Category Archives: family stories

Long Night’s Moon Story

LongNightsMoon2Tonight I took our Corgi, Magik for a walk. It was getting dark and I was enjoying the mist covering the hills. I didn’t see the moon. Magik was busy sniffing every blade of grass when I heard someone coming towards us. Magik is especially protective of me at night so I decided to cross the street. Magik quickened his pace and I followed his lead. We were about to cross the street again to turn home when I saw that the mysterious stranger that had been walking towards us was the man with the aggressive Rottweiler that Magik doesn’t like, so I decided to take a detour home, or more like a long-tour home.

This route passes by an open space area under power lines, I just happened to glance over my shoulder at it when I noticed the moon. It was starting to peek over the horizon. I took out my camera, Magik following my cue and sat on the sidewalk and waited. He can be so patient!

I started taking pictures and to my amazement the moon rose very quickly. I stopped talking photos and savored the moment. When I could see the moon in her fullness, I noticed that it actually looked like it had a face, and of course to me it looked like a very feminine face. I said, “Grandmother Moon, it’s so nice to see you!” She smiled softly. A warm feeling washed over me. “Is there anything you would like to say, or would like me to know tonight?” I asked. Grandmother Moon replied quickly, “Remember me!”

Becky Parker Geist and I are very happy to announce that in celebration of the Long Nights Moon, Grandmother Moon and Other Mother Stories: Book One is now available for sale! Thank you for your support!!!!

It is available for sale at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple and most  bookstores.

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

Photo art © 2014, Theodore & Vlatka Herzberg

and Natasha Tasiyana Kolida

Moon Hide n’ Seek, Grandmother Moon Extra Story, and an Amazon Special!

GrandmotherMoonRockChild2Abuela and Rock Child were in Abuela’s house far away from the Rock Child’s home and village. The Rock Child was quiet and sad. Abuela was concerned, “What’s the matter little rock?”

“I miss Mother Stone and Father Stone! On nights like this the Rock People gather to tell stories under the moonlight.” The Rock Child’s lip quivered. Abuela’s heart saddened, then she thought of an idea, “How about we go outside under the moonlight and tell stories? Maybe you could tell me a story about your people?” The Rock Child was so excited it rolled around and around until Abuela burst out laughing.

“Follow me,” said Abuela and the Rock Child followed her all the way into the garden. They found just the right spot amongst the rocks. The rock garden was aglow in the moonlight. Abuela sang, “Madre Casa. Madre Casa. Mother Home. Mother Home.” She stopped singing and the Rock Child knew that was a cue to start telling a story. It went something like this:

Once upon a time there was a village of Rock People, some were small stones and others were gigantic boulders. The Rock People loved the moon because she illuminated their faces and made them all appear beautiful.

“We look like angels!” cried Rock Brother.

“Stone angels!” giggled Rock Sister.

“Let’s play Moon Hide n’ Seek!” shouted Rock Brother.

“Can’t catch me!” yelled Rock Sister as she rolled into the shadows and hid. Rock Brother began to hum a low-pitched song, the sort that the Rock People are known for. His song caught Grandmother Moon’s attention and she turned to face him. Everywhere he walked looking for Rock Sister he sang. Everywhere he walked and sang, Grandmother Moon followed him, shining her brilliant light like a lantern. Grandmother Moon shone so bright that she illuminated Rock Sister and revealed her hiding place in the bushes!

“There you are!” shouted Rock Brother. “You’re it!”

“That’s not fair!” grumbled Rock Sister.

“Fair or not, it’s my turn!” said Rock Brother then he rolled away to find an even better hiding spot. Rock Sister counted, 10-9-8… 3-2-1! Ready or not, here I come!” But before she rolled away to look for her brother, Rock Sister gazed up at Grandmother  Moon. She smiled so bright, the moonlight lit up Rock Sister’s face. Rock Sister’s face was glowing so bright that indeed she did look like an angel! Her face glowed so brightly that Rock Brother couldn’t help it. He just had to see it! He rolled out of hiding!

“I see you!” shouted Rock Sister. “You’re it!”

“That’s not fair!” grumbled Rock Brother. Rock Mother and Rock Father heard all the grumbling and decided to play.

“You two hide and we’ll seek,” said Rock Mother.

