Here's another little holiday treat for my fans! This is an excerpt from my first children's book, StarSong. It is intended for students from advanced 3rd grade to 7th grade. (But I've had adults telling me they liked it, too!) It's a fantasy, blending elements of Native American lore, European fairytales, and a hint of Tolkienian influence. It's available in Nook, Kindle, and print, and purchase links can be found on my website, along with more information about the book.
In the Far West, in a cheerful little farming village in the midst of a broad, green plain of great and unknown size, lived a girl. She had long, beautiful dark hair, big, sparkling bright eyes, and a smile that made people happy just to see it. Her name was StarSong, because she loved to sing to the heavens at night, and her voice was, so the villagers said, as beautiful as the stars themselves.
As she grew older, however, she became aware of her beauty, for all the young men began to court her. And she knew she had a lovely voice, for everyone said so. Thus her thoughts turned inward. But where the mind goes, the gifts follow. Therefore, so, too, did her songs, which became all about herself. She became vain and self-centered. Her dresses always had to be colorful and adorned with embroidery, her hair elaborately braided, and her songs were always sung from the flat, patio rooftop of her home so that the entire village could hear.
"Creator has greatly blessed you," her father would tell her. "You should sing for Him."
"No," StarSong would reply defiantly. "I will sing what I please." And she did, singing every night of her own beauty and worth.
This had gone on for many years, since she became a teenager, and as she grew older, near the time of marrying, her worried parents despaired.
"StarSong’s vanity grows worse each day," her mother wept. "Now, none of the young men of our village are good enough for her, according to her. And they are all becoming tired of being spurned by her, and they are marrying other girls. The other girls scorn her, for she scorns them first. She will soon be left alone. And she has refused to learn the skills needed to fend for herself. She is ‘too good for such as that,’ she says."
"I know," said her father sadly.
"Now she is even saying that the village is beneath her," the mother cried. "She desires to go elsewhere, where the life is more exciting, and more befitting her gifts."
"I know," her father said again, even more sadly.
"What did we do wrong?" Starsong’s mother wailed with grief and guilt. "How could our lovely child become so self-centered and vain? What did we do?"
"Nothing, my dear," Starsong’s father said wisely, taking his wife into his arms and comforting her. "Every person must make choices, once they are old enough to understand them. Our young StarSong has chosen, and there is nothing that we could have done differently. We must pray that, someday, Creator teaches her different choices."
And so day followed day, each the same. StarSong sang her own melody, growing more and more self-absorbed, and her parents prayed.
Until one day, when a black speck appeared on the western horizon. It grew swiftly as it fast approached the little village, eating up the sky with darkness as it went. Soon the villagers started to run, screaming in terror.
For it was a giant, spinning windstorm, black and angry, such as none of them had ever seen before, and it overtook the little town in seconds. The villagers, their animals, even their houses, disappeared in the horrible storm, which tore the very grass from the earth. Terrified, poor StarSong stood, frozen to the ground, her normally beautiful voice raised in an ugly scream of fear, until the whirling storm was upon her, and she, too, was swept away.
I am going to die! the poor girl thought in horrified despair as she felt the ground disappear beneath her. I shall never have the chance to have my beauty looked upon, or my voice heard, by those who are worthy to enjoy them.
Far, far, over tree and stream, poor frightened StarSong was carried high in the air for a long, long time, expecting each moment to be her last. Finally the whirlwind beneath her began to weaken and fade.
Oh, no, she thought in horror. Now I shall be dashed in pieces upon the ground, far below. She hadn’t thought it possible, but if anything, that thought left StarSong even more frightened than before.
But instead, she drifted down like a feather, floating along, until she landed gently atop a high, steep mountain with a flat top. StarSong sang in relief.
"I’m safe! Safe, safe, safe!
Down I shall climb,
Be home by bedtime,
And no longer be a waif!"
But her glad relief soon turned into worry, for StarSong could find no way down. The flat top of the mountain was small, and the mountain’s sides were sheer cliffs, made up of odd columns of rock, and there was no way for her to climb down. She was trapped atop the mountain.
As the sun went down in the west, and the stars came out, little StarSong — feeling very little, indeed — sat down on the ground. But instead of singing, she cried.
I hope you enjoyed it! I think it would make a wonderful holiday gift for the kids in your life!