Published Beatie Wolfe Original Stories
Calm Sleep Stories
Two original stories for Calm's new Sleep Story series for adults written, narrated and music by Beatie Wolfe
Stories so Far...
The Mysterious Sound of the Sea
The Oceans Lullaby
Two original stories for Calm's new Sleep Story series for adults written, narrated and music by Beatie Wolfe
The Mysterious Sound of the Sea
The Oceans Lullaby
Somewhere off the pacific coast, just west of Catalina island, there was a boat called the Just Love and on this boat lived a boy called Blue and his father, an oceanographer called Hank Merriweather. Hank had dedicated his life to exploring and explaining the geology of the seafloor, marine life and unique ecosystems and Blue and Hank had lived on the boat since Blue was just a baby.
Hank had once told Blue how as a baby he could swim underwater before he learnt to walk and how he could tell which direction North was even before he had spoken his first word. That was most fitting as it turned out that Blue didn’t like to speak too much, he preferred to listen. Of all the things that Blue liked to listen to, his favourite was the ocean. He could spend hours listening to the ocean, the deep ripples, the low laps, the gentle lulls. Blue had a name for every sound and a description of what it must be. He could immediately identify a sea lion talking to its mother, a toadfish grunting, a crab scuttling, a tortoise retreating into its shell. He loved the calls of the dolphins that sounded so much like birds that his first instinct was to look up at the sky in anticipation. He loved to mimic the dolphins when he heard them, pretending that he too was jumping through the waves with such grace and energy and calling out to his friends to play. But his favourite sound of all was the magical and hypnotic whale’s song. It was so beautiful, it always brought a tear to Blue’s eyes as he listened in awe, transfixed by its magic, feeling both sad and happy at the same time. And sometimes, he wondered if they could hear him too.
Hank on the other hand wasn’t interested in sound, he much preferred silence... like the kind he found while diving on the ocean floor, the kind that wrapped you up in its arms like a warm blanket and took you in. Days when it was too rough to dive, Hank loved to pass the time looking at the old photographs he had shot over many years on board the Just Love, endlessly fascinated by the marvelous colours, the fiery pinks and wild oranges of the sea anemones, the neon brights of the wild whips, the floral beauty of the tube worms, the sloth-like sleepiness of the sea cucumbers, the coarsely-textured sea sponges, the brittle slinky serpent stars that looked like they had fallen out of the sky from some bizarre distant galaxies. Hank loved to look. He would spend many hours imagining what it must feel like to be an eagle ray, gliding majestically through the sea - with the water like air beneath his wings - soaring over currents and tides and perfectly at one with the ocean, its cycles, secrets and its many breaths. Hank knew people talked of Space with great curiosity, but that was how he felt about the ocean. A place so little explored and filled with such wonders that he wished he could show people more of its magic. He wished they could see the hidden treasures and miracles that existed right in front of their eyes, but were simply shrouded by the mysterious blue veil of water, which guarded the ocean’s many secrets just like a beautiful glistening pearl lying hidden in the belly of an oyster, there but unseen. Hank sometimes felt he was a little like the ocean, so much inside that no one could see.
Hank and Blue spent their days out in the ocean together, and their nights by the fire, telling stories, drinking hot cocoa and warming their toes as the embers crackled and blazed. Blue loved those nights more than anything as his father would tell him the most amazing and enchanting stories about forgotten lands, palaces under the sea and castles in the sky. All imaginary of course. On one particularly warm night, Blue and his father sat out on the deck, skimming stones and gazing up at the stars. The moon was so full and beautiful, beaming down on them like a friendly face they knew so well, looking like it was only an arm’s reach away. And then Hank started telling Blue a story that he had never heard before. There was the usual gentle lapping of the waves hitting the side of the boat and the faint smell of charcoal in the air from the fire. But apart from that, all was perfectly still, as if frozen in time, a perfect moment. As they sat, side by side, looking up at the dark canvas of sea and night, like a Rothko painting in its many shades of black, Hank recounted a tale he knew Blue would like, of a sound so unusual and so incredibly beautiful, that it had puzzled all the great oceanographers and marine biologists alike and had remained a mystery for all of these years. When Blue asked why it had puzzled them, Hank laughed, a low deep laugh. “Well,” he said “that’s the funny part… because it sounded different to everyone who heard it.” For one fellow, it sounded like the most beautiful choir of angels singing, another said it sounded like church bells in the morning on a sunny day. Someone else swore it sounded like the wind in the leaves just before a storm, another said it was undoubtedly frogs singing in a Malaysian swamp, a fifth said no, no, it was definitely like the warm cooing of a turtle dove. “But none of those live in the ocean?” said Blue. Hank laughed again, “it’s just a story Blue… nothing more than a story.”
