Banner artwork by David Wyatt

A Tale of Tsrif

The Truth Sayer March of the Owlmen Plague of Mondays Truth Sayer Magic A Step Into Another World The Song of the Sheep

Long ago, when the mountains were still growing and Tsrif, the first child, was at the stage when the first mother and the first father were beginning to wonder whether his arrival had been quite such a miracle as it had seemed at the time, Tsrif looked up and saw the clouds sailing through the wide blue sky.

Want! Tsrif said.

Pretty, agreed his mother. But she did not give them to Tsrif. So Tsrif went off to find his father.

Want! Tsrif said again.

They're too high to reach, said his father. Even for me.

So Tsrif set off to find them for himself. He went up and up the mountain. A wolf came and howled at him, but Tsrif howled back and the wolf fell over backwards and ran away.

A cloud-lynx spotted him, and that made Tsrif laugh because the cloud-lynx was spotted all over. It prowled away, offended, and found something more serious to eat.

Tsrif went up and up and in the end he came to the place where the clouds were playing.

The big clouds ran away, but the small clouds were curious, some of them, just like Tsrif. They came and licked him, and jumped over him, and when he laughed at him they laughed back.

In the end the first father found Tsrif and scooped him up, full of anger and tenderness.

You are too small to be alone, he said.

Pretty songs, explained Tsrif.

But the first father shook his head.

Sheep don't sing, he told Tsrif, and carried him back down the mountain.

But Tsrif's young ears had heard the sheep's songs, for there were some things he knew much better than his mother and father.

And so it has continued with children and their parents right to this day.

Text and illustrations copyright Sally Prue 2007

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