The fairy in the cuckoo clock written by Elizabeth Langford October 2023

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once upon a time there was a little tale with a little girl named Griselda as a rule and certainly with most fairies mortals are considered to be stupid in the fairyland the reputation of humans beings as dull witted and slow is a fixed tradition one day Griselda found a little cuckoo clock in her bedroom before doing a new thing men and women have to think it out they talk a good deal about cause and effect whereas with fairies there are no causes but things and events just happen when Griselda was holding the cuckoo clock in her hand if they do not the story was true there was a little fairy in side the cuckoo clock she was called Giselle the fairies make them some situations like the sun and moon the earth and sky the summer and winter cannot be changed Giselle saw Griselda with her beautiful blue eyes the fairy tale was very long yet fairies can bring to pass lots of wonders and surprise men one day the clock was a very beautiful small clock it was very magical they can play tricks that puzzle them beyond measure a hundred years ago before the days of tourists alpenstocks hotels electric railroads and other foolish novelties the guides and all village folk believed in fairies one day a little cuckoo appeared in front of them they felt as sure of giants dwarfs elves and dragons the magic was very strong as folk of today that never saw a dodo or pterodactyl or an auric or a five toed horse believe these once plentiful on earth in fact there was once a time this is my twelfth story on the list when men had no clocks or wrist watches and girls did not carry the pretty gold or nickel time keepers of today at their waist no did the big bells boom out the hours in the towers nor were the huge clock faces or dials seen by day or by night in the castles of Switzerland where rich men or nobles lived the fairy queen was there she saw the light in the sky they knew nothing about marking the hours and minutes by anything with a round face having figures on it the light was very pretty one way to announce the hours was to have a candle with two little brass balls on opposite sides of the wax and tied together with a string it was the middle of the story when the flame burned say an inch or other measured space the ball dropped down into a brass basin the story was very good there was some fairy dust on the ground Griselda saw Giselle in her room this made a loud ringing noise the fairy dust was very useful which sounded out the hours or a little hammer struck a bell and that is the reason why a clock as its name was at first was called a kook or bell on ships the bells sounded every hour and half hour and this is still the method to which sailors are accustomed eight bells eight marking the end of one of the three periods of four hours each into which the day is divided Griselda sat on Giselle’s back they were ready for the flight the story was true the fairies could always tell the time as well as men by the sun they went over the rainbow but they were more interested in the moon and stars for night was their joy time the story was very interesting now the common people had no word for a minute or a second or anything less than an hour they knew when the sun rose and set and they guessed the time of day from the place of the sun in the sky at the east as it rose in the morning and during the afternoon as it sank in the west after the Alpen glow or rosy light that flushed the mountains like a maiden’s blush the fairies came out to dance in the meadows they always went away and disappeared at sunrise for the dancing fairies would be turned into stone if the sun rays struck them it was even worse for them than for mortals who even amid the ice and snow when climbing high mountains might be sunstruck and di one family of the flowers they named four o’clock but by and bye men learned that they could set two sticks in a line north and south and the shadow line could touch the other they called this time twelve o’clock or noon the old man also took notice that in the long days of summer the sun lengthened and in cold winter shortened it shadows they were thus able to count the days before the flowers would bloom in the springtime then the yodel music would sound and the cows be driven to pasture up in the high mountains from this room shadow of the sun men got the idea of the sundial placing a round disc or plate made of brass or copper on a stone or post and setting on one side of it a metal pin they noticed the sun’s shadow going round it in a circle on the spaces they marked the hours soon it became the general fashion to have sun dials in the gardens yet all the time the fairies laughed at mortals and declared that if they could live on earth yet all the time during the sunshiny hours they would be able to tell the time of day from the flowers and the sun’s place in the sky so just for the fun of it whenever they noticed a new sundial of brass or stone set up in the garden they invariably held a ball and danced around it all night once in a while they went into a church when no one was there and walked and sported around the hour glass in the pulpit of the arrant stupidity of some mortals the fairies became finally and perfectly sure when one night they gathered together for a merry dance around the sundial this had been placed only that day in a garden owned by an old fellow who was reputed by his neighbours to be a wise man the fairies were interrupted in their plan of playing ring around a rosy when their sentinel set to watch had seen a strange sight and called out a loud alarm now this funny old fellow had a name which if translated into English would be Mr. Soft Pudding he was a kind hearted chap that loved the birds and his pets and children but he was a most absent minded codger he never knew where his hat was when he went outdoors so his wife tied it by a string on to his button hole as she did the little children’s with a bit of tape over their shoulders yet he was a delighted daddy and all the little folks loved him Mr. Soft pudding gladly paid the bill for his new toy the sundial he was so overjoyed at the idea of telling time by a