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THE MUSHROOM BENDER

The Mushroom Bender
Dimensions ~ 7.25″ tall x 4.25″ deep x 4″ wide (Artist Proof)

‘What’s a Mushroom Bender?,’ asked a fairy child to a toad and the old swamp toad croaked, “My, my, little one, you really don’t know? Are you an orphan?” Astonished by the old toad’s intuition, the fairy child replied, ‘Why yes I am! How did you know?’ “Well,” said the toad, “Everyone in Fairyland knows that it’s obligatory by Fairy Law that all parents tell their children who, what, why, how, where and what for is a Mushroom Bender and since you’re clueless, then, you must be what we toads call, a ‘Single Snowflake.’ Blushing, the child shyly said, ‘Won’t you tell me, won’t you please?’ “Well,” said the toad, “I suppose I can, after all, I’m the mayor of this ridiculously unlonesome swamp and as Mayors go, we’ve got our civil duties to tend and there’s no better time to tend than after a question has been asked that this Mayor already has the answer to.”

The toad mayor leaned back on his haunches, scratched his belly with his chin and commenced the explanation of the Mushroom Bender, while the ‘single snowflake’ sat on a pine nut listening in awe. “Well, here it goes, I may be a little rusty, it’s been awhile you know, we toads don’t have to explain all this to our children, that’s not to say that we don’t when the Toadstool Fairies don’t. Ok, the Mushroom Bender goes way back, ‘back to front’ some say; it isn’t a ‘he’ or a ‘she’ as far as anyone can collectively say, it has no preferences that point to being a prince or a princess, many have tried to coax it into choosing from this or that specific treasure chest of goodies, particularly the various fairy factions who’d love to adopt it for their mascot… Well, as they all learn as others before them have, every treasure chest burns, that’s what a Mushroom Bender does to a treasure-lure to try and reveal its gender identity, it simply burns it. See, the Mushroom Bender must keep everyone guessing and for good reason, that way no one can draw any conclusions to its motives other than the obvious pointing to those dark-actions of their own that’s being humbly pointed out through the bent mushroom omen.

The Mushroom Bender is an omen bringer, a messenger of Good-will and hard work, a soft heart and a keen sense of shadow-discernment, you know, the fairy psyche is one of the hardest to judge in the light of what’s best for it’s forward growth. If decidedly nothing else, then the Mushroom Benders are at least an ancient clan of voiceless psychologists… The Mushroom Bender goes around at night bending a specific number of mushrooms, depending on the magnitude of the offense that’s come to its attention. The more bent mushrooms, the more urgent it is for the Fairy village folk to reconcile whomever it is that’s up to no good. The Mushroom Bender wears disguises; pin-on fox tails, skull hats, overcoats, Dutch shoes on one pair of legs and boxing gloves on another, it’s all very ‘Mad Hatter’ some say, that way if it is accidentally seen doing what it does, no one’s stories of its identification matches. It changes its costume for each mushroom. At one time the villagers thought there was a clan of Mushroom Benders, but an elderly snail’s keen powers of observation straightened that one out…

There was a great fuss some time ago as to how the Mushroom Bender bent the mushroom, many tried to bend them and the mushrooms simply broke. It was Sauerkraut, a famous tomato horn worm that finally broke his silence and told everyone that his league has known for thousands of years how it was preformed and if the fairy garden club would vow never to dispose of another hornworm and establish them their own private plants to devour, that he’d disclose it in exchange for such a binding favor.

Well, you know how fairy folk ruminate over what they ought to know and don’t, it drove them a little nutty, see, because they’re also a bit coo coo over pristine tomato plants; to reconcile a comfortable balance in such a compromise was a rather horrendous affair and for the sake of your budding innocence I won’t go there today…

After a long time, say about an hour, they unanimously decided to draft a Right of Passage to the Hornworm Clan and thus was born Hornville Gardens, as you know it today.” ‘I love Hornville!’ exclaimed the fairy child, wiggling and laughing, its crystalline dragonfly wings softly clinking against one another in unison to its clapping hands, ‘Tell me more! Please, please!’ “Ok”, answered the old toad.

“So, the hornworm revealed that every Mushroom Bender knows exactly where a mushroom is going to appear, so it goes to that spot and waits. As the mushroom grows, the Mushroom Bender gently presses diagonally on it, in the direction and angle of bend it wishes it to grow, that’s it. There are Bent Mushroom Readers too, fairy’s especially trained to read the intricate subtleties of ‘the bend’, its a cyphering all unto itself. And ‘yes’, to everyone’s surprise, the newly educated fairies got some fairy-glitter-kudos from the worm’s explanation, namely, that there’s more than one Mushroom Bender, though, only one per continent.

Once again, nobody knows where this little fella comes from, but we do know they are sprites because they exhale phosphorus, my cousin Rombushey detected that one on a very cold night while collecting microscopic ice crystals that had fallen on a bent mushroom site and all subsequent ones afterward. Toads collect miniscule oddities, particularly retired toads and although I’m not retired, I’ve hammered out enough spare time to amass a beautiful collection of flea eye lashes.

Well, ahem, back to it: some say that the Mushroom Bender Clan meets once every 500 years and only on floating ice sheets that contain one or more pregnant polar bears whom are ‘nesting’ there. It all seems very odd, especially since most sprites abhor floating land masses but I am certain that if asked the Polar Bear Queen would put out any doubt that this meeting place is an act of senselessness, it’s just not in the Mushroom Bender’s character to be such, well, at least when it comes to floating-meeting-places in the Artic.

Mushroom Benders can be rascally, they’ve even left critiques for the Fox Clan from time to time; a most embarrassing but humbling relationship those two clans have.

Well, single snowflake, I believe that’s it… Hummm, let’s see, ah, yes, the morale of the story, ‘If you find a bent mushroom, don’t try and straighten it, because it belongs to a fairy’s unexamined conscience; sound your mushroom horn, gather your elders and gently coax the veiled fairy or fairies whom are veiled in shadow up from the dark and into your light of unconditional love, understanding and forgiveness.’”

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