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Showing posts from December, 2013

In which today's story is good to tell on New Year's Eve--so share it!

I've heard many versions of this tale.  This version is mine. Pass it on. --Aarene
Writing in the Sand (Iraq)There were once two friends who were traders. 
One day, they set out together in a caravan with their goods, camels, horses and servants. They headed into the mountains of Northern Persia and soon came to a swiftly flowing river, dangerous to cross.
The younger man offered to go first. He started across the river holding a rope to guide the rest of the caravan. Halfway across he lost his footing, fell into the swirling waters and dropped the rope. His friend did not hesitate. He jumped into the river, reached the other man, and pulled him to the shore.

What do you think  the younger man did then? He called his servants and said, ‘‘I want you to carve my words on these cliffs here beside the river.”
That afternoon and evening, while others made camp, his servants chiseled into the rock: ‘‘Wanderer, in this place, my friend heroically saved my life.’’ 

The merchants travelled …

In which today's story comes from far away, but belongs close to home

I first heard this story told by local storyteller Doug Banner.  He told me to pass it on, so I have.
--Aarene
A Blind Man Catches a Bird (Zimbabwe)A young man married a woman whose brother was blind. 
The young man was eager to get to know his new brother-in-law, and so he invited him to go hunting with him.
They walked for several hours, until they reached a place where they could set their traps.
The next day, the blind man was excited at the prospect of having caught something.  “I can hear birds,” he said. When he reached the first trap, the young man saw that he had caught a small brown bird. He took it out of the trap and put it in a bag he had brought with him. 
Then they walked towards the blind man’s trap. "There is a bird in it,” he said to the blind man. “You have caught a bird too.” 
But the blind man’s bird was beautiful. The feathers from a bird such as that would make a fine present for his new wife, but the blind man had a wife too, and she would also want the feather…

In which today's story is short and sweet; so may your day be, also!

Storyteller Batsy Bybell from Moscow Idaho sent me this story many years ago.  It's changed a bit since it moved into my head, and I like to think that she won't mind the changes.
--Aarene
A New CreatureIn the beginning days, the world was beautiful, but it wasn’t quite finished yet.
Three te finished yet. the world was beautiful, but it wasn'friends observed the beauty of the world, but found their own beauty quite lacking. The frog disliked her bulging yellow eyes.  The housefly was never satisfied with transparent wings, now-green, now-blue.  And the butterflied despaired of a stick-skinny body and thin hairy legs. 
Together, the friends approached Creator to ask for help.
Creator considered the request carefully. 
And then, slowly, carefully, Creator made something new.
A brand-new creature. 
The new creature had bulging yellow eyes, and transparent wings, now-green, now-blue.  And the new creature had thin, hairy legs and a stick-skinny body. 
When they saw the new creat…

In which there's another story to celebrate the sharing season

I've been telling this one so long, I'm not sure where I originally found it.  Lots of tellers share it--you can too!
--Aarene
Heaven and Hell (China)There once was an old woman who knew that she would soon die.  She wanted to know what Heaven and Hell would be like.
The old woman went to see the wisest man in the village.  “Can you show me the difference between Heaven and Hell?”
The wise man led her up a strange and twisted path, far into the mountains.  At last they came to a fabulous palace, and went inside.  There, they saw many people sitting at a huge banquet table laid with an incredible array of food.  But the people were all thin, and angry, for the only utensils at the table were chopsticks…and the chopsticks were all three feet long. 
The people could not eat with such long chopsticks, and so they were surrounded by food and yet still hungry.  That was Hell.
Next, the wise man led to another fabulous palace.  Inside, they saw many people sitting at a huge banquet tabl…

In which I share a story of friendship (send it to ALL your best friends!)

I spend a lot of time on this blog--and in real life--with some wonderful friends.  They will totally understand this story.

If you have friends like that, don't hesitate:  send them this story!  I collected it from storyteller Diane Wolkstein's classic collection of Haitian folklore The Magic Orange Tree.

