Nutlidge ~ Chapter Twelve


Chapter Twelve

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!


Nutlidge ~ Chapter Thirteen


Chapter Thirteen

The Ring

For a few seconds, no one moved. Which door had slammed? Who had slammed it?
Then, a chirpy voice called out,
“Sky! Sky dear! Are you here yet?” Grace began to look in the other room.
“Oh! That’s my grandma!” Said Sky, jumping up from the table, “Excuse me for a moment! I’ll just go and let her know we are here.” She ran from the room and across the main entrance lounge hall to the front door. Her fairy dress flowed as if she was flying.
In a sense she was, due to the fact that she was bubbling over with excitement and happiness!
Out to the front porch she ran and called out to her grandmother. “Grandma! We’re here! Over here!”
Grace came straight to the dolls house and kneeled down. She looked at her tiny granddaughter and her hand went straight over her mouth in surprise. With a shocked look on her face she sat down on the floor like a child and didn’t take her eyes off Sky once!
“Hi Grandma! It’s me. Are you okay?” She said, smiling cheekily.
“Yes!” Said Grace, still taking it in that Sky was only three inches tall. She half smiled and half cried with the realisation of it. “Yes, I’m fine dear!” She said, “I just, I…” She stuttered, not knowing where to start.
“It’s okay Grandma, we’re having dinner. Are you joining us?” She motioned to the door.
“What! Join you…” She said, knowing what Sky meant, but finding it hard to imagine, “You mean…”
“Yup! Just a sec!” Said Sky, and ran inside to get the Changeabilitea for her.
She came back out with a large white jug full of tea, and handed it to her.
“What’s this?” She asked.
“Drink it Grandma, it’s okay, it doesn’t taste bad or anything. It’s called Changeabilitea. Hold it under your tongue and think of yourself as tiny, like me…well maybe a bit taller…”
Grace poured the mixture under her tongue as she was told and thought small thoughts. A mist appeared around her that sparkled with all colours and before she could say ‘Oh my goodness!’ down she went with ease and there she was, just a little taller than Sky, like she normally was.
“Oh my heavens!” She said, “Is this really happening!” She looked at her hands and over herself to make sure she was all there.
Sky watched, still with a huge grin on her face. “Are you okay Grandma?” She said, putting her hand on her shoulder.
“Oh Sky! Yes! I’m fine, just a little, bewildered, I guess.” She said, pulling a few funny faces and trying to comprehend what had happening.
“Well, come inside with me, and meet the others!”
She led her startled grandmother in through the doorway. This took her breath away for a moment before she slowly moved forward. “Oh Sky! You know, I always dreamed of walking into this house. I loved it so much as a child. It looks twice as beautiful.”
Sky took her by the hand and led her to the dining room. “Come on, we’ll have a look around later, dinner’s on the table.”
Grace took a little longer to walk through; she was trying to look at everything at a different perspective for the first time in her life. She had believed it and had known it in her heart about the little people, but now, this was real. This was very real! They walked through into the dining room where everyone was seated. They all got up and came to meet her.
Grace was overwhelmed and had tears in her eyes as she was being introduced.
“Everyone, this is my Grandma. Grandma, this is Yellow Flower, Florrel, Malley, Coral, and Curley. And somewhere around here is a little Galah called Dusty.”
Everyone said “Hello, pleased to meet you” before she said, “Please, call me Grace, it’s easier!”
While she took in the look of the nutleys and Yellow Flower, and shook her head quietly to herself in sheer fascination, she sat down where her granddaughter had made a place for her previously.
All the stories that had been passed down through out the ages were true after all! Her whole being had ached with knowing, yet only now, in the twilight of her years, was she experiencing it.
Sky served her and then sat down to join them. She picked up her glass and held it up and said proudly, “To the best Grandma in the whole world! Welcome to our dollhouse, and the world of Nutlidge!” Everyone happily repeated what she said and clinked glasses. There was happy chatter around the table while they all ate heartily.

