Free Audiobook from the Betwixters series!

Would you like to receive a free audiobook version of Ole Grum’s Tales? It’s the very first story in The Vathylite Realms and reveals how the entire Betwixters adventures began.

Join Ole Grum, a wondering gnome, on a magical adventure through a vibrant and enchanted land. You will learn how we began communicating and how I discover Neevya, a pale yellow Sunbeam Faerie who lives in Ayin, a bustling city in the realm of Faeyelwen.

Ole Grum’s Tales: One Barmey Beetle is an audiobook narrated by Martin Hillier, a charming Englishman who has a knack for bringing the characters to life and sucking you into the story.

To receive this audiobook all you need to do is sign up for my newsletter at:

www.LauraCCantu.com

Don’t worry, I will not spam you.  Currently, I rarely write newsletters because I’m typically too busy writing books. I only send out newsletters when I think there is something important you might like to know, such as how to get free stuff, promotional items, and discounts. Also, my newsletters come straight from me, and not from someone in an office who is meant to represent me.

So there you have it.  I hope you enjoy your free audiobook version of Ole Grum’s Tales!

 

PS  If you would like to take a sample listen, you can find Ole Grum’s tale on audible by following this link:

https://www.audible.com/pd/Kids/Ole-Grums-Tales-One-Barmy-Beetle-Audiobook/B01MXZ5FN6?qid=1495644257&sr=1-1

 

 

 

What does it mean to go within?

Throughout my life I’ve been told that the answers are within. Even in mainstream media people are saying to go within to find answers, to to solve problems, and to achieve enlightenment.

 

So what does it mean to go within?

 

When I first started on this journey I tried to go within by meditating, writing in journals, praying, and even answering questions from workbooks; but it didn’t matter what I tried, I always ended up in the same place – confused and without any more answers than I had in the first place. Sure, many logical answers came to me, but they were difficult to implement on an emotional basis. They were intellectual and difficult to embody. What I found inside was a ceaseless stream of me – thoughts about what was occurring in my life, ideas about how I wished things would change, and random daydreams that seemed determined to distract me.

 

Going inside seemed pointless. Once there, what was I supposed to do? How was it supposed to help me achieve my goals?

 

After years of seeking, I believe I have finally found my answer.

 

For me, to go within means to be courageous enough to see myself for who I truly am. This requires a great deal of bravery, vulnerability, acceptance, and willingness to believe.

 

It is my current belief that we are all loving, magnificent beings who subconsciously desire to live in harmony with each other. However, our misconceptions about ourselves, others, and our world keep us imprisoned in illusions of competition, separation, illness, lack, and suffering.

 

How do we overcome these illusions?

 

By going within and questioning our belief systems and our motivations. We must overcome our illusions and accept full responsibility for our lives. There are no victims, and until we can accept this statement as true, we cannot claim the power to change our lives.

Likewise, until we are willing to let go of who we think we are, we will be imprisoned by our own limitations.

 

So, what does it look like to go inside and bring forth real change? What does it look like to conquer an illusion?

 

I will give you an example:

There was once someone in my life who I perceived as plotting against me. (For ease of understanding, I will refer to this person as a girl.)

If I made a list of all the nasty things I perceived she did to me, I dare to say that most people would gasp and be offended on my behalf. But that was before I knew there were no victims; I too believed she was to blame for my suffering.

Thankfully, I learned otherwise. I learned that my own false belief systems were the reasons for my suffering. I learned that it was my decision, and only my decision, to participate in the negativity. It was my choice to accept the perceptions that kept me imprisoned in being a victim.

Once I grasped this understanding, no matter how new and uncomfortable it was to me, I now had a tool I could use. I could quiet my mind and ask myself a very important question: What are the false belief systems I have accepted that have made me feel like a victim?

At first, all I could think about was all the horrible things she did to me. I couldn’t understand how I could be responsible for how she treated me. Then I began to build a list of the things I believed about her.  Below are a few of the beliefs I blindly accepted about her:

1) This girl hates me. She is a horrible person.