Rock Sister and Rock Brother rolled away. Rock Brother whispered to Grandmother Moon, “Please hide with us, so Mother and Father can’t find us right away.” Grandmother Moon smiled her radiant smile then hid behind the clouds. Mother Stone and Father Stone chuckled, “There’s nothing like Hide n’ Seek by the light and shadow of the Moon.”

The Rock Child finished the story. Abuela cradled the Rock Child and sang, “Madre Casa. Madre Casa. Mother Home. Mother Home.”

Grandmother Moon and Other Mother Stories: Book One, available for sale TOMORROW!

And that’s the end of the story.

http://www.amazon.com/Grandmother-Moon-Other-Mother-Stories-ebook/dp/B00Q44R6SU

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $0.99 (Save 67%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon.

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

Photo art © 2014, Theodore & Vlatka Herzberg

and Natasha Tasiyana Kolida

Abuela and the Rock Child Audio Sample

mother_and_rockchildThe story of Abuela and the Rock Child was actually inspired by a song and true story about a father and his two young daughters who did a remake of a popular song to raise awareness about the plight of not being able to bring their Mexican Mother/Grandmother into the U.S. I was struck by the love of the son and his daughters for their Mother and Grandmother and by the pain of separation. The song the children sang for their Grandmother was very touching. I couldn’t get their story out of my mind while I was working on writing the series of stories for Grandmother Moon and Other Mother Stories, so I decided to just write and see what story found me.

It was also a beautiful sunny day and my writing studio looks out onto a hillside with a garden and trees. Broccoli and collards had flowered and attracted bees and butterflies. Bluejay chattered, and the hummingbird whirred its wings as it peered at me through the window. The potpourri of colors, sounds, and images stirred my imagination and out of it all I wrote Abuela and the Rock Child.

The illustration is by my daughter, Natasha Tasiyana. Three of the four illustrations for book one and the cover illustration are by Natasha. I’m thrilled to have her participate. I have been making up stories for my daughter since she was a little girl, so to have her create drawings for my stories now is especially delightful.

I love the sounds of the wind and the birds that Becky added to the audio story. It immediately transported me into Abuela’s garden. I hope you will be transported their too. Have a listen.

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

Becky Parker Geist: http://proaudiovoices.com/

Illustration by Natasha Tasiyana Kolida: http://www.tasiyana.com/

 

 

Epaminondas from Grandmother Moon and Other Mother Stories

PrintThis is exciting! Today I get to share an audio clip from Epaminondas, one of the eBook and audio book Folk Stories from Grandmother Moon and Other Mother Stories. This fun and lively re-telling is told by Becky Parker Geist of Pro Audio Voices. Becky approached me at at BAIPA (Bay Area Independent Publishers Association) meeting many months ago when she found out that I wrote adapted and original Folk Stories. She asked me if I wanted to collaborate and I said, “Yes!” I’m so glad I did!

Becky’s passion for this story goes back to her childhood when her Mother used to tell her the story. There is a special bond created between Mothers and children through storytelling. It transcends time. When I first heard Becky’s audio story of Epaminondas I felt just like a child full of wonder and delight. I was eager to hear more! I imagine you will too. Here’s an audio clip of Epaminondas as told by Becky Parker Geist. Enjoy!

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

Illustration and Design by Andy Parker: http://andyparkerdesign.com/

Becky Parker Geist: http://proaudiovoices.com/

Grandmother Moon and Other Mother Stories eBook soon to be released!

GrandmotherMoonfinishedcoverI am collaborating on a series of Folk Stories with Becky Parker Geist of Pro Audio Voices. Grandmother Moon and Other Mother Folk Stories eBook will be available on Amazon very soon. We were trying to decide the title for the eBook. We considered Epaminondas, Becky’s story, but at a recent BAIPA Mastermind meeting it was suggested we call it Grandmother Moon. It is one of three stories that I wrote for this first volume of Mother Folk Stories.

The first volume has four folk stories all together. Epaminondas is a Folktale adaptation as told by Becky Parker Geist. Each day Epaminondas’ Mother gives him instructions and each day he tries to carry them out, but he never quite gets it right. Grandmother Moon and the Homeless Child is an original story about a child looking for a Mother and a Home. You’ll find excerpts from the story on this blog.

The third story is Abuela and the Rock Child. Abuela’s garden grows more beautiful each day, but she misses her children and grandchildren. They live on the other side of the The Rock People’s wall, and it is forbidden for her to cross it. A little bird helps Abuela with her dilemma. The fourth story is called Mama, Angel and the Tree Dragon. You have to say that with a Southern accent. The main character, Louisa-May tells the story of how her little sister Angel got her into so much trouble with Mama, or is it the other way around?