Curley had run out of steam and was falling asleep at the table and Dusty had come back from checking out the huge house. He climbed up on Curley’s chair and tugged at his hair.
“Hello! Dusty’s the name! Laughter’s my game! Pleased to meet you!” He said, and squawked in excitement. He bobbed up and down as if he were dancing and it make them all laugh.
“Hello Dusty,” said Grace cheerfully, now fairly well adjusted to her strange situation, “Pleased to meet you too.”
“Where have you been Dusty?” Said Yellow Flower, curious as to what he had been getting up to. “You’ve just about missed dinner.” She was opening her bottle of Spotted Gum wine and poured them all a drop, making sure there was a little less in Sky’s glass.
The bird nodded and then swayed his head from side to side, whistled and rubbed his beak on the wood of the chair.
“Chatting to the lady upstairs. Very nice!”
“Oh you must mean the doll,” interrupted Sky, “The one that goes with the male doll over there. I put them in the attic so they wouldn’t frighten anyone.”
“Oh I remember playing with those dolls for hours!” Said Grace, reminiscing. “I called him Alistair and she was Nell and the two children were Billy and Polly. They had some very busy days I can tell you!” She took another sip of the wine, which was delicious. “We use to have it outside the back door at one stage and I made a garden for it. Oh it was so cute, and so lovely. Unfortunately it was in the way a bit and it got moved some years later to here…” Grace was off with the fairies telling a little of her childhood days.
Malley picked the sleeping Curley up and took him to his bedroom. It had been a huge day for him and it was the quietest Sky had seen him. He must have been exhausted.
Sky remembered the ring. “By the way Grandma! Have you ever noticed the ring in the music room cabinet? Curley spotted it earlier on. It’s just beautiful!”
“Yes that’s right!” Added Yellow Flower, who was playing with her long floaty hair. “It had some writing on it too didn’t it Sky?”
“Yeah! It said something like ‘To Constance, all my love…something, something, love Edward.’”
Grace thought for a moment. “Well! Isn’t that interesting? I don’t recall any ring but Constance and Edward built this doll’s house together and decorated it. It’s been in the family ever since. I have read a lot about them over the years. Edward kept an extensive diary as I’ve told you. But the book got lost before I had chance to finish reading it.”
“Come on, let’s go and have another look. It is so beautiful to look at, and the size of it!” Said Yellow Flower, now getting quite tipsy on the Spotted Gum wine.
They all agreed and headed for the stairs when they heard music coming from the music room. They all looked at each other. Malley had rejoined them, and Yellow Flower was there, so, who was playing the piano?
“Who’s that?” Said Florrel.
“Don’t know.” Replied Sky.
“Maybe it’s Henry.” Said Grace.
Sky looked at her frowning. “Henry, in the music room?”
“Well, no. I thought maybe he brought some music down and plugged it in for us. He knew I was coming to join you for dinner tonight.”
“I think that is definitely coming from the music room,” piped up Malley, “I can hear the harp playing.”
“It’s quite lovely too,” said Florrel who also appreciated good music.
They all went down the stairs, huddled together, and quietly giving nervous suggestions as to who it might be.
They finally got to the ground floor where the staircase flowed out into the main sitting room. They slowly walked over to the door of the music room and quietly peered around the corner.
To their greatest surprise, there was a young woman playing the harp. She had long thick red hair, and a beautiful orange dress that reminded Sky of a picture on a card she was given once. She was stunning, and had flowers in her hair. Her playing was beautifully magical and for a moment they all just looked and listened. Then they noticed a young man sitting in the corner in a Chester armchair, playing a lyre that harmonised with the harp beautifully.
He wore a pair of dark pants that came to the knee and a shirt with a ruffled collar and ruffles on the end of his sleeves. He had long white socks on with leather slippers and a gold chain around his neck with a large crystal gumnut hanging from it. His hair was long and tied at the back.
The tune they were playing came to a perfect close and when they had finished playing, the woman stood up from the harp and turned to them. She smiled and said. “Come in, please. Don’t be afraid.”
The man placed his lyre on a stand and came forward to join her.
“Edward’s the name, pleased to meet you all. This is my wife Constance.”
The small group came into the music room, with open mouths. They gathered before the couple.
Grace was the first one to speak. “Oh my! You really are them aren’t you? Oh! I am so honoured to meet you! I am Grace, your great-great-great granddaughter.”
“Grace! It is wonderful to meet you!” They both gave her a hug.”
“This is my granddaughter, Sky.”
“Oh yes we know who you all are, and it’s an absolute pleasure. Sky, it is absolutely marvellous that you set this up. Oh, and welcome Yellow Flower, Malley, Florrel and Coral also, come in, come in. We’ve been watching you and I must say, you put on a fine meal for your guests Sky. It is lovely to meet you all. We hope we didn’t startle you too much. We wanted to let you finish your meal before we came to say hello, but you beat us to it!”
“You play the harp beautifully.” Said Florrel, smiling and shaking Constance’s hand with two of her own.
“Thank you,” she replied smiling warmly, “It is a great love of mine.”
“I suppose you’re wondering how we came to be here?” Said Edward, quite cheerful in his manner.
“Please, come and have a seat, I’ll explain everything.”
They all piled into a circle of chairs that were put together and sat comfortably awaiting his story.
“I suppose you know that I found the tree as a young boy. I had many a day to myself while the house was being built in the other paddock, so had plenty of time to explore. One day a Raven caught my attention and I followed it right to the massive tree trunk. I climbed it as young boys do, and came across a magnificent city in which I soaked up for most of my school holidays and weekends. I met Lord Nutwood and Elm and other wonderful members of the community and had a lot of fun.
