Here’s a new story with the old woman of the forest. I call it “The Little Fairy”. Enjoy. Podcast coming soon.
From the Tales of the Old Woman of the Forest
Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum, Tweedle Dime, settle down children, it’s story time!
A long time ago, deep in the woods, there lived an old woman. She had long, long white hair and dark, dark blue eyes. She lived by herself in a little cottage. She kept a garden and looked after the woods, generally speaking.
All the animals loved the old woman. She always brought them food and kind words. Each day, many of the animals would come and sit by her door as the sun set.
The old woman had little companionship except for the animals. Her house was always in good order with only herself to look after. Each day she spent tending her garden and harvesting its bounty.
One day, there was a rabbit that came by. He was a little rabbit and he was limping. “Oh, my poor leg,” the rabbit cried. The old woman came close to the little rabbit. “Dear Rabbit, what has happened to you?” she asked. “I was caught in patch of thorns, but I tore myself free,” said the little rabbit. The old woman picked up the small white rabbit, looked at his badly scratched leg, and took him inside. There she cleaned and wrapped his wound and fed him warm carrot soup. She and the little rabbit spoke thru the evening about the forest and the surrounding world. “My name is Edgar,” the little rabbit said. “I’ve lived in these woods all my life.” The old woman said, “My name is Mathilda, but I’m known as the Old Woman of the Forest to most that pass here.”
The old woman offered Edgar a place to sleep for the night by the warm fire. There Edgar slept very well and opened his eyes in the morning to find even more hot food before him. “Thank you Old Woman of the Forest. You have treated me most kind. I’ve been quite lucky to stay here with you while I heal. Why, I could have been a hungry dog’s meal!” Edgar said. For
your kindness, I must tell Nathaniel, King of the Rabbits and all
underground burrows less than 10 pebbles high, and you should be
rewarded. “I’ll have no reward at all. Your company was enjoyment enough,” the old woman replied. The
rabbit pleaded to call her name to the King of Rabbits and spoke of the
other forest animals who gave her high praise as well.
Upon the next day, Edgar’s paw was much better. He hopped slowly at first, and then gained speed. In no time at all, he could race as fast as before. “I will not be a hungry dog’s supper thanks to the Old Woman of the Forest!” he said. And, with that, he was off.
old woman continued passing her days tending the garden until one day,
a very large brown rabbit with grey around his eyes and mouth
approached. He was followed by 2 brown field mice. “Old Woman of the Forest, I do call upon you to bestow upon you a gift from Nathaniel, King of the Rabbits!” he said. He reached into his bag and pulled out a large book. It was full of neatly handwritten pages. On the cover, it was written “Forest Magic”. The old woman tried to refuse this special gift, but the rabbit replied, “It would be an insult to the King of Rabbits! This book is given to you because you have a kind heart. With this book, you do formally become the keeper of the forest. As you hold this book, each day that passes will be guaranteed a kind heart.”
The old woman carefully took the book and thanked the old brown rabbit. “Thank Nathaniel, King of the Rabbits and all burrows less than 10 pebbles high, for his most gracious gift. I will give it the utmost care.” And with that, the old brown rabbit and the 2 brown field mice left the old woman.
The Old Woman of the forest went into her cottage and opened the book. There were all manner of recipes for all manner of things. There
were recipes for Bullfrogs with wings, Dulacorns (which are unicorns
with two horns), and giant birds which are agreeable enough to ride! The old woman thought she ought to start small as this was her first use of forest magic. Then she found a recipe for a fairy! She thought it might be nice to share her cottage and time with a fairy. The
recipe called for a small wooden box and a hand-woven cloth to cover
the top, Mosquito or moth wings, mud, a bit of saliva from a kind
hearted old woman and a few words. That was it!
Quickly she found some pieces of wood and fashioned a small box. Then, she set to finger weaving with yarn until she had made a piece large enough to cover the box. This was easily done as the box was no bigger than two fists. The old woman searched high and low for wings until she found a moth on a window ledge that had passed. Gently she took the wings and placed them in the box with some mud she scraped from the pond’s edge. She remembered the saliva. The recipe said she needed a teaspoon. As best as she could figure, that was about 2 spits. So, she spat twice into the box, covered the box with the cloth and spoke the words from the recipe.
