750 – Sandman in Toyland | Untold Tales
Tom-tom and Bo Peep take a nap on a nice bed of grass, while Scoots meets a Wizard in professional pajamas.
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Ladies, and gentlemen, boys and girls, and friends beyond the binary. And my patron peeps. Thanks so much for supporting the show, patrons. I'm really, really grateful for you. Thank you so much for helping keep the show going. Hey, are you up all night, tossing, turning, mind racing, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get into bed, turn out the lights, and press play. I'll do the rest. What I'm gonna attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever's keeping you awake. Whether it's thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, changes in time, temperature, stuff from the past, stuff in the future.
Whatever's keeping you awake, I'd like to take your mind off that. And what I'm gonna do, I've got this safe place here. I've got plenty of room, cozy stuff, comforting things. And I'm gonna send my voice across the deep dark night. I'm gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky dulcet tones, pointless meanders, superfluous tangents. I'm gonna go off topic, get confused to take your mind off stuff. To keep you company. Way the show works if you're new, a few things to know. So, show starts off with a few minutes of business, that's how we keep the show free. And then there's an intro. Now the intro's a part of the show. But it's like about 12 minutes of me explaining what the show is, in lulling, soothing, meandering, nonsensical way. Different every time.
And ideally, it's part of your bedtime routine. Whether you're in bed or getting ready for bed. That's what the majority of people I hear from. They say, “Well, I'm getting ready for bed or getting comfortable.” And for some people, it puts them to sleep. A few people, like a couple percentage points of people skip the intro and then some people even listen during the day to relaX or as a distraction. But the intro's a part of the show. It doesn't really go anywhere, but it gets you ready for the later part of the show, where the later part of the show doesn't really go anywhere either. And it is, it's something familiar and comforting, but different every time. It just starts to ease you into bed and then after the intro, some business between the intro and the show.
Then tonight will be a bedtime story, kind of about a story I've been curious about that I had to look into. I had to do some fantasy research as they say. You go into the old story swap and say, “Huh, what's going on here?” So, it'll be a bedtime story, and then there's some thank yous at the end. All told, I'll be here for about an hour. But here's a couple other things if you're new. One, this podcast doesn't make a whole lot of sense. So maybe if you're new, or kind of a regular listener even, it's hard to kind of consume something passively but you just gotta look at it like it's a fan. You say, “Is that fan?” But you know the fan's talking. The old talking fan. I did launch that in 2014. It didn't go well. And then I also launched one called the blocking fan, which was just like a portable fan that instead of a … it was a gentle, like a part of this new gentle … you say, “Well I disagree with you, or what you're saying, so I'm going to gently blow some air at you.”
It was just one of those personal fans but no mister because that would be beyond blocking. I mean I guess that would be blocking, but this is a gentle blocking fan. Maybe that's where I went wrong. But so, so but this is you could listen. I'm not gonna make a whole lotta sense, and it'll be meandering slow. I have this creaky dulcet tones so give the show a couple tries if you're new, because it doesn't cost anything. I mean, I realize it's a time investment, and that you want to get some sleep and I believe you deserve some good nights sleep.
And there're other, a lot of other sleep podcasts out there. My buddy Harris makes a Sleep Whispers podcast. You know, there's this Sleepy, and there's other ones out there. So check those out, or LibriVox has some great stuff on there, if this doesn't work. But give it a few tries. For most listeners, they say, “Yeah, it took a few tries.” But yeah, kind of look at me like a cloud. Where you say, “Well, could meet, that cloud could say something, but I don't really understand. I don't speak cloud.” So that's one thing. Then also, what were the other? Oh, you don't need to listen to me. I think that kind of goes hand in hand with what I just said. You can kind of just barely listen to me. But there's also no pressure to fall asleep.
The reason I'm here for an hour is to keep you company while you drift of, or to keep you company if you can't drift off. Because I know, at least for me, it can feel L-O-N-L-E-Y or L-O-N-E-L you know whatever that, however you spell that word. So I'm here to keep you company. Be a little bit goofing around. So that's the structure, show, kind of rules. So here's one thing about making a sleep podcast. I don't think I've mentioned a little behind the scenes is, so I'm listening. As I'm recording, I'm listening through headphones, right, so I can keep the pace nice and slow. The dulcets nice and creaky. Just in case they say, “Well let's get a … can we get a … you know, let's adjust those, let me do a little croaking and creaking here.”
But just also this thing called mouth noises, which I'm really hyper aware of, and I really try to listen for anything, and also outside noises. I record in the climb-in closet, or the Harry Potter under the stairs closet. And while I'm surrounded by a quilt, and moving blankets, and curtains, I also do have to sometimes pause and let a plane go by, or go pace around upstairs my dog, so it is a matter of I'm kind of always gently listening. But it's kind of the whole idea of creating a safe place, and also almost like I wish my mouth was sentient by itself so I could say, “Hey, could you pipe down and work with me. You know we're really here to put people to sleep and to take their mind off stuff.” And believe it or not, this is stuff that's on my mind. I say, “Okay, I'm trying to create this sleepy, safe place.”
