Nutlidge ~ Chapter Five

Chapter Five

Magikabilitea

“Way to go Sky!” Called Curley, as she got higher and higher off the ground. She suddenly flapped twice and took off flying just like she had done it all her life!
The children followed her, cheering her on as they flew or swung along on vines.
Sky flew with the fairy children and the butterflies.
It was just like the flying dreams she had often but this was extraordinary! She laughed out loud as she flew, playing chase with her new friends through the hanging forest. All the children played and laughed with her, watching her use her flying skills well. They all helped themselves to the berries and fed their tiny faces until they were full. They played for ages, showing their human friend all of their favorite games. Then they all gathered around to chat before they left to go back to Corals tea garden.
Sky was bombarded with questions and answered them the best she could.
“What kind of hut do you live in?”
“Well, it’s like a square box divided into lots of rooms with um, a roof!”
“Do you use magic?”
“Oh no not really, although my grandma…”
“How did you get here?”
“Well, I sort of climbed the tree…”
“They’re funny clothes!” Said a tiny fairy boy with a giggle as he tugged at her jeans.
Then Sky asked one, “Do you all, like, have to go to school and learn stuff?”
All of the children looked at each other wondering what ‘school’ meant until one nutley boy said, “I think she means guidance. We go to Study Cluster.”
“Do you like it?” She asked him.
“Yep! It’s fun! We learn about all sorts of things there!”
“Really? You mean like maths and science and history and stuff?”
“Well, no. Most history is irrelevant, it’s the now that is the most important thing. Because that’s all there is. We learn about our bodies and how they work and how to use our energy wisely.” Said another nut girl.
“We have lessons on herbology, and how to work with nature and Spirit.” Explained an older nutley girl with very curly hair.
“Yeah! We get to practice making teas and magic potions and creating art all over the tree!” said Curley.
“Yeah!” Agreed the other children.
“We learn how to manifest things.” Said Leffel.
“Yeah! And we make things, like huts and create gardens for the elders.” Said another nutley boy.
“And we have a session on visibility.” Added Leffel.
“And transparency!” added another young pixie. “I like being invisible!” and she disappeared from their view, showing up on the other side of the group.
“We go and help out at the farms sometimes when they’re busy, it’s excellent!” Said Leffel now casually hanging from a twig just above them.
“We get to ride the Bean Dragons too!” Squeaked a tiny fairy about the size of Sky’s hand, who was fluttering around the group, in and out and around trying to get a better position all the time. “They look after the fungi farms with the ants and the skink fairies.”
There were a few tiny fairies and pixies that seemed to come into Sky’s vision as she talked.
“We learn about the body and it’s energy centres and how they control the organs and stuff.” Said Curley.
“Oh! Wicked!” Said Sky.
All the children looked at her in a funny way. She realised that the word ‘wicked’ may have confused them under the circumstances and added, “I mean, I wish I could do stuff like that!”
“Well what’s the point of having a body if you don’t know how it works?” Said Curley contentedly.
Sky thought this was a very good point. She hadn’t learned much about the body at her school. In fact, she learned more about the body, mind and spirit from her mother and grandmother. She knew that humans were capable of doing some magical things, like foreseeing the future, healing instantly, and moving and levitating objects. She was beginning to understand that most of humanity had forgotten how to do it and were told that it was bad.
“Hey! Race you back to the tea garden!” Called out an older pixie.
Malley Gum and Coral were flat out making teas still, and so Sky and Curley lent a hand bringing in the cups and wiping down the tables. She saw a few people checking out her clothing. Her runners fascinated some of them also. The wings caught Malley Gum’s eye, and he grinned at her, nodding his head with approval. He was pleased for her. He knew she would have had fun with them all.
When the teagarden quietened down, Sky waited patiently, sitting at one of the tables sipping on water whilst Curley took off to do a few errands for his Pop. It was the nicest water she had ever tasted, and she wondered why she didn’t drink it more often. It was the first chance she got to look at the store properly.
It was a beautiful setting for a tea garden, surrounded by shrubs and flowers and full of lovely plants amongst the tables. Sky walked into Coral’s home to check out their set up. There were shelves upon shelves of nutty pots full of dried herbs ready to make up the teas. The place was decorated with hundreds of hanging herbs and flowers edging the ceiling.
Then she noticed the labels on the tea jars. While she waited for Malley and Coral, she read out loud to herself the teas in front of her. “Positivitea, Availabilitea, Popularitea! Impossibilitea, Personalitea, Invisibilitea, Changeabilitea, and…”
She turned the jar around to see the label properly, “Origionalitea! Festivitea, Virtualitea, Creativitea, Antigravitea…”
“Ah, found the teas I see,” said Malley, happy for her to see them.
“Yes, they’re amazing! There is so many of them!”
“Ah, well, these are the popular ones. There are many more that we only use occasionally. But yes, it keeps us busy and we work hard to keep it going.” He replied, and poured himself a drink of water and drank it on the spot. He then asked Sky what she would like to do. It was getting on in the day and she remembered she had planned a picnic with her grandma. She would have to get back pretty soon.
He led her to a Nird, preening his feathers while waiting for a passenger.
They hopped on and took off leaving the tea garden behind and found themselves flying through the tree once again. Sky spotted many little doorways nestled in the tree with tiny windows near by. There were little gardens and the odd park area. Before long they were landing on Malley’s branch and they clambered off the Nird. Malley gave the Nird some berries and asked her to wait for a moment.
“Well Sky, it was so nice to have met you. Thank you so much for helping us with the teas up there,” said Malley kindly. “You will come again won’t you?”
“Oh yes, can I?” Replied Sky with delight. “May I come up again tomorrow?”
“But of course!” He replied. “It would be a shame if you didn’t Sky. I look forward to introducing you to Florrel.”
