Pen Jen's Inkwell Podcast

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Welcome to the Jen Waters' Pen Jen’s Inkwell Podcast! Jen wrote and performed all the original stories in the podcast. This podcast is produced by Eric Baines, who scored all the stories and poems in the series to public domain and original music. The podcast is associated with the blog of the same name, Pen Jen’s Inkwell, www.penjensinkwell.blogspot.com, which can be found on her website: www.jenwaters.com. It features the children's music and spoken word stories from her Apple Music releases, including WONDERLAND, WINTER WONDERLAND, IMPOSSIBLE THINGS, CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER, ENTIRELY BONKERS, HANDWRITTEN, HOOPS TIME and more. During the summer of 1994, Jen attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. In 1999, Jen graduated as an S.I. Newhouse Scholar from the School of Public Communications at Syracuse University with a major in magazine journalism and minors in music industry and in English and textual studies. She took the TV, radio, and film classes in sound production. She also took classes at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University. During her junior year, she studied abroad for a semester in London, England. Upon graduation, Dean Rosanna Grassi awarded her with the Henry J. Wolff Prize for the graduating senior deemed most proficient in journalism. She has worked for such Pennsylvania publications as HARRISBURG Magazine, THE PATRIOT NEWS, and THE TIMES LEADER. She also worked for seven years in the Washington, D.C., media, writing mostly human-interest stories. "Yellow Roses," a song Jen co-wrote, became the grand-prize winner in the country category of the 2005 Session-I John Lennon Songwriting Contest. She has performed at various places such as the ASCAP Writer's Showcase at the Kennedy Center with host Stephen Schwartz, Genghis Cohen, Hallenbeck's, Hotel Cafe, the Koffeehouse Sundance Film Festival Chateau, and the Durango Songwriters Expos. Music-industry veteran Judy Stakee has mentored her. In August 2014, Jen released a 33-song collection through Pen Jen Songs called WHIMSY. In April and May 2016, she re-released the WHIMSY songs as WHIMSY FOR ONE and WHIMSY FOR TWO, each with an original Christmas song. In March 2017, she released PURITY, a 12-song collection with a pop-classical influence. In April 2019, she released SIMPLICITY, a 20-song pop collection. Combining her love for music and children, she founded Pen Jen Productions and created a children's novel and musical series, THE WHIRLWIND CHRONICLES: THE MAGIC MUSIC BOX, THE HORSE GATE, and DREAMS OR DUST. She also wrote KISSES, a feature film musical screenplay based on the life of Milton S. Hershey, which she plans to adapt for the stage. Her current works in progress include several children's novel and musical series: THE MARY NOSE MYSTERIES, THE DILEMMAS OF DAISY DIMPLE, MANDY DANDIE'S PINK LEMONADE, THE PEACEABLE KINGDOM, LEGENDS, ALL ANGELS, and THE HARP OF IRIS, which is part four of THE WHIRLWIND CHRONICLES. She is an ASCAP member and a nominee for the ASCAP Joe Raposo Children's Music Award. She has hundreds of stories and pop tunes yet to be written.

Jen Waters


    • May 11, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekly NEW EPISODES
    • 11m AVG DURATION
    • 46 EPISODES


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    Latest episodes from Pen Jen's Inkwell Podcast

    Minuet

    Play Episode Listen Later May 11, 2021 11:47

    Magic silkworms spin love in the most romantic way. Night and day, Emma Souster spins thread on a spinning wheel in her home, causing calluses on her hands. Her thread makes cotton frocks for the women of Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds in England. Because she is always too busy spinning for someone else, her daughter, Velvet Briar Rose Souster, wears clothes made from the scraps. Most of the time, Velvet even sews them together herself. Now 15 years old, she needs a pretty dress for the winter Cotswolds Ballroom Dance. When Velvet was two years old, her father died of pneumonia in the winter frost. Heartbroken as could be, her mother never remarried, leaving Velvet and her mother to fend for themselves alone. However, her aunt lives in London, and her uncle is a wealthy banker, so Velvet often spends time on the train visiting her aunt and uncle, hardly making ends meet for herself and her mother. According to her aunt, a fairy godmother gave magic silkworms to Velvet's grandmother in her youth, and her grandmother gave them to her aunt for safe-keeping, not her mother. Years ago, the silkworms spun a wedding dress for Velvet's mother, but when her father died the "one-dress-in-a-lifetime" magic of the silkworms' spinning had already run out for her mother, or so her mother had been told. Velvet promises her aunt not to tell her mother about borrowing the silkworms and will return them on her next trip to London. Her aunt secretly plans to never talk to Velvet again once she gets back the magic silkworms. Upon returning home, Velvet finds her mother spinning at her wheel. The morning of the dance, she wakes up looking for answers from the magic silkworms. The worms, which she hid under her bedroom floorboards, are gone. As Velvet walks into the cottage kitchen, she finds her mother sitting at the spinning wheel, glowing. The magic silkworms visited Velvet and her mother, making each of them a glorious dress for the dance. As it turns out, Velvet meets a suitor at the dance who courts her, and so does her mother. In the meantime, Velvet's mother receives word that her sister's husband has gone to jail for fraudulent business dealings. In fact, Velvet's disheveled aunt busts into the cottage one afternoon unannounced when Emma is out doing errands at the market. When Emma comes back from town, she walks through the door with her suitor on her arm. The evil auntie runs from the cottage without taking the silkworms with her. To this day, the magic silkworms will spin a dress for anyone looking for love.

    The Unicorn Cure

    Play Episode Listen Later May 4, 2021 9:31

    The strength of a unicorn makes you strong enough to achieve anything. Twelve-year-old Sunshine lives in the land of Gras whose best friend is a unicorn named Penrose. Because her father is King of Gras and her mother is the queen, she lives in a Scottish medieval castle. Penrose goes with her everywhere, protecting her from harmful beasts in the enchanted forest. She loves to play with him in her rose garden and splash with him in the hot, bubbling mineral springs. Only the rhinoceros is known to have a similar horn on its head, and this unicorn’s alicorn has a red tip. More than once, his horn has pierced the heart of beasts of the forest in Sunshine’s defense. Although she is a princess, she has many jealous enemies, trying to prevent her destiny to rule Gras as queen. Sometimes, she spends the night with Penrose in his unicorn lair next to her family castle. She brushes his silky white coat with her own golden hairbrush and braids his long flowing tail. On days when Sunshine is sick, Penrose helps her get well quickly. His horn has magical healing qualities, and he grinds it against a rock and mixes its powder in tea as a potion to cure her ailments. Days later, his horn grows back to its regular shape, as if he has never used it as medicine. When Sunshine swims in a river or lake, he dips his horn in it first, cleansing it for her. He always makes sure that she is never poisoned by the evils of the forest. In fact, the cup itself from which Sunshine drinks is made from Penrose’s unicorn horn. On the base of the cup is inscribed: “But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.” So, whatever Sunshine drinks is purified by Penrose’s purifying healing powers and virtues. One afternoon, Sunshine and Penrose take a nap together by the river in the beautiful forest. The unicorn curls up next to her in the tall grass, neighing, and falling asleep with its head on her lap. That particular afternoon, beasts have been watching the pair from a distance, waiting to pounce. As Sunshine and Penrose rest, the beasts circle, and when Penrose is fully asleep, the creatures descend. Penrose rises to his feet. Although it is devastating, Penrose throws himself in front of the beasts, giving Sunshine a chance to flee. As she runs into the distance, she sees the beasts slaughter her most majestic best friend. She cries all night until she can no longer produce tears, and she feels sick to her stomach. She sobs. Then, a sudden voice booms in her bedroom, shaking the walls. There stands Penrose in all his glory and stately heroism. She runs across the room and throws her arms around his neck, kissing his cheeks as she wept. Almost like an angelic being, Penrose accompanies Sunshine until the day she dies, but only she sees him. “I have as it were the strength of a unicorn,” Sunshine sings, rising from bed each morning in her castle. As queen of Gras, she sits on an ivory throne made of Penrose’s magical alicorn, reigning until age one hundred twenty.

    Shoes

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 27, 2021 14:31

    If you ever wanted to live in a shoe, now is your chance! Over the river and through the woods, there is an old woman who lives in an ankle boot in the Shoes Neighborhood, a neighborhood of footwear. Although her five children—the parents of her twelve grandchildren—live nearby, her grandchildren enjoy staying at her home more than any other place in the entire countryside, including the village candy store. Of course, she is a good grandma—she feeds her grandchildren, clothes them, scolds them, and encourages them when they are sad. They never lack for anything because she is so wise and creative. Gramps passed away a few years ago, but she keeps his shoes by the fireplace for everyone to remember. In this quaint neighborhood of footwear, much like the shoe section at the village clothing store, there is a type of shoe for everyone’s personal taste. Except in the Shoes Neighborhood, the customers live in their shoes, instead of putting them on their feet. As much as everyone likes the Shoes Neighborhood for its cleverness and class, it has one enemy: Its long-standing rival, the Three-Footed Giant, whose feet never fit in shoes, because shoes come in a pair, and he has larger-than-life triple feet; so not only is the size a problem, but also his number of feet. The whole ground shakes every time he comes near the Shoes Neighborhood. As the Three-Footed Giant plods his way through the streets, the thigh-high boot home falls over, the roller skate home loses a wheel, and the stiletto home breaks its heel. Several porch sandal straps fall to the ground from a local residence, swinging back and forth with no place to attach. It is not a pretty sight, and neighbors run from their homes in tears and fright, afraid that their shoe house will be next to fall apart. In an attempt to soothe the Giant, Grammie and her grandchildren make him his own trio of shoes. Hurrying to work before he returns, they start by measuring his footprints. As the twelve grandchildren work for five straight nights in a row, they make the Three-Footed Giant individual army boots, matching his three distinct footprints, each of which has varying numbers of toes. When the army boots are painted and laced, Grammie inspects the shoes with her spectacles. She paces about the boots, gearing up for her showdown with the Giant, anticipating the next time he comes ‘round. Days later, when the Three-Footed Giant comes back to the Shoes Neighborhood, Grammie has been baking, and he smells her blueberry muffins. Grammie bursts through the front door of her home, and she parts the trees in her yard, showing him his new trio of army boots. She tells him that the shoes are for him and that they are a perfect fit. After much fussing, fidgeting, and rolling on the ground, the Three-Footed Giant shoves his feet into the boots. Filled with gratitude, he breaks down sobbing like a two-year-old child. Against her will, the Giant scoops Grammie up in his palm and places her at his heart. He tells Grammie that he loves her, and she responds, saying the same. He wants to bring all his friends with awkward feet to her for shoes.  From then on, the Shoes Neighborhood is known as the most generous place for people with misshapen feet.

    The Great Magician's Feather Pen

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 20, 2021 13:38

    If the Evil Squid Ink doesn’t steal the Great Magician’s story magic, Ink Fairies just might deliver a book to your beside from the Timeless Library. When the Great Magician in the Kingdom of Reynes runs out of ink in his jar, he calls the Ink Fairies for help. Like all magicians, the Great Magician has a special gift that distinguishes him in the kingdoms—his is storytelling. In fact, whether or not people know it, he is responsible for writing all the stories in every kingdom of the world. After he writes the masterpieces, the Ink Fairies take his work and put them in the Timeless Library, where all stories are saved despite space or time. Then, when an author or scribe needs a story, the Ink Fairies deliver the book to his or her beside at night. When they wake in the morning, the story has been inscribed in their memory through the Magician’s spell. Of course, only the Great Magician and the Ink Fairies know this secret. If humans knew of the Magician’s power, they would be jealous and covet his magic, which they already think is their own. As Pherenice the Fairy drops off the latest batch of fairy ink, the Great Magician checks off the names of the Ink Fairies as they deliver their full ink jars: Blossom, Cherry, Dewdrop, Euclea, Flutter, Glimmer, Moonshadow, Songbird, Twinkle, Veil, and Wonderspell. Upset about a threatening letter from Evil Squid Ink at the bottom of Lake Doom, the fairies tell the Magician that their enemy has been plotting to steal the magic ink and take over the Ink Press and Timeless Library. In preparation for a long battle against the Squid Ink Army, the Ink Fairies secure the Ink Press and call for the neighboring fairies to come to their defense. However, the Magician decides he must write about what’s happening in a story, so it gets published in the human world, then they can know the lies of the Evil Squid Ink. If the story gets published, the Evil Squid will stay at the bottom of the Lake Doom in hiding, fearful that the humans will destroy him. The story must make it to the Timeless Library by midnight of the last day of the month for it to be available to its author in the current season. Otherwise, it has no chance to get published until next year, so the Magician has three days to deliver the story to the Timeless Library and its author. The Evil Squid Ink only wants to use the Ink Press and Timeless Library to promote his own meaningless and dark stories. As Pherenice and a group of fairies from neighboring kingdoms fly through the window to pick up the masterpiece “The Story of the Evil Squid Ink,” the Evil Squid Ink blows open the front door of the Great Magician’s chambers with an especially potent ink bomb. While the fairies take off to the Timeless Library with the manuscript, the Evil Squid Ink wrestles the Great Magician on the chamber floors. The Evil Squid Ink almost strangles the Magician with its tentacles until the Magician stabs him with his feather pen. The beast crawls away before the Magician can kill him, and it shrinks back into Lake Doom with his army.