I also try to keep an eye out for sibilance, which is those piercing S noises you might hear other places. But I got a little system for that, too. Just a little filter and how I kind of reposition myself. I also try to sit really close here, so you know it's across the room or however you're comfortable. So you know I'm here to help, to keep you company. Another thing is, when I get ready to make the show, I kind of warm up for a while, and then I record the thank yous that come at the end of the show, because that lets me know that you're listening. It's important. The reason why I make the show is for you. The reason why I work very hard is to keep you company for to help you fall asleep or, you know, to take your mind off of stuff. And by going through the thank yous, it kind of helps me. It kind of puts me in the mind frame of, “Okay, it's time to make a sleep podcast.”
Another thing about making the show, and this is a little bit behind the scenes intro, is that I also have to kind of keep myself calm. Because there's a little part of Scoots, old Scoots that wants to be, that everything has to be P-E-R-F-E-C-T. And I said, “Well, we're here to make it the best sleep podcast we can. We can't make a perfect sleep podcast. As a matter of fact, I think we've proven that an imperfect sleep podcast may be better.” And you know sleep is baffling and the fact that people have a variety of things to listen to, so that they can choose between the episodes or new listeners can kind of discover what works for them is important.
But that part of me will still kind of get flossy I would say, either before recording or during it. And then if it's during it, I have to pause, I say, “Hey, are you okay? Let me … we're just here to help this person fall asleep, you know? We just got to do our best. It's okay. I know you want to be perfect and there's associated thoughts and feelings with that. But right now, we're just thinking of that person whose ears are working right now. Don't they deserve a good night's sleep? Just like you deserve to just make a podcast the best you can. Doesn't have to be perfect. You're darn … as far as internal critics go, you're really good at that by the way. I don't know if I've told you that. I don't know which, if that's the eighth law I'm breaking.”
You're talking directly to my internal critic and saying, “You know what I never said is how good you are at your job. You really are. I mean it's like having the worst boss and complimenting them on being the worst boss ever.” But I mean, I guess that was a little bit … but it's true. But that's why I don't normally compliment you. But here, we're here in a safe place. I can say, “I'm sure you've got good reasons just like all the brain bots who are doing your job. You know, it's not easy, right? You don't have an easy job.” But I was saying, you're very good at it.
And that's one of the reasons why I make the show is because when you get in bed, maybe that's what pipes up or maybe it's something about the past, present, or future. You know what? Take your mind off of that. Just like I have to take my own mind off of that part of me and say, “Hey, why don't you sit and watch while I just run through this intro and see who I can help? See if I can help this person who's having trouble. You know how that feels, right? Like not to be able to sleep.” Wow, it can be frustrating or it can be baffling. It can be a lot of other things. But then it's nice when you get to that place where you say, “Oh, well this is nice to listen to.” And, “Yeah, my bed's pretty comfortable. Almost as comfortable as pillowy bread. And I don't know if Scoots is gonna tell a story later, unless it was something he thought of, he said, ‘Well, this will be interesting to talk about, kind of.' So yeah, I got someone to keep me company. So that's great.”
Just like you now have someone to compliment. Now don't expect compliments on a regular … okay, I'll compliment you on a regular basis. I wonder if that's what that song's about. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? Maybe I'll be singing that. If you ever hear me doing karaoke, that song in karaoke, that's who I'm singing it to. You know, try and fix this relationship with my internal C-R-I-T-I-C. But for you I'm here to help. I'm here to keep you company. To be your bore friend. As I already said, you really do. You deserve a life of both dignity and respect. You deserve to flourish and to succeed. And just to have a pleasant day and a pleasant night. So, that's why I'm here. That's why I work very hard on this show. I strive and I yearn to help you fall asleep. I appreciate your time. Thank you so much for coming by. And here's a couple of ways we keep this show a going.
Hey, everybody, this is Scoots here, if you didn't know that already, and this is an episode, a style of show we haven't done. Un-tale … I think it's called Untold Tales. I don't know if we've done a stype of this episode in the last week, hardy, har, har. I don't know when the last time I did one of these was. And sometimes like the universe coalesces in interesting ways, and I get to explore … hey, I didn't … Untold Tales, I guess. Which is, some people might label it as fan fiction. Usually it's around the holidays. Now this one's holiday adjacent. But when you're hearing this, you won't be in the holidays.
But so, there's one of my favorite holidays is of Laurel and Hardy, Babes In Toyland, March of the Wooden Soldiers. Whatever it's called. And I think 2016 or 2017, I did an episode about this special. And I haven't researched it or relistened, but there's this one segment in the movie that doesn't seem to fit, and I've always wondered about it. And I've rewatched it, and I'll explain it to you. It's a mysterious scene and I think I did read something about it, but I forgot about it. But I really wanted to get to the bottom of it for real. But this holiday season I rewatched it a few times. It takes place with Bo-PeeP and Tom-Tom, who are in love. And they're off spelunking. And I don't mean it that way, hubba-hubba. I mean it like going on a hike. An indoor hike.