2) I don’t deserve how she treats me.

3) There’s nothing I can do about how she treats me. It’s not my fault.

 

As you can see, every single one of these statements comes from a victim mentality.

Accepting these beliefs as my truth made it impossible for me to ever achieve balance or happiness. I was putting my power in someone else’s hands.

So as much is I disliked, or even despised the girl, I had to admit that unless I was willing to change myself and to see my participation in the relationship, then things would never be resolved.

 

Therefore, I asked myself, “Why do I need this girl in my life?”

The reason I asked this was because, if I truly believed that I was responsible for everything that happened in my life, then how this girl was treating me was merely a reflection of what was inside of me. If she weren’t in my life, then I would have attracted someone else to act as my mirror. Thinking of it this way made it less personal. Once I could observe the situation from a somewhat detached point of view, I could see much more clearly.

It was right then and there I made an important decision–instead of choosing to be a victim, I chose to take full responsibility for myself and my life. I decided to take full responsibility for my relationship with this girl.

 

I asked myself, “How did I create this?”

To answer my question, I went back and analyzed my victimizing beliefs.

Here is how I did it:

1) She hates me. She is horrible.

I asked myself, “Is this absolutely true?”

I tried to think of several circumstances that could negate this belief and I found some.

  • I found that in certain circumstances, the girl was quite loving, even if it wasnt towards me.
  • I also realized that she didn’t always act hateful towards me. There were a handful of times she actually said hello to me when I entered the room.
  • Then another idea entered my mind. Maybe, just maybe, she did not hate me at all, but had been unable to handle and process her own illusions and suffering in a loving way.
  • Maybe something about me acted as a mirrot to her, and reminded her of her own suffering, just as she was doing for me.

If I could think of even one thing that negated the statement then it must mean that I could no longer hold that statement is absolutely true.

Once I realized this, another way for me to look at that statement presented itself. I tried to imagine that she loved me so much that she was willing to be my teacher. Was it possible that, on a subconscious level, she was willing to add to her own suffering by participating in my lessons?  Did she also have lessons to learn from this? I suddenly became grateful to have this girl in my life to show me the mistakes I had made in my perceptions and judgments. I became excited to have opportunities to change and to let go of misperceptions, resentment, and blame.

 

Now let’s take a look at the second statement…

 

2) I don’t deserve how she treats me.

If I accept that I am responsible for everything that happens in my life, then this statement must be false. Accepting responsiblity for my reality no longer allows me to blame anyone or anything outside of myself.

 

Let’s move forward to the last statement…

 

3) There’s nothing I can do about how she treats me

Was that statement absolutely true?

If our reality consists of our perceptions, then it would stand to reason that if I changed my perceptions about her, then she would have the opportunity to change her perceptions of herself and me as well. If I extended understanding and love toward her and allowed myself to be vulnerable instead of reactive in my dealings with her, then might the way she treated me change? Likewise, if I changed myself, might I stop attracting those kinds of lessons and teachers? Would she feel compelled to leave my life? Or . . . might our relationship heal?

 

In becoming more vulnerable, I became more powerful. 

I stopped being reactive. I stopped basing my present understandings on past emotions. Each time she verbally “attacked” me, I reminded myself that I am love. I firmly and respectfully stated that I was no longer willing to participate in situations or relationships that perpetuated suffering and I meant it.  I stopped engaging in the negativity. I stopped reacting.  Instead, I asked myself, “What is the most loving thing I can do in this moment?”

Many times, the answer was to become even more loving to myself, which sometimes meant that I needed to leave the situation, or to kindly and genlty ask her to leave. Other times, it was to tell her that I knew she was suffering and to acknowledge her pain. And yet other times, when she was not with me, I would imagine her as happy, loving, and carefree. I imagined what it might feel like to be good friends with her.

As the relationship progressed, it became easier and easier for me to clearly see that her reactions had nothing at all to do with me. I stopped taking her comments personally, until I was finally able to see and feel the loving being she truly was—which, in turn, was really a reflection me and of how much I had changed.