“Can I bring a friend up with me?”
Malley went silent for a moment. He could understand her needing to share this with somebody.
“Well…Perhaps it would be okay if you told someone in your family. Once our existence is known, our whole livelihood could be lost, you see? You may have to keep it a secret Sky…If you must tell someone, and then you must be very choosy whom you tell. Can you keep it to yourself?”
“Yes of course. Well… I’ll try. Can I tell my grandma, Mrs. Lawson? She won’t tell anyone else I promise!”
“Very well, that should be fine. Well, I’ll have the Nird take you to the base of the tree and when you get there, drink this and think of your natural size and it will transform you back.”
“Oh thank you Malley! It was just wonderful meeting you! I love Nutlidge! It’s wonderful to see all this magic and all these different folk. And was fun helping you out at the tea garden. Please tell Curley I’ll be back soon,” she added. She had another thought.
“Malley Gum, what am I going to do about my wings?” She asked.
“Ah yes!” Smiled Malley Gum again. He thought she looked good with wings. She just needed the right dress, and she would look like a real fairy! “Well, as a matter of fact, I happen to have a bag of fairy dust that a friend gave to me. I’ll just fetch it and help you out. Did you enjoy flying around?”
“Oh yes!” She replied, her eyes wide with wonder, “It was wonderful!”
Malley Gum came with the cocoon pouch and put his hand in and came out with some green fairy dust that seemed like the finest floatiest crystal dust. Malley threw a pinch of the fairy dust over Sky and said,
“Wings of fairy go away, come again another day…”
The fairy wings attached to Sky’s shoulders slowly faded to nothing, leaving a wisp of blue dust to float to the ground. Her spine tingled and she shivered from the feeling.
“Wow!” She said. “That tickled! Can you use that to get me to the bottom of the tree?”
“I can do better than that,” he said, grabbing another pinch of fairy dust, “Think of the place you would like to return to. We shall see you soon Sky. I look forward to your next visit.” He smiled warmly.
“See you tomorrow Malley and thank you…”
He threw the dust over her and said, “Goodbye for now Sky.”
Sky disappeared in a puff of sparkle and was suddenly standing behind the old cottage. She checked herself over; amazed at the whole magical experience she had just been through. She had been flying! With wings! She raced into the cottage, where she checked the old clock and put the kettle on. Imagine that! And she was awake for sure, so it must have been real. She checked her backpack and pulled out the leaf-crafted jug she got for her mother. It had grown along with her and wasn’t miniature any longer.
“Oh well, it will be more useful now!” She thought, and placed it on the table filled with milk.
Suddenly she heard her grandmother call out.
“Sky! Are you there dear?”
She ran out to greet her grandmother and Beverly the housekeeper, beaming from her adventure.
“Grandma! I’ve got the best news ever!” She called, running up to her grandmother with a big hug.
“Well, my! You are excited aren’t you! Now calm down, calm down. Let me get inside and sit my old bones down and you can tell me everything.”
Sky helped her grandmother into the cottage while Beverly placed the picnic basket on the table before them. “Is there anything else Grace?” She asked kindly.
“No thank you Beverly, go and have some lunch yourself now, and I’ll see you in a couple of hours.”
“Okay! Enjoy your lunch. I put some muffins in there for you!” As she went down the step, Sky called out, “Thanks Beverly! See you!”
She made herself and her grandmother a cup of tea and sat down to join her.
“Now,” her grandmother began, stirring her tea at the same time. “Tell me all about it.”
Sky had been busting to say something, “Oh Grandma! I followed a raven and it led me to a huge tree and I climbed it and I met some nutleys and…”
“Sky, slow down dear, you’re going too fast. Now you found a tree you say?”
“Yes, up along the creek. It’s massive Grandma! Really huge! And I climbed it!” Sky continued, “I climbed up really high and met some tiny nutleys.”
“Nutleys!” Grace interrupted. Her eyes were wide, needing confirmation. “Are you sure that was what they were called?”
“Oh yes Grandma, their names were Malley Gum and his nut son Curley. They took me to their house and then showed me some of their world, which is called Nutlidge! There’s a whole world up there Grandma, Nutleys everywhere! There are fairies and gnomes and pixies and all sorts of funny little people.”
“So the stories are true and my visions have been real.” Said Grace quietly.
“It’s just amazing! They have a whole world of their own Gran. They look like they’re made from nuts and they have a really…nutty world! You should see their farms! And where they live, and the fairies!”
“How big did you say they were?”
“About that high.” She said, holding her hand about ten centimetres above the tabletop.
“Then how did you manage to get amongst them? I mean you would have been like a giant to them.”
“Well, Malley is a herbal alchemist. He gave me a drink of tea which he called ‘Changeabilitea’ and it made me the same size as them.”
“How wonderful! Then all the stories my mother used to tell me were true. There use to be a diary that was written by my great-great-great grandfather, which had all the information about this world of nutleys. It was lost some years ago, but there was a message in there about these people and that was that they made all sorts of teas. Prosperitea, Honestea, Positivitea, and the list went on. They are wonderful at it and apparently live a very simple but happy life, with no fighting or greed.”
Sky was nodding madly and agreeing with what she had said.
“And guess what Grandma, they don’t have money. Everyone is treated the same. They all eat, they all have somewhere to live, and they go to the farms and gathering places, and get what they need, paying for it by doing something nice for someone or giving something of what they have to offer. It is a really nice way they have it set up there…”
Her grandmother was quietly delighted about the whole thing. She felt like a child again!
“That is why the forest has always been preserved. These little people are precious. They deserve to be left alone to live their lives as they choose to.”
“I’m not really allowed to take anyone else up there, yet.” Replied Sky, feeling a bit sorry that she couldn’t take her grandma straight up there to visit them.
“So this is our secret for now?” Asked Grace.
“Yep!” Said Sky grinning, “Just between you and me!”