And they get tired and Tom-Tom says, “Let's take a nap. The temperature in here is perfect.” He found a nice grass bed. And again, there was no stalactites or stalagmites involved. I mean, they're around them but this is in a metaphor. They say, “Well, let's lie down in this grass and sleep.” N Tom-Tom sang her a beautiful sone, Go To Sleep, Go To Sleep, like a lullaby. And this has sang her to sleep kind of. But what happened was after he started singing, some characters started to appear. And I don't know if this was to highlight a special effect … well, I found out the truth so we'll get to it. Or actually bring you along to find out the truth, but yeah like these … like you know Big Farm in the Sky, how those characters may be see through? You could see most of them, transparent. Not totally transparent. Translucent. These translucent characters just started to show up. And they were a little bit like garden gnomes, or a little bit like the seven dwarves from Snow White. But they had hats … I guess like either one.
And they started … this one showed up with a lantern. And he said, “Don't, listen this is a sweet little moment.” And then he called in the other garden gnomes and there was a group of them. I think about like 12 or so in total. Then he called in another character who showed up, who was a bit like, what's that, the sand man, Morpheus. But he was more like a magician filling in or something. It was a … he had this cape and he showed up, and he sprinkled the sand, so I guess he was the sand man, over Tom-Tom and Bo-Peep. And a few times. He had these great flourishes and this great cape. And almost in a way of, like a little bit, you know unintentionally comedic? Because he had such a … he was jumping. He seemed like he wished he could fly. And he would get a bit like a wizard you would expect. He had a long gray beard. I don't think he had a mustache. And so he sprinkled it, and then he jumped off and pretended he was gonna fly, but it looks like he just danced away.
Then all the garden gnome characters left and Tom-Tom and Bo-Peep slept. And after that, I don't know what happened because I hit pause. And my memory never really like ever goes once I hit pause, so maybe, you know. So I've always been curious. I guess it's one of those things you forget, and then as an adult you say, “What the heck is this scene? It's unrelated to everything else in the entire movie.” I mean even in a movie like Bo-Peep, or whatever it's called, March of the Wooden Soldiers, Babes In Toyland, it didn't seem to fit very well. And for a time I wondered. I wondered, wondered why that scene was put in the movie, and many of you, if you're a new listener you might not know this, so I guess I'll fill you in.
I do have various part-time jobs I do to make ends meet. And a bonus is, I collect while I'm making ends meet, I also collect stories for the podcast. And one of the places I work is this bed and breakfast, and it's out on the edge of the transverse plane. Which is a place where universes intersect and stuff like that. And it'll be like, I go out there, there's a nice couple that runs it, very much like a bed and breakfast, so it's like pretty remote to get to. And it doesn't usually service regular, run of the mill people. And I don't know if, I think it's targeted towards celebrities from other universes like characters I've met there. They've included the Lady Witchbeard, the Heat Miser, or the Heat Minions, or something. The dude from a big lagoon.
Lot of times I meet these people before there's movies about them. And you say, “Wait a second. You're in a movie now. That totally changes everything for me.” But this, so I headed out there recently and now I'm in my room. I have my own room here. It's actually like perfect for podcasting because it's only big enough for a twin bed. It's under the stairs just like at home, just like Harry Potter. And it actually was a great agreement I came up with because she said, “Well, I'd like to stay here,” and I said, “Well we rent the rooms out, it's a bed and breakfast.” And I said, “Well I could find another place. I actually don't mind sleeping temporarily in places that are comforting.” And I showed them, and they said, “Well, that's our broom closet.” I said, “Here's the thing. What kind of … who put up this idea of brooms needing to be vertical anyway? I mean, give me that. Lie the brooms on the ground. When did brooms and mops have to stand up straight?”
And you would have thought this was revolutionary science. They said, “Wait a second, you mean lay the brooms on the ground, under your bed?” And I said, as the Fonz used to say, “Exactamundo.” I said, “Yeah, they don't need to stand up straight, taking up space in a closet I could be using as a room and as a contemplative, meditative space.” That's a good thing about, I can lie here in bed. It's a nice contained room, and I could do some thinking and some wondering, or waiting and thinking. And so what I do there, is I tell bedtime stories. Well, ostensibly I tell bedtime stories to their guests. But what really happens is, I take on more of a listening, walking and talking, and hearing. You know like in my other lives as a human, I usually end up in this role a lot of times, no matter what my job is.
Let's say it's delivering things, or going things, or driving. I end up usually, a big part of my job would be listening to stuff unrelated to my job that other people like would wanna tell me. They need like a shoulder to talk to, and gently wet, if you know what I mean, with their eyes. And I say, “Well, I was just here to deliver this Banana Gram.” And they said, “Well, bananas remind me … ” or co-workers. So a pretty common thing in my life. Something I guess I'm inadvertently good at. And to that helps them to sleep. So that's usually what I end up … so it's out there and you know the transverse plane is wise. You know that they say that the wisdom of the universe is like washes of me.
