Mary and the Witch’s Flower

“Mary and the Witch’s Flower” is a Japanese animated film from 2017 based on the book “The Little Broomstick” by Mary Stewart. The film is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and produced by Studio Ponoc.

Mary is a young girl stuck in a house on the countryside with her great-aunt and housekeeper during the Summer Holidays. She is bored without any children to play with, but then one day she meets a cat who shows her the way to a magical flower. The flower enchants a mystical broomstick and on that broomstick Mary flies to a magical world where she is mistaken for a student enrolled in the witching academy for higher magical learning. But is the academy really a place of wonders and enchantments or is there something more sinister happening behind closed doors?

Follow along as Mary sets out on the adventure of a lifetime where she has to use all her bravery and self-belief to fulfill her quest and save her friends.

Imagine if Anne of Green Gables actually got to go on one of her many imagined adventures, an adventure that didn’t just transport her into a magical world, but to a futuristic world where magic is realized through technology. That is “Mary and the Witch’s Flower” for you. All set in a Sci-Fi Japanese Hogwarts (where you might even spot Harry Potter if you pay attention!😄😄).

I really enjoyed this film! I loved the animation and the creativity, and as a big fan of Anne of Green Gables, and wild redhead girls in general, I absolutely loved the heroine! And I was so happy to see that someone has finally come up with a sensible way to ride a broomstick! 😆🤣😆🤣

Reading between the lines, the film has a deeper message telling us how the natural world is perfect as it is and does not need to be improved upon or decorated to be valuable and beautiful. And that goes for us human beings as well. A message worth being reminded of for adults and children alike.

I highly recommend this movie to children (of all ages) and adults as well!
Enjoy! 🧙🏻‍♀️🧹

Christmas Tea with Mr. Tumnus

Dear Diary,
I am spending the Christmas holidays at my Grandmother’s house. I helped her decorate the tree yesterday and today we are awaiting guests. But guess what happened just today morning?

Well, I better start at the beginning. You probably remember how I and my three cousins found a door inside granny’s wardrobe last summer. You know the green one with all the colorful dresses granny wore when she was young. I had just intended to borrow the red and white dress to dress up like a summer Santa, but then I decided to try looking for matching shoes deeper inside the wardrobe. But instead of matching shoes I found a magic country hidden far inside the wardrobe! My cousins and I had the most wonderful adventures there during the summer. But that is a story for another time. However, one of the many creatures we met there was the fawn Mr. Tumnus. He is a lovely fellow with the coziest little house situated just beyond the lamppost. Well, a few days ago I got a letter from him! It was an invitation to a Christmas Tea Party on Christmas Eve morning!

As today is Christmas Eve I got up early, dressed in my prettiest frock and borrowed a brown fuzzy coat from granny to shield me from the cold Narnian winter. Then I opened the green wardrobe and went inside. I was rather excited because Narnia is not always there, but thankfully today it was! The forest looked so lovely with tall evergreens frosted with white silvery snow. The forest is really thick but the lamppost lights it up beautifully. I love how the warm yellow light flickers and creates golden shadows on the snow. I walked slowly in the new deep snow towards Mr. Tumnus’ house. He had lit red lanterns outside his house and the small windows flamed cozily behind cream lace curtains. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Beavers were there too! It’s been so long since I’ve seen them! Mrs. Beaver had knitted scarves for all of us for Christmas. Mine was pink and purple, my favorite colors. Mr. Tumnus’ scarf was red and yellow, the colors he likes best. There was a wonderful spread of cinnamon cakes, chocolate cookies and peppermint tea. And Mrs. Beaver had brought her famous marmalade roll. My contribution was ginger biscuits that granny and I baked yesterday, and they all loved them! Mr. Beaver dipped his biscuits in his whiskey coffee and was happy as a horse the whole morning! After the tea Mr. Tumnus played his flute for us. The Narnian carols are rather strange, but very beautiful, and when you hear them you can’t help but look at the flames blazing in the fireplace and then the most magical thing happens! You can see shapes in there! The flames start changing and whatever the music makes you think of appears in the flames! I saw flying unicorns migrating together over the ocean seeking the colder climate of the north where they can fly among stars even in daylight! Those images made me very dreamy and I wished I had brought my sketchbook so I could draw them. Maybe I will make an attempt at it later today.