At the same time, I grew in my ability to set boundaries and to stop participating in negative situations. I claimed, with authority, how my life would be.

Thankfully, our relationship was fully healed, and we are now good friends. Because of this situation, I am more understanding and compassionate, not only for others, but also for myself, which makes all the difference.


Be courageous. Go within and let go of all that is not absolutely true. Be willing to be “wrong.” Be willing to accept your mistakes and move past them. Be loving, kind, and gentle with yourself so that you may learn true compassion and forgiveness.

 

You are the artist of your life, make it a masterpiece!

 

I’ll Be Okay When…

I’ve recently been observing myself and others and I find that many of us have several things in common. One particular thing that stands out to me is how many of us seem to be future oriented. Throughout my life I’ve envisioned my journey taking me to incredible places, which has kept me from focusing on the present. I continually told myself, “When I get this (fill in the blank), then I will be okay.” 
Sometimes I would get what I was hoping for and sometimes I wouldn’t. But most of the time, even if I received what I had wanted, I would have a spurt of seeming happiness and then I would quickly go back to feeling the same as I had when I originally placed my order with the universe. I still wanted more. 

Lately, I’ve found myself doing exactly the same thing that I’ve done for years – thinking of what the future will bring instead of living in the present. Luckily, I had the inclination to stop and ask myself, “If I’m not totally and completely satisfied right now, will I ever be?”

Things suddenly became very clear. 

My life is happening right now. It’s not happening in the past and there are no guarantees for the future. Besides, the future rarely works out the way I think it will. So if I am ever going to experience happiness, it needs to happen now!

I stopped everything that I was doing – working tirelessly on business related materials – and I took inventory on how I spent my time. I realized that I was spending most of my time alone, in front of a computer, disconnected from any social interactions in hopes that my work would someday bring me in closer connection with others. I had buried myself in meaningless tasks that are ever perpetual and I was not taking time to come up to let the sun shine on my face, smell the flowers, or to enjoy the moment.

I decided right then and there to choose to live my life now. I would seize every opportunity to share loving moments with my friends and family, to connect with with my pets, to be grateful for my experiences, and to rediscover what joy truly is.

I had an awareness that even if I were to achieve every single one of my dreams, I would be in the exact same emotional state I am in now. I would feel the same, I would have the same desires, I would love the same people, I would still have the same bad habits.

Therefore, I must live for today and make the effort to rediscover myself, my passions, my drives, my desires, and learn how to be be vulnerable to each and every situation. I must observe myself so that I may discover and release the false belief systems that keep me from being my most loving and authentic version of myself. 

Now I understand that by living for today, my future will be bright indeed because I will be bringing the future to me instead of projecting myself into the future.

It really is as Neville Goddard said, “Live in the wish fullfilled.” 

Feel as if you already have that which you desire and nothing in the universe will be able to keep it from you.

Seize the day, your future depends on it!

DAZ 3D Fix for Characters Deformed When Loading into Scene 2017

I opened my Daz 3D program today to find out that all my figures were somehow morphed and disfigured.  I looked on many forums and kept getting the same answers. They told me to go to the figure and fix all the parameters that were not set to zero. Well, as you can guess, that would have taken FOREVER! So I played around and found an easier fix. By following these steps, you will make changes to the base figure, and all other characters should now work because your base models are no longer messed up.

 

 

Step 1:  Go to your Content Library tab and locate the base figure.  For instance, you can see in the below picture that I have moused over “People>Genesis 3 Female”   (What you should NOT do is go to the characters folder.  That does not contain the base figure)

 

Step 2: Load the figure into the scene

 

Step 3: We need to Zero the figure shape.  To do this, go to “Edit>Figure>Zero>Zero Figure Shape.”  I wish I could tell you that the job is finished, but not quite.

 

Step 4: Next you need to set all default parameters to Zero.  This is the part that takes the longest.  To do this, go to your Parameters tab.