So as the universe, you know when they say, “Why don't you ask your mother or your father?” Why don't you … they say, ask you to do endless parentage or whatever. So the universe is wise, and it usually gives … so I heard, I got there and it was like gearing up for the holidays, the last holidays, trying to get the scratch together. And I said, both I said, “I need to get away.” And I just set in my thinking room for a while. Pretend I'm Harry Potter for a time. But anyway, that's just a side track. I was just imagining how relaxing I find that. And I like to be Harry Potter in his off time though, when he's just sitting around. Because you see, well this is boring. I'm just sitting in a closet that has a bed in it, and I say, “Well, not if you're Harry Potter. How would Harry Potter sit around in this room doing nothing? Thinking about stuff?” And you'd say, “Well, he'd make it heroic, that Harry Potter, he would.”
So I was doing that and then they said, “Okay, we got somebody here, some sort of wizard.” And I said, “Holy mackerel, a wizard. A warlock or a wizard?” And they said, “Woo, no idea. Hopefully … ” and they said, “You better go out there and talk to him. He's in the … he's in one of the back cabanas.” So I said, “You got any hot tea?” I said, “Or like hot water and a selection of herbal teas, you know all teas? Especially, you got anything like case of newt or chameleon tear for tea?” And they said, “We do since you invented that.” And I says, “Yeah, green tea with the red berries. Chameleon tear tea in blueberries. One of my greatest inventions.” And I headed out there, and I knocked on the door. And I heard a muffled moving and muttering. And he said, “Whom is it?” And I said, “It's Scoots tea service. Tea for two or one. Or if you got two in there, tea for two.”
But I was under … and then the door opened. And a gentleman opened the door. And he was in that like old fashioned, you usually only see this in not your cartoons. Usually in places with outhouses. Like a kind of pajamas that are off white, one piece. Not a union suit, and I don't know if they wear that under stuff. Usually in a miner type situation. But he was wearing that and a stocking cap, and he had a beard. And he said, “Tea?” And I said, “Yeah, would you like some chameleon tears?” And he looked at me. He eyed me suspiciously, like if I had heard … he said, “I'm a big fan.” I said, “Don't worry, I haven't caused chameleons to cry. It's imaginary.” And he said, “Good, good, good. Come in. Come in.” And I said, “Pleased to meet you, I'm Scoots. I would here at the bed and breakfast. And I'd like to tell you about my services I offer. All included, all inclusive. This tea's included. Breakfast in bed obviously. Hardy, har. Walking around the grounds, all included in the price of your visit.”
And I said, “I'm Scoots,” and he said, “I'm Luden.” And I said, “Luden? Holy mackerel, I love it.” I said, “I went to a high school with you.” And he said, “What's in this chameleon tears tea?” And I said, “Well, I got a new one called the heckling rhinoceros.” And he said, “I think I'll stick with chameleon tears tea.” And I said, “Well that's like … it's more of a pungent tea.” And he said, “Clearly.” So I poured us a couple of cups of chameleon tears tea. It was a little mint, I added it just because I was feeling like it. Well, I was feeling a little minty. And we sat down and I said, “So tell me about your visit here.” I said, “Well, let's just put everything out there.” I said, “Are those your pajamas, or? Is that some kind of … like I've always wondered.”
And he said, “I guess this is my pajamas when I'm … my like, non-work pajamas.” And I said, “You got my attention already.” I said, “You have work pajamas?” And he said, “I do,” and I said, “Well, okay. So these are your bajama pajamas.” And he said, “Yeah.” And he said, “Lounge wear, they call it now, don't they?” And we had a hardy, har, har at that. And I said, “What brings you to the bed and breakfast?” Like, “You know, we do get a lot of single guests at this particular bed and breakfast, which obviously is … ” and he said, “What?” And I said, “Well, just usual, like.” And he said, “I've never been to a bed and breakfast.” And I said, “Well, forget I brought … ” and I said, “Welcome, how's the tea?” And he said, “Quite good.”
And I said, “Excellent. Excellent.” I said, “By the way, the reason the chameleons cried was joy.” And he said, “You got me.” And I said, “Well,” and I said, “So tell me, what kind of work do you do where you have work pajamas.” And he said, he goes, “I help a few people fall asleep.” And I said, “You gotta be kidding me.” And I wondered if I, but I said, “Well, this is about him, not about me, and I'll have trouble enough not making it about me.” And I said, “Wow, well how do you do that.” Because then I said, this is another one of these Sleep With Me-like podcasts. And he said, “It's a long story.” And he goes, “I'm out of, I'm a little discombobulated. I'm thinking of retiring.” And I said, “Interesting, interesting.”
And he said, “So do you have work?” And I said, “I'd like to see your work pajamas. Do you call them jammies?” And he goes, “No, no, no.” And I said, “By the way, are you a wizard or a warlock, or you just strike me as … or are you just wizened?” And he eyed me, and I said, “Maybe I don't know what wizened means. Just kidding.” And I said, mumbled that out, and then he laughed at my, what he felt like actually was my attempt at rapport building. And he said, he goes, “I do practice magic but a very specific kind of magic.” And I says, “It's sleep magic, huh?” And he goes, “Well, a specific kind of sleep magic even.” He goes, “You know, there's people that tell bedtime stories, there's people that … because there's a lot of kinds.”