Meanwhile, back at the house, Beverly received a phone call from Sky’s mother Fran saying that Tommo had gone into a coma, and that Baize was very upset, and needed to go and see his other friends. Could Sky please stay a bit longer? This was relayed to Grace through Henry the gardener, who went out to join them for a hot drink.
“What a shame. That lovely young man! All those young men and women who were in those nightclubs enjoying themselves.” Said Grace after hearing the news.
Henry slid a chair out from the table and sat down.
“It’s a sad world Missus. Some things that we’re doing just aren’t working anymore. There has to be a change of some sort. It can’t go on like this.”
Sky was only hearing bits and pieces of their conversation. She was still thinking about Tommo. It wasn’t fair. None of them deserved what they were going through.
She sat down, thinking about her brother Baize. He was probably taking this really hard. What could she do for him?
“Sky dear, drink up or your tea will go cold.” Said her grandmother gently.
Sky didn’t say much throughout lunch. They went out to the forest garden and found a sunny spot to dine with a rug, and Henry joined them for a quick bite. They chatted between them, but it was mostly Grace and Henry doing the talking. Sky listened to their chatter about terrorists and wars and oil and such. She got the general idea of it all. Basically the governments were using money that should have been feeding the starving, and it was being spent on wars to stop people from killing each other! How absurd she thought it all was, and how strange it was that she should stumble across the tree like she did.
She walked back to the house with Henry and her grandmother and had a quiet afternoon doing things together. Grace fell asleep in the chair for an hour while Sky endeavoured to finish off the needlepoint she had started the last time she came. Her thoughts were on her brother and on the tree, so consequently she didn’t get much done. She sat in the open window and looked out across the beautifully landscaped garden. It was about five o’clock in the afternoon, and the sun was going down quickly. Sky made the most of her grandmother sleeping and got her diary and spent a while filling in all the latest news of her day.
The local news was on now and her grandmother must have sensed it because she woke up and watched it. There was news about the Bali bombing and then something about a nuclear weapons plant being found in the Middle East, and then a story about the tree felling that was going on in Queensland in the far north of Australia and also Brazil. There were protesters trying to stop the bulldozers and chaining themselves to trees in hope of saving these precious trees that made homes for so many things. A huge Summit was being organised for all the heads of state all around the world, to come together to discuss these issues.
Sky thought of the Nutlidge tree being torn down by people for the sake of money. The whole thing made her shudder at the thought, and she went to see what Beverly was up to.

The kitchen was full of delicious aromas and stunning looking food. She helped herself to a piece of carrot and dipped it in some hommus before taking a bite. She helped Beverly in the kitchen and then they all had dinner together, Grace, Sky, Henry, Beverly and the butler Harris. It was a nice dinner. Sky liked being with them, even though they were all much older than her.

The next day was Sunday. She would head off early, and go up the tree again to see her friends.

