Rhapsody Micro Fiction Contest Winners

Our Summer 2019 Micro-Fiction Contest, Rhapsody, had us all rhapsodizing about the extraordinary creativity of your stories! We read them, and re-read them, and read them again, and still we were hard-pressed to choose a winner. In the end, we didn’t. We chose two, tied for first place. And four more as Honorable Mentions! Even with these six selections, we were still sorry to leave others Unmentioned. So our heart-felt thanks to you all for making our Dandelion Micro-Fiction Contest such a gratifying joy to produce.

Tied for first place are two thirteen-year old writers: Eliana Whing, U.S.A., and Madeline Page of New Albany, OH. If Madeline’s name seems familiar, that’s because she also tied for first place in our Spring contest, Infinite Grace! Once again, her exquisite use of language, sound, imagery and feeling carried the essence of Lori’s artwork flawlessly. Eliana is also a previous winner, for her Before Dawn story last fall. Both of these young writers have a natural talent for expressing the ineffable in their solidly accessible literary styles. May they continue to practice their gift and share it with us all!

Our four Honorable Mentions include two more young writers, both from Virginia. Fifteen year-old Sahar Choudhury and thirteen year-old Turhan both submitted beautifully crafted tales, well-told. And two of our favorite adult writers, Lisa-Marguerite Mora of Los Angeles and Susan Ferrari of Gilford, NH each sent us tantalizing stories, each in their own inimitable style.

We hope you’ll enjoy reading these stories as much as we did. And again, our thanks to these winning writers and to all of you who have helped to make our ongoing Micro-Fiction Contest such a joy to present.

Inspiration flows in all directions when we join together in Creativity!



Winning Story (tie)


Madeline Page, Age 13 - New Albany, OH

Home Solis home Solis home. . .
My calloused hands caress the slender strings of my violin. The bow, an oak extension of my flesh, slides like melted butter as I gently coax a song from the once-dead wood. I give it new life as it joyously sings, harmonizing with the rustling of leaves, crooning a melody;
Home Solis home Solis home. . .
I am dressed in the finest cloth garments, crafted from the daintily spun silk of the Chinese silkworms, and dyed with the paint of crushed petals. My cocoa-brown hat sits jauntily on my curls. I wear no shoes; why bother when I sit and strum atop a bear’s backside, as he lumbers through the forest? The pebbles hidden in the velvety green moss underneath me will not bruise my feet.
My violin sings to me;
Home Solis home Solis home. . .
The bells draped around my bear’s neck tinkle softly as we move. My bear rumbles gently, adding a baritone to the composition I am making. He plods in time to the rhythm of my heart-the rhythm of the song.
Home Solis home Solis home. . .
The greenery around us hums as I crescendo. I close my eyes, and I play.
Home Solis home Solis home. . .
The forest comes alive with melody and harmony, singing. This world is mine, all mine! The notes twirl around us, like autumn leaves in a breeze, brushing my cheeks, as I play, and play, and play, and. . .
Home Solis home Solis home Solis home Solis . . .
The final note tentatively emerges from beneath my bow, and quivers in the air, while the forest sighs, and silents.
I sing the last note with my violin.
I lower my bow as the verdant trees blur into each other, like a watercolor painting. They dissolve, as do my colorful clothes, and my loyal bear. He gazes mournfully at me as he fades away.
The forest is replaced by a drab attic bedroom, my silks to scratchy stitching. All that remains is my violin.
My dead mother’s violin.
I tenderly place it into a wooden box, alongside my father’s cocoa brown hat, and my sister’s tattered stuffed bear. I let my fingers trail along the trees carved into the lid of the box, let them rest in the meticulous scratches engraved there.
Solis. My name.
I close the box, leaving the world where I have everything behind, and turn to face the world where I have nothing. Nothing but remnants of a once-family, and a nearly forgotten dream.
I imagine that I can hear the strings of a violin, calling to me, playing a melody I know by heart.
Home Solis home Solis home. . .

Winning Story (tie)


Eliana Whing, Age 13 - USA

Every spring I come, though it is duty, not want, that brings me back. The forest needs me. Its very breath relies upon my music. Every year, the forest dies. Every year, my violin wakes it up once more. 

It was probably three years back that Piaco started joining me. I don’t like to rely on anything, but I’ll admit that when he growls at the foxes in hopes of protecting me, or when his cocoa colored fur stands on end at every twig snap, his love of me is a comfort. 

Yes, my journey is no easy one. No one ever sees me, gives me credit for my good deeds. Each year I appear from the mist alone on Piaco. Nameless, with no identity to speak of. I know tis better for all people this way, though still it pains me to feel invisible. If one should see us they might think their eyes had betrayed them. We would be a strange sight, Piaco and I. Him, with his ribbons of blue and pink draped ‘round his neck like scarves, and the tinkling bells that join my violin’s sweet notes. And me! With my fine brown felt hat, and fine silks, why they look to be something that came from the royal dress-up chest! That would be the strangest part of it all to any plain and practical villager. 

The fog that had been covering us settled. I could see that this year was no different from ones past. The trees were sagging where they stood, and the usual mossy earth was once more afraid of its own beauty, and had hidden itself amongst the brown. I began to play. I know how it sounds. It is a language of its own, my music. Whenever I play, I receive the most beautiful, rich, and deep feeling I’ve ever known. 

I closed my eyes and peace washed over me. Every bone in me relaxed, and I stayed in that way for a time, making no motion but swift pulls of my bow. When I opened my eyes again, I saw the magic had already begun its course. The trees were standing upright and alert, and the forest floor looked to have grown courage, for it once more had become its own, soft universe, and my bare feet suddenly yearned to feel the soft earth beneath them, resting on it as though it was their pillow. The birds called to neighbors as they looked down from the curved branches above, and bunnies peeped out of burrows. They were all enthralled with my music. Piaco had closed his eyes, and I knew he was simply breathing it in. 

I did not stop. I knew when to, and the time had not yet appeared. Through the trees my own one-instrument symphony echoed back to me. All sound seemed to have stopped. The entire forest was holding its breath, not wanting to miss a single note of my sweet tune.

And then the fog appeared. I stopped abruptly. The birds scattered. Piaco’s eyes popped open, and the bunnies cowered afraid. The fog began to cover us, swooping gracefully around our bodies as gently as a mother reaching for her child. I patted Piaco comfortingly. “It’s okay, old friend. We are going now.” The fog thickened like a blanket; it swarmed us, and filled us. When it cleared, I knew we would be gone. The forest was restored, and my duty was complete. Farewell forest. We shall return soon..

Honorable Mentions

Circus Escape

Lisa-Marguerite Mora - Los Angeles

“We are lost,” said Antonia, as she gripped Rorius's thickly furred back. Despite their predicament, she noticed she felt more safe now astride his broad body.

“Not so much lost, now that we're together,” Rorius sniffed the wind as he tracked scents of the trees and their roots, the rich dark soil that sometimes sifted underneath his feet. 

Antonia had escaped the circus troupe she'd been a part of these last several months. It had to be done at night in the wee hours after the manager had fallen asleep. He would not have taken kindly to her leaving and may have sought to stop her. One always thought of escaping to the circus, but Antonia was solitary, a bit of a nomad. She carried along to her own tune, which she often evoked on her fiddle. First a few notes and much like Rorius, she'd halt, sniff the wind, as the bow lingered on the strings, its call vibrating out onto the open air. She rarely played with a roof over her head. Trapping these sounds of her heart between four walls was not something she could abide for long. It was partially why she ran away. Even in the tent where she was required to perform, she felt stifled. The night before her escape she realized it would be her last. The forest had called to her through the wind that played across her face and across the taut strings of her bow. She itched to pick it up, drag it across the fiddle, answer the whoooo whoooo! that crept into her heart. But she would risk waking the rest of the company. And in that moment as the soft wind from the forest with all its fine scents tantalized, she knew she had to leave. She was not meant for people as much as for the life of wild things. It had always been so.

Nimbly catching up her instrument, she also grabbed a brown hat of one of the troupe members. She stopped to tuck her hair far up into it and pulled the brim down over her eyebrows. Best not be recognized as a girl even though she wore a dress. Her short pantaloons might help to give a different impression at least in the predawn shadows so that she could get to the forest safely. As an afterthought she snatched a blue silk shawl, draped it across her shoulders. She couldn’t completely ignore the cold nor the fact winter was coming.

When she got to the wood and then further into the blue-green density of the forest, she could finally breathe. Now she could play and no one would hear her. Antonia touched the bow to the strings of her fiddle and waited for the vibration of song that always travelled from deep within her before it surfaced. She closed her eyes. Opened them. But what was that? A chunky kind of jingling. Bells. Different music. She stood still and listened, the fiddle still perched on her shoulder, under her chin.

Rorius emerged from behind a towering evergreen. He was strewn with a large harness of sleigh bells. He shook himself, surrounded now by a cascade of silver jingles. “Damned annoyance!” he admitted matter-of-factly.

Antonia put down her bow, “Don’t tell me,” she said. “Did you escape too?”

“Couldn’t take another minute,” he affirmed. “Saw you sneaking off and thought it wasn’t a bad idea.” He shook his neck again, setting off the heavy jangle of bells once again.

“Don’t do that,” said Antonia. She glanced behind her nervously. “Maybe we should go further into the forest. Maybe they’ll hear you.”

“Right,” he looked pointedly at her instrument. “Don’t play that fiddle either,” he moved off behind the tree he emerged from. “We should be careful.”

“Rorius,” Antonia suddenly felt cold and small in her bare feet and thin dress. She caught up the silk shawl that had slid to the ground. “Can I ride on your back?”

Rorius turned, “Yes, I suppose so. This isn’t really your kind of terrain, is it?”

Antonia wanted to protest, “No, that’s not true! I love the forest!” But a rustling in the distance made her move quick toward the bear and climb up onto his sturdy back. “Thank you,” she said. 

They lumbered along as dawn crept up the sky, trees awash now in a smoky blue light. Mist filtered through the branches and through the tough greenery and feathery branches that stretched in all directions. Pine scent, damp, and the softest fragrance of tiny low growing flowers clung to their fur and skin. After a time, Antonia picked up her bow and drew it across the strings of the fiddle. She played a few notes and a bird answered high and sweet. “You play very well,” Rorius paused. “Am not sure where we are,” he added.

“We are lost,” Antonia agreed. She continued to play, her fingers deft, the bow moving slow and quick. It was a new song. Not a solitary song. It came from far inside her, but with a new color.

“Not so much lost now that we’re together,” What Rorius said was true. Antonia heard him sigh. “I hear a stream,” he veered course in direction of the gentle lapping that Antonia could only just detect. It almost sounded like laughter. Rorius’s gait smoothed and lengthened.

“Good,” said Antonia. She leaned forward over the bear’s shoulders, managing a tighter grip with her knees, while she held to her bow and fiddle. “I’ll get that harness off you when we stop.” She hummed another little tune lulled by the sure steps of the bear. It was good to have found her friend, a friend she didn’t even know she had. “Rorius?”

“Yes, Antonia?”

“I think we’re going to be fine.”

“Yes,” he agreed. “I think so.” He paused. “If you would, please, play another song?”

Music in the Mist

Susan Ferrari - Gilford, NH

I’m sure you’ve had a day when you just had to get away. That was how it was for me, the day I got lost in the redwood forest. I needed to shake off the crush of words weighing me down. All those words of comfort that sounded more like fingernails being dragged across a blackboard. More than anything, I just needed to be alone. So that’s how I ended up hopelessly lost among the ancient trees.

I was pretty hopeless anyway, before I got lost. When I entered the forest I had no plan, no direction, and definitely no trail map. After wandering for, I don’t know, a couple of hours, I guess, I noticed that I was repeatedly coming upon the same big boulder and the same burl in the same giant redwood. So I gave up. Just stopped walking and dropped down onto a bed of moss and ferns.

Lying on my back I looked up at the canopy of redwood branches that seemed more alive than I. Their branches intertwined and encircled me like a warm embrace. Feeling safe, I closed my eyes and let the fresh woodsy scent of the trees melt into me. I surrendered. My body sagged and my mind went limp, silent. On my cheeks tears mingled with the moisture in the mist.

I have no idea how long I lay like that. Hours, most likely. Days, maybe. Surrendering released me from the tyranny of time. And honestly, I didn’t care about time anymore. Perhaps I’d still be there on my back if it hadn’t been for the most extraordinary sound I’d ever heard. I’ll try to tell you about it, but you may have trouble believing me. Be that as it may, I do hope you will hear it yourself some day.

I thought it was a sudden symphony of woodland birds, but then I realized that among the bird songs was a clear and solo voice. Think of the most illustrious violinist of all time performing on the most exquisite violin and then you will still have but a mere hint of the sacred sound I heard. Even the word, “sound,” is inadequate.

Naturally, I rose from my earthen bed and followed the pure tones that had awakened me. Try to put your disbelief aside as I tell you what happened next. I came to a small pond beside which stood a large brown bear and upon his back sat a boy or a girl, a seemingly genderless child. Upon the handsomely beautiful head sat a large fedora of sorts and on the strong looking body of this mysterious child was a mishmash of garments suggesting royalty. Or perhaps the circus. Both bear and child wore a countenance of concentration. So deeply focused on something or someone in the distance ahead of them they did not notice me at all.

The child, it turned out, was the magnificent violinist. Now and then the bear would add to the symphony with a bit of percussion made up mostly of the bells draped across his or her chest and back, with occasional low grunts interjected into the rhythm of the violin music. The birds, mind you, tweeted and trilled in absolute harmony and time with the concert master astride the bear.

You might imagine the state of my mind at seeing and hearing all this. But, you would be wrong if you think I was stunned or shocked in any way. No, no, not at all. Thinking back on it now, I am dumbfounded that I was so calm. For one thing, I felt my heartbeat join their rhythm and then my mouth opened, without asking my brain first, and out of it came a glorious sound straight from my soul, I’m sure. It was that perfect. A breeze wafted in and the redwood branches swished like brushes on a drum. The entire forest was alive with the music. We were all part of the Great Symphony.

On the very last note, the violinist and the bear moved slowly away. They just faded into the mist, really. I listened as the final note drifted into silence. In that exact moment came the realization that I, too, played a part in the Great Symphony, no matter how small or insignificant. It was then that my path was illuminated. I was no longer lost. Not in body, not in mind, and definitely not in spirit.

I was found.


Sahar Choudhury, age 15 - Virginia


He obediently pulls his bow back and forth over the strings, working up the scale. His mind drifts once more, and his fingers follow suit; the next note is unmistakably sharp, an unlovely screech. He winces.

“You haven’t been practicing, have you? Shame on you! You are not to go outside until you demonstrate improvement!”

With this grim sentence, his mother sweeps from the room, leaving him alone to his music and his thoughts. When the sound of her footsteps recedes down the corridor, he haltingly resumes his scales.

He cannot concentrate, however, and his daydreams wander back to the wonder of the bear.

He had seen it early that morning. After finishing breakfast, he had donned his exploring outfit- consisting chiefly of a resplendent blue cape and a jaunty hat- and delved into the woods behind his home. Dew was pooled in the grooves of fallen logs and the fissures of rocks he had clambered over, and a light mist hung among the towering trees as a remnant of rains from the previous night. Birdsong echoed throughout the forest, and a stream burbled musically underfoot. He had walked along its banks, collecting fallen acorns and picking bluebells for his mother. It was then he had encountered the bear.

He had uttered a soft “Oh!” without intending to, then clapped his hand over his mouth. It did not notice him; its great, shaggy snout was buried in the undergrowth near a yellow trumpetbush. His breath hitched as he observed the enormous animal grazing peacefully; to him, it was the size of imagination, a world of possibility. It was beautiful, with a delicate velvet nose waiting to be stroked. Its eyes were pools the color of the rosin he used on his bow, an amber so natural and dark it could be mistaken as black. He had longed to run a hand over its coat, over the droplets of dew that still clung to it. Against his better instinct, he yearned to reach out toward the grizzly, which on some scale seemed his beloved teddy come to life. Instead, he stood motionless and watched for an eternity. Then, silently, he had torn his gaze away from the magical sight to return home.