Grandmother Moon and Other Mother Folk Stories will also be released as an Audio Book, so you will be able to hear the stories come alive with music,  sound effects, and professional acting. I don’t know which I enjoy better, writing the stories or hearing them after Becky has produced them. There’s magic in the telling!

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

Illustration by Natasha Tasiyana Kolida: http://tasiyana.com/

Design by Andy Parker: http://andyparkerdesign.com/

For Becky Parker Geist’s blog: http://proaudiovoices.com/blog/

White Dragon and DragonSong #1 by Vlatka Herzberg

Once there were dragons in our world, there are still dragons in Other worlds, and there are dragons within us. Long ago, deep in the heart of an ancient oak tree slept a child. She looked human, but was not. She was of the world of nature and the nature spirits, so it was natural for her to be hibernating. In a way it was as though the tree itself was her mother and held the child. The young child nestled in a blanket of moss and roots and dreamed of dragons, noble dragons, small dragons, dragons that breathed fire, and dragons that swam in water. Amongst them was the most regal of dragons. It was as white as the tree child’s skin. This dragon’s wings were made of feathers as soft as a swans. This dragon’s face had white whiskers and tufts of white hair in its ears. When it breathed, it breathed a mist in and out of itself, filling its world with mystery. The tree child dreamed herself into this dragon’s embrace, and although she did not know it yet, the Dragon named her DragonSong.

In the human world, a child was born that was destined to be a greater warrioress. She was born screaming and defiant, and did not want to be near her mother, only her father. As she grew, she followed her father wherever he would go. When he went to battle, she yelled and screamed because she was not allowed to go with him. The sages and soothsayers said that she was destined to conquer the mighty White Dragon. So father and mother honored the human child and allowed her to learn combat when she was of age. She quickly became very skilled and adept and was by far the best swords person in all the land. The people called her Might for no challenger was her rival. Dual after dual Might won. She soon grew tired and bored with this child’s play and set off looking for real adventure.

When DragonSong awoke from her dreams, she stepped out of the tree and saw that the tree was no longer in the forest she had known as her home, but instead was in an old abandoned Faerie Temple. It was cold and full of mist, but DragonSong had brought warmth of the forest with its ivies and song birds.

A low rumbling voice echoed in the parlor, “Welcome to my abode. I am the White Dragon.” The majestic white dragon bowed its head to the child. She stepped toward it and tentatively touched it’s nose. The Dragon sneezed and mist settled on the child’s face and shoulders. She laughed. The laughter rumbled through the empty temple. It rolled off the walls and landed on the dragon and tickled him with delight.  “Please, great White Dragon, tell me why I am here?” The dragon did not speak in words for such is not the dragon way. It lowered its brow to the child’s and told his story in images.

DragonSong saw images of the great white dragon pierced through the belly by a tree. She saw images of a human warrioress, fierce and determined with single focus on the White Dragon’s defeat. Dragon Song saw herself as a woman working the White Dragon Magic and uniting humans and the spirits of nature, helping them to work together in harmony. Image after image filled the child’s mind until she was weary with sleep. She cradled up in the White Dragon’s wing, and once again she fell to dreaming.

Because DragonSong was of the Other worlds, she could move from world to world with ease. She could enter the heart of Faerie just by desiring it. DragonSong imagined waterfalls flowing from cities suspended in air. Sylphs danced and played with the Undines teasing their watery hair. DragonSong entered this world looking for a Dragon Sage one who could teach her what the White Dragon could not teach her,  how to defeat the human who was intent on killing the dragon.

The Dragon Sage spoke in the hushed whispers of leaves. His voice sang like a harp and danced like weeping willows surrendering to a breeze. He spoke with balls of light and flames of fire and cast a circle about DragonSong. Stones with ancient scribe arose in the circle. The stones birthed a red dragon who breathed fire into stone and forged an amulet for DragonSong. The Sage placed the amulet around DragonSong’s neck. She morphed and grew into a woman. The red dragon’s eyes pierced DragonSong’s eyes with fire. The Sage filled her heart and hand with crescents of light. She moved her arms and the red dragon moved with her. In her mind’s eye she could see the warrioress and knew it was time that she return to the White Dragon.