Nutlidge~ Chapter Six

Chapter Six

The Fairy Glen

Sky awoke the next morning at the crack of dawn.
Nobody had surfaced yet, so she quietly got dressed,
had a wash and ate breakfast. She wore her jeans again
for the climbing of the tree, but remembering the looks
from the nutleys the day before, she took a change of
clothing for when she got there. The old fairy outfit that
she used to dress her Barbie dolls would fit her
perfectly. She put her belongings into a shoulder bag,
cleared away her breakfast and headed for the garden.
It didn’t take her long as she ran most of the way. She
got to the creek and headed across the rocks until she
came to the entrance. Slipping through the vines, she
headed around the tree trunk till she came to the
clearing. Up she went, faster than last time,
remembering all the lumps and bumps of the tree to get
her up there. It took her about twenty minutes to get to
Malley’s bough. She knelt down just on the outskirts of
the garden, puffing from the quick climb. There was
movement inside, so she knocked quietly.
Curley opened the door yawning, but smiled happily
and swung himself around the place when he saw Sky
there.
“Mum! Pop! It’s Sky! She’s come back!” He ran out to
greet her, hopping excitedly all around her. Malley and
Florrel came to the edge of the garden to greet her also.
Florrel was the first one to speak. Dressed in feathers
and silk in a flowing dress and her hair tied up with a
beautiful scarf, she looked lovely.
“Greetings Sky, it is lovely to meet you, Curley
couldn’t stop talking about you last night.”
“Hello Florrel, it’s lovely to meet you too.” said Sky, as
she shook her hand very gently. “You have a beautiful
house, you’re very talented.”
“Oh, well thank you Sky,” replied the nutley lady
blushing. “Perhaps I can show you how to make some of
the things I have done?”
“Oh would you? That could be fun!”
Malley had popped back in quickly to get some
‘Changeabilitea’ for Sky to drink.
“There you go,” he said happily, “get that down you
and then, please, come in.” They left her there to change
her clothing.
Sky thanked them and said she wouldn’t be a
minute. She was careful to take out the fairy outfit from
her bag and place it on the floor as she didn’t want
these things to shrink smaller than what they were…
It didn’t take her long. She hid behind a few giant gum
leaves and with a quick change of size and clothing the
fairy outfit slipped on perfectly! It did fit her well. Once
inside, the family praised her fairy dress, telling her
they couldn’t tell the difference! They laughed their way
through a delicious berry pancake breakfast and had
plenty of gum juice, which was mixed with all sorts of
things.
“We’ll have to pop into the tea garden before we really
look around and go visiting.” said Malley. Coral will be
run off her feet this morning.”
Curley was swinging off everything there was to
swing from, happy as a monkey, with his new friend in
tow. They called in a Nird for their lift to Coral’s place
and off they flew dodging in and out of branches and
foliage and out around the humungous tree. They went
the long way to show Sky the views of the river and the
land around the area. They could see for miles and
miles. Sky was sure she saw her own house out in the
distance.
They passed more Nirds and the odd fairy. Heaps of
birds of all different kinds flew in and out of the tree.
Sky couldn’t see the top of the tree as it was in the
clouds. “Can’t humans see this tree?” she asked, as
they flew. Florrel was in front of her so she answered.
“They can only see what is real to them. Most
humans don’t see the magic, only the logic. Therefore
they can only see what they think they can see, which in
this case, is an average sized tree. Those who manage to
go beyond the logic can see and experience all sorts of
magical wonders. Just like you are Sky! Look where
your intuition has brought you! Enjoy it my dear!” she
said knowingly as they flew back swiftly into the tree.
They went through some hanging vines, across a
mossy edged creek, over a roadway of sorts. Many
different kinds of folk were using lots of different types
of transport. It was obviously a gathering place for
meeting up with family friends and acquaintances.
They landed near the main entrance to the tree
trunk. There was a large, round-topped gateway that
had a huge sign above it saying ‘Welcome to Nutlidge!’
The massive bough was like a huge park, lush and
colourful. Nutleys, fairies, gnomes and many others
who resided in the tree were flying in on birds, floating
in on fluffy seeds, walking or riding in. Some sat with
drinks at picnics, some played with friends, and some
talked to the birds and animals that helped them to get
around the tree. Florrel explained to her that inside the
trunk was the museum, the art gallery, and the peoples’
gathering chambers. Further up the trunk was the
home of Lord Nutwood and his beloved Lady Acacia
Nutley, the descendants of the founders of the tree,
which was some twenty thousand years ago.
Malley Gum picked up a large cocoon full of some
kind of yellow powder and hopped back on the bird.
They got to their tea garden just in time as Coral was
getting frightfully behind. Florrel and Malley chipped in
and Sky cleared the tables of used nut cups. Goblins
and witches, fairies and gnomes, frogs, grasshoppers,
birds, lizards and mice came to the store to get either a
cup of tea, or some tea to take home and brew. They
also had light snacks such as bottlebrush seeds,
crushed almonds and sesame seeds to munch on. A few
mixtures needed to be made up, so Malley Gum was
busy chopping while Coral and Florrel served the busy
crowd.
“A bag of Masculinitea, thank you.” said a doormouse
lady, to Florrel. Coral was bagging up some Popularitea
for a small feeble looking elf. An old frog, wearing a
brimmed hat with a feather sticking out came up with a
walking stick and asked for a cup of Flexabilitea. A
young nutley fellow bought Possibilitea, Invisibilitea,
Spontineitea and Posteritea, while another elf asked for
Availabilitea and Qualitea. They often left something on
the counter for Coral, whether it be flowers, fruit, or
gems. People bartered with whatever they had. One
fairy organised with Coral to do some work in the herb
garden in lieu of her goods.
Raw herbs were also greatly sought after. Things like
wild oat for strengthening intuition and trust, mamalis
for erasing fear, chicory for self-love, wild rose for inner
freedom and hornbeam for when one is feeling insecure.
