The little hedgehog who wanted to pilot a dirigible

A little tale, told in three parts, of the beginning of the fulfilment of a dream. The next instalment will be next month, but in the mean time you can find my other fictions under the tag « Tales« . (I need to tidy up a bit more the categories and articles.)


Once upon a time, there was a little hedgehog who wanted to fly.
When people asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up, he always replied:

“Piloting a dirigible!”

And everyone answered:

“But hedgehogs don’t fly!”*

To which he answered:

“I’ll be the first one, then.”

Little Hedgehog lived in the countryside. There were fields and a lot of trees. It was really green, but what attracted his eyes was the blue of the sky.

“One day, I’ll be up there”, he thought.

Once old enough to work, he left his family and went to Paris. All the main companies flying dirigibles were there and little Hedgehog, now an adult, was determined to make his dream come true.
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Nestor, alias Nessie, illustrious unknown of Inverness

Nestor, Nessie for his close ones – there aren’t that many, is the owner of the Loch Ness tea parlour, a tea parlour around the theme of the loch and its most famous and discreet inhabitant.


On the menu: “tea of the loch”, a blend of seaweeds and local plants – the recipe of which has been kept secret for centuries by its creator, that exists in two versions – without tea, the initial recipe, and with tea coming from one of the plantations in Scotland ; several cakes with flavours of local plants and berries and with names reminding one of the area ; cookies “Nessie-shaped”, the shape of which is quite close to the original ; local whisky – for a “Scottish” tea ; a tea time on Saturday afternoon and a brunch on Sunday morning, both made with local products.
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The ones out of lock-down celebrate Christmas

If you haven’t read the previous ones, Read them first. You can find them in the category « The tales of lock-down ».

Aldaran celebrated the solstice “in the world beyond the shadows” with his family and friends. His brother Arhon was there and had brought his friend Henry, whith whom he would go to celebrate Christmas, his parents had gotten into the habit of celebrating human traditions. The friend John, a bear – almost literally, and his wife were there, with three adorable bear cubs who wolfed down the mince pies. Luckily, Aldaran’s mother had anticipated and managed to save most of them, which everyone appreciated.
Aldaran was going to have to ask Mrs Watson for her recipe.

As for the dinner, it consisted in salmon, a nut roast for the vegetarians and a mix of vegetables and chestnut, not forgetting the starters and two magnificent Yule logs – it wasn’t too much, considering the amount of people loving dessert around the table.
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Family meeting – on video

The tales of lock-down (2)

If you haven’t read the previous ones, Read them first. You can find them in the category « The tales of lock-down ».


Pierre called his grand-father regularly to avoid him feeling lonely. He hadn’t been much to visit him despite the possibilities, to avoid taking any risks and to leave the space for others who needed it. Georges seemed to be OK with calls – “As long as we talk, I’m fine” – and found video calls really nice. Pierre called him sometimes from the park for a change of scenery.

Today, however, Alaric and himself were calling from the comfort of their lounge.

“Pierre, Alaric, let me introduce you someone!”
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The gnome of the retirement home

The tales of lock-down (2)

If you haven’t read the previous ones, go and find them in the category « The tales of lock-down ».


Georges was looking at the garden through the window of the lounge when he saw movement outside. It wasn’t a squirrel, it didn’t have the fluffy tail, and it wasn’t a bird.
Georges, being a curious man and needing some fresh air – why do they have to turn the heating on so high? – made his way to one of the doors leading to the garden.
On his way, he came across Beth, the kind nurse – not like some…

“You’re going out, mister Dubois?”

“Yes, it’s too hot here, and I need a change of scenery, if you see what I mean.”

“Yes, I see exactly what you mean!” replied Beth laughingly.
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Mrs Watson’s delicious mince pies

The tales of lock-down (2)

If you haven’t read « The old lady and the caring neighbour », go and read « the tales of lock-down », which I have renamed from « the confinement tales ».


Jeanine Watson had now known her eccentric neighbour Aladaran for nine months. They had shared many walks, cakes and conversations.
Jeanine loved talking about her childhood and life, whilst Aldaran was more reserved.
When she had told him about her experience of the second world war, she had been one of the children sent away to the countryside, he had seemed to know the topic well, which was surprising considering he didn’t even look forty, or just about.
Jeanine thought he must have studied it so well that it gave him the impression that he had lived it.
Aldaran had in fact experienced that war in his childhood as well, even if it had affected him differently, but he couldn’t explain to her how faes had been affected.
It was one of the rare subjects concerning his childhood he had talked a bit about.
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The man and the wolf (the sequel)

The tales of lock-down (2)

If you haven’t read « the man and the wolf », go and read « the tales of lock-down », which I have renamed from « the confinement tales ».


Eight month earlier…

Pierre was coming home from groceries shopping when he noticed the wolfhound. It was early for him, but what surprised Pierre the most was that he was sitting next to the front door of his apartment building, as if he was waiting for someone.
When the wolfhound came up to him, he understood that that someone was him.

“Hello you!” Pierre greeted him whilst scratching him behind the ears: “You were waiting for me?”

The dog wagged his tail in an happy manner. He had beautiful golden brown eyes. Pierre stored that information at the back of his mind. Strangers met in shops don’t turn into wolfhounds. Anyway, that sort of things doesn’t exist, right?
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I studied « The Science of Happiness »

Banner MOOC The Science of HappinessI realised that, if you read English, you don’t need to wait for me to post my series of articles in French about the MOOC… You can just go and enjoy it yourself if the theme interests you!

I spent 10 weeks studying what is happiness, how it works in our body and what can help us be happier.
We covered biological facts, neurological facts, psychological facts, some philosophy and examples of practices to cultivate our happiness.

The themes per week:
Week 1: Introduction to the Science of Happiness – how to define and measure happiness
Week 2: Happiness & Human Connection – spoiler: being lonely is bad for our health and well-being
Week 3: Kindness & Compassion – from being kind to being helpful to being a hero
Week 4: Cooperation & Forgiveness – spoiler: we are built to cooperate, not compete, and forgiveness is good for our health
Week 5: Midterm Exam (and time to catch up on course material)
Week 6: Mindfulness, Attention, and Focus – being in the present moment fosters happiness, as long as we don’t nag at ourselves
Week 7: Mental Habits of Happiness: Self-Compassion, Flow, and Optimism – being kind to ourselves is good
Week 8: Gratitude – life is good and beautiful, even when it’s not
Week 9: Finding Your Happiness Fit and the New Frontiers – what practices work for you, and what science is now looking at
Week 10: catching up and final exam

Each week there are videos, articles, marked questions and at least one happiness practice to try out.

If you are intrigued by the themes, you want to know how happiness works and how you can cultivate it in your everyday life, then this course is worth checking out.

It’s available in a «at your own pace» style now, which makes it perfect for those of you wanting to casually learn about this.

To find out more about the course and sign-up if you want: edX UC Berkeley « The Science of Happiness »
I am not affiliated, I doubt edX and the Greater Good Science Centre even do affiliates… I just found this course really interesting and thought maybe you might too.

If you read French, I will be posting a series of articles presenting the themes in more detail – I’m just not sure when exactly as the holidays will be here soon…