Might had tracked down the White Dragon’s Lair. There was nothing that stood in her way of defeating the White Dragon. He would not know she was there. He was old and some said maybe even blind. Might walked towards the crack of light coming from frozen land and stone. The light emanating from the mountain caught her breath, but she would not be swayed. She came here for one purpose and one purpose alone.

 Dragon Song was prepared. She had taken the old dragon down to a spring deep inside the mountain and here she worked her White Dragon Magic. She thought of the Dragon Sage and his Red Dragon. She thought of the fire in her eyes and heart. She thought of the impending death of the White Dragon and the fire rose to her heart and moved down her arms into her hands, making the crescent moons glow with light. Her hands moved like dragons flying in the air, they wove in and out, making spirals and swirls and sigels, up, down and around, and back again. Her long white sleeves flowed with grace, weaving white streaks of Runes and symbols into the air. The White Dragon dragged its body close to hers. Her magic revived him. He filled himself with her essence. He filled himself with her love. DragonSong’s essence and love pulsed through the White Dragon’s body. His wings flapped. His eyelids burst open, and where once there were eyes now there was only light. (To be continued.)

Note from author, Vlatka Herzberg: This story is part of a collection of short stories I have written. The stories come to life as I play with characters and ideas meditatively and with images that inspire me.

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

 

 

Grandmother Moon and the Homeless Child #3 by Vlatka Herzberg

In the days and weeks to come, mother and baby wrestled and nuzzled. Mother Bear taught Sharah Bear how to catch fish and find the juiciest berries. This is how they lived all the way until the moon was full, and new once again. Sharah was happy being a bear cub and having a bear mother but there was still something in her heart that she longed for. While Mother Bear slept, Sharah Bear walked to the edge of the pool and called upon the moon, which this time was but a sliver of a moon. “Grandmother Moon with a smile,” called Sharah. “Thank you for giving me a Mother Bear. I really appreciate it. But I am a human child and would like a human mother. Could you help me?” Grandmother Moon said nothing, but smiled down upon Sharah until she fell asleep. (To be continued.)

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

 

Grandmother Moon and the Homeless Child #2 by Vlatka Herzberg

That night while Sharah slept on one side of the pool, a lone Mother Bear was on the other side of the pool talking to Grandmother Moon. With all her heart, she wanted a child to love. “Grandmother Moon, can you bring me a child to hug and love?” said Mother Bear. Grandmother Moon said nothing, but smiled. She sent a moon beam down to Mother Bear, and Mother Bear followed that moon beam all the way to the other side of the pool. To her amazement, sleeping in the grass, at pools edge was a child. Mother Bear embraced Sharah and her heart filled with joy and love. Sharah slept all night long in the warm arms of her new mother. Mother Bear slept all night long with her child nuzzled in her arms. When they awoke, much to Sharah’s surprise, and the mother bear’s delight, Sharah was a bear cub!  (To be continued)

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

 

Grandmother Moon and the Homeless Child #1 by Vlatka Herzberg

Once there was a child who did not have a home. She did not have a mother or a father. She did not have a house, or a people. She was alone. She hid inside hollow trees, ate roots and berries. She howled with the coyotes at night and laughed with the ducks in the afternoons. She knew her name, for the wind whispered it to her. The wind called her Sharah, one who shares herself. Sharah loved to dance in the moonlight by the pool. She loved to admire the stars. One moonlit night she called up to Grandmother Moon, “Grandmother, can you please find me a home and my people, so that I may know where I belong.” Grandmother moon said nothing, but smiled upon this homeless child who had the courage to ask for what she wants. (To be continued.)

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

 

How the People Learned to Thank Water #3, Conclusion

She dreamed of droplets of water dripping onto her face. Drip, drip, drip. And she heard tiny giggles. “Stop it. I’m getting all wet!” she yelled and awoke from her dream. She was startled to see a sprite, skin as green as olives, hair like grass, hovering over her. Her dress was wet with dew and when she giggled the dew drops sprinkled all over Shenna’s face. All the commotion woke up Brock. He saw the small green sprite. “A pixie!” he yelled. “I’m not a Pixie! I’m a Sprite! Don’t you know your elementals?!” she frowned at Brock. Brock shook his head with disbelief. He had never seen a real sprite before. “Can you show us where a spring might be? Our village is experiencing a drought and we need water.” The Sprite inspected the two children. “There is no village close to here. You must be very far from home,” she said. Shenna nodded. “I will take you to a spring,” said the Sprite, “but it isn’t what you expect.”