Step 5: Click on the figure (In my case it’s “Genesis 3 Female”  (See picture in step 6 to see what I mean.  Look at the yellow selection on the right)

Step 6: Scroll through the parameters and look for the bolded numbers that say “0.0%”

 

Step 7: Press the gear icon on the top right of the setting and Select “Parameter Settings”

 

Step 8: Change the default settings to ZERO.

 

Step 9: Click Apply (or press Enter)

 

Step 10: Do this for ALL the bold 0.0% numbers that you find in the parameters list.  (When you change the default, they will not be bold anymore, which means you’re doing it right)

 

Step 11: I like to scroll through the list one more time to make sure I didn’t miss any bolded percent signs

Step 12: Go to “File>Save As>Support Asset>Save Modified Assets”

 

 

Step 13: Push Accept  (A list of all your changes will be in the box for you to see)

 

Step 14: Just to make sure I have a clean figure, I like to add a couple more steps by repeating steps 1, 2, and 3.  If I don’t see any changes in the figure, then I know I’m good.

 

I hope this helps!

 

If you have other advice, please comment. As I said, I looked on many forums and couldn’t find an answer that worked with more than one figure until I tried this out.

 

I need your help! Book Cover Idea

Betwixters Front Cover Idea 2

 

As many of you know, I will be releasing my first book in The Betwixters Series soon, and am now in the process of designing my book cover. This is one idea I came up with and will be exploring more in the near future. In the meantime, please tell me what you think! I need all the feedback and constructive criticism I can get!

 

 

Where Fantasy Lives

THE BETWIXTERS COMING SOON Slider lighter

 

Once upon a time, the world was enchanted. Her caretakers were magical beings who worked side-by-side with humans to create harmony and balance for the earth to grow and thrive. But then something went disastrously wrong, and humans were banished from the enchanted realms forever . . . or so we thought.

This fall, I will release the first book of my new series in which magic is restored to our ordinary, mundane world. Those feelings of awe and wonder that we’ve allowed to fade from our lives will be recaptured as we journey along side my three protagonists into unbelievable and captivating adventures. Feel the shock and bewilderment when Noah, Skye and Ethan find Neevya (the faerie you met in Grum’s Tales) in a haunted forest where the Darkness has awakened. Experience elation and joy as we learn just how real magic is. But not all is fun and games. The heroes will find themselves in a race against time to help Neevya return to her realm, while discovering themselves and their own magic within.

Between now and the release date, I will post updates about the novel. I also plan to include some short stories, and although many of them will take place in the same mystical realms that will be explored in the novel, they will not interfere with the main storyline.

I invite you to join me on this journey and allow the enchantment to unfold and the magic to take hold within your lives.

As Ol’ Grum would say, “Best to click that blasted follow button so you can take time for a good sit down and a nap without missing out.”

Ol’ Grum: Tale 1 -Part 4 (end Tale 1)

