No Voice

Her voice disappeared. Gone. Not one croak, could she manage.

She had not been shouting or angry. No. Time with Granny was full of fun and once the school year ended on the last Friday in June, it was off to Granny for the week. They arrived on Friday and left on Friday, so Thursday was always their 4th of July.

In Ireland, the 4th July celebrations were not on the normal calendar of events, but granny had travelled over the ocean to visit a distant cousin, many a long year before and never forgot the excitement of the holiday. So here she was re-living the fun with her grandchildren.

They made a flag with coloured fabric and tied it to the yard brush. Jimmy had a feadóg stain, Joey played the washboard, Johnny was master of the spoons and Mary Kate provided the singing.

Who mentioned singing? Mary Kate lost her voice. Not a peep all day long  and the sucky sweets were no help.

Granny made warm drinks with honey and told her not to try talking, but use sign language instead. The boys, typical brothers, asked her questions all the time, but Mary Kate just shook her head and went to sit in a quiet corner with her new book.

The boys sat in a circle to practice the tunes they would play. Granny joined them with a large saucepan. Inside, stood glasses of juice. Once everyone had their juice Granny turned the saucepan upside down and began playing it like a drum.

Mary Kate, finished the mystery story and walking back through the trees she suddenly stopped. There in front of her on the narrow sun dappled path was a colourful tiny bird.

It was exactly like the one mentioned in her book: A kingfisher. The short rounded wings were whirring rapidly, it had green-blue upper parts with pale azure-blue back and a black bill. Mary Kate had never seen one in real life before and this was almost magical. The bird hovered for a few minutes before flying off in the direction of the lake.

Suddenly, finding her feet she ran to share this exciting news with Granny and her brothers.

“Granny, Granny, guess what I saw?” she shouted as she rounded the last bend.

Everyone turned in surprise.

“You found your Voice!” they chorused.

Tomorrow would be the best 4th of July, EVER!


This little story is my effort as part of The Fourth of July Secret Mystery Writing Contest  hosted by children’s author – Susanna Leonard Hill.

Write a children’s story, in poetry or prose, maximum 400 words about the 4th of July in which a secret is revealed or a mystery is solved!

If you wish to join in the fun, there is still plenty of time to take part.

Your entry should be posted on your blog between Monday July 1 at 12:01 AM EDT and Friday July 5 at 11:59 PM EDT, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on the official Fourth Of July Secret Mystery Contest post on Susanna’s blog from Monday July 1st. The post will remain there until Sunday to give everyone plenty of time to read, but the entry list will be closed at midnight Friday so Susanna has time to judge.

May the best one win!

54 thoughts on “No Voice

  1. What a lovely little story. Very well written. Well done. You should write more fiction. Your writing voice is enchanting.

    BTW I may have forgotten to mention this, but I love your new blog layout.

    • 😆 Maybe the fact that you know my real voice, helps! 😆

      I am happy with the move, but still need to pull over all the old posts!

  2. My brother has recently gotten into birdwatching so I have a special appreciation for this story. I loved your description of the kingfisher. There’s something very magical about seeing new birds.

    • I find watching the birds around me, fascinating. Some years ago we had a sparrow, with only one leg, visit our garden every day. It was amazing to watch him/her hover at the feeder to eat peanuts.

  3. Great story. You would fit right in over here on the 4th! Don’t forget to bring some fireworks.

    • Fireworks are illegal over here unless licenced by the PSNI (Police). We had an official fireworks display in the town during the month of May. It was pathetic and lasted about ten minutes!

  4. Nice story. Very creative. I doubt very much that I can write a story for children. I find writing stories for adults quite an effort too.

    • I sat and wrote it, then spent more time editing and reducing it than on the original. I managed to get it down to 398 words. It was a good exercise – learning to get rid of the superfluous words or phrases.

      Some days the Muse works, on others she hides!

    • Dianne, It was a fun exercise to see if I could string a story together. The hard part was keeping within the word count!

  5. The Muse was definitely at work here! Wonderful story and I love how her excitement helped her to find her voice. I was captivated throughout, waiting to see if she would be able to sing. 🙂

    • Vivian, I remembered how excited I became about a heron during the week, and used the experience, switching it to a kingfisher. I do love to see the world through the eyes of a child.

  6. What a delightful story! I think the kingfisher really *was* magical! Loved the addition of a feadog stain, and the upturned pan for a bodhran! In the United States, around the 4th of July, one often sees pictures or depictions of colonial people playing fife and drum. I like the Irish variation! (I’m Canadian, myself!)

    • Beth, when we were young, Granny often led the ‘band’ round the garden. Some of her spirit found the way into the story.

  7. You played! Yay! I enjoyed this and am glad she found her voice. I also loved the image of Granny using a saucepan as a tray . . . before turning it into a drum.

    • Nancy, I got there eventually. Thank you for the encouragement. with my real granny for inspiration, I could write for a week! I may just do that! 😉

  8. So glad she found her voice in time! What a fun story! Loved the description of the kingfisher – beautiful! Thanks so much for joining in the fun and doing such a good job squeezing into that tight word count! 🙂

    • Thank you Susanna, for encouraging us with the competition, that kingfisher was almost a baby rabbit, but I decided the ‘magic’ needed more colour!

  9. Actually you found your voice long ago. Writing isn’t easy, and the real writing doesn’t begin until you do what you did so well here–cut out the superfluous words. That’s the art. Good job and good luck in the contest!

    • Thank you writer fellow, Since I live on the other side of the pond, I am not familiar with the normal routine for Fourth of July, so had to find a different angle. As I said at the end of my post: May the best one win!

  10. What a sweet story. I chuckled at the brothers trying to make her talk. I loved the description of the bird and the hint of magic. Very nicely done! 🙂

    • Cathy, maybe one day, I will have the opportunity to join in the ‘real’ fourth of July celebrations, that would be fun!

    • Janna, Granny’s are fun, Ireland is where I live, so if I cannot go to the 4th July… then let it come to me! 😀

  11. What a fun story!! I liked all the links and I learned a new word feadog stain, I’m just not sure how to pronounce it 🙂 I remember my Grandpa playing the spoons at family gatherings.

    • Penny. thank you for reading my story. Since I was never across the pond for 4th July, I had to tailor the story to what I know, somehow it seemed to work.

    • Thank you Pam, I never have trouble with the ‘middle’ of a story, the hard bit is the beginning and the end! 😆

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