Joanne McFall

Joanne McFall is a writer from south east Ireland. She is founder of an Irish based crafts company which facilitates training and produces organic craft products. She has given presentations and workshops in Boston, Birmingham, Holywell and nationwide throughout Ireland. Traditional craft training is facilitated to many different groups and centres with particular emphasis on vulnerable and marginalised groups such as youth justice and addiction support. In many instances participants are trained to start their own business and progress in their personal and professional development. The company also produces organic soap and candles using extracts from the natural, wild landscape. 

Other Moon

Many moons ago, a young orphan boy was adopted by a kind and wealthy family who lived in a large castle near a mystical forest. The marvellous castle was on a high mountain surrounded by a small village, many trees and most special of all – its own light green moon. The nearby forest had its own moon too, of bright colour violet which was full and bright each month of the year. On the mountain and in the forest flowed two pure, sparkling rivers and each month when the two moons were full, the reflection of each one could be seen for many miles around due to its intensity. When the forest moon was full its reflection shone brightly in the clear river water and could be seen from the mountain and when the mountain moon was full its reflection shone brightly in the clear river water and could be seen down in the forest below.   

          One year on the third last month both reflection of mountain moon and forest moon could not be seen causing great distress and worry throughout both landscapes and people. The orphan boy, now a wealthy young Prince had married a young lady from the mountain and they lived in the large castle on the mountain which he was ruler of and soon to be ruler of all the mountain. It began to snow heavily at the beginning of that same month which continued to last with a cold grey sky, air and ground. One night in the first month of the new year a wise old woman who lived in a long tunnel inside the mountain emerged with bags of wonderful handmade tapestries to sell. She knocked on the door of the castle which was answered by the Prince who invited her in and gave her warm soup and bread. She sold a tapestry with an admirable mountain scene which the Prince admired, wondering who had made it. The old woman told him that it had been made by someone who lived in the forest and that the reflection of both mountain and forest moon would return when he had found the person and given them special materials to make a new tapestry of mountain and forest landscapes, complete with their moons and river reflections. 

          She gave him a bag filled with many containers and materials to be used in making the new tapestry. The Prince and his wife had not been able to have a child which he told the old woman about and she told him that when he had found the person in the forest who made the tapestry that his wish would be

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granted when one more special tapestry had been completed. The Prince set off for the forest below the mountain early the next morning, it had been snowing heavily, much of it remaining all throughout the landscape. It was still winter and fear and worry remained all throughout both landscapes that the moon’s reflections would not return before spring, causing the bad weather to remain. With the tapestry folded carefully under his arm he followed the long flowing mountain river which thankfully had not frozen despite all the harsh weather, arriving down to the forest river, making his way through masses of trees and wildlife. As he approached a tall bare tree he noticed a pure white wolf sitting at its base, its sparkling bright eyes watching him with great interest. ‘I’m looking for the person who made this tapestry’ declared the Prince, unfolding it and laying it on the ground in front of the wolf. The wolf nodded and smiled as it examined the tapestry of the mountain, it looked sad, shaking its head. ‘Our forest moon’s reflection has not been seen for some time, many believe it to be gone forever’. It had its head down as it circled the tapestry admiring its delicate craftwork. ‘It has been the same with us on the mountain’, replied the Prince, ’our moon’s bright green reflection has been such a loss to both mountain and forest’. The wolf returned to the base of the old tree and sat down, curling its long white tail around its legs. ‘I have come in search of the one who made this tapestry and others like it to give them these supplies to make another one which will help us’.

          The wolf’s eyes lit up on hearing this. The Prince noticed that one of the wolf’s eyes was light green and the other was violet. There was a deep gaze of longing and sadness in the mysterious eyes of the wolf which unnerved the Prince making him look away. ‘I may be able to help you’, declared the wolf, standing up and wiping the falling snow from the tapestry with its long tail. ‘Wrap up the tapestry again and follow me’. The Prince rolled up the tapestry, placed it back under his arm, the bag of materials still around his shoulder and followed the wolf through the forest. The Prince had to move fast to keep up with the wolf as they followed the path of the forest river, thankfully still flowing clearly like the mountain one. There were many wooden huts along by the riverside which forest folk lived in, the Prince noticed how small and simple they appeared compared to his opulent castle and he also noticed the poor forest folk around them, some stacking bundles of sticks, others sweeping the snow from around them and the huts as best as they could. Small wisps of smoke arose from the small chimneys

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of the huts and the Prince could see how many of the folk needed better clothing in such bad weather.