Mr. Tumnus hadn’t brought a Christmas tree because all the trees in Narnia are like living creatures, they even sing in the Dawnlight if you pay proper attention. Instead of a Christmas tree there were garlands of cones and sugared red autumn leaves and apples and cinnamon sticks hanging in the windows. It was so beautiful and smelled delicious! After the tea we all went outside to see the snow fairies dance among the trees. They can be hard to spot because they look a little like mist when they move, but if you squint your eyes you can clearly see their beautiful little shapes, almost like icicles with snowflakes for wings and dewy cobwebs for clothes. They look especially beautiful when the golden sun rays hit their little bodies. Mr. Tumnus played his flute again and they really loved that! It was absolutely magical!

But then it was time to head home. Even though time is different in Narnia I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. And the beavers wanted to go too so I decided to keep them company along the trail. But the trail was actually gone because so much snow had fallen the last hour! I thought I would have to wade my way through the forest. But the beavers told me to let them walk first and with their fat tails the patted the snow down so that it was all flat and perfect for me! My boots made that lovely sound they make when you walk on hard flat snow. None of us talked the whole way we just stayed silent and listened to that lovely boot music, and just as we came up to the lamppost I could hear the church bells chiming from the open wardrobe door. The beavers smiled and stayed and listened for a while while I bid them goodbye and disappeared back into the wardrobe. There I hung up my brown fuzzy coat and went right over to you dear Diary to write it all down, so that I would never forget my Christmas Tea with Mr. Tumnus.

Wait, now I can hear granny calling from downstairs. I better go and help her prepare for the guests. Talk to you later! And Merry Christmas!

Yours truly,
Trini.

* The above artwork is by the beautiful artist Pauline Baynes

A colorful Fairytale Christmas

I love decorating for Christmas! My favorite is the whimsical decorations, many of which I make myself 😊😊.

Who says you can’t decorate under and around the Christmas tree!? 😄😄

I love making little stories, this year especially inspired by known fairytales.

Do you recognize any of the fairytales? I think the first one is pretty easy 😉.
The tin soldier is one of my brother’s old toys and the ballerina is a cake decoration I bought in a cake shop! 😄😄

Colorful handmade eco friendly paper gives extra sparkle! 😄😄

What about you? How do you decorate your house for Christmas?

Autumn in the Shire

Dear Dairy,

I got up at dawn as I always do. Brewing myself a hot cup of coffee and lighting the oil lamps around the house. I let the lampposts along the walk-up to the house burn all night now. We are in the depths of Autumn and darkness dominates our days as well as our nights.

Yesterday Rosie and I went into the Hobbiton forest to look for chestnuts. We need them for our Christmas baking. They also look lovely in the windowsill and on the mantle above the fireplace. Golden brown and toasty.

We walked a long way, but we didn’t mind because the forest was so beautiful and peaceful. All the leaves were still burning bright in reds and orange even though it’s almost winter. There was not a breath of wind, the only noise was squirrels playing in the trees and rabbits digging their holes. We decided to stop and picnic by the little river. I had prepared honey cakes and Rosie had brought oat biscuits and jam. We used water from the river to make blueberry tea.

When we finally came to Chestnut Grove all the chestnuts were gone! “It must be those darn squirrels!” said Rosie. But I disagreed because there were a lot hazelnuts on the ground still. “I think some of the other hobbits have been here before us,” I told Rosie. But she claimed that her husband, Samwise Gamgee, had talked to Radagast only a few days ago and he had just passed this place and seen the ground covered in chestnuts. Just then we heard a loud noise from the forest. It sounded like thumping! Rosie and I held on to each other tightly! We couldn’t even move, we just kept staring into the shadowy forest. Then a huge branch cracked and out walked a troll! Yes, a troll! I have never heard of trolls in the Shire before! But to our amazement the troll was quite small, just a little bit taller than us and it was crying! Or at least it made a sound similar to crying. “Why, it’s a baby!” said Rosie. And I think she must have been right because the troll just kept crying and reaching its arms out as though it wanted to be held. Rosie and I felt a little braver so we approached the troll carefully just to see what it would do, and you will never believe this, but the troll stumbled up to Rosie and put its arms around her! Rosie shook a little bit at first, but then she seemed to calm down (she has a bunch of children herself) and started patting the troll on its back saying “there, there,” very gently. I took out what we had left of the picnic and offered it to the baby troll and it started munching greedily. It was quite clear that that was not enough to still its hunger so I tried feeding it a handful of hazelnuts, but the troll wrinkled its nose and spat it out in disgust. “So that is why only the hazelnuts are left,” I said to Rosie. “So what do we do with it?” said Rosie. “We can’t just leave it here.” “ And neither can we bring it with us to Hobbiton,” I said. So what we ended up doing was singing it to sleep and while I remained babysitting, Rosie ran back to fetch her husband. Sam Gamgee had once been quite the hero after all.

