Saturday, June 30, 2018

Kilda and the Kindness Wand
The Kindness Wand

It is the eve of my forty-third birthday. I am newly married. I find myself working a new job, close to home. The hours are standard, as is the job. I am away from home for forty hours per week plus the five minute drive to and from work. There are a lot more than forty hours in a week, though sometimes it doesn't seem so. I find myself with free time, which I mostly use to annoy my beautiful bride. Instead of getting throat-punched again, I decided to focus some of my energy on being creative. 

The following is one of my latest projects. It is a custom story and magic wand for my friend Kara. She saw my last blog post (the sister wands) and requested a wand with the works (wand, stand, wand story). I obliged. I over obliged. What was supposed to be a three or four page history on her custom wand turned out to be fifteen. I'm considering turning it into a children's book if I can find the right people to work with. 

After the epic story there are several pictures of other wands I have made recently (some are for sale). If you or one of yours might like a wand, please contact me via email. I also make lots of other crafty things like cutting boards, wooden boxes, and signs. Check out my wood working website:

If you really really like my story, I have a book called Stupid Alabama. It is on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions. It's the best book ever written. I encourage you to buy as many copies as can fit in the trunk of your car. 

Ok, commercials are over, time to read about Kilda and the Kindness Wand. 

Sycamore shaft with dragon tooth core on a poplar stand

Dragon tooth core (no, really)

Kind Kara-
                As you know, the wand chooses the wizard, or in this case, the witch. It is my highest honor to inform you that the legendary Kindness Wand has chosen you to be its master. The Kindness Wand choses only witches or wizards of great prestige, wisdom, cleverness, and particularly kind hearts. The wand has laid dormant in our museum for centuries. It has recently awoken and chosen to be the instrument of focus for your natural born magic. To understand the power and nature of the wand, first you must hear its story.