These recollections give way to a fantasy: in his mind’s eye, he is perched atop the bear in his exploring outfit, violin and bow in his hands. The melody of the forest surrounds him. Acorns and bluebells adorning the bear provide a cheerful tinkle, the flowers of the yellow trumpetbush sound out bright and brassy, flutey birdsong and murmuring water weave through the score, and the rider and the ridden are the core of the piece. His bare toes curl into thick brown fur that complements the mahogany of his instrument. When the bear rumbles, he plays deep, legato, sonoro. The woods are alive with music, and his music is as alive as the woods that have created it.

He finishes with a grand flourish, just in time to realize that the tune created in his head is now coming from outside it, from his own fingers. The rich parting note lingers in the air, filling the room with a warm resonance that gradually fades into silence. The resulting calm is broken by a crescendo of footsteps. The door swings open. He waits to be reprimanded; after all, the scales were abandoned long ago. His mother regards him for a long moment.

“If you wish to, you may go outside again. You’ve played well today.”

His face registers surprise before splitting into a radiant smile. He puts away the violin, changes into his exploring outfit, and steps from the music in his home to the music outside it. At the edge of the forest, he holds his breath and listens. A symphony begins.


Turhan, Age 13 - Virginia

He is scared. The woods are darker than he thought they would be, and a layer of fog obscures everything so that when he sticks out the bow of his violin in front of his nose he can barely see it. Insects buzz and whir in the bushes, insects that might sting and bite and hurt him. He treads on.

He is determined. Teddy is his responsibility. They perform their act together: The Musical Boy and Bear! Teddy wears her jingly bells and he wears his fancy hat, silk cape, and a bright patchwork of garments. He rides Teddy as they perform, playing his violin, and the crowd roars louder than a bear! Now Teddy is missing; she has fled into the woods behind their latest campground and been loose for three days straight. The mission is clear: the Musical Boy must find the Musical Bear and bring her back to the circus where they both belong before it is time to leave for the next town. He treads on.

He is lonely. Teddy is his closest friend. All the other circus artists are adults, and they are kind and do their best to entertain him, but many of them come and go and sometimes it is necessary for a Boy to spend time with Not-Adults. He does not know or want to know life without a bear in it. He treads on.

Suddenly, he hears a low purring. He is ecstatic! This is the sound Teddy makes when he wraps his arms around as much of her as he can, or when the ringmaster booms “Spectacular performance!” and the cookhouse gives both Boy and Bear extra dinner that night. He walks around a big evergreen tree and there she is! When their eyes meet, warm brown to warm brown, her purring grows even louder and his smile grows even bigger.

He is shocked. In his mind he knows it is Teddy, but to his eyes the bear before him is a stranger in the guise of Circus Teddy. Her coat is thick in a way he has never seen, contrasting the now-rusty bells hanging from her frayed harness. Her paws seem larger, more powerful. The eyes returning his gaze are brighter and sharper. She looks stronger, and the realization hits him: she is healthy. This is what Teddy should have looked like all this time.

He approaches Teddy and swings a leg over her, with violin in one hand and bow in the other.

“One last performance, okay?”

She purrs in response.

So they perform, and it is magnificent- the best they have ever played. Their listeners are the chattering squirrels and the clicking beetles and the chirping birds. All in all, the woods make a much more musical audience than the clamoring crowd of the circus ring ever has. After a while, they finish, the last note of the violin perfectly matching the jingling of Teddy’s bells. He now knows what must be done.

She is free. He is sorrowful about leaving her, his best friend and partner, but he understands that Teddy belongs to nature on a much deeper level than she can ever belong to the circus. So he places his violin-calloused fingers on her soft fur and tugs off her harness of bells, the final barrier between Teddy and the way she should be. Their eyes meet for the last time and a complete understanding passes between them. As he begins the journey back through the woodland, he is overcome by a bittersweet tide of emotion.

He no longer has a circus act or a best friend, but he has the music and memory of this forest, and of Teddy.

Infinite Grace Micro Fiction Contest Winners

This season’s MicroFiction contest seemed to open the floodgates for contributors far and wide—we had more entries than ever and the range of creative expression was inspirational. We are grateful to each of you for responding to Infinite Grace with your imagination, heart, and words! Choosing a winning story challenged us in the best possible ways, and we finally decided to award three writers for their stories.

A Special Mention is given to 3½-year-old Willow Engel of Melville, NY. Her contribution is “as told to her mother.” May this little storyteller’s perspicacity continue to flourish!

From our abundance of story submissions, we have two clear winners of the Infinite Grace MicroFiction contest—Madeline Page and Devo Cutler-Rubenstein. Both writers capture some faithful essence of Lori’s enigmatic image—how in the world has this small human child come to be in such an improbable scene?

Thirteen-year-old Madeline Page of New Albany, OH gives us a third person narrative from the perspective of the ancient rhino encountering a waif before the storm. Her writing draws us into an unfamiliar other’s way of experiencing the world, sensuous and visceral, much like Lori’s painting.

Adult writer Devo Cutler-Rubenstein of West Hollywood, CA penned an immediately believable child’s daydream in less than 200 words, “Walking home.” Her small fantasy carries an irresistible pull, so we find ourselves reliving our own imaginative escapades, somewhere entirely magical, between what is and what isn’t.

Inspiration flows in all directions when we join together in Creativity!

Infinite Grace

Infinite Grace

Special Mention

Infinite Grace

Willow Grace Engel,  Age: 3 1/2 - Melville, NY


The sky is turning gray.

The boy is holding on the rhino.

He likes him.

They’re best friends.


The rhino is gray and black.

He’s holding the boy.

They’re holding each other.

They’re best friends.


They play with each other every day.

They’re home.


Winning Story (tie)

Infinite Grace

Madeline Page, Age 13 - New Albany, OH

It was a child. A human child, to be precise. 

    It was clothed in a suit the red of ripe mangos, with hair spiraling towards the setting sun. It was young, and small enough that it could hide behind the rigid green grass of the plain. And hide it did, when it saw her. 

    She was placidly watching it with eyes like sun warmed mud puddles. Her skin was wrinkled as a piece of paper, and while she had two formidable horns protruding from her skull, they were cracked, and chipped like old china. 

    The child’s own crystal eyes were wide with fright as it regarded what its young mind reckoned to be a ferocious beast. She wished she could tell it not to be afraid; it had been many years since she had been deemed ‘ferocious’. She was too tired to bother getting angry. Now, she simply existed, and waited until the African sunset cast her shadow over the earth for the last time. 

    The child quivered with fright-or perhaps it was shivering with cold. Clouds were now racing with the speed of a hunting cheetah across the sky. Rumbles like lion growls sounded from the heavens; the sky was the predator, and the earth the prey. Soon, rain would fall in torrents, streaking the dry ground with thick mud. 

    She wasn’t afraid of a storm. She had seen many in her days roaming the savanna, and she had grown used to the feeling of miniscule shards of sky pricking her tough hide. 

    But as she regarded the child’s trembling body, and compared its sun-kissed skin to her sky-hardened hide, she realized that it was cold and afraid. 

    Cold and afraid, and lonely. She was not so old that she could not remember the touch of her mother, or the yearning one had for her embrace when one was frightened and alone. She pitied the child, and wondered where its mother was. 

    The sky grumbled, and the child cried out. The storm had not yet begun, but already rain was running down the child’s face.

    No, not rain. . . tears. The child was crying. 

    She felt a tug, as if a rope looped around her chest was ever so gently nudging her toward the child. 

    Lightning crackled, tearing the sky in two, and the child whimpered. 

    There it was again-a small tug on her heart. She wondered. . . 

    Tentatively, she took a step forward. The child quickly drew in breath, and froze like a gazelle who had met the gaze of a lion. She rumbled quietly-not the rumbling of thunder, but the gentle rumble of a waterfall-to show she meant no harm. The child’s breathing slowed, and it watched her with large eyes as she cautiously made her way closer. 

    She was standing directly in front of it now. It studied her inquisitively, its head slightly tilted to the side in bewilderment. She rumbled again, more quietly this time so as not to startle it, and slowly. . . ever so slowly. . . inclined her head towards the child. 

    Its gaze never wavering from her eyes, it stretched its hand up, and touched her horn. She sighed as its chubby fingers caressed her broken keratin, and as it slowly. . . ever so slowly. . . wrapped its arms around her. 

    The sky shuddered, and the child gasped, and clutched her horn tighter. She rumbled comfortingly, and the child’s grip loosened. 

    Like a string that had been stretched too thin breaking, the sky shattered, and sent its tiny shards tumbling towards the earth. She carefully watched as they began pelting the child, expecting it to cry out-but it didn’t. Instead, it simply laid its head against her horn, and closed its eyes. 

    So as the rain ran in rivulets down her back, and tousled the child’s curls, the twosome embraced beneath the frigid sky, and waited out the storm.

Winning Story (tie)

Walking home

Devo Cutler-Rubenstein - West Hollywood, CA

I’ll tell everyone I rode
It won’t be a lie.   I held on tight and closed my eyes
My imagination is true as true as the horn on his head
And the nose on my head.  My toes dug into my red slippers
And I thought why didn’t I listen to nanny and wear the oxfords, but
Wearing the slippers on a Sunday fun-day.  That was not such a good
Idea after all.  Who knew I’d run into it, lazing on the plains, waiting for 
Me.   He said afterall it was the best time I’d ever have, ever. More fun
Than the painted pony on the merry-go-round.  More fun than the sprinklers
Turned on full blast. At last he was snorting.  I had held on so tightly if he threw
Me off I would just be like a dandelion seed not quite old enough to be blown off
Its slender stem.  I would never wear these shoes again. Never.   Finally, I let go
And opening my eyes.

A tree stump looking like a horn stared back at me, and my red slippers were the oxfords and I heard the river that was not a roar.

Nightfall Micro Fiction Contest Winners

It was two years ago this Spring that Dandelion Press ran our first MicroFiction Contest.  Many of the writers we receive stories from have been participating in the contest from the get-go!  Adults and children, teachers and students, published authors and beginning writers alike have been enjoying this opportunity to express their imaginations and creativity, inspired by Lori’s magical illustrations.  And at the conclusion of every contest, we here at Dandelion Press eagerly gather together your submissions and share them amongst our panel of judges.  It is surprising to us how often our evaluations match up—there is rarely any disagreement regarding our winners and honorable mentions.

Our unanimity was once again plain to us all when we recognized 12-year old Ruthie Lee Biette of Fork Union, VA as our clear winner. Congratulations to Ruthie, now a two-time winner and once an honorable mention! Her ability to zero right in on Lori’s own artistic vision and then express it in clear, concise imaginative prose continues to resonate with us.  We congratulate Ruthie on her skill and talent. May she go far with it!

We also had an honorable mention for Nighfall.  Adult writer KM Beatty of Durango, CO submitted a melodious poem called Sleeping Lion that just delighted us.  Though not a faithful telling of the illustration, the feeling-tone of the poem, almost sung as a lullaby, was simply irresistible.  

We thank all of our contributing writers for the Nightfall contest, and hope that you will continue to ply your pens with the coming seasons.  We will post our Spring contest artwork soon, followed by one for Summer, and the final round of 2019 for Autumn.  Keep those creative juices flowing!



The Winning Story


by Ruthie Lee Biette, Age 12 - Fork Union, VA

The sun had set, and the first star shone brightly in the night sky.  I gazed into the window of a small, golden-haired child.  Her chest rose and fell as she breathed, and the brown felt hat slid down her face.  My breath made little clouds in the air and fogged up the window.  I wiped it clear again with my paw.  

The child turned on her side, and the hat fell off her face completely.  

I stood up on my hind paws and tapped the window.  I don’t know why I did it; but something felt right.  

The child sat up groggily and rubbed her eyes with tiny fists.  

I tapped the window again, and she turned to look at me with wide eyes.  But they were not fearful; just inquisitive.  I am not accustomed to people looking at me without fear in their eyes because, in fact, they should be fearful!  For I have killed many antelope and zebra in my days.  It was good for this girl that I had not come to hunt that night.  

I tapped the window again, and the girl stood up, blankets falling off her as if she were a butterfly, coming out of her cocoon.  

The child began to walk towards me, but stopped and bent to pick up her hat.  As she stood again she knocked over a trunk.  I heard her gasp and I heard the footsteps in the hall.  

The door of the room began to open as I crouched beneath the window sill.  

“Miss Lily?” I heard a hesitant voice in the doorway.  “Is everything all right?”  

“Oh, um…yes, I just got up to close the curtain.  The um…moon is very bright tonight.”  

“Alright.  Hurry and get back into bed.”  

“Yes, but may I sleep in my safari tent?”  

“Well, I suppose that would be alright.  Just get to bed quickly.”  The door shut and the woman left.  

The child, Lily, walked a few steps towards the window and stopped.  “Could it have been my imagination?” she wondered aloud.  

I popped up again and she smiled and ran over.  She pulled the window open and began petting my head.  

I was surprised.  No one had ever dared to even get within five elephants away from me.  I began to purr.  

She climbed over the windowsill and said quietly, “May I?”  

Somehow I knew what she meant.  I laid down and she climbed onto my back.  I waited until she had a grip on my fur before standing again.  

I began to walk and then lope, faster, faster, until I was in a full-out run.  We ran for hours and hours, underneath the bright full moon.  The dew wet my fur and the edge of her nightgown.  We ran though forest and field, and we even crossed a small stream.  

Eventually she let go of my fur and stretched her arms out wide.  

As she sun began to rise she whispered in my ear, “I must go home now or my nurse will miss me.”  

I did not indicate that I had understood, but I changed direction and loped back to the house.  

The child yawned and began to sag.  Once she nearly fell off my back but I caught her just in time.  

When we got outside the window, I laid down and purred loudly.  

The child woke up and I helped her to climb back in the window.  She put her brown hat on my head and laid down.  

I laid down next to her and stayed until she fell asleep.  

Then I left, leaving behind me nothing but an open window and taking nothing but the brown felt hat.  

The End.


Sleeping Lion

by KM Beaty - Durango, CO

While you’re lying asleep
A sleeping lion begins to stir
To welcome you to your dream
Or is it you who welcomes her?

Rest your eyes my weary child
Off to bed, sleep tight
And dream a dream so serene
As I guide you through the night

Each night as you drift off
Your head soft upon your pillow
Meet me in the shaded fields
Beneath the weeping willow

Let me take you to a place
Where the children come to play
A world of possibilities
Not seen in light of day

Anything can happen here
I can ride a whale across the sea
Or take a trip to outer space
In dreams I can just be me

Walk with me through garden gates
Feel the flowers brush your cheek
Hear them laugh and call your name
In dreams even flowers speak

We’ll run so fast through open fields
Or make like a bird and fly
Soaring above the snowcapped hills
That touch a sunlit sky

Listen to the mermaids sing
Let the music fill your head
Slide upon a rainbows bend
You don’t even have to leave your bed

And if a nightmare rears its head
Think of something sweet instead
A dream is just a sleeping thought
A dream doesn’t even need a plot

So Pleasant dreams my little one
Hope you liked the story that I’ve read
About the little girl and her lion friend
It’s late now, time for bed.

Holding Sunshine

A Puddle-Jumping Inspiration!


“When Life gives you a Rainy Day… Play in the Puddles!”

All the joy and magic of a Springtime Shower is captured here in Lori’s most recent addition to her Splendiferous Card collection, Holding Sunshine. Whether your March rains are attended by a brace of Ducks or a cloud of Umbrellas, Holding Sunshine in your heart is the natural gift of Spring!