Lavender was used for just about anything.
Sky was fascinated with all of this and remembered
as much as she could while she collected the cups and
wiped the tables. It was flat out for about an hour in
Sky’s estimation and then it quietened down. Florrel
insisted she take Sky around the tree to do some
shopping.
Now that was fun!
Florrel took Sky to where the best fairy clothing
shops were. “I just know you’ll love this Sky. I have a
friend just around the corner I’d like you to meet. Her
name is Yellow Flower, but I just wanted to show this to
you first.”
They walked down a lengthy path covered in moss.
Flowers were everywhere, as were little ponds with fish
and tadpoles. There were shrubs and grasses and
bonsai trees lining the way amongst the mushrooms
and butterfly flowers. They came to a large area full of
rock pools and mossy sitting areas. An array of food was
laid out on leaves, a grasshopper and a lizard played
music and there was a huge punch bowl amongst a
smorgasbord of delicious fruits, nuts and berries.
Fairies danced and flew about. Some sat and talked to
their fairy and pixie friends and played on swings
covered in vine. Birds were patted and butterflies came
in to chat and to drink from the ponds of crystal clear
water.
There were fairies of all shapes and sizes, dressed in
all types of flower, petal and feather dresses. Some
looked as though their skirts were almost luminous, as
they floated around them when they flew or just
fluttered around the place. The area was decorated with
huge blue bells hanging down over their ponds. It was
so beautiful!
“This is wonderful! I’m so glad I am dressed for this!”
she said, and patted her fairy skirt down and touched
her hair to make sure it wasn’t too messy.
They walked around taking in the festivities of all the
fairy folk, elves and pixies. It was so entertaining and
enchanting. Florrel said hello to a few people there,
introducing Sky to them. They mingled for a while
meeting more fairies and a pixie friend called Chinebie.
He was a tall lanky fellow with a floppy hat and a long
bowed pointy nose. He had a cheeky grin and Sky liked
him very much.
Another group of fairies and pixies were introduced to
Sky, and she didn’t know what to say at first. It was a
bit like a party but more casual. There was a lot of
chatter going on between them all, fairies talking about
things like herbs and fabrics, fairy babies and home
talk. This was a gathering place and they all had their
own little huts in the trees foliage. Florrel looked up and
high up above were what looked like hanging nests.
They were made from laced leaves, bark, and other
such things and they were decorated with spider web
nets and pretty things that they collected, that hung
down like droplets of jewels.
Sky was in awe of this. Fairy houses! Not in amongst
roots, but in their own little cocoon type clusters.
Fairies and pixies flew to and from their fairy glen to
check their fairy babies and other such things.
“I’ll arrange for you to visit one some time Sky.” said
Florrel, watching her friend’s delightful expression.
Florrel made her way through the garden and showed
her where the fairy’s clothing could be acquired. She
helped her to pick out two beautiful fairy dresses. One
was made from pink rose petals and the other from a
jacaranda flowers. They were both lavished with trails
of hand painted silk and magical fibres. Jewelled
bodices and touches of sparkly beads decorated the
already gorgeous outfits. Sky decided to wear the rose
dress. Florrel helped her with her hair and put some
flowers in it to match. She looked beautiful, and Sky
wished her mother could see her now! The next thing
they got was a pair of fairy slippers for her. They were
also beautiful, beaded with jewels and feathers.
The both of them walked around for a while looking
closely at all the wares that the fairies had on offer. The
jewelry was wide and varied, but all colourful and
unique. She chose herself a ring made from a curly vine.
The picture it created was a beautiful decorated heart,
and she chose another one for her mother. This one
looked like a flower with curly touches. She couldn’t
wait to give that to her mum when she saw her next.
Baize loved chokers, so Sky chose a stunning carved
Staurolite, which Florrel informed her was often called
the Fairy Stone, strengthening ones faith in the unseen,
it healed emotions and was worn to shield oneself from
fear. She had that wrapped in a piece of red paper bark
and tied with a curly length of vine.
Then they came across some coloured silk that was
also exquisitely hand painted. She thought of her
grandmother and the crystal ball she loved so much. It
would make the perfect bag for it. She chose a purple
one with bright orange curly, exquisitely patterned
vines with curly ends. A gumnut blossom was splashed
in the corner.
Her thoughts drifted off to her mother and Baize, and
AtivB
65
wondered how they were. Tommo went through her
mind also and she wondered how he was going. Was he
still alive? Sky went and chose a beautiful bunch of
mixed flowers for Florrel, who thought they were just
divine, and a new crystal pestle and mortar for Malley.
She had noticed earlier on at the café that his favourite
one had been broken, and she had them gift wrapped in
jacaranda flowers.
She watched quietly at the different age groups
chatting, from the elderly to the very young. They were
beautifully dressed no matter what age they were. Sky
found herself looking at some of the fairy males that
looked about her age.
There was one young fairy boy that had long blonde
hair and was dressed in a tight fitting purple outfit with
a pointy hat, and pointy laced boots that curled slightly
at the end. The fairy boy noticed that she was staring at
him and went bright red. His ears turned an even
brighter red and he looked like he didn’t know where to
put himself for a moment.
Florrel made a comment and took Sky’s attention
away, about a couple of fairies that looked sad.
“It’s very unusual for fairies to look sad you know. I
must tell Yellow Flower this when we get there, she
might know something about it. Come,” she said gently,
“we shall go and see Yellow Flower.”
Sky left the fairy glen with Florrel, and looked behind
her at the gathering of fairies and pixies once more. She
couldn’t help noticing the blonde fairy boy again, and as
they left a taller fairy male walked up to him and said
something. They both looked at Sky as she walked out
of the garden.

