The Smoldering Lotis


Han Lo had never been much of a monk.  He had been lax in his martial arts exercises, and he could never meditate without his mind wandering.  It was no great surprise then, that he was the least adept of those who finished the training.  He did, however, pass and earned his grey robes.

The problem was that the Abbot couldn’t find a single job for Han Lo to do within the monastery.  He was and abysmal cook, and was so poor a gardener that his fellow monks said, “he could make a waterlily die of thirst.”    They played on that idea and many called him “The Smoldering Lotus.”

In time Han Lo was offered the opportunity to become a travelling monk, bringing comfort to the people of isolated mountain communities.  The position was in reality just a last ditch attempt by the Abbot to find a way to employ the inept monk.

The problem was that Han Lo wasn’t particularly good with people either.  So when he came into the mountains, he hid the nature of his assignment.  Rather than visiting the ill or grieving he told the mountain elders he had been sent to do a remarkable thing.  He was to be their protector from dragons.

Han Lo was satisfied with the ruse.  After all no dragon had been seen in those parts for a thousand years.  He just set back and accepted the daily offerings from the community, and occasionally made dramatic shows of poorly executed Karate, explaining they were special moves designed for battling the fire breathing beasts.

Then one afternoon word arrived that the village of Win had been burned to the ground, and the few surviving refugees described the huge lizard like beast that had meted out the destruction.

The elders all gathered at Han Lo’s door demanding he do something.  It being his “calling.”

Reluctantly the young monk agreed, and said he would first need to gather some things.  Looking around his cottage all he could see that looked impressive was a small wooden box from the table next to his bowl and chopsticks.  He picked this up and tucked it purposefully into his robe.

The entire population of three villages gathered to see the “Dragon Fighter” head into the hills.

Han Lo quickly learned that there was something else he was not good with – heights.  As he travelled the narrow pathways upwards he noted the sheer drops flanking his passage.  With one eye closed to try to minimise the view, he continually repeated the words: “You do not need wings to fly,” in an attempt to calm himself.

At last Han Lo crested a peak to come face to face with the dragon.  The man had absolutely no idea what to do next. He then remembered the box he had picked up from his table.  Though he was sure he was about to die, he gambled all.  Opening the wooden box he grabbed a handful of its contents and threw it into the face of the beast.

As the pepper hit the creature it reared, and then gasping let out a huge sneeze, blasting a massive flame skywards.  Han Lo then rushed forward and dumped the remaining pepper into the dragon’s nostrils.  It again sneezed, though its flame was greatly diminished.  As it prepared to sneeze again, the monk dodged out of its path, but a small stream of ragged fire singed his robes.  The dragon continued to sneeze uncontrollably and the continued convulsions extinguished the last of the beast’s flame.

Gaining its composure, the dragon tried to squash Han Lo, but the monk jumped on the creatures back to avoid the fall of its foot.  Much to Han Lo’s distress the dragon began to fly. “You do not need wings to fly,” the young man repeated to himself.  The dragon tried to shake him off, but in the end settled to the earth exhausted – right in the centre of the village square.  Panicked villagers scrambled, until they saw the charred form of Han Lo sliding off the creatures back.  The men ran forwards and collectively bound the beast.

Han Lo was a hero, and renouncing his vows established his own dragon fighting business – Smoldering Lotus Enterprises.



Sunday Writing Prompt “5 by 5”


Choose an Opponent:

Mythical Being 

Choose a Business Name:

The Smoldering Lotus 

Choose a Container:

Wooden Box 

Choose a Personal Mantra:

You do not need wings to fly

Choose a “Weakness”:

A skill that is lacked but necessary for the task at hand 






Encounter at the Whispering Shallows: A Cousins Tale

imageedit_18_5660115700 (1)

St Ives Beach

The place was known in the tongue of men as the Whispering Shallows, a mist covered inlet in which it seemed that quiet voices drifted across the waters.  Most of the merchant seamen and fishermen of Harbourhead avoided the cove, in fear of the strange phenomenon, or the rumour that the place was inhabited by ghosts or evil spirits.