And our free gift to you—a sheet of Holding Sunshine Vintage Stamps with any $25 order.  These specially-sized, collectible stamps will enhance your own Springtime wishes for all your packages and letters.

5” x 11.5” greeting card
$7.95    No extra postage required!

Offer expires March 19th

Delivered any Dreams Lately?

International Read to Me Day! March 19th

child with umbrella.jpg

Dandelion Press’ DELIVERING DREAMS, winner of multiple national  and international book awards has inspired children around the world as family and friends, teachers and librarians share its imaginative adventures with readers of all ages. 


Now, we invite you to help us celebrate
International Read to Me Day!

Submit your own best photo of a child reading Delivering Dreams
and you may win a bouquet of Dandelion products!

Our deadline for photo submissions is March 15th 
Winners will be announced on March 19th  

First Place:  $100 Dandelion Shop Credit!
2nd & 3rd Places:  $40 Shop Credit!  

All photos submitted to Dandelion Press for this contest are considered authorized for our social media posting. Please include a parental permission statement, and let us know how you would like your caption to read. 

Email us:  info@dandelionpress.com for more information or to submit your photos and enter the contest! 

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Before Dawn Micro Fiction Contest Winners

Sponsoring the 2018 Micro-Fiction Contest has been a privilege and a creative inspiration for us here at Dandelion Press this year. When we launched this project in the Spring of 2017, we had no idea what to expect. A year and a half later, we have a veritable stable of contributing wordsmiths, both adult and young writers. Our thanks to each and every one of you for your stories inspired by Lori’s art. We hope to continue this new tradition in the coming year!

Our fourth and final challenge to you in 2018 was presented with the painting, “Before Dawn.” Lori’s Old World presentation of this classic Christmas scene elicited a flurry of holiday stories. Some were poignant, some magical, others traditional and one futuristic! In the final judging, we had two clear choices, both penned by twelve-year old authors.

Our winner is Eliana Whing, who happens to live all over the U.S.A.! Eliana’s story, “Winter’s Dream,” features an enchanted dream of that White Pony. Her thoughtful, beautifully imagined and written tale truly captures the essence of “Before Dawn.”

We also have an Honorable Mention with Ruthie Lee Biette’s short (125 words!) sketch. Ruthie (Fork Union, VA), was our “Charmed” winner this fall with her 498 word vignette. Her literary perspicacity is enviable in one so young!

Congratulations to both our young writers—may all your Christmas Dreams come true!


The Winning Story

Winter’s Dream

by Eliana Whing, age 12 - All over USA

Maya’s eyes popped open. She sat up letting snow fall off her as she did. Oh dear, snow? She looked this way and that. There was no cozy fireplace, no candles glowing in the window, and no tree with presents gushing out from underneath. Instead, there before her lay a forest of thick evergreens.

Maya slowly got to her feet, shivering in her nightgown. “Mommy! Daddy!” she called helplessly. “Anyone?” Maya lay back down in the snow, wondering if the little match girl had been as cold as she.

A tear ran down her cheek. And another, and another. Soon she was sobbing, out in the middle of nowhere, cold, and alone.

Maya looked up. The sound of sleigh bells filled her ears. There before her she saw someone coming out of the trees on a…reindeer?

“Santa?” Maya asked in despair. But, no, it was a girl, wearing a red dress trimmed with white fleece. She had bright blue eyes, and long, blondish-white hair. There was no reindeer, but instead a white pony.

“Whoa, Dancer!” the girl said. The pony slowed to a stop. “Hello! You're not supposed to be out here, you realize?” the girl smiled at Maya.

“Are you Santa’s daughter?” Maya asked wondrously.

“Of course not!” the girl said laughing. “You look freezing! Come here.” Maya got up and walked slowly towards the girl.

In seconds, Maya had hot cocoa in her hands, a hat on her head, and a white sweater draped over her shoulders. “Where did you…”

“No time for that now. We have to get you home before Christmas morning! Come on!” The girl took Maya’s cocoa and Maya hopped up onto Dancer’s back.

Soon they were swiftly moving through the evergreens. Dancer’s bow jingled, while Maya hugged the sweater close. “Who are you? Maya asked.

“Somebody average, nobody special.”

“Have we met before?”

“In passing perhaps.”

“Do you know where I live?”


“So how do you know where to go?”

“I don’t. But Dancer does.”

“Do you have a name?”


“What is it?”

“Nothing important, something unimportant.”

Maya threw her hands in the air. “I give up.” The girl laughed. “How long till we get back?”

“However long it takes.”

Maya sighed and lay her head on the girl’s back. The snow sparkled in the sunshine. “Isn’t it already Christmas morning?” she asked sleepily.

She never knew the reply though, for before she knew it, she was sleeping. And then awakened again to a cough.

“I don’t remember it being this hard.”

Maya opened her eyes. She was laying on her own couch, in her own house. The bottom of the Christmas tree was flooded with presents, and the stockings were lumpy with goodies.

But the main thing she saw was the girl trying to climb the fireplace’s brick walls. Dancer stood nearby, tied to Maya’s stocking.

Maya leaped up. “Where are you going?”

The girl looked over, surprised. “Home.”

“Wait!” Maya rushed towards her. “Thank you.”

The girl gave her another darling smile. “You’re welcome, Maya.” And with a great jump, she was up out of the chimney.

“How do you know my name?” Maya called after her.

“Didn’t you mention it?” And with that, she disappeared from view.

“You forgot Danc…” Maya stopped her sentence as she realized that Dancer was no longer beside her. All that was left was her big red jingle bell bow. Maya bent down and picked it up, then jumped back onto the couch. She glanced over and noticed that the cookies she’d left for Santa were gone.

Up on the roof, the girl popped the last bite of sugar cookie in her mouth. “Grandpa, I’m ready!” she called.

Almost instantly, her grandfathers’s sleigh came into view. On it was a sack of presents, and in front of it were all of his reindeer. “Hello, my dear.”

“How did I do, Grandpa?”

“You were perfect. Now hop on.” The girl swung her legs into the sleigh, and off they went.

“Who’s next on the list?”

“Danny Ground, about five minutes away.”

“Well then, what are waiting for, let’s go!” And off they went, small as a star in the sky.


Honorable Mention

Before Dawn

by Ruthie Lee Biette, age 12 - Fork Union, VA

The sky is dark.

The stars twinkle and bright snow glitters.

Christmas Eve night.

A small girl. Feet bare on the cold hardwood floor. Pencil in left hand. Paper in right.

Dear Santa, I would like a pretty pony.

She folds the paper and thrusts open the window.

The little airplane flies through the air and disappears.

A cold draft comes in the window. She shivers.

Quietly shut the window. Tiptoe back to bed. Cover up. And sleep.

Thump! Thumpity-thump!

“Santa?” She tiptoes out of her bedroom into the parlor.

Stockings full. Presents under the tree. And…a pony!

Gleaming white fur. Golden mane. Braided tail.

A tag. A note.

For Sadie, a good girl. Her name is Honey.

The girl looks up. “Thank you, Santa.”

Charmed Micro Fiction Contest Winners

Our third microfiction contest of the year has concluded and we are pleased to share three fabulous submissions with you--one winner and two honorable mentions.  As the old saying goes, “Third time’s the Charm.”  And as we might say, the Third time’s Charmed! 

Our many Charmed story entries presented a new, creative challenge for us at Dandelion Press this go-round.  Enchanted frogs and witches and wizards and princes abounded.  There were young adult writers and elder writers, from 8 to 80 years young.  We received short-short stories and poetry, from Malaysia to Italy, from Maine to Montana.  And all wondrously magical!  

But after all our lily-hopping considerations, we have a clear winner—eleven-year old Ruthie Lee Biette’s “Dandelion Wishes.” Her 498-word story captured our imagination like a mirror-reflection of Lori’s Charmed painting.  Her bewitching, well-envisioned relationship between child and frog captured our hearts and wouldn’t let go.  Congratulations, Ruthie!

And we have two most honorable mentions, both adult writers.  Mindy Garza’s short-short story “Charmed!” caught us up short with its simple dialogue.  With just a few words exchanged, she sketched entire new realms of possibility, echoing the enchanted moment of “child meets frog!”  

Also irresistible, Susan Ferrari’s endearing story “One Froggy Day” gives us an inter-generational story of magic, mystery and resolution, all in a tidy, humorous tale that beautifully illustrates the image.   

Thanks to all our creative writers for your efforts to tell the story of Lori’s paintings, and we hope you will enjoy reading these “three’s the Charm” inspired writings as much as we did! 



The Winning Story

Dandelion Wishes

By Ruthie Biette, age 11 - Fork Union, VA 



“Hi, Froggy.”  I watch the child warily and she crouches down, still staring at me. 

We sit, just watching each other for a long time. A fly buzzes around, close to my head, and I zap him up with my tongue, swallow him and fill my belly in half a second. 

The girl watches wistfully and says, “I wish I could do that. All I have is this thing.” She sticks her tongue out. It is short and fat. I wonder how the rest of it came off and ask before I remember that humans don’t understand frogs. But then she answers me! She laughs and says, “This is how my tongue has always been! Nothing has happened to it!” 

I stare in astonishment. 

The girl laughs again and stands up. I flinch at the sudden movement. Then she grabs a small metal can, reaches her hand in, and throws something towards me. 

I duck under water, expecting rocks like the little boys throw, but when I pop my head up I find a feast of grasshoppers just floating around. I won’t need to hunt for hours after eating this! 

The girl comes the next day, and the next. Each day she brings some type of bug, and I feast.  

One day she comes holding a big fluffy white flower, one of the ones the wind blows away. She gives me the bugs and sits down on her little spot on the bank. She closes her eyes, sucks her breath in, and “Whooshes!” it out. 

All the little white things blow away, not one is left on the stem. They blow over the pond, and a foolish young frog eats one. 

The girl smiles, and whispers to me, “Do you think it will work?” 

I nod, even though I don’t know what she’s talking about. 

Suddenly, the whole pond expands, and the lily pads grow. Now she can stand on them without sinking. She takes a deep breath, and steps on the nearest lily pad.  She grins, the biggest grin I’ve ever seen. She crouches down, looks to another lily pad and leaps! 

She jumps as well as any frog, maybe even better because of her enormous size. She takes one more leap to get to me and says, “This is great! I’m just like you! Watch me swim!” 

She dives under the water and swims better than any human I’ve ever seen! She laughs and leaps and swims for hours and hours. She even has a normal tongue now, and catches dragonflies with ease. 

At the end of the day she sits on the oversized lily pad watching the sun set. As dusk comes, the pond begins to go back to normal. The girl takes one last frog leap back to shore. She waves and walks out of sight. She goes on two legs once again. 

But even though the day has gone, the magic hasn’t. And I don’t think it ever will.


Honorable Mention


by Mindy Garza - Southern California



     It worked!

     The water nymph’s magic had transformed him into human form!

     He admired his reflection in the water, and suddenly his watery image became hers. 

     “You have three moon risings to see the world through human eyes,” she warned. “Remember to stand tall, be kind, and cherish each moment. Humans often forget how precious life is, and you can help them remember.”

     “I will,”  he promised. His new voice startled him, but only for a moment. He straightened his legs and stood as tall as they allowed. How different the view was from this new height! He felt as though all things were possible!

     “Three moon risings,” said the water nymph. “The magic is only temporary… Three moon risings…” and she rippled away. 

     “I’ll remember,” he said as his own reflection returned. “And now the magic really begins!” And he took his first uncertain steps toward the unknown.

Honorable Mention

One Froggy Day!

by Susan Ferrari - Gilford, NH



“Grandma!  Where are you?” yelled Angelina as she searched for her grandmother who disappeared yesterday afternoon right after blowing out her birthday candles.  The whole family was out trying to find Grandma.

After walking and calling for several hours, Angelina came upon a small lake.  A pair of loons dipped and swam slowly in search of dinner.  It reminded her of the lake her grandmother once lived on.  Everyone had loved visiting her there and was terribly disappointed when Grandma had to sell it.  Angelina stepped onto one of the magically humongous lily pads and sat down to rest.  And think.  And cry.  Whatever could have happened to her grandmother?  Then she heard a croaking, yet familiar, voice say, “Angelina, it’s me!” 

Lifting her head and looking around, Angelina called out, “Grandma?  Where are you?  I can’t see you!”

“I’m right here!” was the response.

Angelina stood up and looked all around.  “Where?”

“Right in front of you!  Look down!”

All Angelina saw when she looked down was a silly frog hopping franticly, from side to side.

“I hear you but I can’t see you!” she called out desperately. 

“Look.  At.  ME!” she heard and then saw the frog jump so high it fell backwards into the water.  

Kneeling on the lily pad, Angelina reached into the water and pulled out the little frog.  Holding it in two hands, she lifted it up to her face so they were eyeball to eyeball.  “Oh, little frog,” she said sadly.  “My grandmother is missing and we can’t find her anywhere.  I just thought I heard her, but it must have been wishful thinking.  I’m so worried about her.”  

Suddenly the frog leapt onto Angelina’s shoulder and croaked into her ear, “It’s me!  Grandma!”

Grabbing the frog , Angelina held it out in front of her and stared hard into its eyes which seemed to be staring back just as hard.  “You’re not my grandmother,” she declared.  

“Yes, I am!  Believe me, I’d rather not be a frog, thank you very much.  But here I am.  A  frog.”

Angelina set the frog down.  She would not have believed it at all but its wide mouth was moving in sync with the words she was hearing.  “Either I’m going crazy or this is the weirdest thing ever,” she mumbled.

“You’re not crazy and it is the weirdest thing ever,” said the frog.  “If only I hadn’t made that wish…”

Shaking her head in amazement, Angelina had to accept that this talking frog was, indeed,  her grandmother.  “Oh, Grandma,” she said sadly.  “Why did you wish to be a frog?”

“No!  I didn’t wish to be a frog!  I wished with all my heart to be back on a lake and to live the rest of my days there.  I miss the water every day.  I longed for it so much that when you lit the sixty-six candles on my cake, I made the wish and took in the biggest breath I could.  For the first time in my life, I managed to blow out all the candles in one huge breath.  Remember how much smoke there was?  It filled the room and then the next thing I knew I was sitting on a lily pad in a lake just like the one I’d left.  But this time I was a FROG!”  Two tiny tears escaped Grandma’s froggy eyes.

“I’m so sorry, Grandma.  I do remember lighting the candles and then all the smoke when you blew them out.  That was when you disappeared!  We opened the doors and windows to get the smoke out and you were gone!  No one had the foggiest idea what had happened.”  Angelina set Grandma back down on her own lily pad.  Smiling and looking to the side, she said, “We’ll figure this out and get you back to normal, Grandma.  I promise.”  

They sat in silence, both trying to think of a solution to this dilemma.  Seeing the pair of loons approaching, Angelina said, “Grandma, look!  The loons are coming to say ‘hello’!”

Grandma managed to squeak out a screech as she practically flew back to Angelina and landed on top of Angelina’s head.  “Save me!  Save me!” she squeaky-screeched.

“But, you love the loons,” said Angelina.  “Remember when we were kayaking and two loons popped up beside us?  You mimicked their sounds and they seemed to understand you.  Remember that?”

“But I wasn’t a frog then!  When I first got here I jumped in the lake, thinking that if I was a frog I may as well swim.  Well, those two red-eyed monsters came right at me, flying under the water like fighter jets.  I was never so scared in my life!  I jumped out of the water and onto a lily pad and haven’t gone back in the water since.”

Just then a mosquito buzzed by and was heading for Angelina’s arm.  Grandma suddenly thrust out her long sticky tongue and snagged it before it could bite her granddaughter.

“Eeeewww! Grandma!”  Angelina grimaced.

Grandma swallowed the tidbit.  “Hmmm, tastes like chicken!  See any more?” 