    Bubblegum Taffy Hot Pink High Heels

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 13, 2021 11:50

    Time-traveling shoes offer a twelve-year girl a world of adventures, but her first mishap-ridden journey warns her to seek some experienced advice before her next trip. Twelve-year-old Aiyana Mitchell has her Bubblegum Taffy Hot Pink High Heels on. She loves to sit on the back porch in the suburbs of Philadelphia. With her time-traveling shoes, she can travel to the future and the past. The shoes are a special, secret gift from her Aunt Olivia, who used them to travel so many places it seems she is on a constant vacation. But Aiyana’s mom always says: "It’s better to stay in the present—forget about the past and wait for the future." Despite her mother’s warning, Aiyana wants the adventure and mystery of the time-traveling shoes. She hides them under her bed and her mom never notices them. Now that she’s ready to use them, she thinks about traveling to the early 1900’s to a lake with a boat and a fancy parasol and swans. When she closes her eyes, she appears with a lace dress on, sitting in a boat on a lake. Aiyana grabs the side of the boat with her left hand. The parasol slips from her right hand. Then the boat capsizes, and she falls into the lake. In all the commotion, Aiyana’s time-traveling shoes slip off and sink to the bottom. Fearing she’ll be stuck in the 1900’s forever, she pulls herself back up the side of the boat and cries: “Someone help me get my shoes back!” A proper gentleman in a full-body swimming suit, dives in her direction. Insisting she’s from the future she says she’d appreciate it so much if he would dive in and find her shoes, so she could return to 2018. He makes a couple of dives then finally a hand arises with the Bubblegum Taffy Hot Pink High Heels and hands them to Aiyana. She pours out the sand and puts the shoes back on. Aiyana returns to the present on the back porch with her mother calling. As Aiyana walks into the kitchen, she creates a trail of footprints and a puddle of lake water. As her mom cleans up the mess, Aiyana runs upstairs before her mom can see her Bubblegum Taffy Hot Pink High Heels. Before she goes time-traveling again, she’ll ask her aunt for advice. It has to go better next time, she thinks to herself.

    Frederick the Seahorse

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 6, 2021 14:29

    For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also, even at the bottom of the sea. Frederick the Seahorse loves to scour the ocean floor, looking for the Titanic’s lost sea chest. Although Frederick’s father King Maris, and his father before him have ruled the Kingdom of Kaimana they have not been able to find the lost treasure. Afraid of running out of treasure and losing his kingdom like Uncle Makai, Frederick, an only child and next in line for the throne, insists he must find the treasure so as not to be overshadowed by their rich neighbor King Saewine and his sons. King Maris tells Frederick to make sure he doesn’t squander the wealth he already has and that it would be better for Frederick to find a bride and start a family. But Frederick longs to have as much treasure as possible, so that statues are made of him, similar to those of his father and Poseidon, God of the Sea. Later that night, when the ocean grows dark, Frederick sets out on an expedition without his father’s consent. He writes a note on a seashell, and when his father finds it, the King weeps in remorse, fearing that Frederick will die in search of a vain treasure chest. After weeks of swimming past sharks in the fierce ocean waves, Frederick washes ashore on an unknown island. When he opens his eyes, he finds himself lying next to a sea chest of treasure, guarded by pirates with sharp swords. Frederick begs to go back to his father. But the band of pirates wraps Frederick up in ropes and weights, takes him out on their ship, and bounces him off the plank. Frederick sinks to the bottom of the ocean. In order to taunt him, the pirates drop a shiny diamond with Frederick, which lands at his nose on the ocean floor. Just as he is about to give up hope, he thinks he is having a vision: A gorgeous red-orange seahorse named Naia saves Frederick’s life by unraveling the ropes secured by the pirates. Frederick explains to Naia that he has been searching for the sea chest from the Titanic. Stunned, she says she enjoys the ocean’s beauty more than an old chest from that sunken ship. Frederick notices how beautiful Naia’s blue eyes are in the sunlight. Leaving the pirates’ diamond behind, he asks her to come with him to meet his parents. Naia asks her friend Guppy to send word to her father that she will be gone for a few days. She tells Guppy that it’s finally true love. After days of swimming in the ocean, Frederick and Naia dance in the waves to more than one melody. Trying to nudge Frederick into admitting that he admires her, Naia ask him if he has a seahorse in mind to be his wife. When he says “no” and that he’s trying to acquire wealth first, Naia swims back to her father, despite Frederick’s protest. Days later when Frederick finds her in an ocean cavern with her friend Guppy, he’s afraid she won’t even speak to him. After desperately apologizing, Naia forgives Frederick. When the two seahorses swim to King Maris’ throne, the King and Queen are speechless at their arrival. Frederick asks Naia to marry him and a tear fills Naia’s eye as she kisses him, knowing she loves him more than anyone—even her father, King Saewine, the richest king in the ocean.

    Six Strings

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 30, 2021 15:00

    A beloved six string guitar travels from person to person, magically helping them out in their time of need with inspiration, encouragement, and comfort . . . then makes its way back to the little girl who dreams of playing it in Carnegie Hall. When 11-year-old Lyric Lark loses her beloved guitar Six Strings in a New York City taxicab, she is worried that she’ll never play at Carnegie Hall—her lifelong dream. Her teacher at the Brooklyn Music School tells her to simply borrow a guitar until hers is found. Lyric considers that maybe somebody needs the guitar more than she does. Over the years, Six Strings has been held by all kinds of people—mostly at a pivotal moment when they need his comfort or guidance. His original owner was legendary guitarist, Reed Rock, who upon his death prayed for his guitar to live on. That night the taxi driver finds an out-of-tune guitar and tosses it out next to a homeless man who grabs it, tuning the guitar, and playing flawless jazz standards like “Rhapsody in Blue.” People give him money as he remembers his days as a classical guitarist for the New York Philharmonic, before he started drinking and lost everything. He decides to try and get his old job back. The next day a trash collector and former rock star grabs the instrument, but though he wants to get his band back together he needs an electric guitar, so he takes Six Strings to a hospital donation office. Meanwhile, the homeless man makes his way to the New York Philharmonic in a new set of clothes bought with the money from his street performance with Six Strings. At the hospital, the donation manager puts a new set of strings on the guitar and sends it down a long hall of hospital rooms. A nurse picks it up and places him in an elderly woman’s room. With only a few days to live, the elderly woman decides to play the guitar one last time. As she plays and sings, the patients from the ward gather by her bed, joining in a round of “Amazing Grace.” As Six Strings lays quietly on her lap, the elderly woman passes away. Six Strings goes back down the hall to the donation manager, who decides that the guitar would do better at a school. Noticing the name tag on the instrument, which says: “Lyric Lark,” he takes the guitar to the Brooklyn Music School, hoping to find the owner. When he bursts into the school, Lyric runs to get her beloved guitar. Badgered for identification, her teacher defends Lyric, making the man return Six Strings. As Lyric goes into class with Six Strings, the manager warns the girl not to lose the guitar again. Determined still to play at Carnegie Hall, Lyric thinks she needs Six Strings more than anyone else, even if she has to share him every now and then.

    Handwritten

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 23, 2021 27:40

    Handwritten letters bind young lovers together despite hardships and tragic loss, from grade school through World War II and into a life-long marriage. Young Dorothea Mildred Mengel walks three miles to church every Sunday, where she meets unruly and charming Wilson Moyer, three years older. He passes her notes which she keeps between the pages of her Bible. While Dorothy grieves the loss of her father, her mother is on her third husband. The young girl worries that this one will also die, leaving her mother alone with seven children. She tries to forget her foreboding feelings, but Dorothy always worries that something bad will happen, like when she was struck by lightning at age 12. Dorothy and Wilson attend different one-room schools so only see each other at church. After 8th grade Dorothy does housework for wealthy families as Wilson builds railroad boxcars. When older, they go to dances and movies with other teens and are happiest when with each other. Wilson is drafted into World War II and leaves for basic training. Dorothy gets a job in a factory putting buttons and snaps on baby clothes. He comes home on leave and romances Dorothy. Then he’s sent overseas but promises to write as often as possible and get married as soon as he returns, though her parents and others worry he could die in the war. For almost four years, Wilson and Dorothy write love letters. She never shows his to anyone. Though she continues a social life, she has no other boyfriends. Dorothy’s mother dies suddenly of a stroke, leaving her heartbroken and responsible for running the home and caring for her young siblings, while still working at the button and snaps factory. Wilson serves in England rebuilding bombed bridges. After the Nazi’s surrender, he sails to the Panama Canal, where he spends much time cleaning the ship and writing letters to Dorothy. The ship is headed for Japan, where he is especially worried that he will face combat and die in a costly invasion of the mainland. However, after arriving at the Panama Canal, Wilson receives word that the United States has dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the war is finally over. Despite the war ending, Wilson’s ship still heads to the Japanese Islands for clean-up efforts. He helps to send American weapons in Japan back to the United States. Wilson writes Dorothy and promises her that he will soon be home. After months in Japan, Wilson does fly home. The day after he returns in February 1946, he comes to Dorothy and asks her to marry him. After all the years together and apart, bound by their letters, they marry on June 22, 1946 at the church where they first met. For her entire life, Dorothy never shows anyone the love letters—except her granddaughter. She gives her Bible and the love letters to her granddaughter after Wilson has passed away, and Dorothy is sure that she will also soon die. She tells her granddaughter to keep the letters as a promise of true love.

    Hoops Time

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 16, 2021 18:10

    A talented but arrogant young basketball star learns to lead, to share, and to love. Johnny B. Good is at Lehigh College on a basketball scholarship for the Mountain Eagles men's team. Nancy Jones, daughter of the college president, is pursuing a degree in education and has a serious crush on Johnny. She’s there at all the games supporting him, but he seldom notices her. Shortly after being drafted into the NBA, an injury takes Johnny out of the game forever. At first, he thinks he might try to be an on-air sportscaster, but he does not have a broadcast journalism background and would have to take an unpaid internship to start the different career. Then he tries teaching business and history classes at a local community college, but is bored and uninterested in teaching students who do not take his class seriously. After he erupts at the students, he is fired. As a last resort, when Johnny is just about to move back home with his mother, Nancy’s father calls on behalf of Nancy to ask him to coach the basketball team. Nancy is now an assistant professor at the college. The president gives his condolences to Johnny for his sports injury and wishes Johnny had a long career in the NBA, but coaching the college team seems to be a perfect fit. After a moment of silence, Johnny agrees to take the job. Johnny is hard on the lax, unmotivated team; but Nancy confronts him and begs him to be friends with the team players, instead of bullying them. Her encouragement works, and Johnny actually begins to take notice of the young woman who has always been his biggest fan and now also it seems, his best friend. Little by little, Johnny’s coaching gets better, and so does the team. The college has its most successful basketball team ever. And when Nancy agrees to marry him, Johnny becomes a winner for the rest of his life.

    Rembrandt

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 9, 2021 8:33

    A world-famous painter reveals his methods and encourages artists to paint with truth and light and to value each individual with all their strengths and weaknesses. Dutch painter Rembrandt introduces himself to his students, saying he wants to teach them everything he knows. As an artist, he understands the human condition which puts him in a unique position to represent it in his work. Rembrandt’s portraits are painted with truth and light, never minimizing a person’s strong points or flaws. When Rembrandt paints himself he shows all his bumps, lumps, imperfections, wrinkles, sags, and bags. Not only does Rembrandt show people’s humanness in his portraits, but he also focuses on the eyes of the subject because confronting the viewer in a portrait causes a stronger association with the onlooker. His self-portraits over time are a visual diary and he picks costumes with flair, comparing his moods and expressions. He also created etchings and drawings. After the financial success in his early years, Rembrandt says he might have been too self-assured. Although many people romanticize his life, he says he suffered heartbreak when he lost his wife and had severe financial trouble in his later years. However, he still painted with common grace for every human. Rembrandt says historians categorize him in the Golden Age when Baroque style was popular. Along with self-portraits, he tried to make his contemporaries look good in paint. Some of his works include: “Man in the Golden Helmet,” “The Music Party,” “Girl at a Window,” and “Old Man with a Gold Chain.” “The Night Watch” might be his most famous painting. In “The Artist in His Studio” Rembrandt is seen alone, much like how he created. Before Rembrandt leaves, he asks to paint his students’ portraits. He says every life matters, so smile, or have a private thought, but pose for his painting, please. Each person’s image is part of a bigger composition, on Earth as it is in heaven.

