If You Could See What I Hear by Cathleen

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“If You Could See What I Hear…”


Chapter Two


 


“A Wee Adventure”


 


 


Children born of faerie stock


Never need for shirt or frock,


Never want for food or fire,


Always get their heart’s desire…

 


From  “I’d Love to be a Faerie’s Child”


Robert Graves


 


 


“How far have we walked, do you think?” Pippin asked the piggy on his shoulder. For once Tulip had no opinion and he puzzled over her silence.


The youngster peered up at the sky, shading his eyes with one hand and reaching up with the other to grab Tulip’s hoof and keep her balanced. The sun was far to the west now. “It must be later than I thought,” he murmured tilting his head to one side and listening intently. “What’s that you say? I went too far? Farther than I’m supposed to?” He smiled at Tulip’s mild scolding. “Now you sound just like Mum. Don’t worry, we’ll start home now.”


 


Pippin turned completely around. Which way was home? Suddenly nothing looked familiar to him. It was obvious he was no longer on the farm; of this he was certain. “Just how did that happen?” Pippin scratched his head, feeling more and more puzzled. The trees were different here; the path narrowed sharply ahead of him, and the light was dim.


 


“Where in thunder am I?” He took several hesitant steps in the opposite direction but still it didn’t feel quite right. He paused and studied the sun’s position in the sky trying to recall what his father had taught him. The sun had been high over his head and behind him when he left home. He needed to walk in the opposite direction of the setting sun and he would be sure to find his way back. Pippin turned and trained his eyes on the sun. It seemed very far away now and he realised with alarm that the time was much later than he’d thought. A sense of uneasiness prickled at the back of his neck and Tulip chided him for his lack of attention to his whereabouts.


 


“I know, I know,” he agreed. “What’s that?” He leaned his ear closer to her crooked mouth and listened to her chattering. Pippin sighed. “Yes, it will be getting dark before very long and yes, I realise we’ve missed tea and possibly dinner as well!” He shook his head in irritation. “I certainly don’t need to be reminded. My tummy is growling! I didn’t bring nearly enough food.” He grinned when Tulip agreed with him heartily.


 


“Well, let’s get going then.” He turned and walked in what felt like the correct direction, but after a short while he noticed the woods growing thick around him. He stopped walking abruptly. A gentle whispering drifted to his ears and he tilted his head in an effort to understand the words. The voice sounded musical and was the same he’d heard that morning while seated in the crab apple tree and the day before while he’d helped Pervinca gather the eggs. Pippin spun about eager to locate the source of the voice. Tulip tumbled from his shoulder and landed in a clump of wildflowers that grew beneath the trees. The piglet shrieked her dismay at her young master and Pippin quickly dropped to his knees and gathered her up in his arms.


 


“Shhh,” he soothed his friend as she chattered and scolded, “You’re all right.” He sprang to his feet and perched her on his right shoulder, then studied their surroundings.


 


The sweet voice seemed to have faded into the distance. Eager to locate it again Pippin abandoned thoughts of hurrying home in favour of his new pursuit. He trotted further into the woods. Soon the trees soon became quite dense. He hushed the piglet’s voice of concern and patted her knitted snout as he tucked her into his shirt. “Just a little longer and then we’ll start home,” he reassured her. Tulip refused to believe him and quivered in her hiding place but said no more.


 


Pippin set off down the dimly lit path in search of the musical voice. His face lit up when he heard singing in the far distance. The sweet voice seemed to be calling him. Without any fear, he quickened his pace and journeyed towards the alluring song in the far trees.


 ~~~ 


It was much darker now. The voice always seemed to stay ahead of him no matter how quickly he hurried. Pippin halted next to a stream and knelt to have a drink and splash some of the cool water on his face. As he leaned over, his piggy tumbled out of his shirt and landed in the water. He reached for her just as the gentle current stole her away and floated once more downstream. Knitted squeals of extreme distress met his ears.


 


“Oh no!” Pippin hopped into the water and splashed his way after his friend. He winced at the sound of Tulip’s cries. “I’m coming, hang on lass!” Pippin ran as fast as he could across the slippery stones. Catching up with her at last, he reached out to snatch her up as she lodged by an ear on a tree branch sticking out of the water. But he lost his footing on the slick rocks and fell on his back with a splash. Pippin scrambled to his feet, but Tulip had become dislodged and floated once more down the stream.


 


“I’m coming!” Although wet clear through, Pippin was determined to save his Tulip. He reached for her again and she eluded him once more, this time being whisked around the bend in the stream where the water ran swifter.


 


“No! Tulip - come back!” He struggled, but as the water became deeper it also ran faster. Soon he was forced to climb out. Refusing to give in to his tears, Pippin flew down the water’s edge, trying to catch sight of his piggy along the way. His efforts carried him still deeper into an unknown place and he failed to notice the darkening sky.


 


An hour later Pippin scooped his friend out of the water at last. Lying on his belly on the edge of the heavily running stream he reached down into the tangle of weeds and fished Tulip out of her prison of greenery. Rolling over onto his back he clutched the soggy piglet close to his heart and lay panting with relief. Looking up, Pippin slowly came to the realisation that night had fallen some time during his rescue effort. He sat up immediately with a hiss of dismay and looked about. He hadn’t the foggiest notion where he was or how he’d managed to get there. Thankfully it was a warm summer night, but the cold water still chilled him here beneath the ever-darkening tree cover. He thought ruefully of the unfairness of ending up with yet another bath, however this one had been a bit more fun than the first two!



Climbing to his feet he gently squeezed some of the water from Tulip and grinned at her reproaches. He held her up to eye level and apologised sincerely. “I’m very sorry Tulip! Please forgive me for dropping you.” His grin widened as the petulant piggy graciously accepted his regrets.


 


The call of a night owl startled him and he jumped when Tulip dived inside his shirt with a shriek. Pippin turned his attention to the woods surrounding them, his smile fading. He was well and truly lost. There was nothing he could think of save to keep travelling and hope to find some familiar landmarks along the way. The owl called out again. It was closer this time, and Pippin shivered. He liked birds, but he’d been told some frightening tales about great owls of the forest carrying small hobbit children away and having them for supper!


 


Inside his shirt, Tulip trembled and then poked her snout out between the buttons to voice her fear. Pippin tried to comfort his friend but Tulip was terribly upset. She wanted her lad to get them home immediately! There’d been enough wandering in the woods and she yearned for a hot meal and her soft bed.


 


“I’m trying, lass, but it’s dark now and I don’t think we’re going to find our way out until morning.” Pippin winced at the high-pitched scolding Tulip rewarded him with. “I’m sorry. Perhaps we should find a nice place to sleep and then--”


 


The sweet notes of a song drew his attention back towards the path he had strayed from. Captivated, he forgot about sleeping, and about the owl, and even stopped listening to Tulip. His heart lightening just a little he headed in the direction of the music.


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 




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