And so it is that the Sprite sprang, tumbled and flew to the Spring. Shenna and Brock both rode the old nag after her. It was the only way that they could keep up. When they got to the spring, Shenna thought it was mistake. She was expecting to see water gushing and flowing out of the spring, but instead there was only a trickle. “But that isn’t enough water to help our village,” said Shenna. “No. It is not,” said the Sprite. “What are we going to do?” asked Brock. They both slumped down on the wet rocks near the spring.

“I’m going to dance,” said the Sprite and she began to twirl under the droplets of water streaming down the rocks. There were  times when her body merged with the water and looked translucent. Brock poked his finger right through her. She giggled, “That tickles.” “I don’t understand,” Said Shenna. “Does this mean that the drought is everywhere?” The Sprite stopped twirling and nodded her head, “Yes.” Shenna started to cry. She was sad for her people. She was sad for her parents at home worrying about their crops. She was sad for all the people in the world that didn’t have water. Shenna’s cheeks began to tickle. The Sprite was wiping her tears with her wings. “There’s another way to see things.” “All you see is that your world is without water. Your people do not see that the Undines are stressed.” “I don’t understand,” said Shenna.

“Here take my hand,” offered the Sprite. Shenna and Brock held the Sprite’s hand and they began to spin and shrink until they were dripping into a pool of water. They plopped into the pool, transforming into water spirits. Shenna’s body was blue. Brock poked her. “You’re see through,” he laughed. “So are you,” she poked him back. “What are we?” asked Shenna. “Why you’re Undines of course,” said the Sprite.“But what will mother and father think?” frowned Brock. “You won’t stay this way, just long enough.” And before she could say another word, the Sprite jumped and bounced away. Shenna yelled, “come back,” but the Sprite ignored her. Instead the water formed a large mouth and said,“Stop making so much noise. It makes me ripple.” “Who said that?” demanded Shenna. “I did,” said the Undine who shape shifted itself into a face that Shenna and Brock could see. It was a watery face with a twig for a nose and a very squiggly mouth. “Now why are you here?” The Undine wanted to know. Shenna told the Undine the whole story. Brock ended it with, “yep that’s the way it happened. Can we stay water spirits? This is fun!” The Undine listened, then said, “Hold on they were going for a ride!”

They followed a tricking stream to the river. It was very low. They passed skinny cows, and parched fields, until they fell into deep, dry cracks. “Woa!” yelled Shenna and Brock. “Hold on!” said the Undine. They followed veins of moisture to an underground stream, flowing all the way back to the spring they had come from. “Wow, that was cool! Do that again!” said Brock. The Undine frowned, “Do you know why there is a drought?” “Because the water spirits are stressed,” said Shenna. “Yes, the water is stressed. All the pollution is choking us up. We need your help,” said the Undine. “But how can we help? We are only children.” “You can start appreciating water and sending healing to it.” Then the Undine taught the children a ritual of placing their hands over the water and filling it with their gratitude for all the ways that water gives to them, for food, drink, bathing, cleansing, and all nourishment. The children learned a healing song that they could sing to the water, and promised that they would share it with others.

When they were done the Sprite came back. “Are you ready to go home?” “Yes!” said the children. They thanked the Undines and sang them a song. The Sprite danced on their hands and they turned back into children! Brock poked his sister. She giggled, “Hey stop it!” “Just checking if you are back to normal,” laughed Brock. The children took only enough water in their canteens for the remainder of the trip home.

Shenna and Brock were happy to be home. Their parents rushed to embrace them, “Where have you been? We’ve been so worried!” Shenna and Brock told their parents and all the villagers their story. When they were done they showed everyone how to cup their hands over water and fill it with their gratitude. They taught all the villagers, young and old how to sing songs of gratitude. If people forgot, they could make it up. What mattered is what they felt in their hearts. The people learned how to feel gratitude for every droplet of water. They became more conscious not to waste it. Eventually the drought ended. People lessened their pollution. The Undines relaxed, receiving healing, and eventually the water started to flow again. The rains came, and the cycle of life flowed.

From that day on whenever people walked by a river, spring or the ocean, or when it rained, people would sing: “Bless the water in the sky, bless the water in the earth, it’s alive and flowing. Thanks be to water. Thanks be to air. It gives all life. Treat it with great care!”

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.