In which Mr. Pimms Becomes Involved...

(Part II of Mrs. Pimms Finds a Fairy)
     There was more to finding a fairy than Mrs. Pimms had anticipated.  That said, there was plenty involved that was expected.  Mushroom rings, position of the moon, warmth of the day, and a field or meadow hidden from most eyes by thick forests; but the problem lay in finding a place that met all these conditions at once.  Then, of course, there would be the excuses made to Mr. Pimms and Mary's mother.  And, naturally, the extremely likely scenario that the fairies, when found, would know nothing of a recipe concerning lemon cakes...

But all this was rather beside the point, which was: Mrs. Pimms herself very much wanted to find a fairy.

And even if no cake recipe presented itself, so did little Mary.
Thus, united in purpose, it was on a day which had held just the right temperature, on a night which had just the right moonlight, in a meadow surrounded by a forest on the outskirts beyond their small suburban village, in the middle of a ring of mushrooms, when Mary and Mrs. Pimms met the fairies.
They came one by one, dancing in spirals, alighting the mushrooms as golden sparks danced about their gossamer wings.  Dressed in every sort of color, their appearance was muted by the light that issued from their very beings.  And though Mrs. Pimms and Mary were in the very center of the mushroom ring, the fairies took no notice of their presence until Mrs. Pimms heard herself gasp in a delight.
That, the fairies heard, for the sound set off a buzzing, and suddenly the air was filled with glowing bodies headed directly for Mrs. Pimms and her young charge.  It was Mary’s turn to gasp, as fairies filled the air around their heads, and one very prominent fairy with a crown of flowers on his head addressed them.
‘You are mortals.’ It was not a question.  He spoke with grave authority, and his voice was rich and deep for all he was so small.  ‘You have no right to witness the revelries of the fairies.  For this you must pay.’
At this Mrs. Pimms blinked.  And when she again opened her eyes, she and Mary were quite somewhere else.
The sky had grown lighter, and yet not full light, as though everything had dimmed around them.  The air was filled with a sweet perfume, the likes of which Mrs. Pimms had never smelled before.  And the trees around them were far older than any of the trees that grew near the village, with large thick trunks, gnarled bark, and great knots that looked as though they had seen eons.
‘Mrs. Pimms,’ said Mary taking hold of the witch’s hand, ‘I don’t think we’re anywhere near the village anymore.’
                                                                       *     *     *
            Mrs. Pimms was late.  Mrs. Pimms was never late.  And Mr. Pimms, for the first time in over thirty years of marriage, was worried.
            It was a new sensation, one that felt most uncomfortable to Mr. Pimms, as he sat in his arm chair, glancing repeatedly at the small grandfather clock that hung over the mantel.  Every so often, it chimed, marking the minutes, then the hours since Mrs. Pimms had not come home.
            Mr. Pimms fidgeted in his chair and after the tenth chime of the clock, his gaze shifted away from the time and toward Mrs. Pimms’ sewing room.  The one place in their home that he had never been was the one place that seemed to call to Mr. Pimms now, in his hour of growing desperation.  What it was that finally tipped him over the edge into motivated curiosity, I cannot say.  But in one swift movement, before the clock chimed an eleventh time, Mr. Pimms was up, out of his chair and sweeping toward the back of his house: where lay the realm of Mrs. Pimms.
            As Mr. Pimms pushed open the door, and turned on the light, his feet stumbled one over the other, and he fell into what was very definitely not a sewing room.
            There were bottles, and bowls, herbs strung everywhere, as were several strands of twinkle lights that had turned on when Mr. Pimms flicked the switch.  There were plants and tonics, and several sizes of mortars and pestles.  Powders, lotions, and strange smells.  And the evidence that pushed Mr. Pimms over the edge, if he had had any doubt left, were rows upon rows of books with the strange and condemning titles; Apothecaries Today, A Witch in the Know, Ten Spells to Shed the Pounds, A Witch’s Guide to Affordable Remedies, How to Train a Familiar, and Light Poisons and How to Use Them were among them.
            Mr. Pimms was not amused.
            (To be continued…)

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