In the language of the Sea-elves the small bay was called Merhaven, the haven of the Mer-folk.  The Elves too, seldom visited the place, not because of superstition but because of an ancient treaty which stated that this cove was to be recognised as a holy site of the Mer.


Seventeen-year-old Arun, however, was an inquisitive Elf, and he wanted to have a chance to once again to see and maybe even to talk with a Mer.  His Sea Clan had amiable relations with the Mer-folk, but most of their meetings were fleeting.  He on one voyage as a child seen three Mermen swim to the side of his father’s vessel and conduct the trade of pearls in exchange for bronze.   He was therefore determined to visit Merhaven on a solstice day.


As the dawn broke, Arun scrambled down the dunes to the cove.  As he did the mist started to melt away, and singing wafted over the morning tide.  Dozens of Mer were raising their voices to meet the sun.

Arun lay still among the grasses of the dunes until the ceremony ended.  The whole thing was a wonder to behold.  As the Mer dived and swam out to sea, Arun approached to examine the trinkets which were left in the surf – offerings to the gods of land, sun, and sea.


To many the artefacts might have looked just like flotsam and jetsam, but Arun knew better.  He had watched the Mer reverently holding each piece up to the sky, then towards the land, and then laying them into the sea.


As he was gazing at the pieces her heard a voice challenging him.


“What are you doing here Elf?”   ******


Arun started, then looked into the surf to see a Mer of a similar age to himself.  He has broad shouldered, and handsome and he bore a trident spear.


“I came to watch your ceremony,” he lied. “And to maybe meet one of you,” he added truthfully.


“And the steal our offerings?”  the Mer challenged.


“No, to add to them,” he said, and he look off the shell pendant he wore around his neck and dropped it into the water’s edge.  “My name is Arun,” he added.


“I am Tuqueel,” the young Merman replied. “What did you want to talk about?”


“Life below the waves, and above,” Arun said.


“Fair enough,” Tuqueel responded.


The two sat in the surf for several hours discussing things.  Tuqueel was as curious about the land-dwellers as Arun was about the Mer.


In time there meetings became more regular, and the two came to consider one another as a friend.


On Arun’s eighteenth birthday, Tuqueel even presented the Elf with a Mer-spear.  This was reciprocated on Tuqueel’s nineteenth, he being a year older than Arun, with the presentation of a curved bronze dagger fashioned in the style of the Elves.

(535 words, 15 minutes to the ******, 26 minutes overall)



Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge: Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: Wonder

The Cotton Field



In April, the fields were ploughed, and the lime and organic matter checked.  In May, the seeds were sown and in high summer the cotton flowered.  There was little droning of bees amid the crop, the sticky pollen being of little use to the honey makers.  But the nectar drew some on the sunny says.  As harvest neared all changed.  Droning was indeed heard, but from a source unknown when the crop was king.  What would Rhett Butler have to say?


Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #22

Miscellaneous Prompted Micro Poems 10

Dawn kissing the earth
Awake not a chance to sleep
So short is the night

Heeding Haiku: “summer solstice” 19 June 19

three line tales, week 179: a castle in a lake

photo by Richard Clark via Unsplash

The mists rise before the keep,
Obscuring the surface of the moat so deep,
But in this refuge, the villagers safely sleep.

Three Line Tales, Week 179  4 July 19


In fellowship bound,
In friendship and purpose tied,
“Family” always

Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille, July 10th 2019, friendship

three line tales, week 180: Patrouille de France in the sky

photo by David Peters via Unsplash

The staves are drawn out by the lead four
But it takes some real flying
To add the notes to the score

Three Line Tales, Week 180 11 July 19

Cratered vent which spewed destruction into the night
Now filled with calm placid waters – so free of strife
Bringing hope of renewed life

TLT Throwback: Pool 11 July 19









The Occupation


Gabriel Isak


Muriel looked out to sea on a grey overcast day.  Every day seemed like that now – grey and overcast – even when the sun was shining.


It had been four years since the invaders had come, and while there had been some resistance at first, the defenders were in the end overrun.  No one had been prepared for the transformational powers of the occupiers.  It seemed that there was nothing they could not become.


As she continued to look out at the horizon, a squadron of the alien craft zoomed by her.