And he goes, “I kind of fell into it.” He goes, “Once I was more of a greater magic user.” And he said, “In fact,” and I said, “Could you put your pajamas on while you're telling me about this?” I said, “Have you been to the transverse plan yet?” And he said, “No.” And he said, “It might … ” and I said, “If we walk out there in your pajamas, you might give us the visuals for the story you're about to tell me of your whole history, and maybe that'll help you decide what your whole future is.” And I go, “Because that's usually a good couples use a bed and breakfast for.” And he goes, “We're a couple of people trying to find our way, aren't we?” And I said, “Yeah, yeah. Go ahead and go in the other room and put your … “
So then he went and changed and he came out, and I think he like washed up, too, because I kind of dozed off and I heard him say, “Awake,” and then I opened my eyes and to say this guy Luden was striking would be an understatement, especially in a small cabana. A bed and breakfast cabana. He had on like this, I'd say silk or satin, some sort of silky pajamas. Like the greatest pajamas. I think if these pajamas really existed, they'd definitely been on the O List. They were like a silk, but like a turquoise electric blue color, which is strong metallic. The colors were so robust, they looked like a metallic, too. Like a metallic blue. Like turquoise blue. And it looked so soft. Perfectly fitting, and like a top and a bottom maybe. I could not tell but in a way that his stomach was never exposed, or his sides, which in PJs is important because you don't wanna be exposed to the air.
But then, what made the outfit was a cape, which again was so seamless, I don't know if it was built into the outfit or an attached cape. It was the same color, except it was kind of a two toned cape. But barely noticeable two toned, so subtle. And it was just a flowing cape that he was able to like … I don't know if it had, maybe it had magnets in it, because it would, I didn't see any ways he was attaching it and unattaching it to his wrists and his arms. But if you wanted it like a flying cape, you could do that, or a cape that you could, like a cloaking cape. And it had a little collar, and then he had on a lovely, a little bit different, I mean I guess to add a splash of color, like a deep ruby sleeping cap. And I said, “Those are some work pjs, holy mackerel.”
And I did catch on the sides, there's some bags that you would, like a utility belt with a kind of brown bags or sacks. I guess sacks, you'd say. And I said, “I guess we're off to hear your story,” and so he started to tell me how he was an apprentice magic user wizard, but he wasn't a wizard. You know, he was an apprentice and he was studying with this great wizardess, Lurleen of Emerald Valley. And things were going pretty good, but he was more of a … he was more nocturnal and Lurleen was more of a day person. So some of the things weren't going good and she was saying, “Well, maybe you should be into more nighttime magic. But that's more … ” and he goes, “No, no, no, I wanna use magic for good.”
And she goes, “Well, who wouldn't think an owl would be good?” And he said, “Who?” And she said, “Yes, who?” And he said, “Oh, like the R-O-D-E-N-T-S?” And she said, “Point taken.” But they got along good enough for it. He was getting his basic training down. But she was still feeling like he wasn't totally committed, yeah because it's quite an undertaking. A lot of like, it's a trade. You can either go to a formal school or you can work as an apprentice and then like a journey person. So she wasn't sure he was going to commit to her long term and that it was the right thing for him. So she sent him off on a like a sabbatical, like a journey. Not a sabbatical though. Like a journey of discovery. And also a test, and full of learning opportunities. But he was smart enough Luden that he knew, this was that I knew. Go ahead, sorry Luden, I was … I think I've just been watching as we've been walking, because we were walking now through the transverse plane.
And I guess I was narrating whatever we were seeing. So what happened next? And Luden said, “Well, like I started to be like, where am I gonna journey to.” And she said, ‘Well, in this green valley, you can either journey north or south.” And she goes, “To the south, it's gonna be a little bit warm and stuff.” And she goes, “This is a perfect time to go north. This is still like late summer. The best time to go north, so I'd say, go north.” And he said, “Well, what am I on?” And she goes, “See if you find your way back here. Make your way north, and if you make your way back, you've made your way back. And you're supposed to be back here. If you don't make your way back, maybe you started another journey or your journey continued in another direction.”
And he goes, “Well, how will I know when to head back?” And she goes, “Well, you have to head back by the first of October's probably the best time to come back.” I mean she used some more of like, “Whenever the moon was doing whatever it does in October.” First harvest moon maybe. And so he said he started heading north. And as he headed north, he said it was pretty interesting but he had learned a lot of herbology and so sustenance and stuff wasn't a … but then he said there was some nice towns, some mountain towns, and some cool stuff. And then he headed through these passes. He said somewhere up there is the North Pole. So as he started heading more and more north, more and more things served to the North Pole. And finally, he got to this one crossroads, and they said, one thing said, “Don't go this way,” and the other one said, “Easy path,” or something. And he said, “What?”
