A Sixteenth Century Encounter
Meanwhile, down under the tree, in a dark tunnel, a dirty, bony, ragged figure lay curled up sleeping. Worms came in and out of the soil at random, some with lights on their tails. In the shimmer of the glow, the tree sprite’s ears looked like rose leaves. To look at her was like looking at a ‘root’ of some kind. Her very long bowed nose had a few warts and a few fine roots hanging off the end. Her two fingers and thumb were also long and looked like scrawny, badly grown carrots, still with the roots growing out of them. Her hair was as long as she was, but it was dirty and matted into a messy knot. Her covering was of masses of finely weaved root hairs somewhat made into a long dress. It was filthy and full of holes.
It had been twelve thousand years since she had been locked away in her prison of soil. She had been manifested by the energies of the last civilisation that roamed the earth. But due to their self-destructive ways, they had moved themselves out of the earthly existence, and Podsinia had faded with the last of the negative energy that was out there. The tree had survived the ordeal and had carried on happily until this day.
The ugly figure took a deep breath and opened her wicked, angry, piercing eyes.
Back in the palace, the group was finishing off their drinks and preparing to leave.
“Thank you Lord Nutwood,” said Elm, “We shall come and see you as soon as we return from the Federation of Nature Spirits gathering. Take care now.” He nodded his head in respect of Lord Nutwood and said, “Lady Acacia, it’s been a honour,” and nodded a little deeper before stepping back to stand with his quiet little helper. “We have much to do before we journey tomorrow, and so we will leave you and see you early in the morning.” He continued looking at his other friends.
They all said goodbye and then Yellow Flower gave Acacia a hug and Nutwood also and said gently,
“We will see you again soon, take care won’t you.” She stepped back to let Malley, Florrel and Coral say goodbye.
Sky hugged them both also and told them not to worry,
“Everything will be fine!” She said.
“This I know,” said Lord Nutwood, “I look forward to your next visit,” he said sincerely.
“Please come and visit again soon,” said Lady Acacia, smiling warmly.
“Thank you. I will…. Goodbye!” She said, and waved as she looked back.
Amazingly, Curley had sat quietly for most of the time they had been there, but Coral had taken him for a walk because he was so energetic.
They all met by the main Nutlidge doors where Curley was swinging around a light pole.
“Well now!” Said Malley to them all, “What’s the plan from here?”
“I guess it’s clean up time first,” Said Florrel.
‘Then it’s dinner with Sky!” Said a very chirpy Curley, bouncing into the conversation.
“Oh yes of course!” Said Yellow Flower, getting excited about the dinner also. “Let’s get the clean up done quickly and go. How about we help you clean up the tea garden,” she said to Malley and Florrel, “and then we’ll work our way down from here and leave from your place since it’s the closest to Sky’s house.”
They all agreed and this is what they did. Yellow Flower helped with her magic and righted everything with her powers. She made a long job a fairly quick one with four houses to do, including Coral’s cottage.
It took them the rest of the afternoon but when they were finished they sat for a while to recuperate.
The sun was going down and they were all exhausted. Malley, Florrel, Yellow Flower, Sky, and Coral sat around the table while Curley played nicely with Dusty.
They had a quick drink of juice with Vitalitea in it and then it was time to go. Malley had a good nut bottle of Changeabilitea to give Sky when they reached the bottom of the tree. Yellow Flower had a special bottle of Spotted Gum wine that she had been saving for a special occasion and popped it in her bag.
“Are we all ready?” Said Yellow Flower, getting even more excited.
They all nodded and said “Yes!” all at once.
“Right then,” she said, and looked at Sky. “Think about where you would like us to get to Sky, and I’ll use the picture in your mind to get us there.”
“Yeah.” Sky said, smiling happily. She shut her eyes to focus on the place she wanted them to turn up. ‘The Doll House,’ she thought, ‘at the front door.’ She held the place in her mind and before she knew it, they were all standing in front of the huge and beautifully lit up 16th century dollhouse.
“Oh! Sky!” Wailed Florrel, “Is this where we’re having dinner?”
“It most certainly is!” Said Sky in a posh English accent, excited to show her friends the house. “As a matter of fact, I was planning a sleepover as well! There are enough beds, and enough of everything to stay here! That’s if you would like to of course…” She said as an afterthought.
“I’m in!” Said Malley, with a big smile on his face too. Florrel nodded happily and Curley did a somersault on the spot and cried “Yahoo! That’s awesome!” Copying what Sky had said earlier.
Yellow Flower was amazed at the size of the building and was looking through the windows, on the second floor. As she came down she looked around the room it was in. “What a beautiful house this is in,” she said.
“Is this where you normally live?”
Sky opened the front door and walked them in. “Oh no! This is an old cottage that is now used more like a cubby house, you know, a playhouse for kids, and my grandma’s house is in another garden. Come this way,” she said and led them into a most magnificent room. The first thing they noticed was the sweeping staircase at the back of the room. Stepping down a hundred steps from two hosting balconies, it became one large sweeping entrance to the other magnificent floors. Three balconies situated above and either side of the sixteenth century staircase showed the size and magnificence of this incredible doll’s house.
