Short Story: Willoughby Whitney’s Mishap

Here is a short story I wrote last winter, to entertain two shy, young children!

Willoughby Whitney’s Mishap

It was winter in the big wood, and if a girl or boy would have walked through it in the white month of January they would have found it quite still and quiet. Many of the beautiful birds had flown south to where it was warmer, and many of the four-legged animals were sleeping the cold away in their warm homes. Of course if one listened very closely they might hear the pitter patter crunch of papa Tigglebaums little feet as he scavenged for a treat for the Tigglebaum children. It was just such a day and papa was hurrying home with his basket over his arm and an excited look on his face.

 When he entered he found Mama Tigglebaum in front of the fire making a large batch of porridge. “How are you this morning my dear?” asked Papa as he set his empty basket on the table. “Very well thank you! And how was your search in this blustery weather? You must be chilled to the bone, come sit by the fire and warm yourself. I’ll fetch your tea and your porridge in but a minute,” cried Mama in one long breath as she bustled about. Just then the children burst forth from their room with wild hollers and squeals of delight at the sight of Papa sitting in his easy chair by the fire. The oldest Tigglebaum was named Henry, the next was Ellen and the youngest was Bill, and all at once they descended upon Papa begging for the treat that he brought them without fail. “Well,” said Papa “First you must all eat your porridge and finish your lessons and then I shall tell you of the surprise.” “Oh Papa please won’t you tell us know?” begged Ellen while Bill scrambled up onto Papa’s lap. “Please give us just a hint,” cried Henry. “No my dears,” laughed Papa “You must be patient and finish your work but I will not say a word!” The Tigglebaum family finally settled to the table, Papa said grace and they all ate heartily. After breakfast the children practiced reading, arithmetic and history, until Mama said they might go. “Everyone put on your warmest clothes,” said Mama “And then come to me for inspection.” An excited scuttle followed before all three lined up for inspection.” An excited scuttle followed before all three lined up to be looked over. “Alright, you may go!” said mamma. “But stay with Papa all the while.”

The young Tigglebaums followed closely behind papa who carried a large and knobby sack ever his shoulder, whistling as he walked. After a short but brisk tramp the Tigglebaums came to the small pool in the centre of the wood. “Well,” said papa “This is the surprise! Go ahead, walk on it” “Hurrah, hurrah,” all cried at once. “Here are your skates my dears,” laughed papa as he handed them out to his waiting children. As soon as everyone had fastened on their skates the slender form of Willoughby Whitney appeared from behind a tree. “Hello mates,” he said as he casually strapped on his skates. “Oh why did that weasel have to show up and ruin our fun?” moaned Ellen to her brothers. “Weasel!” exclaimed Willoughby pretending to be angry. “I am an ermine, thank you very much . So don’t call me ‘weasel’,” finished Willoughby almost shouting. “Now, now children let’s not have a row,” said papa with a sigh, “And all of you be careful of the middle, the ice might not be hard enough. That goes for you to Willoughby; you remember your accident last fall and how you haven’t been able to swim well since.”

All of the animals stepped carefully onto the ice and then began skating around the edge as daringly as they knew how. Willoughby started with skating fast around Ellen and Bill, who were both rather wobbly, because you see Willoughby was quite a naughty young weasel who at times was a bit of a bully. He laughed at the young Tigglebaums  as he skated nearer and nearer the centre of the pond. No one paid him much attention and papa and the children raced and played until they heard a splash followed by a scream. Papa turned just in time to see Willoughby fall through a hole in the ice. As fast as he could papa ran towards the hole, “Henry fetch a stick or rope or something, but hurry,” he called as he went. Even though Henry did not like Willoughby he obeyed papa and frantically searched the bank for something papa could use to pull Willoughby out with. Papa carefully sprawled on the thin ice near the hole. “Willoughby, give me your paw,” called papa. Gasping and spluttering Willoughby reached for the offered paw but slipped and disappeared beneath the icy water. As he was quite a young weasel and as he had been in an accident in the fall, poor Willoughby forgot nearly all he knew of swimming in the freezing water. At that moment Henry found a suitable stick and raced as fast as he could to papa, who took it and implored Willoughby to grab the stick. Finally the unfortunate Willoughby caught hold of the stick and held on for dear life, while papa Tigglebaum and Henry did their best to pull him out. The Tigglebaums’  fun was cut a bit short, since papa and Henry helped Willoughby home.