    Monotone Monkey Melodies

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 2, 2021 12:02

    Like the professor who bought a monkey with a tuba for a nickel, sometimes you get more than you bargained for, but if you think creatively, you can often find more than one good solution to a problem. Old Professor Tumnus bought Monotone the monkey at the Grantville Circus from a retiring organ grinder for a nickel, thinking the monkey will be inspiration for his English students. The organ grinder warns him the monkey plays the tuba. He packs up Monotone’s things, hands the professor the tuba, and tells him the monkey can’t sleep without his tuba, and bananas are his favorite fruit. On the way home the monkey sits on the professor’s shoulders, laughing and pinching his ears for fun. The professor tells the monkey he can sleep on the couch for now and gathers pillows and a blanket, placing the tuba on the floor. Monotone curls his tail around his fingers and jumps on the couch. The professor heads upstairs, yawning. As the monkey cuddles his tuba like a teddy bear, he falls fast asleep and blows right into the tuba’s mouthpiece—one very long monotone note that carries out into the neighborhood. Half-asleep, the professor runs down the stairs and grabs the tuba from the monkey. Monotone sits straight up and bounces on the professor’s shoulders, grabbing the tuba. He assumes his original position on the couch with the tuba. The professor tries to feed the monkey a banana, but he puts the tuba right back and snores with one long note. The professor hears banging on his front door and finds a crowd gathering on his porch, including George Parker wearing earmuffs and Bettie Jane Brown with her hair in curlers. She called the fire department, thinking the professor’s fire alarm was going off. A red fire truck with the siren blazing pulls up. The firemen jump from the truck with their hoses and run through the front door spraying water. The fire chief sprays Monotone with the fire hose until he stops playing the tuba. Monotone shakes the water from himself, giggling, and jumps on the shoulders of the fire chief. Professor Tumnus and the neighbors march down to the circus tent to find that the organ grinder has gone. When they return to Monotone, he sits on the firemen’s truck. The professor suggests the fire department adopt Monotone for overnights, and the monkey can help him with his students during the days. Professor Tumnus grows banana trees like bonkers in his backyard and in every room of the house. Monotone has a night job with the fire department and sleeps in the fire truck with a mute in his tuba. He loves to wash the fire truck and polishes the fire pole by sliding up and down it. Monotone even befriends Spots, the old Dalmatian. He also becomes known as the best literature assistant in academia. And no one misses a wink of sleep in Grantville, except when the mute falls off the tuba.

    Gwen the Alligator

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 23, 2021 9:24

    Some legends seem so real they can capture lives and spark great loyalty. At Caerleon in Southern Wales, Gwen the Alligator who lived her whole life in the moat around castle Camelot, welcomes visitors to King Arthur’s realm for a retelling of the famous legends, including the quest for the Holy Grail. Gwen’s mom loved legends, tales, and folklore galore and named her newly-hatched egg after Arthur’s Queen Guinevere. Gwen tells visitors that Guinevere was beautiful, noble, gentle, and loved high tea. Tragedy struck when Guinevere fell in love with Lancelot, a knight of King Arthur’s Round Table, itself a wedding gift from Guinevere’s father. Lancelot was brave and loyal to Arthur, and Guinevere knew her romance with Lancelot was wrong but his valiant deeds to save her from death and danger made her fall in love. King Arthur tried to ignore Guinevere’s unfaithfulness, but then he knew her adultery was destroying his kingdom. Arthur fought Lancelot for Guinevere, the Knights took sides and fought each other, eventually disbanding. After time passed, Guinevere returned to Arthur and was thereafter loyal to her rightful king. After the Knights of the Round Table fell, King Arthur asked his nephew Mordred to take charge of the kingdom when he had to travel. Mordred plotted an evil scheme to make himself king and take Guinevere as his bride. Guinevere refused Mordred’s offer and locked herself in the Tower of London so he could not get to her. When Arthur returned he fought Mordred to the death, but was himself mortally wounded. Both Arthur and Mordred died, leaving Guinevere alone. King Arthur’s tombstone read: “Here lies Arthur, King that was, King that shall be, and he is great because he fought against evil and kept the land free. He helped those in danger find jubilee. The Holy Grail was a sovereign quest, but now King Arthur is forever at rest.” Guinevere entered a convent, repented, prayed, helped the poor, and vowed to never see Lancelot again. After she died, the church buried her next to Arthur and they all lived on in mythology. Gwen the Alligator insists to visitors they’ll never be the same from having learned how she got her name and knowing that King Arthur is supposed to return one day. She explains that an alligator’s fate is a castle, not a swamp. Confident she is Arthur’s bride-to-be, a British alligator that will guard his castle and sing his legends until King Arthur valiantly returns, Gwen pledges her allegiance to King Arthur and the Holy Grail.

    Romeo the Cat and Juliet the Dog

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 16, 2021 10:06

    Can star-crossed lovers Romeo the Cat and Juliet the Dog ever find true love’s happiness? One day when climbing a maple tree, Romeo the Cat feels a prick in his thigh. He sees a red arrow stuck in his back leg. A blindfolded, tiny red boy with wings tells him he has been “shot by Cupid.” The angel-like creature says that soon Romeo will be overtaken with true love. As Cupid flies off into the distance, Romeo notices the cutest little dog he had ever seen. A light brown Cocker Spaniel prances down the sidewalk with a large pink bow and curls. She wears a glitzy diamond collar and earrings that sparkle in the daylight. Romeo jumps from the tree, telling the dog she is the most gorgeous animal he’s ever seen. She says her name is Juliet, sticking her nose up in the air. Romeo sings a love song as he walks her to her grooming appointment. "You are as beautiful as a lily and a rose," the cat croons. Juliet blushes and gasps. Romeo insists that he has found true love and can never be apart from Juliet. She says she is a dog, and he is a cat, and the other animals will just not understand. Fluffing her coat in the wind, she says they will only fight like cats and dogs. Romeo tweaks his long, fluffy tail on her nose, insisting she is his true love. Romeo keeps singing that she is a "shooting star and a full moon in the night sky." Juliet reveals she has other suitors, like Zeus, a Great Dane. Romeo walks into the dog salon with her, troubled by the thought of Zeus. Romeo sits next to Juliet and purrs as she undergoes her beauty treatment. The dogs in the salon spray cat cologne on him as a complimentary service. When Juliet finishes getting herself primped and polished, Romeo holds out his cat paw and asks Juliet to join him for dinner. Before Juliet has a chance to respond, a Great Dane struts into the spa. He pushes Romeo to the side, saying he has been looking everywhere for Juliet. Although Juliet says she got distracted and meant to find Zeus, Romeo interrupts Zeus. He tells Zeus that he is taking Lady Juliet to dinner. Zeus growls in Romeo’s face, saying that he is a feline, not worthy of Juliet. Romeo challenges Zeus to a duel, willing to fight for love. Romeo holds his head high and walks out the salon door, ready to face Zeus in battle. Zeus barks at spa owner Franny the Poodle and thinks it will only take a few seconds to beat Romeo. Zeus faces Romeo head-on, and threatens the black cat with his large teeth. Romeo meows at Juliet, watching from behind the spa window. He says that his lady is worth his life. Juliet calls to him from the spa, urging Romeo not to fight Zeus. She says maybe it is just not meant to be between her and Romeo. Just as Zeus is about to descend on Romeo, Cupid appears and shoots black arrows at Zeus. This time, Cupid’s arrows have St. Valentine’s sleeping serum on their black tips. Zeus  collapses in the street like a dead, lead weight. Juliet runs to Romeo’s side and kisses his cheek. Then Cupid shoots Juliet with one of his red arrows. A bit later, Romeo pulls the arrow from her thigh. Instead of fighting like cats and dogs, Romeo and Juliet love like cats and dogs. The duo walks down the street paw-in-paw, creating a historic love that will last forever.

    Rebecca Buttons

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 9, 2021 9:22

    A teacher who believes in children’s dreams can help make those dreams come true in spite of discouraging thinking—especially if she gives them magic buttons from her magnificent collection. Dainty teacher Rebecca Buttons is Headmistress of Wormwood School for Higher Learning. When parents give her trouble, she is quick to set them straight, telling them that children must have flourishing imaginations. She wants her students to be able to do more than read or write, she wants them to know how to sing and fly kites. More than math and science, Miss Buttons tries to teach her students to believe in the impossible. If someone tells you that you can’t do it, show defiance, get determined, and find a way to accomplish that dream. She thinks her collection of magic buttons is better than pennies or nickels. If a student comes to her in tears, she tries to calm their growing fears, tells them to take a button from the pickle jar, and then to wish upon a star. Gracie Suttons is especially feisty and wears cute and lacy dresses to school, but Gracie’s mom, Mrs. Suttons, hates buttons. She thinks giving students buttons is ridiculous. However, Rebecca doesn’t care what Mrs. Suttons thinks and tells her that buttons can help any decision, and that she should broaden her thwarted view of life. Through the school, Miss Buttons runs a string that loops buttons for charm. Rebecca constantly reminds the children what buttons mean: “Be kind to others. Believe in the impossible goal. No one can give up!” Even if Mrs. Suttons wrinkles her nose, Rebecca ignores her. Miss Buttons insists that the world needs teachers, space walkers, doctors, artists, preachers, storytellers, chemists, deep-sea divers, architects, actors, and camel drivers. She insists that parents must tell their children the truth. Don’t lie to the children! Children were created to do mighty things and must spread their wings and fly. When Rebecca’s buttons are stolen, she becomes so angry that her cheeks are swollen. She thinks that Mrs. Suttons has gone crazy and stolen the buttons for sure. Miss Buttons hides her buttons in a secret room behind her office wall, a hall with buttons of every kind in alphabetical order depending on the problem they remedy. Once or twice a year, she stocks up on wisdom buttons, hiring the Wormwood Button Elves to find lost buttons all over town. Although she continues to fill her pickle jar, she never shows anyone the secret room, except young Gracie Suttons, whose mother has told her to be a cleaning lady for the rest of her life. Gracie’s life has new possibility because she takes a button from every jar. Later in life, Gracie acquires Miss Buttons’ teaching job, and Mrs. Suttons never finds the button vault, which Gracie inherits. A button reminds everyone to never say never!

    Beautiful Ballerina Slippers

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 2, 2021 14:31

    With enough faith and courage even a dream of the impossible can come true. Young Christina Rose worries she will need to wear leg braces all her life. Grandfather Renato, a shoemaker who fibs to her often, tells her no one ever notices her clumsy legs and puts roses behind her ears every morning. Christina’s parents run a barbershop and never have time for her. Years ago, Grandfather Renato made a wooden rocking horse named Sam—even clumsier than Christina. Every day after school she rides Sam for hours, putting roses behind his scraggily ears. She tells him she must be a ballerina and he’s pleased to think that someday soon the two of them will dance together. One day Christina tells her grandfather she must be able to walk without braces and that her only true friend is Sam. Her grandfather promises to help. Christina stumbles home and throws her arms around Sam, falling asleep on the rocking horse. Grandfather Renato stays up all night making a pair of pink ballerina toe slippers. Then Grandfather Renato asks the village priest to bless the slippers. But before he can give the shoes to Christina, the village necromancer stops him. Sorceress Lucinda says if he really wants Christina to dance he’ll cook the shoes in her witch brew. The only condition . . . she will never ever be able to take the slippers off her feet. Grandfather Renato agrees, thinking that’s better than Christina wearing braces her entire life. At sunset the Sorceress hands him the previously pink slippers, which are now black. Grandfather Renato hurries to find his granddaughter—who is of course sitting on Sam, her faithful rocking horse. Before he can explain that the slippers can never be removed once put on, she shoves them across her toes and ties the black ribbons as tight as possible. Then the braces fall off her legs and she dances across her bedroom floor with tears in her eyes. When he tells her that she will never be able to take the slippers off, she says that she would never want to take them off anyhow. As days turn into weeks and months, Christina puts a blanket over Sam and shoves him into the corner. She dances her way through the village to much acclaim and has forgotten that she ever rode Sam and told him secrets. Soon after that the Sorceress—full of jealousy for Christina’s dancing—hangs a black silk tutu on her window at night. She is angry that she never received credit for the slippers. The next morning, wearing the tutu, Christina collapses in her grandfather’s shop, breaking both ankles. Her grandfather admits the village witch cursed the shoes and says the tutu must be cursed as well. Grandfather Renato carries her to the priest’s cathedral in tears. Her grandfather fears she will die. The priest prays for Christina. As Grandfather Renato tucks Christina into her bed, her parents weep. After her mother says maybe God meant for her to wear braces and her father argues that she never needed to dance, a loud brave voice booms from the corner of the room, saying: “I am the only one who has ever really loved her.” The moment Christina kisses Sam she transforms into a tall slender woman, wearing pink ballet toe shoes. Then Sam changes into a tall fit man in a blue body suit wearing his own gentleman ballet slippers. As they dance across the village, the Sorceress collapses dead in the street, and Grandfather Renato never doubts his faith again. Christina’s parents finally love and accept her. Christina and Sam dance together in beautiful ballerina slippers for the rest of their lives, and so do their children.

