A Basket of Bones by Silver RavenWolf 24 October 2013


Basket of Bones by Silver RavenWolf
Basket of Bones by Silver RavenWolf

A Basket of Bones
By Silver RavenWolf
copyright 2013

Once upon a time there was a Braucher (healer) named Victor who lived in the Black Forest. In the autumn of 1865 he knew his time to pass beyond the veil was near. Victor got down on his knees and prayed to that which runs the universe: “Spirit,” he said. “I know I haven’t got long to live; but, there is so much pain and suffering in the world I just don’t want to go. I have tried to be a good father, a fine husband, and a compassionate neighbor. My wife has gone before me, and I am so old that I have outlived all neighbors and friends. My son lives far away — and with the war, I don’t even know if he is alive. Yet…Still…I feel that there is so much more good work to do.”

Victor sighed and bowed his head for a moment. The room became deadly quiet. Not a creak. Not even a tick from the clock on the mantle. The hair on the back of Victor’s neck stood up and he suddenly felt overwhelmed with an amazing flood of pure love.

Victor raised his old and weary eyes, shocked to see a woman standing there. Eyes of jet, skin of chocolate, and a smile that lit the room, she bent toward him and touched the top of his head lightly. His entire body felt electrified.

“Victor!” she said, in a voice that echoed around him like the flapping wings of countless doves. “Your prayer has been heard. Tomorrow a woman will come to see you. She is a doll maker. She will sit with you so that you won’t be alone when you pass. And as the hours increase, she will rest in the rocking chair beside your bed. She will rock and sew and talk. As she stitches, the joy of your power — your love, your compassion, your ability to heal — will be passed to the bones. And even though you will go softly beyond the veil with great comfort, you will leave behind that which you know to be true — love, protection, wealth, health, and the answers to the mysteries. These energies — that which you respected and tried so hard to share — will be stitched into her work. Blessings upon you, Victor. We shall meet again soon.”

In the night, Victor fell ill. He passed from dream state to consciousness. In the small hours of the morning he heard the hoot of an owl far off in the woods, followed by a soft knock on his bedroom door. “Who are you?” he asked in a frightened voice as a small woman entered the room carrying an oversized basket of material, yarn, herbs and thread.

She set the basket down and came to his bedside, reaching out to hold his hand softly. “It is I,” she said quietly. “The doll maker. I am here to grant your wish.”

Victor sighed. “So? It wasn’t a dream?”

She smiled. “Not at all.”

After seeing to his comfort, she sat beside him in the rocking chair. “Tell me about your life,” she said. And he did. For hours she stitched, stuffed, and sewed. Sometimes nodding her head at his stories. Sometimes smiling. Once or twice, a tear drifted down her pale cheek.

By dawn she was finished.

And Victor had slipped peacefully beyond the veil.

The doll maker carefully put her finished art into her basket, then began to chant in a soft, singsong voice. Her musical whisper circled around the room. She finished with, “Peace be with you. Only the good remains.”

Midmorning found the doll maker sitting quietly in her market stall, surrounded by her precious dolls and stuffed animals.

“What’s this?” said one male customer, looking at the basket on the counter. “A basket of bones? Yuck.”

“It is what you see,” said the doll maker.

“All I see is crap, lady.”

The doll maker smiled. The man walked on. As the market was busy on Friday’s many folks stopped to look at the basket of bones. Some stared at them with curiosity. Others with distaste. A few reached their hands into the basket, and quickly pulled back as if they felt an electrical shock.

No one wanted the bones.

No one wanted what Victor had to share.

More customers. One or two inquiries. Each time someone asked how much the bones were, she would answer with a question, “What do you see?” With each answer, she turned her head and quietly said, “I’m sorry. I’ve changed my mind. They are not for sale.”

Shadows grow early in the autumn chill. The doll maker wrapped her shawl around her shoulders and shivered. Soon, she would close up her stall. She stood stiffly, bending to pick up the basket of bones.

“Wait!” came a frantic whisper.

The doll maker turned to face a young boy, his hesitant face peering at her in the dusk. “How much for the basket of stuffed doll bones?” he asked.

“That depends,” said the doll maker.

“Depends on what?”

“On what you see in these bones.”

The boy looked at her, his brow furrowed.

“Tell the truth,” she said. “What do you see?”

The boy bit his lower lip, as if unsure to answer what he really thought. Finally, he said, “I see light.”

“Well then,” said the doll maker. “These bones must belong to you.”

The boy paid for the basket of stuffed bones, grinning from ear to ear. As he turned away, the doll maker said. “I’ve never seen you before. You don’t live in town.”

“No,” said the boy. “My father and I live far away. We got word that my grandfather was dying. I never met him. And now…now it is too late. My grandfather passed away this morning, and we only just arrived.”

“That so,” said the doll maker. “Do tell. What was your grandfather’s name?”

“Victor,” said the boy. “Victor Geist.

Steps for making the basket of bones.
Steps for making the basket of bones.
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48 thoughts on “A Basket of Bones by Silver RavenWolf 24 October 2013”

  1. I love this. You have inspired me… I need to make my own basket of bones now. I was just getting ready to get rid of some white fabric and I think I just found its purpose. I am assuming the herbs are ones that are selected for the intention of each bone? I will have to do some research on what herbs to use. I am currently working on a baby doll for a friend of mine who is having a baby soon and intend on stuffing a pouch of lavender in the head to soothe the little one at night. When I am done with that special baby, I will get busy on my bones. I will keep them out all year. Would you mind if I were to print out a copy of your story? I would like to keep it with my bones. I come from a Catholic family who find my practices odd and I’m sure a basket of bones will spark up curiosity and the story would be nice to have on hand. Thanks again for an inspiring story and project.

    1. I think it is wonderful that you want to make your own basket of bones! The doll baby will be a beautiful gift. Sure, you can print out the story to keep with your bones — that would be such an honor.

  2. The ending gave me chills! What a sweet and inspiring story and project! I need to make this! 😀

  3. That brought a tear to my eye! What a beautiful story! I had to share it with my friends I hope they give it a chance and read it! Thank you Silver (I feel that is much to informal for such a wise woman but calling you Ms. Ravenwolf seems too formal – I guess I could call you friend since you have helped me in more ways than I can state, especially in my confused state of spirituality!) 😉 , I needed this story today! ❤

  4. This brought a tear here also, what a moving story. Thanks you for all of the wonderful work you do! )O( Blessings always.

  5. This is twice reading a story from you has turned a room silent and still. The other was the conclusion of “Sacred Flame”, where you talk about your Craft father. Chills, Lady, Chills. 🙂

  6. I love when you are inspired to write and post short stories. Thank you for posting your stories, I love them.

  7. I love the way you unfold a story. The ending brought a tear. Interesting commentary on family dynamics.

  8. Great story and basket, thank you.
    Thought you might like my machinima animation Samhain Song,
    a celebration of this magical pagan festival

    Bright Blessings By Star & Stone ~

  9. I loved your story and want to make these basket of bones for my next Samhain. Do you have a pattern and information? I went to the steps for making basket of bones but it just gave me the pictures. Thank you so much.

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