Tipingee  (Haiti)There was a girl named Tipingee.  Her father was dead, and her stepmother was selfish.
One morning, the stepmother was cooking sweets to sell in the market and the cooking fire went out.  She had to go into the woods to get more firewood.  She walked for a long time, and came to a place where there was lots of firewood.  There was too much for her to carry, but she didn't want anyone else to know about the place.  So she stood in the middle of the forest and called out, “There is so much wood!  Who will help me carry the wood?”
A strange little old man appeared.  “I will carry the wood,” he said.  “How will you pay me?”
“I will give you something when we get…

In which I share a story for Fridays...so you have time to share it

The Magic of Mushkil Gusha (Iran)Once in the royal city of Isfahan, there was an old woodcutter who lived alone with his young daughter.
Every day, the woodcutter went out to the desert to gather thorn bushes, then sold them in the marketplace as firewood. In this way, he earned enough for the two of them.
One morning, the woodcutter’s daughter said, “Father, we always have enough to eat. But just once, it would be nice to have something special. Do you think you could buy some date cakes?”
The woodcutter agreed to cut some extra wood, so that they might buy date cakes.  The next day, he walked farther to gather more thorn bushes. But he took longer than he meant to.
By the time he got back with the wood, darkness had fallen. It was too late to go to the market. It was so late that, when he reached his house, he found that his daughter had already bolted the front door and gone to bed.
Knock as he would, there was no answer. So he had to sleep outside on the doorstep.
The next morning, the…

In which there's another gift of story for you to share with your friends

A lot of people of celebrating a lot of different things today.  Maybe you're one of them.  Maybe you aren't.  Either way, here's a story.  Enjoy!
--Aarene
The Four Harmonious Friends, a Jataka tale (Bhutan)One day a peacock planted a little seed. 
Along came a rabbit. She asked, “Can I help?”“Yes”, said the peacock. "Please bring water." So the rabbit watered the seed.
Along came a monkey. He asked, “Can I help?”
“Yes,” said the rabbit. "Please bring fertilizer."  So the monkey fed the seed.

 Along came an elephant. She asked, “Can I help?”
“Yes,” said the monkey. “Please watch the seed.”  So the elephant guarded the seed.
A seedling sprouted. A little plant grew.  The little plant became a big tree. Beautiful fruit grew on the tree.
“I cannot reach the fruit,” cried the elephant.

“I can help,” said the monkey. He jumped onto the elephants back. “I cannot reach the fruit, either,” cried the monkey.
“I can help,” said the rabbit. She jumped on monkeys back.…

In which there are winter stories to share with your friends and family

For many years now, I've been sharing stories.  Not just the everyday kind of "what kind of crazy stuff I did with my horse this week" stories, but actual folktales that I collect and tell--live, on the radio, and on this blog.

The story-behind-the-story of why I do this is HERE.  It's a story about Xmas, and love, and being sick-to-death-of-the-mall, and carrot-cauliflower soup.

I look for new stories and poems all year, and at the end of each year, I bundle them up into a little booklet.  If you live nearby and want a booklet, come find me.  I hand them out to family and friends during the holidays...and also to total strangers who seem like they could use a bundle of stories.

If you don't live nearby, do not despair!

I'll post all the stories and stuff here, beginning today.  Feel free to share these stories around.  I stole most of them from elsewhere, and it's only fair that folks should steal them from me.

Today's story is my own version of …

In which I finish the five-day-challenge, finally (it's about time!)

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21. Favorite classes rides to watch

If I'm not out on the trail, it's always good to hang out at the finish line with a stethoscope in hand, ready to pulse folks in as they return to camp.  Pulsing the 100-mile horses is always incredibly inspiring...someday, Fiddle will be one of them!

22. What’s in your cooler at horse shows endurance rides?

Since many meals in ridecamp are potluck



it seems like I can throw just about anything in the cooler, and combine forces with two or three other people and their coolers, and end up with some pretty spectacular food.