    Shamrocks

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 26, 2021 11:22

    An Irish Faerie teaches a pig, a goat, and Leprechaun Elves that luck simply isn’t enough to get you by—you also need faith, hope, and love. Long ago in a land called Shamrocks lives a pink pig Mr. Hancocks and his closest friend Basil, a goat that sells fool’s gold near the end of the rainbow where luck and faith blend. Then there are Leprechaun Elves who eat three-leaf clovers four times a day, insisting it makes them lucky. Mr. Hancocks thinks clover tastes horrible, is unsure about “luck” and prefers faith. Basil the Goat who wears one Leprechaun shoe, believes in luck, especially in a sticky situation. Mr. Hancocks the Pig makes fun of anyone who believes in lucky numbers. Insulted, Basil challenges the pig to grow wings, since all kinds of outrageous things will happen by faith when pigs fly. Of course, the only way pigs will fly is if there is enough luck to reach the sky. But Mr. Hancocks tells Basil that he can definitely fly and higher than him. The Elves visit Basil’s shop to buy fool’s gold then re-sell it to the highest bidder. As the Elves dance around acting like hooligans, one tiny Leprechaun tells Basil the story he heard from a Faerie that the three little leaves on the Shamrock are faith, hope, and love. They’re not a lucky charm but a blessing, which is why they taste so good. Instead of being magic, the Shamrocks provide faith to believe, hope to achieve, and love that covers over much wrong. Since the Elves thought they’d found luck, they forgot about love in order to make money. Meanwhile Mr. Hancocks imagines flying from the rafters in the barn, but falters on the beams as he remembers the ground is farther than it seems, and he might soon be bacon. He realizes he needs wings more than he thought. When the Elves try to sell him fool’s gold for “luck,” he scolds them fourfold. Just when Mr. Hancocks is about to give up on flying, Basil stops by with wheelbarrows full of clover and a measuring cup. He tells Mr. Hancocks that if he eats two cups of the clover a day, then he will be able to fly away. The pig tells the goat that he needs more than luck or chance, and he is perplexed why “faith” has not been enough to fly. Basil explains to Mr. Hancocks that luck and faith are second fiddle to love with hope. The secret to the Shamrocks is not luck, but love. Basil tells Mr. Hancocks to eat Shamrocks for dinner and lunch and then he will be filled with love. So Mr. Hancocks gobbles up the Shamrocks, grows wings, and soars from the highest rafter to the clouds. Eventually, Basil stops selling fake gold to fools and instead sells Shamrocks. Mr. Hancocks becomes a famous pig with wings. The Irish Faerie shares the wisdom of the wise, just like she did to the tiny Leprechaun who shared her secret with Basil. She says: “Luck is not enough, as St. Patrick would say. Faith, hope, and love—be with you ’till the end. May the road rise up to your feet at every bend.”

    The Turtle Who Became A Princess

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 19, 2021 9:06

    Anyone can change if they have determination, vision, and guidance—even a turtle who wants to be a princess. Once there was a turtle who wishes she could get rid of her very heavy shell. She meets a mermaid who was also once a turtle. The mermaid tells the turtle to swim to the bottom of the ocean and eat as many starfish as possible as they had fallen straight from heaven long ago in a meteorite shower and have magic powers. Any turtle can change with determination, vision, and guidance. But the mermaid warns that there are evil sharks that also want the magic. The mermaid wasn’t determined enough and only ate enough starfish to become a mermaid. At least she tried, and being a mermaid is better than being a turtle. The turtle promises the mermaid to eat as many starfish as she can, and to never give up. So the turtle dives into the raging ocean waves, swims to the sea floor, and eats one sparkling starfish after another, even when she isn’t hungry. When sharks come swooping past, the turtle hides in its shell. After the turtle eats every starfish in sight, she wonders why she still has her shell. Then she sees one last starfish. As she catches it in her mouth, a shark chomps on one of its pointy legs. Looking at its great white teeth, the turtle wants to swim away and forget her dream but remembers her promise to the mermaid to never give up. With all her strength, the turtle wrestles with the shark and fervently wishes to shed her shell once and for all. A sudden gush of water sends the turtle spinning across the ocean floor with the starfish in its mouth and the shark spinning in the other direction, giving the turtle time to eat the starfish. As she bravely faces the shark, a light rises from her back, blinding the shark. The light is so strong that it breaks off her shell, and she grows a human body with long arms and legs. She swims as fast as she can to the top of the sea. On the shore, she stands up straight and tall, running to the mermaid. “I’m free of my shell! I never gave up. I ate every starfish on the ocean floor!” she beams. “I’m sure I’m a princess. Now I must find my prince,” she sighs. The mermaid nods to an admiring sailor docking his boat nearby and tells the princess to take the name Princess Yeruti because it means turtledove. The turtle’s shell has become almost like wings to free her to soar for her dreams. Princess Yeruti whispers to the mermaid that she will never forget her. Then the princess and the handsome sailor set off into the sunset, hand in hand. Princess Yeruti tries to tell the sailor that she was once a turtle, but he never believes her for a second.

    Handprints

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 12, 2021 6:43

    A young artist encourages others to do like she does and make their unique mark with vibrant handprints that tell the world who they really are, for all time. Twelve-year-old Juliana Nelsen is an artist who puts her handprints on the walls, thumbprints on the ceiling, and footprints on the floor. She thinks her prints reveal who she is, where she’s been, what she’s done, and what she gives to the world. She also frames a baked red clay sculpture of her handprints to make the statement: “I was here.” She wants to be remembered by people far and near. When someone else looks at her unique handprints, Juliana thinks they can tell she likes rhyme, reason, Mathematics, and Michelangelo. And, she enjoys ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate soda floats, symphonies, ballet, and sophisticated quotes, as well as sunrises, blue skies, fields of yellow daisies, dancing, dreaming, and doodling. Juliana’s parents are artists who work in paint and clay. Her interest in handprints of each shape and tiny size started with her own hands. Now she’s also interested in making other people’s handprints, so when friends and family see them, they will remember who the person is like a silver shooting star. Juliana asks the reader to make a first impression with their hands into clay and write their name at the bottom to claim the prints. Then, everyone will know the person is a masterpiece of fine art, of which there is no clone. The world can know the person’s likes, dislikes, favorites, and yikes. If a person really wants the world to notice a unique style, they can leave a trail of handprints in the colors of the rainbow. Using fingers, toes, and elbows to leave marks is also a good idea. To make a larger painting, a string of hearts or flowers made from handprints can be entertaining. Handprints can be used to make wings of an angel taking flight, turtles with their shells, butterflies that soar, or the sun in the heavens. They can also be used to make leaves on a tall tree, a fish in the sea, a giraffe that stretches his neck, or a flamingo with feathers. Making a stamp from a handprint, or prints for the squares on a quilt, or a T-shirt design for pajamas are other possibilities. When someone looks at handprints, a larger meaning comes forth, like a picture with a purpose. Handprints are always growing, just like someone’s life story. Juliana says to be proud of handprints in all their wonderful glory. It’s like they are on display in a gallery of never-ending ageless art. When Juliana is 101 years old, she says she will have her handprints from age 12, and she will remember being young. Her framed handprints, like her heart, will almost be the same, just a little bigger with time.

    The Orchestra's Tale

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 5, 2021 12:44

    True Love demands expression, in the very best way. The whole world needs to know The Orchestra’s Tale! Giuseppe the Violin and Johann the Flute are sick of sitting on the shelf. Retired Conductor Franz Melodia of the Luneburg Symphony Orchestra lost his funding, so he cannot put on performances for the community. Even his son George has been more interested in electronic instruments and never plays the Violin and the Flute. If Franz cannot interest his son in getting the Orchestra back on its feet, he will have to sell the instruments now in his closet. Only Clara the Clarinet has broken out of her box to come visit Giuseppe and Johann on the shelf. Once upon a time, she and Johann played gorgeous duets and have been madly in love ever since. Giuseppe and Johann decide that they will organize the return of the Luneburg Symphony Orchestra and free the true love between Clara and Johann. Franz and George take their annual summer vacation, the instruments come out of the closet, and Giuseppe and Johann organize a revival of the Orchestra. They sneak to the Luneburg Symphony Concert Hall and practice concert material, playing their parts themselves. Upon their return Franz immediately notices that the instruments, including Giuseppe and Johann, are missing. George calls the police and puts out a reward notice for the missing instruments. However, the disillusioned Franz tells his son George that upon return of the instruments, he plans to keep the reward money, sell the instruments to the highest bidder, and put the past in the past. The Instruments hide and advertise their Sunday afternoon concert. Franz buys two tickets for the concert and takes his son George, who is astounded to find the instruments playing on stage to a sold-out show. In the audience is Jonathan Bach II, a long lost relative of Johann Sebastian Bach, who recognizes the Violin and the Flute. He decides to finance the Orchestra, refurbish the Concert Hall, and conduct special performances, featuring many solos for Giuseppe and duets with Johann and Clara. Franz hugs Bach II in tears, grateful for his support. George decides he will learn to play the Violin and the Flute along with his other electronic instruments. Franz is thrilled that the Orchestra has come back to life.

    The Nativity Spider

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 29, 2020 10:24

    An ancient Christmas tradition of beauty and blessing is upheld by a brave little girl and a family of spiders. On Christmas Eve, 11-year-old Betsy Lobb’s mother tells her to kill the pet spiders she had befriended out in the fields after admiring their work. Betsy brought them home to the Lobb’s three-story mansion, but her mother doesn’t want Christmas Eve party guests covered in spider webs. And if Betsy doesn’t kill them, the mother will get her dad to do it. Betsy gathers the spider family in her pockets and takes them to the attic, telling them to hide in the rafters until the party is over. Tarantola the spider informs Betsy that he and his family must trim the Christmas tree with webs before midnight when the Christ Child comes and touches spider webs on Christmas trees, turning them into silver tinsel. When the Christ Child does this, he promises the spiders will live another year. Tarantola says that if he doesn’t give his gift to the Christ Child, he’ll surely die in the winter’s frost, and so will his family. Betsy agrees and goes back down to the party, leaving the spiders to spin in the attic. At the party, guests dance around the brightly-decorated 12-foot tree, enjoying carols and trays full of Christmas pies and three-layered chocolate cakes. Betsy eats crab dip with sourdough bread, even making her way to the punch bowl a time or two. Glad the spiders are gone, Mr. and Mrs. Lobb entertain their noble guests, shushing Betsy, making her feel like the spiders are her only real friends. It’s half-past eleven and soon the Christ Child will come. One kind guest encourages Betsy, assuring her that the Christ Child really does come at midnight. Betsy runs up to the attic and is thrilled to find it filled with beautifully cast webs. But with only five minutes until midnight—and fearing the death of her spider friends—she gathers Tarantola and his family into her dress pockets, runs down the stairs, and hurries past guests to the tree. The spiders scurry up and down the Christmas tree spinning webs. Just as guests begin to scream about the spiders, the grandfather clock strikes midnight and bright starlight shines through the dark window. The entire room gasps as a small child appears next to the tree, admiring the webs artfully cast across the tall evergreen. Betsy asks the Christ Child to bless the Christmas tree. As he touches the webs, they transform into shining silver tinsel. Then the Child disappears in the starlight. Before anyone finds Tarantola, Betsy shuffles him and his spider family back into her dress pockets. Although the others aren’t quite sure what had happened, silver tinsel shines on the evergreen. Betsy’s heart is merry in knowing that the Christ Child has taken every tangled spider web and made it beautiful. Now if only that could happen for each person on the Earth at Christmas.