Nutlidge ~ Chapter Eight

Nutlidge  Chapter Eight

The Hall of Records

Deep into the roots of the tree, down into the blackness and tangled mass of livelihood, a dark creature was stirring. Amidst the dark tunnels and caves in the undergrowth of mulch and worms, moved a finger sticking out of the cave wall. It was long and dirty and its nail was extremely long and bowed, hosting chunks of clay and sand. Little by little, with slow movements, the finger wiggled about, determined to get out of its muddy jail.
It moved some rock and a most grotesque bony hand with three fingers and a thumb broke free. The ground shook around it, working its way up to the tree’s massive boughs where nutleys and tree folk were busy going about their daily lives. Items began to fall over, people began calling out and screaming for their lives and little nuttles were crying loudly from the fright.
Food on tables went everywhere, making a terrible mess. Nutley horses reared up on back legs and even the Nirds coming in to land had trouble navigating their way. One of them crashed into the main tree trunk wall, bringing down with it the Nutlidge sign and just missing a family of four nutleys. Ducks flapped and waddled everywhere, and birds took off in startled flight as things fell around them.
The tree stopped shaking and everything came to a standstill. There was a big pause before people began to talk amongst themselves. Moving around, picking themselves and others up off the floor, the Nutlidge folk tried to work out what had caused the tree to shake as viciously as it did.
Malley Gum and Coral were doing much the same thing, making sure their customers were all okay. Once Malley knew that everything and everyone was fine, including Curley, he left Coral and Curley to tidy up with a friend and headed up the tree after Florrel and Sky. He knew they would be at Yellow Flowers place.

