Wild & Blue- A Story from Bangan Forest

art by William Fraser art by WJ Fraser

Blue Sky was skinny and sharp and blue. That about covers it. He was no more than 2 inches tall, thin as a pin, sharp nose, pointy hat, blue skin. His skin was losing colour. I mean, he was born bright blue, but a week later he was more the colour of faded jeans. He’ll die young – all fairies do – and he’ll be translucent by then.

Blue awakened early in anticipation of Corn Moon Celebration. She would be full tonight. Blue climbed out of his bluebell blossom bed and slid down her stalk. Grass was taller than Blue. He pushed blades and stalks aside and made his way to Echinacea who had some drops of Morning Dew on her petals. He washed his hands and face in Dewdrop. Since it was a special day, he pulled off his pointy blue boots and washed his pointy blue feet too. It tinged Dewdrop blue, but Dewdrops are used to these fairy effects. I mean, sometimes, if you take the time to notice, dewdrops resting on Sweetgrass and flower petals in Early Morning are many different colours: pink, green, gold, violet… depending on who’s been washing in them.

Deep Summer had a way of making everyone believe that she would never leave. She settled into Bangan Forest like Fat Human in a double-wide chair: heavy heat spread into every nook and cranny. It seemed it would be too much of an effort for her to ever pull herself out. Temperature was already torrid as Blue picked his clothes for Corn Moon’s celebration. Humming happily, he picked 3 clover leaves and wrapped them around his body. His belt was Blade of grass who wound round his waist 9 times- that’s how skinny Blue was. He topped his outfit off with his blue felt hat. He’d worn that hat every day since he found it hanging on Tiny Twig, forgotten by a long-ago fairy. It was a bit sticky, but that’s because it had been used to filter maple syrup in Spring.

Blue liked to sing, and he sang as he gathered food for breakfast: fiber from Dandelion’s bitter leaf sweetened with honey drips from Bee’s hive and milk from Milkweed. After he ate, he sat on Earth and wrapped gifts to share at the celebration. He put several honey drips in the middle of Buttercup’s blossom and then folded her petals over one by one to protect the tacky treasure. He was building a pile of these sticky yellow gifts, absorbed in his task, when:


He startled even though he knew who it was immediately. “Wild! Don’t scare me like that!”

She giggled. “What are you doing?”

Blue showed her the sharing gifts. Wild had brought a little package of Primrose Pollen for the party, but she sat down beside Blue and helped him wrap Honey Drips. Soon they both had honey up to their elbows. By then Morning Dew had evaporated, so they gathered the sharing gifts up in a sack and headed to Cricket Creek to wash up. The sack was heavy, but no dragonflies were around to help, so Blue and Wild held the sack between them as they doggedly flitted up and down, at the mercy of Breeze, all the way to Cricket Creek.

Wild checked her reflection in Water. She had fresh Daisy Blossom on her head, the white petals reflecting Sun and keeping her cool. Her enormous eyes were amethyst. Wild had picked a white party dress- 2 fresh rose petals. As always, lavender filled her shoes and pockets; lavender flowers tangled her long hair. They were even in her ears. Sometimes she woke up with lavender petals in her mouth! All of that was because she slept in Lavender Bush. Her full name was Wild Lavender, and Blue Sky adored her. She looked good and she smelled good, but most important of all, she was his best friend.

Once they were all cleaned up, they flitted over to Sunny Stone. Sunny Stone was wide, low and flat. Sun loved him and they were always hanging out together, making themselves quite popular with snakes and dragonflies and fairies. This morning, Sunny Stone was covered in fairies who wanted a ride to Little Clearing. Red Dragonfly Service was working non-stop, but there must have been 20 fairies waiting. Blue took Wild’s tiny hand in his, and they flew down Elk’s Path a short way to get away from the crowd. A few minutes later, he flagged down LoLo Butterfly, and they were on their way.

Now, fairies will celebrate anything. Their lives are short and jam-packed with joy. Every single moment is worth celebrating in a fairy’s life. They celebrate new moons and full moons. They celebrate every new plant, every death; they celebrate the first fruit and the last fruit.

If you see a wild strawberry plant and there is a ring trodden around it, a ring where the grass is lighter and thinner, you can be sure that fairies danced there. You can be sure that this plant birthed the first strawberry of Summer. Fairies never eat that first white berry, even once it turns red. Well, no one in Bangan Forest would do that, for all have agreed to abide by the Honourable Harvest rules, one of which is: Do not take the first one nor the last one.