When Sam and Rosie came back, Sam was absolutely delighted to see the troll! Reminded him of one of his adventures, he said. “Too bad mr. Frodo left with the Elves,” he mused, “he would have loved this!”. “Yes, yes, but what do we do with it?” said Rosie impatiently. “Well, someone needs to take it back to its mother of course,” said Sam, with a distinct twinkle in his eyes. “And that is sure to be some adventure…most trolls live far from here up in the mountains. How in the world this little guy has managed to wander off and not be burned up by the sun is a mystery to me…” Rosie poked him in the arm angrily. “ It might be an adventure, mr. Gamgee, but it is most certainly not your adventure. You are living quite a different adventure now.” Sam looked sadly at his wife and then glanced longingly at the sleeping troll. “ I guess you are right, my dear.” He shrugged as though he was trying to shake the whole thing off. “Best leave it to Radagast then, seeing that Gandalf has left middle earth.”

Sam used a special whistle to call on a rabbit, not just any rabbit but a Rhosgobel rabbit. Then he scribbled a message on a small piece of paper and tied it around the rabbit’s neck with a piece of string. As soon as the message had been fastened the rabbit set off in an enormous speed. “Well, all we have to do now is wait,” said Sam. “ Wait?” I asked. “ For how long? It could be days!” “Oh no,” said Sam, “not days. Not at all. You don’t know about Rhosgobel rabbits, you see…” He smiled mysteriously. I didn’t have any other choice but to trust him. He had once saved the world after all. Surely he knew how to save one little lost troll.

After a couple of hours we heard a sound in the forest. It was like something was swishing rather swiftly in the grass, and then in a formidable speed Radagast, standing on a kind of sleigh drawn by oversized rabbits, flew out of the forest. “Someone wrote about a troll…?” he said. “That would be me,” answered Sam cheerfully. He pointed in the direction of the sleeping baby troll. “Oh my!” exclaimed Radagast. “That really is a troll!” “Yes, it rather is,” replied Sam. “Do you think you can take it to its mother before the sun turns it into stone?” “Sure, sure,” said, Radagast, “these clouds should not break until the coming morning.” He looked thoughtfully up at the overcast sky. “Should be fine.” Radagast and Sam lifted the troll on to the sleigh and with a small wave and a lift of his green hat Radagast was off.

Rosie, Sam and I walked back home without chestnuts and we forgot all about the hazelnuts, but Rosie and I have decided to bake apple pies instead, it is not quite Christmassy, but it will do. Sam peaked quite up when he heard. I suspect he ate too many nuts on his adventure.

Oh, there I see Rosie on the path right now. She is early just like me. I better brew another cup of coffee. I will write more in you tomorrow, dear Diary.

Cheerio!
Yours truthfully,
Miss Daisy.

*The first illustration is a by the amazing John Howe and the other is by Fairytale artist John Bauer. The photos are mine.

Scary Masks Garden

There is something so terrifying about masks, don’t you think? Not knowing who is behind them, whether the person hiding their face is smiling, laughing or looking sad.

I find that which is hidden to be more scary than that which is right in front of you. No matter how horrible the mask might look. It is that which you can’t see that is truly frightening.

Who knows who is lurking in the shadows? Maybe it is not even a human…

For all we know, All Hallows’ Eve is the night when those who wish to stay in the dark can come out in the open hiding behind a mask…

So be careful…you never know who you will meet when you can’t really see behind the mask..

Birds and their meaning in Nordic Folklore


Art by the Norwegian Fairytale artist Theodor Kittelsen.

