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From the caterpillar a butterfly was born

Life is about learning and giving. I am thankful for mine.

Daisy and the Dragon

Short Writings Posted on Sun, March 25, 2012 23:48:52

Daisy And The Dragon, a
Pantomime © December 2010 Elizabeth Mills

There is a school of thought that contends that the legend of Saint George was usurped by his followers from a much earlier account. The tale of Daisy And The Dragon was rooted in popular folklore long before the English Patron Saint Committee met to choose someone to symbolise the nation’s strength and bravery. In that previous version, the dragon was a hideously deformed creature owned by a particularly unsavoury tax collector from Surrey, and the slayer’s name was Daisy. Sadly, after much discussion over many brown
ales at the King’s Head, the committee felt that the name Daisy was
just too, well, girly, so they made up a story that involved damsels
and swords and a frankly ridiculous reptile.

To set the record straight, here is the true account of Daisy and the Dragon.

Daisy was a lad of fourteen, who lived in an age when poor people had to work to survive, even if they suffered from, like, stress and nerves and stuff like that, you know?

His parents, bless them, were uneducated, and knew not what they did when they chose the name Daisy for him.

He was a simple serf; he owned no land, and made his meagre living from labouring day and night for his master, Baron Roast of Ruislip. The noble lord had become very rich and fat by falsifying the accounts of the taxes he raised for the King, and pocketing a sizeable chunk for himself. He accrued a huge estate, and ruled over his workers with sadistic greed, aided by his servant, Split.

Some information about Split would be beneficial at this point. Opinions vary as to whether or not he was human or animal, or both. He was huge, and incredibly ugly, and though he walked upon his hind legs, he did so with a stoop and a sliding motion, like he was dragging something along behind him. Whenever Lord Roast set him upon some unfortunate soul, that person fled in terror, with Split lolloping in lazy pursuit. Though the creature always returned, his victims were never seen again, and no trace of them was ever found. The people called him The Dragon, on account of his strength and bad breath.

Daisy had a heavy responsibility. As well as supporting himself, he also had to look after his little sister, Bruce, and keep her hidden from the evil lord, who had ordered all girl babies to be drowned at birth. Daisy’s parents had disappeared a year earlier, following a visit from Split, and he was left alone to care for her.

One day, bad Baron Roast was patrolling his lands, riding on Stephen, one of his magnificent stallions, with Split at his side, when he came upon the field where Daisy lived and worked.

Daisy was busy, tilling the land or whatever it is serfs do. He looked up when his master arrived and saw with dismay that Bruce was playing outside their mud hut, smiling at the funny man on his horsey horsey.

He threw down his serfing stick thing and ran to his sister’s side, courageously confronting the lord and his monstrous henchman, who both glared at him.

“You have been hiding a girl-child from me,” accused the Baron, his podgy, brown face contorted with anger. “She has been eating food you should have given to me. For that you will both die.”

(At this point the audience hiss and boo, and the Baron turns to face them.)

“You’ll be next, if you don’t behave.”

(Derisive laughter and more booing)

“You will have to catch us first,” shouted Daisy, snatching up the frail body of his tiny sibling and running into the woods.

The Baron turned to Split and nodded, and the creature loped off towards the woods where Daisy and Bruce had disappeared.

In the darkness under the canopy of trees, the children ran, panting, trying to get as far away as possible. They knew these woods well, and made good progress, but they soon heard the sounds of Split smashing his way through the thick undergrowth behind them.

Daisy knew they would stand no chance against the brutal strength of the mutant, and only his wits and knowledge could save them. Quickly, he circled the swamp, then stopped on the far side, waiting for Split to appear. He did not have to wait long before the ugly brute burst out of the thicket, only fifty feet away. Split skidded to a stop when he saw the children, and let out a great blood-curdling roar.

“Well,” shouted Daisy, sounding braver than he felt. “What are you waiting for? Come and get us!”

Split lurched towards them, splashing through the shallow waters at the edge of the swamp. By the time he realised he was sinking deeper into thick mud it was too late. He was stuck. He could not move forwards or back and, as his head sank beneath the black, bubbling waters, he gave a great bellow of rage, which was suddenly cut off by the sludge into which he vanished forever.

Daisy and Bruce hugged each other with joy, then set off to walk to London to tell the king about the evil Baron, but that’s another story.

The Voices

Short Writings Posted on Sun, January 01, 2012 21:40:51

The Voices © December
2010 Elizabeth Mills

The gentle waves lapped upon the shore. Jack sat on a rock and watched them, as he did every day. They weren’t always so peaceful. Sometimes they were wild and angry, rising in towering, menacing surges, then hurling themselves, exploding against the rocks in heavy clouds of spray. He knew their every mood. He had seen them cold and grey like slate, and he had seen them glimmer like sapphires and diamonds in the evening sun.