“We’ve got to get you back to you,” Angelina said, changing the subject. “I know what to do!  I’ll carry you home and we’ll light more candles.  You make a new wish to be human again, then blow them all out!”

“Frogs can’t blow out candles,” Grandma replied despondently.

“Then we’ll all make the same wish with you and we’ll all blow out the candles for you!  We love you so much!  It has to work!”

“You know, it just might!” said Grandma, perking up.  “But we must say precisely what we mean.  Because if you’re not careful you could be turned into a frog, too!”

Angelina grinned.  “Right.  Be careful what you wish for, eh, Grandma?”

That afternoon, Angelina’s plan worked like a charm.  Grandma was restored to her human self AND she got a lake house!

Kathryn's Drift Micro Fiction Contest Winners

Dandelion Press’s second micro-fiction contest of 2018 prompted a brilliant wave of creative explorations from our global community of writers.  Once again we had the pleasure of reading inspired tales from storytellers of all ages, from coast to coast and beyond.  Kathryn’s Drift spoke to our writers of the longing for home as well as adventure and the love of family—both human and canine!  

But what we loved best was Marion Canning’s invocation of a long-ago watery adventure from the dogs’ perspective: a memory that sets her story roundly in the subtle domain of mystery, emotions, and visionary daring.  In this reversed viewpoint, Kathryn is simply a backdrop to her canines’ canniness.  An enchanting literary leap—Congratulations to our Spring 2018 winner!  

We also had our hearts stolen by a young writer from Malaysia, thirteen-year old Alisya Amran.  Her story, “Of Open Seas and Home,” earns Honorable Mention among the many submissions we received.  With beautifully crafted imagery and wisdom perhaps beyond her years, she takes her readers on a journey of independence, heart-centered courage, and inspirational love of life.  Tahniah Alisya!  

Our next MicroFiction contest will be posted late June, so please keep those pencils sharpened and imaginations whirring.  We look forward to new and returning writers!  Even if you have submitted stories in the past, please be sure to re-read the Contest Guidelines (link) as we have updated some important information there.  

Happy Summer to All!

Kathryn's Drift

Kathryn's Drift

The Winning Story

Kathryn's Drift

By Marion Canning - South Hadley, Massachusetts 


The view down the slope from the terrace to the lake was overgrown with brambles and rangy gorse from many years of inattention.  A faint summer breeze wafted over Buster's grizzled black and white muzzle as he lay quietly on the moss covered terrace. He gazed at the soft molded mountains on the far side of the lake. The hills reflected the afternoon glow from the west and the sun felt good on his back. The lazy day brought back memories when he was a young captain.  Then the sloping lawn had been manicured like expensive velvet where he and the rest of the crew romped and tumbled over each other as they were let out of the kennels by O.B. They would chase exuberantly down to the pier skidding to a stop before jumping into the water or wait expectantly for Miss Kathryn to return from an outing aboard the Kathryn's Drift. The raft, now a forgotten childhood summer plaything, built for the children's amusement when they were home on holiday, had long ago settled itself in the mud. Reeds engulfed its raggedy sail.  Pollywogs grew into frogs year after year in the folds and creases of the yellow sail cloth. Turtles basked, in the heat, on the decaying logs.  


Buster yawned and, in dog, said, "McDuff, do you remember the time Miss Kathryn, you, the crew, and I were on an excursion to the Longwood picnic and that big thunder storm came up?"  From under a worn wicker chaise came a testy reply in sharp, dog brogue. "Of course I remember!"  McDuff was showing his age, like Buster, and he didn't like his naps disturbed. He struggled to get his pudgy body out from under the piece of lawn furniture.  His short little legs were stiff from years of chasing rabbits and croquet balls and jumping on and off Kathryn's Drift.  Buster continued, "The lake was roiling and Tassie fell off the stern. I had to grab her and pull her back on board all while holding the flapping lines for the sail.  Sam and Cricket scurried under the picnic blanket for safety. I posted Jasper and Jasmin as lookouts for a place to go ashore if Miss Kathryn was frightened.   But she wasn't. No. She was a ragamuffin that summer. Remember how she held you in her lap to comfort you because you were afraid of the thunder and lightning? I gave orders to keep on course even in the worst of the torrent and when we arrived at the lodge everyone rushed to greet her and us- her intrepid crew. I remember every small detail of that day."


McDuff had shuffled over to his old chum and was sitting on his haunches staring at him with disbelief. He sniffed, "I beg to differ! What do you mean I was scared of the thunder and lightning? I was justifiably employed on Miss Kathryn's lap. She picked me up because she was cold.  I kept her warm.  I remember I was the Captain that day. I ordered Jasper to take care of Jasmin because she was too close to the edge.  We would have made it to the lodge in great form if Tassie hadn't let the tiller fall into the water and then, like the bloomin' pup she was, she fell in. I did my duty and jumped in after her. I kept the sail full of wind even though the lines were in knots and I couldn't steer.  I could hardly see the shore the rain was so heavy.    I remember that day perfectly. Your memory is fading old man and I don't recall weather ever hampering me!”  "Surely you jest McDuff," yawned Buster.


From the depths of the old brick manor came a pleasant, familiar whistling.  Buster and McDuff waited expectantly for Miss Kathryn to finish feeding the chickens and to appear on the terrace.  She was now their grown up companion and mistress. "There you are. It's time for our walk," said Kathryn. Buster's tail thumped pleasantly and McDuff's stubby tail wagged like a crazy metronome. They jostled each other for her caresses then started off down the grassy alleyway.   Buster trotted out ahead sniffing the air showing McDuff he was at the helm. Then he ambled back and walked alongside his friends.


They passed the now abandoned kennels and followed the long drive towards the front of the main entrance.  Weeds and wild daisies flourished in the lane. But this was not true when they came to a small grove; a place, cool, shadowy and serene. One could not detect a stray blade of grass or nasty weed anywhere.  Here, overlooking the lake was laid to rest High Hill's many canine friends and other animals. Though Miss Kathryn walked on, the two dogs stopped and lay down in the shade near their departed playmates. McDuff mused, "I loved the luxurious life we lived those long summers together."  The little dog's reverie was broken when Buster's still sharp hearing caught a familiar sound. Up at the house he could hear O.B. setting out their dinner pans in the kitchen yard. "Up old man," coaxed Buster. It's suppertime." The two had some work catching up to Kathryn as she was almost home.  Buster held back and let McDuff reach her skirts first. 


That night they followed their mistress up the worn, oak, staircase to bed. They found their places on the quilt at the bottom of the bed and fell asleep alongside each other. Just before midnight a howling summer thunder storm came roaring across the lake and hung over High Hill.  Wind slashed at the windows and rain gushed down the spouts and lightning lit up the room. Buster raised his sleepy head off the cozy spread and watched McDuff, as befitting a loyal Captain, scoot under the covers to protect Kathryn from any real or imagined harm.  Buster yawned and stretched and went back to sleep.


Honorable Mention

 Of Open Seas and Home


by Alisya Amran - Age 13  Seremban, Malaysia




It’s always those little moments. Those few seemingly insignificant moments while she’s drifting along the water, rain in her boots and Ajax curled up at her feet. Those moments where she wonders what would have happened if she had never tried to escape. Would she still be forcefully groomed in the ways of an heiress? Would she still continue to travel the path paved with greed and power? Would she still be herself?

Ajax howls at her and she stops wondering.


On rare occasions, she meets people out on the open sea. Fishermen hoping to make a living, families out on a boat trip and, though seldom, drifters just like her.

At first, there’s surprise. Surprise at why such a young girl was out at sea all alone. They try to take her with them, thinking she’s lost or stranded with nowhere to go to, but she always declines, paddling a safe distance away from them so that they won’t start grabbing at her – it’s happened before, but Luna bit him in the hand and he left shortly after.

Some particularly persistent people try using persuasion, saying that they only want to help her and that she’ll find a nice family to settle into if she comes with them. They’re all lying, of course, even if they’re not aware of it yet. She’s seen posters of herself nailed onto trees and scattered on the ground. They all bear hefty rewards for those who bring her back to her mother.

If there’s one thing she’s learned from thirteen miserable years of living with her mother, it’s that greed overpowers all other emotions. People have fought, tortured and killed each other because of their own greed, how can she be sure if someone truly wants to help her or just wants the wealth that comes with it? Even the kindest of people can and will fall victim to the monster inside of them.


She much prefers the company of dogs over humans. Dogs have no need for things like money, they can’t lie or fake emotions unlike all the deceitful people she’s met and they’ll love you unconditionally, no matter what.

Every time she stumbles across a stray or wounded dog, she sees herself. She sees a lost soul wandering the earth in search of a home. She sees someone who’s been beaten to their breaking point by those who were supposed to love and care for them. She sees a drifter, just like her. And she takes them in. She gives them a home and, in return, they give her one.

Ajax, Luna, Snow, Max, King, Carnation and Crimson. They’re the ones that keep her going, they’re the ones that make cold, rainy days bearable. They’re her true family.


She loves the ocean. She loves the sound of waves crashing against stone, the droplets of water decorating her worn jeans, Max’s joyful face as he paddles through the water to catch fish for her. How her raft rocks and lurches with every ripple of water, how the blanket she had as a child sways and dances in the wind, acting as a make-shift sail, how the tiny flame in her oil lantern flickers weakly in an attempt to keep her warm during winter. Everything about being out in the open sea gave her a feeling of peace, of bliss, of utter euphoria.

There’s no denying the bond she shares with the sea. Her eyes constantly fluctuated between dark turquoise and cobalt blue, mirroring the colors of the water she loves so much. The smell of foam and sunlight clung to her like a second skin, indistinguishable from the ocean. Every breath of salty air, every splash of seawater against her bare feet, every stray fish nibbling at her toes, these little things are what keeps her alive.

She’s glad she chose to set sail all those years ago instead of keeping her head down and suppressing the wild ocean living inside of her. She’s glad she chose the uncertain, rocky path to freedom instead of the safe, carefully-paved road everyone else took, leading to nothing but regret. She’s glad because she’s strong now. She’s an independent young girl of fifteen who knew of things far more important than mathematics and science. She knew the secrets to happiness, to self-love, to life. Secrets whispered into her ear in the dead of night through gentle breezes and colorful seashells.



That’s the only word capable of even touching the subject of why she left home. Wanderlust is like a sickness, a disease that consumes the mind and urges you to move, to run, to fly. It stirs up long-buried thoughts and emotions that sends energy thrumming beneath your skin and wild, unimaginable ideas flying through your head. It tempts you and taunts you, choking you with an intense longing for something new, something more than the same, boring routine you follow day after day. It doesn’t matter where your feet take you, forwards, backwards or sideways. You can go anywhere, as long as you’re going somewhere.

Wanderlust drew her to piles of driftwood and gave her a raft. It showed her an old, tattered blanket and gave her a sail. It led her to the seashore and gave her a journey.

She’ll never be able to thank it enough.


She didn’t regret running away, she never did. She had traded a life of wealth and comfort, the respect of everyone around her, a billion-dollar estate, for a raft and seven dogs. And she would do it all again. You can say that she’s stupid, you can say that she’s crazy, but don’t you ever, even for a second, say that she isn’t happy.

Because all she needs is the serene song of the ocean beating in time with her own cheerful little tune, the yips and barks of her dogs as they play together and just a little bit of warmth. Just a little bit of home.

Just a Dream Micro Fiction Contest Winners

When “Just a Dream” was selected as our first story illustration of 2018, little did we imagine the magic your pens would create!  A wondrous selection of stories arrived from as far afield as New Zealand, from primary school classrooms, from young writers and experienced authors.  Immersing ourselves in this multitude of dreams was a creative journey that finally led to this season’s outstanding winner, twelve year-old Lily Worden from Townsend, Delaware.  She titled her tale The Night the Animals Came, and as you will read, her faithfulness to the illustration, her imaginative exploration of its mystique and the quality of her writing is stellar.     

 Congratulations Lily!

Our next MicroFiction contest will be posted in April, so please keep those pencils sharpened and imaginations whirring.  We look forward to new and returning writers!  Even if you have submitted stories in the past, please be sure to re-read the Contest Guidelines as we have updated some important information there.  

Happy Spring to All!


The Winning Story

The Night the Animals Came

by Lily Worden, Age 12 - Townsend, Delaware 


Some of us have all the time in the world to use our imagination but have none of it. Others of us have all the imagination in the world but no time to use it. And the luckiest of all of us have both time and imagination.

Delilah lived on a large farm where there was not much time to imagine things. She was a small little girl at the age of ten with extraordinarily light blonde hair that hung in thin ringlets by her shoulders. She was a bright child with a bright face; pink cheeked and blue eyed. She was the sixth of seven children, part of a big loving family.

Every day Delilah worked hard. Her entire day consisted of chores around the farm. She knew she had to help, but it was so hard. Her father told her a helper was a hero. Every hero had a struggle. But every hero had a refuge. Delilah’s refuge was night. Night brought dreams. And in her dreams, Delilah could be whoever she wanted. She could do whatever she wanted. Her imagination had no limits at night.

One night, when the work was over, Delilah climbed into her large messy bed and she thought for a long time. She thought about where she would go tonight.  She thought about what she would see, why she would enjoy it to the end, and when the end would be. Before she fell asleep, Delilah looked around the room. It was quite full. There was her bed and both of her sisters’ beds plus their only toys; Meg’s brown bookshelf, Anna’s white dollhouse, and her small wooden stable. Her father had given it to her along with a small carved horse. Every year after, he had carved her another farm animal for Christmas.  She looked at the barn doors and the other animals lying all over the floor. Her favorite animal was the straw-colored horse. She loved its smooth paint and its coal black muzzle and its blonde mane. She loved it despite its many scratches and its chipped ear. And she fell asleep smiling with the toy in her hand.

A soft creak made Delilah’s eyes fly wide open. It was the front door opening. Someone had let himself in! Delilah froze, horrified, and listened as many, many feet walked up the stairs. They walked up the hallway and stopped in front of her bedroom door. Then the door creaked open, and in walked… a chicken! It clucked and waddled over to Delilah. She stared at it in amazement. Then, a series of honks came from the doorway. The two geese marched in, followed by the rooster, who began to nip at the books and clothes scattered around the room. Next came the sheep, who sat on a blanket in the corner, and the goat who actually ate an old sock. Of course, the pig could not miss out on all the fun, so he trotted in and rolled his fat body all around on the rug. By this time Delilah only gaped, but there were more to come. Finally, the cow clomped in, followed by the horse (not before he bumped his head on the door frame), and they sniffed around and rested on the bed. Delilah was now so surprised that she did not move or say anything at all. Then, after another minute or two of sniffing, the horse, who looked just like her toy, trotted over to her bedside. Then, amazingly, he spoke.

“We should get started.”

“He’s right you know,” said the cow.

“Aw, but this sock is so good!” the goat whined.

“Don’t eat her sock! We’re here to help her!” cried the chicken.

The lamb rolled her eyes. “Delilah, you are so bored on the farm. That’s why we came to help.”

“Just let the others do the work,” the pig suggested. 

“Lazy pig.” Muttered one of the geese.

“Anyway,” the horse said. “Delilah, there is magic on the farm. You just have to find it.”

“Very good, horse,” said the rooster. “We’ll leave her with that.”

Delilah stared at the horse and smiled slightly. And out they went. The horse first brayed and then left. The cow went out, and the pig, then the sheep and the goat (who now had the other sock between his teeth) followed by the rooster and a goose. The other goose honked at the still pecking chicken, who hung his head and slowly padded out the door behind the goose. Delilah laid back on her pillow, smiled, and fell asleep.

The next morning, after remembering what had happened the night before, Delilah rushed downstairs, yelling, “Mama! Papa! Guess what!” 

Her father was sitting at the table drinking coffee and reading the paper. He chuckled. “What did you dream last night my little dove?” But then Delilah paused, smiled, and said,

“It was just a dream.” 