Long before human beings had ever dreamed of entering the sky realm birds were considered to have otherworldly abilities letting them fly as messengers and communicators between heaven and earth. Birds became important as a way for humans to read signs from the spirit realm, and they were held in awe and even feared. Different birds communicated different warnings and auspicious messages.

The Raven


Art by the Norwegian Fairytale artist Theodor Kittelsen.

The raven is probably the bird with the most spiritual significance in the Nordic countries. The raven was Odin’s bird, or rather birds, he had two ravens, Hugin and Munin, who resided on his shoulders occasionally flying down to the earth realm to be Odin’s eyes on earth. The Norse people considered Raven feathers to be magical, they could among other things pick any lock, perhaps even the lock to someone’s heart.

Another Norse legend tells us of a small pebble that could be found in a raven’s nest, and if you could get hold of this pebble you could, by putting the pebble in our mouth, turn invisible. This pebble was especially sought after by warriors. But if you misused the pebble to do mischief you would be turned into an owl, the least auspicious birds according to the Norse belief, so it came with a fair warning to be used with extreme caution.

If two ravens were seen fighting while a wedding was taking place this warned of a bad marriage, and the wedding could be stopped. If a chieftain saw seven ravens fighting in the sky this meant that war was coming and he had to start preparing his warriors. These signs were taken seriously and followed, without question, by the Norsemen.

The Eagle


Art by the Norwegian Fairytale artist Theodor Kittelsen.

Another significant bird in the Norse symbolism was the eagle. The eagle in most cultures is a symbol of freedom and strength. To the Norsemen the eagle was even more significant. Odin, the king of gods, could turn himself into an eagle in order to fly to earth to drink the elixir of life that kept him immortal and forever young. So if you saw an eagle in the sky you could never really know if it really was Odin in disguise, and accordingly you were on your best behavior around eagles, trying to display honor, courage and bravery. The symbol of an eagle was therefor often used to inspire bravery in warriors.

The Cormorant


Art by the Norwegian Fairytale artist Theodor Kittelsen.

The Cormorant was, to the old Nordic people, the messenger between the “Folk of the Forest” and the humans. They brought warnings to people from the Folk, such as “danger is coming”, this the Cormorant demonstrated by unfolding their wings and holding them up in a protective gesture before the people the warning was meant for. This also gave them the status of being a protector. They could also warn the fishermen of bad fishing by flying against the boat when the men were on their way out to sea.

The Wood Grouse


Art by the Norwegian Fairytale artist Theodor Kittelsen.

The Wood Grouse was nicknamed the trollbird by the old Nordic people. The reason for this was that they thought the wood grouse actually was a troll woman turned into a bird. She was someone to be careful around because she could be unpredictable and moody, sometimes choosing to do good while other times she was full of mischief luring young men into the woods to seduce them and kidnap them. But if you found a feather of a wood grouse you were very lucky because it had healing properties, especially for “womanly” ailments.

The Swan


Art by the Norwegian Fairytale artist Theodor Kittelsen.

There is an old Norse legend that tells of the origin of the Nordic Lights. The legend states that there was a flock of seven swans who were too late to migrate and got stuck in the ice on a lake. Their frozen wings blazed over the sky and turned into beautiful green and blue lights. So whenever the Nordic Lights appeared on the sky it was the seven frozen swans fluttering their wings.

The Dipper


Art by the Norwegian Fairytale artist Theodor Kittelsen.

The Dipper is the Norwegian National bird, maybe because of its mystical past in the Norse culture. The Dipper, who spends most of its time on the ground near waterfalls, was in close contact with the underlings, the fey folk living underground. These underlings were considered to be hostile towards humans who tread on their homes, and the Dipper could plot with the underlings taking revenge of anyone who disturbed their nest or young ones. So the Dipper was a bird who were left alone and avoided at all cost.


Art by the Norwegian Fairytale artist Theodor Kittelsen.

As we can see, birds have a long and mystical history in the North. Most of it is now forgotten and just considered to be old superstition, but many people still swear by birds when it comes to telling the weather or whether or not the fishing is good. Birds do have a deep connection to nature and the elements, and can still be a valuable messengers and teachers when it comes to changes in nature. Besides, some claim that the symbolism around birds is still important today as it points to deeper truths about ourselves and about life.

What do you think?