The Stolen Child (a story)

also called A Summer’s End -a short story:

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Megan looked over the last  of the Black -eyed Susans glowing in the morning sun. It was time to lock up the summer cottage forever, she thought.  Something happened yesterday that had confirmed all her old fears and misgivings about the place. Some years before she had inherited the little house from her parents  but it had been years since she had come back to the lake- “as busy as life always was” she would explain to those who asked.

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Megan’s husband had finally coaxed her to re-open it so he could  take up fishing on summer and fall weekends. Somewhat reluctantly Megan agreed and with their daughter they began to spend more time there. Her daughter, Ingrid, loved it. Right away the little girl had found an injured crow that she nursed back to health and named Mr. Muninn.  Every day he would fly in from the forest for a treat and was very fond of perching on the child’s hand.  In spite of her initial anxiety Megan thought that perhaps all was healed after all.

There had been a reason Megan had not kept up the cottage. It was here that she suffered a crippling amnesia so long ago. It was as if someone had deliberately torn out the pages of a book- the chapter that would have held the clue to everything that occurred. Her parents told her that she was in hospital back then, but she had no memory of that. She was told she had been found unconscious in the hills surrounding the lake. When she regained consciousness she was somehow changed.  It felt to her like she had been gone forever but where she had been she could not say.

the lagoon

Afterward certain things would affect her dramatically, like the prisms of light shining on a dew drop or the moving shadows of trees in a windstorm. They resounded faintly in her brain like echoes of a forgotten dream, floating upward from the depths like outstretched hands but falling back  before she could clasp them. At those moments she would freeze up and the other children would call for mother and cry out  “Megan is having a seizure again” and either mother or father would come running and hold her till she came back to herself.  Eventually the seizures subsided and life became relatively normal again.

She grew up and married though she retained certain idiosyncrasies that were attributed to a childhood brain injury. She had a certain charming awkwardness and hesitation in her movements  and she had refused to dance at her own wedding for which her husband frequently teased her. She often wondered why she couldn’t bring herself to dance. She certainly loved music but she always thought of the old tale by Andersen about the red shoes. Perhaps if she tried to dance she might lose control and dance out of the kitchen and onto the streets  and end up like poor Karen, far away at the edge of the world and farther, where this time no one would be able to find her.

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The morning before while Megan was still in bed, Ingrid had come into the room and lay beside her. She began to tell her mother a story. Mr. Muninn wasn’t really a crow, Ingrid said. He was a forest  spirit who could change shape and he sometimes talked to her and told her of another world beyond and yet beside the trees.  She said at night when everyone was asleep he invited her to sit on the wharf  so the water sprites could sing to her. Later that same morning Megan saw Ingrid dancing in the fleeting fog that often rose off the lake as the weather turned cooler. The ethereal tendrils had curled around her flashing legs and feet before they evaporated into the trees.

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To an ordinary person this might seem like the fanciful imaginings of children and especially of a prepubescent girl like Ingrid, but Megan felt again that paralyzing tremor of her childhood.  She had observed her daughter murmuring to Mr. Muninn and she suddenly realized that all the foreboding and unease she had had about the cottage was real. There was some kind of altered perception or portal here. That evening she dreamed she heard strange, yet familiar music and saw the children dancing wildly in the grove as the stars fell all around them. Their feet were on fire and their hair turned to filaments of mist as they began to dissolve into motes of light until finally the clearing fell silent and abandoned. She awoke in fear and weeping, overcome with a sense of loss and sorrow. The next morning she found  rings of magical mushrooms that had sprung up around the door and all along the path.

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So later that afternoon they packed up everything and went back to the town flat.  The cottage was boarded up and finally put for sale. Life became it’s usual comfortable and safe routine.  Mr Muninn must have long since flown away and no toadstools grew out of sidewalks. Children sat quietly in structured classrooms and were inside by supper.  Even so,  sometimes there were mornings, still folded between waking and dreaming, when Megan would bolt up in bed and exclaim ecstatically “How they danced, how they danced!!

the stolen child by Loreena McKennitt

and on Aug 31, 2019 at

An illustration of W.B Yeats poem The Stolen Child in the virtual gallery

My images were displayed at Itakos (virtual) Gallery  by Akim Alonzo as

‘The Stolen Child”

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(in Yeats Poem there is a darkness hinted at, of children abducted or of explaining the death of a child as an abduction of the soul by the fairies. There were also some children returned from the fairies forever altered or with certain changes such as autism or other disorders.)

*Muninn was one of the god Odin’s messengers. His name meant memory.

A wonderful review by Inara Pey in Living in a Modem World

“It’s an absolute wonder; poignant, rich in lore, perfectly presented – and wrapped in Yeats and McKennitt – two of my favourites!”- I. Pey

66 Comments Add yours

  1. A haunting story, accompanied by magical images Cybele. And congratulations on the exhibition!

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    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the short story Andrea!! Thank you for commenting. Ah yes the exhibit. I sometimes make an excursion to that other imaginative and pixelated world to enjoy the impressive art on display. It was an honour to submit my images there for that project. My latest post is a video of the event.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Peter Nena says:

    How did I miss this gem?

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    1. so pleased you dropped by Peter!! Thank you!

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  3. gaiscedach says:

    The true Senachai will evoke profound feelings and emotions by their tales told. And sure, you made a tear form in my eye, awaking old memories of my gran reading the poem and me sitting in awe at her feet. The whole project you’ve done, from beautiful images to touching story, has me enthralled once again. Thank you Cybele, for all you do xx

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    1. Your comment is very touching to me Connor! Many thanks for your visit and memories!!

