Stories from the Borders of Sleep

By Seymour Jacklin

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Category: Literature

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A semi-regular podcast, featuring original stories, fantastic fables and curious tales by written and read by your host, Seymour Jacklin. Each episode is from 8-18 minutes long and takes the listener on an imaginative and thought provoking journey. Aimed at adults but very suitable for children, too.

Episode Date
To Catch a Skerrid

Magic runs in the family, so when cousin Rupert comes to spend the summer with Damson and her mother, there are magic tricks, a little transdimensional tomfoolery, and, of course, poetic justice. 

Apr 12, 2021
The Frog and Banjo

Neither the frog or the banjo are quite what you might think at first - a mystical pair who surprised everyone and taught a few lessons.

Feb 26, 2021
Sketching and Painting

This is a story about an artist called Anna and a surprising discovery she makes in the autumnal woods. 

Oct 26, 2020
Brother Savion

One day in September, 40 years of the companionship of a forest brings a hermit to the culmination of his life cycle.

Aug 21, 2020
The Librarian

"You know, all this talk we are talking? It's like the sunshine and the rain. It's present or not, but when it is present it soaks and warms and disappears. Nevertheless, the nourishing effect of it lasts and shows continually."

May 01, 2020
Chippie and Angus

It's a story about a quiet girl, and I don't want to give too much away ...

Mar 29, 2020
Lady Isabella

A story about an unlikely friendship that occurs on an expedition to gather chamomile.

Mar 06, 2020
Horseless Carriage

Just a rather nice little trip down memory lane in later life, wherein we discover that the peacock is a magical bird ... perhaps.

Jan 15, 2020

In which some fascinating things are discovered about the secret lives of plants and other living things.

Nov 19, 2018
Water Cure

Inspired by a piece of music by Paul Morris ( this story tells of a strange visit to an unusual shrink. 

Jul 13, 2018
Mortal Uncoil

The strange last journey of an old man from this life.

May 20, 2018
Poor Butterfly

Two girls get away from it all in a borrowed Studebaker, and get diverted on their way to the coast.

Jan 14, 2018
My Journey

Episode 36 ... a little bit of autobiography: part of the story of the inception of 'Stories from the Borders of Sleep'.

Sep 23, 2015
The Night of the Nipperquins

Writting for the wedding of a friend, this story recounts the strangest wedding night of all time.

Sep 01, 2015
Hitting it Out of the Park

An episode dedicated to corporate daydreamers, opponents and proponents of boardroom bluster, meeting doodlers and anyone who has ever had to circle the waggons, eat their own dogfood or deploy blue-sky thinking - this is for you.

Jul 20, 2015
Thrice Buried

As in the King, so in the Kingdom. But how terrible, then, for the Kingdom if the King has lost the will to live...

Jul 07, 2015
Kalakut's Gift

This is a story about a little girl and a volcano and it's also about a grandfather and a fish, and a village and a rock ... and many other things if you listen carefully.

Jul 01, 2014
The Jellyfarglemarsh

Here we are, back after a long hiatus, kicking off a new season of fortnightly podcasts with episode 31 - a tale containing a lot of made-up words ...

Jul 13, 2013
Cantatur in Taberna

A cautionary tale about drinking in strange taverns.

Aug 18, 2012
Returning Student

Can there be learning without books? Can there be as much to ponder in a day of walking as in a term of studying? A student is forced to face these questions on his way home for the summer.

Jul 30, 2012
The Other Side of the Hedge by E.M. Forster

Occasionally on this podcast, we feature the work of another author from the public domain. This week we have a short story by the marvellous E.M Forster. Writing in the first half of the twentieth century, his romantic soul was troubled by the march of "so called" progress and his voice is still prophetic in our own times. Enjoy!

Jul 19, 2012
Iron and Wood

A woodcutter, a sailor, a lace maker, and a mysterious old woman ... sounds like a fairytale to me.  

Apr 22, 2012
Michigan Water

It's December 1939, a hard winter in Harlem and pianist Jelly Roll Morton is plotting his return to fame. Tragically, in just over a year he would be dead.

Mar 05, 2012
The Wisdom of Things Found

If you listen to anything, animal, vegetable or mineral, in time it will disclose some secret wisdom to you that you are obligated to share with others. Here is a story about a man who knew all that he knew because of what the sea brought to him.

Feb 20, 2012
Fighting Lions

Welcome to "Stories from the Borders of Sleep" Episode 24. Rome ... Romantic? Oppressive? You decide, but just be aware that strange things might happen if you are at a loose end in the vicinity of the Colisseum.

Feb 06, 2012
The Ferryman

Turpin Whittington has a few problems: an unusual name, complete deafness in his left ear and an uncontrollable tendency to get lost in fairy-land but somehow he makes good.

Jan 28, 2012
The Unhappy Body by Lord Dunsany

Every once in a while, we have decided to unearth a short story from the public domain and to give it the "Borders of Sleep" treatment. Here's a curious tale originally published in 1910 by Lord Dunsany in a collection entitled A Dreamer's Tales. Enjoy!

Jan 21, 2012
Moving in Mysterious Ways

What lies beyond the chess board? A few chess pieces get to find out ...

Dec 22, 2011
Bear Bridge

A tale in which a baker gets the better of some savage bears with the help of a mysterious miller.

Nov 25, 2011

Stitched together from ideas that occurred to me while out walking the dog, my ponderings on the nature of fear, a dream from a long time ago, and a more recent journey in my own soul - it kind of emerged over the course of the last week. Is there something in you that needs to be unblocked?