    Born on Christmas Day

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 22, 2020 9:54

    A Christmas princess expands the kingdom of joy and helpfulness to many other children with her own generosity and dedication. Natasha Bell shares her birthday with King Jesus, believes she is a princess, and is inspired to do good everywhere and change the whole world! By age 10, she spreads love and kindness to people with all kinds of serious problems. At Christmastime, Natasha visits the shopping malls to meet the Santa Clauses and help them with the children who want to sit on Santa’s knee, tell him how “nice” they have been that year, and ask for Christmas gifts. Then they pose for the annual photo on Santa’s lap that goes in the family Christmas card and hangs on the refrigerator. When the mall manager comes by, she forces Natasha to the end of the line, but once she’s left, Natasha marches right back to the front of the Santa Claus display. Santa is pleased to have her help make his photo quota and she gives advice on everything from how to pick a puppy to where to get a bargain. She even calms screaming kids, wipes tears, and dries noses. On Christmas Eve Day, a little boy sits on Santa’s lap, crying because he wants a baby sister for Christmas. The Mom says that she can’t have another baby, but he doesn’t understand why. Santa is dumbfounded; he explains that he only visits with the kids for the money and can’t promise anything. He says he must have met 30,000 kids by now. The boy protests, wondering if the mall Santa is the “real” Santa. The mall Santa says that he feels real, especially since he’s been kicked in the shin so many times. In the meantime, the boy’s mother insists that the Santa ask her son to stop sucking his thumb. Like many mall Santas, the Santa replies that he is Jewish and celebrates Hanukkah, but he’s doing the best he can with the kids in the mall because the holidays are all about goodwill. Worried he’ll get fired, the mall Santa asks the mother to stop all the commotion. Marching toward Mr. Claus, the mall manager forbids Natasha from standing in the Santa line. Hiding from the looming manager, Natasha whispers to the boy on Santa’s lap that she will be his sister and that she’s a princess. While being eyed by the manager, the boy says yes, he would like to have a sister born on Christmas who’s a princess. Once the manager leaves, insisting that she doesn’t have time for nonsense, only selling toys, Natasha explains to the boy that if he’s her brother, then he’s a prince. She says: “Anyone who is my sister or brother would also be a princess or a prince. We can all change the world together! My mom told me, so it has to be true.” Every year after that, despite the mall managers, Natasha collects new sisters and brothers in the Santa Claus lines until she has an entire kingdom—a kingdom of princesses and princes who are related to the King, and that makes all the difference in the world.

    Bethlehem Star

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 15, 2020 11:09

    We all have a destiny . . . if we’re patient enough to wait until just the right time to shine. Once upon a time a Christmas Star was born into the Universe. The Galaxy said its name was the Star of Bethlehem and although the smallest star in the Universe, its purpose was to shine brighter than any star ever on the night a Savior is born. Three Wise Men would travel with gifts for the child in a time of great danger and will need to see its light to find him. The Little Star didn’t think its purpose sounded important enough. In fact, it wanted a different job—any other job. It wanted to be part of Aquarius, Gemini, Leo, or Orion. However, the Galaxy disagreed and said that the Universe is depending on its cooperation. For two thousand years, it will shine at half its light. Then at the appointed time, it will shine brighter than everything in the night sky. The Bethlehem Star tried to wait patiently for Christmas Eve. As two thousand years passed, he thought the Galaxy had forgotten him. Even when the Little Star inquired of the Galaxy, there was only deafening silence. The Bethlehem Star withstood other stars’ taunting about shining at half its light, doubting it would ever shine fully. Tears dropped from the Bethlehem Star all the way to earth, creating reservoirs of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Orion once tried to take his job, saying a comet, a planet, an angel, or even a shooting star should shine for Christmas Eve—much better choices than the dim Little Star. More years passed. The Little Star tried to force itself to flicker just a little brighter, even if it hurt to do so, but all its efforts were for naught. Then just when the Bethlehem Star was sure it had lost its chance for a miracle, the Galaxy spoke louder than before. It said the Little Star, not Orion, would shine over the Bethlehem manger where the Child was resting. As midnight approached on the first Christmas Eve, the Bethlehem Star suddenly lit the night sky. It was so bright that nearly everyone in the world could see its glow, but especially the three Wise Men. All at once, a great company of the heavenly host appeared, singing in the sky with hallelujahs. The Bethlehem Star was so excited to finally be shining. Even the angels could see how the legendary star shined so bright on Christmas Eve that the rest of the stars were amazed beyond belief. For as long as time lasts, everyone in the Universe will have heard of the Bethlehem Star and its luminous beauty.

    The Christmas Poinsettia

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2020 15:28

    A very special Christmas gift of love can turn weeds into wonder. Young Maria likes her abuelita’s stories, especially about los Cuentos de Navidad with los pastores, los ángeles, and los Reyes Magos. Maria, 12, lives en un pequeño pueblo in México and one particular afternoon, she runs to her grandmother’s house where she has a piñata full of candy. She looks at the weeds growing along the sidewalk in the dirt and thinks that much of her life feels like them. Then she runs up the wooden steps of her grandmother’s brightly painted casa and burst through la puerta. Her grandmother’s soft, black cat named Bonita, who loves to tickle Maria with her tail, greets her. She asks her grandmother to tell her a story, curls up in her grandma’s wooden chair and rests her head on a rainbow-colored blanket, eating candy and listening to the story, which goes like this: "There once was a poor Mexican girl named Pepita, who had no money to buy a gift to give the baby Jesus. Her cousin Pedro told her that even the smallest gifts of love make Jesus happy. Noticing the weeds on the side of the road, Pepita picked a small handful of weeds and made them into a bouquet. When she walked into the church, she felt ashamed that she only had this small gift to give the baby Jesus. While placing the weeds at the Nativity scene in the church, she said a quiet prayer with tearful eyes. Then she blinked, not believing her eyes: the weeds changed into a bouquet of bright red flowers. It was a miracle. Since that night, everyone knows the Legend of the ‘Flowers of the Holy Night.’ Most people call the flowers ‘Christmas Poinsettias’ and see the plant as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem." Maria decides to try an experiment on Christmas Eve. She collects every weed she can find—big, small, and dirty—then hurries to el belén at the church’s altar. She gives Jesus her weeds. She takes off her red sweater and wraps the baby in it. Then Maria gently arranges all the members del belén, making sure they are standing in their proper places. The next morning, Maria runs again a la Iglesia del Pueblo to see if the weeds have become las flores. When she peers through the window, she still only sees weeds at el belén and feels a bit worried. Later that night, Maria and her familia enter la Iglesia del Pueblo with burning candles. There is a crowd gathered around the Nativity scene, staring at the weeds in disgust. The priest unwraps el niño Jesús from Maria’s red sweater and throws it in the trash behind the pulpit. Tears stream down Maria’s mejillas color rojo brillante. She runs out of la Iglesia as fast as she can. Despite the taunting from the congregation, Maria picks more weeds and fills sus bolsillos as full as possible. She crawls into su cama, pulling up the covers, praying: “Por favor niño Jesús, change my weeds into flowers.” Early on Christmas morning, Maria feels something tickle her nose, thinking it might be la gata de su abuela. As she slowly opens her ojos, she realizes she is lying in una cama of bright red Christmas Poinsettias. She is excited to see that Christmas Poinsettias grow across the floor, ceiling, and every wall. Soon enough, the entire village believes the Legend of the Christmas Poinsettia and builds jardines de las flores rojas.

    Lewis The Christmas Bear

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2020 9:50

    Lewis is a magic teddy bear that can bring healing and happiness to any child who hugs him. Now if only Santa Claus would take him out of the bag on Christmas Eve and give him to a child so he can fulfill his special mission. Once upon a time, there was a brown bear named Lewis who was made by Mrs. Santa Claus. No one but Mrs. Claus knows that she has sewn magic healing power into his nose. Mrs. Claus has a laundry list of essential duties to keep the toy factory running and prepare for Christmas, but she knows that the world needs at least one magic Christmas teddy a year to spread healing. Any child who has sickness or loneliness would only have to hug Lewis to be well and happy. On Christmas Eve, Mrs. Claus sneaks Lewis into her husband’s big, crimson toy sack. At one house after another, Mr. Claus jumps down the chimney, and Lewis remains stuffed in the bag. He thinks Lewis is last year’s model. Lewis sits on the bottom of the sack, wondering with a sigh if he would have to wait until next year to meet any children. The last roof of the night is a hospital ward. Lewis hears a girl crying and praying. The teddy bear jumps from the sack, tiptoes over to her bed, and crawls into the pale, sickly, 10-year-old girl’s tiny arms. Lewis tells her that he has Christmas magic healing power in his nose. Her body tingles from head-to-toe, and she becomes warm all over, like a big cup of cinnamon apple cider. In the morning, doctors and nurses and her parents gather at Bernice’s bedside, full of joy at her complete healing. By Christmas evening, Lewis has rubbed his magic nose on every child’s cheek in the hospital ward. Bernice makes sure that all the children are well and keeps the Christmas magic in his nose a secret from the grown-ups. The day after Christmas, she goes home with Lewis tucked in her knapsack, promising to feed him rice pudding. Every month after that, Bernice visits the hospital ward with Lewis, rubbing his nose on children’s cheeks. She is so glad to be his girl and for him to be her teddy; she will love him forever.

    The Christmas Tree That Lives Forever

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2020 11:59

    Annabelle is determined to have a Christmas Tree that lives forever—now if she can just convince her Scroogey father. The determination of 12-year-old Annabelle Cunningham makes Christmas last all year long. She wants a big Christmas tree, but her father thinks his Santa Claus collection is enough. Annabelle’s mother reminds her that Mr. Cunningham never celebrated Christmas as a child and asks Annabelle to be kind to her father. As Annabelle and her father drive out to the Christmas tree farm, she hums “O Christmas Tree,” ignoring her father’s humbug. She selects a tall, plump evergreen, and her father swings his axe. As the tree falls, the lot manager pulls it all the way to the truck on a sled. Annabelle climbs in the front seat, reminding her father not to act like Scrooge. When Mr. Cunningham stops in the driveway, he threatens to chop the Christmas tree for stove wood, but Annabelle insists it will be the Christmas tree that lives forever. With her mother’s help, she pulls the tree all the way into the living room, attaches a tree stand, waters it and carefully arranges the red tree skirt. Stringing caramel popcorn and cranberries, Annabelle watches “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and sings along to “A Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Silver and Gold.” The decorated tree stands proud and tall all Christmas Eve day and Christmas Day. It hovers over the presents as they are wrapped and unwrapped and re-wrapped to give away to someone else. Of course, Annabelle would never give a Christmas gift away, but Mr. Cunningham is too stingy to buy Christmas gifts in the first place. One year he gave Annabelle a gift she had given him—a singing reindeer head. As her father turns off the lights on the Christmas tree, he reminds her that he is throwing the Christmas tree in the wood stove first thing in the morning. She vows he will not burn her tree. Early the next morning Annabelle drags the Christmas tree into the front yard and plants it with all its decorations right in front of the house. The neighbors gather round. As Mr. Cunningham yells that the electric bill is going to be enormous, the neighbors all beg him to put his axe away. It’s going to be Christmas all year long. Infuriated, her father sighs, looks at her and the neighbors in utter disbelief, and retreats back inside the house. Annabelle enjoys Christmas all year long with various seasonal decorations on the evergreen tree. So does her Scroogey father.

    A Christmas Hat

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2020 13:22

    The magic of music and Christmas can bring new love. A Christmas hat, a magic Victrola, and a special carol create dance and romance. Augusta Brown is a milliner in Philadelphia with a shop in front of her elegant home displaying seasonal hats of every kind: pillbox, cloche, peach basket, fascinator—feathers fixed to a comb, and large-brimmed hats. Her stunning Christmas display features a red and white hat atop a well-lit tree. Her late husband encouraged her weekly ladies club and bought a Victrola that he and Augusta used to dance to, especially “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” at Christmas. With him gone she spends Christmas holidays alone, and the Victrola sits unused in a corner. Yearning for something new, August feels like moving to Boston and opening a dress company but her friends urge her to open up to romance instead. When a handsome gentleman enters the shop, the Victrola starts playing “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” startling Augusta, who explains it hasn’t played since her husband passed away. Andrew Knight introduces himself and orders a hat for his sister. Augusta tells him to come back for it the Friday before Christmas. Augusta works all week on the bright red hat—and makes sure the Victrola is covered and in the corner. She tells the machine that it is the Friday before Christmas, and there is to be no funny business. As Andrew opens the shop door that afternoon, the Victrola begins playing right where it left off. In an awkward moment, Andrew asks Augusta if she cranked the Victrola this morning. While explaining that she hadn’t touched the Victrola, Andrew takes the hatbox and holds it at his chest. He wanders around the shop, admiring Augusta’s store. Then he finally turns and asks if she would like to go to Christmas Eve dinner with him and his family. After mumbling “yes,” he tells her to be ready after closing her shop on Christmas Eve. When Andrew arrives at Augusta’s door late Christmas Eve, the Victrola begins playing again. As Augusta rushes toward the Victrola to turn it off, Andrew takes her hand and twirls her in a circle. Augusta reluctantly rests her head on his shoulder through all five verses of the carol. Although she puts up a fuss for months, Augusta never buys a train ticket to Boston to start a dress company. She stays in Philadelphia with her hats, spending each Christmas with Andrew as her husband, dancing to the Victrola. Augusta is grateful for the midnight hour when love itself became clear.