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  4. Thanks for following my blog, Cybele!

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    1. you are welcome and thanks for taking time to follow mine!

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  5. Beautiful, Cybele! I don’t know how I missed this post earlier but I am glad you referred back to it today!

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    1. so glad you found it Crow and thanks so much!

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  6. I enjoyed your story CybeleMoon and your delightful images …. thanks for sharing

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    1. thank you so much Julie!! Sorry it took a while to respond!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dagmar Ronaldsdottir says:

    you really have the gift of poetry in your prose. This piece reminds me of some wonderful South American literature that contain and combine elements of fantasy with reality.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Renee Espriu says:

    Your photos make it all the more amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Renee Espriu says:

    A wonderful story by a gifted writer. I love to read such stories filled with those things some do not understand but who is really to say what is real. Lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh I always hope there is enough realism in them to combine two worlds lol. thank you so much Renee. Coming from you that means a lot!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Anita says:

    An engrossing story, Cybele! Your enchanting pictures dance perfectly to the tune of the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anita, I was wondering how you were!!! So good to hear from you as I’m a bit sporadic this year too!! Thank you so much for popping over and commenting!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anita says:

        Thank you, Cybele, it’s always a treat for the soul no matter when you write. I’ve not been active on my own blog recently, though I do visit others’ inspiring blogs from time to time. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. DG Hardy says:

    This piece is so full of an understanding and knowing which is beyond our hard reasoning world. You have such a true artist’s talent of being in touch with the all the layers of our human reality …a Cybele for sure! Somehow you alchemize with an inspired hand all the images, words and turn them into music. Never mind any comments about a few commas or any kind of editing…moot points, for sure…Your story is sad but also says that we have to balance the spirit-world with our mundane grip..a real struggle when the magnetic pull of leaving it has its grip upon one….

    Again, thank you for your wonder-filled ART.

    Love and a warm embrace

    Liked by 1 person

    1. what beautiful words DG. !! Thank you

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  12. Reblogged this on Magick Thoughts SL ❤ Le meilleur de Second Life and commented:
    I love Cybele’s stories and images. She is a wonder with her mixing of RL and SL. I hope you will read this and go see her art she is everywhere these days. She is still at Paris Metro Art Gallery and has been there a good time while we are slow. Also you can go to the Itakos Art Gallery and see her most recent The Stolen Child story and exhibit on August 31 2019.

    I know I am not blogging much on my own these days please forgive me. I am getting ready to move back to England in October so I have no brain power for my own art and blogging. So as you can see I sharing many things here at my blog until my life has calmed down and I can focus on my own blogging and photography. I used to be more of a real life artist years ago. I did photography with a manual Cannon AE-1 and worked the college darkroom. I cant tell you how much I love it but am so very allergic to the chemicals now. My whole body breaks out in a terrible wrinkly old looking skin. It was so strange… so I am glad for modern day digital!! Anyway as I get my life together I am sharing other blogs I love and things I believe in. Anyway back to my friend Cybele, I hope you will read her blog and follow there and in Second Life. —AmandaMagick

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  13. Adrian Lewis says:

    Wonderful post – very good to see you back – and congrats on the exhibition. I always enjoy your photography, but two images here especially get to me – the black-eyed susans in the third image down, and the shot of the girl in the red top below it. Keep on keeping on, Cybele! Adrian 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much Adrian – I know I’ve become a bit sporadic!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. A lovely story and inspiring images. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I am always intrigued by your images; their creativity draws me into each story.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. paula graham says:

    Beautiful, just so.

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  17. Array says:

    Just pass 10am here on a lovely sunny morning. Meditation over and a fresh pot of coffee and your beautiful story to start my day. Love to you and your family Cybele.
    George ☘️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it’s wonderful to hear from you George. Thank you so much! Hope you are well! namaste and blessings always!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Sherry Felix says:

    I am enthralled by your art and the story. You are and inspiration. I love, love, love this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Sherry!! I am so happy you enjoyed the post!!

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  19. Tina Schell says:

    The images are perfection for the compelling story Cybele – I was enchanted the whole way through!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so appreciate your comment! Thank you so much!

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  20. Suzanne says:

    Whoops I commented before I followed your link to The Stolen Child. I wish you great success with your upcoming exhibition.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. small successes are nice too!! Thank you!!!

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  21. Suzanne says:

    The story is chilling and the photos are pure magic. The one of the girl standing on the rock near the swan is absolutely wonderful. I hope you find a venue to exhibit the best of your work one day. You deserve wide recognition. Thanks for sharing it here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. what a wonderful compliment Suzanne. That means a lot to me.

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  22. disperser says:

    Always a visual treat and this with a bonus for the imagination.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Exquisite and LOVED that you had such an image mix. xxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh thank you dear lass!! ( I keep revising bits of it lol) I always press post before editing!! At any rate it’s the fairies that take over my fingers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Because you are a creator my dear and the finer details often aren’t important. x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. 😀 I think you are right!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. So you should just take that bow. xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  24. smilecalm says:

    so intricate
    the transformative tale
    with happy continuations
    awaiting unveiling 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Amy says:

    Story is wonderful told through your beautiful images. Cybele!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Wow! Wow! Wow! Storytelling to perfection, Hana! Hope all is well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hello Linda!!! just a busy summer this year! Thank you my friend! Will be over to visit!

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Willow says:

    Beautiful story, wonderful images, and Loreena McKennitt “Stolen Child” fits so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so pleased you liked this one!!

      Like

  28. Sue says:

    Oooh, well told!

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    1. many thanks Sue for reading!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sue says:

        I like the images, a different style to your usual…

        Like

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