The Willow Tree Goblin

Long ago, a goblin lived beneath a willow, where daylight was green, and leaves rustled in the breeze.

His name was Willow – Will for short. He was friends with a magpie that landed on the topmost branch each day to share gossip.

One day, as Will watched a robin build a nest, the tree swayed under the weight of the magpie, fully-grown with a blue and green sheen. Will was about to salute it, “Hello Mr Magpie. How are you today and how are your wife and children?” when it croaked, “Beware!” Storm clouds drifted overhead and blocked the sun.

“Hide or run for your life!” The magpie was about to take off when a fork of lightning struck out of nowhere. The bird vanished.

Will magically blended into the bark and shut his eyes, counting under his breath to work out how far away the storm was. But no thunder came.

A poke in the ribs made him open them. Before him stood the fiercest weather witch he had ever seen.

“I need your help,” she said.

Her voice was surprisingly tuneful for a weather witch.

“How can I be of assistance?” Will was polite, especially to witches.

“There’s something wrong with my wand. It produces lightning but no thunder. It’s made of willow and I hoped you could spare a branch.”

Will was eager to help. He bowed and shimmied up the willow.

“If I find you a suitable branch, do you promise to bring back the magpie?”

“Certainly,” replied the witch, crossing her fingers behind her back. Will was too busy to notice, looking for the perfect branch – the one the magpie loved to sit on. He snapped it off and threw it to the witch.

“Now,” he said, swinging down, “I would be grateful if you would return the magpie to his family.”

The witch grabbed the branch, ripped off the leaves, and pointed it at Will. “One branch will not suffice. I want your tree.” Another lightning strike and Will turned to stone. The witch propped him against the trunk as if he was asleep.

He’s still there, although everyone believes he’s a sleeping gnome.

Kim M. Russell, 3rd May 2020


A fairy tale for Poets and Storytellers United Writers’ Pantry

I wrote this during last Tuesday’s ‘Shut Up and Write’ on-line session, which is run by the Norfolk Library and Information Service and the American Library in Norwich.  We had a choice of three prompts, one of which was write a fairy tale, and the word count challenge was 450 – mine came to 634 words, which I’ve  edited down to 358 for the Writers’ Pantry.  

37 thoughts on “The Willow Tree Goblin

  1. Aw gee, I wanted him to escape!

    Do you think you could rewrite it to 369 words max? Or find another piece to share with the Pantry? Sorry, but it will have to be deleted because it’s nearly twice the word count asked for.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I clung to every word, mesmerized by the vivid images of wonderful nature you paint with your words. Your story makes for a beautiful read and even the unhappy ending has a lesson; we don’t always have what we want. Thank you for sharing it, Kim.

    p.s. Does the ‘Shut Up and Write’ on-line session have a link to peruse? I find this inspiring as I could do with more shutting up and writing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Khaya! I joined on Facebook. It’s one of the online activities offered online by Norfolk Libraries and Information Services in the UK. I understand that other libraries in the UK have their own versions, but I’m not sure about elsewhere in the world, although i see no reason why you couldn’t join in via Facebook. You can write anything you want in the given hour. Under normal circumstances, the sessions take place at The Forum, the main library in Norwich, where we have The American Library, just past the children’s section. They do sessions throughout November for NaNoWriMo, too, but we’re hoping that things will be back to normal by then. . You could try searching for Shut Up and Write either on FB or on Google. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much, Kim. I will search. And you are right there should be other versions around the net.

        I really find it a wonderful idea to have this time dedicated (and sort-of accountable to others) to writing.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Kim, rhis is a fine story. I would have liked to be a witch but by body I’m forced to the werewolf role. That isn’t all bad, I enjoy those monthly fangs and have acquired a taste for ladies’ blood.
    If I remember correctly some water witches use willow branches as divining rods, a forked tree branch portion. Growing up on a farm, we had three wells located by them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jim. Your comment reminded me of the film American Werewolf in London, a favourite of mine. I once knew a water diviner in Ireland, a fascinating ability.


  4. Noooo! Both a compelling story in itself and something that makes me curious if there’s more. And Will…is he still keeping watch?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You had me at “where daylight was green,”.. 😀 This is absolutely riveting, Kim! I enjoyed visualizing the magic wand, the willow tree, the goblin and the gnome. 💝

    Liked by 1 person

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