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|Asperula's Rainbow (youngsters:fairy tales, 2534 words)|
|Author: Ian Hobson||Added: Jan 08 2006||Views/Reads: 2890/1316||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|'I don't have black cats in my garden; they're bad luck. Now shoo, before I turn you into goat!' Another bedtime story from the fairytale land of Astrantia.|
Asperula's Rainbow (Another tale from Astrantia) © 2005 Ian G. Hobson It was a typical Astrantian afternoon, with warm sunshine and not a cloud in the sky; and Asperula was sitting in her garden reading. As you may recall from earlier stories, Asperula was a witch, and what she was reading was an old book of magic spells that she'd forgotten about and then rediscovered when if fell from a shelf as she dusted it. The spell book had proved very useful. Asperula had deciphered some of the ancient writings and discovered spells to cure everything from toothaches to in-growing toenails, and from hiccups to spotty faces. She had found spells to mend leaky roofs and straighten crooked chimneys, and to chop fallen trees into firewood, and even to turn weeds into flowers. So her cottage was looking much smarter than it ever had before, and her garden was the best in the whole village. 'Rap, Rap, Rap! Visitor!' announced the shinny doorknocker on her front door. The doorknocker was, of course, a magic one, and it had become very good predicting exactly when someone would arrive, even before it could see them coming. And sure enough, as Asperula looked up from her book, Thymus the cat sprang up onto the garden gate and then dropped down onto the garden path. He was on his way home after visiting his friend Luzula in the village, and having heard about Asperula's beautiful new garden, he'd come to take a look. 'Shoo!' exclaimed Asperula, as Thymus approached. 'I don't have black cats in my garden; they're bad luck. Now shoo, before I turn you into a goat!' Thymus stopped and sat down to lick at each of his hind legs in turn. He wasn't the least bit afraid of Asperula. He lived in the old tower, across the river, with Holcus the warlock and knew almost as much about magic as Asperula did. 'If you turn me into a goat, I'll charge at you,' he said, interrupting his grooming and looking around. 'And I'll eat your flowers.' Then he noticed the book that Asperula held in her hand. There was a face on the front cover; an unsmiling but familiar looking face. 'Doesn't that book belong to Holcus?' he asked. 'It looks like one of his.' Asperula thought for a moment; she had completely forgotten that the book had once belonged to Holcus. Then she remembered that Holcus had thrown the book at her after they had argued over something; they were not exactly the best of friends. 'It might do,' she replied, 'but that's none of your business. Now shoo!' 'Very well,' said Thymus, turning back towards the gate. 'I know when I'm not welcome.' Asperula returned to reading her spell book, but just as Thymus leaped back onto the gate, she looked up and said 'Wait... Does Holcus ever travel by rainbow?' Balancing easily on the top of the gate, Thymus turned back to face Asperula. 'Travel by rainbow?' he repeated, looking puzzled. But then he remembered hearing something about witches riding rainbows as an alternative to broomsticks. 'No, I don't think so, but he never goes anywhere these days anyway. Why do you ask?' 'Never mind,' replied Asperula, returning to her book. 'Ah, I see,' said Thymus. 'You've found something in the spell book about rainbow-riding. Well, you'd have to find a rainbow first. I can't remember the last time I saw one... Perhaps you should start by making it rain.' And with that, he turned and dropped down the outside of the gate and was gone. 'Making it rain,' said Asperula. 'What nonsense.' But then she looked up from her book with the beginnings of a smile on her face. Since finding the rainbow-riding spell she had felt a surprising urge to try it out, perhaps because she remembered stories of her great-grandmother travelling that way. But rainbows needed summer rain-showers; a rarity in Astrantia. So there was little chance of her doing so, unless: if Click here to read the rest of this story (192 more lines)
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