As I got older, the more I had to do that filled my days in a more unpleasant manner, and I lost touch with it all. I feared that if I went to the tree, some one might follow me and there would be a sorry thing! I didn’t want anyone to know about it. To me it is an absolute treasure. A world of its own, and within that world are men and women, children, and wildlife to an enormous degree, not to mention the huge variety of fairy folk, as well as nutleys, that inhabit the tree! Well, I have to say, it became my mission in life to protect this tree and so I did everything I could to keep this when my father passed on.
“When Constance and I married,” he said, looking at her with much love expressed in his eyes, “We had the cottage renovated, and the dolls house was a kind of hobby that reminded me of the little people I had met.
Through the years, the property has been handed down to the oldest child, with the condition that the forest must never be used for public reasons, and that it must never be sold or felled. It was the only way to keep it safe from roaming humans! I mean, not that they would all be able to step into that world, but it would only take one to spoil the whole thing.”
“But how come you look so young?” Asked Grace again, quite fascinated.
Constance smiled and looked lovingly at Edward before saying, “We have a love that is endless. It is unconditional, and it is timeless. When my finger got too thin for my wedding ring, I placed it in the cabinet for safekeeping. We both knew the energy from it would be enough to bring us back here if we chose to do that after we passed on. And when we passed, it was only a few days between us. We chose to not be without each other. And when we got use to the different plains of the astral world we realised that we could live in the doll’s house after all, and so we flit from here to other parts of the astral levels of consciousness, to suit our needs.”
“Once you have mastered the astral” said Edward, “and we have had plenty of time to master it,” he chuckled, “you can appear to be any age you like! The ages we appear to you are our early twenties, just after we got married.”
“We see a lot of your mother Grace. She is always asking after you,” said Constance.
“My mother?” She said, “asked after me?”
“Oh yes!” Said Constance, “None of your relatives are gone. They are simply in another space. Their physical bodies may have been laid to rest, but their souls are alive and well! As a matter of fact, your mother is spending most of her time at the Institute of Art. Do you know Leonardo Da Vinci and Rembrandt teach there?”
“True?” Said Grace, fascinated and pleased that her feelings on all this were being confirmed. “My mother, Elise, loved to paint. She always wanted to further her art studies, but was home raising a family. She died far too early, and never got around to doing what she planned.”
“Well she’s doing it now by crikey! And loving it, I might add!” Replied Edward in a jolly fashion.
“And your Father actually chose to incarnate again soon. He didn’t much like the astral; he was too ingrained in the material world! So I expect you’ll be bumping into him somewhere soon!”
“Edward, do you remember the folk law, or the legend of Podsinia?”
“Oh yes! Nutwood did mention that to me at the time as one of the old stories, and yes we know of the coming disaster. We thought perhaps we could help?”
They all looked at each other, and before they could say a word, a bright green mist glittered with gold appeared in the room and before them stood their friend Elm and his helper Lobes.
Yellow Flower giggled straight away. Grace covered her smile with her hand, as did Sky in a similar fashion. Malley and Florrel cracked up laughing and Coral grinned from ear to ear trying not to laugh. Edward and Constance were finding it just as difficult to keep their faces straight at the picture before them.
Dusty was the first one to say something. “Woopsy Daisy!” He chirped, and tilted his head in curiosity.
“Yes I know I know!” Said Elm, feeling quite embarrassed. “I don’t blame you! Who would think the resident wizard could be so clumsy!”
There he stood, covered from head to toe with a leafy vine that had a daisy type flower on it. He was literally covered. Only his eyes they could see and it appeared to be still growing! As the vine grew some died off; new shoots sprawled around his body. It was the most extraordinary thing! Buds grew to flowers and then lost their petals in a matter of moments!
Lobes grinned, making sure his ‘mentor’ didn’t see him, and then trying to keep a straight face said, in a timid voice. “Master Elm was trying to mix a potion for getting the seasons functioning the right way again, which meant, he needed to get it to the ozone layer. I’m afraid that when he said the words for the enchantment, he said the word ‘daisy’ instead of ‘hazy’ and spilled some of the potion on himself. He’s been fighting off these vines for hours now!”
The others were now sniggering, and it got louder. They just couldn’t help but laugh! It was such a funny sight!
Lobes went bright red from embarrassment and he was also laughing. He hid himself behind his long ears and this made everyone laugh even more!
“I see you still haven’t quite got the hang of this magic old boy!” Said Edward, in between chuckles.
“Blast!” Said the wizard, “What’s an old wizard to do?” He leant against the wall because every time he sat down, the vines would tie him to the chair!
“Oh don’t worry Elm,” laughed Malley. “I’m sure it must have something to do with the energies in the tree at present. Don’t take it to heart.”
“Don’t take it to heart!” Said Elm indignantly. “I’d take it to the ends of the earth if I could just get it off!” He said, half frustrated and half laughing now. They all cracked up laughing again, and even Elm had to laugh at his own situation. He realised how funny it must have looked.
“Would you like a glass of water Elm?” Said Yellow Flower, stirring him a little. “Perhaps you could do with a nice watering…” This got them going again!
When they managed to stop laughing they focused on the problem at hand.
Between Lobes, Malley and Yellow Flower, they managed to break the spell for him and he sat down and joined them for a cup of tea. They caught up on the most urgent news of all, which was that Podsinia had been spotted near the surface of the soil and was getting stronger by the hour.