He was old, now, but the sea had been the biggest part of his life since he was a child. Oh, those days when he had waited on the jetty with mam for his pa to return. Sometimes hours would pass before they saw the gyrating brown sails of the fishing boats, struggling against the tide and wind to creep carefully through the harbour mouth into the calm waters within. Then his father would step ashore, still swaying from the motion of the deck, sweep him up in his huge arms and hold him and mam close for wonderful long moments, before they walked home together.

As the years passed, Jack grew into manhood, and eventually went to sea himself. He became a fisherman, too, then a skipper. It was the life to which he had been born. And when the war broke out, of course, he took his sailing skills onto the fighting ships.

For three years he crossed and recrossed the Atlantic Ocean, protecting convoys from the enemy predators, seeking out the hunters and hunting them down. Submarines arrived, hidden and silent in the black depths, despatching their deadly torpedoes at the merchant ships. Though they hid beneath the waves, Jack developed a sense of their movements, felt their vibrations through the deck, smelt them in the air. Then, when he found them, he destroyed them. He was admired by the other commanders and loved by his crew. They knew they were safe with him, that he cared for them as brothers.

Jack smiled at the recollection, remembering the comradeship and the hardships, the celebrations and the heartaches.

Then, as they always did, the other memories returned: the two explosions that rocked the ship and threw everyone off their feet; the flames, red and gold that leapt out from below and burned your clothes from your body, and then seared your skin black in seconds; the dark, acrid smoke that whirled and choked; the creaking and crashing as the hull collapsed. But worst of all, he heard again the screams of his friends, trapped, burning, dying.

He lived again his desperate attempts to rescue trapped men, saw again the faces of the dreadfully wounded colleagues as he carried them to the lifeboat, knowing they would not survive. And, as he always did, he cried.

Charlie “Dick” Turpin, his First Officer, “Randy” O’Brien, the best radio operator he ever knew, Tommy Fielding, Albert Farrell, all gone. Brave men, who risked their lives time after time to bring the
urgently-needed food and supplies from America to keep the nation
going through that terrible war.

He heard their voices again, talking, laughing. They called to him from the depths, beckoning him. He longed to be with them once more.

As if in a dream, he stood up and began to walk. When he reached the line of foam that swept backwards and forwards at the water’s edge, he continued, feeling nothing except the loneliness of his heart, hearing nothing but the voices of his friends. He did not stop when the warm waves brushed against his legs, nor when they lifted him from his feet. All he felt was the hands of Dick and Randy, Tommy and Albert, taking his arms and leading him back to the bridge of his ship, and he heard the cheers of the whole crew as he arrived, back where he belonged.

The Day I Met The Queen

Short Writings Posted on Sun, January 01, 2012 21:29:02

The Day I Met The Queen © October
2010 Elizabeth Mills

My name is Ralph; you might have met me. If you go to the cinema or the theatre, it might have been me what took your ticket and tore it in half, then directed you to your seat.

I love my job, because sometimes I get to work backstage and meet the stars. I have worked in lots of places: the Odeon, Leicester Square; the Gaumont, Edinburgh; the Marina Theatre, Lowestoft; but the best one of all is the London Palladium. Oh, that is a grand place, with a lot of class. All the walls are covered with maroon flock wallpaper, and the pillars have golden angels. All the top acts have been to the Palladium: singers, actors, comedians, rock groups and dancers, and I have met quite a few of them.

Once a year, there is the biggest show of all, The Royal Variety Show. That is a very busy day, and all the staff are called in, including the volunteers like me. I like it specially, because I get to see Her Majesty The Queen really close. Of course, she doesn’t have a ticket to tear, but I always stand near to the door of the Royal Box, so I can see her arrive and leave. I love the Queen, she has a beautiful smile. The others at the home laugh at me, because I always get excited when she is coming, but I don’t care.

One year, I had to help the stage hands with some difficult props, so I wasn’t by the royal box when she arrived, or when she left, and I didn’t see her at all; I was very disappointed. When the show ended, I sat on a box and cried.

One of the stars saw me sitting there and asked me what was wrong. When I told him, he said not to worry, he could fix it for me to see her, but I must promise to keep it a secret.

I was so excited, as he led me through the passages and tunnels of the Palladium, that I didn’t realise where I was when we stopped behind a queue of people. My friend told me to stand up straight and look smart, and the next thing there was flashlights going off everywhere, and suddenly she was there, Her Majesty The Queen, shaking hands with my friend. The producer was with her, and a moment later, they was standing in front of me.

“And this is . . . er . . .” said the producer, staring at me in puzzlement.

“Ralph, ma’am,” I said, and she smiled as she held out her hand.