Kilda and the Kindness Wand
          Once upon a time when magic ran wild in the world there lived a human girl. Her name was Kilda, though no one had ever told her. The name, like the girl, simply existed. There were no other humans to explain how she had gotten there. There was no one else to tell her why she was alone. So, Kilda did not think about it. She could not be lonely if she did not know there was another way to be. Kilda, in fact, did not know much. There was no one to teach her.
So, she lived her life, blissfully exploring her world. Kilda, like most humans, had a sense of right and wrong, an understanding of cause and effect. She used these tools to adapt to her kingdom, niche, world, whatever it was. She did not have a name for much of anything, which was ever so frustrating.
Kilda discovered what was safe to eat and what was not. Several eating experiments had left her sick. Kilda began to find things she liked very much to eat, and some not so much. Sometimes the things she found to eat were sweeter when they were certain colors. So, she looked for those colors on other things. Unfortunately, this strategy did not always work.
Kilda lived on, gaining new knowledge each day, exploring farther and farther from the place that was her home, though she knew not what to call it, or that it should be called anything for that matter. But, she knew to come back to the place. She belonged to the place as much as it belonged to her.
One day as Kilda explored she came upon something new. The new item turned out to be many things. They were not things to eat, or wear, or sit on. They smelled musty. They were diverse colors, shaped basically the same, but different in size, some thick, some thin. Some would bend, others stiff. They made a wonderful soft noise when Kilda turned them over in her hands. As she did this, Kilda noticed that each one of them were filled with markings.
Kilda sat down and explored each one as she had explored her own world. They were fascinating, and confusing. She had no idea what purpose the objects had. One had things inside that she recognized. It was food, but not. At first, Kilda was monumentally confused. She saw the thing she liked to eat, but it was nothing she could eat. It did not feel like food. It just looked like it. There were other things next to the not-food. Each food thing that was not a food thing had its own other… Thing. It had a name! Kilda began to understand. Everything, like Kilda, had a name. 
Curiously Kilda searched the objects for hours, finally deciphering a few names. Lingonberry was the first. The food she liked was Lingonberry. Then she deciphered the objects that she had found were books filled with words that represented things, ideas, and actions.
How Kilda learned to read in such a short time is a mystery. Perhaps it was because no one was there to tell her she could not. Kilda had to get back to her place before the light changed to darkness. She brought all the books she could carry. Once she got back, Kilda plopped down under her favorite tree, a sycamore, she would soon learn, to read more. Before night came, she learned several new words: curiosity, kindness, caring, determination, and giving. Kilda dreamt that night about the new words she had learned.
The next day Kilda discovered even more. She realized that some things had several names, some big with meaning, some to distinguish between other things, some to be funny or scary. She decided that she wanted to name things. If most things had several names anyway, why could she not give a few more? she thought.
Kilda tested various names for different things, as if they were shoes that could be fitted. She tried making up her own words like, ‘bumble-thumper’ for the clumsy rabbit. The bunny did not seem to care what its name was. For other things, like the sycamore tree, she used words that she learned. The immense tree provided shade for her without even being asked. It gave shelter for the squawky nut-crunchers (squirrels) and hammer-headed chirpy-doos (woodpeckers). The name ‘Kindness’ seemed to fit the tree. So, she sat in the shade that Kindness provided and learned all she could.
Time passed, and Kilda’s knowledge grew. She often went back to get more books from the pile. She returned the books she had mastered. What if someone else wanted to learn names?  Thankfully, there were always new books waiting for her. Mysteriously, there were often books on subject which she had pondered over the previous day.
Kilda would spend days researching one subject, learning all she could. When her studies took her in another direction, she would follow it, often bringing her back to an original question. These connections were sometimes quite confusing.
Kilda often had to draw her own maps in the dirt with her finger to connect different subject for a better understanding. One day, while Kilda scribbled a universal equation on the ground under Kindness, she noticed a flat-faced hoot-flapper (owl ) was watching her.
Kilda was having a particularly tough time with this mysterious connection. “Do you know something I do not?” she asked.
His wide face tilted as if tuning his ears would help him to understand.
Kilda realized he was curious. He, like Kilda, wanted to learn. “Maybe, if I explain it to you, you could help me figure it out,” she said.
The hoot-flapper flapped and danced excitedly from one of Kindness’s branches.
And just like that, Kilda began teaching. “This is quark theory. A quark is any of number of subatomic particles carrying a fractional electric charge, postulated as building blocks of the hadrons. Quarks have not been directly observed, but theoretical predictions based on their existence have been confirmed experimentally.”
