Pickenin's Rock

A Fable for CGI Animation, 2014

   After breakfast, it was off to the garden to stock his tackle. Pickenin loved to scrabble about in the dirt for the big, juicy grubbies the fishes loved so much. He'd pop them in a jar, slip them in his pouch, and set to packing his supper. Then, with all the right bits in all the right places, Pickenin would set off, past the Maribelle market, through the town square, over the Glassy River Bridge, and down to the river gorge below.

   The Glassy River Gorge was a deep cleft in the earth's skin; its rocky cliffs cut straight down, suddenly relenting to the meandering shoals of the Glassy River. The townsfolk of Merry Vale were proud of their gorge and decided that, indeed, every good gorge deserved a good bridge. And thus, the Glassy River Bridge was spanned. It was tall and strong, with grand arches of cut stone. Hearty vines of Dragonbells curled up the bridge's single, stone pillar, reaching for the giant Faerie Willow shading the bridge's pass. Not all bridges are chosen as bastions of the magnificent giants, for the great Faerie Willow is the goodly guardian of only the most noble bridges. All this to say, the townsfolk were awfully proud of their large river bridge, and Pickenin was too. Often, in the heat of the day, Pickenin would fish in its cool shadow and watch the gentle current curl and babble around its footstone. He would then look up to the strong arches stretching towards the sky, and smile, for this was his favourite bridge. 

   On some days, Pickenin would even climb to the top. He would spread his supper of figs and ham under the thick boughs of the Faerie Willow, and watch the dusk colours dance about as the sun settled into the horizon. Pickenin decided that it was altogether more beautiful than anything he had ever seen before. And so it was, until one very particular morning... 

   It was with a start, whilst Pickenin was sipping his hot apricot tea and gazing upon his favorite hillside, that he suddenly noticed the sun was especially bright. Alas! The Fireblossoms were blazing with every color imaginable! And as he was pawing about in the garden for the big, juicy grubbies, he suddenly noticed that the balmy spring air was especially sweet. And later, when Pickenin found himself wading in the Glassy River, he suddenly noticed its shoals were especially calm, and the water swirling around his river boots especially cool. Now, this was a goodly cool, the kind he sometimes found on the underside of his soft bed-cushion, or in the peaceful shade of the giant Willow. Pickenin smiled. The river's soft ripples lapped over the old, tattered leather of his river boots; indeed, these were his favourite pair of river boots. Nevermind he didn't own another pair; these were his favourite pair, anyways.  And with that, his eyes caught a flash of colour!  

   To Pickenin's delight, two fiery Dragonbells were caught up in a breeze, prancing about in rich spirals of red and orange. Now this was quite a sight, mind you, for Dragonbells prance about for only the noblest of fishermen. Pick smiled as the blossoms dipped gently into the river. His eyes followed them, swirling and bobbing, and it was then that he saw it! In the water, just up ahead. There! The soft current spun the Dragonbells around an eddy behind it as it glimmered just under the water's surface. Peculiar, he thought! Was it a speckled fish? A spotted turtle? Pickenin dropped his pole and kersplooshed excitedly closer, sending a gaggle of ripples over the sparkle up ahead.

   He huffed and puffed, fumbled and sloshed, and suddenly, among the mounds of stones tucked in the riverbed, Pickenin came upon it. The wavelets softened and its undulating form took shape. Pickenin's heart leapt in his chest, for there in the water was the most beautiful rock he had ever seen! 

   The sunlight danced its rippled stripes over the stone's smooth, freckled skin. It was just a few shades brighter than the rest of the rocks, as if the sun had decided to save its especially shiny bits just for this one. But how would Pick go about harvesting such a precious thing? A net, perhaps? Better yet, what about a crafted, wooden widget fitted with all sorts of pulleys and springs in which to pluck the stone from the riverbed? No, he didn't want to startle the rock, and Pickenin wasn't entirely sure what a wooden widget was, anyways. Indeed, he would use his hands. All this to say, it seemed an eternity for Pickenin to work up the courage to pull it up from the riverbed. Finally, with a deep breath--

   Pickenin lifted the rock from the water and held it, lost in its beauty. 

   'Twas a magnificent rock about yay up, and yay around; no bigger than Pick's head. Its skin was smooth and grey, giving way to little coloured flecks along its belly. Pickenin barely caught his breath before he was excitedly thrashing to the river's bank; he had to show his friends!

   Giggling and heaving, Pick grappled up the gorge, thrust through the thickets and burst into the bustling crowds of the Maribelle Market...