Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Ghost of Tokai Manor

The Ghost of Tokai Manor

Although grazing rights on the lands around the Tokai Manor House were originally held by Simon van der Stel, the estate was sold in 1792 to Johan Andreas Rauch, chief of the armory and head caretaker of the Groote Schuur Estate.

The following owner, Andreas Teubes, was responsible for the construction of a manor house which French master architect, Louis Michel Thibault, is credited to have designed.

The very high front stoep (verandah), with its massive round pillars, was created by dramatically curving the twin flights of stairs. The residence was completed in 1796 and was described as the most outstanding homestead in the Cape Peninsula.

The cost of building this splendid house ruined Teubes and he was forced into bankruptcy in 1799. In the early 1800s the residence was owned by Petrus Michiel Eksteen. He was a party-loving spendthrift who hosted the finest banquets. His parties were well-known and his cellars always well-stocked. (He was eventually declared insolvent in 1849.)

During one of Eksteen's New Year's Eve parties, his son Frederick accepted a wager from his father to ride his horse up the staircase and into the dining room.

The guests watched expectantly as he mounted the steep steps of the Manor House on horseback. The horseman circled the dining room table, hooves clattering, spurred on by cheers and laughter from the revellers.

Tragedy followed. The dinner guests rose to watch horse and mount depart. While descending the exception­ally steep steps, the horse tripped and both horse and rider fell. The game young man broke his neck in the fall and lay dead alongside his horse at the bottom of the staircase.

It is said that the spectral horse and rider still canter through the forest and sometimes, especially on New Year's Eve, they still try to repeat their foolhardy act.

Over the years there have been several reports about the pair frequenting the area around the Manor House. Without a logical explanation, sometimes exuberant laughter and neighing of horses can be heard from inside the Manor House at night. In the dark early hours of the morning forestry workers have heard a horse at full gallop along the road. The rider reportedly wears clothes from a bygone era heads straight towards the old house and mounts the steps!

Monday, 25 February 2013

A name in a hat?

Hello, friends, though I'd share this little competition I have going on. Unfortunately a writer's life is about marketing also! Please feel free to share this. I have updated the 'My Fantasy' page (a bit) and if you'd like direct links to The Infinity Mantle, that's where you'll find them. Thank you!

Two frogs in the milk

Two frogs in the milk

This is the story of two frogs. One frog was fat and the other skinny. One day, while searching for food, they inadvertently jumped into a vat of milk. They couldn't get out, as the sides were too slippery, so they were just swimming around.
The fat frog said to the skinny frog, "Brother frog, there's no use paddling any longer. We're just going to drown, so we might as well give up." The skinny frog replied, "Hold on brother, keep paddling. Somebody will get us out." And they continued paddling for hours.
After a while, the fat frog said, "Brother frog, there's no use. I'm becoming very tired now. I'm just going to stop paddling and drown. It's Sunday and nobody's working. We're doomed. There's no possible way out of here." But the skinny frog said, "Keep trying. Keep paddling. Something will happen, keep paddling." Another couple of hours passed.
The fat frog said, "I can't go on any longer. There's no sense in doing it because we're going to drown anyway. What's the use?" And the fat frog stopped. He gave up. And he drowned in the milk. But the skinny frog kept on paddling.
Ten minutes later, the skinny frog felt something solid beneath his feet. He had churned the milk into butter and he hopped out of the vat.

Author: Melissa D Zartman

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

My Fantasy Series

Hello! I don't usually post about my work here on this blog, but today I'm thinking I do have stories to share on a blog all about stories and inspiration and so forth. This is the cover for my debut novel and along with it an excerpt from Chapter One. For links etc, please visit the 'My Fantasy' page. Enjoy!

 Every now and again I'll post an excerpt - I am VERY proud of my work, after all!!!!