    Angel Food Cake Ice Cream Truck

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2020 12:52

    A little girl’s inventiveness saves Christmas when she remembers: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." On a warm December day, 11-year-old Celeste Peterson’s father leans against his rainbow-painted Ice Cream Truck, concerned that the freezer has frizzled and left him with nothing but a river of cream and sugar. Celeste shrugs, licking two melting popsicles at once. Mr. Peterson worries he’ll have no ice cream to sell and since it’s cold outside, it’s already harder to sell ice cream in the winter. If he pays to fix the freezer in the ice cream truck, he will have no money left for Christmas gifts. Celeste tells her father the next best thing to ice cream is angel food cake. She says that angels eat angel food cake, and she’s going to make angel food cakes for her dad to sell, so he can pay to fix the freezer. She’s sure he’ll have money left for gifts and she might even meet some angels if she fills the truck with angel food cakes. Celeste mixes up the delicious batter, scrapes it into baking tins and places them in the warm oven. When the angel food cake is done, she gives her father the first slice and explains how they’ll sell enough angel food cake to buy a new freezer. Her dad wants to know who—if anyone—is going to buy angel food cake from an ice cream truck in December. Celeste says her mom, who has been with the angels since last Christmas, would say the angels are going to buy the cakes. In fact, Celeste thinks her mom is going to send the angels to the truck. Mr. Peterson tells Celeste he is going to try to fix the freezer himself and asks her not to overdo it baking the cakes. Celeste says she never overdoes anything, but might have to take the week off from school. Mr. Peterson is doubtful but scratches out a quick note to her 6th grade teacher: “Mrs. Rogers, Celeste has a stomach ache and can’t come to school this week. She ate too much sugar. I’m sure you understand. Yours, Mr. Peterson." Despite unannounced visits from Mrs. Rogers, who tries to put an end to Celeste’s cake baking, Celeste makes enough angel food cakes to fill the entire ice cream truck. Saturday is a beautiful December day with an inch of snow. So many strangers, including Christmas carolers, visit the truck that Celeste knows they must be angels. Her father makes so much money he buys a new truck instead of fixing the broken freezer and names it the “Angel Food Cake Ice Cream Truck.” On Christmas morning, there are enough presents beneath Celeste’s tree for everyone in the neighborhood. From then on, Celeste and Mr. Peterson sell angel food cake with ice cream and never lack a thing. Celeste tells everyone it was because her mother sent angels from heaven—who had their cake, and ate it, too. She even hangs a sign on the new truck that says: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

    Christmas Pretzels

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2020 13:15

    Even a humble Christmas gift can save a family—and a community. Bartholomew Dozen’s small bakery is next to noisy train tracks leading to the Wild West. Travelers often jump off the trains and stop by for a loaf of fresh bread. The bakery also attracts thieves, and looting in the neighborhood has grown in recent years. Each Christmas Eve, Bartholomew hosts a meal for the poor, spreading holiday joy and cheer. Even when strangers steal from him, he tries to overlook the theft, grateful for the goodness in his life. Every morning his wife Catharine gets up early and helps prepare the dough for the oven. One winter afternoon the week before Christmas, a stranger wanders into the bakery wearing an old leather jacket, a black hat, and shiny silver spurs on his leather boots. The hobo asks Bartholomew for a job, but Bartholomew has no job to offer him. Instead, he asks the stranger to stay for dinner. As Peter Jesse introduces himself, a sudden crash sounds from the back of the store. A young boy slips out the side door with handfuls of bread, knocking over bags of flour. Bartholomew runs to the cash register only to find the drawer hanging open with wads of cash missing. As Peter helps clean up, Bartholomew hopes the young boy will return what he stole, but he realizes the boy might desperately need the food and money. That night Catharine prepares dinner and Bartholomew places a candy cane at each setting. Peter pulls a slip of paper from his pocket and stares at it as though it is sacred. It is his family’s pretzel recipe. Peter explains that pretzels look like children’s arms folded in prayer. The three holes in every pretzel represent the Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Pretzels bring prosperity to everyone who eats them, especially couples getting married or “tying the knot.” Children can hang pretzels on Christmas trees and wear them around their necks on New Year’s Eve. He asks the Dozens to make pretzels in his honor. Bartholomew places the recipe in his jacket. Bartholomew walks Peter to the front door and watches from the window as he walks toward the train. As Peter passes the bakery next to their home, Bartholomew notices another broken window in the shop. On Christmas Eve, Bartholomew and his family hold their annual holiday meal for anyone in need. After dinner, the entire family goes to church and sings Christmas carols all the way home. Early Christmas morning, a neighbor bangs on the Dozens’ front door. Bartholomew opens the door to find a thief running from his bakery’s entrance. Then a flame of fire bursts the bakery window and tears through the roof of the building. Despite the entire neighborhood dousing the bakery with water, much of the building goes up in smoke. Then the wind blows the pretzel recipe from Bartholomew’s jacket pocket, and he grabs it at once. Instead of losing everything, neighbors who ate fresh bread at Bartholomew’s bakery help him rebuild and make money through pretzels. Customers line up to try the pretzels—which Bartholomew insists always bring blessings. Soon Bartholomew stops making loaves of bread. He has more success with pretzels than he could imagine. The Good Shepherd sent him a Christmas angel with a pretzel recipe for children everywhere.

    One Little Light

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2020 7:55

    One candle fights the dark to bring light to the whole wide world. Once there was a candle that wanted to light the whole wide world. As that light grows, the shadows become angry, and it’s a nasty fight between the darkness and the light. The darkness tries to blow the candle out, so the candle turns in the other direction. Step on the candle, it burns the person’s sandal. Dump water on it, the candle just burns hotter. Freeze the candle, it burns so hot the handle can’t be held. Cut off the air, the candle just holds its breath. Throw a towel on its flame, the candle burns it up. The candle refuses to waver. If the wick’s at its end, it stretches. Chip its wax, the candle melts to cover the gouges. The candle still shines even when it is sore. When people throw dirt, mud, or sand, the candle stands taller until the bullies put down their slime. The candle knows that darkness cannot compare to the light. Then one day a bucket covers the candle. The candle is so upset it lights the bucket into a great wild fire that lights more candles. The sun, the moon, and stars shine, catch on and shine all the brighter. All around the world, people light lanterns, candles, and torches. Darkness cannot tamper with the spread of the light. The candle never gives up, and it never gives in. The dark side will not win. This little light has become a sign that love and light are simply divine.

    The Legend of A Sea Urchin

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2020 9:56

    Love knows Love, even when hidden by an evil spell. The beautiful Princess Gabriella is beloved by her parents and renown for her enchanting music. Prince Francis from the neighboring kingdom of Mirth hopes one day she would be his queen, and Gabriella makes up a song just for him. The Queen’s sister envies her niece’s talents. Morgana tells her oldest son Howard to take Gabriella riding. At first the ride goes smoothly, but then Howard tries to kill her. Gabriella fights back, escapes, and runs all the way home, weeping. King Zephyr seeks to execute Howard. Morgana visits a witch who knows exactly what to do—turn Gabriella into a sea urchin and cast her deep within the ocean where only true love can break the spell. If anyone finds Gabriella, they will not be able to touch her without being poisoned to death by her spines. The next day, Gabriella is thrust to the bottom of the ocean floor, transformed into a sea urchin. She sings to calm the ocean and keep predators at bay. The King and Queen never find Howard and deduce he must have killed their daughter and then himself. But he’s hidden in the witch’s home as a servant. The brokenhearted King and Queen die young, and the subjects of Wellington think it a miracle when Howard suddenly reappears after so many years. King Howard wreaks havoc in all of Wellington. Nearby in the prosperous land of Mirth, King Francis has never forgotten the beautiful Princess Gabriella and continues to search for her. One morning, he wakes to a crystal clear aria, crooning across the sea. It’s the one Gabriella made up for him years ago. He dives into the waves and scours the ocean floor, only to come across a singing sea urchin. As he reaches out to touch it, he stops short, realizing the sea creature can poison him with its venom. “Love expels every trace of terror!” King Francis declares, and magically Gabriella returns to herself. King Francis embraces Gabriella and kisses her until they float to the surface. Gabriella marries Francis, joining their kingdoms. The witch’s spell backfired because becoming a sea urchin had saved Gabriella from the evil Howard. King Francis and Queen Gabriella exile Howard to a faraway land and rule their new kingdom with love.

    Guinea Pig Stew

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2020 9:46

    Gertrude the Great saves a Guinea Pig’s fate. When eight-year-old Gertrude the Great’s third grade teacher says it’s her turn to take care of the class guinea pig for the weekend, Gertrude hopes to have sudden fame. But her Grandmother has a fear of pets and gets chills and sweats. She teases Gertrude with funny stories about eating animals . . . at least Gertrude thinks she’s teasing. Gertrude hopes her Grandmother will make concessions and act civil for the two days and two nights. The guinea pig doesn’t even make a noise when first arriving at home. Then Grandmother tells Gertrude to go outside to play, and she grabs green grass to feed the pet. As she opens the cage, the guinea pig speeds away. Gertrude dives to catch him but he shoots all over the place. If Grandmother grabs the guinea, Gertrude fears she will make Guinea Pig Stew out of him, and Miss Miller will make her retake the third grade. Grandmother hears Gertrude yelling, but she insists she’s just running laps before dinner. Then she catches the guinea pig’s tail and slides him into the living room. The guinea scurries behind the couch, and Grandmother comes charging from the kitchen, looming over Gertrude’s shoulder. Gertrude crouches beneath the couch’s leg, trying to grab the pig. Grandmother sees the guinea pig and thinks it’s a rat. She goes on full attack, threatening to cook it like a steak. Gertrude bravely explains how it’s her weekend homework. Then Gertrude grabs the guinea’s ear and slams her bedroom door in tears. As Gertrude puts the pig back in its cage, Grandma warns that Gertrude better hide the pig until Monday. Gertrude stands her ground until Sunday night, and instead, Grandmother says she cooks a “basset hound.” Monday morning, the guinea pig makes it back to Miss Miller, grateful to be alive. Gertrude has passed her exam with flying colors.

    Daffodil Hill

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2020 9:30

    Dreams can come true in the strangest ways . . . even for a rabbit. When Sally the rabbit first goes to live with a family, she runs free inside the house and is fed and petted by the little girl with pigtails, who also sings to her. Sally’s happiness ends when she is banished to a wire cage in the backyard by the father who declares: “Rabbits are dangerous." Though still fed by the little girl, Sally is never held or petted. Her life gets worse as rain and cold ruin her food and muddy her water. Her beautiful coat becomes dirty and her tail almost falls off. Brokenhearted, Sally despairs as winter comes. She digs a cave in the snow and hides there shivering, trying to get warm until she falls into a deep sleep. Sally wakes to the little girl’s petting, handfuls of fresh food, and a bright spring day. The girl tells Sally about a marvelous place called Daffodil Hill and together they set off. Nose twitching at the fresh smells, Sally is ecstatic to be out of the cage and back in glorious nature. The girl tells her more about Daffodil Hill, and Sally wishes they could both live there. Yellow sunshine, green grass, butterflies, honeybees, deer, plump carrots, sweet-tasting tulips, a rippling stream—Daffodil Hill is everything the little girl with pigtails promised. Her eyes sparkling with tears of joy, Sally runs through the emerald field, feeling freer than she ever has been in her entire life. The little girl weaves daffodils into her pigtails. After a while turns into a longer while, the girl stays at Daffodil Hill with Sally the rabbit. Of course, someone needs to help the farmer at Daffodil Hill plant the flowers and vegetables, and the girl decides that it would have to be her, because the Hill can never change. As long as the little girl lives, she needs the comfort of the hillside as much as Sally the rabbit.

    My Thinking Cap

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2020 9:37

    One curious little girl tackles all the world’s big questions and finds . . . even more questions. Judith Pearl, age 12, has more questions than answers. Her quirky scientist father is a certified genius and assures her his Thinking Cap will give her the answers. She also hopes for added intelligence and maybe even a new creative idea. Though reluctant to be pushy, Judith asks the boldest questions she can about the sun and moon, sky, clouds and stars. Why does the ocean wrap around the earth and how do whales give birth? What’s the worth of a sand dollar, and why are there creepy crawly things? As Judith considers who made the green grass and trees, she apologizes to the Thinking Cap for her lack of patience. She can’t understand how she ended up with a button in the middle of her belly or why her toes sometimes smell. Why does she have five fingers instead of three? Why when she falls does she scrape her knee? She wants to invent a potion so no one ever bleeds, which seems like a very large need. Judith wants to know where war and guns come from. Why would anyone shoot someone else’s daughters and sons? Why do some people not have enough to eat? Why do they get sick and how can they get well? What is loneliness? And can any person tell the future? Judith is ready to take notes but the Thinking Cap just blinks, saying nothing. Is the blinking a code like a poem, song, or ode? What’s the mystery of music and math? Still no answer from the Thinking Cap. Judith sighs and decides that when she finds the answers she’ll let the Thinking Cap know, because her father’s invention only helped her question list to grow.