On the Whitney’s front porch, Mr. Whitney scolded Willoughby for not heading papa Tigglebaum. Then he questioned his son as to why he did not just climb out himself. “Oh Father, I was so startled and the water was so cold,” whimpered Willoughby who then turned to papa. “I am so sorry I didn’t listen to your warning, Mr. Tigglebaum.” “I forgive you lad,” said papa.

When the entire Tigglebaum family was gathered around the glowing fire at home, they told mama about their adventure, and papa said to his children, “I am very proud of you all for obeying me today. Willoughby Whitney’s mishap has shown us how dangerous disobedience can be.” “Very true papa,” said mama with a smile at her brave and obedient children.

The End

By Ia Stavig

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Short Story: Peter Grey

You will probably notice that there are several words in this story that have been posted in bold… at one of our meetings each member was given ten or eleven vocabulary words, that had been selected by another member, to be included in a short work of any genre. We had quite a bit of fun with this experiment and Peter Grey was my attempt. The work did not need to be the writers best, or even close to their best, nor did it need to make sense to anyone but the writer! I hope you enjoy this, very short, fictional biography!

I’m going to tell you the story of a man, a sea-captain to be specific. His name was Peter Grey, his father was apostolic and his mother was almost vixen like (how these characters came together we shall never know). Peter was disunited with his parents when he was but seven. He was received thence by his uncle, the back friend of many, William Drinker was his name, and his wife Trust. An unusual name to be sure, but never was a name more befitting. Now you might expect our hero’s character to have been trisected, with the influence of so many and so different people, but I am glad to say that good influences triumphed over the evil ones in young Peter’s life and he grew into a man of honour and integrity. When he was 18 years old he ran away to fight the French, when the war was over (Peter was 21) he inherited his late uncle William Drinker’s entire sea port. So our hero embarked on a journey that carried him to the importous waters of southern Sweden to strange and far off India, whence he learned to hunt the caraboa and ride the great elephant. Now that Peter had traveled and fought, he felt he lacked greatly in the domestic line of happiness so he traveled to England to his hometown. Here he found his aunt Trust quite as snug as when he had left. Now madam was a bit of a harmless matchmaker, and so , she invited a dear friend and her daughter to come for a visit. Naturally Peter must meet them! Mrs. Tabitha Ritter’s daughter Priscilla was young, beautiful, and possessed a sweet temper. As expected our hero fell in love with Priscilla and she with him for he was the dashing, heroic, and good, young sea-captain that she saw him to be. They were married the following Spring and lived in ecstasy, for a time, until Peter was called back to his ships. Priscilla was rather frail so that she was unable to travel aboard her husband’s vessel like other sea wives of her day. The long days alone were rather oppressing to Cilla, so till she grew strong , she stayed with Peter’s aunt Trust (her own mother had lived only long enough to see her only remaining child marry). When Peter returned a number of months later Priscilla was quite strong, so she and our hero sailed off into a glorious sunset wherein they had two shy of zeta beautiful strong and noble children.
And they lived happily ever after till the end of their days.

By Ia Stavig
An Inkling

Poem: Germany

Across the ocean, my feet once walked the moist earth.
While I strolled down the street, I heard the clang, clang of beer steins,
And the smell of sausage and sauerkraut seeping up my nose.
Amazingly I see people pass by me with the same light blonde hair and blue eyes as me.
Shocked I see my surname all over this strange foreign land.
My surname Wald means “forest”.
I spotted Bohemian Wald. In a distant land

I also sighted the Black Wald.
Looking at the black forest, the colossal, magnificent mountain cast its long shadow into the dense trees.
Can you hear the clang, clang of beer steins in that distant land across the ocean?

Miss Hardy
An Inkling

Poem: The Cowboy

Look! Here comes the Cowboy
In his big, black, shiny boots!
He’s coming tough and ready
To brand them little colts.

His long, blond, sandy hair,
Sits under his leather hat,
His mare is strong and full of speed,
I’m pretty sure of that.

Everybody fears the Cowboy
When he walks up to the bar,
And everywhere the Cowboy goes
Trouble cannot be far.

By Emilie
An Inkling

Poem: A Sea of Troubles

The “unsinkable” boat barely shakes,
But harm has already been done.
One captain made an error…
When he declared, “Twenty-four knots and on!”

Who saw it, that deathly horror…
Snowy and sparkling in the sea?
Who saw its silhouette run the deck?
Who saw it vanish into the night?
Scarcely anyone.

Scarcely anyone but short and freckled Annie,
Amusing her friends on deck!
It was twelve o’clock, minus twenty…
When nearly all persons were in bed.

