One of my current projects is a children's word hoard, entitled The Lion of Sleep. It tells the story of how the magical lion Alvery Zee may help you to get to sleep, through the recitation of all the wonderful things he will require to travel to Contragonia and find his true love.
There's an extract below the read more button...
Alvery’s Grand Palace in the Land of Cush is said to be the most commodious place in the entire world. Of all the visitors that have entered through its storied gateway, not one has left again without taking a night’s rest, for it is impossible to go there without sleeping. Some weary travellers find the place so relaxing that they have never departed! And no one ever needs to depart, for there is always room for one more sleeper in the Palace of Cush.
Even as you enter the Palace, options for a cheeky snooze abound. In the east lobby are seven sofas; a Stockholm Hardwedge, a Hessian Belgian Rollarm, a Velvet Wingback, an Antique Camelback, a Chadwick Barrrelback, a Leather Tuxedo, and a Paisley Pouffe. In the western vestibule there are couches galore, Davenports and Chesterfields so long that you cannot see from one end to the other unless your eyes are open. As you enter the front foyer you will find settles and settees, ottomans and Moorish stoops, daybeds, moonbeds, sunlounges, and a chaise lounge with cushions of braided silk, stuffed with eiderdown from a goose so somnolent it never once honked.
Provided that you remain awake long enough to even get into the reception area, a dozy concierge will eventually attend you. Between yawns, she will ask if might prefer a hotel room, or, a bespoke apartment. The various apartments are situated on the spacious palace grounds, and accessible by an hourly gnu-drawn charabanc with a top speed of nine. If you wish for such an individual abode, you may choose:
Most visitors, however, prefer a hotel room within the palace itself, for they want to begin their slumbering right away! If such is your preference, a drowsy bellhop will escort you to the enervated elevators, asking you on which side of the hotel you would like your room to be positioned. The eastern wing has mountain views, the west faces to the sea, the north to the woods, and the south to the River of Snoo. There are no rooms without a view, for the Palace of Cush only has upper floors. Each of the 44 thousand hotel bedrooms is similar, differing from the others in a small detail. One might contain a small museum dedicated to the History of the Pillow, and another be entirely filled with families of stuffed penguins, from Fairy to Emperor. It is not possible to know what any room is like until you open the door. Some guests spend up to a year deciding which room they will eventually take, napping for a while in each to test the ambience for its soporific potential.
Let me tell you a story about the Palace. Once there was a Princess who could not get a good night’s sleep because she slept on twenty mattresses at once, and there was a pea beneath them all. The hotel Major Domo was appalled, frankly, when news of this travesty reached his ears, and he summoned this Princess to the Palace to conduct a formal interview:
‘Your Majesty, word of your insomniacal circumstances has travelled from Europa to our own land, and we seek to remedy the situation. Restfulness and congeniality are always our priority here in Cush, and our duty extends to all. Please, tell us of your troubles. How did your bed come to be in this sorry state?’
‘My fiancée's family didn’t believe I was a real Princess! So they put veggies in me bed, to see if I could still get a good night’s kip. I hardly got a wink!’
‘Disgraceful,’ said the Maître D, shaking her head. ‘You must be so tired. But allow me to observe, madame, that this unstable and precarious arrangement of twenty mattresses may have been the problem, rather than the pea, which was surely squashed flat in any case?’
‘A faultless assessment of my wobbly predicament!’ wailed the Princess. ‘The bed was so high I struck my nose and noggin on the ceiling whenever I rolled over!’
‘I have a remedy, madame,’ said the Major Domo. ‘We will prepare for you a single room, with a single mattress, and place no unnecessary legumes in any part of the room, let alone in your bedding. You do not need to prove you are a princess by sleeping soundly; you have said you are a princess, and in the land of Cush, one's word is enough.'
The Princess liked the sound of that, and she was in ‘La La Land’ almost as soon as her single head hit the single pillow. That night, she had the best night’s sleep any single girl has ever had – and her name was entered into the Right Restful Record Book, the very next day! The marriage to the Prince was abandoned, and she stayed in Cush for many years after that.
When we are asleep, we are who we truly are, and we do not have to prove anything, to anybody.