Rowan and the River Walnut

Rowan flattened her wings as she perched upon a round walnut as it barreled down the river. She squinted her eyes against the spray of the water, gripping the slickened shell to keep herself from flying off.

She glanced to the side, looking for Rhys, but he was nowhere to be found. Rowan smiled. She was in the lead. She looked back ahead and cried out when a great rock loomed before her. Rowan took flight, and the little walnut bounced off the rock before sinking into the rushing water.

Laughter floated up from the river. Rhys peered up as he sniggered at her, still crouched upon his own shell as he rushed along the water. Rowan frowned, and then flew down in a dive and knocked him off.

“Hey!” Rhys said, the tips of his wings dipping into the water before he managed to take flight. His walnut floated along without him until it disappeared from sight. He punched Rowan in the arm. “Cheater!”

Rowan suppressed a smug grin and punched him back. “There was a rock! Race starts over when there are rocks.”

“Says who?”

“Says everyone. Everyone knows this.”

“Do not, you just made it up.”

Rowan grinned. “Well, then, it’s a rule now.”

Rhys quirked his mouth to the side. “I get it, you can’t beat me without making up new rules. That’s fine, it’ll make my victory all the sweeter.”

Rowan hunkered down and scowled at him. “We’ll see about that.” She darted away from the river and hoisted a walnut up from the ground. Then she returned and poised herself near the water’s edge. “Ready…?”

Rhys also grabbed a new walnut and joined her next the riverbank. “Ready.”

Rowan suppressed a giggle. “Go!” she cried, and flung herself and the walnut towards the water.




  1. Hi Sara – Rowan and the River Walnut – she does sound a bit of a cheat .. I wonder why .. but Rhys was happy for a restart .. love the thought of the bouncing walnuts … but the rock smash not such a good idea ..

    Loved the story and the giggly end .. cheers Hilary

    • Sara C. Snider

      Thanks, Hilary. As my brother likes to say: if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying. 😉

  2. Awwww – child like fairies – at least that’s what I see in my head 🙂 Rowan is cheating, but I think Rhys likes it.
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    • Sara C. Snider

      Thanks Tasha. This story was basically borne out of a memory of me and my brother racing walnut shells in a little brook when we were kids. So, yeah, childlike fits, I think. 🙂

  3. This is a nice little story 🙂

  4. Thanks Sara – was wondering if they’re fairies or birds, that’s the value of a really good story when it makes images.

    • Sara C. Snider

      Birds would fit too, really. Whatever floats your boat (or walnut shell). 😉

  5. Fairy walnut river racing? That’s a sport I could get behind. 😀

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
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    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

    • Sara C. Snider

      Me too! I imagine it could get pretty cut-throat though. Those fairies… you never know what they’ll do. 😉

  6. Good on two levels: the race is vivid, so that’s fun. Trying to discover what kind of creature these two are is the other fun part…and it’s left to imagination!

    • Jennifer Tyron

      I agree Craig. At first I was seeing birds, until the mouth quirked. Then I saw fairies; but now that I think about it how about tiny gargoyles? I like that it’s left to the readers imagination.

      • Sara C. Snider

        Thanks, you guys. I’m glad you’re digging the ambiguity. And tiny gargoyles might actually be better than fairies, now that you mention it. Like! 😀

  7. I too thought they were birds, quirked mouth and all. Great story.

    You have a gift for bringing characters to life.

  8. Rivalrous youngsters – Rowan sounds like she doesn’t like losing! ;P
    Sophie’s Thoughts & Fumbles
    Wittegen Press

    • Sara C. Snider

      She definitely needs to learn how to lose graciously. 😉

  9. Excellent, Sara. I love that your stories end the way life continues. And what Susan Scott says — the value of a really good story creating images. I think I return to your site as much for the images as the story.


    • Sara C. Snider

      Thank you so much, Samantha–that’s really great to hear/read. 🙂

  10. Really a nice story 🙂
    It confused me that I didn’t know what creatures these were (though, like others, I think they’re birds), but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

  11. Such a fun, light hearted tale. It made me smile 🙂

  12. So adorkable! Love it. They sound like siblings. Sweet story.

    • Sara C. Snider

      Haha “adorkable.” Brilliant. 🙂 And I did imagine them as siblings. Thanks, Djinnia!

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