Food I won't leave home without:
V-8 juice
oatmeal
goldfish crackers
a 25-pound bag of carrots
bananas
eggs

It occurs to me that my go-to foods are mostly yellow.  What's up with that?  I guess other people must bring red and green and stuff.

23. One thing about competitions you wish you could change?

Early morning start times.



Ugh.

Fiddle is not a morning horse, and I am not a morning rider.  Between us, we manage …

In which part four of the five-day challenge shows that I'm not a "show gal."

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16. One thing you’d like to change about your horse
I would like her to be shorter.


I know people think that I would wish to change her temperament to something more amenable, but I don't.  If I could wish for two changes, "sweetening" might be the second change.


But she's only cranky sometimes, and she is ALWAYS tall.



17. Your horse’s future
In the immediate future (while I work on various pain issues), Fiddle will practice being a home-taught therapy horse.

Fee has figured out the difference between the gigantic thumping cue that means "keep walking whilst I twist sideways in the saddle and pound on my left hip and dangle my right leg off the far side" and the teeny little shift in my seat bones cue that means "please execute a shoulder-in to the center of the arena."

Did I mention that I really like this mare?

Long term, we're gonna do a bunch more of this:


18. Your worst horse show endurance ride ever

Going to any endurance ride is better t…

In which this is part three of the five-day challenge, and I am challenged

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Fly On Overstarted this challenge.  I've done the first two parts, and part three is a bit more challenging!

11. Critique your horse’s conformation

I am terrible at conformation critique.  Somebody who knows something, please chime in? 
Draw some circles and arrows and a paragraph or something, and explain what it's about? 

Her legs seem square, maybe a bit long for her body.  Her butt is at least 2 inches higher than her withers when she is standing still on a flat surface.  When she moves, her hocks bend and her butt is significantly lower than her withers.Her back is long compared to most Arabs, but seems appropriate for her.  Neck, maybe a bit short?  It keeps her head from banging into her shoulders, so I guess it's functional.  Her head is gigantic, but a little dinky head would look silly on this mare.Feet: size 2W Renegade boot, so they're big.  The farrier stretches out a size 1 steel shoe for her all the way around.


Mostly, she's just huge.  I know she sticks …

In which I'm continuing the Five Day Horse Blogger Challenge: Day Two

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I started the "Five Day Challenge" HERE.  If you want to play along, welcome!

6. Favorite equestrian book and movie
A good horse movie has to be something pretty and not-completely-inaccurate, which is pretty difficult, because once Hollywood gets involved it seems like reality just flies out the window.  So I gotta go with "The Man From Snowy River,"


which is not only a terrific film (though I thought the soundtrack was dreadful) with good horse stuff in it, it's taken from a bang-up good poem by Banjo Patterson, which pleases my Snooty English Major Self.

For books, I'd have to choose Julie Suhr's Ten Feet Tall, Still, and Angie McGhee's Lighter Side of Endurance.  


I've read both of those many, many times.

7. Most common riding misconception
The most common riding misconception from non-endurance horse people is the idea that you have to have an Arab to ride endurance.
The common misconception from non-horse peeps is that if you ride long dista…

In which I try to inspire some writing with a 5-day challenge

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The weather outside is not frightful, although we had sub-freezing temps for more than a week recently (read: frozen water tanks, frozen hoses, frozen finger tips, and frozen trails)
Riding in cold weather isn't just a challenge for staying warm.  I'm actually pretty good at staying warm, thanks to the Gods of Polarfleece, the Deities of Wool, and the Angels of Those Little Chemical Heater Thingies that You Put In Your Pockets.

The challenge for riding in the cold is the footing.  The recent cold front moved in slowly, so the rain soaked into the ground and then froze, solidly.  Not slippery (mostly), just Rock Hard and Unforgiving.  Not a lot of fun to trot on for the pony, and not much fun to walk on for me (because riding my horse at a walk is the most painful thing I do with my arthritic hip).  So mostly, I stayed home.

I did venture out without the Dragon once--Cathy over at Cascade Gold Akhal-Tekes hosted a fun barn party, and let me borrow Ari for the day.


It was a fun …