The flat-faced hoot-flapper’s eyes widened. His feathers ruffled excitedly. He, in fact, hooted.
Kilda noticed his enthusiasm. “Yes, it is exciting. With a word like, ‘quark’ who would not want to know all about it?”  Her lesson continued through the day. When she was tired, and they had reached a good stopping point she invited him back for more lessons the next day.
She slept that night with a better understanding of quark theory. It seems that as she explained it to the owl, her understanding of the details grew stronger.
The next morning Kilda was awoken by a long-toothed needle-rump (porcupine) nudging her foot. “May I help you,” she asked?
The insistent creature nodded his head toward Kindness. Then turned and ambled back toward the tree.
Kilda wiped the sleep from her eyes to find a plethora of woodland creatures waiting for her. There was the flat-faced hoot flapper, a rock-backed swimmy-disc (slider turtle), a knife-nosed neckapotomus (great heron), a hammer-headed chirpy-doo, and even a snot-otter (hellbender salamander). They all sat around the base of Kindness or perched upon his low branches looking at Kilda expectantly.
She stepped in front of the small crowd. “Are you all here to learn with me?” she asked.
The creatures looked about at each other for a moment. The flat-faced hoot-flapper hooted first. Then the most wonderful sound Kilda had ever heard happened. A chorus of positivity rang out. Some chirped cheerily. Other cackled cautiously. A few hissed hopefully. One grunted gratefully. Even the snot-otter gave a slimy thumbs-up.
Kilda smiled.  She moved some rocks about so everyone could see better (or hear better if they did not have eyes). The dusty dirt patch she had used for equation scribbling was cleared for a fresh lesson. “Using my finger to draw in the dirt simply would not do, any more. I will need a stick,” Kilda mused.
Kindness gently shook. A stick the size of, well a wand, dropped to Kilda’s feet. She picked it up. It fit her hand just so. The stick had one pointy end, perfect for scratching in the dirt.
“Thank you, Kindness,” she said and hugged the trunk of the mighty sycamore. She continued addressing the class, “Well then, so long as you are nice to one another, you are all welcome. Also, if you have a question, please ask, or hoot or snarf or gargle or whatever it is you can do to get my attention.”
Kilda knew the animals could not speak in human tongue. She had heard other humans on her explorations but avoided them at any cost. Each time she heard them speak, they sounded grumpy or mean. Although Kilda knew humans could do amazing things, she was certainly afraid of the individuals she had encountered.
Kilda continued addressing the crowd, “I will happily explain any subject in a manner which we can better comprehend. Nobody understands everything the first time. Today, we are going to learn about the human folklore!” And that is how Kilda’s classroom under Kindness began.
Weeks past and the curious crowd under Kindness grew. Not everyone showed up every day. There were nests to build, nuts to gather, and burrows to unbury. Kilda settled into a pattern of teaching the first half a day for six days a week. The second half of each day, she explored her books to learn new things. Kilda could not decide which part of her day she loved the most. The first half, spent sharing what she had learned, or the second, when she learned something new. It was a wonderful life for a curious girl.
On the seventh day, Kilda walked to the pile of books to return the week’s previous books and acquire new ones. Sometimes, she would think of a question during her journey. Magically, there would be a book or several on just that subject. She always said, “Thank you so very much for the books!” aloud as she left. There was no one there that she noticed, but it could not hurt to be polite.
One sunny spring morning as Kilda wiped the sleep from her eyes, she noticed something was amiss. The classroom under Kindness was empty. Most of the tree-dwellers like the squawky nut-crunchers, knife-nosed neckapotomus, and hammer-headed chirpy-doos were high up in the canopy. The ground crawlers like the snot-otter were hiding under stones or the rock-backed swimmy-discs simply hid inside their shells. The stick-headed lawn-munchers (deer) and bumble-thumpers where nowhere to be seen. That was odd.
“What is going on?” Kilda asked one of the flat-faced hoot-flappers she saw shivering in a high branch.
He pointed his head toward the crotch of Kindness’s first big branch, where it met the trunk. There sat a young blue dragon. Her scales glistened in the early sunlight and smoke drifted from her nostrils. They were so rare that Kilda had not come up with a name for them, yet.
Kilda was slightly startled. She had read books on dragons but thought them to be extinct. They were reportedly fearsome creatures. However, this one did not seem terribly fierce. Though, the other creatures were quite concerned.
Kilda addressed the dragon. “Are you here to learn?”
“Yes,” she replied.
“Wonderful!” Kilda exclaimed! “I have never shared with a dragon, nor have I ever spoken with anything that could answer back with words! You are welcome if you follow the rules. Rule number one, be nice to one another. Rule number two, ask a question if you are confused.”
The dragon looked at Kilda. “I have a question.”
“Go ahead, and thank you for obeying the rules,” Kilda said.
“By being nice to one another, does that mean I can not eat anyone here, not even a bite?” the dragon asked.
The classmates all around shuddered.