That day, Delilah used her imagination on the farm. In the morning, she pretended that she was a spy, offering to cook so she could overhear the enemies’ plans. It was really just her day to cook breakfast for the family. In the afternoon, she imagined she was an evil sorceress, cooking up a sleeping stew. She was actually only milking the cow. During the evening, she was a rebel to the evil enemy, digging an emergency escape tunnel. In reality, she was digging holes in the garden for potato seeds with her older brother Charlie.    

“Whatchya pausin’ for Dee? We got work to do.”

“Sorry,” she said.

Charlie smirked.


“Nothing.” And he whistled a soft tune, bringing her back to her secret rebellion. Delilah smiled, remembering the horse. He was right. Now she had all the time in the world to imagine.


Winter's Child - Micro Fiction Contest Winners

Our final Micro-Fiction contest this year, Winter’s Child, exceeded all our expectations for 2017!  Not only did we receive some of the most imaginative, well-crafted stories to date, but there were more of them, and from as far afield as Canada and India!  Our moose character was variously interpreted as yes, a moose, but also a reindeer, a mule, and a shape-shifter.  And most gratifying was receiving so many children’s entries, the youngest being eight years old.  They see the magic so clearly!  

Below you’ll find four amazing stories.  Two were tied for first place: thirteen-year-old Lara Mylde from Alberta, Canada is an adept author—we certainly hope to see more from her!  Our other first place winner, Susan Ferrari, once again penned just the words that Lori seemed to have breathed into her painting as it was created.  

Our two honorable mentions include one of our favorite contributors, Marion Canning, and singer-songwriter Jackie Marston.  Marion’s story is the perfect Christmas tale of redemption, while Jackie’s turns the tables on our expectations—always a welcome gift.

Finally, we are deeply grateful to every one of you who opened your courageous, creative hearts and shared your stories with us this year.  We look forward to continuing our Dandelion Micro-Fiction contest in 2018.  Watch for the announcement in mid-January!

Winter's Child

Winter's Child

The Winning Story (Tie)

The Gift

by Susan Ferrari - Gilford, New Hampshire


    The sky was aglow with pink, lavender, yellow, and turquoise in celebration of the setting sun.  It was the winter solstice, the shortest day and the longest night of the year, which is why Maddy chose this night. She knew she didn’t have long. She’d have to hurry. Dusk, always impatient, never lingered long.

    Grabbing her warm red coat, Maddy didn’t bother looking for her hat or mittens. Promises were more important and she meant to keep this one. Snow crunched under her feet as she ran down the back steps, across the yard and into the barn. Her breath led the way in little clouds as she went. Loaded with apples, the red box sat on the sled, just where she’d left it. Tossing her long braid over her shoulder she leaned down and picked up the sled’s rope. Then, with a grunt, gave the rope a great tug to get the sled moving.  

    It wasn’t easy pulling the heavy sled across the snow. Leaning into the freezing wind, Maddy trudged across the barnyard, moving steadily toward the woods. As she got close she heard a twig snap. Standing perfectly still, she listened. Although she heard nothing more, she had a strong feeling of being watched. Looking around, she saw only trees white with snow, the darkening sky with just a bit of lavender left, and the snow-covered ground, partly blue with moon shadows. She tried to keep still but every few seconds her body would twitch and shiver and her heart was beating so hard she thought that whatever was in the woods might hear its rapid thumping.  

    Then she heard another twig snap, and another, and another. It was moving closer, faster, crashing through brush and branches now. Sucking in her breath, Maddy remained where she was, holding the rope. Waiting. For what?  There was more movement in the trees, a snort then a pawing sound. Still she stood beside her box of apples. The trees near her began to move and there was another snort, louder this time.  Closer.  So many branches breaking, this had to be something big. For a second, Maddy wondered if she’d made a mistake.  Perhaps she should run, go back to the house where it was warm and safe.  “I can’t, I promised them,” she told herself.

    And then, with power and majesty, a moose broke through the nearest branches and stepped out of the woods. Stunned, Maddy dropped the sled’s rope and looked up, up, up to see the great animal’s head.  A moose!  How many times had she’d seen the Moose Crossing signs but never a moose. The moose snorted and released a large cloud of warm air, then lifted her head and took in the scent of apples and of a ten year-old girl.

    Keeping her eyes on the moose, Maddy slowly picked up an apple in her cold red hand. She carefully climbed onto the pile of apples in the sled so she would be high enough to see the moose’s eyes. The apples rolled under her feet and she was about to fall off when the moose lowered her head and gave Maddy a slight push, just enough so she could stand upright. Maddy stretched her hand out, offering the apple to the moose. As she did so, she looked into the moose’s large dark eyes. 

    They were gentle eyes and Maddy lost all fear. As though pulled into the depth of those mesmerizing eyes, Maddy began to feel herself dissolve, melt and become one with the moose. Then everything began to dissolve. The moose, the woods, the apples, the sky, the ground all became light and tiny twinkling stars of energy. There was no separation of one being from another. They were One.  Then the light began to fade and all became dark. Maddy felt as if she and the moose and all that was, is, and ever will be were floating.  Drifting down.   Into stillness.  Into warmth.  Into perfect Peace.  Into Love.  Into the heart of the Universe.  

    It could have lasted an eternity, or a nanosecond.  It didn’t matter.  Gradually Maddy became aware of herself, of her body standing on the pile of apples, of the warmth of the moose’s breath and the nearness of the large gentle eyes. She noticed that her hands and feet were no longer cold and that she held an apple in her hand. Lifting it higher she offered it again to the moose who took it from her ever so gently. The moose stepped to the side and began munching the apple. Maddy watched and listened. It all seemed so normal. And yet, not.  Not so normal at all. She picked up another apple and offered it the moose.  Once again, the moose accepted the gift.


    The apples under her feet shifted and Maddy plopped onto the snow. She scrambled to her feet. Placing her hands together at her chest as though in prayer, Maddy bowed to the moose. There was so much to say but no words could express what was in her heart. 

    Leaving her sled and the box of apples behind she made her way through the snow towards the barn. Halfway back, she looked over her shoulder and was delighted to see moonlight reflecting in the eyes of at least a half dozen deer.  They had joined the moose and were eating the apples Maddy had promised them. 

    Happily, Maddy spread her arms out wide and fell backwards into the snow. Looking up at the starlit sky she began moving her arms and legs to make a snow angel. She was filled with a peace beyond understanding. “Thank You,” she whispered to the Universe, “for the gift of this night.”  Maddy knew that she must share this gift.  Someday.

    Down by the woods, the deer and the moose suddenly lifted their heads.  They heard something, not alarming, but sweet.  A snow angel was giggling.

The Winning Story (Tie)

The Wishifter

by Lara Mylde, Age 13 - Calgary AB, Canada


“Her name was Estelle,” I begin softly, arranging my satin skirts around me, “and she saved my life.” The children’s chatter ceases. Firelight dances across their rapt features, illuminating twelve pairs of bismuth eyes. They are always enamoured by the tales I spin of the wishes that I grant beyond Hindrance, the magical barrier between Caevirga and the human realm.

Tonight is my fifth night back on the estate of Lady D’Artagnan. It is an ancient place, and a perfect scene for my stories.

“The day I met her, I was by Hindrance’s gate, on the verge of collapse. I had been away from Caevirga for months, and was unable to eat during that entire time.” This part is an exaggeration; it had only been one month, not multiple. But what would storytelling be without a few hyperboles? I am paid for the entertainment value of my stories, not for their candour.

“Why didn’t you come back to Caevirga, Miss Tsarina?” one of the children asks.

“I was not allowed,” I tell him gently. “I had promised Queen Allegra that I would grant five wishes before I returned, and I still had one left. I could not break my promise.” The child nods, satisfied, and I turn back to weaving the story of Estelle Arkwright’s wish.

In truth, when Estelle came skipping through the forest, I was standing at Hindrance’s gate, barely able to move and wanting desperately to go home. I only needed to grant one more wish. When I saw her, with her rosy cheeks and crimson coat standing out like a beacon of hope in the constant grey of winter, I perked up almost instantly. She was dragging a sledge behind her, painted the same scarlet as her coat and brimming with fresh, flawless apples. At first I thought it strange, as it was the darkest part of winter at the time. How could she have such beautiful fruits in the deepest of Decembers? But then my stomach howled, demanding food, and I stepped cautiously towards her. Maybe she would provide me an opportunity to grant the last of my wishes and cross back into Caevirga at last.

“Hello, pretty reindeer,” Estelle whispered, awestruck, coming abreast of me and reaching out cautiously. Contrary to my expectations, she was not afraid. “My name’s Estelle. What’s yours?”

Her face fell when I only brayed in reply, for in my reindeer form I could not speak the human tongue. But then she smiled again, her cornflower blue eyes shining, and took up a metal pail from a hook on her small sleigh. Estelle carefully loaded it with apples. Then she held it out to me. “Would you like some of papa’s hothouse apples?” she asked sweetly.

Hope swelled within me, for surely such a kind deed could merit a wish. But I made no move towards the bucket, and so she instead took an apple directly from the pail and held it out to me. It brushed lightly against my warm red nose, and I caught a startling whiff of autumn from it.

I was still hesitant to accept something so out of place in this cold, unforgiving season, but my desire for food was fierce, and besides, Estelle was not leaving. So I took the luscious fruit between my teeth, savouring its sweet, crisp, crunch. It is unfortunate, I thought, that wishifters cannot be sated by human food. The only way to cure my hunger was to return to Caevirga. But Estelle, unaware of my plight, just beamed. She set the pail of apples down in the snow, and when I looked up again she was only a crimson speck amidst some distant aspens.

I had to wait there, to see if she came back. It was part of the wishifters’ rules; I needed three encounters with Estelle to justify granting a wish.

The next day, Estelle came down the lane again, braid swinging. She saw me, breathed a greeting, and set down another pail of her perfect apples. As I leaned down to eat them, I noticed a bright blue bruise on her cheek. But when she noticed my stare she lifted her chin. “Papa was angry that the apples were missing,” she murmured sadly, but not regretfully.

Once again, she was gone before I looked up. And so I sat in the snow and waited.

On the third and fourth days, Estelle did not come past me in the forest. But on my fifth day of waiting for her, she returned. Her sledge was empty, her coat was dirty, and her face was bruised, but still her spirit shone bright. “I came to say goodbye, reindeer,” she said. “I am going to live with my aunt.”

If she liked this arrangement, she didn’t say. We stood there a moment, and then she reached into her coat pocket and pulled out an apple. I looked at it for a moment, and then nudged it towards her. It did not feel right to take any more apples from her, as she had suffered for it and it did not truly benefit me. But it was the third encounter, and so I could grant her a wish. The final wish. Then I could go home.

When I shape-shifted, she was taken aback. But her chronic smile shone through her confusion, and she took a step towards me. “What is your wish, Estelle?” I asked gently.

She beckoned, and I leaned down, and she whispered her wish. I frowned. “Are you sure?” Estelle nodded, gave me a hug, and went on her way down the path as Hindrance’s gates opened.

When I’m finished telling the children this story, one girl raises her hand. I nod at her. “Miss Tsarina, what was Estelle’s wish?” she asks.

A pause. “She wished that her papa was content and successful, even though she had been ill-treated by him.” I smile a little, recalling her kindness, the likes of which I’ve never seen since.

Honorable Mention

Winter's Child

by Marion Canning - Springfield, Massachusetts


"Thanksgiving means traditions and going home means being with family and reconnecting with relationships."  Diana had been annoyed when she answered the woman, with her unwelcome questions, sitting next to her on the commuter flight.  She had turned away then and leaned her forehead against the cold window and gazed down at the passing landscape of trees, their stark, black, knife thin, shadows silhouetted against the brilliant snow.  The woman's questions had made her uncomfortable after staying away for so many holidays.  She wondered what she would encounter this Thanksgiving with only her father, her Aunt, and the farm.

    Now, in the timeworn kitchen, Diana helped her Aunt Alice, and her father, clean up after a modest dinner.  The heavy aroma of roast turkey hung in the close air as the three of them, washed, dried and put away pots and pans, each settled in unspoken thoughts of their own.  The sun was fading and a light snow drifted over apple trees on the hill.  Diana said, "I'll get some more wood for the fire."      

    She went into the hall and chose a coat hanging on an overcrowded peg.  The narrow hallway had not changed in twenty years.  Boots were still all a jumble, in the same wooden box, as they were when she was eleven.  Finding a pair that would do, she went outside and walked to the old, lopsided, woodshed beside the barn.  As she opened the door, the pungent perfume of apple wood, hard packed earth and overripe apples caught her off guard.  She inhaled deeply.  Distractedly, she began to pick out pieces of wood for the stove and as she turned, in the dusky light, she looked up at an old red sled in the rafters.  It was faded and weathered but the memory it invoked suddenly overwhelmed her.  The present faded back to a forgotten Thanksgiving.  Her melancholy thoughts were magically untangled and she was eleven again collecting windfalls in Aunt Alice's orchard.  

    The shiny, red sled was full and it was time to return to the rambling farmhouse bursting with relatives. But even as chubby clouds covered the sun, and she felt the afternoon lose its warmth, she had no thoughts of returning.  She felt drawn towards the woods that bordered the orchard.  At the top of a slight rise, instead of turning off to the house, she hurried, with her sled, down a frozen, bumpy track to the snowy undergrowth.  

    Down in the hollow, the wood was still and hushed.  In the wan afternoon light she felt a silent presence among the trees drawing her close.  She stood still taking in her surroundings.  Diana had never been this far from the orchard, but she had no misgivings.  She felt connected to the energy coming from the thick shrubbery.  She was an explorer!  Big, fresh, footprints made a path, in a gap, in the underbrush.  She hopped onto the sled and peered further into the opening hoping to see where they led.  Her eyes caught a slight movement quite close by.      To her delight, she saw, sheltering in the shadows, a young moose.  Its ears were pricked forward and it was curiously taking in her scent with its long nose.  Trying hard to contain her excitement, she bent down carefully and picked up an apple.  Offering it.  A gift.  A tiny voice in her head began whispering over and over like a charm, “You can trust me.” “You can trust me.”  After what seemed a lifetime, the moose turned its great head and looked at her with beautiful, brown eyes.  Its expression was soft and inquisitive.  “Come here,” “Come here,” coaxed the little voice over and over.  Their gaze met.  She stood still and breathless in the silent mystery.  At last, with even, measured steps, the moose walked out of the woods and calmly approached Diana and the sled.  It put its nose out to snuffle the apple and her hand.  “We're friends!” "We're friends!" sang the voice.  

    They stood there together entranced until a breeze slipped out of the wood and tugged playfully at Diana's braid rekindling a wistful echo of her mother. Diana reached out and stroked the moose on its soft nose before the moment faded away.  Filled with wonder, she wended her way back to the house, her secret snug inside her breast.

    A whisper of air made Diana turn.  Slightly dazed she saw her father standing in the doorway.  A warm radiant light spread around the interior of the shed drawing them together and she envisioned him just as he was that childhood Thanksgiving.  He said, "I want to help you carry the wood."  Then he exclaimed, "Diana! You look  mystified, no; you look like my little red haired girl again!"  A dreamy garment of the past enfolded them filling in the space of lost years.  Old, gnarled knots untangled and for a moment time took in a breath.  Then, smiling , arms loaded with apple wood, they secured the woodshed door taking their secret with them back to Aunt Alice and the house.  Once inside, Diana said, "I want to be reminded of this day forever Aunt Alice, let's pick windfalls before I leave tomorrow."

    The next day, with her bag of red treasures, Diana took possession of a window seat on the little commuter plane and sat down to think, by herself, about her extraordinary weekend.  Then, "Hello, Hello! I see we're seated together again!" interrupted the woman from the previous flight .  Diana nodded and smiled pleasantly.  The plane took off into a clear, sun lit sky.  Mare's tails flew by the window as the little plane climbed over surrounding orchards.  The woman, settled in her seat like a mother hen, then said, "So how was your Thanksgiving dear?  Did you have a good time?"  "I did!" said Diana.  "I danced a minuet with a moose and a waltz with my father and I felt just like a child again."