Back at the garden of Yellow Flower, Blacko, Yellow Flower, Sky and Florrel and now Yellow Flower’s pet galah Dusty, were all composing themselves after the frightful scare.
“Is anyone hurt?” said the fairy, looking around at her guests and lifted Dusty off the ground stroking him affectionately.
“Oh you poor thing, are you alright?” she asked the galah. He was fairly ruffled with his crest sticking up and his eyes were wide open in fright.
“What on earth was that?” Florrel said, dusting herself off. “I’ve never experienced anything quite like it before.”
“I’m not sure,” said Yellow Flower helping Sky off the floor, “but, I think it’s time we found out!”
Before they could say another word they heard a voice coming from somewhere above them. It got louder and louder, calling out,
“Yellow Flower, Yellow Flower! I’m having trouble! Please focus on me if you would!” And as Yellow Flower focused on the person behind the voice she said. “It’s Elm! He’s having trouble getting here!”
There was a whirling noise that also got louder and louder and then suddenly a space in the garden filled itself with bright glittering blue and gold mist that was filled with tiny lightning bolts and spirals. A group of bats actually appeared first, flapping around the mist, which was growing brighter by the second.
Suddenly it exploded into what looked like a fireworks display and there left standing in the mist of it all was a very tall and bedraggled wizard. He was still spinning, and so much so, that he keeled over from the strenuous journey.
As he tried to get up, he waved the bats away, but they weren’t going anywhere. The bats were a spell gone wrong and he hadn’t been able to get rid of them for at least a day now. It was frightfully annoying!
Florrel and Sky helped the wizard to his feet as he fumbled about, trying to get his balance.
Elm was a kind and popular wizard whom everyone loved. He was very powerful, but he was also very clumsy. He stood as tall as Blacko, with a floor length mane of silver hair and a beard that frequently got in the way. His hat was high and covered with real diamonds cut into stars and he had a kind old face.
“Oh my goodness me!” he huffed and puffed, “That was a journey and a half! I could have sworn I said it the right way, or maybe it is to do with the tree shaking… However!” he said, pointing his finger upwards to make a point, “I have just been to see Lord Nutwood and he gave me the key to the Hall of Records.” He fumbled around looking for the key in one of his many pockets. He pulled out a very long scarf and a frog, and from another he pulled out a wand and a bag of herbs. Another pocket contained a dozen beetles and in there he found the key.
“Here it is!” he laughed. “Let us not waste any time at all dear Yellow Flower! We must find out what is causing the very foundations of the tree to shake like it did!”
Blacko came around the corner carrying the pod, a little shaken.
“Are you alright Blacko?” said Yellow Flower.
He nodded. “Yup, no worries! Just a bit amazed that’s all.”
“What do you mean?” said Sky; curious as to what could be more amazing than what had just happened.
“Well I reckon, that for something to be able to shake a tree of this size it must be either an earthquake, or a pretty mighty force of a negative kind…” They all looked at him blankly. “Well, it’s not exactly a build up of positive energy is it?” he added, and continuing into the tree house, put the bath down in the bathing room as the others all looked at each other. He came back out dusting off his hands. “As far as I know, the meeting with the Federation of Nature Spirits is to be held just outside of Cairns, in North Queensland. If you need a lift, I can take you there. I’m on my way back now.”
“Thank you so much Blacko, I do appreciate your offer,” said Yellow Flower, “but we need to get to the ancient library first. But listen, we just might see you at the gathering. Will you look out for us?”
“Yup sure thing! I’ll even save you a seat. Hey do you need a hand cleaning up here?”
“Thanks Blacko but we’ll manage. You had better get your deliveries finished. I’ll probably see you at the gathering in Queensland.”
“Well, folks, I’ll be seeing ya. Take care of yourselves now.” And he waved as he walked up the pathway to the gate.
“He was a nice nut man.” said Sky, watching him disappear around the bush.
“Yes, the Blackbean people are genuine and kind people,” said Florrel. “They live their lives similar to us, but in warmer, more tropical surroundings. We often see them delivering things to the tree. They are always polite.”
Yellow Flower suddenly realised that she had not introduced her guest to her old friend.
“By the way, Elm, this is our new friend, Sky. Sky, the amazing Elm…” she smiled cheekily.
“Ah, I’m delighted my child! Welcome to Nutlidge! And what an introduction! It’s not always shaking like this you know, so not to worry!”
“Pleased to meet you Elm,” said Sky also smiling. She took an instant liking to him and his eccentric personality. The bats were still flying around him!
Elm began to look through his pockets again for his wand and a bag of magical powder. “I do believe we need to get to this meeting and be there on time. Therefore we must away to the Hall of Records!”
Malley came running down the path and slowed down when he saw them all standing there. They were obviously all right. Florrel went to greet him and gave him a warm hug.
“Well! That was a bit of a shake up! I trust you are all unhurt?” he said, rather calmly.
“I think we are more confused than hurt,” said Sky, racking her brain to work out what was going on.
“Is Curley alright?” asked Florrel.
“Yes, he’s with Coral at the tea garden,” he replied.
“Bit of a mess down there. I’ll have to go back and give them a hand to clean up.”
“Malley, we are heading for the Hall of Records, perhaps you would like to come with us?” enquired Elm, knowing that Malley Gum wouldn’t miss an opportunity for adventure. Malley thought about it for a moment.
“Yes, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt.” he replied. “It’s not likely to take all day is it?”
“Well then, let’s go shall we?” said Elm, and before anyone could say another word he threw a handful of magic dust over them all and called out, “To the Hall of Records!” And they all disappeared in a purple cloud of lightning enforced energy.