“Mr. Grum . . . Mr. Grum. You awake?” A high pitched squeaky voice sounded in Grum’s ear.
He opened one beady eye and squinted up at the pesky yellow faerie.
“Don’t you know better than to wake a gnome from a nap? I don’t understand you faeries, respecting the plants and all but not giving a gnome some peace and quiet.” He waved his arm as if to shoo the faerie away and rested his head back onto a root he had snuggled into.
“I see you found my beetle.” The diminutive voice sounded too cheerful for Grum’s liking.
“And I see that you’re not going to leave me alone.” With great effort, Grum pushed himself into a seated position. He yawned and worked to get his muscles to cooperate for a small stretch, but he was sore and his arms fell heavy and limp to his sides. He worked his finger in the dirt next to him.
“I am so pleased Mr. Grum. I can’t thank you enough for your help.”
He looked around for the darned beetle and found it grazing on some grass. The most annoying thing was that Neevya wasn’t even watching over it. “Aren’t you worried that your little friend is going to leg it again?”
Neevya glanced over her shoulder. “He seems to have calmed down.” She shrugged, “I’ve raised him since he was a hatchling, and we’re quite attached. He’s my first pet beetle. I was ever so worried about him. I thank you Mr. Grum, from the bottom of my heart.”
“Well I’ll give you something from the heart of my bottom if you don’t let me get some rest. It’s all very well messing around with the local wildlife but if you’re not prepared to take good care of it then you shouldn’t be allowed within ten feet of it. There should be some kind of beetle license as far as I’m concerned. A bloody menace is what they are.”
Grum was about to launch into a tirade against the perils of beetle ownership and how stricter sanctions should be put into place, along with more rigid guidelines about correct handling of all insects, but he abruptly stopped when Neevya planted a smacker on his cheek. Until that moment, and in all his years, Grum had never been stunned into silence.
Neevya smiled and said, “Really Mr. Grum. I truly appreciate your assistance. You’re the noblest gnome I know.” He stood without moving as he watched Neevya drift away on the wind, her loyal beetle jogging along at her feet. She turned, faerie dust drifting from her wings, and gave him one last smile and a little wave before she disappeared into the forest.

Grum settled back into the tree roots, but he couldn’t sleep. That kiss played over and over in his mind. No matter where he put down his hat, whether it be in the thick moss under the elms, or in an abandoned rabbit hole, a nook in the branches, or one of the many beds available in the tavern he found after wandering aimlessly for a couple of hours, he simply could not sleep.
“Frogwash!” Grum stamped his foot and looked at the setting sun. It was then that the idea of a quest came to him. He would have to go beyond Ayin to find somewhere to sleep. Somewhere without any beetles and definitely no faeries; too damn pretty were faeries by half.
Grum took off his hat and reached inside. After a little searching he produced what he was looking for. It was a portrait of his eldest brother Lam.
Those of you in the know will recognize that portraits have a great deal of power and can be used to travel across great distances to meet the ones depicted. And this is exactly what Grum did. He replaced his hat and stepped through the portrait portal to visit his brother in Gwyndovia, the land of the Gnomes.

Ol’ Grum: Tale 1 -Part 3

“Aren’t I meant to be helping you find your faerie?” Grum said. “And how am I going to do that if you go wandering off all the time? No wonder you got lost in the first place. If Neevya thinks there’s going to be some gullible gnome to lend a helping hand every time she misplaces an insect, then she’s got another thing coming. Or rather she doesn’t! She’ll have nothing coming, that’s what. Not from me.” Grum halted and watched the beetle veer into the bramble-lined forest. “I’m not kidding around you know. I’ll carry on without you and then where will you be? I’ll tell you. Even more lost than you were before, that’s where. Lostville. Population: one. One dumb beetle.”
Grum’s threats were empty, and he knew it. Heck, the beetle knew it too. The more Grum complained, the more the bug seemed to think Grum liked him. Maybe Neevya was right . . . maybe beetles did have good intuitions.
When all was said and done, despite missing some important nap-time, Grum didn’t abandon the beetle. Nor did he continue his search for a nice spot to lie down and catch up on some well-deserved sleep. He did none of these things because even though he hated to admit it, deep down he was a good fae. There had never been a time when he was overly proactive about this innate goodness, but if the chance for good was thrust upon him, more often than not he would seize it . . . albeit reluctantly.
“You’re going to take being lost to a whole new level if you don’t start listening to me, beetle,” Grum yelled as the beetle scampered out of sight.
When Grum finally caught up, he found the insect standing still with its legs extended. Its small head and long antennae waved in the breeze.
“What’ve you found, boy? Caught her scent have you? Or has all that faerie dust in the air got to ya?” Grum approached the beetle and laid a hand on its carapace. The beetle bolted.
Unfortunately, but perhaps serendipitously, Grum’s loose shirt sleeve caught on one of the many barbed ridges that adorned the beetle’s back. A material such as faerie-silk would have glided off the pointed hooks without so much as a ripple, but woven squirrel fur was prone to snags, and before he knew what had happened, Grum was yanked off his feet. The beetle scurried across the ground as if running away from a gargoyle. Grum bounced through brambles and over roots from one tree to the next. It was a good few minutes and many bruises later that Grum managed to haul himself astride the beetle, at which point he grabbed its antennae and pulled hard.
“What in the blazes are you playing at you demented invertebrate?” Grum yanked hard, pulling the beetle’s head to the left.
A little side note: you may be aware that an insect’s feelers, its antennae, whether they be centipede or wasp, mite, fly, or beetle are very sensitive. Grabbing them as Grum was now doing was not unlike poking you or me in the eyes. Evidently Grum was not aware of this.
The beetle bucked and yawed like a pixie surfing the wind gusts of a tornado. It careened through the forest. The only thing poor ol’ Grum could do was hold on for dear life. As the beetle drove them deeper into the forest, Grum began to fear that they might emerge in Zyang, the heart of Faerie. No sensible gnome should ever go to the most magical place in all of Faeyelwen if he wanted to keep his wits about him . . . at least that was the rumor among his race.
“Give it a rest you great black thing!” Grum’s mind raced about trying to determine how he could get the beetle to end its rampage. He didn’t know any beetle calls, nor did he know how to sing the insects to sleep. All he knew about beetles was what they liked to eat.
Grim released the beetle’s antennae. That calmed the beast down enough for Grum to take off his hat and rummage through it. Somewhere in there, right at the bottom, past the bread and butter, past his shirts and pantaloons, beyond his spare hat and pipe, and just a bit farther than all the other junk he had accumulated over the years was the one thing that beetles couldn’t resist. Dung.

