AnChi Chen + Jessica Thomas

The Fiddler

 

Arthur played a great fiddle. It was made from the finest oak, carved with precision, and decorated with small florets on the handle.

Arthur played everywhere he went. He played at his open window every morning, letting the music fill the air. He played walking down the street. He even played in the markets.

But Arthur was no great fiddler although the fiddle itself was great. The sound which escaped was an ear-piercing tune, like nails on a chalkboard, to everyone in town. To him, his music sounded light and fun, like a spring breeze cooling a hot day. It was music you could dance to, music you could sleep to, music you could cook to. The people, however, would twist and turn and cringe.

Finally the King called Arthur in to the castle: “You are scaring my people. You are ruining my town. People are staying inside their homes, boarding their windows fearful of the song you play on that wretched fiddle. No one is buying, no one is selling. If this keeps up there won’t be a town. From now on all fiddle playing is banned.”

The next week the town was bustling again as people poured into the streets with the great news of the new law. People stood in crowds gossiping about this or chatting about that, however Arthur was nowhere in sight. As the week went on, things got worse. Suddenly people were getting robbed and goods were getting stolen. Arthur’s music hadn’t only kept the good people inside; it had kept the bad people out of the town. The people needed Arthur.

The King decided to visit Arthur. Arthur had boarded himself in his own home. He didn’t know what to do if he couldn’t play his fiddle anymore. He sat in his dark house and stared at the fiddle in the corner.

“The people need your music, Arthur.”

“I want to share my love and joy through my fiddle, but no one wants to hear it. I have nothing to share.”

“You have plenty to share. The people are calling for you, your music kept the town safe as it scared the bad people away.”

“But it kept the good people away too.”

“Yes, I see the problem we have. I will return with a solution.”

The King went home and thought and thought and thought. After many hours he got it! Late in the evening he went through town and woke the fiddle player up.

“You are sad you cannot share your music and the town cannot function when you play and they cannot function when you don’t, but I have the grandest idea! At center of town lies the tallest hill,” the King said, pointing out the window to the massive hill in the distance. The hill could be seen from anywhere in town. It looked like a lion resting on its haunches. “Here is where you can sit everyday and play. It shall be your special seat, Arthur.”

From then on, Arthur woke every morning, walked through town to his seat, grinning all the way. He sat at the very top and played. On windy days the townspeople could faintly hear Arthur playing bringing a smile to their faces, knowing as long as Arthur played they were safe.

Even today, the people of Edinburgh can hear the whine of Arthur’s playing when strong winds blow.

Howie the Night Avenger

 

Just as the darkness chases the light behind the mountains each night, Howie the Owl wakes up. Alone, Howie is scared of the Dark and all the sounds it brings – the creaking, the rattling, the rustling, and the squeaking. The Dark forces the light and all the other animals to run away and hide. Each night, he buries his head in his shoulders and screams out: “WHO’s there? WHO’s there?” He is scared of the response he might get and even more scared of the silence, which always follows.

One night Howie decides to fight the Dark and find where the light could be hiding. He will be Howie the Night Avenger! He puts on his cape and his bravest face before he sets out on his mission.

This new brave Howie looks in mailboxes, behind trees, around corners, and in gardens. When he peers under the lid of a trashcan he hears the Dark rattling inside the tin walls. “WHO’s there?” He yells with his feathers shaking. The Dark yells back, “What are you doing? This is my trashcan!” Howie steps back as a raccoon springs from the can.

“Are you the Dark?” Howie karate chops the air with his wings.

“No! I’m a raccoon. Now get out of my trash!”

“Well the Dark makes those sounds and the Dark has scared the light away and I’m going to find the light.”

Howie continues his journey going from tree to tree, mailbox to mailbox, and house to house looking for the light. Suddenly, he hears the Dark squeaking behind him. At first it is soft, but it grows into a higher and higher pitch. The Dark is coming closer!

“WHO’s there?” He yells out, hiding his head behind his cape.

A mouse scurrying away turns around. “It’s just little me,” she says.

He stands tall, puffs out his chest. “Are you the Dark?”

“No I’m just a little mouse going to bed,” she says as she turns to leave.

Suddenly, clear as day he hears “Who, Who?” Howie jumps back, his cape fluttering in the air. Howie is more terrified than ever. He is alone and has no where to run!

“Who’s…there?” He says with his eyes closed tight, afraid of the Dark monster that may appear. An owl swoops from the sky above him.

“I’m Shona the Owl”

He slowly opens his eyes. “I’m Howie Night Avenger. I’m looking for the Dark,” he says softly.

“The dark? What is so bad about the dark?”

“Every night the Dark chases all the light from the sky and all of the creatures into their beds and leaves me all alone.”

“You aren’t alone. Just because you can’t see others doesn’t mean they aren’t there. You have friends everywhere, even when you can’t see them.”

Howie thinks back to his long night and of all of the creatures he met. All of the sounds they made. Not the dark.

Exhausted from his night of avenging the dark, Shona helps Howie find his way home. Shona tucks him in bed, hanging his cape on the twig above. As the light shines over the mountains Howie can hear the rattling of the raccoon, the squeaking of the mouse. He is not scared anymore. He was never alone.