Honorable Mention

Winter's Child

by Jackie Marston - Tyron, North Carolina


My mother has always told me I was winter’s child. Sure, I was born in December, but that’s not the end of the story she tells.  Mother always said that although every birthday is special, my 10th year would hold a wondrous surprise. I guess I never really gave it much though, until today.  My 10th birthday has arrived.

    I love the winter and today the dawn is cold and shadowy gray, but I don’t mind.  I love how the trees, now bare of their leaves, display long-fingered branches, revealing the nests that warmed new generations of woodland birds and squirrels.  The crow’s nests, usually hidden, are now big and brilliantly nestled in the tallest trees, high above the ground.

    But what makes this birthday so different from birthdays past?  My clue was simple.  Mom said, “In the clearing you will know.”   

    But which clearing?  “What would I discover?”

    I set off in familiar territory where my Mom and I have wandered often, beautiful in every season, but the winter and its cold, quiet, silvery stillness is my favorite.  It seemed I had searched for a very long time, and although I am alone, I feel safe and peaceful.

    My Mom always says, “The woods are my church,” and today I know why.

    Suddenly I see it, up ahead in the clearing.  I move forward slowly and hear the crunch of snow under the sled.  It’s just as my mother said it would be, magical really, for there coming toward me is a girl in a bright crimson coat.

    I think we are about the same age.  Her sleigh is filled with delicious red apples, and she offers me one, a wonderful gift.   For she too is a winter’s child like me, a ten-year old Moose.  I am a winter’s child of the forest.

Overbooked - Micro Fiction Contest Winners

Once again it has been pure pleasure to receive and read so many fine story submissions from writers of all ages!  Of all our Dandelion images, we hadn’t imagined that Overbooked would be the image to inspire so many visionary tales.  In the adult category, so much wit and skill made our winning choice for Overbooked a creative challenge.  Still, Susan Ferrari’s The Omnibus was such an inspiring story of the possibility for true wisdom, we could not resist its spirited optimism.  The Omnibus is our winning story for Overbooked, congratulations Susan!  

In the young writers’ category, we had more wonderful submissions than ever.  Each one shone with its own whimsy and insight, but thirteen year-old E. Rhoads took the cake with her The Raid of the Redbox.   We are delighted to share her imaginative vision of the Overbooked school bus’ destiny as our Honorable Mention winner, and hope you will enjoy it as much as we did!   

Again, our deepest thanks to each of you who took the time and creative courage to write your stories for us, and we look forward to the results of your imaginative talents when you set your pens to work around our next illustration, to be announced shortly.  This next go-round will be the last Dandelion Micro-Fiction contest of 2017, but don’t worry, the fun will continue early next year!



The Winning Story

The Omnibus 

by Susan Ferrari - Gilford, New Hampshire

    The scruffy tri-colored dog sat at the edge of the woods watching the girl on the swing.  She put no effort into swinging, just sat there and let the breeze move her slightly.  Staring at the ground without blinking, she seemed almost in a trance.  The dog decided it was safe to approach.  You never know with humans.  One had to be careful.

    Walking almost silently, the dog came up from behind, downwind of her.  She couldn’t smell him, but he could smell her.  Her scent was sweet and clean.  Peanut butter and soap, perhaps?  He could sense that she was calm, maybe even kind.  So far, so good. He walked around her so that he was right in front of her.  And there he sat, waiting for her to look up.  He kept about ten feet between them, just in case he was wrong about her.

    When she didn’t notice him, he said without sound,  “Hello there, girl.  See me.”

    She did just that.  Looked up and saw him.  Suddenly alert and smiling widely, she exclaimed, “Oh, hi there, little dog!” 

    She hopped off the swing, tripped over the lunchbox and teddy bear that she’d dropped earlier, and started toward him.  Her hand was outstretched and he knew instantly that she meant to pet him, touch him.  

    The dog backed away and said, without speaking, “Please, don’t.”

    “I’m sorry,” said the girl, “you don’t want me to touch you.  I promise I won’t hurt you.”  She plopped down and sat cross legged on the ground.  “See, I’ll wait ’til you’re ready.  Do you have a family?  Are you hungry?  Do you want to play with me?  My name is Maddy.  Do you have a name?  I think I’ll call you Chance.  You like that name?  Chance is a good name for you because we just met by chance.  Get it?”

    Humans!  Blah, blah, blah all the time, thought the dog.  But still, he liked her.  He lay down, forelegs stretched out in front.  “Chance, hmmm.  You cannot call me Chance.   We did not meet 

by chance.  There is a reason I’m here,” said the dog, again without speaking.

    “There’s a reason you’re here so I shouldn’t call you Chance?” the girl asked.

    Yes, she’s the one, he thought.  “You understand me?”  he asked, just to be sure.

    The girl, Maddy, nodded.

    “You may call me Agamenticuz, with a ‘z’,” the dog told her in his silent way.

    “A-ga-men-ti-cuz,” she said slowly. “Huh!  Like the alphabet.  You begin with ‘A’ and end with ‘Z’.” 

    “Just so. The beginning and the end, and everything in between.  That’s me, the Alpha and Omega.”  Agamenticuz stood and said, “Let’s walk. 

    Maddy grabbed her lunchbox and teddy then followed the dog into the woods.  Agamenticuz loped easily ahead while Maddy 

struggled over fallen trees and roots that seemed to grab at her ankles.  Small stones crunched and slid under her feet as she tried to keep up.  Finally Agamenticuz stopped and waited.  When Maddy came abreast of him she noticed that the ground had changed.  It was no longer a wooded path but a narrow cobblestone road.  A bench stood at the edge of the road.

    Agamenticuz tapped the bench with his paw, indicating that Maddy should sit.

    “Where are we?” she asked.

    “Nowhere, at the moment, but on our way to Somewhere.”  Agamenticuz answered without voice.

    Maddy looked confused.  “I don’t understand,” she said.

    “You will,” said the dog silently.  “There is much for you to learn.”   

    Maddy sat on the bench and stared at Agamenticuz.

    “Maddy, we have chosen you because we believe that you, like us, can hear what is not said, you can see what is not visible, and you can learn what cannot be taught.  You hear me, yet I do not speak.  You see possibility in nothing, and opportunity in difficulties.”  Agamenticuz looked deep into Maddy’s eyes, then continued.  “Above all, you discern Truth.”

    Maddy looked down at the cobblestones and asked quietly, “You said ‘we’.  Who did you mean?”

    “We are transcendent beings trying to help the human race.  We see its struggles, how it limits itself with war and greed, prejudice and separatism in all forms including religions.”  Agamenticuz sadly shook his head.  “It doesn’t have to be like this.  It should never be like this.”  After a pause, he added, “Come, I have something for you.”      

    He began to trot down the road.  Maddy followed.  As the road curved, Maddy saw an old school bus ahead.  It looked abandoned.      

    “Are you taking me to school?” she asked.

    “In a way,” he answered.  “You are about to embark on the journey of your lifetime.  You will travel far within your own mind and your own heart to different lands, different cultures, different beliefs.  In exploring these differences you will find a beautiful Oneness.  And that will lead to wisdom.  Then, dear Maddy, you will be able to help this world, one soul at a time.  You will teach without teaching because the lessons you give will be of your own living.”

    Agamenticuz turned to face the bus.  “Open,” he commanded solemnly.

    The door of the bus squeaked loudly as it slowly opened.  Suddenly an avalanche of books tumbled forward, some landing on the cobblestones.  Maddy gasped as she realized that these were her transport.  Without hesitation, she climbed aboard the omnibus, its massive pile of bound tomes with boundless thought from around the world.   Taking a deep breath, Maddy drew in the rich perfume of the old books and the promise of hope, the enchantment of hope.  She was overjoyed.   

    “Namaste, Maddy.  The spirit within me honors the spirit within you,” said Agamenticuz, bowing.  

    As he turned away, Maddy asked, “Will I see you again?”

    “I’m as sure of it as I am of you.  Perhaps the next time you see me I’ll be a giraffe and my name will be Francis.”

Honorable Mention


The Raid of the Redbox

By E. Rhoads - Georgia 13 years old


Leaves crunching underneath her feet, Sarah walked calmly through the woods with her collie dog Jack. This was her favorite time of day because she got to relax outside. Nothing much ever happened to her; she lived in a sleepy town with Jack and her grandmother Eliza. She was different from other kids her age. Instead of rushing home to finish homework so she could watch television, she would finish her homework to go for a walk. Thunder abruptly boomed in the distance, and she decided to turn around. As she walked, the rain steadily increased, and her walk turned into a run. She was soaked when she suddenly spotted an abandoned bus in the middle of an old lot. Whistling to Jack, she turned and jogged to the bus. She pulled on the door, which opened easily, and climbed inside. As her eyes adjusted to the dim light, she realized that hundreds of books were in there. “Look at this, Jack,” she breathed. “I’ve never seen so many books in my life!” Picking up a random book, she opened it and began to read. Two hours later, she looked up and realized the rain had ceased. “Oh boy, Grandma is going to be worried. Let’s go, Jack!” Casting a longing glance at the books, she stepped outside and closed the door.

That afternoon, she told her grandmother about what she had found. “I think that they were abandoned,” Sarah said. Her grandmother, who was head librarian at the nearby public library, agreed. “Lately, all that people want to do for entertainment is watch videos. It is quite upsetting. It’s hard to believe, but schools are actually starting to throw out their books.” Ms. Eliza paused, then grinned. “You know, let’s do something about it!”

“I’m all for that!” Sarah agreed. “But how could we do that? It’s not like we can replace all of their videos with books.” Looking at her grandmother’s thoughtful face, she began to consider an option. A crazy idea, but…could it work?  She shared her idea with her grandmother, who was enthusiastic about it. They devised a plan, and after a whole day of preparation, they were ready (somewhat) for their revenge! 

The next night, clothed in black, Sarah and her grandmother drove the bus load of books to the nearby CVS. They parked the bus and grabbed the dolly they had brought to maneuver the Redbox video dispenser away from the wall. Taking a skeleton key they had borrowed from one of Eliza’s coworkers, they pried open the back of the Redbox standing smugly outside. Reaching in, Sarah removed Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and replaced it with the book version. “Need I say it? The book is always better than the movie,” she told her grandmother. They worked for an hour, replacing the videos with random books. When they had all the movies out, they stood back and admired their handywork. “What should we do with these?” Sarah asked, holding a video cover between her pointer finger and thumb. “Hide them forever?” Eliza guessed. Tossing them into the back of the bus, they climbed in and drove to the next Redbox on their list.

The next day, Barty Dingleas drove up to the CVS, ready to get a good movie. Scrolling through the options, he decided on The Godfather. When he pulled out his movie, however, he realized it was not a movie at all, but Apology by Plato. Frowning, he set the book down and got a random movie. Charlie’s Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl popped out. Barty raised his eyebrows, and, being a good sport, laughed. I guess I should just stick with these books, he thought to himself. 

Similar happenings were reported from all over the state. Soon, people from all over the country were coming to Wyoming just to see the new Redbox, newly named the Blue Book Box (or B.B.B.) Other people started petitioning their state government to fill their Redboxes with books. As for Sarah and her grandmother, they were perfectly content with the remainder of their books in the bus, which they affectionately called the Book Bus. Some people were outraged, but they could do little about it. No matter how much they searched, no one could ever find the guilty party.




~ Our First Anniversary Publication Celebration ~

Dandelion Press invites you to join in our deep gratitude
and over-brimming excitement for the astonishing success of Delivering Dreams.  Beyond our wildest dreams, our long-anticipated book has won accolades from reviewers and readers, and awards both national and international.  Awards List


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One Thousand Stories High - Micro Fiction Contest Winners

One Thousand Stories High elicited so much inspired, creative expression we were hard-pressed to select the winner!  So in fact, we decided to announce a tie for first place.  Plus two honorable mentions!   We hope you will enjoy reading these micro-fiction tales as much as we did.  Our gratitude to all of you, young writers and adult, who penned such well-written, heart-full stories.  Please, please, please continue to send us your entries, whether you’ve been selected this month or not!   Who knows where your good practice will lead (and has already led) you?   

 Our two winners this month (both in the Adult Writers category) each reached into an imagined past to set their stories.  In Lisa Marguerite Mora’s tale, “The Oculus,” our young heroine Darla finds herself in an ancient, musty library that inspires Hope, rewarded.   Marion Canning’s “One Thousand Stories High” transports us to Scotland and a sweetly-haunted old mansion’s library whose ghost is put to rest by young not-to-be-deterred Olivia.   

Our two Honorable Mention selections were also highly contested.  Clara M. O’Leary, age 14, wrote “Charlotte and the Forbidden Books,” an irresistible story about a young girl whose love for books simply will NOT be thwarted!  And last but certainly not least, Holly Pharoah, age 17, wrote for us “Jungle of Flowers,” one of the most poignant stories we have read to date.  Her heroine, whose name and circumstances we do not learn until the very end, acts on a bravery that is inspirational to us all.

Again, our deepest thanks to each of you who took the time and creative courage to write your stories for us, and we look forward to the results of your imaginative talents when you set your pens to work around our next illustration.  To be announced here shortly! 

One Thousand Stories High

One Thousand Stories High

Winning Story (tie)

The Oculus

by Lisa Marguerite Mora - Los Angeles

It happened like this. Visiting my Aunt Vi's home that winter I found the book in the library. Well, there were a million books in her library. Aunt Vi had inherited the house and the garden and the library came with it, along with all the books. I think the house was like 150 years old. It creaked. The books different widths, sizes, colors lined the circular walls. And they were endless. Smell of mildew, of old book smell, like dry water or its memory was the first thing I noticed when I stepped in. Maybe it reminded me of hope. I don't know, but when I walked in that day I craned my neck, my head dipping all the way back to see the oculus ceiling – the round window through which light from the milky sky poured. At night, sometimes I sat on the floor and looked up to see if through that same window the stars would fall...I like to dream. 

That winter my parents needed to go on vacation by themselves in an attempt to save their marriage. I still got to spend Christmas with them, but now it was January and I had to miss school. Okay by me. I'd rather read all day anyway, which they won't let you do in school. They make you study different subjects, always stopping and starting history or math or phys ed. So, when I found the library, you can imagine, I was pleased.

The book I mentioned, it fell on my head from the top most shelf, ten shelves up! judging on how quick it came down and how hard. “Ow!” I saw pinpoints of light and got knocked off kilter. Picking the book up from where it was flung open to a page, I read the few words there. “Darla.” And that creeped me out because that's my name. “Make a wish.” It was the only thing on the creamy thick paper. I thumbed through all the other pages and the hairs on the back of my neck rose, because all the other pages were blank. I slammed the book shut so fast and stared at its cover which was leather, all its corners were bent. Maybe it fell off the shelf a lot. Gingerly I placed it on the desk nearby and kind of backed away, turned to leave. A thunk made me whirl around. The book was on the floor again. A slant of light across the open page. I hesitated, walked over, and squinted down at the words which were in a different curly font now. “Darla, make a wish!”

The exclamation point was new too.

Okay. My heart was thumping. And, I don't know why I said this. It's the kind of thing I got in trouble for at school all the time. I said, “Don't I get three?” There was no breeze, no open window but the pages riffled by themselves, it almost sounded like someone chuckled. Now a new page presented itself. “Yes.” 

So I screwed up my eyes and said the first thing I thought of. “I wish never to be bored.” And before I could think I had made a mistake I said, “I wish that my parents still loved each other.” And then because I felt silly and like these are not the kind of things you're supposed to wish for if you were ever so lucky to get the chance. But also because I wondered if maybe I was half unconscious because of the lump I could feel rising on the top of my skull, like maybe the falling book had done me some damage, I said really fast because I didn't think it mattered, “And I wish for a giraffe to help me reach the top shelves of this library.” (So that I could put the book back from where it fell and also so I could read everything, if I wanted to.)