“In this box I do expect to see,
by the sun’s early dawn,
a fairy winking at me.
She should be sweet,
she should be fair,
and more than not,
she should fly through the air.
I wish I may as I wish I might,
turn this mix into a fairy tonight!”
With that, she placed the box on her shelf and went to bed. Although the thought of a new fairy friend made the old woman quite excited and she had a hard time sleeping. Up and up again she would go, checking under the cloth to see what might be happening. “A watched pot never boils,” she would say. Finally, just before dawn, the old woman could not keep her eyes from closing and soon drifted off to sleep. Not long after…
A small voice was calling, “Hello. Hello. Please let me out.” The old woman began to stir and the voice called again. “Please, please lift this cover. Oh, is there anyone there?” The old woman sat up straight and couldn’t believe her ears. She raced to the box, stumbling over her bed slippers. She lifted back the lid and there was the fairy!
“Well Hello little Fairy, please do come out!” the old woman said. With that, the little fairy hopped out of the box and on to the table. “You must be starved,” said the old woman, “Let me get you some tea.” She put a kettle on and asked, “From where did you come little fairy?” “I don’t suppose I know.” said the fairy. “All I know is I’m here and thank you so much for opening that cover!” The fairy had other words. “Just so you know, as a fairy, there are certain things that I must do.”
“First, I must be able to fly out of the house at night when the moon rises. So a window must be open at all times. Just a crack, mind you. Also,
I’ll need the company of other fairies because a fairy dancing by
herself in the moonlight just isn’t as fun as dancing with three or
“Certainly.” said the old woman. “Secondly,” said the fairy. “I must be put to good use. A fairy with idle hands is quite restless and can get mischievous. The most interesting work for a fairy to do is to almost be seen by someone making their way thru the woods. Please do ask me to do such things so that I may love to work!”
The old woman wasn’t quite sure what she’d gotten herself into. “Here’s your tea little fairy. And, I do have a job for you. After you finish your tea, please find me some lady bugs for my garden. They keep the aphids away, you know.”
When the fairy finished her tea, she fluttered out into the new world. The old woman happily cleaned the teapot and took a seat in her chair to rest her mind and bones. It wasn’t long before the fairy returned with two ladybugs.
“Put me down!” said one. “Unhand me this minute!” the other said. “I brought you the lady bugs just as you asked old woman of the forest. Aren’t they just perfect?” the fairy asked. One of the lady bugs managed to wriggle free of the fairy’s grasp and flew about the house. “Help!” the lady bug cried as the fairy gave chase. All over the house they flew. The old woman came to aid. “Fairy, Fairy do please let the poor thing be!” the old woman hollered. The little fairy smiled and stopped chasing the harried insect and the lady bug came to rest on a nearby ledge. “If you wanted me to come to your garden Fairy, you could have just asked! Here I was minding my own business and you come flying along and grab me by my leg. I was in the middle of something you know! Honestly, fairies can be so inconsiderate!”
The ladybug was quite irritated. “I’m sorry,” the old woman said. “I had no idea my request for ladybugs would have caused such a disruption! I have some aphids in my garden and I had asked the fairy to bring me some ladybugs such as you to help rid my garden of them.” “Aphids!?” the ladybugs asked. “Where are they? I mean where’s your garden? Can we go there now?” “Follow me!” and the fairy led both bugs into the garden. They quickly set to searching the plants for the tasty aphids. “If you had said Aphids, we would have come gladly!” The ladybugs said in unison.
“Alls well that ends well,” the fairy said. The old woman shook her head. “Little fairy, I think we’ll do well together you and I. Perhaps next time we can draw ladybugs here with stories of tasty treats instead of pulling them by their legs!” “I’m tired,” the fairy said, and with a wink, headed into her box. With the fairy gone, the old woman relished the quiet. She had never had such a ruckus in her home. She knew the fairy would be asking for work soon, so quickly she put her mind to rest. The old woman of the forest thought it better not to wonder what the next fairy task would bring.