That night Blue lay awake thinking about the sound that left all the oceanographers scratching their heads. He wondered what it could be and tried as hard as he could to imagine what sounded like an angelic choir, and peeling bells, and singing frogs, and the wind in the leaves, and the cooing of a turtle dove all in one, but before Blue could hear what that might sound like, he fell fast asleep, dreaming the most wonderful dreams. Many days and nights passed by, the moon waxed and waned, the tides rolled on, Hank took many more photographs of delightful curiosities he discovered, and Hank told Blue many more stories by the fire, sipping cocoa and warming their toes and Blue soon forgot all about the mysterious sound of the sea.
Until one night, in the middle of August, when the moon was particularly full and Blue was having a hard time falling asleep. Usually the gentle rocking and the soft lull of the waves was enough to send him into deep, undisturbed reveries but the light of the moon kept creeping in, like a bothersome crack in a cupboard door that he couldn’t shut. He got out of bed and crept over to his dad’s bunk. “Dad,” Blue whispered, “are you awake? I can’t sleep.” “Yes little bear… “I can’t sleep either. Come on let’s have some tea and toast and say goodnight to the moon shall we… I think she’s shining bright like this because we have been rude and forgot to say goodnight.” Hank chuckled and picked up Blue in his blanket and carried him to the kitchen. Hank boiled the kettle and the gentle whistle of the steam sounded especially loud in the softness of the night. “Lets go out onto the deck shall we,” said Hank. Blue took his father’s hand and they walked out together. The light of the moon was so bright it had turned the deck into the surface of a marvelous bioluminescent sea sponge, Hank thought, and he marveled at how this simple change in light could create such a glorious illusion. As they stood there, holding hands, and gazing up at the sky with its perfect black wash of night, Blue asked his father: “Dad did those oceanographers ever find out what that sound was?” “No,” Hank said, “no, they didn’t – it sounded too different to each one that they couldn’t decide... But maybe you will one day, Blue.” Blue took his last bite of toast and his last sip of tea, watching the water and thinking how peaceful and beautiful the world could be. “Come on, let’s go to bed,” Hank said.
That night Blue dreamt the most beautiful dream, about hearing the mysterious sound and knowing at once what it sounded like. It sounded like the deepest and richest whale song that he had ever heard, so low and beautiful and so out of this world, it brought tears to his eyes as he slept and made him gasp with delight. Blue dreamt his father heard the sound too, but to Hank it sounded like the most perfect and peaceful silence, the kind that wrapped you up like up in its arms like a warm blanket and took you in.
Blue smiled in his sleep, pulling the covers up around him, lulled by the magical song and content in the knowledge that he had solved the mysterious sound of the sea.
(C) & (P) Beatie Wolfe, 2018
On the sandy banks of the majestic island of Hubabaloo, between the poppy fields of the windy river Thyme and the shadows of the sleepy forest of Myrr, there lived a very old and very wise elephant and his name was Flabbergast. Flabbergast knew more of what there was to know about the world than all of the island’s other inhabitants put together and he could quite easily undertake ten times the average work load of even the brightest orang-utan Elder George Mustafalis. This was all down to one simple fact. Flabbergast never slept. He never dozed, never napped and certainly never conked out.
Instead he worked tirelessly through the day and night alike, seldom noticing much distinction except for the differences in creature life, which he took great pride in cataloguing, and that the quiet of the night time lent itself to the deepest thinking. Once the loafing giraffe asked Flabbergast why he never slept, and in such a manner that Flabbergast couldn’t pretend that he had misheard, which was always quite a feat considering his near perfect hearing.
Flabbergast thought long and hard about the answer and tried to remember with pinpoint accuracy his last sleep. But all he could recall was a foggy image of himself as a young calf, peacefully snoozing, with a gentle feeling in his heart and his dear Grand Papy Phante by his side. But then when baby Flabbergast awoke, the unthinkable had happened… deep in the soft folds and warm ruffles of a lovely dream, perhaps the loveliest of all, Baby Flabbergast had forgotten something and the sheer weight of this elephantine abyss, forced him to swear to himself there and then that we would never, under any circumstances, sleep again.
So where does this story begin? Well to give you some background on Flabbergast, his job was to catalogue all of his discoveries to pass onto the next generation of elephants. He held the record for most articles catalogued in one day, which was 108 after he had uncovered a smorgasbord of insects living in the trunk of a Pineapple tree, and he had given himself two extra gold stars that day for outstanding achievement. Nothing ever startled him, nothing ever phased him. Until one day when Flabbergast was stumped for the first time in his very long life.