Before I opened my eyes I was aware the air had changed, like there was another presence in the room. I started back when I saw the long limbed, sweet faced giraffe who had reached down from its long, long neck to greet me with big brown and long lashed eyes. “Oh, hel-hello.” Well, I had to admit I was definitely not bored now. 

As if the giraffe had heard my thoughts, she said — it was more like words in my mind. “These books are so well made and so sturdy you can make a ladder from them up to the oculus. Would you like to see?” 

That actually, did not seem like a good idea to me, to make a ladder of books. “Couldn’t I just climb up your neck?” 

The giraffe blinked at me slowly as if I were some young thing she had to be patient with. She demurred, “No.” 

Her idea WAS a much better one. She helped me like she said and we managed to pile one tome on top of the other. She pulled them off the shelves with her gentle teeth leaving bite marks on the leather, but oh well, that couldn’t be helped. Did you know giraffes have 32 teeth just like us? I relayed this fact to her and again she blinked at me before responding politely, “That’s interesting” and resumed constructing the book ladder. It was more like a book tower. 

When we were done, and I was teetering at the very top, I quickly caught a glimpse out the round shining oculus and saw the sky, the highest feathery tree branches. I looked down to the distant verdant garden and the driveway before the whole construct swayed and toppled beneath me. The giraffe caught me on her back. I clung to her and leaned my cheek against her warm neck, my heart beating hard with happiness. Out that window, under the sky and trees, I saw my parents walking toward the house. They’d arrived early. And they were holding hands.


Winning Story (tie)

One Thousand Stories High

by Marion Canning - Springfield, Massachusetts

"I'm here," Olivia announced, matter of factly to an empty space, high up in the rotunda of Leith Hall.  Midmorning light shone softly into a sparsely furnished loft.  Old leaded windows rippled the sunlight like wind through spring leaves.  Its golden rays shone upon Olivia and a beautiful giraffe that stood beside her.  "It is hot and stuffy up here," she thought.  She was a little sweaty from her climb and a strand of her dark hair had come loose.  A pungent odor of herbs was pleasant after the smell of the heavy leather bound books she had stacked up to reach the top of the rotunda's slightly shabby library.  Dust motes floated lazily in the sun beams.  She had three large ledgers with her and was balancing on "Ancient Maps of the World", the last, of at least a thousand stories, she had used to reach the loft.  Olivia waited a bit anxiously.

Across the room she saw an alcove draped with the McCullough tartan. On the floor was a faded rag rug. Piles of old yellowed papers were stacked in a dusty corner.  A squat kettle and a pair of felt slippers sat on a low bench near the alcove's entrance.  A wooden chair and table were set snugly under the large rotunda windows.  

 A movement caught Olivia's eye as a little old woman, wrapped in a woolen shawl, shuffled out from behind the curtain.  She had long gray braids, warm blue eyes and a pleasant looking wrinkled face.  "Lassie, you brought them to me," she said revealing a toothless smile.  She beckoned to Olivia to follow her as she moved over to the table and chair.  

But a gap between Olivia's great stack of teetering books and the edge of the loft was quite wide. Too wide for her to cross without falling. If she tried to leap over, the books would tumble to the floor below.  Olivia didn't know how she was going to cross this fearsome space.  Just then, the giraffe, she hadn't noticed before, moved a little closer to Olivia and gave her a gentle nudge.  It stretched out its long neck across the space, creating a perfect bridge, so she could cross over safely to the loft.  When her feet touched ground, she grinned and hugged the giraffe. She stroked its soft nose and saw that it had big dreamy eyes and velvet horns and it smelled just like, Florinda, her Welch pony.

Olivia brought the ledgers over to the woman who took them carefully from her.  She said softly, "Thank you, I have missed these so!"  She laid them gently, on the table, one by one.  Each book was engraved with the McCullough beehive crest.  She took the first book onto her lap and opened the thick cover.  She seemed to have forgotten that Olivia was standing beside her.  The pages were of heavy crumbling vellum.  Faded drawings of wild flowers, clover, heather, and thyme filled each page.  Each was labeled meticulously in crude childlike print.  Olivia could smell a rich, sachet-like, scent as the old woman turned to each entry.  After what seemed, to Olivia, like a long time, the old woman opened another ledger.  This one contained sketches ofthe fields onGrandfather McCullough's once vastestate.  The old woman nodded to herself, knowingly, as she traced the stone walls, hedges, and cart paths with her old worn fingers.  She mused, " The pony and I could find the hives even, on the moor, in the fog."  Olivia noticed that the honey gathered from each field had been recorded in a small McCullough beehive symbol at the bottom of each page.

With a sigh, Olivia could barely hear, the old woman brought herself back from visions of fresh air, summer fields, fogs, and moors and opened the last of the tomes.  Here was listedhamlets, crossroads, and villages that sold McCullough honey on market day.  The last page held an envelope of daguerreotypes tied with a faded ribbon. Sifting through them she came to a picture of a smiling young lass holding the reins of a shaggy pony with a cart filled with honey pots.  Olivia caught a quick glimpse of a pretty, rosy cheeked, girl just as the luncheon gong rang out.  It startled her. She said, "I must to go right now!  Bess gets fuming if I am late". The old woman was still in a far away reverie.  Olivia made a small, polite curtsey and left quietly.  She walked quickly to the edge of the loft.  The giraffe was waiting for her.  It stretched out its silky neck again, and she slid safely onto the ancient book of maps, which she obediently put back, on the shelf, where it belonged.  She did the same with every last book she had used to climb to the loft.  As she bent down to put the last book away, she saw the word "Giraffes" on the cover. Her mother, standing, in the rotunda doorway, to collect her for lunch, said, "I see you are using your time well this morning and reading about giraffes."  Olivia looked up. She rolled her eyes.  She had not been reading about giraffes at all!  But she knew better than to argue.  Instead she said, " You know, Mother, a giraffe is so tall it can reach all the way up to that loft."  She continued, "There is an old woman who lives up there." "No one lives up there Olivia.  Nothing is up there but old ledgers and documents about bees."   Olivia looked thoughtful, then asked, "Will we be having clover honey from the high meadow or thyme from Harrow's Crossing with lunch today?"  "You will have to ask Bess.  She says the honey cellar is all a jumble since, Hannah, the old beekeeper, died."  Then, her mother frowned, and said, "Olivia! what have you got all over your dress?"  "Oh! Just giraffe dust from the book. I guess."

Honorable Mention

Charlotte and the Forbidden Books

by Clara M. O'Leary - Connecticut  14 years old


Charlotte looked up at the everlasting wall of shelves. It was so very, very tall. 

            Book after book after book lived on that wall, all of which were just waiting to be read. 

            “Stefan,” said the little girl, turning and seeing her friend, a giraffe, standing next to her, right where she had left him. “Won’t you lift me up and take me to those book up at the top?”

            Stefan shook his head. “I’m sorry Charlotte. You know as well as I do that I cannot lift you anywhere. But if I could, I would bring you to the books, I swear it.”

            Charlotte nodded, disappointed. You see, Stefan truly did want to do what ever his friend asked of him, but being a figment of the girl’s imagination he found it quite hard. 

            “What do you suppose those books are about?” She asked, dropping down onto the wooden floor. “An adventure of a wonderful pirate? Or a garden of elves, maybe?”        

            “Ah, I have no way to tell,” the giraffe sighed. “But I have a feeling one day you will find out.”

            Again, Charlotte nodded. Stefan was right. She would find out, because she truly wanted to. 

            With a newfound conviction, she marched her little self up to the bookseller across the room and stopped directly in front of him. 

            “Sir?” She asked. “May you please bring down one of those books for me?”

            She pointed her finger in the direction of the books up at the ceiling. 

            The man, scratchy with unshaved hair and arrogant of eyes, chuckled down at Charlotte and turned his head back to his work. 

            Without looking up he said, “That section is reserved for men and boys, little girl. You should not have even been over there and I must now ask you to leave.”

            Charlotte was quiet with embarrassment.

            The man looked at her and pointed behind him. “We do have a lovely selection of picture books over there that would interest someone like you.”

            Charlotte had read picture books and didn’t like them. They were far below her reading standard. 

            “I’m sorry, sir, but I’m not a fan of picture books. I would like to buy a story from the top shelf of the men’s section, please. I have money to pay.”   

            With a sigh, the bookseller scowled at her. “As I said, I will not assist you in reaching those items as they are not for your purchasing. Good day.”

            The man rose from his chair, letting her see he was tall and thin, like a praying mantis. 

            “I’m sorry, sir,” she said before walked away. Angrily, he turned around. 


            “I have thought about it and picture books are exactly what I need.”

            “I’m glad to hear it.”

            “Could you help me reach those, instead?”

            With a deep breath, the man took her to the women’s section and handed her a book about farms.             

            “Could I have another, sir?”

            He handed her a second book about shoes and dresses.         

            “Could you get me a handful of them? Maybe five or six?”

            “As you wish,” he said, sarcastically. 

            When the little girl had her arms full of books, she continued to ask for more, until she had to take all the books to a table, put them down and come back for more. 

            Back and forth she ran, until half of the picture books section was empty, and finally she let the man get back to his work. 

            “Thank you, sir,” she said. He didn’t respond, just walked back to his desk and forgot about her. 

            The bookseller had gotten so wrapped up in his logging and dating that he did not hear the shuffling and banging and whisperings to Stefan that the girl made. 

            So, when he put his papers away and looked up, he nearly fell over himself. 

            A stack of books, ceiling high, had been built and was swaying under the weight of a little girl who had climbed to the top and was now sitting, reading The Adventures of Robin Hood out loud, to a friend he could not see. 

            “What on earth are you doing?” Said the man, rushing over to the tower of picture books. 

            “I’m reading to Stefan,” she said, busily, peering around the corner of the book. 

            “Come down from here this instant, you bad little nuisance.”

            “But I’ve just finished building this tower. And there are so many wonderful books I’d like to read up here! Have you read any of them?”

            “You must come down at once and mark my words, you're going to be punished when you do!”      

            “Well, in that case,” Charlotte said, pulling out a handful of more books to read, “I think I shall just stay up here and read forever.”


Honorable Mention

Jungle of Flowers

by Holly Pharaoh - Indiana  17 years old

“That’s it, just another step,” Herman murmured as he helped his granddaughter up the next step of the book mountain he’d made. She was now much taller than he was, and he had a hard time holding her hand. The two books tied together at her side knocked against her legs, and she stumbled just slightly trying to stay on her mountain. “Careful now.”

     Slowly, Herman let go of the child’s hand, making sure she was steady before taking a few steps back to look her over. “You got your map?” He asked, crossing his arms over his chest. The little girl gently shook the book in her other hand-not the one carrying her makeshift suitcase. “Good, good.” He paused a moment just to watch her stand there on the mountain of books he’d given her, her red dress standing out in the drab library. “You remember where you are?”

    The little girl nodded, then shook her head. Herman smiled and sat down in a chair slowly, his knees protesting. “You’re in the jungle, and you just finished climbing the biggest mountain you could find.” He paused a moment for dramatic effect, and also to watch the girl on the stack. “It’s a hot day, and you’re very tired. Luckily, though, you know you’re almost to your campsite. In fact, if you look to your right, you can see the tents of the others already there.” The little girl turned her head to the right, a tiny smile tugging at the corner of her mouth.

     “Yes, your camp is right over there, but that’s not what’s important to you, is it?” Herman asked, his voice light and teasing. The girl on the stack of books shook her head quickly, and he chuckled. “No, it isn’t. What’s really important is right above you.” The girl tilted her head up to the ceiling of the library. “It’s bigger and clearer out here in the jungle. There’s nothing hiding the sky except the green of the leaves. And luckily, today is a very clear day-the sky is so blue, and there isn’t a single cloud in the ocean of blue. Blue, like the angry crashing of waves, pounding the surface as lightning strikes. Blue, like the sadness in having a best friend leave after a fun sleepover-sad, but reassuring that you had a good time. Can you see it?”

      Again, the girl nodded, and the tiny smile grew just a little more. “Alright, good. Now are the trees blocking your sight with their big leaves. They’re green, like the feeling when you hear your friend talking to someone else instead of you. They’re green, like when you put something gross in your mouth and it makes you want to throw up.” That drew a bigger smile from the child, and Herman leaned back in his chair and watched her, holding her pretend map and pretend suitcase, both made out of books.

     “And, oh!” He exclaimed, leaning forward in his seat and running a hand over his moustache. “How could we have forgotten what’s right below you?” He shook his head as if disappointed. “Why, we almost forgot the flowers right there beneath your feet.” He waited just long enough for her to turn her head down to the book she was standing on. “Yes, there’s thousands of them there on that hill of yours. And they’re all sorts of colors, bright and beautiful.”

    He took another pause, taking off his glasses to clean with his shirt. The little girl was smiling too widely for her face, and it made Herman’s heart swell with joy. How rare it was for her to smile, and for him to be the reason. It reminded him of the first time he’d held her in his arms while she was just a small baby. There wasn’t a thing in the world he wouldn’t do for her.

    “In front of you are thousands of flowers,” he repeated, putting his glasses back onto his face. “There’s splashes of red, like the fury you feel when you put your hand in the cookie jar and it’s empty. Or when someone moves the coffee table and you find it with your shin.” He chuckled at that one, and the girl’s face flashed to a scowl before smoothing out again. “There’s yellow, like when you help mother make cakes in the kitchen, and she gives you a big hug as thank you. And there’s more of that sad blue colors, in all different lights and darks. And look! There’s a few orange colors, like when you put your hand on a pan and it’s still hot.” They both wince at that.

     “Ah, yes, so many flowers.” He cleared his throat and stood up, smoothing out his wrinkle free shirt. “Anyway, perhaps it’s time to get off that hill of yours and go to your camp. I’m sure they’re waiting for you, and you don’t want to travel in the dark. Come, and let’s get you down from there.” Herman approached the girl on the top of the stack of books and held his hand out.

     Clutching her books tighter, the little blind girl shook her head and spoke up for the first time in several weeks. “But papa, how tall am I?”

    Herman took a step back, his face a mask of shock and joy at hearing her voice. He was so stunned, that he took a moment to respond. He took her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, his voice bellowing out and filling the library, “Eveline, my dear, you’re as tall as giraffes!”



Since releasing Delivering Dreams in late 2016, Lori has been awarded 17 national and international children’s book prizes, including the prestigious ILA Best Children’s Book of 2017 (Primary category).  The complete list follows. 

INTERNATIONAL LITERACY ASSOCIATION-Best Children's Book of 2017 (primary fiction)
2017 INTERNATIONAL RUBERY AWARDS- Shortlisted for Best Children’s Book
2016 MOONBEAM CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARDS-Best First Picture Book-Gold
2017 LOS ANGELES BOOK FESTIVAL-Best Children's Book
2017 NATIONAL INDI EXCELLENCE AWARD-Picture Book (all ages)-Winner
2016 NEW APPLE ANNUAL BOOK AWARDS-Best Children's Picture Book
ERIC HOFFER AWARD-Children's Picture Book- First Runner Up
ERIC HOFFER AWARD-Grand Prize-Finalist
PURPLE DRAGONFLY BOOK AWARDS-Picture Book -First Place (tie)
CIPA-EVVY AWARD-Children's Picture Book Finalist

The Long Way - Micro Fiction Winners

Dandelion Press is excited to announce the winner of last month’s Micro Fiction Contest, The Long Way.   Marion Canning’s evocative setting, finely expressed details and imaginative characters all came together in the space of one summer’s day to beautifully tell the tale of The Long Way.  We hope you will enjoy her winning story as much as we did!   

