- Behind The Scenes
- Raconteur of fanciful tales! - The Hindu
- The Magic Harmonica and Other Fanciful Tales
Old stone building foundations, mining sink holes, and a pre-civil war graveyard offer ghostly reminders of an all-but-forgotten nineteenth century civilization. The grape vines entangled in the tree canopies prevents sunlight from penetrating into the forest interior giving the woods an eerie quality. Anthony's Wilderness gets few visitors except for hikers.
It is not uncommon to hike through this wilderness and not see a single human being. On the first morning of my hike I was mystified when I approached a shelter and noticed a telephone on the outside of the shelter wall. It was a black wall phone with a long cord dangling below it. Like a fool I walked up to it and put the receiver to my ear. A recorded message said "I can't believe you thought this was a real phone!
I immediately took the phone apart to discover it contained two batteries and a small cassette tape. As I got over my initial stupidity I had to laugh at this great practical joke. I reassembled the phone and returned it to its place on the shelter wall. I assumed the numerous fresh boot prints in the mud near the phone belonged to the prankster.
The large boot size told me it was a man and I could see he was also hiking in a northerly direction. I could visualize him installing the phone at the shelter and laughing. This jokester was confident someone would fall for his trick and didn't feel the need to wait to see the results of his cleverness. I wished I could stay to see if anyone else might fall for this prank but I had a few more miles to hike before dark. It was late afternoon when I approached a stream where I saw an old blackened fire pit ringed by a circle of large rocks.
There was a small rectangular area of bare ground nearby where other hikers had apparently pitched their tent.
Behind The Scenes
I decided this was a good place to camp and began to empty the contents of my pack. It was then I noticed a couple of peculiar objects on the trunks of two nearby trees. When I got closer I saw one of the objects was a beige-colored electrical wall outlet. Five feet away nailed to a tree trunk was a water spigot. Obviously, the prankster had paid a visit here also.
Over the next two days my hike took on a new focus. I became very attentive to my surroundings not wanting to miss any additional gags I was sure were waiting to be experienced. On the morning of the second day I was not surprised when I found four large grape vines strung horizontally across the trail at different heights to resemble a split-rail fence. Hanging from one of the vines was a small rectangular yellow sign that read "Warning Electrical Fence". I loved the imagination of this practical joker.
His jokes were well conceived and well executed. Anthony's Wilderness. The guide book suggested this was a good place to observe migrating sparrows and warblers. The male warblers in particular would be in their brightest red and orange spring plumage to attract the most desirable females. I could hear the singing of many warblers but it wasn't until I walked around the caved-in roof of a weathered barn that I saw my first bird. I could see the top of its reddish head sticking out from behind a stack of old wooden shingles.
I immediately thought it might be a red-bellied woodpecker or perhaps a rare warbler so I proceeded very cautiously. As I approached the bird from the rear I thought it odd the bird hadn't moved during the twenty seconds I had been watching it. When I got a full view of the bird I understood why. It was a two foot tall plastic pink flamingo, commonly used as a lawn ornament. The prankster had struck again! I can't tell you how stupid I felt to be duped once more yet I had to laugh out loud.
I determined to quicken my pace in hopes of meeting the prankster before the end of my hike. On Sunday it was late in the day when I arrived at the last shelter in St. There standing in front of the shelter was a tall, slender, red-bearded hiker with a cigarette dangling from his lips. He appeared deep in thought.
Raconteur of fanciful tales! - The Hindu
When I approached he turned to me and said, "Oh great, you're just in time to help me! Looking up at me he handed me a piece of chalk and said "trace the outline of my body on the shelter floor". I proceeded to do so realizing I had finally found the prankster. When I finished tracing his body outline he stood up, examined my handiwork and nodded his approval. He then opened his pack and extracted a large roll of yellow tape, approximately five inches in width. He stretched three, ten-foot long pieces of this tape across the entrance to the shelter.
I laughed with joy at his cleverness. I was also quite pleased I could participate in a small way in helping him stage this gag.
- Magic Harmonica and Other Fanciful Tales?
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When he was satisfied the "crime scene" looked perfect we exchanged introductions. He said his trail name was Bilge Rat. As he worked as an engineer aboard a tanker his trail name was an easy selection. His eyes twinkled when I told him about how I have been duped by several of his gags. He couldn't have been happier. He said he didn't often experience the payoff of his practical jokes. It was enough for him to create a unique gag then walk away feeling confident it was likely to amuse one or more hikers.
The Magic Harmonica and Other Fanciful Tales
We hiked together for four miles until we reached County Road This marked the northern end of St. Anthony's Wilderness and the end of my three-day hike. Bilge Rat was continuing his thru hike to Maine. I stuck out my thumb to hitch a ride to the nearby town of Pine Grove where I parked my car. The first vehicle that drove by was a mud-covered red pickup truck.
I yelled to him "are you going to create any new practical jokes this week?
Our crusade was part of a campaign by a coalition of environmental organizations to drive ecoterrorists off the 2, mile long Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain to Mount Katahdin. The coatition shared a burning desire to preserve the A. Long ago, Iksplor was founded by the venerable Tim Vogelaar. He was respectfully called General Vogelczar because of bold, brilliant leadership on battlefields. When our courageous commander called the Iksplorers to duty, we assembled at Cedars of Lebanon where we were hidden by dense evergreen forest.
General Vogelczar divulged detailed plans for a daring nighttime raid on the Dudes, a gang of boarding school delinquents who harassed hikers and spray painted graffiti on rocks and trees. Transporting the Troops Under cover of night, we loaded our gear for the long road trip to Roan Highlands. General Vogelczar drove Maxpatch67, carrying four Youthsplorers. I drove Skydreamer, accompanied by three notable Iksplorers who were veterans of countless campaigns.
Heading east on Starstream Freeway, the veterans and I played a practical joke on the General and the Youthsplorers. Our troop transports became separated in heavy traffic. The General, unknowingly, passed us in the dark. We radioed, requesting his location. That quandary has made the story a staple in English classes in American schools, especially since Stockton was careful never to hint at what he thought the ending would be according to Hiram Collins Haydn in The Thesaurus of Book Digests, ISBN He also wrotea sequel to the story, "The Discourager of Hesitancy.
Like his contemporary Mark Twain, Stockton often pokes gentle fun at people's credulity and irrationality. For instance, the protagonist of his "A Story of Seven Devils" is a resourceful, illiterate, preacher. One Sunday, following a scolding from his overbearing wife, he stands at the pulpit and tells his parishioners that "the Bible declared that every woman in this world was possessed by seven devils. Next sermon he asks the villagers: Didn't Jesus cast seven devils from Mary Magdalene? Product Details. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. A search for a secret: a novel, By.
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In the title tale, "The Magic Harmonica," it seems like just another boring day for two castle guards, until a peddler bestows upon them a magic harmonica that will grant their fondest wishes. Wooblies, the stars of the play-within-the-play, are cute little forest dwellers. But when the forest becomes too crowded, the Wooblies have a surprising solution. Full evening. Playwrights Register Log in Wishlist 0 Shopping cart 0.
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