Chapter 6: Fairies

 

‘Grandma!’ said Jenny. ‘How can you be here? I thought you were asleep!’

Grandma Lily laughed: ‘Jenny, dear, nobody sleeps in Raggedy Lyme. But I think that Princess Molly Berry has already told you that. Now, shall we put some lights on in here? We’ll never be able to see what we’re doing with it as dark as this.’

Grandma Lily clapped her hands and, all around the Hall, crystal lights began to shine. ‘That’s better,’ she said. ‘But we must get you both something to eat. You must be hungry after your journey.’

‘We would be very grateful, Grand Witch,’ said Molly. Then she did a little curtsey.

Grandma Lily smiled at Molly. Then, once again, she clapped her hands. And straightaway a large tray appeared at one end of the long table. It was stacked high with sandwiches and crisps and cakes, and a big jug of Green juice. Jenny was amazed: ‘Did you make those things appear by magic, Grandma?’ said Jenny.

But, as soon as she said that, Jenny heard giggling coming from behind her. She turned but there was nobody there.

‘No,’ said Grandma Lily. ‘It was the Fairies that put them there. But they are too shy to let you see them just yet. Shall we sit down?’

Jenny looked around her. She would quite like to see the Fairies. She closed her eyes then opened them and tried to look properly. For a moment, she thought she might have seen a flicker of movement out of the corner of her eye. But Molly told her that nobody can ever see Fairies unless they want to be seen. She pulled Jenny towards the long table and they all sat down. Grandma Lily sat in one of the tall thrones and Jenny and Molly sat down beside her. Then Grandma Lily asked the Fairies to close the doors because the sound of the King’s drumming was really annoying her. Jenny smiled as the doors seemed to close on their own.

The food was delicious, and as soon as Jenny started to eat she realised how hungry she was. And while Molly and Jenny ate their way through the sandwiches and cakes, Grandma Lily explained.

‘Jenny, the Council of Witches has decided to call you here ahead of your proper time, because we need your help. That is why we sent Princess Molly to bring you here.’

Jenny stopped eating and frowned: ‘What does ahead of my proper time mean, Grandma?’

‘It means that you were always meant to come here, but not for some time. One day when you are much older, nearly as old as me, you will be a proper Witch. You see, only Grandmas can be Witches in Raggedy Lyme. But things cannot wait that long. Something terrible has happened. Jenny, the World of Raggedy Lyme has existed for a very long time, since way before history began. And it has always looked after things in the Real World …’

‘And is the Real World the world I’m usually in?’ interrupted Jenny.

‘Yes,’ said Grandma Lily. ‘And it’s the World I return to when I’m not here. But, now something has gone wrong that might hurt both of the Worlds.’

‘Molly told me the King has lost his memories,’ said Jenny.

‘Well,’ said Grandma Lily, ‘he certainly doesn’t have them anymore. But the Council of Witches is afraid that the situation is worse than that. We believe that his memories are not LOST. We believe they have been STOLEN. And Jenny, nothing has ever been stolen in Raggedy Lyme before. So nobody knows what to do about it.’

Jenny could hear tiny gasps all around her. The Fairies must still be there. And they were obviously quite upset about the whole situation.

‘But, Grandma,’ said Jenny, ‘don’t YOU know what to do about it? Because you’re used to the Real World. And lots of things get stolen there. And what about the Fairies? Can’t they work it out by magic?’

Grandma Lily sighed: ‘We have all tried but it seems that a spell of forgetting has been placed over everybody who was in Raggedy Lyme when the memories were stolen. So nobody here can discover the thief. And that includes me. So we needed to ask somebody from the Real World to help us. And you were the only person we could think of. Because, although you are not really ready, you will one day replace me as the Grand Witch. You are our best hope, Jenny.’

Jenny paused to consider that. And then she said: ‘So you want me to try and work out what happened to the King’s memories? To work it out like some kind of puzzle?’

‘Yes, dear,’ said Grandma Lily.

Jenny thought about this for a few moments. Then she smiled: ‘I’m quite good at jig-saw puzzles,’ she said, turning to Molly. ‘Will you help me Molly?’

‘Of course I will,’ said Molly.

‘Excellent!’ said Grandma Lily. ‘And now, Jenny, I think it’s time for you to meet Queen Peony and Her Council of Witches.’

So the table was cleared and when Jenny and Molly were ready, Grandma Lily instructed the Fairies, to send for the Queen and Her Council. Jenny watched very carefully, and for a moment she thought she saw a tiny girl with Silver wings, flash past her. Then all went quiet as they waited for the Queen to arrive.

Suddenly, Jenny heard a door creak at the far end of the Hall. Grandma Lily and Molly got to their feet and stood away from the table. So Jenny did the same. Then she watched a long line of Witches file into the room. They were all wearing a White cloak just like Grandma Lily’s. And they all had crowns of flowers in their hair. But not one of the crowns was as splendid as Grandma Lily’s. Jenny felt very proud that her grandma was the most important Witch of all.

As each of the Witches took her place behind her chair she bowed to Grandma Lily and then to Jenny and Molly. Molly bowed back so Jenny did the same. Then, when all the Witches were standing in their places, Jenny heard an excited rustle of air all around her.

‘Here comes the Queen,’ whispered Molly.

And in through the door stepped a magnificent lady. Her hair seemed to be made of fine golden threads that flowed with the slightest movement of air. She was dressed all in Silver and lace speckled with tiny flowers. And on her head was a Silver crown. Jenny had never seen anyone quite so beautiful. But most beautiful of all, were the Queen’s large see-through wings that flickered Silver and Gold as she walked towards them.Cha