And he waited until he saw a traveler, and he said, “Why can't I go this way?” And he said, “Well, it's Toyland's that way, and they're not really taking any new residents. And they're really busy. It's not like really for visitors.” He said, “No.” He goes, “It's a perfect place for tourists and they don't want tourists or visitors. Really only for famous people to live and work.” And he goes, “What do you mean, work?” And he goes, “Well, they specialize in, they supply wooden toys to the North Pole.” And Luden said, “Well, I, like I'm gonna go that way. Toyland is just calling me.” So Luden just started ahead towards Toyland. And as Luden got closer, well Luden learned that it was like, that Toyland was surrounded by a lot of swamps, sadly enough. And so it wasn't easy to get to and at first he said, “Why would Toyland be in the middle of a swamp?”
And here's the thing and you wouldn't even think this, but it ended up being pretty obviously is that, the swamps are a great place, a great source of trees. And especially trees that have, older trees that have been in the water a while. A great way to reclaim wood for toys, with like sustainable harvesting. That's what someone told Luden at some point. So, Luden eventually found that there was one ferry across the swamp into Toyland. And they said, like Luden said, “I'd like to go to Toyland.” And they said, “What's your purpose?” And Luden said, “Well, I'm a traveler. I'm looking for my purpose.” And they said, “No.” They said, “Have you been in any fairy tales?” And Luden said, “No.” They said, “Are you an expert at building wooden toys or painting wooden toys?” And Luden said, “No.” And the fairy person says, “No, no, no. I can send a note and you can request an audience with Old King Cole. Merry old soul was he. But I don't know if he'll be super welcoming to you because it's not really an open situation.”
Meanwhile, it was tough for Luden because Luden could see the walls of Toyland, and he could hear the sounds of Toyland and all the laughter and stuff. But like, he said, “How long I gotta wait?” And the fairy person kept saying, “Well, until the King accepts your audience. By the way, you should come up with some material for the King. The King just, one thing I know about, King Cole is a merry old soul, and a merry old soul is he but he doesn't have a jester.” And Luden said, “I don't know if I wanna be a jester.” And Luden said, “This is the kind of story I don't like to share, but then I said, well I could be a jester I guess, if it would get me into Toyland.” And eventually, King Cole said, “Okay, like send this jester in.”
And Luden did a couple magic tricks, just all mostly like sleight of hand. And herbology stuff like, “Oh, well now this smells like mint. Now it smells like burnt toast.” But because King Cole was such a merry, like merry, was really exhausting and then this is how Luden came, he said, “I came up with these pjs. Because I found King Cole would call me at all times of the … so that's how I ended up with this outfit, believe it or not.” And he said like, “Really, it became exhausting.” And he said, “Well, I don't know if I wanna be a jester, but the king liked me.” And so he said, “Listen, King Cole. I don't know. I don't think I'm cut out to be a jester. Maybe there's like a family of clowns that live down here in one of these neighborhoods. Also, Laurel and Hardy, or Ollie and Stan, maybe you could hire some of them. I'd like to help you with other things. And I said, what's the most pressing issue affecting your kingdom?”
And he said, “Really, it's not my kingdom. Really, I'm like a caretaker of this kingdom to keep the toys going. It's strange that we have toys here and that we make toys.” And he goes, “You probably heard of the island of misfit toys? This is kind of a bit like that. That's why I keep everything … because a lot of people need this environment. That's what they're used to, Toyland or Mother Goose.” He goes, “This is the place they're supposed to be.” And then Luden said, “I said, you seem stressed though.” He said, “Well, we're having issues with our supply chain.” And I said, “What supply chain?” “Well, wood and paint. They come from across the swamp.” And like Luden said, “Well, what's the issue?” And the King said, “No one will go. Like usually we get deliveries and the deliveries have come less and less.” And he goes, “The people that bring are elves. Many people mischaracterize them as gnomes or dwarfs, but they're elves from the North Pole. Little bit different than you would expect.”
And he said, “They stopped delivering stuff on time. They've cut back and no one wants to go look into it.” And he said, “Well, why doesn't anybody want to look into it?” And the King said, “Well, because look, there's two ways outta here. The way you came which you gotta go through the passes which are about to be snowed in soon,” and then he goes, “That's one way. Without being an ice gnome.” He goes, “On the other side, there's these mountains, right?” And he goes, “The first,” he goes, “One of the things is, this is all built … we're all on limestone underneath us.” He goes, “I'm an amateur geologist or whatever the other thing is. I like rocks.” And Luden said, “Tell me more, King Cole.” And King Cole said, “Just so to the beginning of the mountains and the end of the swamp is limestone.”
He said, “Because in there is a lot of different things. And that's where we get,” he goes, “It's not just limestone. There's other rocks in there and that's where we get a lot of the materials for our paints. Precious metals.” He goes, “Non-precious.” He goes, “That's how we come up with our paints.” And he goes, he was like, “We still get a lot of the wood from the swamp but they've been processing it, the elves for a long time. Just recently,” he goes. “For a while, we did it all ourselves except for the paints. Elves mine paints.” And he goes, “Oh, so they mine the raw materials to make the sawmills run, and everything. Our energy which is down, too.” He said, “We still have some reserves.” He said, “I don't know what's going on with them, but no one will go there.” Oh, that's what I was saying.
