I was about four or five when I first heard the story of Thumbelina. My mother and I were cuddled together in my ‘big girl’ bed between a set of fresh sheets and a fluffy pink blanket. I felt safe and loved as she held me gently and told me the story she had memorized as a child. Indirectly, she was teaching me that kindness given becomes kindness returned.
My mother was a natural story teller. She could rhyme off many a Grimm Brother or Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. She was fascinated by the adventures of the god and goddesses that lived in the time of ancient Greece. As much as she enjoyed telling the stories, I suspect she enjoyed the time spent analyzing them even more. She loved to delve into the mysteries of the human condition that made the characters behave the way they did. The insights she came up with were often astounding.
Two days before my mom passed away, I was at her bedside and we talked about some of the magical moments we shared when I was growing up. At one point I gently started telling her the story of Thumbelina. I barely got started when my mother took over, telling me the story, just like she’d done when I was a child. This time I was the one holding her and keeping her safe, but the story she narrated was still the same. She hadn’t forgotten a word of it.
Were the stories my mother told me myths, legends, fables or fairy tales? I think they all serve a common purpose, merely using different types of characters to do so. They help explain how the world works, answer childlike questions like where did we come from and show us how we should treat each other. They are an element of connection that bond us together. And in tough times, many of these stories give us hope.
Like the magical characters they portray, fairy tales, myths and fables have a power that transcends time and place. The old stories have been modernized, and new ones created; the medium of delivery has changed, but the messages remain remarkably the same.
The question I sought an answer to this past month: why was Mother Nature so late with spring this year? My patience was certainly put to the test throughout the month of March. Every day I listened to the tap dancing of the rain on my skylights and the bravest of early spring bulbs kept playing hide and seek with me.
I wonder: does the personification of nature through the use of the term Mother Nature make it a myth or fable or both or none of the above? I will leave that question for the scholar in you to ponder.
Charli Mills’ April 6th Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge was to write a 99 word (no more, no less) story about a creation myth. And as always, Charli suggests we go where the prompt leads us. Here is where it leads me.
Letter to the Weather Network
Dear Mr. Weatherman,
I’m writing you ‘cause I really really want spring to get here. Do you know where it is? Mommy said you might know. I’ve been waiting for it forever sooo long. I ask Mother Nature every day. I ask nicely. Do you know why she is not answering me? I want to go outside and play with Daphnie. Only I can see her. She lives in the daffodils but it’s too cold and she won’t come out. Does Mother Nature have elves like Santa? I’m trying to be extra good. Does that help?