“Damn you, you Origamians,” she cursed.




Photo Challenge #270

The Ambassador’s Tale

Wedding, Reception, Fancy, Party, Celebration, Event


King Hector sat on his throne in the Great Red Hall of his country estate.  He was surrounded by retainers and courtiers and the rich trappings of monarchy.

Before him was his newly returned envoy from the Far Lands.   Lord Castlehill was a plump, bald man with a good nature, but an overwhelming pomposity.  He was dressed not in the traditional garb of the kingdom, but in rich scarlet silks and satins of the Far Lands.

“ . . . then Your Majesty, I accompanied Emperor Sayama to his hunting lodge, which while no grander than to one in which you sit, was exquisitely appointed in ivory, and the pillars had inlaid rubies.  Well, as we entered – the most amusing thing happened, when one of the eunuchs – giving a low Eastern bow – knocked over a bowl of pitted cherries, which were delicious by the way, and the emperor made a joke about “that’s what happens when you lose your stones,” and of course the entire court gave a hearty laugh.  I used the lull after the distraction to draw closer to the Chamberlain Gaumata and I said to him . . .”

“Enough,” King Hector roared as he looked at the feasting tables laid out in the centre of the chamber, the food growing cold. “I have had enough of this neverending story!


(225 words – 21 minutes)

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: The Neverending Story

The Wager


Pinata Blindfold

image: fiestapinata

“I have eyes, but do not see.  To make me alive, you bury me. What am I?”

“Wait a minute.  I know this one,” Sarah said thoughtfully.

“So what’s the answer?” Bridget pushed.

“It’s – it’s a potato,” Sarah said triumphantly.

“Damn,” her friend replied.  “So is it another white wine, or something else?”

“Well, since you’re buying I think a strawberry daiquiri sounds good.” Sarah said.

“You just wait, I will get you back.” Bridget warned.

“Yeah, yeah,” Sarah said dismissively.

When Bridget returned from the bar, she said, “Okay, so much for riddles.  How about a dare instead?”

“Okay, what’s the challenge?” Sarah asked.

“Well since you are such an expert on eyes, how about you walk to the bar with your eyes closed?  Better still – blindfolded and bring back a glass of red without spilling it.”

“But the place is packed, I’ll run into someone.”

“Coward,” Bridget said mockingly.

“Okay, what’s the wager?”  Sarah retorted.

“If you spill the drink, you don’t get your money back.  If you don’t spill it, I give you your money, and buy another drink of your choice.”

“Sounds fair,” Sarah said.

Bridget took off her scarf and tied it around Sarah’s eyes. “No peaking,” she said firmly.

Sarah hesitantly started towards the bar, jostling a nearby table, and bumping into at least three patrons on her trip.  She ordered the wine, and presented a five pound note to the barman.  She had to trust her sense of feeling to judge if the change was correct. She dropped the coins into a pocket and began her return journey.

About half way across, she bumped into a man and spilled the drink all over herself.

As Bridget laughed uproariously from the table, Sarah took off the blindfold, and began to apologise.

There before her was the most gorgeous guy she had ever seen.

“No, it’s me who’s sorry,” he said.  “I think your top is ruined. Please let me pay for it.”

“But – I,” she began.

“My name is Justin, by the way,” he said with a smile.  “Shall I replace your drink as well?”

“Sarah,” she said with a smile, “and yes please.”

Justin walked her to the bar, and replaced her drink.  He then wrote down his phone number on a napkin.  “Ring me when you want to go shopping for the new top,” he said with a wink.

“Justin, can you carry the drink to my table for me?” she asked.


When they arrived at the table, Justin placed the drink in front of Bridget.

“Bridget, this is Justin.  Justin – Bridget,” Sarah said from behind him.

As Justin reached out to shake Bridget’s hand, Sarah held up the phone number and mouthed “I win again.”


Pix to Words #192 – Eyes

To Limit The Lies


The Haunted Wordsmith has once again challenged us to fib on a Friday.  As honesty is the best policy (or so they tell me), I will limit the lies.  I will of course “tell a big one” by Friday Fibbing on what is to me Saturday.  That said, I will further “limit the lies” by fibbing on two prompts.  Even in my fibbing, I will “limit the lies,” by retaining “Half truths.”

