Chapter 12: Chewing Gum, Kittens and Everything Else

 

The next Door was Green with just one Red word written across it:

TOYS

Jenny immediately imagined shelves of dolls and teddy bears, piles of puzzles and games, baskets full of bats and balls and skipping ropes, and a special section with cuddly toys and rattles. But what she saw when the Door opened was very different to what she had imagined. There were toys all over the place! Some of them had fallen into heaps on the floor. Jigsaw puzzles had tipped out their pieces, and there were felt tip pens with no lids on. This was worse than Jenny’s bedroom on her most untidy day!

Molly and Jenny began to pick up teddy bears, and raggedy dolls, rabbits with floppy ears and baby dolls. There was no way they should be lying upside-down on the floor. They started to tidy their dresses and ribbons and bow ties and sit them back on the shelves. But there were so many!

‘Where are the Toy Fairies?’ demanded Grandma Lily.

‘They are in with the Sweet Fairies, eating their way through the chocolate,’ said Sir Lucas. ‘And I believe the Knave Prince’s Christmas Fairies have joined them.’

‘This is terrible!’ exclaimed Queen Peony. ‘Witch Eyebright, choose some of my Fairies to tidy these toys immediately! You will stay here and advise them. And you must check the jigsaw puzzles. They cannot be returned with pieces missing!’

Queen Peony stepped back into the street. She asked where the Sweet Hiding Place was, and Sir Lucas pointed to the next building. It had a Red Door with Silver writing, which said:

Gums and other Chewy Things (including Toffees)

Chocolates (Plain, Milk and White)

Nougat

Easter Eggs

Sherbert

Liquorice (all flavours)

Jelly Babies

The Raggedy Knights marched ahead of the Queen and Sir Lucas pulled open the Red door. There was a lot of noise coming from inside. There seemed to be a party going on. The Queen was about to go inside but Sir Lucas stepped in front of her.

‘Majesty, there is chewing gum all over the floor. And squashed toffees. Some of the King’s Men have changed into Wellington Boots. Many of them are trying to get the Boy Fairies back to work, but the Fairies will not stop eating chocolate.’

‘They would stop eating it if it tasted horrible,’ suggested Jenny.

‘Jenny, what an excellent idea!’ said Grandma Lily. ‘Well done!’

Grandma Lily called Witch Hazel over and instructed her to place a spell over the Fairies that would make them think that all the chocolate tasted of soap. And to warn them that if they did not get back to work, she would make EVERYTHING taste of soap. So Witch Hazel borrowed a pair of Wellingtons and stepped inside the Red Hiding Place to cast her spells and to help clean up the mess.

The Door to the next Hiding Place was Grey. And it was wide open. Jenny could see boxes of tinsel and other Christmas decorations and, further in, a large Christmas tree that had fallen over. Queen Peony asked Witch Mistletoe to organise the Christmas Fairies as soon as they returned from next door. Then she strode across the street to the strangest Hiding Place so far. It had a Violet Door and inside the walls were covered in keys, thousands upon thousands of keys. Car keys, door keys, keys to cupboards and boxes, all labelled and hanging on hooks. There was a huge box full of keys just inside the door and around it sat perhaps twenty Boy Fairies, working away, tying labels to the keys and writing addresses and names on them.

‘These are the Key Fairies,’ whispered Molly. ‘As soon as a new key arrives, they label it and hang it on the wall. Some of these keys will finish up going to the Kingdom of Forgotten Things.’

‘But, Molly,’ interrupted Jenny, ‘these Fairies are all working!’

‘Yes,’ said Molly. ‘The Knave Prince Sorrel believes that keys are VERY important. They are his specialty, and will always be protected’

Queen Peony congratulated all the Key Fairies on their work and promised that each of them would receive a Royal Commendation as soon as she returned to her Castle. Then the Queen’s party moved on and Sir Lucas closed the Violet door behind them.

In the distance, Jenny could now see the far edge of the Dome. But as they approached the last two buildings, Jenny caught sight of two of the King’s Men running towards them. When they saw the Queen they stopped immediately and bowed low. Sir Lucas asked what was wrong and they explained that the Fairies that usually looked after the Purr-ple Hiding Place were asleep in the cat baskets. The Purr-ple Door had been left open and several kittens had escaped.

Jenny looked at Molly for an explanation.

‘It’s where the LOST pets hide,’ whispered Molly. ‘Mostly cats and dogs, but sometimes we have rabbits and hamsters and even tortoises and parrots. Once we had a LOST crocodile!’

‘How many kittens have escaped?’ asked Grandma Lily.

‘We are not sure,’ said the King’s Man. ‘They are hiding under the gooseberry bushes. We have scratched ourselves on the thorns trying to rescue them.’

Jenny looked around. From where she was standing she could see two tiny Black and White kittens playing under a bush. She glanced at Molly and Molly instantly knew what she was thinking. They both opened their backpacks and took out the balls of string. Then they showed the King’s Men how to trick kittens into being caught. They unwound the string and dangled long pieces of it on the ground. Now, everyone knows a kitten cannot resist a piece of string. And the two Black and White kittens were no exception. They came bouncing out from under the bush and pounced on the string. And Jenny and Molly were able to scoop them up and hand them to the King’s Men, along with the balls of string. Jenny told Queen Peony that it was Grand Witch Lily who had thought of bringing the string.

‘Of course,’ said the Queen. ‘Thank you, Lily. Where would we be without you?’

Jenny and Molly wanted to have a quick peek at all the pets that were waiting to go home, but Queen Peony reminded them that the King was still back in the Castle with an empty head so they must get a move on. If all went well, they would be allowed to look on the way back.

The last Hiding Place in the Dome had a Black Door with Gold writing, which said:

EVERYTHING ELSE

(including rings, necklaces and other jewels)

(also including impossible things)

This Door had tables and chairs outside it. Some of the King’s Men were sitting down, taking a rest. They were tired after chasing kittens around and several of them were having disinfectant and plasters placed on their kitten and thorn scratches. So the Queen granted everyone a short tea break. Jenny and Molly sat down and took out their egg sandwiches and lemonade and Witch Beanstalk made them grow bigger so there was enough for everyone.

As Jenny was feeding her crusts to a stray hamster, Grandma Lily wandered over to speak to her.

‘Next we visit the Garden of Errors, Jenny. The King’s Men say that Prince Sorrel’s Fairies have forgotten how to make things right. Sir Lucas thinks that the Prince has cast Spells of Confusion and Forgetfulness over his own Fairies.’

Jenny looked at Molly, and secretly they both wondered why the King’s brother would suddenly do such a thing.