“Because it's like … because it's pretty,” he goes, “Not everyone wants to be inside.” And then he goes, “One side of the system,” he goes, “It's just a lot of legends around it. No one wants to go there from Toyland because they were raised on all these legends.” And Luden said, “Well, I'm not. I'll head on over there and I'll see, I'll get to the bottom of it. Get yourself a new jester.” And King Cole laughed. King Cole thought that was hilarious, even though he was also happy. So Luden headed off across the swamp in a different direction, towards the base of these mountains. And these rafts that get pulled by ropes, they're usually on the Toyland side, they were pulling the supplies and then on the other side, no one knew, because no one from Toyland would go on there. And eventually Luden got across there, and he got in and he started looking around. And he said he went deeper and deeper into the mountain.
And he said, “I had a lot of adventures. I learned how to find my way. I learned how to stay warm, start a little cooking.” He goes, I learned how to go back out and get what I needed to eat.” And for a while, he goes, “I started to try to find my way down to these, like where they process the wood, where did they find the coal. And where they found all the paint and stuff.” And he goes, “I couldn't find anybody. So it's no wonder that, it was like there wasn't anything.” And then he goes, “And then I went deeper and deeper in.” And he goes, “Eventually, because I ran into a couple of these holiday elves.” And he goes, “They were working really hard, but there was only three of them.” And he said, “Hey, where is everybody?”
And they said, “Who are you?” And he said, “I'm Luden.” And they said, “Well, Luden,” they go, “Well, we're working our rear ends off here, trying to keep you with paint and coal and stuff. Because you know, usually there's a whole work force.” And he said, “What happened?” And they said, “Well, we met a wizard.” And then Luden said, “Well, that's interesting. I'm friends to a wizard.” And they said, “Oh, well yeah, they met a wizard. The thing is, we've been living in this mountain, right? Inside. A lot of us are used to living at the North Pole, which you already have a weird sleep schedule on the North Pole,” and they explained to Luden about how the summers and the winters, and how long they would be.
And the sun, how they came up with ideas like artificial light and sleep schedules, and that's why they thought they would be great for working here, mining all these raw materials that would be used at the North Pole anyway. And Luden said, “That's interesting.” But they said, “Well, there's something different about being here, like down under ground. And eventually our parents generation,” these elves said, would say, “Just tough it out, you know. And as we kids started to grow, we said well maybe we deserve a good nights sleep. We don't wanna just tough it out.” And Luden said, “Interesting. It sounds rough. So then what happened?” And then they said, “Well, we had heard that there's these other beings in the cave systems around here. And they don't bother us but they don't like people from Toyland apparently. And they had said that those, like in the legends of Toyland, and Luden said, “I'm not from Toyland.”
“Yeah, well they said that these characters came from the world of sleep and that somewhere deep in this mountain lives a wizard with the control of sleep. So we all, other than us three, everyone wandered down there looking for the wizards and all the parents went along saying well, we don't know if this is a good idea.” And Luden said, “What happened?” And they said, “They found the wizard, deep in there, and the wizard said, ‘Oh, I can give you the power to sleep. What you gotta understand is this cave system and you can't just, you need to be able to get some real light and some fresh air.' And they said, ‘Well, how do you do that?' And the wizard said, ‘Well I could de-phase you. So half of you would be here working in the caves and the other half of you would be up on, like outside of the mountain on the sunny side. You know, getting some fresh air and living in the village there.' And they said, ‘Sounds great.' And the wizard said, ‘Okay, A la peanut butter sandwich ba boom.'”
“And they forgot to ask what the cost was and it ended up that this wizard was kind of like up to no good, and so when they phased out, they ended up in the other end, they were stuck working for this wizard who was trying to … not a fan of Christmas basically.” And Luden said, “You gotta be kidding me.” And they said, “Yeah. So and also they got stuck phased. When they're phased out they can sleep fine, but they can't do any work because they only phase in and out.” And with that, the people started to appear, all the other elves. And there was the parental elves and the whole gang. And Luden said, “Wow, so you're phased here.” And they said, “Yeah, in the other world, we're asleep. But we're here to see our friends and to see, this is … we feel bad we're not getting our work done. And as a matter of fact, during the day we're working, this wizard's got … ” and Luden said, “Okay. It sounds like I need to solve this.” And Luden went down there and found his way to the wizard.
And wizard said, “Fe, Fi, Fo, what are you doing?” And Luden said, “I have no idea, I'm lost.” And the wizard, whose name was Carnath, said, “Yeah, well what are you doing?” And Luden said, “Well, I was an apprentice and then my wizardess said journey north and maybe you'll return. Tried to get into Toyland and they wouldn't let me in there. And then I found my way to this and then I walked in and I kept walking, and next thing you know, here I am.” And the wizard said, “Interesting.” Carnath said that. Carnath said, “Are those pajamas?” And Luden said, “They are. Magic pajamas actually.” And Carnath, who was in rags I guess you could say because he's been living in the center of a mountain for so long, said, “Wow, those look great. I really wish, like I'd like to have your pajamas.”
