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1 flighty spell

Once upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed – fading away like water on stone. The words were those that children used to name the natural world around them: heron, otter, raven – gone! Fern, heather, kingfisher, ivy, newt, . . . all of them gone! The words were becoming lost: no longer vivid in children's voices, no longer alive in their stories.

You hold in your hands a set of spells for conjuring back these lost words. To release these charms you will need to seek out, find and speak them out loud back into the world and only then will they become stitched back into our hearts, mouths and minds eyes.
Type 'The Lost Words' in the box below.
Chapter one

To Conjure the Spells

With your foot prints and breath, we will conjure back these lost words right into the landscape. Through the old magic of being spoken out loud they will flutter and unfold into our bright dreams once again. To dance amongst the pillows and brows of tiny heads and be sweetly sung back into the world once more.
Grey tall and wide of wing, a masterful bird you must be seeing, hunched and cloaked and patient as time, 'heron' is the next keyword spell to bind.
Chapter two


Here hunts heron. Here haunts heron.
Huge-hinged heron. Grey-winged weapon.
Eked from iron and wreaked from blue and
beaked with steel: heron, statue, seeks eel.
Rock still at weir sill. Stone still at weir sill.
Dead still at weir sill. Still still at weir sill.
Until, eelless at weir sill, heron magically . . .
Chapter three

Out Of The Water

Out of the water creaks long-legs heron,
old-priest heron, from here on in all sticks
and planks and rubber-bands, all clanks and
clicks and rusty squeaks.
Chapter four

Now Heron Hauls

Now heron hauls himself into flight – early
aviator, heavy freighter – and with steady
wingbeats boosts his way through evening
light to roost.

Before you move on, say the word 'heron' into the wind to spell the word back into being.
Blue jacketed bird, quiet and meek, with a topaz flash over river, secret and swift as a quiver.

The next keyword spell is 'Kingfisher'.
Chapter five


Kingfisher: the colour-giver, fire-bringer, flame-flicker,
river's quiver.
Ink-black bill, orange throat, and a quick blue
back-gleaming feather-stream.
Chapter six

Neat And Still

Neat and still it sits on the snag of a stick, until with . . .
Gold-flare, wing-fan, whipcrack the kingfisher –
zingfisher, singfisher! –
Flashes down too fast to follow, quick and quicker
carves its hollow
In the water, slings its arrow superswift to swallow
Stickleback or shrimp or minnow.
Chapter seven

Halcyon Is

Halcyon is its other name – also ripple-calmer,
Evening angler, weather-teller, rainbringer and
Rainbow bird – that sets the stream alight with burn
and glitter!

Now say the word 'kingfisher' into the wind to spell the word back into being.
Both cat and fish but neither too, now walk a while down, along and through, to a place where water passes by, for 'otter' is the keyword spell for you to spy.
Chapter eight


Otter enters river without falter – what a
supple slider out of holt and into water!
This shape-shifter's a sheer breath-taker, a
sure heart-stopper – but you'll only ever spot
a shadow-flutter, bubble-skein, and never
(almost never) actual otter.
Chapter nine

The Swift Swimmer

This swift swimmer's a silver-miner – with
trout its ore it bores each black pool deep
and deeper, delves up-current steep and
steeper, turns the water inside-out, then
Chapter ten

Ever Dreamed Of

Ever dreamed of being otter? That
utter underwater thunderbolter, that
shimmering twister?
Run to the riverbank, otter-dreamer, slip
your skin and change your matter, pour
your outer being into otter – and enter
now as otter without falter into water.

Before you move on, say the word 'otter' into the wind to spell the word back into being.
This tiny water sleeper, a fabulous amphibious reed-bed creeper, living beneath the stillness of the pond for 'newt' is the keyword for this spell wand.
Chapter eleven


‘Newt, oh newt, you are too cute!'
Emoted the coot to the too-cute newt,
‘With your frilly back and your shiny suit
and your spotted skin so unhirsute!'
Chapter twelve

Too Cute

‘Too cute?!' roared the newt to the
unastute coot. ‘With all this careless
talk of cute you bring me into
disrepute, for newts aren't cute:
Chapter thirteen

We're Kings Of

we're kings of the pond, lions of the
duckweed, dragons of the water;
albeit, it's true,' – he paused – ‘minute.'

Now say the word 'newt' into the wind to spell the word back into being.
Black of wing and long of beak, petrol black his coat is sleek, the keyword spell you'll need is 'raven'.
Chapter fourteen


Rock rasps, what are you?
I am Raven! Of the blue-black jacket and the
boxer's swagger, stronger and older than peak
and than boulder, raps Raven in reply.
Air asks, what are you?
I am Raven! Prince of Play, King of Guile,
grin-on-face base-jumper, twice as agile as
the wind, thrice as fast as any gale, rasps
Raven in reply.
Chapter fifteen

Vixen Ventures

Vixen ventures, what are you?
I am Raven! Solver of problems, picker of
locks, who can often outsmart stoat and
always out-think fox, scoffs Raven in reply.
Earth enquires, what are you?
I am Raven! I have followed men from forest
edge to city scarp: black shadow, dark
familiar, hexes Raven in reply.
Chapter sixteen

Nothing Knows

Nothing knows what you are.
Not true! For I am Raven, who nothing cannot
know. I steal eggs the better to grow, I eat
eyes the better to see, I pluck wings the
better to fly, riddles Raven in reply.

Before you move on, say the word 'Raven' into the wind to spell the word back into being.
Chapter seventeen

More Spells Please

So you have bound these animals back into being, yet there are plants and trees still in need of repair.

Click the HOME button at the top of this page to select 'No 2 The Rooty Walk'. Please give your device a moment for all the images to load before you head out on your second spelling adventure.