Nutlidge ~ Chapter Fourteen

Nutlidge ~ Chapter Fourteen

Teachers and Tyrants

Back at home, Fran was feeling restless. Her son was at his mates for the night, so she had gotten stuck into doing Sky’s dance outfit and had finished it. It was hanging on the cupboard. It was a typical looking ballet dress with a longer skirt, for Sky’s solo act. She was sure she’d like it.
She made herself a cup of tea, walked around, and sat down playing with her hair. She got up even before she had taken a sip, and grabbed the phone. She dialled Jen’s number first, because she missed her friend a lot and longed to see her but there was no answer, so she dialled her mother’s number.
The phone rang a few times and then answered. It was Beverly. “Good Evening. Lawson residence.”
“Hi Bev, it’s Fran here…”
“Fran dear, how are you?”
“Good, good thanks. Look is Mum still up and about?”
“Yes I think so dear. She and Sky were having dinner in the cottage. I think they’re still there. Do you want me to fetch her for you?”
“No, no. It’s all right. It’s nothing that can’t wait until tomorrow. I’m just lost when the kids aren’t here. Baize has gone to his mates and I cancelled my trip to Adelaide, so I’m kind of bored I guess!”
“Oh yes, I remember having those feelings when my three boys left home. It’s like an empty space isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is an empty feeling.”
“Well why don’t you come out. Maybe you could catch them while they’re out there. I’m sure they won’t be back in for a while yet.”
Fran thought for a moment. She had only been there two days ago. It might seem silly rocking up at this hour of the night.
“Oh, no, don’t worry Bev. I’ll have an early night I think.”
“Well dear, you know where everything is if you change your mind.” Said Beverly warmly.
“Thanks Bev.” Fran replied, still in two minds, “You never know, you might see me in the morning!”
“Okay dear. I’ll leave a note for your mother to say you called, and I’ll make up the bed in the guest room just in case.”
“Goodnight Fran.”
“Goodnight.” Fran put the receiver down. She didn’t know whether to go out there or not, but she took a sip of her tea, tipped it down the sink and grabbed her bag and keys.
Driving down the highway, Fran listened to the eight o’clock news. She didn’t take much notice of the most of it, but one news flash caught her attention.
“And now for the international news update,” said the newsreader, “More on the change of venue for the World Leader Summit….” It was now to be held in Canberra, in Australia, instead of France. The reason being that the weather there had been so cold and they were suffering snow storms which had immobilized the airport and most of the transport through out the country. “The talks will be broadcast on satellite around the world from Parliament house in Canberra, and the topics of discussions will cover terrorism, nuclear disarmament and world heritage issues…” Fran opened the window. It was a lovely night.
“More on the Bali bombing now, with seven suspects being caught and many funerals taking place in Bali, and around Australia. The death rate is estimated at be…”
Fran switched it off. She was sick of the whole situation. There was enough going on in the world with natural disasters! Who needed this sort of thing in their reality? “Idiots.” She said, as she drove on, “and they call monkeys primitive!” She added, trying to think of something else. It usually took her about an hour to get to her mother’s, so she popped in a CD and got relaxed for the drive.

