Once Upon a Time Writing Contest: Cameron Lawton

Here is our first guest entry on Yearning for Wonderland for the Once Upon a Time Flash Fiction Contest, by Cameron Lawton. As always, feedback is appreciated.

Remember, if you don’t have your own blog just email me. I will be happy to post your entry on Yearning for Wonderland.
Otter becomes a Bard
All her life, Otter had wanted to be a bard. She knew that being a fishmonger was a good trade,   but she wanted to be a Bard, she wanted to sing and tell stories to enchant others.
Sometimes she would hide in the reeds of the riverbank and harmonise with the birds that lived alongside – they were not the greatest of songsters, the ducks, herons, woodpeckers and jays but they sat of an evening and made music for their own entertainment.
A bard, however, must know history – so Otter sat under the trees and listened to them talking, she dived into the river and let the water talk in her ears. Rather than just swimming through the water, she let it tell her of its life, the mountain snows where it had come from and the sea where it was going.

But the wise ones, the owls, clever creatures, all hooted with laughter and told her that bards were not fishmongers.
One night, the animals gathered together for the solstice, each to their own stone, in a circle, facing the centre where the moonlight shone and the Spirit made herself known. Something moved the otter to stand on her hind legs.  She sang – sang the song of her river, the trees who had stood for hundreds of years, the stones under which she made her holt.
 As she sang, each creature joined in, until all life offered up one song – birds, insects, mammals, the stones and trees, all of creation offered up one song of Solstice to the Spirit and a ribbon of multicoloured hue rose from the earth to the sky to tie them together. And in that moment the clouds covered the face of the Moon apart from one beam that shone on the otter to make a circlet on her head – the gold of a grateful Queen to her Bard.
Standing on her hind legs, her forepaws clasped to her chest and her eyes closed, the otter swayed to the music and knew that she WAS a bard.


  1. Bullish
    Apr 10, 2012

    Oh, this is amazingly wonderful! I love the idea of letting the water talk to her! Terrific entry!

  2. SJIHolliday
    Apr 10, 2012

    Beautiful! I love Otter :) Thanks for entering! x

  3. Meg McNulty
    Apr 11, 2012

    This is lovely… it’s like the Just So stories meets the Chronicles of Narnia. Beautiful.

  4. moonduster
    Apr 15, 2012

    Love the story. I like the idea of an otter who wants to be a bard and I think the final scene is lovely. (And the photo is really cute too!) :)

  5. Evermore Evil
    Apr 15, 2012

    Oh what a gorgeous tale! The magic of nature itself…True whimsy!

  6. L.S. Taylor
    Apr 16, 2012

    Lovely tale, and it makes such a beautiful extended metaphor about the storytellers within us. Yay heartsong!

  7. Daniel R. Davis
    Apr 17, 2012

    Very Awesome. :)

  8. Miranda Boers
    Apr 22, 2012

    Wonderful tale! Presently reading Wind in the Willows to my son and I felt an essence of that in the riverbank descriptions.

  9. Cameron Writes
    Apr 23, 2012

    Thank you all so very much – you’re too kind. We are all bards in our own ways but sometimes we listen to the owls too much and don’t believe enough. Sing your own song … it is beautiful.

    Otter xxxx

  10. Ang
    Apr 23, 2012

    Enchanting. Otters are such fun creatures and I love the idea of one wanting to sing.

  11. ruanna3
    Apr 24, 2012

    I agree with Meg, very Narnia. So glad you decided to enter, Cameron!

  12. Cameron Writes
    Apr 24, 2012

    All the above, Narnia, Wind in the Willows, Tales of the Riverbank .. strong influences from when I was just a cub. I’m really honoured to be in such exalted company with these other great stories :-)

  13. Lisa Shambrook
    Apr 25, 2012

    I too thought of Narnia when I read this, and I love the way the otter received her circlet from the Queen. Beautiful Cameron!

  14. Natalie Bowers
    Apr 26, 2012

    Definitely enchanting! Nicely done. :)

  15. Jeff Tsuruoka
    May 2, 2012

    What a lovely piece. One just doesn’t read enough stories about bards -or otters for that matter. You’ve got a wonderful voice.

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