The Blue Children
(or Why You Best Not Go Where the Sun Don’t Shine)
Two children appeared in front of the bookseller’s shop
on the last day of December.
Perhaps their skin was blue because it was so cold
and they wore thin, strange-looking clothes,
or they’d come from deep below where everyone was blue,
never having felt the warmth of the sun.
The good baker and his wife took in the children, outfitted
them in proper clothes against the winter chill
and fed them fresh milk and wholesome bread made in
the baker’s oven. Soon the children’s skin turned
a bright rosy color. The baker and his wife adopted the two,
who now resembled their other six children.
One warm spring night, the boy and girl lured the other
children into the woods and coaxed them along
the river that led to the neighboring town.
They skipped and twirled with childish glee
until their way was suddenly blocked by a fearsome sight.
The wild-looking hag, known as Wollenspit,
had climbed up from a world beneath the river,
and was sporting a buzzard on her shoulder.
She had long blue hair, blue skin, and bloody stumps
instead of fingers. The children stood terrified.
She’d come to claim her children, but she couldn’t tell
which ones were hers. All were rosy colored,
not a single one was blue.
Alas, she said, her voice a rumbling earthquake, my children
obviously aren’t here. They’ve escaped for good.
She twisted the buzzard’s head from front to back
and disappeared into the river.
The children ran all the way home, climbed into their beds
and never spoke a word about what they’d seen.
As for the two who had arrived blue, they didn’t come
to breakfast. No one in town ever saw them again.
Nancy Scott is managing editor of U.S.1 Worksheets, the journal of the U.S.1 Poets’ Cooperative in New Jersey, which has met continuously since 1973. She has also authored eight collections of poetry on various subjects, including social justice, humor, ekphrasis, memoir, fairy tales, and her career as a social worker assisting homeless families and abused children. She frequently exhibits her collages and acrylics in juried shows and in online and print venues. www.nancyscott.net