Dung can be a very useful thing and isn’t quite as disgusting as you might think. It can be used to make the soil fertile, something the faeries would no doubt vouch for. If you want to set up camp at night (or in the day if you happen to be a gnome) you may use it to ward off dangerous wild animals. Other uses include fuel for fire. It has medicinal properties as well, and can even be used in pigments.
What is disgusting, though, is what beetles do with it. I shall let your imagination fill in the blanks and I hope that you are not currently eating your lunch as you read this.

Grum tossed the dung from his rampaging steed and was promptly thrown off as the beetle made a sudden U-turn to dive after the treat. Five, maybe six times Grum tumbled head over heels. He lost count. When his body settled at the base of a large oak tree, Grum was too tired to move and thought it was just as good a spot as any for a much needed and well-earned nap. As he drifted off to sleep, he saw the beetle coming toward him. Then he felt the insect’s weight on his head. He started to protest, but decided it wasn’t worth the effort. Grum closed his eyes and entered the realm of dreams.

 

Next Wednesday: The conclusion of Ol’ Grum: Tale 1

Ol’ Grum: Tale 1 -Part 2

Note to reader:
Don’t be surprised if you find many of these tales starting with Grum waking up. Waking is an important part of a gnome’s life, as it’s a frequent occurrence. Should you be interested, I could go into detail about a gnome’s sleep, but I think Grum’s dreams may be a bit too abstract to capture your attention at this stage.
Nevertheless, Grum has been insisting on telling me his entire life story, and no details are too small apparently. He says he has nothing better to do than to keep me entertained, but I suspect he’s trying to teach me a lesson or two. And unlike other gnomes, I reckon he is getting quite discontent sitting around in a frozen state all day. He says a gnome can only be petrified once in his lifetime, and he’s actually looking forward to being able to stay awake for as long as he likes when he de-petrifies. Until then, I suppose he will have to be content conversing with me.
Now, on with the story.