          Soon they arrived at a large bridge where a woodcutter was chopping wood. He was tall, kind looking and dressed simply just like the forest folk. The wolf ran on ahead and the Prince, tired from all the tracking so far, was not able to keep up with it. The woodcutter paused from his work and looked calmly at the Prince who explained to him why he was there. ‘I know who makes these tapestries and how to get there. They are well known throughout the forest and sell well to those who are able to afford them’. The woodcutter placed the wood which he had chopped into piles next to a tree and placed a large covering over them. He carried a large heavy axe over his shoulder and a smaller one in his other hand and with a nod beckoned to the Prince to follow him. They journeyed further through the forest, through the cold deep snow following the path of the faithful river.

          The Prince noticed many more wooden huts and poor forest folk as they moved onwards. It was now around midday and not snowing as heavily but so much from the previous weeks still remained everywhere.  Along the way the woodcutter picked up two bags of wood which he had cut earlier and beckoned for the Prince to pick up two more. The woodcutter did not speak much but communicated well through his gestures and actions. The Prince struggled with the bags but did his best to keep up with the woodcutter for fear of getting lost in the forest which he was not familiar with. He frowned and sighed when he realised that they had turned and were heading back towards the same bridge which they had already passed.

            The woodcutter paused to take out a container from his pocket and putting down the heavy bags of wood he scooped up some water from the river and gave it to the Prince. The Prince gladly drank it quickly handing the empty container back to the woodcutter. He smiled and retrieved some more water for himself to drink, placed the container back in his pocket and moved onwards through the forest, the Prince following him as fast as he could. They arrived back at the bridge which the forest river flowed fast beneath. The Prince gasped as at that moment a clap of thunder and flash of lightning emanated throughout the forest and a large white Angel appeared at the bridge. It announced itself as Angel

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of the forest and declared that a storm was coming which would last for the next three days.

          When the Prince found enough courage to look up he noticed that one of the eyes of the Angel was light green and the other one was violet. ‘You must return to the mountain at once, it won’t be safe for you to stay here’, said the Angel, looking down at the Prince. ‘No, I cannot leave until I have found the one who makes tapestries like the one I have here. I must deliver this bag of goods so that another one can be made, it has to be done’, replied the Prince loudly with much distress. ‘Quickly then’, said the Angel, as a sharp cold wind began to blow bringing with it more heavy snow, ‘the woodcutter will bring you to where you need to go’. As the woodcutter led the worried Prince across the bridge struggling with the bags, the icy wind blowing it from side to side, the Angel stayed over them, spreading its large wings across the bridge. When they reached the other side the Angel flew down to them. She handed a small white flower to the Prince who she instructed to give to the tapestry maker to use, then departed from them.

          The Prince placed the flower into the bag along with the other goods and followed the woodcutter onwards through the forest, heads down as the strength of the storm increased and it grew colder. With much difficulty they moved onwards through the snow filled forest, as evening approached, and arrived at a small stone cottage. The woodcutter knocked at the door which was answered by a young boy which the Prince smiled at, wishing he had a son like him. As the boy led the way into the cottage, the woodcutter took the wood from the bags and stacked it in a pile near the glowing fire. At the table was a tall lady dressed in white sewing a colourful pattern onto a long brown cloth. Before the Prince could speak, the lady told them that he had found the creator of the tapestries and to leave the bag of goods given to him by the old woman next to her.

          The woodcutter picked up the empty bags placing the axes into one of them, bowed to the lady and quietly left the cottage, venturing back out into the storm. The boy made soup and hot tea for the Prince which he drank with great delight. He rolled out the tapestry which he had folded carefully under his arm and the lady smiled looking at it, saying that she has made it many moons ago. The Prince looked all around the cottage which was filled with many crafts,

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tapestries on the walls, bottles and jars of herbs, flowers and liquids on the shelves. The boy placed more wood on the fire and swept the floor. The Prince noticed how both he and the lady had hair as white as snow, the lady had long white hair and wore a white gown with specks of violet. She continued to work on the tapestry at the table. The Prince told her the story of why he was there. The lady remained silent as she took out the goods from the bag and placed them on the table. Nodding, she replied that she would be able to make the tapestry but that she needed two more special objects. ‘The first one is a seed of white, light green and violet colours which is buried underground near the river in the forest’, smiled the lady, ’You will stay here until the storm has passed and help my son with tasks that need to be completed. After that you will go into the forest and search for the seed then bring it back here. Don’t worry, you will receive help’. She began to work on the new tapestry for the Prince.     

          Over the next two days the Prince worked hard filling bags of goods with the boy. On the third day the storm began to ease but it remained very cold with much snow still on the ground. The moon was full on the third night but still without its reflection in the river below. The woodcutter arrived at the cottage with more wood which he and the boy stacked by the fire. The Prince followed the woodcutter into the moonlit forest, through much snow, towards the bridge by the river. He told the Prince that he had to go as he had more wood to cut nearby but that he would return soon. The Prince looked all around the ground near the bridge not knowing where to start looking for the seed. Sighing, he wiped snow from the edge of the bridge, sat down and looked ahead in despair.      

