Folktale Week Day 1: Moon

Illustration of a huge wolf howling to the moon next to a quirky old lady in a pumpkin patch.

Once upon a time there were three quirky old ladies who lived in the woods. Each had her own house, not too near nor too far from the other two and they visited each other frequently, for a cup of tea with a sprinkle of gossip.

Wan’s house was right at the top, by a fresh spring. She had a beautiful garden with rare plants and vegetables and a pumpkin patch that draped the hill in orange right until de edge of the forest.

One night, while tending to her midnight orchids, she heard a weird noise. She could barely see anything during the day, let alone at night, but her perfect hearing led her to the origin of the sound. Right there, in the middle of the pumpkins, Wan found a tiny little black wolf, who immediately won her heart. And though he was the cutest and fluffiest little thing, she decided to call him Bad.

The pup followed Wan around all day and even slept at the bottom of her bed. She was so happy with his company she even forgave him for all the stuff he knocked around, the vase he broke, the bottle he spilled, the shoe he munched on. But the worse disaster was yet to come.

One night, maybe looking for something to eat, Bad went into the kitchen and fell into a huge pot of pumpkin soup. Luckily, the fireplace was out and the golden liquid was cold, but there was something different in the soup that night. We’ll never know which herbs and spices Wan used, or if it was the magic spring water or the influence of the full moon that had witnessed his birth not long ago. All we do know is that little Bad started to grow very very fast. The following day, he’d reached the size of a grown wolf, a week later, he was as tall as Wan, and after a while, he couldn’t even walk through the door anymore.

Wan was delighted. Inside, Bad was still playful and sweet, but outside, he was scary and monstrous. Wan felt protected. No intruder would dare come and steal her precious pumpkins anymore.

Big Bad did keep all the pumpkin thieves and old lady snatchers at bay, but unfortunately, everybody else too. Nobody visited Wan anymore. The red hood she had knitted for her granddaughter gathered dust by the door, and so did the blue jacket she sewed for her grandson. The other old ladies stopped showing up for tea and pumpkin pie, and eventually, stopped inviting her too. Everybody was afraid of Bad.

Wan pretended to be happy, she didn’t want the young wolf to realise he was the cause of her solitude, but slowly, melancholy took over the hilltop, and even weeds took over the garden.

(to be continued…)