And Luden said, “Well, I'm looking for, I guess I'm looking for a new … like I'd like to be a journey person wizard. Maybe we could work, maybe you could train me?” And Carnath said, “Well, maybe I'll just take the pajamas.” And Luden said, “You could, but wizardess gave them to me when I set off on my journey so, they're protected. She's very powerful.” And then Carnath said, “It's not who, this person?” And Luden said, “It is. It is her.” And Carnath said, “Okay, that's how I ended up in the middle of this mountain was, crossed her actually. Green Valley?” And then Luden said, “Yep.” And Carnath said, “Well, tell you what. What if I just start your training and you give me the pajamas. Then I promise to train you the rest of the way.”
And Luden said, “Great. Sounds good. What will you train me in?” And then Carnath said, “Well, what are you good at?” And Luden said, “Well, actually I did some training as a jester. So I've gotten very good at misdirection. And it's very entertaining.” And so he started doing like a lot of his jester magic work for Carnath, and Carnath found it very interesting. In fact, to the point where he was mesmerized and of course he was building up to something very dangerous. And Luden said, “Whoa, this is the part of the thing where I am, you need a risk, and then you can have my pajamas. So he can't undo this trick. Then you can just have my pajamas anyway because this is my big, show stopping number. But usually I bring something and I don't have anything. So what's the most powerful thing you got down here?” And Carnath said, “Well, I got my wand of phasing, but it's not so power … you could just … well originally,” then Carnath told a whole long story that we don't do, but how Carnath was actually supposed to be trained to be the sand person to help people fall asleep.
But then Carnath had other ambitions, and so Carnath said, “Yeah, I have these sacks of sleeping sand, and that's what I told the elves I was gonna use on them. It could help them sleep all along. I sort of got the idea to phase them to work for me, for my secret minion plans.” And Luden said, “So if I accidentally sprinkle the sleep dust on me, I'll go right to sleep, huh?” And Carnath said, “Yes, too much and you'll sleep for a very long time.” Luden said, “Well, then it will be easy to take my pajamas, I guess. So, it's a very risky trick.” You know, it was just a balance trick where he got a big bucket of sand, you know with the rolling thing, and he was trying to balance above the sand and then balance the sand on Luden's head. And looking the whole time and almost dropping it, to slowly build up the anticipation.
And then finally, right when Luden got up on top, “Do you have another chair? Let's see, should I go with another chair?” And Carnath said, “Oh, yes, yes. Even riskier.” Luden took the bucket of sand and threw it on Carnath and Carnath fell asleep. And then Luden sent one of the elves for Santa, because Santa's got like patrols. They came and took Carnath for attempting to ruin future Christmases or whatever. And then the first thing Luden did after was help the other three elves who were left to fall asleep, and Santa sent a whole new contingent of elves in.
Luden said, “So there I am, now I have the job to put these elves to sleep. I actually used the phasing elves, because you couldn't undo the phasing. So, I've been using them to help anybody that comes into these limestones like in the mountains to sleep. Mostly the other elves, so they can work. And then I got the supplies going back to Toyland, and the business back up. Supplies to the North Pole, but it just gotten bored doing this. Just the same 12 elves, they cycle in and out but last I laid a hand was when there was a couple in here, and we put them to sleep but that was like 85 years ago.”
And I said, “Wait,” so I said, “Hold on, Luden. When the elves, the elves that are in phase, are they permanently in phase?” And Luden said, “Yeah.” And I said, “So there in phase inside and outside, somewhere else?” And Luden said, “Yeah.” And I said, “It's somewhere outside of the cave?” And Luden said, “Yeah.” I said, “Outside of the cave, just because people … there's not just people having trouble sleeping in the North Pole, and that work indoors and have to sleep indoors because that's where their job is.” I said, “There's a whole wide world of people that could use your help. I think maybe like a sand person, like especially with your flying and your flourishing, and stuff. I think you could just start wandering and using your phase friends. Maybe you could send them to find people that can't sleep and you could put them to sleep.”
And Luden said, “I think I've found my purpose. You're right. How do you know that?” And I said, “Well, I have trouble falling asleep, I know how hard it is. That's why I come here and I help you find your way and then you sleep good.” And then Luden said, “Great.” And then Luden said, “You wanna try it?” And then we got back and Luden sprinkled some … I got in my Harry Potter room. And Luden and all the 12 gnomes came and saw me, or the 12 elves. I keep calling them gnomes, I apologize. Because they do like so much like garden gnomes. But they came and visited me and sprinkled dust on me, and I giggled. It was tickley in a good way. And then I fell a deepest sleep.
It helps me, reminds me that I'm out there and Luden's out there. We're trying to help people get a good night's sleep. Good night.