Meanwhile, Lord Nutwood was talking with his partner Lady Acacia, about the situation happening around them.
“I am surprised that she has been able to affect the tree to the degree she did.” He said, shaking his head. “The energies around the planet must be so stressed, so angry. All that negativity going around the planet like a net! Don’t they realise the damage they’re doing to themselves and their planet?”
Acacia took his hand and said gently, “My dear sweet Nutwood. You can only do so much. It is like the Masters and Angels, they can help so much, and then it is ultimately up to the Humans to change their old ways. Don’t let the negative creep into your thoughts. You are more powerful than this.”
“Well I suppose that’s what I’m talking about my love. I feel quite overwhelmed by this energy. The world has been put into fear mode by a handful of individuals who insist on trying to rule this planet and its inhabitants! It’s preposterous!”
“You know we don’t generally judge things Nutwood. They have their own choices to make. They can choose to fight or they can choose to be at peace with each other.”
“Yes but Acacia, it will take a lot of work to change their behavior. It stems from their belief system. It’s all fear based, the whole lot of it. Why can’t they see how it could be? Why can’t they see the truth?”
“Because they look outside of themselves for the truth, instead if inside where the truth lies… You told me that Nutwood. You know why they are at this stage of their journey.”
“But it is affecting our world. There must be something more we can do.”
“Oh my darling, we are doing the one thing we do best and that is to love them, all of them. It is the strongest power. It is the only power. It is all there is. The Creator Herself told us. Did He not? You are beginning to take on the logic Nutwood, don’t let it rule you. You know the answer to all of these questions.”
“I think I will join them at the Federation of Nature Spirits. Do you feel like coming with me?”
“No it’s fine. I am happy to stay here and keep an eye on things. There needs to be someone folk can come to while this is going on. I think it’s best.”
“Very well then. I might just go up and have an early night. It’s been a long day…. Would you care to join me my dear?”
Acacia came close to him and kissed his woody lips.
“That would be lovely.” She said and they walked upstairs to their bedroom, with their tails entwined behind them.

Down in a tunnel under the gigantic tree, hobbled a dirty black scraggly Podsinia. She had gained enough energy to get herself around slowly. Her long root-like nose sniffed out water coming from the end of this tunnel. A glint from the distant light flickered in her evil eyes. She was back! It seemed like only yesterday that she reared her ugly head and threatened the whole existence of the tree and it’s folk.
She rubbed her bony hands together, thinking of her plan, “Just you try and stop me…” She said wickedly and her last word turned into a deep chuckle from the mouth with one tooth on the bottom gum.
Eventually she dragged her wrecked body to the water. There in the under caves of the tree were springs and waterfalls. Many of the trees folk would often come here to cool off and relax. It was a beautiful place, the water was clear in areas and white and misty where the water fell and swirled around. Steam rose from the far distant baths, and ferns and moss grew around the area covering the floor like a soft carpet. Tiny flowers were scattered and frogs roamed under rocks. Moonlight was streaming in through a far corner crevice, just enough to light the place up.
Podsinia walked around to the springs. There were waterfalls there also, but they were warmer. She walked straight into the water and went under. Coming up under the waterfall she washed herself of all the mud and clay that hung off her.
Once she was clean she sat on the edge of the rock to dry off. She was still tired, and lay down to rest some more.