    Mr. Ferret and the Preposterous Porcupine

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2020 9:40

    Some people just don’t know how to be nice, even when you save their lives . . . but maybe one day. Mr. Ferret is a nosy know-it-all weasel that likes to tell Mr. Porcupine that he is the most preposterous creature he has ever met. Every morning he hurls insults up the tree, but Mr. Porcupine pretends not to hear. Every ounce of Mr. Porcupine’s flesh wants to throw his quills at the ferret, but he’s afraid Mr. Ferret might get hurt. Or at the very least someone around him might lose an eye. When the kindly-offered leaves and herbs do not calm the weasel, Mr. Porcupine just stays up in his tree, especially when Mr. Ferret leaves behind his potent body odor of rotten eggs. One morning Mr. Ferret slinks by the porcupine’s tree and calls out all sorts of taunting insults. Mr. Porcupine calls back, warning him of a nearby pack of wolves he can see from his higher perspective. Mr. Ferret laughs at him, so Mr. Porcupine sighs and decides to fall back to sleep. All of a sudden, the growling wolves lope over the bank. Every quill on Mr. Porcupine’s body rises in defense. The wolves don’t see him high up in the tree, but they do charge right for the smelly weasel. Instead of running away Mr. Ferret starts a little dance—the weasel war dance. He hops and bumps sideways, clicking and hissing. He squeaks this way and that, showing his teeth, and leaving hairballs at his feet. Although he can’t stand Mr. Ferret, Mr. Porcupine would miss their morning routine. He often wonders if Mr. Ferret really wants to be friends, but just doesn’t know how to express it. As the wolves get closer, Mr. Porcupine sends his quills spinning down. He secretly hopes the sharp spines will poke out the eyes of the fierce wolves, and Mr. Ferret will have enough time to run. Before the wolves know what is happening, the quills strike the pack like daggers. They moan, cry, and whimper away. Mr. Ferret keeps on dancing. Mr. Porcupine climbs down the tree with not one quill intact, explaining that he saved the ferret’s life. When he does not get a positive response, he climbs back up his tree, and shuts his eyes. Then Mr. Ferret takes a step backward and lands on a single porcupine quill. He angrily admits it might have been the porcupine that saved his life and not his dancing. Mr. Porcupine is already snoring, dreaming that his quills grow back very soon. He decides to ignore Mr. Ferret, like he does most mornings, and maybe one day the weasel will save his preposterous porcupine life in return.

    The Other Side of the Basement

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2020 8:47

    If you are adventurous and courageous enough, you can find unusual new friends in the most unlikely places. Curious Tabitha Rainwater, age 12, a bit lonesome, dares to explore behind the heaped-up piles of junk in her family's crowded basement and discovers a colorful dragon with toenails like long hooks. Her parents ignore her excitement. Sad not to be believed, she tries to pretend the dragon doesn’t exist but that’s really hard to do. Tabitha braves the scary noises and the danger in the basement, takes the dragon a snack, and bandages its broken wing. Hoping he won’t breathe fire on her, Tabitha digs past all the old junk at the back of the basement, looking for his lair. Before the dragon can explain things to her, she discovers a cold dark tunnel and immediately dives into it, with the dragon, hurrying close behind. At the end of the tunnel is a dark, empty den. The dragon has no family, just a big nest. Tabitha realizes why the dragon must have liked her parents’ basement so much. Even if he was in hiding, he almost had a family and must have longed to be friends. She hopes that she hasn’t hurt his feelings. Then Tabitha jumps on the dragon’s back, and he takes off in flight. They soar above the clouds and up to the heavens. The 8-year old is really excited that her family and home will now be renown. After a spectacular landing in her front yard, her parents admit they always knew about the dragon, but were trying to protect her from being scared, so they locked it away and piled high the junk. Tabitha’s courage, compassion, and sense of adventure bring understanding to her parents. The dragon, now named Gentleness, was just looking for a family and friends. Tabitha clears away the junk and makes a cozy home for Gentleness on the other side of the basement. The Rainwaters are now one big, happy family.

    Singing Lessons

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2020 10:44

    If a blind and deaf woman can learn to sing—just think what you can do! The blind will see, the deaf will hear, and those people who sing off key will sound like angels. At age 14, Helen Keller and her trusted teacher, Annie Sullivan, 28, come to bustling New York City in 1894 so Helen can take singing lessons in order to talk better. Although deaf and blind, Helen is not timid enough to give up. She starts classes in lip-reading, math, English literature, U.S. history, and keeps a diary. Intimidated by singing lessons, Helen embraces the piano and physically senses the music. Recognizing the beauty others experience through music, she wants that, too. Helen’s progress is slow. She tries to keep her hand on her a professor’s throat or on the piano, but becomes confused easily. She is devastated that she must re-learn breathing. Helen longs to sound beautiful and make everyone stop and listen. She imagines beautiful birds singing, but her own singing is forced and her voice sounds bitter. She is embarrassed and not sure she wants to continue the lessons. Meanwhile, Annie learns techniques from the school’s professors that may help her better teach Helen. Isolated by her physical impairments, Helen feels increasingly alone in her journey not only to speak, but also to sing. She improves a little in lip-reading but still cannot read rapid speech. She wants so much to persevere and succeed, if only she could talk and sing like other people. Helen attends the symphony where she senses the magnificent music through her feet. At a dog show, the barking feels to a delighted Helen like a dog-orchestra. She enjoys the rhythm of the piano and asks for private lessons, hoping it will help her singing. She tries to hum the tones that she feels coming from the piano but is again frustrated by the barriers as she imagines writing wonderful hymns on the piano. A visit to the Statue of Liberty inspires in Helen a renewed will to sing and talk more clearly. Though she wants others to think she sings beautifully, she now embraces the freedom to sing whether or not other people approve. At her next lesson, Helen imagines a beautiful, soaring voice . . . hers. She is finally free from judgment. [Production Note for Stage: The nature of Helen’s journey can be told through variations in the sounds the audience hears: everything as usual; no sound when they see what Helen feels; then hear how she imagines the vibrations would sound. A palette of period-sepia goldens and browns would symbolize Helen’s blindness, while accents of blue would signal her varying emotions.]

    Father Christmas

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2020 10:59

    Before there was Santa Claus . . . there was Father Christmas. In a magical, golden olde world, toymaker Nicholas is visited by the angel Gabriel, who announces that God is sending the middle-aged childless Nicholas to defend and protect the neglected children of the village. Nicholas doubts he can live up to such a high calling, but grabs his purse and heads into the night. At each home he secretly puts coins in the children’s shoes sitting in doors and windows. The next morning, all the children have money for bread, meat, and even candy. Nicholas gives toys, sits on the cathedral steps singing songs, and tells tales of magical flying reindeer. The disgruntled village priest insists Nicholas give his money to the church and stop making up lies. When Nicholas gives a poor man with three daughters coins for their dowries they name him “Father Christmas.” Although the priest suspects Nicholas is behind the gifts that should be going to his church, he cannot prove it. But on Christmas Eve he catches Nicholas dropping purses down chimneys. The priest cancels Christmas Mass and orders people to return their gifts to the church, proclaiming that hungry children and unmarried women are better off living at the monastery than taking gifts from the toymaker Nicholas. Nicholas goes home in defeat, but that night there’s another visit from the angel Gabriel, who says the local priest will soon be arrested. Gabriel insists that Nicholas vow to protect the children and he reluctantly agrees. Despite the irate priest’s threats, Nicholas continues to gift the village children and daughters. The priest tricks the unmarried women and children to gather in the monastery. He holds them hostage and insists Nicholas pay the church for their release. Nicholas jumps down the monastery chimney to save them and the priest is arrested. As hero of the village, Nicholas is put in charge of the church. Father Christmas makes sure children are never neglected, and unmarried daughters always have dowries.

    Kisses

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2020 10:36

    All it takes is one man with a big dream and a heart full of love and kisses. Milton S. Hershey grows up a simple farm boy, son of an entrepreneur father and a Mennonite mother, learning by example the value of “dreaming” and the virtues of fairness and charity. His first job is as an apprentice in a candy shop and the hook is set. After two bankruptcies of his own candy companies, Milton gets the break he needs when a backer helps finance a huge shipment that jump-starts his business. He meets his love Kitty Sweeney in a candy store. After a whirlwind romance, they marry with plans to have many children right away. Milton starts the Hershey Chocolate Company, builds a new factory, starts making Hershey’s Kisses, and founds the town of Hershey. Kitty’s health fails and she’s unable to have the children they so desperately want. Together they start the Hershey Industrial School for orphan boys. Milton’s manipulative banker is furious that he’s giving his profits to orphans. Kitty dies and Milton is crushed with grief; both his business and the orphanage suffer. In Kitty’s honor, he gives his entire fortune of $60 million to their Milton Hershey School. The banker takes control of the company for a time, then tricks Milton into selling the controlling stock to the bank, putting the orphanage and the town of Hershey in jeopardy. The stock market crashes, the banker’s plans fail, and the Hershey Chocolate Company is returned to Milton. Refocused and with renewed inspiration, Milton fully embraces fatherhood to his orphan sons and grows his candy business into global recognition and success. Postscript – Milton even finds a way to serve his country with his candy. By the end of World War II, the entire Hershey plant was producing ration bars at a rate of 24 million a week. For their service throughout World War II, the Hershey Chocolate Company was issued five Army-Navy 'E' Production Awards for exceeding expectations for quality and quantity in the production of the Ration D Bar and Tropical Chocolate Bar. The Hershey factory machine shop even made some parts for tanks and machines during the war. The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) is the largest producer of quality chocolate in North America and a global leader in chocolate and sugar confectionery.

    Peanut Butter Marshmallow

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2020 11:00

    A lonely little girl makes a new best friend from her favorite foods—marshmallows and peanut butter. Bethany Buttercup, age 10, wants to make new friends and gets the bright idea to leave the marshmallow tube on overnight in her father’s factory, creating a puffy white friend as big as a snowman. Bethany creeps through the window into her father’s factory and turns on the machine, which creates a marshmallow larger than human size. In the morning her dad finds out about it and says she was caught on video, so don’t deny it. Bethany suggests that she come with her father to the factory. Upon arrival Bethany jumps out of the car with her jar of peanut butter and runs onto the factory floor. She paints a personality face on her new marshmallow-cotton ball friend. She is in awe, but her father overreacts again in shock. Her father threatens to hose it down with water but the Marshmallow suggests that he become Bethany’s pal. Her dad reluctantly agrees, but says he will roast the marshmallow at a campfire if he causes his business any problems. The Buttercups make Peanut Butter Marshmallow welcome in their home. Peanut Butter Marshmallow and Bethany do everything children do with their best friends. If anyone bullies Bethany, the Marshmallow rolls them right out of the way. When he comes with her to Best Friend Day at school, Bethany is the most popular girl in her grade. Despite all, Mr. Buttercup comes to love Peanut Butter Marshmallow and even creates a line of special marshmallows with peanut butter filling. Of course, Bethany takes the credit, for without her insistence on creating a new best friend, no one would have ever eaten peanut butter marshmallows.

    Mr. Penguin Sings the Opera

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2020 21:45

    A penguin with an amazing voice dares the doubts of others and a dangerous ocean voyage to follow his unusual dreams and successfully sing in the New York Metropolitan Opera. Emperor the Penguin of the Antarctic loves to sing, even if his friends and family don’t appreciate his talent. One day he comes across a pamphlet drifting in the ocean. It features “The Marriage of Figaro” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. He notices a male vocalist named Alberto Matteo dressed in a black and white outfit, which looks like his penguin suit with tails. Despite the discouragement of his family, Emperor decides he is born to sing the Opera and must travel to New York City. Emperor courageously sets off on his ice raft with the pamphlet. Along the way, he meets Delfina Dominique and her dolphin family who love to sing. They travel with Emperor, keeping sharks away. He also meets Jack the Albatross, whose unlucky luck helps by feeding him fish. Persevering through lonely nights, wind, and storm, Emperor arrives months later in New York. The dolphin family says goodbye to Emperor, while Jack goes with him into the big city. He asks Delfina to send word to his family that he made it to New York and to please come visit him. Walking through Times Square, most pedestrians wondered what a penguin was doing on the sidewalk, insisting he is meant to sing Opera at the Metropolitan Opera House. Emperor budges at the front doors until the manager asks him to come back tomorrow for tickets. Emperor explains he needs to audition. The manager says penguins don’t sing and turns off the lights. To prove him wrong, Emperor croons with a beautiful baritone voice in front of the dark Opera House. As the penguin keeps singing, a crowd gathers. The manager bursts through the doors, telling him to come back tomorrow morning for an audition. Of course, a penguin who can sing might attract crowds. Emperor pleads to sleep in the Opera House for the night with Jack. So, Emperor snores on a soft chair in the auditorium. In the morning, Emperor stands inside the stage door, nervously. After the penguin finishes singing a gorgeous passage from “The Marriage of Figaro” he bows and stands with pride. The casting director is impressed that he is already dressed for the job, and he is hired immediately as Alberto Matteo’s understudy. After meeting Mr. Matteo with the help of Jack, Alberto tells Emperor he must follow his dreams. Months later, Emperor’s family arrives in New York to happily see him perform the Opera. Emperor the Penguin becomes as famous as Alberto Matteo, not only for his voice, but for his black and white suit. It all started because Emperor had enough courage to take a journey alone on an ice raft through unchartered waters.

