailor, “the hudgin has his bed and I have mine. We can both sleep the whole night long.”

But as soon as he lay down to sleep, the tailor’s bedcover was pulled away, and his pillow was yanked this way and that way, and he could hear the hudgin grumbling again:

Too itchy and too tickly!
Too itchy and too tickly!
I want a bed, a bed just so!

The next night the tailor made a bed in the cupboard, and filled it with pillows and perfume. “Now,” thought the tailor, “the hudgin has his bed and I have mine. We can both sleep the whole night long.”

But as soon as he lay down to sleep, the tailor’s bedcover was pulled away and his pillow was yanked this way and that way, and he could hear the hudgin grumbling again:

Too dark and too stuffy!
Too dark and too stuffy!
I want a bed, a bed just so!

Every night the tailor made a new bed for the hudgin. Big beds, small beds, soft beds, hard beds, tall beds and small beds. But every night that little voice kept him awake.

That poor tailor couldn’t find a bed just so. He was getting very tired.

Finally one night, he cracked open a walnut to eat with his dinner. He looked at the walnut shell in his hand. “Why not?” he asked himself. “I’ve tried everything else.”

He lined the walnut shell with cotton and put a maple leaf for the blanket. He put it on the hearth.

That night as he lay down to sleep, the tailor heard a new sound.

A happy, humming sound.

He looked over at the walnut shell, but he couldn’t see anything. He shut his eyes tight to listen, and just as he fell asleep, he heard a contented little voice say:

Just so. Just so.
I have a bed just so!

Friday, January 15, 2010

In which we out-waited the rain, and finally hit the trails IN BOOTS!

I couldn't believe the amount of rain falling from the sky this seemed like the hens were set to float out to sea.

But here's the thing about rain: it stops eventually. Well, it slows down some, anyhow.

I saw the clear sky coming about an hour in advance. Our weather approaches from the west, and the house offers a clear view of ten miles of sky to the west of here. I saw it coming, and got ready to ride. As soon as the rain slowed some, I hitched up the truck and trailer and threw tack on Fiddle.


Do they make her look like a biker chick? (er, horse?). I kinda think they do.

She was thrilled with the boots, and her strides were as big and powerful as they are with shoes on.

When she is barefoot, her strides are shorter, choppier, and obviously "ouchy," like the sensation of trying to run across the top of deep snow without snowshoes--stepping really lightly so you don't sink hip-deep. Without shoes (or boots), she doesn't want to put her weight onto any of her feet, so she doesn't push with her hind end at all, and instead she just kind of skids along the surface. I don't know if that description makes any sense, but I can tell it's not comfortable.

With the boots, she was happy to push with her "rear wheels", and off we went.

She had to get to get used to the difference in traction, especially in deep sand.

The breakover on these boots is shorter (quicker) than on many other Easyboot styles, and that suits her.

Mud was interesting. She wants to avoid the puddles, but I made her go through the big ones. She was clearly testing the feel of the boots in mud, and was not unhappy with the sensation.

Crossing the creek. I nearly fell in the water while trying to reach out with the camera to take this picture. Phew.

We walked, trotted, cantered, and even did a few buck-to-canter transitions (a Fiddle specialty) through all kinds of terrain without losing a boot.

We did lose a boot for no apparent reason while trotting on a kind of normal trail. I had been warned about "fireworks" the first few times a boot comes off and flaps around the horse's foot, attached only by the pastern straps.

Um, maybe that's an Arab thing, because Fee just slowed down and hopped a little so that I would pay attention to the change in the sound, indicating that there was a perfectly good boot that was not on her foot anymore.
I slid down, put the flopped boot back on, and off we went again with no fireworks whatsoever.

Geez, I love standardbreds.
As we returned to the trailer, I took a picture of the western sky, with the weather we can expect to see tomorrow.

Life (you know this, right?) it's good.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

In which I have the best kind of weekend: with friends, trails and horses

For some reason, I had three days off in a row, with minimal obligations at home. How often does that happen?

Gee, I wonder what I could possibly do with all that time....

Day One
Madeline asked, "Do you still want to go if it rains?" Hey, I've got raingear. Let's go!
Fiddle wasn't sure that crossing the creek was really necessary. She crossed it, though. Last winter this crossing washed out so completely that Jim and I came through here and closed it for the winter. It's mostly "repaired" now...or at least it is now washed out in a much safer way.
We needed new profile photos for our Facebook accounts.
Of course, we were both so bundled up in raingear, you can barely tell it's us.
A rainy day on horseback with Maddy. Nice.

When we got home, Jim had a a beautiful fire and a platter of chicken marsala for us. Oh yes, life is good!

Day Two

Fiddle's feet were tender after the barefoot ride yesterday, so I decided to ride Hana solo. Hana is usually the horse who stays home with the goats while Fiddle goes away so she was very surprised when I handed her a cookie and put her in the trailer!
Wow, different perspective. I'm not only used to the ears in front of me being a different color...
..I'm used to them being much further away from my camera!
Hana is practically the Perfect Horse.

She doesn't need to debate about crossing the creek, she just crosses it. She picks up the canter (both leads) without bucking. She is willing to try anything, and her first answer to any question is "YES!" (Those who know Fiddle will testify that, while she will do anything and go anywhere, she always feels the need to say "NO" first. Then she will go and do).

Hana is everything that veteran endurance rider Julie Suhr recommends in a horse:



And smooth.

She is also very sweet.
And pretty. It's actually hard to take a bad picture of her. I tried. No luck. She's just pretty.

I had a wonderful ride. Hana is a lot of fun to ride.

And yet, I missed Fee.

Day Three
Hana would never be so rude as to stick her head in my pockets while I'm buckling my spur straps. Fiddle wants to be sure that I put cookies in my vest pockets before we leave the trailer.

The new Easyboot Gloves haven't arrived yet, so I strapped on some old-style Easyboots to protect her tender feet--hopefully, this is the last time I have to use them!
We left the parking lot, and the mares were happy to be out again. I experimented with some of the extra settings on the camera, and turned around to take this picture of Jim and Hana trotting while I was trotting ahead on Fiddle.

Then, I turned forward again and took a picture of Fee's mane and forelock blowing back as we continued to trot.

She didn't break her rhythm at all as I was twirling in all directions with the camera--she just kept trotting. Wheeeee!
Down to the creek crossing. Are we going to have to talk about this again?
No, not really. I swear, sometimes she only fusses to make sure I know she's still awake.
Another beautiful day on the trails--no rain, either.
When we got home, I realized that I had that goofy smile on my face. That stupid grin, you know? That smile that you see on the faces of people who have been happy for hours and hours.

You know?


That smile.