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The epics. The fairy tales. The nature stories. The dinosaur adventures. A world of listening for Ages Four to Forever!
Imagine you are a generous but now impoverished old knight who needs a boon from the High King, but you’re too embarrassed to see your old friend without even a small gift to bring. It’s been forty years since you saved the king’s life. He hasn’t seen you since.
And then, a miracle. The dead cherry tree in your courtyard blooms and grows cherries in a dark snowstorm. It’s three days before Christmas Eve. With the miraculous cherries in a basket, you set off on foot for Cardiff Castle. Essentially, you are carrying a gift from God.
English law of the time states that anyone, even peasants, can beg a boon from the king on Christmas Eve. And so, disguised as a farmer, you bang on the castle’s guardhouse door. The rough guard inside thinks you’re just another peasant and so tells you you’re too late to get in, that is, until you show him what you’ve brought: glowing, fresh cherries. An impossibility in winter. The guard knows the king will love them and give an you extraordinary boon.
He agrees to let you in, but demands one third of whatever gold, silver, gems or furs the king may give you. It’s frank extortion, but to get into the castle, you agree. You promise him a third of your boon and you enter the castle.
But there are two more doors you must pass before you enter the feasting hall. And there are two more gatekeepers who see the cherries, too, and have the same idea.
DEC. 1, 2019 at 3 pm at The Burren Backroom in Somerville MA. Tickets $10 in advance, $15 at the door.
I originally found it in a big red book I’d had since I was a child. In it, a dead cherry tree springs to green life in midwinter and produces miraculous cherries, a precious gift for the king indeed. But when an old knight tries to deliver them, there’s a knave at every doorway in the castle.
Turns out THE WINTER CHERRIES is among my listeners’ favorites. Softer-hearted folk cry at the end. I don’t blame them, really. Sometimes I do, too.
I’ll be telling THE WINTER CHERRIES along with other Holiday tales only once in Massachusetts this December as part of MID-WINTER MIRACLES.
So if it’s “raining tacos” in your car and that’s driving you crazy, consider The Little Proto Trilogy, three feature-length dinosaur stories by Odds Bodkin. Good for ages four and up. They’re audios, but so full of sound and action they feel like movies. Great adventures. Solid life lessons. Lots of laughs. Even songs to sing.
I was onstage at the Thoreau School in Concord, MA, warming up my harp for a show when a young woman entered the empty auditorium and walked up to the stage. “Odds, my name is Jazimina MacNeil,” she said. “I’m a singer, and I have a proposition for you.”
Never having met her, I kept on playing. “Do tell,” I replied, intrigued. “What’s your name again?”
“Jazimina. I’m a mezzo-soprano.”
Interesting name, I thought. “Classical music?”
“Yes.” She and a colleague, a soprano, Sarah Shafer, Jazimina explained, specialize in singing Antonin Dvorak’s Moravian Duets, a little-known set of songs with lyrics in Czech, the preponderance of them for two women’s voices.
I’ve loved Dvorak’s music all my life, especially his New World Symphony. “So why are we talking?” I asked.
“I want you to write a fairy tale based on the duets,” she said. “One that you can tell, while Sarah and I sing the songs in between.”
I immediately thought of Serge Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, a favorite of mine as a child. A combination of storytelling and classical music. This project could be similar, but new.
“Not many people know about these duets, but with a story,” she added, “they might love them as much as we do.”
Long story short, two years later we’re preparing summer rehearsals with pianist Emely Phelps for the premiere of Danika the Rose in October. It will take place in Peterborough, New Hampshire at Bass Hall, with the help of The Harris Center and Electric Earth Concerts.
It’s Saturday night in New Hampshire and instead of bar hopping, why not island hop with Odysseus of Ithaca in 1300 B.C.? Unlike him, you can settle in comfortably and order drinks and a dinner as I regale you with his namesake story, the Odyssey. The Island of the Lotus Eaters is where fentanyl-like flowers grow; Odysseus and his men are lucky to escape alive, which can’t be said for their visit to the Island of the Cyclops. Other islands come: the Island of the Cannibals where most of his fleet is destroyed; Aeolia, the Island of the King of the Winds who puts all the storms into an ill-fated bag which, of course, doesn’t stay closed; on and on. Island after island. Adventure after adventure.
I’ve been telling this tale with 12-string guitar and harp for decades and will be doing a fairly long version of it (not the complete 4 hours, though) at the Riverwalk Music Bar on July 27, 2019 at 8 pm.
This is a full evening’s entertainment.
I hope to see you there!
This coming Wednesday evening at 6 pm in Candia, New Hampshire I’ll be telling The Boys and the Frogs, an Aesop’s fable on Celtic harp, The Little Shepherd, an Italian fairy tale on 12-string guitar, and Finn MacCool and the Big Man, a myth of sorts (it’s funny) on a second 12-string guitar.
A fun show for the entire family at Smyth Public Library.
Bring blankets or folding chairs and I’ll see you there!
“My sister and I grew up listening to your stories, and now I have the honor of continuing the tradition by giving these to her son on his very first birthday. She’s going to be so surprised and happy! Thank you for giving us lifelong memories that we’ll keep in the family for generations to come.”
So writes Jarvis Karel of Dallas, Texas in the comments box for a download order this week at Odds Bodkin’s Shop. Sweet music to a storyteller’s ears. I don’t know Jarvis personally, but thank you, Jarvis.
When critters in the dark bunkhouse tear the loggers’ hair and clothes off, better call Paul Bunyan, the towering lumberjack. When giant mosquitoes thunder above the treetops and suck dry an ox every night, better get Paul to figure out a way to stop them.
From the American storytelling tradition where the bigger the lie, the more outrageous the exaggeration the better, come Rip Roarin’ Paul Bunyan tales told by Sourdough Sam, the wackiest storyteller on earth.
I, Odds Bodkin, just let Sourdough Sam take over my body for an hour, just for fun. He tells the Paul Bunyan stories, I disappear. You can listen to a sample of this madness here.
The show is Monday, June 24th at 6 pm at the Auburn Public Library in Auburn, ME and is FREE TO THE PUBLIC.
I hope to see you there!
4 hrs, 8 min., 42 episodes
37 character voices
music on 12-string guitar and Celtic harp
Ages 8 to adult