This day Corn Moon would be full and Little Clearing was full of fairies: fairies in summer dresses, fairies in supple leaves, fairies in flower blossoms, fairies with no clothes at all, fairies with acorn lid hats, top hats, garden hats, party hats…

Wild and Blue took their sharing gifts over to Violet Clump. Many sharing gifts had already arrived: pine needle baskets and pouches too, dried salty plants from Old Swamp, soapberries from the other side of Bangan Mountain, Dandelion straws filled with honey and milk, Lavender from Outer Meadow, a wide selection of feathers, some White Birch syrup, a few of Flint’s flakes.

“How blessed we are in Bangan Forest!” said Wild.

“Plenty,” smiled Blue. He wanted to kiss her. He kicked the toe of his pointy blue boot into Earth. “Plenty blessed.”

“With food and friends,” Wild said. She wanted to kiss him, but she just took his hand.

The friends flew over Goldenrod and Asters. Little Clearing was busy, but it would be downright crowded with fairies by Nightfall. Some friends lived here, like Morel Mushrooms and Pond, Rockin’ Rocks and Lilypad Knot. Others had travelled a long way for the festivity. Wood fairies, River Fairies and Mountain Fairies were all here, gathering to gather together.

Fairies celebrate the moment because they live in the moment. Although there was plenty of chatting, there was little actual news. Fairies don’t care about the past and they have no faith in the future, so for them, it’s just now. This Day’s news was that Corn Moon was full. No gossip. No fake news. No fearful imaginings. The only news a fairy needs is what to celebrate today.

A hummingbird named Senorita contributed to the buffet. Oh my, she was a remarkable cook. With Miniature Red Rose stuck behind one ear, Senorita had spent days cooking for Corn Moon. All the while humming and throwing flowers in the air, she had prepared corn muffins, corn panna cotta, corn chips, popped corn, charred kernels, and traditional corn soup. No matter how much fairies ate, Senorita Hummingbird would dart in with more delicacies: candied crab apples on branches, pine nut brittle, candy floss clouds. She was so fast that she could hang in midair, her wings flapping sixty times per second, both feet free to carry platters of food. To cut through the sweet treats, she served the tart tastes of Deep Summer: fresh blackberries and blueberries and ground cherries.

Blue filled 2 glasses with Nectar and brought one over to Wild who rested on Queen Anne’s Lace. He thought she was exquisite with her deep purple eyes and white rose petal dress, her long lilac braids and Queen’s throne. She reached out one delicate arm to take the drink.

“To this moment,” toasted Blue. It was Fairy’s Toast; it was always the same.

“To this moment,” grinned Wild. She thought he was spectacular with his blue skin and Clover clothes, his pointy nose and fancy boots.

Their glasses clinked as if they had kissed.

You would think Wild and Blue would kiss then. I mean, fairies don’t waste time. They cherish every moment. Like flutterbys and butterflies, fairies don’t live long. It’s their wings, their delicate wings. They are dripping fairy dust, dropping fairy dust everywhere they go. Enchanted dust that grants wishes, heals hearts and wields magic. So little precious dust, so little precious time.

For sure, you’d think Blue would kiss Wild or maybe, Wild would kiss Blue… in that moment, that toasted moment… but they did not. All afternoon, Wild and Blue chose to sit side by side on Queen Anne’s Lace, singing songs, holding hands and waiting for Corn Moon to show up. Who’s to say they didn’t savour every moment?

Deep Summer remained hot when Dusk arrived. Corn Moon showed up early; he was ecstatic to be full. He poured love down upon Mother Earth and all her life: plants, rocks, animals, humans, fairies. Moon loves all without judgement. If you exist, Moon loves you; it’s that simple.

Forest fairies and River fairies and Mountain fairies all danced in Moon’s light. Fairies love circles and Little Clearing was full of fairy circles: big circles, circles within circles, overlapping circles. Wild and Blue held hands as they danced, their wings beating faster than Hummingbird’s. Spirits were high; Magic was neigh. Fairies were drumming; fairies were strumming. Grasses swayed, flowers bobbed. Night Breeze was filled with petals and giggles and merriment.

Most feet were bare and not touching Earth at all. Fairies spun in pirouettes. Their precious dust sparkled. Fireflies joined the light show.

