Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ch. 11: Dragon's Tongue & Hag's Feet

Chapter 11
Dragon’s Tongue & Hag’s Feet
By Kristen S. Sandoz

Let us take a trip to a much happier story than the one of Little John I last told.  Of course, this means we head back to the Witch Hazel’s cottage which is incidentally called, Butterbrick Cottage.  Why is it called Butterbrick you are wondering?  Well that is because their sweet Jersey cow made the most fabulous sweet cream butter, which Pearl would store in crocs all throughout the year.  This butter was of such high quality that it would age in those crocs and become, over time, the most delicious butter you could ever imagine.  These days the butter you get in little boxes at the store with its pale lifeless yellow color does not even compare to the butter Pearl would sell in little bricks from the front step of the little cottage.  Her butter was a bright rich deep yellow and had the taste of heaven.  So the cottage became known as Butterbrick.  The name may not come from an exciting story, but I bet you wish you could have tasted some of that butter?

At Butterbrick Cottage we find Pearl busy at work.  She is such a mess with a blackened apron, disheveled hair and a rug beater in hand that it is hard to remember she is a person of royal heritage.  One thing I admire about Pearl is that she is not afraid to get her hands dirty by doing a good honest day’s work.  Today she is beating the rugs. A job which takes a great amount of gusto and is a good job to do when you are feeling a bit frustrated like Pearl was feeling at the moment. But that is yet another story and I will not go off the trail for it.  You will perhaps hear about it one day.

For now Pearl has been cleaning the cottage since sunrise trying to prepare it for Hazel’s return home.  The Witch Hazel has been on a long journey collecting a rare healing herb that was in full harvest on the far side of the kingdom in the Numinous Mountain range.  This particular herb, known to many as Dragon’s Tongue, was only found in that part of the kingdom and it could only be gathered every seven years at precisely the right time.  Healing herbs can be persnickety things for they require proper gathering and storing in order to maintain their fullest healing abilities.  Dragon’s Tongue was even more fussy for its window of harvest was so short and so long in coming. 

On top of this the harvesting was a dangerous business and often with small yield.  It was a favorite of the dragon population which lived in the Numinous Mountains.  The herb was really a wild flower with very dark indigo colored petals that formed a cup and drooped down toward the ground like a sad puppy.  Out of the cup hung the stamen which was bright orange and coiled into a spiral at the end much like the tongue of a dragon.  The dragons loved it because the petals and stamen were very sweet and if eaten in a large enough quantity would put them in to the most pleasant delirium.  The dragons would hoard the flowers and guard them fiercely.  One could always tell when a dragon had indulged in its Dragon’s Tongue stash for its tongue would be a bright blue from the pigment of the petals.  Fortunately, a dragon in this state could be easily persuaded to do just about anything.  Some say that gold and treasure is a dragon's weakness.  I say it is Dragon's Tongue. The former makes them greedy and mean.  The latter giddy and almost tame.

I should also tell you that Dragon’s Tongue made a very beautiful dye but required such an immense amount of the herb to actually dye a piece of clothing that is was a color only royalty could afford to wear.  In this kingdom the blue and orange of the Dragon’s Tongue were the colors of the King and his royal family.  No one else was allowed to wear those colors together. 

The journey to the Numinous Mountains was long and the work was hard for Hazel once she got there.  She had been gone a fort night when one of her doves arrived at Butterbrick Cottage with a message for Pearl telling her she would return home on the evening of Saturn’s Day.  Pearl knew Hazel would be tired and worn out from this journey.  Pearl wanted to make it easier on Hazel by having Butterbrick in tip top shape.  It was just one way she could show her kind and faithful Aunt how much she loved her.

Pearl had more planned for Hazel than just a tidy cottage.  She knew that the single most loving thing she could do for Hazel was to rub her tired and abused feet (Hazel was not a small women and her feet complained about this greatly).  If we could peek into the deepest part of Pearl’s soul we would discover that this was the one job Pearl dreaded more than anything else, even mucking out the pig pen.  Pearl’s horror of this job was not at all unfounded.  I think any girl or even boy her age would recoil in dreadfulness upon seeing the Witch Hazel’s old and haggard feet.  They were the only part of Hazel, besides her wrinkly face, crooked nose, knobby hands, and crackly voice, which lived up to the title of witch.  Nay, they went beyond witch and into the hag category.  I will not attempt to describe Hazel’s feet to you.  I’m afraid it would be too disrespectful to her.  However, I’m sure you can imagine your own grandmother’s cracked, scaled, and gnarly feet.  Then enhance that image with the Old Hag Filter and that would be what the Witch Hazel’s feet looked like.  Now let me ask you, would you want to wash those feet? 

Neither did Pearl.  This is, however, where the weeds are separated from the flowers.  Pearl was a real princess and despite how much she dreaded the job of washing Hazel’s feet she knew how much it meant to Hazel, so Pearl did it anyway.  She didn’t merely wash Hazel’s feet she did it with joy because she knew her adoptive old Aunt did so much good for the world and got so little in return.  Who was there to love and care for Hazel?  There was no one, except Pearl.  So like the daughter of a true king Pearl held her head up high, smiled her sweetest most genuine smile, sang a tranquil melody, and rubbed the Witch Hazel’s nauseating feet with not a hint of repulsion to be found.  That, my friends, is a true princesses and a true prince would do the same. 

As you can see “True love is the most testing pursuit” and that is well known. Our Pearl is passing the test.


1…Now my story is done.

2…I love you!

3…Please, kiss me.

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