Before I tell you how and why he was stumped, I must first add that not only was Flabbergast responsible for creating the largest cataloguing system known to elephant –kind but he held the very prestigious task of giving all things their names. To tell you how this came to be is a whole other story that would take us entirely off track so I’ll save that for another time. But in this process of naming things, Flabbergast loved to reduce each thing down to its most thingyness, which was infact a highly complex, well thought out means of calculation. For example, if a bee met a shell and decided to hibernate in it for awhile until the shell started buzzing and growing flowers, well this would be called a [insert very long word here]. So far Flabbergast in his 152 years of documenting Hubabaloo Island had catalogued and named 5 million, 5 hundred and forty-eight thousand otherwise unidentified animals, minerals and vegetables. And then one day, what Flabbergast discovered left him shell-shocked, quite literally.
He was strolling up and down Sandy Dunes beach, whistling to himself, as he liked to do every morning before he began his day – for no other reason than to count the stones to see if they had grown in number, and NOT because he found the gentle lapping of the waves, or hypnotic sparkle of the shells, peaceful or meditative in any way - those words were perfectly abhorrent to Flabbergast who believed in nothing that he couldn’t see, quite clearly, with his own two bespeckled eyes or inspect with his old wizened trunk. But as he made his 6th lap of the bay, finishing up the last of the morning’s rocks and minerals count he noticed something glowing a lion’s tail away from his left foot. He stopped, confused, and turned his leathery head. What in the world was this!?
Nestled between the gem pools and the crab banks, which already glistened like jewels in the morning sun - but this glowed 10 times brighter… wait maybe 100… and it looked like pure gold in the form of a perfectly made, untouched conch… or was it a conch that had somehow turned to Gold!? Flabbergast was, well, Flabbergasted, for the first time in his life.
The light of the conch burned his eyes and he could hear the faintest of whirring noises in the distance which also bothered him. But the reason that Flabbergast was particularly miffed about this conch just showing up, out of the blue, was because he had already submitted his “Shells, Rocks and other Curiosities” file to the committee that same moon passing and now he would have to open it up again and for what exactly?!
Flabbergast was staring at the Conch for what must have been an entire tide turn before he felt brave enough to go and investigate. He had encountered many spine-tingling things far scarier than this benign shell like the tooth-chuckling whirlers, and the eye-snatching digglers and the worst of all, the stomach-fuggling, bone chuggling, blood smuggling slicers but somehow this Conch in all of its mystery, without any context or footnote or byline was the most terrifying of all to Flabbergast. Slowly slowly crept the bamboozled Flabbergast towards the Conch and slowly slowly did his trunk extend to wrap around the luminous golden shell. And call it intuition, call it sixth sense (though Flabbergast would call it none of these) but slowly slowly did Flabbergast raise the beautiful shell to his right ear (the larger and sharper of the two) and then he gasped. When an elephant gasps it is felt by all the land due to both the strength of the breath and the depth of the gasp.
As he gasped, Karma Koala fell out of his favourite tree, Melificent the Hippopotamus sunk deeper into his soggy mire and the Juniper berries all ripe for the picking burst on the very branch they were perched on. Even the wrathful seal lion paused just for a second before crashing his waxy flippers in fury against the rock castles where terrified crabs cowered under sand arches, waiting for his rage to pass.
But while all of this was going on around him, Flabbergast stood glued to the spot, transfixed. Never in his 509 years of living had Flabbergast stood more still and elephants are known for their effortless inertia. But what Flabbergast heard coming from the depths of this beautiful golden wonder simultaneously made his heart sing and his brain hurt.
For now, finally, after all these years of searching, he remembered what he had forgotten so very very long ago… it was that lovely lullaby, that mellifluous melody that Grandpa Papy Phante had sung to him under the wide eyes of the moon as baby Flabbergast lay peacefully sleeping in his bamboo hammock, the very lullaby that had secretly haunted Flabbergast for all of his adult life, that has made him intent on cataloguing everything around him – for all of those sleepless nights – it was, in laymen’s terms, the one that got away, the one the Elephant forgot.
And like the most beautiful butterfly that had been out of permanent reach, it fluttered softly, through Flabbergast’s gigantic ear and into his whirling mind until all was still, and all was calm.
And suddenly Flabbergast felt that gentle feeling in his heart and the sweetness of honey, mixed with the warmth of the sun, a collide-a-scope of colour and the softest of hums.
And there on the sandy banks of the majestic island of Hubabaloo, between the poppy fields of the windy river Thyme and the shadows of the sleepy forest of Myrr, Flabbergast the elephant – with the beautiful golden conch resting like a flower in his ear – fell fast asleep for the first time in far too many years.
(C) & (P) Beatie Wolfe, 2016