    Oak Apple Day

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2020 10:35

    A little girl longs for romantic love but goes after it in quite the wrong way. The British celebrate Royal Oak Day on May 29 in honor of King Charles II’s birthday. Ten-year-old Poppy Marigold wears an oak apple round her neck because if a student doesn’t wear a costume they are to be pinched—in the bum. Poppy sits at lunch with Alastair Glover, Duncan MacGregor, and Fergus Laird. None of the boys say anything to her. She wants to pinch them in the bum for their bad attitudes. Inspired by the kiss in Sleeping Beauty, she imagines being kissed by her own prince. For weeks, Poppy was sure she was in love with each of the three adorable boys, and now was the time to finally be kissed. She decides that the large Oak Tree outside the School is about to help her get that first kiss. As Poppy pinches the boys’ bums, their teacher announces that the Heart of Oak Friendly Society Parade starts at three o’clock. This year Poppy plans to sneak up the Oak Tree and drop apples on Alastair, Duncan, and Fergus. More determined than ever, she remembers how wonderful love is supposed to be, according to Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince. So, when no one is looking, she stuffs her dress pockets and backpack with apples. Poppy thinks if she hits the boys in the head, they’ll pass out, and she can kiss them before they wake up. If one of them wakes when she’s kissing him, it will be true love, and everyone will know it. When Poppy finishes her Maypole, she slips out to the Oak Tree and positions herself on a sturdy tree branch where she has good aim at any of the boys. Her classmates walk out with their Maypoles, oak boughs, and flowers. They look so festive Poppy almost forgets her plan to drop the apples, but when she sees Alastair, she drops the first apple and hits his shoulder. She drops the second apple on Duncan. It hits him in the head, but it isn’t strong enough to knock him out. When she sees Fergus, she throws the apple so hard that it smacks him to the ground. She declares it’s true love. Poppy climbs down and the rest of the apples fall on everyone. As her teacher scolds her, she runs to Fergus, grabs him and kisses him. A few moments later, Fergus opens his eyes, looking so shocked and confused that he can hardly breathe. Yelling, Fergus gets up off the sidewalk and runs down the parade route as fast as he can. Poppy calls after him and runs to try to catch him, throwing apples from the sidewalk at his head, with good aim. After a few minutes, Fergus gives up, and makes Oak Apple Day history when he kisses Poppy.

    The Kingly Salamander

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2020 15:28

    An important destiny makes personal sacrifice a noble thing, especially when love, loyalty, and friendship are also involved. Before time began, flames burn beneath the Earth, creating all living creatures, including a fantastic amphibian: The Kingly Salamander. Its red leather skin with black spots is incombustible, and the Creator tells him that his fire-proof blood will save the life of Aliza Lazarus so she can marry the prince of her village. Over thousands of years and many adventures, he comes across The Village of Adar which is in an inhumane war for precious diamonds. Once a place of upright people who loved its neighbors, it has become dark and violent. However, Aliza, a beautiful, young peasant girl who collects flowers in the field, dreams of being a peaceful princess one day. The Kingly Salamander follows the girl back to her mud hut and watches from a distance, admiring the girl that he would die for one day. When young Prince Gabor arrives on a white horse with silver and gold trappings, the Salamander slips into Aliza’s pocket and hears her promise the Prince that she hasn’t told her parents his father is King of The Village lest they forbid her friendship with the Prince, who would be told to marry a nobleman’s daughter. So they meet in private and become closer than most at a young age. As months turn into years, the Kingly Salamander and Aliza become friends, and the amphibian realizes what a good Queen she could be. He questions that he would ever have to give his life for her. Then, one windy night, the Prince arrives, whispering for Aliza with panic. A fire is growing in the hills and is bound to reach Aliza’s home by morning. Although he can’t take Aliza’s parents with her, he might be able to save himself and her. Aliza quickly slides the Kingly Salamander into her pocket and crying silently, leaves with Gabor, knowing her family would most likely die in the flames. Three days later, the two arrive in the brush near the ocean, waiting for the prince’s father to join them. As Aliza falls asleep on Gabor’s shoulder, a huge gust of wind appears over the mountains, blowing the fire to the sea. The two are so tired they don’t notice the devouring flames coming toward them. With tears in his eyes and knowing his destiny, the Kingly Salamander throws himself on a nearby rock. His blood splatters on Aliza and Gabor. When the fire reaches the sea, it burns through the brush where Aliza and Gabor sleep, but the flames don’t touch the two who are covered in the blood of the Kingly Salamander. Aliza and Gabor realize that the fires have destroyed not only the people of The Village, but also his father’s noble household. Finding the remains of the Kingly Salamander, Aliza picks up the ashes of the amphibian, wishing to have a son called Salamander. As the decades pass, King Gabor and Queen Aliza live long and happy lives in peace, and their son Prince Salamander is kind and strong, and fire never singes him or his kin. The Creator returns the Salamander to the eternal fire, and his image burns in the flames for the rest of time for everyone who is looking for him.

    Stacey Peach Sweet Pea Spinach

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2020 12:09

    A sweet little girl makes sweet peach pies to lure in love and gets a sweet surprise. Eleven-year-old Stacey Peach Sweet Pea Spinach likes to pick peaches in the Sunshine Garden in her backyard on rainy days amidst the sweet peas. When Mrs. Spinach was pregnant with Stacey Peach, she overindulged in peaches, sweet peas, and spinach salads because Stacey’s dad had skipped town. Stacey was born with peachy orange hair, smelling like sweet peas, and craving leafy spinach. Stacey Peach plucks ripe peaches from the trees, thinking if she makes a peach pie with extra love her father will finally come home. Despite her mother’s doubts, she leaves a pie on the front doorstep overnight for her father. When Stacey Peach opens the door at the crack of dawn, an empty pie plate sits on the porch. Stacey Peach is convinced her dad must have eaten the pie but no one makes an appearance, despite her pleas. For the next seven nights, she leaves the fresh peach pies on the doorstep, and by morning, all that is left is the empty pie plate and dirty fork. Mrs. Spinach fears that a burglar might be lurking about and tells Stacey Peach that she can only leave one more pie over night for her father. Then, she must move on. Stacey Peach decides to hide in the bushes until she speaks with the pie thief. Finally, young neighbor Gerald the Plum Gershwin sneaks onto the front porch in his pajamas. He admits he’s been eating Stacey Peach’s pies. He’s always wanted to be friends with her but was too shy. He thinks she is especially pretty and that peaches and plums have to stick together. Despite his kindness, Stacey Peach is angry and says he ruined her whole plan to bring her father home. Stacey Peach cries her eyes out. Gerald comforts her and suggests that she can share his father and he could share Stacey’s mom because his mom has died. Stacey Peach decides that the-next-best-thing to a dad is a boyfriend, even if her mom thinks she is too young for romantic love. Stacey Peach kisses Gerald the Plum on the cheek, and they eat peach pie together and talk as the sun rises. The peach jam is even sweeter as Stacey Peach eats it straight from the jar and shares it with Gerald, her unlikely hero.

    Barnyard Animals and the Big City

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2020 11:14

    One brave and visionary individual can inspire and improve the lives of many others . . . even if they’re a chicken. Roberta the Chicken is flying the coop, going to the Big City and leaving the Barnyard behind. Anyone brave enough to come with her is welcome. Farmer Bosworth paces through the Barnyard with his shotgun and cup of hot coffee with whisky. Olga the Pig wonders why Roberta would do such a thing—like leave them. Of course, Farmer Bosworth is crazy mean, but the Big City might not be much better. Gobbler the Turkey doesn’t understand how Roberta would ever stay there. Possibly visiting would be tolerable but living there is another circumstance altogether. If Ezequiel the Sheep goes to the Big City, he is sure that everyone will try to make him into a wool sweater. Olga the Pig thinks she might even become bacon, and Apple Dumplings the Cow is hesitant because the whole neighborhood will want milk from her all day long. If the Barnyard Animals moved to the Big City, Gobbler the Turkey fears every Thanksgiving the Pilgrims would try to make him into flaming turkey wings, or Nanny the Goat would be used for goat cheese. It just seems altogether too dangerous. Stallion the Horse and Jack the Donkey think they might have to go with the Chicken anyhow. When Sam the Taxi Driver arrives at the farm, Roberta suggests that everyone pile in the car, and even ride in the trunk. Jack the Donkey insists that he cannot let Roberta go-it-alone and asks everyone to accompany them. Taking last gulps of water and food from their troughs, the Barnyard Animals ready themselves for their trip. They all pile in and Stallion the Horse runs beside the Taxi. Sam triples the fare since the entire Barnyard comes with Roberta, who says not to worry because she swiped money from Farmer Bosworth. When the Farmer sees the animals fleeing, he comes after them with his shotgun and shoots out the right back tire. Threatening to track them down in the Big City, the Farmer keeps shooting at the car. Sam promises that he has friends who can help them out in their new life. He worriedly says he will have to teach them everything he knows, but at least he will get them away from crazy Farmer Bosworth. Of course, Farmer Bosworth follows them all over the City with his shotgun, but he is never able to catch them. Sam the Taxi Driver has too many friends in low and high places in the Big City—and soon so does Roberta the Chicken and her friends.

    Cheese Sunday

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2020 11:32

    Ten rambunctious mice, a fractious cat, and an understanding priest declare peace so all can enjoy the secret stash of cheese and eggs hidden up in the church steeple all throughout Lent. Not far from the Acropolis, in the Church of the Holy Apostles in the ancient city of Athens, live ten rambunctious mice who hide their favorite foods from the church kitchen up in the steeple rafters. Cheese Sunday is the last Sunday before Lent, and after that, Father Joseph gets rid of all the cheese and eggs in the church kitchen for six weeks. Previously the mice lived in the Jewish Deli during Lent but they decide to raid the Fellowship Hall and stockpile the cheese and eggs until Easter morning. Since Cheese Sunday is Forgiveness Sunday, the mice decide that the parishioners can’t even be angry at them for stealing the food. First thing on Cheese Sunday, the mice scurry down the church steeple into the Fellowship Hall where Muffin the cat prances about. As the nuns finish setting up the special meal and Muffin sleeps in a corner, the ten church mice collect every last morsel of the different kinds of cheese and eggs and carry it all up to the rafters in the steeple. The congregation finds the messy Hall and wonders what happened to its beloved annual cheese celebration. They blame Muffin, who runs into Father Joseph’s study and shuts the door with his tail. The priest marches into his study, grabs Muffin and goes up to the bell in the steeple, looking for the naughty church mice. He calls out that he knows where the cheese went and finds the rebellious mice sitting next to the cheese and eggs with guilty smiles. Muffin jumps to pounce as the church mice scurry away. The priest tells Muffin he can’t chase the mice on Cheese Sunday because it’s almost Lent. Besides, Father Joseph at least knows where to find the cheese if they get hungry during Lent. Then Father Joseph sits down next to the mice. With Muffin keeping watch, the priest eats his portion of the rationed cheese and eggs for the day, and every other day throughout Lent. He announces with a chuckle that cheese tastes almost as good as forgiveness. The church mice could do nothing but agree.

    Pen Jen's Inkwell Podcast Trailer

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2020 2:41

    Welcome to the Jen Waters' Pen Jen’s Inkwell Podcast! Jen wrote and performed all the original stories in the podcast. This podcast is produced by Eric Baines, who scored all the stories and poems in the series to public domain and original music. The podcast is associated with the blog of the same name, Pen Jen’s Inkwell, www.penjensinkwell.blogspot.com, which can be found on her website: www.jenwaters.com. It features the children's music and spoken word stories from her Apple Music releases, including WONDERLAND, WINTER WONDERLAND, IMPOSSIBLE THINGS, CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER, ENTIRELY BONKERS, HANDWRITTEN, HOOPS TIME and more.

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