Nov 15, 2011
The Seven Legged Spider

This story does not do what it says on the tin. Not to give too much away, but: It is based on a folk tale that is still told in many variations across the world. I remember hearing it as a child. usually the "take home message" is something to do with collaborating and contributing to a greater effort, but here's my take on it ...

Nov 03, 2011
Wild Blue Yonder

Here is a deep dive into the ocean and beyond, to carry you far away in your imagination, to dream within dreams, or just to help you get to sleep ... enjoy!

Oct 28, 2011
Beth and the Emerantil

A story of a young girl who intends to become a princess by marrying a prince one day, yet in a single night she meets a strange shadow and an even stranger creature who shows her things no princess has ever seen.

Oct 22, 2011

A fragment of autobiographical memory, introducing one of the many creatures that inhabited my childhood. 

Oct 06, 2011
A Tale of TwoPots

Another folk tale adapted for "Stories from the Borders of Sleep" by Seymour Jacklin. If you are enjoying these stories please rate them on iTunes or leave some feedback on the website:

Sep 29, 2011
Between Two Tides

Here is another story that is a retelling of a vivid and lengthy dream I had many years ago. A stranger is washed up on a beach, barely alive. Years later he tries to recover his memories of a very different time and place and the people he lived with before - a people whose entire civilisation rose and fell in a single life-time or even ... between two tides.

Sep 22, 2011

This is a story about ... a clown, that's about all I can say without giving the game away!

Sep 15, 2011
Balthazar's Chandelier

Welcome to episode 11 of Stories from the Borders of Sleep, which tells of an extraordinary day in the life of a humble servant who was trying his best to keep a low profile ...

This is one of many stories that I have heard or read in a forgotten time and place that has, nevertheless, stuck in my mind enough to be given the "borders of sleep" treatment. I hope that it stays with you as long as it has stayed with me.

Sep 05, 2011
Swee-swee and the Cobbler

I adapted this story from one that appears in the writings of Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian Christian pastor who was imprisoned by the communists for his faith. He spent some 14 years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement and enduring torture on a daily basis. He was beaten so badly he was never able to wear shoes again. In spite of this he has written some of the most profound and powerful stories and sermons I have ever read. He was a master of the parable and this one, about a caged bird, is just one of the many that came to mean a great deal more to him, no doubt, as he lay in his cell.

The sound-track is from David Modica's album "The Waters Wide" - available from

Aug 22, 2011
Two Handkerchiefs

The latest podcast from This one is a "fairy tale" ... well ... it does have fairies in it but it may not be "happily ever after" in the quite the same way as most fairy tales end. You will also hear about two letters, and two wars, and two sworn enemies, but most of all you'll hear about two handkerchiefs. The soundtrack contains music  by Jami Sieber, available from Story by Seymour Jacklin, artwork by Robyn Trainer and production by Tim Wiles.

Aug 04, 2011
The Trespassers

A cautionary tale, and not for the feint of heart. This is a story about what befalls a party of revellers on their way home one night.

Jul 25, 2011
The Cat and The Mouse

Dear Listener,

Traditionally we know that cats and mice do not get on with one another - it's a cat-eat-mouse world! But here is a story that just asks "what if" a particular cat and a particular mouse should break the mould because of their love for one another?

This is a story adapted closely from one of Grimm's Fairy Tales. The brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were collectors of european folk tales, publishing some of our best loved and most often recited stories in the early 1800s. Unlike the "disneyified" fairy tales that have become popular in our own time, the stories that the Grimm brothers collected tended to be dark and obscure ...

The rather evocative, at times dark and obscure, solo violin of Anthony Salvo accompanies this tale which I hope you enjoy. If youlike the music you can download it yourself from


Jul 07, 2011

Three schoolboys and an idyllic midsummer evening on the river Thames, echoing in the memory forever.

This is a short snapshot, the very briefest of autobiographical sketches from my early teens.


Jun 23, 2011

Dear Listener,

What is greatness, anyway? I guess we all have a different idea of what it means to be "great". Here is a story about someone who was rather like a lot of us, and certainly a lot like me, who had never really thought it through.

My masterful sound recordist, Tim, has got me onto a sensible recording schedule, which should mean that these podcasts go out on a steady fortnightly basis from now on. Also, in case you were wondering, I intend to keep on publishing here until the stories dry up which is not likely to happen any time soon as I get at least two new ideas for new ones every week.

Thank you for listening and ...


Jun 09, 2011
One Stormy Night

What are archaeologists really looking for? This one is digging up his own soul.

This week's story is longer than the usual Borders of Sleep fare and certainly longer than I would normally podcast; but, I am still wanting to try out different things and see what people like. I did consider putting this into parts I and II but I thought you might find that annoying.

That said, this story is long, but not as long as the time for which one of the characters has been absent from himself.

When I wrote it, it seemed to get a life of its own and to run away with me, but hopefully not like the horse in the story.

There is a lot crammed into it, but not quite as much as you will see crammed into a certain item of clothing that you will hear about.

The airy and dark acoustic guitar soundtrack is from Glass Desert by Harlan Williams and it's available from Magnatune.

May 27, 2011
Tree and Stream

If you were water, what sort of water would you be?

Would you be the water in a stream or the water in a tree?

Or would you be ice or vapour?

And what would it be like to be able to see the path of an ant or a star with the same clarity as we see the path to our own front door?

All of these are questions you may ponder as you listen to this story about a traveller, and a tree ... and a stream.

Apr 18, 2011
Water in the Desert

Here's a story that is a precise retelling of a dream that I had many years ago. Make of it what you will; but, for my part, I have never been able to escape the feeling that there is more life to be had if we would only stop being so clever about everything.

Mar 28, 2011
The Prince and the Bird

Where a prince discovers that everything in his kingdom is also in his own soul.

Mar 03, 2011