Each fairy was glowing their own colour, and as they circled together, they became halos of light. Pink halos, blue and green halos, golden rings rolling up into Starry Sky. Dancing fairies swirled like Saturn’s Ring. They whirled like Galaxy. And they were no less.

Wild and Blue were born of this place, Forest and Sky. Mother Earth’s love and Corn Moon’s love were one and the same to them. The love they had for each other was no less.

Corn Moon saw Wild Lavender and Blue Sky dancing in her light. She saw sweet shyness in their hearts, and she pulled them close to her. Wild and Blue rose through Starry Sky on Moon’s beam. And so it happened that Corn Moon kissed Wild, and then she kissed Blue, right on the lips.

Still holding hands, they slid down Moon’s beam, back to Mother Earth, back to Queen Anne’s Lace.

Oh yes, you can be sure…  it was then and it was there that Blue kissed Wild or maybe, Wild kissed Blue in Corn Moon’s light. It was a tiny little kiss, and it changed the world.

How can one tiny fairy kiss change the whole world? Every kiss does that. Every kiss changes the world.

©2020 Laurie Fraser

art by Laurie Fraser art by LoLo


Stories from Bangan Forest for Families

A collection of stories for all ages from Bangan Forest.

I had about 9 of them published here, just to whet your appetite. There are 27 stories in total, I think… I have removed the stories from this website for now b/c I’m in the process of putting them into other formats- e books and a printed softcover.

It’s a crazy process. Since when do you find a writer, marketer/publicist and IT specialist in one body? Certainly not this body.

So I joined a writers’ group and I’m getting some support. First bit of major news to me is that my website content is copyrighted but not defensible in court… so I will do what I did in the old days- put a printed copy of the manuscript in a manila envelop and mail it to myself. Dated and stamped, unopened, it is proof that my work belongs to me.

For now, I leave you this piece (not really a story, just a starting place). The Ojibwe words’ meanings are revealed in the English words nearby. (For example, Bangan means ‘It is peaceful here’):

Introduction to Bangan Forest

It is peaceful here in Bangan Forest. It has had many names, but Bangan Forest has always been right here. Forest of Maple, Oak, Aspen, Birch, Pine, Spruce and Cedar has always lived here at Northeast’s place, this place of four seasons and abundant water. Some trees living here today, famously Black Gum and Oaky Dokey, are over 400 years old. Can you imagine?  Oaky Dokey has seen more than 5,000 full moons.

Of course, trees cannot move and although River changes constantly, he too has always been here. River is fed by spring streams from Mountain. Mountain is Mother Earth herself, and she is called Bangan too because it is peaceful there, in that place, too.

And so you see, Bangan Forest and Bangan Mountain are sisters, their fingers intertwined with River and streams and paths. Animals of all sizes make paths: well-used paths through woods, tiny paths under grass. So many pathways to know: paths that lead to meadows full of the flowering plants that rabbits and deer adore; paths that lead to streams full of precious stones; paths to animal dens and hidden storage; paths to teaching places and ceremonial places; paths to other paths.

The most important path is Mnaadendmowin, the path of respect. Animals these days call it Widest Path. It runs right through Bangan Forest, joining River and Danger Road. Widest Path provides 50 miles of peaceful passage for all animals- mice and moose, fishers and coyotes alike.

In spite of Forest’s many paths, River is the main thoroughfare in Bangan. His true name is Debwewin. Large communities of fish and turtles, frogs and rocks live in Debwewin River. Current is strong and always moving around. Sand bars and lily pads, fallen trees and spiders’ webs, dragonflies and rats’ rafts… oh, it is a beautiful place of constant change… Spring’s floods… Winter’s ice.

Debwewin River can be dangerous because of Current’s strength, but he is always a better choice for travel than Danger Road. River can heal too. Debwewin forces us to look at our own selves- to see our face reflected in water and know truth. Councillor Crow has been known to take wrongdoers to Shoreline and force them to look at Debwewin, the truth of who they are. This is where wrongdoers learn that they are not bad; they are broken. Debwewin can do more: he can free burdens, forgive, clean.

You will find otters at Debwewin River’s west end. One thousand otters, all involved in the operation of Wild Waterslide World, where, for free, you can spend the day sliding down some of the craziest slides on Mother Earth. One is half a mile long!

