Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Most Unusual Guest

Greetings again my dear friends!

Well, this week has been quite eventful at our house! First there was the long awaited Harry Potter book that arrived on our doorstep on Saturday. We companion dolls and our person spent many thrilling hours reading it!

However, that was not the only unusual thing that arrived on our doorstep this week.

This morning I was having tea with some of my doll friends when we heard a knock on the dolly door (otherwise known as the mail slot). I went to answer, wondering who might be there.

I was quite unprepared for what...or who...awaited me on the other side of the door. A most unusual doll! I opened the door and stood looking at her in wonder for a moment before she impatiently tapped her foot and asked, "Well? Might I come in or do you plan to stand there gawking at me all day?"

I hurridly remembered my manners and invited our guest in, introducing myself. In answer to my introduction she replied, "Pleased to meet you Hitty Rowan. Do hope I'm in the right place. My friend Crow told me I might find suitable winter lodging here?"

I am afraid in my confusion over this extroadinary creature appearing on our doorstep I quite lost my eloquence. "Winter lodgings? is still summer....I am afraid I do not understand..."

"Well yes, of COURSE it is still summer...for now. But fall is not far off, and then winter. And, I am in a bit of a unexpected situation that requires me to find new lodgings for winter. No time like the present to find them...time is a wasting after all. So, might I see them?"
"See what?" I replied...still rather confused.
"The your home. You were looking to take in a boarder, weren't you? At least, that is the news among Crow and the other animals running about."

"Well......" I didn't quite know what to say. It was true I had been thinking lately that my house is rather large for just myself and that perhaps it would be good to share my home with another doll companion...however this was all rather unexpected and not quite what I had in mind.

But still, one must always be hospitable and before I knew it I found myself taking this unexpected guest to my house. On the way I ventured, "Errr....may I ask your name?"

"Miss Hickory. At your service." was the curt reply. I was rather unsure who was at whose service, but thought better than to mention that.

We quickly arrived at my home, where Miss Hickory quickly proceeded to make herself at home.
She claimed the rocking chair by the fireplace. "Nice place you have here."
"Thank You," I began, taking a seat across from her. "It is a nice place...and, well....I am glad you are visiting...but...." I tried to think of how to politely tell Miss Hickory I wasn't quite ready to take on a boarder just yet.
"But what?" She asked crisply.

"But...well...I am afraid that your animal acquaintences were not quite correct. I am not really seeking a boarder at this time." I breathed deeply, trying to deliver the news quickly.

"Oh. I see. I was misinformed." Miss Hickory replied rather primly and stiffly. "I won't trouble you any longer then." She jumped up from the rocking chair, gathered her luggage, and headed for the door.

"Wait...." I cried. "You could, I mean, you could stay for tea at least...and perhaps a few more days...until you can find other lodgings."

I pointed toward my little stove where the tea was still warm.

Ms. Hickory looked a bit startled at the sight of the stove. She wandered over to it, and suddenly hung her head. I thought I heard a choked sound, almost like...a sob.

"Oh my. Is...what is wrong? I am sure we can find you suitable lodgings...why there must be lots of places..." I began.

"It's nothing!" Miss Hickory retorted. But I thought I heard another muffled sob and she hastily wiped at her eyes.

"Please...I apologize...I did not want to disappoint you..." I attempted to soothe.

Miss Hickory sighed deeply. "I'm not disappointed. Well, perhaps a little. It's just...this stove looks almost like mine and your house reminds me a bit of my house."

"But if you have a house, why are seeking winter lodgings?" I asked.

"I had a house. Oh....I had a house. As nice a little house as you've ever seen. All made of corn cobs under a lovely lilac bush. Rather like the lilac bush I saw in your yard. I had a family too. In the summer I stayed in my house under the lilac bush. But, in the cold of winter, my house came inside and sat in the kitchen windowsill. And then...and then..." she paused for a long while, with such a downcast look that I felt myself on the verge of tears too.

"What happened then?" I asked gently.

"My family left me. They left me. No provisions for winter...simply abandoned. And then a chipmunk moved into my house and I had nowhere to go. But, news flies among our animal friends and somehow Crow heard you might want a boarder. But, no matter. I am quite well able to fend for myself." She finished her statement rather haughtily as she lifted her chin and turned toward the door again.
"Wait!" I called.

"Yes? No time to stop for tea. Thank you very much, but I must be on my way."

"Please wait!" I pleaded.

Miss Hickory stopped at my door step.

"It is true I am not looking for a boarder. However....there may be room in my house to share it with a new friend." I held my breath, waiting for Miss Hickory's reply.

"Friend?" she asked slowly.

"Yes. It is a rather large house for one person...there is room to share it with a friend."

"I...I can be useful you know. I know how to cook, can, make jam and tea, quilt...all sorts of useful things." She replied with sense of pride, as one not used to charity and not willing to accept it .

"That would be a help indeed! You know, it is rather difficult running this house on my own. Especially since I travel daily with my person. It would be lovely to have someone to share the house and the chores with."

"Think your person would mind if I lived here too?" Miss Hickory asked, a shadow of fear in her eyes.

"No. I think she would be honored to have such a useful companion would I. So, my friend, what say you?"

Without a word, Miss Hickory held out her hand, but her smile said more than words could ever convey.

Then, we sat and enjoyed our first tea together in front of the fire, with a toast to new friendships. Afterwards, I took Miss Hickory to meet my neighbors. She was quite impressed with them, as they were with her.

Although, I must say that my new friend certainly doesn't lack in honest expression. I took her to meet Master Elrond first. Upon being introduced to him she stared hard and then asked, "What kind of elf are you supposed to be? I thought elves were little folk who dance around mushroom rings. You don't look like the dancing type."

I almost gasped in surprise at her forthrightness with the Elven Lord, but Master Elrond simply chuckled delightedly and explained "his kind of Elf". Miss Hickory, to her credit, was quite fascinated with this "new fangled elf" and delighted when Master Elrond played some dancing tunes for her on his harp. Next, we went to see Ms. Merriweather. I didn't know exactly how well the two of them would get along, being rather opinionated sorts. But, when Miss Hickory noticed Ms. Merriweather's workbasket, the two of them ended up enthusiastically talking about the various projects they had completed. Ms. Merriweather gave Miss Hickory supplies to begin knitting some things for winter (which Miss Hickory still rather had on her mind...although, if I had to contemplate spending a cold, lonely winter outdoors and abandoned I suppose I would have a hard time getting winter off my mind too).

Next, we met the girls of the household. They were delighted with our new friend and Miss Hickory seemed quite delighted with them.
Then I took Miss Hickory to meet Eilonwy. They were quite fascinated with each other and discovered a common love of nature.

At last, after a long day, we settled down comfortably for a good night's on our own little home.

And, if you want to read anymore about Miss Hickory you might read the book, "Miss Hickory", by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey. Although, the fate of my new friend is rather different than her fate in the book (happily)

Your Friend,

Hitty Rowan