_____

Grum opened his eyes. Normally, waking in the darkness wasn’t much to get excited about. It simply indicated that Father Sun had not yet crested the horizon, which meant going straight back to sleep was not only the most socially acceptable option, but also the most advisable. Yet something was off. His stomach always grumbled at noon, and it was growling like a leprechaun who had lost a bet.
Grum tried to sit up, but his nose was smashed against something smooth, hard, and round. He hadn’t even noticed the weight before that moment. Waking in this condition might make any other fae cringe in fear, but gnomes aren’t the fearful type.
Grum worked his hands around the surface of the object and huffed when he realized what it was . . . a beetle napping on his face. Whether or not this was the same beetle Neevya had been looking for he did not know, but he thought it highly likely.
“I’m not a faerie,” Grum said, “and you’ll find that out soon enough when I give you a good wallop. Now get off my head you great ugly thing. I can’t see past the end of my nose, and in my experience that’s where all the interesting stuff happens.”
It was unclear if the insect understood the threat or not, but it crawled away nonetheless. The beetle was an ordinary looking insect with a shiny black shell and a tiny head with mandibles that chattered back and forth.
“If you’re who I think you are, I’ll have you know your mistress is looking for you,” Grum said. “You’d better be on your way. There’s important faerie business to be done. Not to mention all the important gnome business that you woke me from. Now scram.”
The beetle swiveled a beady black eye in the gnome’s direction and, in the only way possible for a creature with no face (to speak of), gave Grum a pitiful look.
“Don’t play coy with me. I’m not going to help you,” Grum said, already plotting where he was going to lie down next. The wind was picking up, so he thought somewhere sheltered might be nice. “I told your mistress I’d send you back if I saw you. Last I saw she was over by the king’s palace. Go over there and I’m sure you’ll find her, or she’ll find you, one or the other.”
As Grum removed his hat from his head, he could feel the mournful stare the beetle bore into his back. Grum reached inside his hat, pulled out a nice chewy piece of bread, and poured himself an acorn full of ambrosia. After dipping his bread into his drink, he took a bite and turned back to the beetle.
“What?”
Click click click
“I’m going to regret this,” Grum mumbled as he tossed a piece of bread to the ground.
The beetle gobbled it down.
Grum took a large bite and tossed the remaining bread to the beetle. Then he slung his gnomestool over his shoulder. Again he felt the beetle’s stare. Grum shifted the gnomestool so he could carry it without much effort, adjusted his hat, and started walking, mumbling all the while. He didn’t have to look over his shoulder to know that the beetle was waiting for an invitation.
Grum stopped, turned around, and asked, “Well, what are you waiting for?”
Before that moment, Grum never knew beetles could smile. Even more astonishing, Grum didn’t know he could smile.

 

Short but sweet! Next Wednesday brings an adventure!

Ol’ Grum: Tale 1 -Part 1

Grum woke slowly, trying to hold on to the last scraps of a particularly vivid dream he was having, something about winning first place in a giant frog rodeo. As the sunlight reached his eyes, the image of his being tossed into the air by a wild toad slipped away. Grum rubbed his eyes and retrieved a spotted handkerchief from deep within his oversized pointy black hat. After he wiped his nose, he stuffed the hankie back into his hat and pulled the hat down well over his ears. The morning was a touch on the chilly side for his sensitive ears. Now that they were snug and warm, Grum stood and began searching for a nice place to have a much needed nap.