In the centre of the room was a fabulous velvet lounge suite, purple in colour, with wooden carved backings and wooden ball in claw feet. The coffee table had feet of the same style and a thick glass top. This hosted a big bowl of chopped nuts and sultanas and a vase of yellow flowers. The tall ceiling to floor windows were accompanied by floral curtains swept aside by large ribbons and attached to the window frames. Gold embossed frames held pictures of relatives, including a young Edward Lawson and his father.
Sky took a closer look while the others spilled around the room taking in the magnificence of it all. The polished floor hosted several large rugs of red crushed velvet and walls lined with delicate wallpaper. Crystal lamps with beaded fringes and leather wooden backed chairs were placed around the large room, each with their own carved side table and huge sideboards filled with bone china crockery and tiny ornaments. A grand piano was situated behind the curving balustrade along with a selection of beautiful handmade instruments and shelves stashed with books. On the other side of the staircase was a comfortable sitting area with more luxurious lounge chairs so comfortable someone could sleep there. There were lots of small framed photos of family and friends.
The group of friends were almost speechless for quite a while except for the odd ‘Ah!’ or ‘Oh! Look!’ and ‘Wow!’ filtering through the large room. It was full of beautiful antiques, all handmade by her great- grandparents, Edward and Constance. Sky was in awe of what she was seeing in the photos. Pictures she had never seen up close, of young Lawson in different stages of his life with his father. A wedding photo stood out on one of the large sideboards and Sky had a closer look at this.
It was young Lawson on his wedding day and his beautiful wife adorned in a white dress with a very long veil. Sky took particular note of the style of the dress and knew it must have been when photos were first invented. They were obviously a well-to-do family, by the looks of the carriages and the clothes in all the pictures. She always thought these tiny pictures had been cut from old magazines! It had been however, the tiniest and most gorgeous collection of miniature picture frames she had ever laid her eyes on. Now that she was able to see them close up, she could see what they had been made from even better. Bark, leaves, sticks, slices of gumnut, and other types of natural materials. Floral ones held dried flowers, still in good condition, leather and suede, silk covered and hand painted ones. All exquisite and all hand made.
Curley woke them all up from their daydream and got their attention by swinging himself up the balcony and yahooing at the thrill of it!
After a glance and a smile they all met in the middle of the room by the coffee table.
“Sky! This is one amazing room!” Said Malley, looking at the huge dome ceiling far above them that held a magnificent chandelier.
“Yes it is so beautiful!” Agreed Florrel. “Did your parents make this house?”
“Well, my great-great-great-great grandparents built it for their children and they handmade everything from what my grandma has said. It has been handed down to each generation…”
“And looked after extremely well!” Said Yellow Flower, finally finding her voice again. “This place is beautiful! How many rooms does it have?” She added, dying to see the rest of it.
“Oh yes!” Said Sky, suddenly remembering, “The rest of it! I’m just as excited as you are!” She beamed at Yellow Flower and the others, “This is so different being able to actually come in here and walk around! I guess I didn’t notice as much as a big person!”
She walked towards the archway to the left hand side of the room and through to another music room which had a large harp.
Several upholstered chairs were placed around the large room and music sheets were scattered on the table. Sky picked one up.
“They certainly liked music!” Said Coral, who was a little shy, but was beginning to get use to the journey this was taking her on. She swept her fingers across the strings filling the room with a magic sound.
Yellow Flower sat down behind the harp and began to play. A soft, delicate tune drifted around the room and relaxed them all a little from their obvious excitement.
Sky was studying the music sheet. She hadn’t noticed them lying there before, but then there were lots of things she hadn’t noticed before. Being able to walk around took on a whole new perspective. The music had been written in with pencil. Sky didn’t think anything of this at first and went to put the paper down, but changed her mind and studied the paper closer.
“This is strange,” she said. “These music sheets look as if they have been hand written. But surely no one of normal size could write notes this small and so neatly! My great-great-great-great grandma must have been awfully clever!” She put the paper down, not giving it another thought.
Malley was fiddling with one of the carved banjos. He hadn’t seen instruments quite like this before, or anything like any of this before! Everything was new and fascinating. Even Curley had calmed down and was looking around the room in all the glass cabinets, which held small instruments and ornaments.
“Pickled nuts!” He said. “Look at this!” Yellow Flower stopped playing and joined the others in looking into the glass cabinet that had captured his attention. A cabinet almost full of yet more picture frames and brass ornaments.
On the second glass shelf within the cabinet, lay only one item that filled the whole space up. It was a ring. A gold diamond ring, the one Sky had noticed in the wedding photo. Her great-great-great-great grandmother’s wedding ring!
The pink gold band was worn well and still had a faint inscription on it.
Sky took a deep breath in, at the magnificence of the highly cut diamond. It was the size of a large dinner plate and sparkled in the light of the chandelier.
