Storytime with Stidmama

Chapter Thirty Three

The story on August 30 began at 9:05 pm

Otto and Owain had started out after lunch to tell their uncle Peter about all the strange goings-on.

The kept their eyes on the sky, half-hoping and half-fearing that the bird person would descend again.

But only the usual hawks, blackbirds, and cranes could be seen. In the hedgerows, the chickadees and nuthatches twittered and fluttered.

In no time at all, it seemed (they walked quickly), they spied their uncle in the middle of a field, checking the readiness of the crop.

He seemed glad enough to pause for a moment, and met them in the shade at the edge.

He pushed his wide hat back from his head and scratched at his balding pate.

He had dozens of questions, and kept saying, "Well, well!"

"I thought I saw a strange bird over your fields this morning, but I was pretty busy. --Well, well!"

"So Nan can see? Well, well!"

He walked back with the children to tell Helena. She was sitting on the back porch, snapping beans with Inga.

Inga's eyes grew wider and wider and her hands sat on the pile of beans in her bowl.

Helena's hands kept automatically snapping beans and reaching for more...

Sebastian came around the corner as the twins were describing Doris's recovery. He came up quietly, unnoticed, and listened to the tale about the vial and the gift.

His face grew sullen and he quietly withdrew.

Helena, like Peter, had many questions. She was concerned about the shock for Ava and Adam, and was glad to hear they seemed to be handling these changes well.

Finally, her hands could find no more beans to snap and she sighed and stood up, "Boys, please tell your mother and father how happy I am for Nan and Doris. Harvest is upon us, so I am afraid I cannot prepare a large meal..."

Otto interrupted, "Auntie, Mother said to let you know that with Doris feeling better, she and the other girls will be happy to come and cook for the harvest crew."

"And Father said that since it looked like he wasn't needed, he and Andy could come help as soon as you're ready, Uncle," added Owain.

Peter clapped the boys on their backs and said, "Well, well -- it seems this miracle happened just in time!" He laughed and kissed Helena on the cheek.

"I'll be back for dinner, just going to hop across and talk to Paul about the harvest, then check the rest of the fields. When Daniel gets home from the village, will you let him know?"

And with that, Peter, Otto and Owain headed back for the little house at the very edge of the village.

The sky was bright blue, with a lenticular cloud over the top of the mountain as the men walked. Peter and his nephews talked about the comings and goings at the market as they walked.

Grammy and Grampy were astonished at the flower Nan brought through the door, roots and all.

"Why didn't you just pick the flower and bring that?" laughed Gilly.

"Oh Mother! It was so beautiful -- I wanted to see all of it!" exclaimed the happy child, "And then I wanted to share it with you. What is it? What is it for?"

John winked at Anna and headed across to the park. Anna held her sleeping infant and rocked gently, listening to her niece. She started to nod off also.

Nan handed the plant to Cathy, who laid it on a piece of cloth on the table. She took the child's hand as she was accustomed, then paused.

"Oh Nan! It's going to take a while to get used to your being able to see!" They all smiled at this.

Cathy pointed at the roots, explaining that they were more than anchors for the plant, but also helped it feed.

Nan's fingers traced the edges of the leaves as her father explained that they provided shade for the roots and gathered warmth from the sun.

Ava talked about the flowers, and how they opened up and the insects drank from them and eventually seeds or fruit would form.

And Gilly gave the plant a name for Nan: dandelion.

"Oh!" exclaimed Nan, "And this is what you always want pulled up?"

Adam laughed, "Only because there are other plants we want to thrive. Dandelions take the space of those, and so we remove them."

"But," finished Cathy, "Dandelions are good for many things also. In the spring, their leaves are used in salads. you know the taste, a little bitter, a little sweet."

Nan nodded, remembering the flavor.

"And as the flowers form, we can pull the petals and they are sweet. When I make tea from them, or put them in honey, they make a medicine that is good for pain."

"Like for Mother's headaches!"

"Yes, exactly," said Gilly.

"And the roots can be used when a person is liver-sick. Esmeralda taught us that they carry out the poisons that make a person liver-sick. And that you have to drink lots of water to help carry the poisons away."

Nan stroked the little weed gently, noticing that it was starting to droop.

Otto and Owain and Peter came in through the back door, and Nan ran to show them the flower. Peter's voice could be heard saying, "Well, well!" as proud as an uncle could be.

Paul stepped back to join them, and Adam looked around the room.

"Well, well!" he said, in imitation of his son...

and John came through the door to let Gilly and Anna know that he was taking the children back to the house to clean up.

Gilly stood and hugged her mother and sister, and headed home through the kitchen so she could retrieve her baking pans.

It had been a remarkable day, but there was still dinner and laundry and animals to look after.

A light breeze was picking up, carrying the smoke from the stovepipes around the side of the mountain.

Gilly and Nan walked home, leaving Peter and Paul to talk over the harvest with the twins and Adam.

Nan carried the precious casket proudly, dreaming of all the lessons she would someday learn.