The question surprised Kilda, but all the same, she had to follow her own rule and be nice. The dragon was simply asking a question, following rule number two. “That is correct. You cannot eat or even bite anyone here. That would not be very nice,” she replied.
“Ok. I will do my best,” the dragon said.
“Thank you,” Kilda replied, thinking of how to make the dragon and the rest of the creatures more comfortable. “If you need to bite something, bite my wand. It is just here, anytime you need it.” She put the wand at the base of the tree.
The dragon replied, “Thank you so very much. I may just need to do that.” But the blue-scaled blaze-burper behaved. (Kilda had thought of a name for dragons that very moment).
Class went on for several months with few interruptions. The students became comfortable with the dragon’s presence. Until one summer day during class a ruckus erupted from the nearby woods. Humans had found their way to Kindness, Kilda, and the class.
Dozens of men stomped from the woods carrying torches and pointy sticks. They walked right to toward the clearing under Kindness.
“There is the beast!” yelled on of the men as he pointed a pitch fork at the blue-scaled blaze-burper. The intruders blitzed toward the tree.
The dragon picked up Kilda’s wand and bit it nervously. Then decided to climb higher into Kindness out of reach of the aggressive men.
Most animals knew to stay well away from humans. The rest of the class scattered, except for Kilda. Even though she was quite afraid, she stood tall, or as tall as a young girl could under the circumstances. She picked up her wand, a tooth was stuck in the handle where the blaze-burper had chewed it. She waved the wand at the men, pointing it directly at the nose of the leader.
“This is our classroom under Kindness! Here we are nice to one another! Here we do NOT hurt each other. This is the first rule of Kindness!” She stamped her foot. She had never yelled before. She did not like doing it.
Kilda tried very hard to remain calm, but the idea of someone hurting one of her friends was infuriating. Plus, they were breaking the rules of Kindness. Kilda could not allow it any further.
The man stopped at Kilda’s confusing outburst. “What are you doing here, little girl? We are here to kill that dragon. That beast is going to eat our livestock and burn our houses! Now, get out of the way or I will move you, myself.”
“You most certainly will not kill that blue-scaled blaze-burper!” Kilda exclaimed. “This is our place!” She had to think quickly. She had never seen nor spoken to another human before. She thought of their history and folk lore. Some of the things they feared were ghosts, sharks, tigers, fire, and magic. Kilda did not have any of those things, that she knew of, but the men did not know that. Men also feared witches, she remembered.
“What are you going to do to stop us, little girl?” The man laughed. The army he fronted chuckled as well.
Kilda pointed her wand at the man’s nose. She had to stand on her toes to reach his height. She swatted his bulbus protuberance of a snout with every word. “I am a terrible witch! You see my wand? It comes from the mightiest tree in all the world, Kindness. If you take one more step towards the blue-scaled blaze-burper, I will curse you for generations. I will set your houses ablaze, make your mutton go mad, poison you wells, rot your teeth, shrink your skulls, and whittle your bones! I will kill you with Kindness!”
A spark flashed from the tip of the wand which singed the man’s moustache, and temporarily blinded him. It could have been residual dragon spit from the tooth stuck in the handle that ignited the spark. It could have been magic. It may have been both. Only Kilda and Kindness really knew. But it happened.
“She be a witch! Run!” The man yelled, but most of his men had already scampered away like a stick-headed lawn-muncher at the sight of the fire.
“And do not ever come back!” Kilda yelled. The creatures sheltering in the cover of Kindness squawked, hissed, yalped, barked, bellowed, and hollered right along with Kilda. And the men never returned.
The legend of Kilda the Witch grew throughout the kingdom. As the story spread, many wanted to know how the little girl knew so much about the world. That alone was proof enough for most to call her a witch and stay clear.
In the stories written about Kilda, the truth is that she was a witch. It was not her immense knowledge that made her magic. It was because she could talk to animals and trees and they understood her. But, if anyone had asked Kilda, she would have kindly told her truth. “It is not magic that I know what I know. It was a library, hard work and determination that got me here. I would have shown you, if you had but asked.”
A lesson taught to everyone on that day long ago: Never underestimate the power of an educated girl wielding Kindness.

Kind Kara-
                Now you know the legend of the Kindness Wand. Over time the wand has found its way to many witches and wizards. It has seen hundreds of adventures. Every wand has its own powers and the Kindness Wand is among the most powerful of all. So, wield it well, as I know you will.

                -Michael P Wines
                Curator of Magical Artifacts
                Order of the Dragon

Happy customer trying out her new wand on my pet pygmy hyena

 Oops... But the wand works!

And now my mustache is on fire...

Wands ready to choose their wizard or witch

 Walnut with Phoenix feather core

 Closer look

 Such magic!

 Knotty Pine with Dragon Tooth Core (has already chosen its witch)
Sweet wood, dude!

 I can ship stuff!

 See the fancy box! 

Please share this blog. I am desperate for attention. 

-Michael P Wines

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