Meanwhile, back in the music room, in the old dollhouse, Sky’s Pavlova was being handed around for dessert; it was a sensation. Everyone was so comfortable.
Constance made everyone a cup of tea and talked to Florrel on herbs.
Elm was discussing the current changes in the World Leader Summit. “It has changed from France to Canberra, due to weather so I hear! I just thought I might be able to…help a little? Anyway…” He said under his breath, “It has been brought forward, which means our plans need checking.”
“Brought forward?” asked Yellow Flower. “But we are meant to catch up with Merlin, how are we going do all these things in time?”
“My dear, I may be old and clumsy, but I’m sure we can manage to do what is necessary in two days. It doesn’t take that long to transport oneself around the globe. What I haven’t done though, is contact Merlin. He’s been away working with the other Masters to raise the vibrations of the earth. I’ve sent him ‘thought mail’, let’s see if he gets it.”
“He might even call in and save us a trip.” Added Yellow Flower, and popped another spoonful of Pavlova into her mouth.
“Well I’m not sure about that, he tends to be a home body generally speaking, and doesn’t venture any further than he has to. However, he does tremendous work for humanity, along with all the other Ascended Masters.”
“Have you met any of the Masters Elm?” asked Sky.
“Oh yes indeed! Many of them! They, as we are, a reflection of the Great Spirit! We all have the potential to be like them, and to create what ever we choose to create. Sometimes we do this all the time without realising it, with our thoughts. The power to levitate, move inanimate objects and walk on water! It is only disbelief that stops us from achieving the things we are naturally capable of doing.”
Lobes had been quietly sitting in between Elm and Edward, not saying much, just taking in the atmosphere of the gathering. He was actually a very intelligent and powerful little wizard, but did not like to show his teacher up. So he kept quiet, and simply observed.
“Wow that’s amazing!” Said Grace. “I’ve always been interested in all these things. I have done quite a lot of healing and clairvoyance in my life. My mother taught me, you know. She first told me to see the healing light come down from the universe, through the top of my head and down through my hands. She taught me that I could heal the world with this energy.”
“Well Grace, in a sense you have been a huge part of the coming healing. If you had not have given birth to Sky’s mother, we would not have this brave young girl here attempting to change the course of the human race. And a fine job she will do too!”
Sky blushed and took another sip of her drink.
Dusty was playing with Coral, who was beginning to feel very tired. She had helped clean several homes and was really quite exhausted. Florrel was engrossed in a conversation with Constance and Edward was listening intently to Elm as was Malley, Grace and Sky.
Coral excused herself and headed up to the bedroom next to Curley’s room. After Elm had talked a little more of the Ascended Masters that he knew, Grace and Sky went to have a look around the house and Yellow Flower tagged along too. The men continued their chat and sipped on a nice drop of port that Edward had pulled from the drinks cabinet.

Meanwhile, Fran was flying down the highway in her Jaguar, trying to decide how to surprise Grace and Sky. Suddenly she saw a red utility on the side of the road that had broken down. The guy who owned it was standing there with his thumb out trying to get some help. This time of night in the middle of nowhere wasn’t a good time to break down. Fran decided to stop and help out. The man’s name was Jack and lived in the next town. He had run out of petrol, and was very grateful for the lift.
Jack was tall, with dark unruly hair peppered with grey that made him look distinguished. He wore a T-shirt hugging his broad shoulders and the latest Levi jeans. He looked only slightly older than Fran, around forty, and had a great smile. Fran took an instant like to him, as he did for her.
She suddenly felt as though she already ‘knew’ him from somewhere, but couldn’t place it. He felt familiar somehow.
“So, didn’t quite make it hey?” She said. “Isn’t it a pain when that happens!”
“Oh… Not really.” He said, looking at her thinking that if he hadn’t have run out of petrol, he may not have met her. She looked at him and saw he was smiling at her and she smiled back. ‘Wow!’ She thought, ‘he’s kind of cute!’
They got to the next town, and instead of buying petrol straight away; he offered to buy her a drink for her trouble. So they headed to the local tavern for dinner to get more acquainted.

The party in the dollhouse went until the early hours of the morning, with music and laughter coming from the music room. It finally came to a close with everyone retiring one by one, getting ready for bed in their beautiful rooms. Elm and Lobes transported themselves home and promised to see them first thing in the morning at the Centre.
They all said good night, and retired to their beds, happy in thought about the day’s events.
Once all was quiet, Sky turned out most of the lights, and used a candle to see her way around. She got into her four-poster bed, snuggled down and fell fast asleep, with flashes of the day passing through her tired mind.