Summer Bird Stories

Family-Friendly Short Stories, Cartoons, and Illustrations

Falshback Video: Sir Cinders

This story was originally posted on September 12, 2018. I think the details of happily ever after are different for everybody. The trick is figuring out what it looks like for you. Don’t give up if it seems impossible for now. Help might be waiting just around the corner.

Charlie’s Room: Rainy Afternoon

The afternoon was cool and overcast. There was enough light to read by, but it felt later in the day than it actually was. They had eaten lunch late, so no one was in a hurry to start cooking dinner.

Marianne and Charlie were drawing up plans for the garden. They had the spring garden coming along well, but it was time to start transitioning things for summer and planning for fall. Luckily they kept a pretty detailed garden journal, so they were able to look back to previous years for help.

Isaac was reading. The story was getting to an exciting point where he kept turning pages to find out what happened next. He was so interested in the story, that the world around him faded away.

Suddenly, he felt Charlie tapping his arm. “Dad, dad, dad, dad, dad…”

“What?”

Charlie folded his arms across his chest with a frown. “You weren’t listening. We were asking your opinion on cantaloupe.”

“I like cantaloupe.” He turned back to his book and read the first sentence of the next chapter.

Charlie tapped his arm. “But do you like it better than honeydew melons?”

Isaac shrugged. “I like them both.” He began reading the first sentence again.

“That didn’t help.” Charlie began tapping his arm again.

Marianne laughed. “I told you. He’s too busy thinking about his book to think about gardens. We can ask him later.”

“Fine.” Charlie stopped tapping.

Isaac read the first sentence of the next chapter for a third time, but this time he wasn’t interrupted. It wasn’t until the next chapter break that he noticed it was raining. He looked up and realized that the room was a lot darker than before.

He was leaning in a lot closer to his book. He straightened up and stretched his head from side to side. Ouch. How long was he hunched over like that?

The house seemed quiet. He looked around. Marianne and Charlie were curled up on opposite arms of the couch, fast asleep.

The rain continued to tap against the windows. If he listened closely, he could almost hear music. He stood up and walked to the window. Outside, he could see brightly colored dots hovering around the flowers. They were the size of bees or maybe butterflies, but more luminous, and they seemed to be humming to the rhythm of the rain.

He watched them weave around the flowers in whirling patterns of color for a while. However, the humming and the rain and the snoring behind him were all making him a little sleepy. Isaac sat back down in his comfortable chair, picked up his book, and read the first sentence of the next chapter. Then, he fell asleep.

Of course, he didn’t realize he’d fallen asleep until he woke up later, startled out of sleep when he dropped his book. Marianne laughed. “You’ve been sleeping for a while. I guess the book wasn’t as interesting as you thought.”

“It was the rain…” Isaac stopped and listened. “The rain stopped.”

“It put us to sleep, too,” Charlie said. “We just woke up.”

“Sometimes an afternoon nap is just what you need.” Marianne smiled and began to gather up the papers on the couch.

“Since we took a nap, does that mean we can stay up late to watch a movie? Dad doesn’t have work tomorrow, and I don’t feel at all tired anymore.” Charlie jumped up and did a little dance. “See, full of energy.”

“That does look like a wide awake sort of dance,” Isaac said. “Do you think there are falling-asleep dances?”

“I wonder what that would look like?” Marianne thought for a moment and shook her head. “I don’t usually think of dancing as something that would put you to sleep.”

“Maybe if it was the kind with the long, slow music,” Charlie said. “You know, the sleepy kind of music that doesn’t seem to go anywhere.”

Isaac thought about the little dots of color and the humming and the rain. “I think you’re right. The music does matter. So, what kind of music is wide awake music?”

Charlie didn’t have to think about that at all. “The theme song for the newest dinosaur movie! We can watch it right after dinner, and we won’t feel at all sleepy.”

He was right.

Family Recipe: Sangria

This Sangria is non-alcoholic and probably not very authentic. But it’s the Sangria that my husband’s mother serves on Christmas eve.