“Wow!” Said Malley first, “that’s some diamond!” He had knowledge of gems and crystals, and was stunned at its beauty.
“It’s so gorgeous!” Said Sky.
“What does it say?” Inquired Curley curiously, his tail curling around his mother’s leg.
Sky read it out loud to them.
“To my beloved Constance, forever and always, my unconditional love, Edward. 1815.”
“Oh! That’s so sweet!” Said Coral. Sky stared at the diamond and said,
“They must have really loved each other, because grandma said they were together until the day they died, and it was only three days after she died, that he passed on too. He couldn’t live without her.”
Malley and Florrel gave each other a cuddle and Curley rolled his eyes like nuttles do sometimes, and said as a distraction,
“So why is the ring in here? It’s bigger than everything else.”
Sky shrugged her shoulders and raised her eyebrows in wonder of it.
“Well, normally, rings are handed down to children. Maybe it was and it just happened to end up here like small trinkets do sometimes. I’ll have to let grandma know about it. Maybe she put it there. Anyhow, I’m starving!” She said, suddenly losing interest, “let me show you your rooms and the kitchen. Come on, let’s have a look.”
They walked out back into the main lounge room and headed up the grand staircase to the other floors. Sky showed them all their prospective rooms. They were big and stupendously grand to say the least, with each room having a four-poster bed, lavish linen and lots of pillows. Gracious curtains that hung from tall windows that would look out onto a beautiful garden, if it were outside! Fine silk netting hung from the bars at the top of the bedposts and made the room look fit for royalty.
They all chose the rooms they preferred, Curley scoring the child’s bedroom and found delight in the toys that were around the room. Some had moving parts. He particularly liked the toy cars made from wood with moving wheels, and played with them while the others looked around. Sky told him where the swinging bars were, so he could do some playing if he wanted.
They were shown the third and fourth floors, which had spacious bathrooms, a lounging and games room, a sitting room with an extensive library and study.
They headed back down the elegant staircase and into the roomy kitchen. It had a gold laminate on the floor and several benches lining the walls, with a huge one in the middle for preparing food. An old wooden stove made a big dent in one wall with a huge fireplace and mantel around it. A huge wrought iron pot sat on top, and cooking utensils hung from the shelf along with other cookware.
There were two large wall dressers laden with more crockery and a colonial table and chairs sat to one side, with the Pavlova and the other dishes Sky had put there earlier.
They looked around the kitchen at the strange devises lying in various spots, fascinated with their shape and texture. They were especially interested in the man doll standing there, staring at the opposite wall, not moving.
“Who is this rather quiet fellow?” Said Malley smiling.
“Oh, he’s just a doll that has been in the house for a long time. He’s an antique, which means he’s very old. Sky opened the top draw to grab an extra serving spoon saying,
“You must all be so hungry after your long day. Please come this way into the dining room.” She said, pretending to be a waiter.
They all looked around whilst seating themselves at the table.
“So if that silent fellow in there is an antique, then I guess that makes me an old fossil!” Said Malley comically, making every one chuckle, the tree folk glancing and one another like knowingly. Little did Sky know that Malley Gum was nearly three thousand years old!
The room was large again, with several beautifully carved wall units filled with exquisite ornaments. Now these ornaments were all from Nutlidge! Edward had obviously acquired many items for memorabilia, on his adventures to the city of Nutlidge. A magnificently carved sideboard was topped with deserts and nibbles. Sky had done a beautiful job setting the table. It was so elegant!
She sat at the end of the table; feeling quite chuffed with herself, and passed a dish to Florrel who was on her right.
“Thank you Sky, this looks delicious. You have gone to so much trouble!” She said, and took the plate of giant peas.
“Oh it’s my pleasure!” She said, and passed the meat plate to Yellow Flower on her left.
“Umm, no thanks.” She said, waving her hand a little, “I will have some plant food though…” And she helped herself to the broccoli.
Sky got up and filled the glasses with punch before helping herself. She lifted her glass up and said in a happy tone, “Here’s to Nutlidge, the Earth and Humanity!” and motioned the others to clink their glasses. They did this happily and took a sip out of their goblets.
“Oh, I forgot the sauce…” Said Sky and before she could get up Yellow Flower said, “No, let me,” and she put her hand out and it floated towards her to the table.
Sky watched with amazement.
“How do you do that?” She asked.
“With my thoughts, and energies.” Replied the fairy. “Watch this…”
“I love it when she does these things.” Said Florrel, and awaited the demonstration.
Suddenly all the things on the table lifted up and began to move around and around like a carousel, then landed back down on the table again, in the right places.
“Oh that’s excellent!” Said Sky, “I love that sort of thing! It reminds me of a show I used to watch called ‘Bewitched’. Samantha used to do that. Could you show me how to do it?”
“Of course!” Replied the fairy happily, “You don’t actually try to move the objects, you become the objects. It’s really quite simple once you know how.”
Within the happy atmosphere, a noise was heard as a door slammed loudly shut.. Everyone froze!