The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman

For centuries, sailors around the world have told the legend of a cursed ghost ship, named The Flying Dutchman. The ship is cursed, and as such can never return to port. Since it has place to go, The Flying Dutchman sails around the ocean aimlessly, haunting the minds of sailors and toying with the imaginations of sea farers globally. There have been tales for ages, of late-night spotters in the crow's nest of a ship seeing a ghost ship passing their bow. Men swear on their lives that the cursed ship, The Flying Dutchman was seen sailing past them.
Where did this legend come from, and who started telling the story of this cursed ship? The first references to The Flying Dutchman comes from the writings of George Barrington in the late 1700's who wrote about the ship that appeared and then disappeared in a dark cloud - like an apparition. Several other writers and authors have written stories and poems including mentions of The Flying Dutchman. In all of the references, they talk about the ship being a terrible omen to sailors... They never want to see this ship. Seeing The Flying Dutchman is tantamount to a visit from God telling them that their voyage has been cursed.
Was The Flying Dutchman an actual ship, or was it created as folklore? The jury is still out on this question, but many who have speculated about the legend agree that The Flying Dutchman was a ship that became doomed for one reason or another. Some say that The Flying Dutchman was used for piracy and was loaded with gold and other loot. While travelling with a load of treasure, unspeakable crimes were committed on board the ship, thus making it cursed forever.
Other variations of the legend say that the Captain of The Flying Dutchman refused to go to port in the face of a horrible storm and as a result the entire ship perished. Others claim that the ship was not called The Flying Dutchman - that instead it was the name of the captain of the ship. Eventually, as people passed the legend down through the generations, the story of The Flying Dutchman referred to the ship.
Throughout the years, many sailors have claimed to see a ship sailing past them, and then disappearing. One of the most famous men who swore to have seen The Flying Dutchman is Prince George of Wales, along with his brother Prince Albert Victor. In his writings, he stated that no less than thirteen men saw The Flying Dutchman sail by their ship in the middle of the night, and a few hours later disappeared from all site into thin air.
With all of these sightings, this leaves sailors and observers to wonder... Is there any merit to this legend? As has been well-documented, The Bermuda Triangle has taken the lives of many sailors and pilots throughout history. It is difficult to argue against eyewitness accounts - but can there be a logical explanation to these sightings? Some scientists have stated that the moon light reflecting on the ocean in a distance can create an illusion of sorts, almost like a mirage creates images in a sandy desert.
Does The Flying Dutchman exist today, or is it simply a legend from long ago? Regardless of what one may believe, mariners today do not gamble with fate. This story may be a legend to those who casually read about stories on the ocean's open waters, but one thing is for certain: A sailor does not dare to call the bluff of the mighty ocean for they do not want to fall victim to the same fate as The Flying Dutchman.

The view forward

Monday, 18 February 2013


ROSE - Inspirational!

*came across this on Facebook a few days ago and thought I'd share this inspirational story with you*

An 87 Year Old College Student Named Rose

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know.

I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned round to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?”

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze.

“Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked.

She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…”

“No seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

“I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.”

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, “We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.
The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”

She concluded her speech by courageously singing “The Rose.”

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be .

When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they’ll really enjoy it!

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.

We make a Living by what we get, We make a Life by what we give."

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

King Arthur and the Witch

King Arthur and the Witch

Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighbouring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him but was moved by Arthur's youth and ideals. So, the monarch offered him his freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer and, if after a year, he still had no answer, he would be put to death.

The question? What do women really want? Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch's proposition to have an answer by year's end.

He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everyone: the princess, the priests, the wise men and even the court jester. He spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer. Many people advised him to consult the old witch, for only she would have the answer. But the price would be high; as the witch was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.

The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no choice but to talk to the witch. She agreed to answer the question, but he would have to agree to her price first. The old witch wanted to marry Sir Lancelot, the most noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur's closest friend! Young Arthur was horrified. She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises, etc. He had never encountered such a repugnant creature in all his life.

He refused to force his friend to marry her and endure such a terrible burden; but Lancelot, learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur. He said nothing was too big of a sacrifice compared to Arthur's life and the preservation of the Round Table.

Hence, a wedding was proclaimed and the witch answered Arthur's question thus: What a woman really wants, she to be in charge of her own life! Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that Arthur's life would be spared. And so it was, the neighbouring monarch granted Arthur his freedom and Lancelot and the witch had a wonderful wedding.

The honeymoon hour approached and Lancelot, steeling himself for a horrific experience, entered the bedroom. But, what a sight awaited him. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen lay before him on the bed. The astounded Lancelot asked what had happened.

The beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she appeared as a witch, she would henceforth, be her horrible deformed self only half the time and the beautiful maiden the other half. Which would he prefer? Beautiful during the day...or night?

Lancelot pondered the predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his castle, an old witch? Or, would he prefer having a hideous witch during the day, but by night, a beautiful woman for him to enjoy wondrous intimate moments?

Noble Lancelot said that he would allow HER to make the choice herself. Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Alexander and Diogenes

Alexander and Diogenes

Now when Alexander [the Great] appeared before the Greek leaders in Corinth they greeted him warmly and paid him lavish compliments- all of them, that is but one. A funny fellow, a philosopher named Diogenes. He had views not unlike those of the Buddha. According to him, possessions and all the things we think we need only serve to distract us and get in the way of our simple enjoyment of life. So he had given away everything he owned and now sat, almost naked, in a barrel in the market square in Corinth where he lived, free and independent like a stray dog.

Curious to meet this strange fellow, Alexander went to call on him. Dressed in shining armour, the plume on his helmet waving in the breeze, he walked up to the barrel and said to Diogenes: 'I like you. Let me know your wish and I shall grant it.'

Diogenes, who had until then been comfortably sunning himself, replied: 'Indeed, Sire, I have a wish.'

'Well, what is it?'

'Your shadow has fallen over me: stand a little less between me and the sun.'

Alexander is said to have been so struck by this that he said: 'If I weren't Alexander, I should like to be Diogenes.'

Source: "A Little History Of The World" by E.H. Gombrich