          Suddenly he heard footsteps behind him and as he stood up the white wolf ran in front of him and sat down beside a nearby tree. The Prince described to the wolf what he was looking for and the wolf told him that it was called the moon – forest seed which grew in an underground garden in the forest. The wolf led the way and the prince followed it up along by the river in the moonlit forest. They arrived at a large willow tree and the wolf pressed its paw on a large white stone near the tree. It revealed a large hole in the ground leading into a long tunnel which the wolf ventured into, followed by the Prince. The tunnel was bright with moonlight and glowing light from insects which flew around it. They arrived at a small colourful garden which had a fountain of water from the river gushing up from it. The wolf nodded to the Prince and they began to dig the soil next to it,

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the wolf scraping with its paws and the Prince using his hands to scoop up as much soil as he could.

          Suddenly the Prince spotted a glowing aura of white, light green and violet light and found the moon-forest seed surrounded by an orb of white light. The round seed was just as the lady had described, a mixture of light green, violet, with specks of white. The Prince carefully wrapped it in some leaves on the ground nearby and he and the wolf departed from the underground garden making their way back into the forest. The wolf pressed its paw down on the large white stone once more which covered up the tunnel. It led the way back through the forest in the glorious light of the violet moon. The wolf ran quickly out of the Prince’s sight and at the edge of the forest the woodcutter emerged to guide him the rest of the way to the warm stone cottage. Carefully taking the seed wrapped in leaves from his pocket he marvelled at its bright glow as he walked towards the door of the cottage where the boy was waiting to let him in. The lady had been busy working on the tapestry – a magnificent display of mountain and forest, each with its flowing river and two moons of different colour, and most captivating of all – the reflection of each moon sparkling in the river water below.

          The Prince handed the seed to the lady and gently she placed it on the tapestry, in the centre of the moon over the mountain. It began to glow throughout the moon and its reflection, forming waves of light green, violet and white light. The lady instructed her son and the Prince to gather up the bags of goods which they had prepared and to bring them to the forest folk who lived in the wooden huts. As they did so the lady worked on adding colour to the new tapestry. When they returned the lady told the Prince that he must complete a final task before the new tapestry could be brought back to the mountain. ‘One more seed is required for the tapestry’, declared the lady, ‘at the edge of the forest is a large wall covered in ivy. At the top of the wall surrounded by ivy and dark green moss you will find a second seed which you must retrieve to be part of the tapestry. Don’t worry, you will receive help’. The woodcutter was waiting outside the cottage for the Prince and he led the way through the forest to the high wall which the lady had spoken of.

          The woodcutter went further on into the forest to gather wood as the Prince tried to climb the high wall but was unable to. Suddenly the wind began to increase in strength once more and the Angel of the forest appeared next to the

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Prince. It flew over him, giving him extra strength to climb the high wall and when he reached the top he searched through the ivy and moss. A bright ray of white light emerged through the ivy and revealed another seed of white, light green and violet colours surrounded by an aura of white light. The Angel guided the Prince safely back down to the forest floor and gave him a small piece of soft white cloth to wrap the seed in. He did so and as the Angel departed the woodcutter arrived with more bags of wood and led the way back through the snowy forest, back to the glowing warmth of the small stone cottage.

          Unwrapping the glowing seed in the white cloth, gazing at its aura and bright colours, the Prince handed it carefully to the lady who placed it onto the tapestry, onto the violet moon over the forest. It began to sparkle, a mixture of white, light green and violet light, just like the moon over the mountain. The two moon reflections on the tapestry began to sparkle and shine. ‘The tapestry is now complete’, smiled the lady, ‘you may take it back to the mountain and in time your wish will be granted. And on the next full moon over both mountain and forest, the glorious river moon reflections will be with us once more’. The Prince thanked the lady as she wrapped the tapestry carefully in strong cloth and stood before him. Taken aback, he noticed that one of her eyes was light green and the other one violet. She handed him the tapestry which he carefully placed under his arm, bidding farewell to the lady and her son he headed out into the forest. He was soon joined by the faithful woodcutter who led the way along by the river all the way to the edge of the forest where he waved goodbye to the Prince who began his ascent back up the mountain to his wife and castle.

          He instructed two of his servants to place a golden frame around the tapestry and to hang it on the wall. His wife gazed joyfully at it, admiring such wonderful colour and especially captivated by the swirling light and colour of the two moons and their reflections on the river. As the final days of winter passed and transformed into the first days of spring all the snow over both mountain and forest landscape began to melt and new spring flowers of many colours began to emerge. The Prince and his wife were overjoyed with the arrival of a child later that year and both mountain and forest was filled with much happiness and relief at the return of the sparkling reflections of both moons in the gentle river water below.

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