They re-appeared in a garden similar to the fairy glen, but it was much darker and there were no fairies flying around. It seemed to be near the top of the tree, yet the vines and thick masses of gum leaves and gumnuts of all kinds, kept out a lot of the sunlight.
They stood looking at the huge door before them. It hadn’t been opened for some time and there was ivy growing just about all over it. There were tall windows that towered them were made of dragonfly wings. Mushrooms of all kinds flourished and frogs of all colours hopped about their feet. Elm went looking for the key in his pockets again, which took him a moment or two.
“This is creepy,” said Sky, moving closer to Yellow Flower, who was opening a nut jar of fireflies to help with the darkness. They flew around and gave them enough light to see with. “I’ll just have a look through the windows upstairs,” said Yellow Flower, and she rose from the moss-covered floor, flying up to the windows, which were quite high. They held the second floor of the ancient library.
They were all concentrating on Yellow Flower and Elm so much that they failed to notice several tall, strange creatures creeping up from out of the bushes behind them. Yellow Flower came down and landed softly.
“There is no-one there,” she said, “which is unusual, because it is supposed to be guarded.”
Sky watched the Elm try to get the key into the keyhole when the hairs on the back of her neck stood up and a shiver went down her spine.
“This place really gives me the creeps!” she whispered and as she did, she looked casually over her shoulder and out of the corner of her eye saw tall dark figures swaying behind her.
She screamed loudly, pushing herself backwards a little from the shock, and they all jumped around to see where the source of the fear was coming from.
They all froze with eyes wide. At least six of these creatures stood swaying slowly in the darkness. They were much taller than the group, and seemed to tower over them.
Suddenly a green light began to light up, throwing more light all around them. The creatures suddenly became clear to them. They were a type of bird. They had large bodies; long necks and their heads were long and lumpy looking. Their hair was like feathers going all the way down their long necks a little like a horse’s mane. They had a large feather down their front, and feet that looked more like three fingered hands.
They were all staring at the group before them. If they hadn’t been so innocent looking, the friends would have all been paralyzed with fright. However, the swaying creatures stood proud, and the wizard was the first to speak.
“It’s the Freds!” he said, almost with relief in his voice. “Yes! Of course, now I remember. They’re the Freds. There are twelve of them, and they’re quite harmless. They guard the Hall of Records and have done so for centuries.”
One of the Freds spoke.
“Sginteerg” he said in a funny voice.
They all looked at each other, wondering what it had said.
“Uoy gnitcepxe neeb evah ew.” said the Fred, waiting for an answer.
“I didn’t realise they spoke a different language.” said Elm, scratching his head.
“I think I might know what kind of language it is.” said Malley Gum, “I do believe he is speaking backwards!”
The Freds continued to watch the group closely, swaying as they sat.
“Ereh egrahc ni si ohw?” he spoke again. His big eyes blinked gently at them.
“Does anyone have a writing stick?” asked Yellow Flower.
“Yes, I do,” said Florrel, groping in her cocoon. She came out with a piece of paper and a quill that had hardly any feather left on it. Yellow Flower scribbled down what he said and studied it for a moment. “This could be tricky; I think we might need a little help.” She looked inside her cocoon for something and came out with a gumnut pot. It had tiny containers of all kinds of tea in it. She opened one and placed the contents in her palm and closed her eyes for a moment. Then she slowly placed the tea before the Fred’s and pointed to it with her finger:
“Voice and words that tease our ears,
Break the code and take our fears,
Make it clear so we can see,
Thank you, Adaptabilitea!”
The dry tea floated up and became a glittering mass of yellow and gold light that swirled around them and the Freds.
It soon died down and disappeared leaving them all standing looking at each other.
The Fred, who had spoken before, gave his head a shake. It was like watching a horse shake his mane. Then he said, in his distinguished voice, “Greetings.” and then looked at Yellow Flower, adding, “Thank you.”
The group all sighed with relief, and relaxed their somewhat tense muscles.
“Well done Yellow Flower!” said Elm happily, “I might have known you’d have a solution.”
“We have been expecting you,” said the Fred, “Lord Nutwood sent a message to say that you were coming. If we can be of any assistance, we are at your service.”
He looked at Elm and the bats that flew consistently around his head. “Perhaps I can be of assistance to you sir!” he said kindly, and with his eyes and a fine electrical impulse he seemed to remove the spell and sent the bats off packing.
“Oh how wonderful!” cried the wizard, “Do you know I was beginning to get extremely dizzy! How can I ever thank you?”
“That is unnecessary. But please use the key to open the door to the Hall of Records. We shall find out what is lurking beneath the tree…” And he waited for Elm to turn the key and open the door.
The doorway was high enough for even the Freds to walk under with out lowering their heads. The ceiling was very high, painted in water colour, the images of the first Nutlidge settlement, twenty thousand years ago and the walls were crammed with books from floor to ceiling. Several ladders were scattered around the massive hall for retrieving books from the highest bookshelves.
Elm led the way into the great Hall of Records with the Freds, now having grown to twelve, following them.
The hall dwarfed them all as they gazed about themselves.
“Where do you suppose we start?” said Elm, half laughing, half struck with confusion.
“What about earthquakes?” said Sky, feeling more confident.
“Or what about the tree’s records?” said Malley, “Surely there must be masses of information about the tree’s history.”
“May I suggest,” said a Fred in a grave voice, as he stepped from the crowd of strange flightless birds, “that you look for the original manuscript labelled ‘Nutlidge’. Look for the chapter on Negative Elements. There you will find your answer.” He stepped back into the crowd of ancient birds, allowing their group of visitors to go and look for the book.
It didn’t take them long as it was on a huge pedestal towards the back of the hall in between shelving. A space had been designed around the pedestal and its host, and on it was a huge bark covered manuscript the size of a kitchen table, bulging with content.
Elm, Yellow Flower, Malley Gum, Florrel and Sky all clambered up the four steps to the main platform. They gathered around the huge book with the words beautifully carved into the book’s thick cover and so highly decorated it was, that they all took the time to study its design. Elm, who was in front of the large book at that moment, and feeling empowered by its presence, carefully opened the heavy bark cover.