Oma was still laughing as we made our way slowly back to the car. She seemed content to ride on top of Jack and had no difficulty keeping her balance. She pointed out the dandelions and told us how her grandmother taught her to make a tonic from them.
“It’s good for all sorts of ailments. It helps with bloat and the tummy flutter. You can make a salve of it for nettle stings and pebble joints. My Gran is a Wise Fairy. She knows all sorts of remedies and potions. You can meet her when we get home.”
“That would be nice,” said Jack. ‘Here’s the car, Oma. Now Mummy is going to help us get inside. Have you ever been in a car before?” He asked.
I reached down and put one hand under Jack’s belly and the other in a hug around his bum and counted to three, and then together, we hopped him into the car, with Oma still holding tightly to Jack’s collar.
“Goodness, no,” she cried. Her laughter stopped, and I could see that she was frightened. Jack stepped into the back and lay down on his bed.
“It’s very safe, Oma,” I said. “I’m a careful driver, and we can get you home quickly. It’s not nearly as dangerous as surfing with a seal.”
“That’s right,” said Jack. “You can sit here with me and watch out the window. Maybe, you could tell me again about your home by the sea.”
That brought a smile back to her face, and Oma relaxed a bit.
“Why, it’s the prettiest place you’ll ever see. The beaches are surrounded by tall red cliffs covered with fields of green, and beyond them are the mountains. Some say they’re the oldest mountains in the world. They go on forever, one round bump rolling into another all covered with trees. That’s where we live, by a stream in the mountains. It’s easy to get lost because there are lots of streams, but our place overlooks a gigantic rock with a hole in it that sits in the ocean all by itself. My favourite human friend, Muriel, calls it the Perce Rock but my family calls it The Big Wink. It’s something to see. If it’s a beautiful day and we’re not too busy, Dad will take us down to the beach. I love it there. You can find all sorts of pebbles and stones and sometimes even polished coloured gems that make beautiful decorations. Some of our craftspeople make them into jewellery or suncatchers. I like to collect them to put in the garden among the flowers.” Oma had settled down into Jack’s neck ruff and was watching out the window when she suddenly started to laugh again and said,
“Wow, this is better than flying. What do you call this thing again.”
“It’s a car, Oma. Most humans use them to get around,” said Jack.
“Well, it’s a lot of fun. You look down on things as you pass by them, and it moves so fast! I like to go fast. Sheesh! What a day I’m having. I am on a grand adventure,” she giggled. “I hope Mum won’t be too mad at me. I got my stockings dirty, and I’ve lost my books.” I looked in the rearview mirror and saw that Oma’s eyes had misted up again, so I said to her, ” I know the Perce Rock, or as you call it ‘The Big Wink.’ My husband’s family lives in Perce. I love it there, too. It’s one of my favourite places. I didn’t know that fairies live there, though.”
“Fairies live almost everywhere, and our mountain by The Big Wink is full of little folk of every kind,” she said. “In my neighbourhood, we have Gnomes, Imps, Elves and Fairies. It’s great. Everyone works together, and we share lots of things, but mostly food and stories. I like talking to people over food, especially if there are stories. Mama likes the love stories best, and my sister Edna likes to gossip, but I like tall tales of adventure. The Imps tell great adventure stories that make you silly laugh. ‘Course, the mushrooms they serve can make you silly laugh before the stories even start. Mama says that Edna and I can only eat one or two, and only if she or Papa is with us. Mama makes a lot of rules, but she says it’s because she wants us to grow up to be good fairies.” Oma paused for a moment to scratch her back and said, “Gosh, my wings get itchy when they’re growing in.” She paused for a moment, staring out the window when suddenly a smile lit up her face.
“Hey! Big Brown Dog! Stop! This place looks familiar. We must be getting close to home. Stop, Human, stop!” Oma’s arms were flailing about as she tried to stand up, but couldn’t find her balance. I turned into the parking lot for the Trillium Trail and stopped the car. I turned in my seat and looked into the back of the car and said, “Alright, Oma. We’re here. This is the forest where you live. I want you to hold on tightly to Jack’s collar as he gets up. OK, Jack, let’s go.”
Jack stood up slowly, and he carefully made his way out through the back door. Once on the ground, he softly made his way onto the trail as I closed up the car and locked it. Jack had only taken a few steps when he was set upon by a large mixed group of faires, Gnomes and Imps, each of them calling Oma’s name and reaching out to her. Jack slowly laid down near a patch of trout lilies, and Oma slid off of him with her arms held out wide, calling out loudly ‘Wheeee!’ A blue fairy fluttered toward Jack and caught Oma as she hit the ground. She pulled Oma close and hugged her tightly, and Oma started to cry. Still holding on to each other, Oma said, “I forget your name, but I remember your smell. Do you know where my Mama is?” Oma pulled back with tears in her eyes and continued, ” She’s going to be upset with me. I’ve lost my books, and I’ve gotten dirty, and I’m really late. Oh, Dear. I don’t know what to do.” She began to cry.
I watched as a pale green fairy wended her way through the crowd. She was older, with dull grey hair and heavy lines around her face. As she got nearer to Jack, Oma saw her and cried out with a laugh, “Edna! I am so glad to see you. I was afraid I’d never get home.”
Edna took Oma’s hands and said, “I’m glad to see you, too. You must be hungry and tired. Let’s get you home.” She looked into Jack’s eyes and said, “Thank you,” then led Oma away by the hand into the forest. There was an outburst of ‘Thank yous’ from the rest of the crowd as they slowly followed behind the two older fairies, waving goodbye one moment and then slowly vanishing into the forest. As we watched them go, I saw Gnorman turn around and come toward Jack and me, so I knelt down on one knee and smiled at him as he approached. Without hesitation, he hopped onto my lap and took my hand in his and bestowed a kiss upon it. Then looked up at me and said,
“Thank you, Lassie. And you, Sir Jack. I see that you have injuries to your nose and your toes. I wish you speedy healing. We will never forget what you have done today. You will always be welcome among all the little folk, and we will write tales and songs about your bravery. Same for you, Voyager,” he said as he hopped off my knee.
“Thank you, Gnorman. It is my pleasure to have been of service. One question, though. How did you know so quickly that we were here with Oma?”
“Hera Hawk followed you and flew back to let us know you’d found her and were on your way home,” Gnorman said, smiling. He turned toward the forest, and said over his shoulder, “When next we meet, I’ll be wanting to hear the story from you. Right now, I have a party to get to.” He brought up his hand to blow me a kiss, calling out ‘Thanks, again, to the two of you,” before disappearing into the trees. I put my hand on Jack’s back and told him, “You are very brave, Jack. And kind. I am the luckiest Mummy in the world because I get to be your Mummy.”
Jack smiled as he stood up and said, “Thanks, Mummy. Could we get ice cream on the way home?”
“You bet, Bubba. Today you’re the king of the forest. I think you’ll need a queen. Let’s make it a Dairy Queen.”
“Yay,” he said, happily wagging his tail as he trotted ahead of me.
I’d like to thank rq for the beautiful artwork. It’s a lovely piece, and it means a great deal to me.
My thanks also to all of you for allowing me to try my hand at story writing. It was a bit of fun.