Why did people invent the sandwich?   No one knows exactly why the Romans landed where they did in 43 AD.  It might have been some major forward thinking in anticipation of saving a few denarii when Worth and Deal were founded in the area, a few centuries later.

This shrewd financial sense, however found a rather limited set of commodities, as the only deal worth having was some nearby Ham.  It was some enterprising Saxons who saw this gap in the market and invented Sandwich on the bank of the Stour.  Now everyone can get their money’s Worth with a Ham Sandwich Deal.

Image result for ham sandwich signpost


What was the stone age?  As many of my regular readers know, I am an educator.  As such, I am very knowledgeable on the topic of the stone age.  The stone age was, a period in human social and technological development, when the most advanced tools were made of stone.  As a teacher I can see, within my profession, the heights to which we have come.  My students enjoy interactive learning in a digital age.  The Internet provides “on demand” access to documents, video content, and state of the art audio.  It has not always been so.  When I began teaching, technology in the educational landscape was more primitive.  In fact, when I first qualified as a teacher I was equipped with two rocks in order to present my lessons:  a large flat piece of slate, and a cylindrical piece of calcite.  Yes, I have been teaching since the stone age, or as I like to call it – the 1980s.

Blackboard, Technology, Board, School, Empty, Write

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

What is the best ice cream topping on a sundae?  Personally I think that chocolate fudge is the ideal ice cream condiment on a Sunday, though I do like a bit of butterscotch on a Monday.

So in the interest of limiting lies, please note the additional half truth.  I did indeed answer two of the prompts.  I just also added a third.


  1. Why do cable companies offer so many channels no one watches?
  2. Who invented lemon meringue pies?
  3. Why did people invent the sandwich?
  4. What was the stone age?
  5. Why do people grow more annoying as we age?
  6. What is doomsday?
  7. What do fish do all day?
  8. Who are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse really?
  9. How do you make a cake?
  10. What is the best ice cream topping on a sundae?
  11. What is your ideal style of home?
  12. What is the strangest hobby?

The Assistant Gardener

Image by enriquelopezgarre from Pixabay

Jorge dreaded the task before him.  Ever since he had been promoted from the kitchens to the grounds staff, the head gardener, Señor Rivera had it in for him.

“How can the son of a scullery maid, be one of my gardeners?”  The head man had asked rhetorically.

Jorge knew he shouldn’t respond, and in his four years working the palace grounds he never did, no matter how many times he heard the question.

But now there was a new low.  The head gardener had handed him a rake, and then pointed to the pathway which lead to the palace fountains.

“I want all of the strokes even,” Rivera instructed.  “And all of them north to south.  Be sure I don’e see a single line going the wrong direction, or you will have hell to pay.”

Jorge took the rake and scanned the nearly kilometre long path.  This would take the entire day and he knew it.

There was nothing else to do, he looked at the direction of the morning sun, and oriented himself so his rake strokes would align in the appropriate direction.

He did not break for lunch but worked carefully through the day until late afternoon.  He moved cautiously as to not undo his own work.  He worked down one side of the path, then maneuvered around the ponds, before making the return journey towards the palace.  He joined up each furrow perfectly so that the entire path was perfect.

He then gazed in triumph at his handy work.  But then noticed something was wrong.  There seemed to be an irregularity in his perfect sea of north and south waves of sand.

He carefully walked along the hedge-line avoiding setting foot onto the path, and yet was equally careful not to trample the well manicured lawn.

When he arrived at the far fountain, he say the rake strokes had been obliterated by what seemed to be purposeful footfalls.

“Where did all these footprints come from? ” he said aloud.  His anger welled up inside him.  To hell with you Rivera! 

But then he noticed that the prints were far to small to have been made by Rivera, or any of the sub-gardeners.

“Why have you done this to me?” he called out to the universe in general.

It was then that he heard the tiny giggles of four-year-old Princess Isabella from behind the bushes.



Haunted Wordsmith Prompts

Prompt B (sentence starter): “Where did all these footprints come from?”

Prompt C (photo):  Above