We had so many fine entries, especially from the 18 and under age group, that we simply had to create an “Honorable Mention” category, where you will find the three more wonderful stories—one adult and two young people’s.  Mindy Garza’s sixty-one word story is a masterful sketch—like the breath of a dream—no names, no place—just the perfectly balanced inhale and exhale of mutual recognition.

Among the many fine submissions from young people all over the country, we selected two for publication on this blog.  Twelve-year old Lauren Brown penned a heart-felt coming of age story called “Isa’s Painting” that we loved for the way it captured Dandelion Press’s magical way with paint!  Actually, she created an entire family’s coming-of-age, through Isa’s adventurous creativity.  

Finally, ten-year old Sathvik Appana not only wrote a fast-paced adventure story, but he managed to create a convincing ten-year old girl as the heroine of his tale!   Many of the young writers themed their stories around loss and grief.  Though “Journey to Fortune” is also built around the now-orphaned girl Ivory, she discovers her own special means of resolving her loss.  

Many thanks to all the fine writers who submitted their stories for The Long Way!   Please don’t hesitate to enter again and again as you’re inspired by our illustrations. 

The Long Way - shop now

Winning Story


by Marion Canning - Springfield, Massachusetts


    Caroline Elizabeth Weston climbed onto the back of the Earl of Wye as he began moving slowly away from the kitchen garden at Aston Place.  Sweet peas and hollyhocks shielded them from Cook's sight.  Only the top of Caroline's hat would have been visible to Cook's beady eyes if she happened to be standing in the dooryard.

It felt good to be perched atop of the ancient tortoise.  He had waited patiently as she packed.  It took a long time. There were so many things to sort out.  Granny's deck of cards, a soft blanket for sitting, skeins of yarn and crochet hooks and the magnifier went into the hatbox.  Mummy's jumper, two handkerchiefs, and Caroline's extra sweater fit snugly in the traveling bag. She squashed her mac and gum boots, Cook's horsehair broom and dear Iris's shawl, drawing pad, pencils and water colors in the portmanteau.  The carry-all she held on her lap came from the spring house. It smelled like Mr. Mac's gardening gloves. The cheese, biscuits and lettuces, the pears she snatched when Cook was not in the kitchen and a packet of flakes just fit. The clasp was rusty from resting besides the milk cans stored in the stream trickling under the flag stones and it was very hard to close.  Her grip was filled with Alice, Beatrix Potter and Black Beauty and fastened with a belt to keep them from tumbling out. Her father's camera balanced next to the Prince in his fish bowl. 

Aston Place lay in a soft valley on the River Wye.  The river chiseled out hidden pools and eddies along the shore bordering the property.  These provided Mr. Mac with big fat trout for the dinner table when the family was in residence.  Sheep grazed on the grounds that bordered the woods. Walking paths meandered all through the estate where Caroline and Iris, her tutor, sketched and read together. Now Iris was on summer holiday and Caroline had discovered in the post, among the letters, one with numerous stamps smudged from travel and with pictures of India on them.  She did not have to be told that Granny and her parents were not coming back before the end of summer. Left without companionship she roamed long solitary hours by herself. She only appeared in the kitchen for tea with Cook and Mr. Mac at the end of the day.

Now the Earl, the Prince and Caroline edged along the high garden wall until they reached the backside of the stables.  There the paddocks opened out to a rolling landscape towards the woods and river. It took quite some time to reach the trees. The sun was strong overhead and Caroline's face was hot and flushed. She was still cross about the letter that came with the mail and she missed Iris not sharing in today's most important venture. The Prince's small watery home had warmed considerably and he was flustered with all the jouncing on top of the wobbly pile of suitcases. He wished he had been left on the library reading table away from the sun. 

At last they came to a place where the path became two.  "Left please", Caroline commanded loudly since the Earl was so ancient he was mostly deaf.  The new path took them into the wood along a wide, worn stretch and the sudden shade felt cool and refreshing. Up ahead Caroline could see the shape of her best discovery yet: an old mossy pavilion tucked away under an ancient beech tree that stood guarding a clear spring fed pool. Caroline imagined the ladies of Aston Place once spending lazy afternoons there reading and gossiping while the men were busy with estate business. 

Upon arriving at the pavilion Caroline set to work unpacking the tortoise and sweeping away dust from the past.  Paints, sketch books, cards and yarn all fit along the marble benches surrounding the walls. The suitcases she found long forgotten in the attic slipped underneath.  A rickety table held her favorite books. "Now" she said,  "we shall have our lunch." She spread out the cheese and biscuits on the soft blanket and shared the pears and lettuces with the Earl. It was very quiet under the tree and Caroline was weary from all her activity. She curled up next to the tortoise and set the Prince next to her and soon she slept.  

When the afternoon sun peeked between the leaves of the beech tree, she awoke and remembered her most important mission.  She knelt down and put her face close to the fish bowl and saw the Prince swimming listlessly around in the water. She said softly, "I have brought you to this secret pool where you will be able to grow big and shiny".  She murmured almost to herself, "It is too lonely living all alone in the library". She then lowered the Prince gently into the pool and watched as he swam out of his cramped bowl into the deep cool water.  She sprinkled the packet of flakes over the surface and magically, beautiful gold fish from lazy afternoons gone by, appeared at the surface to greet him.  "There!”, she smiled with hands on her hips as she watched all the fish released from too small fish bowls left in nurseries and libraries receive the Prince.  

"Cook will be looking for me", remembered Caroline. Turning away from the pool she went into the pavilion to fetch her hat and retrieve her umbrella and the violin she hadn't practiced at all!  When they finally reached the vegetable garden the sun was low. She slid off the tortoise and as he he disappeared under the cabbages she set off for the kitchen.  Cook and Mr. Mac were waiting for her. "Where have you been Caroline Elizabeth?" said Cook. "We took the long way round, and the Earl was so terribly slow", said Caroline.

Honorable Mention



by Mindy Garza - Southern California

     She sensed their dreams at all times, but they felt strongest when the stars shone in the darkness. Navigating with a strong steady pace, she found the little one alone with her tears. The girl took one look at her and understood. She packed her belongings, ready for the journey. They traveled in silent understanding to the place where dreams grow.


Honorable Mention



by Lauren Brown - Firestone, Colorado  12 years old

   A little four year old Isa was walking along the edge of the small clearing that was her backyard when she, for no reason, decided to wander into the forest just a little. She found an injured baby tortoise with no mommy or family in sight.

   “You have a boo boo. I will make you all better!” Isa picked up the baby tortoise and took him back into her cottage where she lived with her dad. “I will call you Baxter and you will be my bestest friend forwever!”

   Isa opened her eyes, smiling. That was her favorite memory. Meeting Baxter had forever changed her life. She was leaning against him right then. Baxter had grown huge over the last twelve years, and was now big enough to carry Isa when she pleased.

Isa had big hopes and dreams, but she remained confined to her small town. Isa wanted to become an artist who painted landscapes, and got to travel the world. Her kind heart was hungry for some excitement. But her dad would never let her go.

   Isa’s mom had disappeared shortly after the twins had been born. One of those twins was Isa herself. Her twin sister, Maria, was nothing like her. She and dad were always getting into fights. Raising two girls without a mother hadn’t been her dad’s plan. Isa was the one who did the cooking, washing, cleaning, and shopping in the market.

   Her dad worked hard as a blacksmith to bring home money. And Maria was hardly ever around. Her dad thought he couldn’t keep their family together without her. But Isa wanted to see the world and discover who she really was outside of this town. Baxter could feel her eagerness to leave and spread her wings. She had only stayed this long because she felt as though she would be leaving just as her mother had. Leaving behind a broken family.

   Yet she knew it wouldn’t be like that at all. The inside walls of their cottage were covered in landscapes Isa had painted. When she ran out of canvas, she’d replaced the wallpaper with her own. The walls were covered with rolling hills, setting suns, sparkling lakes. She’d even done the ceiling. Looking up in their home meant looking into the treetops where exotic birds were soaring and the occasional chipmunk leaping. It was truly remarkable to walk in the halls. A huge piece of Isa would always be in this house.

   That night at dinner, Isa decided to ask flat out. “Dad, am I allowed to leave?”

   Startled, he looked up and swallowed his mouthful. Maria continued on as though no one had spoken. “Sure, you go into town all the time.”

   “No Dad. I think I’m ready to have my own adventure.” Now Maria looked up. “Sis? Why would you want to leave? Aren’t you happy here?”

   “I love it here, but,” Isa gestured to the walls and ceiling. “It’s time for me to have my own adventure to do the things I love. I want to travel and paint the world.” Isa’s father looked into his daughter’s big brown eyes that sparkled. He sighed.

   “I’d always known you’d leave. Your spirit is too big to be kept in our small town.

   Your dreams too bright and your tortoise too large.” This made Isa smile. It was true, Baxter was getting too big to fit in the house. But the rest of what her dad said was also true. And Maria knew it too.

   “I’ll help you pack tomorrow. You can take my trunk with the daisy for a clasp.” Maria and Isa stood and hugged. Tears fell from Isa’s eyes. “Thank you.” was all she could whisper.

   Two days later everything Isa needed was strapped to the willing Baxter, who she would ride. He was smarter and speedier than he appeared. Isa had many bags other than the trunk her sister had provided. They each held something, like her brushes, the paint, or what she needed to make more. Plus canvases.

   Isa stared at her reflection in the mirror. She’d chosen a sleeveless pink dress and navy blue shoes for day one. Putting a navy blue hat on her head, she twirled her short blond hair. Today was the start of something she’d only ever dreamed of. And with that, she turned and walked out the door of her room.

   Hugs were exchanged before Isa climbed onto Baxter. Isa promised to visit for Christmas and would send gifts for birthdays. Maria and Isa decided that they would become pen pals. Her dad gave her a ring with a stone in the center. “As long as you wear this, I’ll be with you.” She’d hugged him tight. “Let’s go boy.” And they rode off.

Two Weeks Later…

   Isa stood on a hilltop, paintbrush in hand. The first stars were starting to sparkle in the sky. Nothing had ever felt more right to Isa in that moment. Baxter was resting behind Isa, next to the tent she’d set up. Putting her brush down, she went and picked up the first painting she’d done on her adventure. In it, a small town could been seen at sunset. In the upper left corner, a cottage with a clearing in the back had a pink heart around it. Isa would always return to that clearing, no matter where her mind took her. Because her heart would hold that location close. Home is where the ones you love are. And her family would be there, waiting.


Honorable Mention



by Sathvik Appana - Lexington, Massachusetts  10 years old


“Ivory, Wake up! It’s your 10th birthday.”

I threw off the covers, and leaped out of bed.

“Happy Birthday Ivory.” Said my mother.

“I made you your favorite treat.”

And she handed me a platter filled with sweet cream cookies.

“Thank You.”

“ Ivory, on this birthday, your 10th, I think that it’s fair that I should tell you what happened to your father.”

The temperature in the room seemed to have suddenly dropped, and so did my mother’s mood. She soon regained her happy face.

“Eight years ago when you were a baby, your father dreamed of finding a place called Fortune falls. It was said that Fortune had the greatest treasure man could ever dream of, flowing through it’s streams. Your father went to the elders of the village to seek their blessings to go find the falls. When he went to them, they gave him a ceramic turtle charm and told him that it would guide him to what he wanted the most. He used all of our money and bought a ship. We set sail along with some crew that he hired. On the first night, the ship hit a big storm. There were waves like mountains, and jagged white lines coming from the clouds. The ship was severely damaged. Your father sent us off in the one remaining lifeboat. As I rowed away, I saw your father’s ship sink.”

By now tears were forming in both of our eyes.

“Well, that was the past. Lets focus on the future. I’m going to give you your gifts. The first gift was from your father. It is his ceramic turtle charm. Your second gift is from me. I’m giving you 100 crescents. Spend it wisely. Now, go play with your friends.”

My mother’s story had shocked me, but she was right, the past is the past. For the rest of the day I played with my friends in the woods and around town. I was actually feeling good until my neighbor ran up to me, and said

“Ivory, It’s your mother, she was hit by a stampeding bull. Go quick.”

I dropped everything and ran home. When got to my house, I burst through the door into my mother’s room. She had a huge gash on her side and there were medics hunched over tending to her wounds.


“Ivory, go find Fortune falls. That was mine and your father’s wish; The turtle charm will help you.”

Then she gasped, and closed her eyes. The medics were shaking their heads.

“We’re sorry Ivory.”

At that moment lots of feelings surged through me, but I was determined to find Fortune falls and fulfill my mother’s wish. After my mother’s funeral service the next day, I went to the stream behind my house to wash my face. As I dipped my hand into the water my turtle charm fell off, and grew into a giant turtle.

“I am Aegis, your guide to fortune falls. Collect your belongings and get on my back.”

Speechless, I ran into my house, packed my clothes, the cookies my mom made for me, the money I got for my birthday, and a jar with my pet goldfish.

“Are you ready Ivory?”


“In that case, let us begin our journey to fortune falls”. 

Over the next few days Aegis carried my belongings and me through forests, hamlets, and across streams.

On the fifth day, while Aegis and I were traveling through a forest, I suddenly felt a sharp pain on the side of my arm and Aegis collapsed. Then everything was black. When I woke up, I found myself surrounded by three burly men.

“She’s awake,” said one of the men.

“Who are you and where are you going with this giant turtle?”

“My name is Ivory and Aegis here is my turtle guide. He will take me to Fortune falls.”

The men looked at each other with suspicious grins. “How do you know about fortune falls?’

“When I was little, my father lost his life trying to find Fortune falls. Now I am going to find them.”

“ We’ve been searching for the falls as well. Can we join you and this giant turtle in your journey?”

“Sure, you can join,” I said

For the next few days, the men and me followed Aegis through many more jungles until we finally came to a huge sparkling water fall.

“We are at Fortune falls”, Aegis announced.

The three men’s faces changed. They were no longer excited. They seemed angry.

“Where is the fortune?” “I don’t know.” I said.

“Its all that blasted turtles fault.” They started hitting Aegis.

“No, please stop hitting him!”

As I put up my hand to block a blow from the stick that they were hitting Aegis with, I got a huge gash on my hand. My head was swimming from the pain.

“We don’t have any use for these two. Let’s dump them in the water.” Said the men.

The three men pushed us into the water. Something strange started to happen under water. The cut on my hand was starting to heal, and I could breath normally under the water. After we had been swept down stream by the current, Aegis got himself and me out of the water. Where we had gotten out, I saw a tattered old and rusty sign that said Fortune Falls ahead. We had found Fortune falls! It did contain the greatest treasure of all. It was not gold, but it was the ability to heal.  I opened one of caskets that was tied to my waist and filled it up with water from Fortune falls. We started our journey back home. After we got back, I used the water to heal people so that they didn’t have to go through the despair that I did when I lost my mom.


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Have you ever received a card that feels like a gift?  Our splendiferous* new gift-card line is just that—stunning reproductions of the original paintings in their true proportions.

* Yes, it’s a real word for just what it sounds like—fabulously fantastical, stupendously stunning, magically magnificent! 

Make your next card a magically magnificent moment for someone special!  The first image in our new line is “Bound for Dreams,”  11.5” x 5”, packaged in its own protective sleeve and including a custom envelope:  $7.95 each. Buy Now

Bound for Dreams

Bound for Dreams

Dandelion Micro Fiction Contest

Writers of Magic and Whimsy!  Turn your imagination loose and tell us your story of this painting, The Long Way.  Then email us your tall tale in 1,000 words or less by June 30th, 2017 for publication in our July blog and FaceBook site!   The winner will also receive a bouquet of Dandelion products and be placed on the short-list of possible authors for Dandelion’s next book publication (no date set!).

Be sure to read our contest guidelines here.

The Long Way cards and prints available in the  shop

The Long Way cards and prints available in the shop


All Images © 1983-2019 Lori Preusch