art dolls · puppetry

Folktale week 2023

Folktale week is a challenge over on Instagram where we are given 7 prompts and can post a picture, a video, or a reel, whatever we want that the prompt inspired. This was my second year doing it and I had a great time, and learnt a few more stop motion skills into the bargain. I decided again to write my own story and use my art dolls to tell it.

Warning long post, go get a cuppa tea now!

Here is this year’s though a tale about a young girl called Lilibet.

The Silver Hazelnut

Chapter 1 – Lost

Once upon a time there was a young girl. She wasn’t a princess cause not everyone can be, but she was clever and sensible and quite headstrong and thoroughly believed she would have made a very good princess had she been born into different circumstances. Don’t get me wrong though she didn’t want to be a princess. She was more than content with her lot and knew that being a princess wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.
Well, this young girl’s name was Lilibet. And she had a favourite toy; a silver hazelnut and she played with it all the time. She would throw it high into the air and skilfully catch it every time. She delighted in going down to the old woods and playing with her ball there, seeing it fly high into the sky and glint in the moonlight shining so beautifully.
One night she was doing just that sitting on the banks of the river where it runs out into the sea by the edge of the woods. For hours she had been there. She had watched the sunset and now the moon was fully in the sky, and she was just thinking she had better get home for tea when THUD!!

There was a load noise behind her, startled she turned, dropping her silver hazelnut as she did so. “Oh it was just the cows coming up from the field”, one had knocked over the gate again. She turned back to retrieve her hazelnut only to see it bobbing way down stream. In no time at all it was down in the rapids that led though the small beach. As she started to run after it, she saw it go further and further out to sea. As she got to the seashore, she could no longer see it at all, and it was lost.

Chapter 2 – Ink

After a small panic as she ran up and down the beach, she dried her eyes and set to sort this matter out in a more practical manner, and returned home quickly. Lilibet lived with her grandpa who was a little bit of a scientist and local people were always a little wary, but Lilibet knew he was the kindest and cleverest man she knew and between them they could think of some way of getting her ball back.
“You must write a letter to the ocean” he said at once, after she had explained the situation over a warming cup of tea. “How do I do that?” “And what should I say?”
So they sat at the table and drafted a letter to all that might read it and could possibly help.
“Dear people and creatures of the sea, should you happen upon a silver hazelnut, I would be most appreciative if you could kindly return it to the cottage at the edge of the sea by the old woods (the one with the red door) (Lilibet thought it best to add that bit to just in case they tried to return it to a different cottage). Thank you so much in advance. Lilibet”
Then grandpa got down an old bottle. They rolled the letter up and pushed it inside and sealed it with sealing wax so that it couldn’t get wet. Even though they had used waterproof ink, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.

Lilibet tells grandad
wooden puppets sat down to drink tea
lilibet a wooden art doll writes a letter

Chapter 3 – Sea

The next morning bright and early Lilibet went down to the edge of the sea. She threw the bottle as far as she could out to sea. Then she sat down to wait and watched the sea for any sign of the bottle, the nut, or any passing creature she could call upon to help. None came, she ate her lunch sat there and was still there at bedtime when grandpa called her back home.

Chapter 4 – Sleep

Exhausted from sitting searching the horizon all day (that can be tiring too you know) Lilibet fell into a deep sleep. Unbeknownst to her all this time frog had been watching and waiting for his chance.

lilibet in her wire work bed

Chapter 5 – Underground

Frog knew that asking the seafolk for help wasn’t going to be any good, they were all lazy and only concerned with their own little lives, so he knew that getting the silver hazel nut back was very unlikely. But he had spent a goodly amount of time in the woods though and knew where the squirrels hid all the best nuts during autumn. He gathered up some provisions and set off into the night. Squirrels don’t like to share their nuts with anyone so bury them deep underground.

Frog had quite a walk in front of him and then a lot of digging to do when he got there. Deeper and deeper he dug. First, he found a gold nut, then another gold one and then there at last was a silver one. Frog looked it over and could not see any difference between this nut and Lilibet’s nut. That will do nicely he thought and gathered up the gold ones too thinking they might come in useful for something.

Chapter 6 – Illusion

Later that night, (In fact it was coming close to morning time now as Frog had wisely decided to get washed up first after all that digging in the mud) the Frog crept into Lilibet’s bedroom and coughed loudly as he was a very polite and kind frog and certainly wouldn’t take liberties kissing a young lady without her consent. Lilibet woke with a start and was somewhat alarmed to see a frog in her room, but equally politely asked how could she be of help? Had he lost his way?

No explained the frog. He had found her message in the bottle far out to sea. And had travelled many a long way to find her silver hazelnut for her. He would happily return it to her for one small favour. (This was a little lie; white or not you decide?)
Lilibet was very happy and excited to hear this news and enquired as to what the favour would be? “Just one small kiss my lady” replied the frog. Well, this wasn’t too much of a surprise to Lilibet as she had read many a fairytale in her time. She was quite used to talking frogs and talking animals in general. In fact, growing up her nanny had been a very kindly goat who had spoken with a rather strong accent being from Shetland, so many didn’t understand her, but Lilibet had never had a problem.
All this went through her mind as she looked at the frog. She had happily kissed Nanny Dearest many a time. But she wasn’t a frog and this one looked a little slimy. On the other hand, surely, as he was here with her ball and did look quite clean, he must be thanked in some way. (And there was the growing hope that in fact he might be a prince and the frog was just an illusion).

Very quickly so she didn’t really have time to think about it she leapt out of bed and kissed the frog a quick peck on the cheek. Then stepped back to wait and see what magic would unfurl. Well she wasn’t disappointed, with a flicker of light and ball of smoke all of a sudden a young man was standing in the frog’s place. Wowser said Lilibet as she was quite pleased with how he looked.

Chapter 7 – Found

The Frog explained that, as Lilibet had suspected, he had been changed into a frog by a wicked witch. And the only way the spell could be broken was by a kiss. He thanked Lilibet hugely. Then went to ask her grandpa for her hand in marriage which he, after checking with Lilibet, granted. And they all lived happily ever after.

P.S. Lilibet always knew that the silver hazel nut was not the same as the one she had lost, but never said anything as she had found something far more precious. Love!

P.P.S The frog wasn’t a prince and in hindsight Lilibet was very glad about it too. He was handsome and practical and very clever. They made a fine couple and managed just fine without having to do all that royal ruling stuff.

lilibet a wooden doll writes a letter
lilibet a wooden doll writes a letter
2 wooden art dolls sitting together
a silver and gold hazel nut

the end

Well if you are still with me thank you so much for sticking this out, its been a long one. I will put all the videos together and post them on YouTube, they are a bit long for here. Once done I will change this to just be a link. But before then, if you are waiting it, keep an eye on my Instagram and I’ll let you know there when it’s up.

Last year was all about a little frog’s adventures, click on the picture to read it.

Frog dressed as a star

‘Till next time, I’m off down the rabbit hole. Alison

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