Beneath the Eaves of the lightning tree sits Old Mother; waiting. When the cold ground thaws and brings the rain that sets the grasses hissing and the twisting shoots bursting from the earth still she sits and listens for each approaching dawn and the promise of fresh life and the children of the earth that it will bring.

As the ground grows warmer and the days longer she sits beneath the branches of the tree that shall always be hers she hides from the rays of the warming sun, dozing amongst the droning insects and the twittering birds that come to watch her; and they too wait.

As the leaves begin to fall and rustle and play at her feet she hardly seems to notice the wind tugging at her shawl at all. Nor does she pay heed when the birds begin to disappear and the creatures of the wood at the edge of which she sits begin to squirrel away their food, expecting any day now the cold winds to blow from the north.

When the snow falls and the air is crisp and still, the days short and the stars at night so bright still she sits in the moonlight, frozen crystals of ice and snow in her hair reflecting the light of the weak sun later after a thin dawn has broken, but the chill in the air has not. Still, through cold day and colder night she watches, and waits for those that will come, they that take leave to ask things of her.

So it is with the Artisan Cook, who approaches Old Mother for her help one sunny spring morning. Sal is a woman who feels that the King has been beguiled by a foreign cook, Shar-i, who creates tasting menus with inspiring titles such as, “The Lettuce that saw a slug” and the like, and Sal is not impressed. Sal is more a meat and two veg kind of cook, and so she seeks help from Old Mother to set the King back on the straight and narrow. Yet things do not always head in the direction that you intend them to...

"The Artisan Cook's Tale" is the first story of four that make up the collection, "Tales From Under the Lightning Tree". The other three are:

Summer: The Minstrel's Tale

Autumn: The Miller's Tale

Winter: The Gravedigger's Tale

They are available to purchase separately or as a complete collection of all four stories. They can be read stand-alone and in any order.


“Tales From the Lightning Tree” are designed to echo on some familiar folklore settings, but at the same time to have something in common with horror stories too. It can be assumed that the person who petitions Old Mother for her aid is not going to always get quite what they have requested, and that everything can be said to be not quite turning out the way they want to. The trick is in waiting to see not just how they fall, but how far they fall as well. The stories are also quite tongue in cheek.