shadow that he talked about it for hours indeed he was so absorbed in it that he forgot all about the sun and the necessity of its shining or that daylight was at all requisite for his enjoyment in looking at the sundial so on one cool autumn night old Soft pudding put on his cloak old Soft Pudding lighted his lantern and walked out into the garden to see what time it might be fool that he was he found that as he changed the position of the lantern its rays every time cast a new shadow instead of its showing one time it looked as if there were several times marked by the pin and as if everything had gone wrong then for the first time the idea entered his head that sundials were for use during the daytime only who would have thought it? he cried as he tramped back into his house hoping his wife would not know the object of his errand and laugh at him but she did not tell her and she thought he had gone out to look after the cows but the fairies were irritated and in bad temper because they had been away by this intruders on their pleasure they laughed at his stupidity but their vexation was plain to be seen he might as well have a wooden head or one made of a squash this only shows what fools these mortals be said one fairy to another oh don’t be angry or sneer at him said an old fairy who was a famous inventor stupid though he is he and his wife have always been kind to us fairies leave him to me I’ll put another idea in his head for the sake of his people I’ll teach him to turn the dial upside down turn its face outward and put hands and fingers on its face with wheel inside and weights below then he can always have what he expected this evening to do and tell the time at night as well as by day and I’ll make the new contrivance sing no longer shall a timekeeper be called a bell to strike or sound the hours I’ll put a bird inside to fly out and call out the hours so the next night the fairy queen took counsel of the owl the wisest of all the birds and also as fair minded as a judge who is just to all and the favourite of none the owl decided that the cuckoo would serve best and could be depended upon always come out flap its wings and chirp out the proper numbers of the hours the fairy queen was surprised how can you sir judge nominate a bird of bad character? the cuckoo is a pirate does it not lay its eggs in the nest of other birds? how often besides stealing their home it throw out the eggs of the rightful owners and because of this rubbery the birdies die true I have considered this said the owl but the cuckoo is a summer bird that eats up the hairy caterpillars which other birds will not touch in this manner it helps the trees to grow and the fruit to ripen so that men have a clean country for the fairies to play in besides in the courting season you know it is the male’s love note that sounds so sweetly in April May and June and this song Cuckoo, cuckoo, we all love to hear the queen of the fairies pondered this answer she was impressed with the owl’s wisdom and besides she wanted all the fairies to love each other so she concluded to invite the male cuckoo bird to be her model for the new clock that was to make Switzerland wealthy and famous surely such clocks would be wanted all over the world the land being rich in walnut trees there was no trouble in getting plenty of wood dark and handsome to be carved so appearing to old Soft pudding in a dream the fairy queen said to him although we fairies all had a good laugh at you when we saw you coming out of your house at night with a lantern to tell the time at the sundial thus breaking up our party yet because you have always been so kind to the birds and loved our fairy folks and the children I will show you how to make a new kind of clock it will not only mark the hours on its face without the aid of the sun but will send out a cuckoo every hour to flap it wings in delight then this wooden bird will call out cuckoo, cuckoo, as if a real one in feather were making love to its mate do you not yourself think that the affection of the lover bird thus shown will increase mutual affection in your own house and brighten every swiss home and many more homes beyond the sea? I am sure it will thank you heartily said Soft pudding then the fairy queen held out before his gaze a lovely cuckoo clock made of black walnut with hands and face figure cut out of the wood of the birch tree when he woke up in the morning out of his sleep old Soft pudding stretched out his hands to receive the gift but it was daylight and of course the fairy was gone it was the common light of the sun but he was very happy even though he only dreamed he proceeded at once to turn his dream into reality by constructing the clock within a week he had made the works then he set them inside a black walnut case with ivory figures on the dial after several attempt he succeeded with the wooden cuckoo that would come out flaps its wings and chirp the number of the hours and go inside the shut doors while the clock face also marked the proper point then he brought his whole family one morning near the moment when the minute hand was approaching the proper dot on the disc what was their surprise when without anyone touching the little black house which was set on the wall the doors flew open and out strutted cuckoo flapping its wings it chirped out ten times and then bowed went into its box again and the little doors shut the children all clapped their hands and the mother embraced her husband in joy by and by for ivory which was very costly Mr. Soft pudding used white birch the clock hands then he set up a factory and this gave work to many villagers men and women boys and girls he soon made a fortune and now no one called Soft pudding but everyone saluted him with a title of respect when he died he left his wealth to his family to this day his cuckoo flap their wings and salute the hours in every land because the wooden clock and bird were black the time telling cuckoo which was sometimes hitched to a barometer or set in a toy to foretell the weather was called the rainbow but with this beginning made by the cuckoo clock Switzerland became a land of clocks watches and musical boxes the story ends now

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