You might be surprised, but Bangan Forest is a place of high fashion. Bowties are in vogue now; I saw several squirrels sporting bright bowties just yesterday: yellow on a black squirrel, turquoise on a grey squirrel. Hats are popular, all kinds of hats. Females of all species are into those tight stretchy skirts these days. Deer Darling wears her stretchy black skirt with loose leggings that fall around her delicate ankles. Mr. Fox’s daughter wears her tight black skirt with fishnet tights on all four legs- she’s a bit of a tramp. She totters on around two-inch heels too, but as everyone knows, foxes are tolerant parents.

Not all animals degrade themselves by wearing accessories and clothes that originated with needy materialistic humans. Wolf is too dignified to wear anything but his own black fur coat; it’s perfect- breathable and thick. It’s just the small-brained who are into human clothes: squirrels, mice, rabbits… youth especially- well, youth of any species, truth be told.

Fashion interest is a natural consequence of immigrants coming here to live, especially the monkeys. As well, of course, Town is a growing influence as more of Forest’s youth go to Town to seek their fortune. They invariably come home with a human-made velvet cape or lace dress or winter parka. So far, fashion trends continue to influence Bangan Forest’s animals despite the obvious irony of baby otters wearing bathing suits and sleeping bears wearing Eddie Bauer winter parkas.

Meadows are throughout Bangan- up Mountain’s sides and dotted throughout Forest. Butterflies and flutterbys by the millions live here. Their names are always LuLu, LoLo, LeeLee or something along those lines. They stir happiness by flapping their wings, so you can imagine troops of them spreading happiness all over fields of sweetgrass and down Forest’s paths.

This place is rich with food and comfort and medicines too. Willow heals headaches and Slippery Elm soothes sick tummies. Coltsfoot stops coughs. Medicines grow right where they will be needed. Jewelweed grows near Poison Ivy. If you touch Poison Ivy by mistake, Jewelweed is right there to help- you can wash your hands with her, and you’ll have no itching or pain.

If you do get sick or hurt, your best bet is to try and find Snake. Snake is a healer, albeit a somewhat reluctant healer. The animals call her Nanaandawi which means healer or doctor.

I can’t divulge the exact location of Snake’s Clinic. First, you have to find Favourite Stone and then convince Nanaandawi to take you to her clinic. Favourite Stone is at the end of Snake’s Trail, which is off Elk’s Path, which is off Widest Path. It isn’t easy to find Snake’s Trail, at least not the first time, and Nanaandawi likes it that way. Animals are always bothering her, asking her to heal them when Nanaandawi thinks that they should have just taken care of themselves in the first place- not gotten into that fight, nor eaten that toxic plant, nor run away from home at a young age… a million troubles these animals get themselves into every day.

Nanaandawi is worth the search. Today she is on Favourite Stone- flat, grey, reliable, with a bit of an overhang that Nanaandawi slides under when she wants to hide or cool down. Sun has been warming her on Favourite Stone for hours. The red diamonds on Nanaandawi’s back have deepened in colour until they glitter in the heat. Nanaandawi is most powerful when her diamonds glitter like this. Today they are shining like poison berries.

In spite of her reluctance to work, Nanaandawi is the sacred feminine. Truly, she is some powerful magic, but she’d rather spend her hours with Favourite Stone, out of earshot of her clinic, making love with Sun, soaking him up. You know, she’s an odd choice for a healer; snakes are basically hedonists, aren’t they? And a bit on the lazy side. Manoo, let her be, such is life.

It is peaceful here in Bangan Forest, and it is peaceful too on Bangan Mountain. Nature is whatever she feels like. In Bangan Forest, it’s not unusual to find rabbits sleeping with squirrels. I mean, it’s pretty relaxed here, even when it comes to marriage. Old Fox married Old Skunk 6 years ago, and he hasn’t eaten her yet. Down at Main Meadow, you’ll find some lesbian turtles and whole community of gay mice and moles. Frog is Two-Spirit. All of Bangan Forest’s animals are respected for being their own true selves.

It’s getting crowded. More and more animals end up here because they’ve been bullied out of their first-choice homes. Sometimes the bullies look like development companies or banks; sometimes the bullies talk about greener pastures or repatriation. In the end, all bullies look like the bottom of a foot… and a new home must be found.

You know how it goes. When a place gets crowded, it’s harder to find a job. Sometimes animals fight over dens and tree-holes. Sometimes food is harder to find- especially when Winter comes to stay.

