Find magic in nooks and crooks, in baskets and burrows, and on seemingly ordinary back roads and side streets. Listen to the quiet whisperings of the heart. Attend to what nature teaches. Discover the secrets sung on the wind. This weekly series of original adventure tales will open your eyes to new places and characters from around the world and times gone by.
ABOUT THE STORIES
This is a collection of 13 winter stories, for the 13 weeks of winter.
The Oath of Brothers
Bo Corsi has been elected president of his country. During the busy days before his inauguration, he receives a surprising note from his long-lost brother Hanzi. The note reminds him of an oath they took when they were young — an oath that pledged their lives to the poor. This note brings mixed emotions; he is happy to hear from his beloved brother but bothered by the reminder about the oath. As soon as he sees his brother's face after twenty years, he knows exactly what to do.
The Lambs Wool Blessing
Between the bugs, blight, and bad weather, apples have a difficult time growing in certain parts of the world — but Mr. Dorsett has enjoyed abundant harvest year after year! Journeyman fruit growers flock to him to discover his secret, but no one finds anything unusual about his orchard. What they do not know is that Mr. Dorsett performs a single blessing on a single special winter’s night — a blessing that was taught long ago by an apple tree elf who resides in the orchard still.
The School House
An architect, a builder and a lumberman all share the same dream — to build a beautiful schoolhouse for their children. The town, however, does not have the money to build it and the wealthy family that does have the money doesn’t need a schoolhouse. They need a carriage house. So the three men are hired to build the carriage house while they secretly wish to be building a school. What they don’t know is that their wish will be granted — only one hundred years later.
The Road to the Old Stone Chapel
Mr. Shields has just bought the prominent Wentworth manor, which includes a barn, a guesthouse, and an old stone chapel. He decides to renovate each structure back to its original splendor but runs into a unique challenge with the chapel: the road has been destroyed by years of flooding by the beaver pond nearby. He thinks the solution is easy — move the beavers to another pond. But he soon finds he doesn't need beaver traps, but rather the wisdom of a magic man who teaches the ways of the surrounding wilderness.
Maati lives in the far north where it is very cold and very dark much of the year. But after the ice breaks in the late spring, everything changes: flowers cover the earth and creatures of all shapes and sizes arrive from the south. Of all her seasonal friends, Maati looks forward to seeing a pair of northern chickadees most of all. And then, one spring, only one of the two returns and she learns where the other has gone ... to Birdland.
The Cellar in the Woods
Micah and his older brother discover a curious tree, the remains of an old car and an intact cellar hole in the woods. The cellar is shallow and constructed of big stones, and within it, the boys find small treasures: old bottles, bits of rusted metal car parts and an unusual piece of glass crystal. Later that night, Micah learns from a magical little man in a dream that the crystal is something very special indeed.
Tibby and the Fifth Virtue
Tibby loves books. All day long he reads books about knights and warriors. He especially loves the stories about the code of chivalry, or the noble virtues of knights. One day he is surprised to find a book in his school locker called The Fifth Virtue. Where did the book come from? And could it be that this book — about a knight named “Sir Timothy” — is really about himself?
The Fool's Son
The Princess can have anything she wants — toys, delicacies, music, and fine clothes. But none of it makes her happy. What she enjoys is the company of Jalphi, the Fool’s son, and the magical stories he tells her. When the king and queen announce that it is time for her to marry, she realizes that he is the only one she could ever love. However, her father refuses their marriage. “My daughter will never marry a Fool’s son!” When war breaks out, Jalphi proves that he has learned more as "The Fool's Son" than anyone could possibly imagine. Enough to save a kingdom!
Horse at Play
A young racehorse seems destined for greatness — and boy is she fast! But as soon as she hits the racetrack, her force of motion dwindles. It takes an enlightened trainer, a surprising jockey, and a magic ingredient for this young horse to show her gifts in the ultra-competitive world of horse racing. And that magic ingredient? Play.
A blacksmith and his son are surprised one day to find a young girl whose father was lost in a recent battle for the King. The blacksmith takes her in and raises her as his own, but soon finds that her true father’s courage and sense of adventure is alive and well in the girl — and is strong enough to transform a kingdom.
The Baker's True Home
Angus Burnhope is a baker to the Parliament. He bakes pies and tarts for those important gentlemen who help make the laws of the country. Angus enjoys his work well enough, but he feels lost and alone in the city. But when he is invited up into the chambers of the Lord Chancellor of the Parliament, his simple life takes a surprising turn!
Riches or Wishes
Renzelman the Great is an old magician who travels with a horse-drawn circus from town to town. He is not a very good magician, but he does have one remarkable trick up his sleeve — he can change a little stone into a tiny dancing man and then back again. What his audience doesn’t know is that it is not a trick at all.
Set in Stone
Nani Sasso lives with his family on a small rocky island in the Mediterranean. One day, Nani has a falling out with his brother and decides to leave his family. But the grudge he develops doesn't last just a short while — it goes on for many, many years. It is not until he is an old man that his granddaughter Modesta shows him what he has lost in the name of being set in stone.