Walking Rocks?

Query: When I was in Death Valley earlier this year, I saw some enormous 750-pound rocks that appear to travel across the desert on their own. I remembered your article about rock tortoises, and wondered if that’s what these rocks could be?

Corn of Plenty (Part 4 of 4): A Field Guide by Dr. Midas Welby

Corns of the Air: Air-corns utilize their horns for jousting, playing tic-tac-toe, and spearing food in mid-flight. Air-corns often lurk undetected in trees, wood piles, and rain gutters. When bored, they use their horns to ring the doorbells of unsuspecting humans. When the door begins to open, the air-corn flies away.


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Going On Hiatus

December 6, 2014: I am loving college, but I have to admit, I’m overwhelmed.

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Pine Cone Feeders

A Present For Imaginaries: When winter comes, I get concerned about providing extra shelter from the elements for Imaginaries. Recently, I read about people who build wildlife brush shelters out of branches and plants in their yards, and thought this was a great idea.

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Legends of Iranigami

“Faith can move mountains:” In the days of the California gold rush, thousands of Chinese laborers migrated to the US. Among them was Xin, a girl of fourteen. In her home province of Guangshi, she had been an apprentice dragon-handler, training to work with the largest dragons of all, the world-dragons (see Have You Seen? And Field Notes). But Xin had to leave her calling behind when her father and three older brothers decided to go to America to seek their fortunes. In this new world, Xin cooked and cleaned and did laundry for her family, learned a few words of English, and became known by the English version of her name – Faith.

Finding no gold in the goldfields, Faith’s father and brothers soon found jobs building the new railroad, traveling ever eastward with a team of laborers and their bosses working the line. After a time, the team came upon a vast barrier of rough, rocky hills that halted their progress. The bosses decided that they would blast their way through with dynamite, for the rail line must be completed at any cost.

From her experience in world-dragon handling in China, Faith suspected that not all of the outcroppings were made of sandstone. She believed that several dragons lay sleeping among the hills, camouflaged as piles of rubble, and indistinguishable from the natural formations surrounding them.

Faith feared for the life of the dragons. That night, while her family slept, she slipped out under a moonless sky and went toward the hills that lay in their way. As she walked, she sang dragon-songs, touching the base of each mound with her hands. Some that she touched proved to be made of stone, and others were dragons that were too deeply asleep to respond to her. But gradually, as the night wore on, enough of the sleeping dragons awoke, stretched, flapped their wings, and moved away to clear the path before her.

In the morning, the railroad bosses discovered that a way had opened up through the hills “as if by magic,” and they could move forward without dynamiting the hills. They declared it a miracle, and a sign that surely the railroad must be blessed.

But Faith was missing. Although the bosses wanted to move on, her father and brothers, inconsolable with grief, pleaded with the bosses to help them find her. After a long search, she was finally discovered, tangled up in some underbrush, and unconscious. When she was revived and well enough to speak, the railroad bosses asked her what happened. Not knowing the word for “dragon” in English, she told them only, “I moved the hills.”

As the tale spread up and down the railroad of how the hills had stepped aside for the intrepid young Chinese girl, the story always ended with these words:

“The moral of the story, my boys, is that ‘Faith can move mountains’.” - GWYNEACH, Iranigami Annalist (U.K.)


Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014 by Penelope Stowell. All rights reserved. This website is a work of fiction and does not depict any actual persons, creatures, places or events.