ICE! ICE AHEAD!
The upset watchman had cried out from the crow’s nest;
Another sixty minutes,
And the charge, driven by panic, begins.

Annie spins and stumbles,
Submerged in a torrent of people…
She cries in desperation for her parents,
But not one person notices the little girl!

Lifeboats are lowered one by one,
“First women and children!”
But Annie merely rushes around.
“Mommy! Daddy!” she shrieks to no avail.

A gentleman grabs her,
Annie is in lifeboat number twenty-four.
Making use of his whole strength…
Away from the Mother Ship, navigates the rower.
But away, too, from small Annie’s mom and dad!

Annie’s locks are swirled and wet…
Her eyesight is misty and stormy.
The tears she is crying lap one over the other…
And inside the little girl,
Are rippling waves of despair and mourning…
leaving her feeling empty
And with a sea that’s at all times raging!

By Jennifer
An Inkling

Review: The Master’s Violin

Every year during Memorial Day weekend, the Trader’s Market appears and sets up camp just down the road from where I live. So last Monday I decided to spend my holiday searching for old treasures, mainly books, in the hundreds of stands containing anything and everything, valuable and otherwise, you can imagine! I dearly love old books and my weakest point is first editions, well anyways I was looking for three books in particular they were: The Harvester, by Gene Stratton Porter; Laddie, also by Gene Stratton Porter and The Master’s Violin, by Myrtle Reed. I generally set out looking for a specific book, don’t find it and end settling for some other that just doesn’t compare, well first I found The Harvester, which I wanted the least but I was thrilled that I had found one of the books on my list! Second I stumbled upon Laddie, and I wanted this one more than The Harvester, so you can imagine my excitement! We (my mom and sisters and I) walked around for a few more hours without finding anything and just as we were about to leave I saw one more bookshelf of old and probably out of print books, I was already in debt to my companions and I didn’t have a cent to my name, at least not on me, but I decided to look anyway. The third shelf that I searched what do you think I found? The Master’s Violin in all it’s glory, wonderful condition, first edition and, one of the most beautiful things that I have ever heard, it was only one dollar! I started reading it on Tuesday morning and finished it on Wednesday afternoon and it was so good that I simply have to share about it!

The 1904 Edition

The book opens on a raining night in the large old home, of a wealthy old woman and her young, adopted daughter. The old lady’s niece and grand-nephew have just arrived to live with her because her nephew, Lynn, is to take violin lessons from the Master who lives in this, the small old-fashioned town of East Lancaster. Lynn goes to the Master to ask him to make and artist of him, but by some misfortune he touches the Master’s precious Cremona, causing the Master to feel a certain seemingly uncalled for contempt for the boy. We follow the relationships of Lynn and his mother, Margaret, and the old lady and her adopted daughter, Iris, and of other characters of the village. We are shown true and tender pictures of pain and heartache, although it is closely veiled with mystery. The Master tells Lynn that he has technique but no feeling or passion, then we trail the people of East Lancaster through sorrow and trials. When Lynn falls in love with a piece of ‘human driftwood’ who doesn’t return his love, he goes to the Master longing for someone who knows his pain. Then through beautiful, heartrending language and imagery the master tells us how genius comes of pain, he then shares his own heart and the story of his Cremona. We find also of the tragedy of Margaret’s past and Iris’ present. In the end all is made right and all hearts find their balm in the beauty of ‘Mine Cremona’.

Title Page

This book is truly one of the best that I have ever read, it was so beautiful that more than once I found myself in tears. It was nonsetdownable! While reading this book I fell in love with the characters and East Lancaster, I shared their pain and exulted in their healing. I do not know if this book is even in print but I would encourage you to search for it wherever you go and no matter what you must pay to get it, your difficulties will be richly and abundantly rewarded.

By Ia Stavig

Memories of a Boy I Never Knew

The tragic story of

A teenage boy who had been

Bullied and tormented relentlessly

Till one day with a gun in his hand

He planned to end it

Shot one killed an innocent classmate

Accidently in the way

Shot two gave the perpetrated

Ultimate revenge

The bullied boy

Was taken to court

He was sentenced to life in prison

He was only fifteen

Can you imagine a mistake you made,

When you were just fifteen,

Determining the fate of your entire life?

His family pleaded he be tried again

This time they took away all chance of parole

Now this boy sits in prison

Even dreams of freedom are futile

What can be done with a society

That would throw away a boy?

What happened to forgiveness?

What can be done with a society

That doesn’t believe in a second chance?

This is the true story

Of a boy I remember but I never knew.

I. S.

Please leave your response to this poem.