Sitting on the stump Whispering Wind took a look in the sack and drew out a number of magazines addressed to Sally and Suzie Sullivan’s mother, Belinda. Then came a package for Lightfinger’s father, Wootz. A few letters to the Rambling Rose Farm down the road, and then . . . what was this? A package addressed to Willow! Whispering Wind’s heart began to beat a little faster, could it be? . . . .
It so happened that some time back, their friend and neighbour, Sugar Plum, had gone on a holiday and had sent his mother, Willow, a copper still. She had found one of these magical devices at an Elfin Herb Farm and knew it would make a darling birthday present for her dear friend, Willow. Sugar Plum had asked Whispering Wind to keep his eye out for it and to let her know when it arrived. It had not. They had believed it lost in the mail and Whispering Wind was rather sad for he’d been anticipating using it with Willow and it was only a matter of time before she’d likely let him use it by himself. Ah, he’d daydreamed many a fine dream about the wood fire he was going to tend while the still bubbled and brewed over the flames! In his dreams the plants he’d gathered had turned into potions of all kinds:: invisibility, mind reading, uncontrollable laughter . . . . he was going to have such fun with his friends with them. He’d already split a pile of wood, had an assortment of bottles and jars lined up, labels ready, and then, just like that, poof! His dream was popped and gone: he was most put out even though it wasn’t ‘his’ still! And now, here he was with this package that just might be it! He picked up a fallen branch to use as a staff and set out to find his way home.
Well, by sundown he knew he was deep in an enchanted space for he seemed to be going round in circles, crossing over the same places repeatedly, yet the trees kept on changing. Were they switching places? Walking about playing tricks on him? He didn’t know and when he didn’t know, there was nothing for it but to hang upside down to clear his head. He hoisted himself into an old hemlock tree, climbing up the swirling branches that were like spokes leading to the sky. He found a spot he liked, curled his legs around a branch and hung like a monkey. By and by he made out where he was from over the tree tops, and rather than make his way down he decided he’d see if he could make his way from tree to tree: they were growing tightly close together, some were even leaning into one another and the branches overlapped in many spots. In this way he found himself getting ever closer to home.
Just as the two big stars in the sky merged into one, the pink moon lit up his house from directly above. He heard a couple of owls talking to one another and then he was over the creek yet somehow poof! He was back where the hole was all over again!
He rubbed his eyes, this was like a no good dream that he wanted to wake up from, and then he saw something in the moonlight. Something blue. A tiny blue imp with her tail wrapped around her body popped out of the hole. Her gaze fell on him and she turned purple and ducked down into the hole then slowly back up again, peering over the edge. He looked at her, she looked at him and oh my, she fell head over heels in love! Climbing out she came toward Whispering Wind, who saw that she was wearing a blue tutu and had blue pointy high heelers and a blue crown on her head.
“Hullo,” she said, “You’re so Beee-yoooouuu-teee-fulll even though you’re not Blue!! I want to take you home with me!!” and to his surprise she came over and bounced onto his lap most cheerfully.
“Well, uh, thanks,” he said, “I’m Whispering Wind and I’m trying to find my way back home.”
“Ooohhhh! You’re lost!! Tut tut tut, that’s because you’re human and these parts of the woods are for-bidden to your kind, which means you’re stuck here forever and ever and Ever!! Hooray! You might as well come home with me!!” she clapped her hands happily.
“Stuck here? For ever? That can’t be, I mean I’ve been to Hobjolia before and left and . …” he trailed off with a sinking feeling in his heart, somehow he knew she was telling the truth.
“Ohhhh, beautiful boy is sad now! Don’t be sad, I know, I know, I know the way back to your world! I can show you,” she said.
Whispering Wind sprang to his feet, “Really? You can? You do? That’s awesome, will you? Show me now? My family’s likely wondering where I’ve gone off to!”
To his dismay the blue imp’s face grew closed and a sly expression crossed her face.
“Hmmmm, if I show you then you’ll go away, and I love you I love you I love you, I can’t live without you!” she threw herself around his neck and began to sob, “Take me with you!! If you take me with you and feed me and let me sleep in your bed, I promise, I’ll show you how to get back to your home. ”
“Yes come with me then,” he said, “Just please, get me out of here!”
The imp tucked her hand into his and they began walking. She chattered merrily about the forbidden grove and the feuds between the different colored imps but he wasn’t listening. His gaze was set on the path she was taking. He was intent on remembering it. He knew many ways in and out of the woods and loved trails. This was a trail he was unfamiliar with and it had his entire attention. It seemed odd to him that he hadn’t seen it because it wasn’t long before he was home again, but it was a forbidden grove and enchanted so who knew . . . he would certainly try it out later.
In the meantime he burst into the house with the package under his arm and called out, “Mum! Dad! Look what I found!!”
It wasn’t long before the package was opened and sure enough, there it was: the magical device! Shiny dome shaped pieces, curved waists, long beaked and spouted, oooh, but Whispering Wind felt shivers just looking at the beaten copper! They made a circle and assembled it together and after much oohing and aahhhing and admiring it they got to eating dinner. Around the table he told them the whole story about how he’d found it and that was when he remembered the blue imp in her blue tutu with the sparkling blue heels and blue crown, but she was nowhere to be seen. He thought she must have gone back to her grove and promptly forgot her, his mind completely occupied with bubbling brews and elixers for many occasions.