(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 little 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
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.
be continued next Sunday… Part I found here: https://www.fairystoriesandothertales.com/2022/03/in-which-mrs-pimms-agrees-to-find-fairy.html)