My husband’s parents met at a mission reunion. Both of them served a mission in the same area of Mexico. Their Christmas eve dinner is a reminder of that.

This Sangria is a nice celebration drink even if it isn’t Christmas. We even had some tonight with dinner!

The Golden-Haired Pirate

Greta Goldenlocks was a fearsome and mighty pirate. No pirate or soldier alive could defeat her in battle. She could defeat ten men as large as grizzly bears with one hand tied behind her back and the wind blowing her hair into her face. She could surround and defeat an armada of ships with three rowboats and a crossbow.

And as for treasure, Greta had a nose for it. No one could hide their valuables from Greta’s sticky fingers. If it was golden false teeth, they’d be gone and in her loot bag while you were in the middle of eating dinner with them. You wouldn’t notice they were gone until you tried to eat the mashed potatoes.

One day, after getting up early to explore the surrounding seas, Greta sailed up to a castle. She rowed to shore and jumped from the rowboat, eager to explore. She approached warily, but no guards or lookouts stood outside the gates.

The front door was unlocked. It was a little unnerving. Greta thought of all the ghost stories she heard on quiet nights. Yet, she never once saw a ghost, after all.

She couldn’t walk away from this. A castle? With the front door unlocked? She wouldn’t be a pirate if she didn’t walk right inside. So, she did.

The front hall was empty. Following her nose for treasure, she turned into the first room. It was a banquet hall with a lavish feast served but untouched. Greta sampled the dishes.

No poison.

After sampling the last serving, she finished the meal. Why leave good food to go to waste? She considered finding the kitchens later and bringing some extra provisions to her crew.

But first, she needed to look for treasure. She went into the next room. It was a throne room, and the chairs looked like solid gold.

However, Greta was an expert treasure hunter, unwilling to be fooled by imitations. She checked first one chair, then another. She hacked the last chair apart with her sword. It wasn’t gold, just painted wood.

Disgusted, she moved along. She found a bed chamber. The expensive linens would fetch a pretty penny if sold to the right buyers. Yet, linens would be a poor treasure to take back to her crew from the castle. Even if she added the provisions.

Surely there must be something better. Letting her mind go blank, Greta tuned in to possible treasure. But all her senses told her that the treasure in this castle was the beds.

She looked under the beds. She scratched the paint of the headboards to see if they were made of gold. She checked under the mattresses. She checked the seams of the bedding.

Maybe they were enchanted beds? Greta didn’t really believe in magic, but she was willing to keep an open mind. She crawled into each of the beds, with her boots on, to see if anything felt different.

Nothing did. Maybe she needed to fall asleep first. And so, in the last bed, she fell fast asleep. The bed was marvelously comfortable, and she slept well. Unfortunately, she didn’t sleep long.

Greta started awake with the feeling of someone watching her. Opening her eyes, she was shocked to see three large bears. Actual bears. Yet they wore clothes and stood on their hind legs like people.

Was that what the enchanted beds did? Did they turn people into bears? Or was it the food that changed them?

In alarm, Greta looked down at her hands. They were still normal hands. She cautiously put her hands up to check her face. No fur.

She remembered her treasure-seeking instincts telling her the beds were important. It must be the beds. Luckily, she hadn’t slept there long. She needed to get out of here before anything happened.

The bears were still staring at her in shock. Greta jumped from the bed, and in two steps she was out the window. She landed gracefully on the lawn and waved at the bears watching her from the window.

Her crew sailed away from the enchanted castle as quickly as possible. The ship’s doctor said her voice sounded a bit hoarse, but it was probably just a cold. He told her it just wasn’t possible for people to turn into bears. But Greta and the crew knew better. She’d had a narrow escape.

Greta is still just as good in battle. She can still find any treasure no matter where it’s hidden. But she might wait a moment or two before taking it now. She checks to see if the owner looks cursed. Greta Goldenlocks is a wise and mighty pirate.

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