Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

The animals discover The Lupine Lady


Mrs. Dunn, can you read us a story before you go?” asked Hannah.

I was just finishing chores on a very hot afternoon and was looking forward to a shower.

I don’t have a book out here,” I said as I tried to escape to the house.

Pickles the goat suddenly appeared before me, with a book.

We really like this one, Mrs. Dunn,” she said. “Miss Rumphius.”

Where did you get this?” I asked.

We have hidden library bucket in the hay loft,” she said.

Who knew?

A circle formed around me of goats, chickens, Earnest the pig and of course, The Goose.

Donkeys! She’s going to read Miss Rumphius!” Pickles called out to the pasture.

Running hoof steps were heard, and they joined the circle around me.

And so I started to read the story of a little girl who promised herself she’d travel to far off places, and someday live by the sea. And she made a third promise–to make the world a more beautiful place. The girl grows up and travels to many places, and eventually she finds a house by the sea. In time she finds the way to make good on that third promise-by spreading lupine seed all around the land and on the roads nearby. People began to call her the Lupine Lady.

I closed the book and asked everyone, “Did you know the Lupine Lady lived not far from here, in Christmas Cove?”

Everyone gasped.

Can we visit her?” asked Hannah the young goat.

Earnest put his arm around her, “She’s not alive, Hannah.”

The Lupine Lady is already dead! I just met her!” Hannah cried.

Such a sensitive sprite,” said Poetry the old goat.

Mrs. Dunn, have you been to far off places?” asked Pickles.

As a young woman I travelled all over,” I said. “But I always wanted a farm. It took a lifetime, but I got one, and all of you.”

Will you ever have a house by the sea, like Miss Rumphius?” asked Hannah.

We could all have boats!” said Pickles, “and row about all day.”

It would be wonderful, wouldn’t it, summering on the sea? But there’s no money for a house by the sea. Sometimes dreams are just dreams, and how could I leave you all while I was in the house by the sea?” I asked.

We would all come with you! Could we have bunk beds?” asked Puddles.

There will be no bunk beds because there will be no house by the sea,” I said.

Let’s focus on Miss Rumphius encouraging us to put beauty into the world,” said the pig.

Is leaping off rocks beautiful? It’s mainly what I do,” said Pickles.

I put my poems up in trees for the birds to read,” said Paco the poet donkey.

I am simply beautiful just standing in the wind,” said The Goose.

Hannah started crying again.

Child, what is it now?” asked Earnest the pig.

I still can’t believe Miss Rumphius is dead,” she wailed.

She lives in the lupines,” I said.