The forest of Ayin had been his home for some time. The folks were nice enough, that is to say they left Grum well enough alone. For the most part the faeries stayed out of his way. They seemed to enjoy hanging around in the higher branches of the trees that they diligently tended. It was, after all, their job to occupy themselves with the wellbeing of the forest. Grum quite enjoyed spending a great many moments puffing on his clay pipe with an acorn shell full of ambrosia in his hand as he watched the comings and goings of the faerie folk. They were an industrious lot, always with something to do.
On this day Grum decided it was time to move on from his habitual sleeping spot and find a new perspective. With the changing of the seasons, Father Sun would move ‘round to favor another part of the forest and Grum did not want to miss out on any of the light. There was nothing like having a “light” snooze, pun intended, to get a gnome going in the morning.
Grum ducked under leaves and padded down paths that snaked strategically across the forest floor. Gnomes may be seen as a lazy lot, but when determined, they get where they want to go. After sauntering for some three hours with a red toadstool (also known as a gnomestool) hoisted over his shoulder, Grum reached his destination . . . a lush bed of grass near the faerie king’s palace. He looked at the palace’s twisting spires and climbing vines. “Bah, faeries,” he said under his breath as he dropped his gnomestool and planted it in the grass. Grum propped himself against the gnomestool, ready to catch a few Z’s, when a young female faerie came fluttering by.
Just how you were meant to tell the males from the females Grum didn’t know. They all looked the same to him; perfect smiley faces, glittering wings, and pointy ears, all jolly and charming and thoroughly unlikable for it.
“Hello Grum,” she said as she landed beside him, “I wondered if you could help me.”
“Hrrmpff,” he replied in his most courteous voice. He knew this faerie. She was quite possibly the peskiest and peppiest of the lot. Her name was Neevya. As far as faeries were concerned, Grum thought she was just about an inch from being intolerable – but then again, she had helped him out of a few doozies. The most embarrassing time was when she had to rub salve over his skin to soothe a nasty rash he had acquired while sleeping in a patch of poisoned ivy. It had been the best night’s rest of his life, but the next day was brutal.
“As you know it is my duty to catch sunbeams so I can pass them on to those less fortunate plants who have grown up in the shade,” the faerie said. “The problem is that I’ve gone and lost my beetle.”
Grum pulled his pipe from his hat and wedged it in the corner of his mouth. “Your beetle? Since when did you start working with beetles?”
“I’m trying something new. They’re very intuitive you see, and they can track down plants in need of sunlight almost as well as any faerie can.”
“The beetles track the dead twigs to eat them. It has nothing to do with being intuitive. You hang around ‘em enough and you’ll see.” Grum puffed on his empty pipe. The faeries wouldn’t allow him to put even the tiniest leaf into it. Not only did the fairies claim smoking was bad for his health, but apparently the plants had rights too. According to them, even the dead leaves disliked being burned outside of ceremony. So all he did was chew the pipe. He supposed it did the job of getting the bad taste out of his mouth that this faerie was currently giving him. He wanted to give her a taste of annoyance and drove his point home. “That’s what beetles eat isn’t it? Dead things and dung?”
Neevya’s shoulders slumped as her enthusiasm seemed to drain away from her.
Grum smiled inwardly, but then his frown returned when Neevya perked back up and said, “Well yes, but I don’t like to think about that. Instead I prefer to focus on the positive. My beetle helps me find the weaker plants and I make them strong. What he does in his own time is up to him.”
Grum liked messing with the faerie, but thought he’d pushed it well enough for one day. As it turned out, he didn’t really like to see sadness in her eyes. “If I see a beetle I’ll tell him you’re looking for him.” He kept the next part to himself: It’s not like there are thousands of the blighters crawling around everywhere. He looked around as if trying to be helpful and said, “I suppose I’ll tell him to meet you at that terrible eye-sore your king insists is a palace. Boy is King Kearoth mistaken…”
Neevya turned to look at the Great Hall. “It’s not all that bad. Imposing, but shows strength. It has a certain elegance I think. There’s a legend that it was a gift from the humans. I’m no so sure I believe in humans. Do you?”
Grum shrugged.
Neevya frowned, “Well, if humans are real, I’m not so sure I’d like to meet them someday.”
“Yeah because mixing with that lot always turns out peachy,” Grum said. Then he eyed her suspiciously. “So you have your eye on the castle do you?”
“On what?” Neevya said, her rainbow colored butterfly-like wings twitching a little nervously.
“The palace. Kearoth better watch his back I reckon.” Grum snorted down his pipe.
“Oh Grum you’re too much sometimes.” The faerie took to the air once more and hovered above him. “If you see a beetle who looks sort of lost, send him my way will you? Now good day.”
And with that the faerie was gone. Grum settled back onto his gnomestool, crossed his hands over his belly, and closed his eyes. Now this was the life.

 

Join us next Wednesday to find out what Ol’ Grum gets into next!

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