I am guessing that most people wouldn’t immediately recognize where the title of this blog comes from.  It is taken from Carl Sandburg’s Rootabaga Stories, as is my nickname.  When I was a little girl, my parents got the recordings of Sandburg reading his stories and my sister and I listened to them most nights before bed.

Actually, at the time I preferred a tape of lullabies because there was one section in the stories (The Two Skyscrapers Who Decided To Have A Child, to be exact) which was terribly scary to me.  My sister is three years younger than I am, and goodness knows I didn’t want to admit that I was scared of something she wasn’t afraid of at all!  Every night we would alternate, and the nights the Sandburg stories went in, I would lie awake in bed waiting for that phrase (“Yah yah, blah blah, yoh, yoh,”) to pass.  (“Many lives lost, many lives lost.”)

It probably seems strange at this point that I would have named a blog after stories that scared me, but it was really just that one.  These stories threaded through my childhood in special ways.  We spent summers up in the mountains of North Carolina, and would go to the Carl Sandburg Home to watch the Flat Rock Playhouse apprentices perform selections from the stories.  The sound of Mr. Sandburg reading his works (aside from certain scary bits) resonates in my mind to this day, and the way he manipulates language, in my opinion, makes Seuss look like a Dick and Jane book.  (Okay not quite, but you get the idea.)

If you have ever watched the little corn begin to march across the black lands and then slowly change to big corn and go marching on from the little corn moon of summer to the big corn harvest moon of autumn, then you must have guessed who it is that helps the corn come along. It is the corn fairies. Leave out the corn fairies and there wouldn’t be any corn.

I spent August and part of September this year in Illinois, and let me just say, it’s very flat.  Very, very flat.  But I saw the corn marching, and I know that the corn is no good unless there are corn fairies.  The corn fairies laugh, and the corn fairies sew, and the corn fairies work hard because they wear overalls — I am trying to do the same, except for the overalls part.

My name here, White Horse Girl, is from a different story.  My husband gets referred to as the Blue Wind Boy, also from the same story.

“They were sitting together and talking to each other, sometimes singing, in a place where the land runs high and tough rocks reach up. And they were looking out across water, blue water as far as the eye could see. And away far off the blue waters met the blue sky.

“‘Look!’ said the Boy, ‘that’s where the blue winds begin.’

“‘Look!’ said the Girl, ‘that’s where the white horses come from.’

“And then nearer to the land came thousands in an hour, millions in a day, white horses, some white as snow, some like new washed sheep wool, some white as silver ribbons of the new moon.

“I asked them, ‘Whose place is this?’ They answered, ‘It belongs to us; this is what we started for; this is where the white horses come from; this is where the blue winds begin.'”

I think my beloved Blue Wind Boy and I are much like the pair in the story.  We both have different goals, different dreams which we are seeking, but they complement each other, and we can travel to find our place together.  I’m hoping that we won’t have to disappear like they did, of course.

So there you have it.  Esoteric references to children’s literature: I can has them.  And now, so can has you.

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