Of course, and we can’t ignore it, one of the hard truths in this life is that we all have to eat. And sometimes we eat each other. And so, Forest is about fear sometimes and aggression too. Owls eat mice. Moles eat worms. Coyotes eat rabbits. Beaver and Porcupine strip bark right off trees. Rabbits nibble on tender grass all day long. Caterpillars eat Milkweed’s leaves. Squirrels eat flower faces as soon as they come out of the ground!

It sounds barbaric, doesn’t it, all this eating, but here is another truth. When a plant has grown, sometimes even before she is grown, she gives herself freely to her purpose. Maybe her purpose is to nourish another. Maybe her purpose is to burn after death and warm another. Maybe her purpose is to cheer another. And so when this purpose is achieved- this bringing of nourishment or warmth or comfort- Plant is grateful to be of use and gladly gives her life.

Animals who are eaten are similar. Their will is to live; they will fight to the end. However, in the end, it is better for that animal to nourish another than to be left to rot. There is a difference between an animal who is killed under the wheels of a car and an animal who is eaten completely and gratefully- the way Wolf eats calves of Elk and Moose.

That’s life- it’s full of hard truths. For one: Everyone’s gotta eat. Another hard truth is that animals are envious sometimes. This can lead to stealing. Magpie and Bumblebee rob other animals’ food stores. Fox and Fisher steal eggs from nests. Coyote will take another’s supper. Raccoon will steal the shoes on your feet and Crow will take the rings off your fingers, not to eat, mind you, but just because they’re so pretty.

When Bangan Forest’s animals stole and murdered in the past, they sometimes did those things unnecessarily. It was said that this lack of restraint was harming the community, and so it came to pass that the ancestors – the first animals – made some rules to help everyone get along.

Seven animals were elected to enforce seven teachings. These seven animals became known as the Council of Seven or sometimes- Council of Bangan Forest. And so it came to pass that Wolf, Turtle, Beaver, Bear, Buffalo, Crow and Eagle came together to enforce the laws of Bangan Forest. Surely you already know the laws for they are universal: Humility, Truth, Wisdom, Courage, Respect, Honesty and Love.

The Council of Seven is busy with rights. The right to be treated fairly, the right to be clean, the right to live and the right to die. Everyone is born with rights. Council cares about all of them: the rights of those who cannot move such as trees and rocks, the rights of beings who move such as animals and fish; and the rights of Mother Earth and Father Sky.

The Council of Seven is busy with wrongs. When trees and plants argue, when animals fight, Council can help sort out the problem. Often, it is a territorial issue. Sometimes it’s very serious, like dishonouring the harvest or littering or animal trafficking, but usually disputes are about “empty” dens and theft.

Raccoons are constantly before Council and so is Crow’s whole family; thieving is a way of life for some species. Squirrels have a million minor disputes that Council is always throwing out. Councillor Beaver threatened to lock a whole bunch of them in Hollow Birch until they learned to listen to each other. Skunks tend to offend, and buffalos tend to break things that don’t belong to them. Owl and Crow do not get along. Ever. One time, Cruel Cricket read LayLay’s diary, and she was so upset that she brought her right to privacy before Council.

Here in Bangan, Council of Seven oversees rights and wrongs. Border Bears patrol the boundaries and wolves are on guard all night. The widest path- Mnaadendmowin- is safe passage where all are respected. River is clean, streams are plentiful, and soil is nourishing. It is peaceful here in Bangan.

Many animals live here in Bangan Forest. They are regular creatures like you and I. They fall in love and make mistakes; they run away from home and make mistakes. Just like you and I, the animals of Bangan Forest make mistakes all the time: Cougar loses his daughter, Mousie trusts Yowl, Dozy kidnaps Fawnish, Cubby gets addicted to sugar. Wonderful things happen here too, of course: Mr. Fisher chooses love, Turtle chooses love, LayLay chooses love.

I will tell you these stories, the stories of Bangan Forest, but you must listen carefully. You must listen with your heart because the stories of Bangan Forest are true. And you must listen with your head because the stories of Bangan Forest are tricky.

Let’s go together, now. You definitely need boots. Grab the coolest hat you own. Let us start in Little Clearing where Raccoon and Pond play, and then let’s go to Bangan Mountain where streams are born and life begins. Take my hand now, so you don’t get lost.

Okay, let’s get started; aambey, maj ta da.

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