Mischief

 Queen Giselle looked down into the pleading eyes of her grand daughter. She could not help but to laugh at the comical face that stared back at her, but she did so softly. It was not Dimitee’s fault she had fallen ill with flowery pox, or that her face was now covered with a multitude of large rainbow spots.

“But Gam’ma … It is too early to go to bed!” Dimmitee wailed. “The sun still shines… “

“I know, little one, but you are feverish and must rest while you have the flowery. We canna have your magick affected because you would not rest, now can we?”

Dimmitee’s eyes welled with tears, but she nodded reluctantly. She did feel rather yucky.

“Would you like me to tell you a story?” Queen Giselle asked with a smile, a smile that grew larger when she saw the light return to her grand daughter’s eyes.

Tell me a story of Mischief please, Gam’ma?

Queen Giselle laughed merrily, “So be it …you just lay back and listen.”

                                                *

At the southern edge of Mythanos, just east of Naiadea, lay the small town of Taronelle. It was a pretty town inhabited by humans and fae who all took great care to keep their jewel of a town neat and clean.

The streets were straight and swept free of rubbish every morning, the houses and shops were all painted in soft pastel colors, and the village green surrounded by wide, weed-free gardens.

Gardens both large and small were everywhere. Every house had a lovely flower-filled plot bordered by a white, picket fence. But there was not a one in Taronelle that could compare with the riotous beauty that was Nobitty the Gnome’s garden.

Nobitty’s garden was a rainbow of color. There were pansies, lobelia, alyssum, and baby’s breath, daisies, roses, dianthus and petunias, snapdragons, gladioli, hollyhocks, jasmine and honeysuckle. Perfect petals turned towards the sun and not a single caterpillar or leaf-muncher dared to touch even the smallest leaf.

Because Nobitty treasured his garden dearly, to keep it safe he replaced his picket fence with a high stone wall. It was so high that even Grack the ogre had to stand on tippety-toes to see over it. And this was not the only measure that Nobitty took to keep his flowers from being pilfered.

Just after the wall went up Nobitty disappeared for several days, and when he returned he rode a large, shaggy monster from Earth. Never before had one of these creatures been seen in the Witchwood, and to many inhabitants of the magicakal realm they were naught but a mythological creature. Not even Nobitty the gnome knew exactly what it was called, but he knew that humans used them to keep their valuables safe.

This creature patrolled Nobitty’s garden with loyal dedication and no one dared to enter unless the gnome gave them leave to.

Now just the other side of this high stone wall there was a stand of mighty oak trees, and in these oaks there lived a hive of flower dragons.

What is a flower dragon I hear you ask? Well flower dragons are much like their other draconic kin, but a great deal smaller. They were most often an iridescent blue or green in color, and had the gossamer wings of a dragonfly’s that shimmered like silver stars. Full-grown flower dragons were roughly the same size as a butterfly, and young ones the size of a bumblebee.

So why are they called flower dragons? Again, that is easy to answer. It is because their favourite food above all others is flower petals. They eat them morning, noon, and night. A swarm of flower dragons were known to eat whole fields of wildflowers when they had gone hungry for long enough.

Now the townsfolk of Tarnelle adored the little flower dragons, but to prevent them from eating all of their gardens, they placed a large platter of fresh petals at the edge of the oak trees every day. This was more than enough to keep the little creatures happy and content.

All except one … and this is where the story really begins.

Among the hive community there was a young flower dragon whose parents fondly named Mischief. They named him thusly because he was frequently in trouble, and often found doing exactly what he had been told not to do. He was not overly bad, and was known to be wonderfully sweet and kind, but he always had to learn right from wrong the hard way.

One sunny Spring morning while Mischief lay up on a branch in a tree near the wall, he spied something truly wonderful. It made him jump up and squeal with glee.

Down below was beautiful flowerbed filled with perfectly white flowers. Now white flowers were this particular flower dragon’s absolute favourite flavour. Just the sight of them was enough to make his tummy rumble.

But then the happy gleam left his eyes, for it was then that he truly noticed where the white flowers grew. They grew in the very center of Nobbity’s garden.

Mischief’s mother had told him countless times never to trespass into the gnome’s garden plot. “A monster lives there!” She would say sternly. “A big, scary monster who would not think twice about eating a little dragon like you!”

The memory of his mother’s words made Mischief feel rather sad. Surely the monster would not see such a small thing like him? Surely Nobbity would not begrudge a hungry flower dragon his fill of white yumminess? And his mother was not here to stop him; she was gone from the hive, and would not return for some time yet.

The little flower dragon knew he should not, but …

But mischief is what Mischief was best at, and this little wee dragon was hungry. With a quick look around just to make sure no one was watching the flower dragon leapt off the branch and glided over the stone wall into Nobbity the gnome’s garden.

With naught but flowers filling his view, the flower dragon was in raptures. For a moment, he hovered above the white display drool dripping from his mouth as he savoured the scene. Mischief’s taste buds literally quivered at the thought eating the blooms below. Then he could stand it no more, and with a little squeal of glee he dived down and started to feast.

Mischief ate, and ate, and ate. He nibbled on the daisies, and chomped on a tulip, he munched on a rose bud, and gnawed on a petunia. The flower dragon ate until he thought he would explode. Then he belched once, and twice before struggling to his feet.

It was time to fly back home. 

With a final sigh, and a wistful glance at the paradise he was forced to leave, Mischief ran across the lawn with silver wings a-flapping. But no matter how hard he beat his little wings, no matter how hard he tried, the flower dragon could not lift his body off the ground. His big, fat belly full of flowers was too heavy for his gossamer wings to lift.

He was stuck in gnome Nobitty’s garden … and to make Mischief’s predicament even worse, at that very moment Nobitty’s monster chose to make its patrol.

Standing out in the open with the sun shining down upon iridescent scales, the monster spied Mischief immediately. It headed straight towards him with a gleam of fierce intent in its eyes.

The monster was unlike anything that Mischief had ever seen. It was like an ogre that ran on four legs, but smaller and more vicious. All shaggy and furry it was. It had beady black eyes and wickedly sharp teeth.

Suddenly, it let out a ‘Whooff’ and started to run after the dragon. Mischief squealed, and scurried back into the garden to hide.

With its nose sniffing left and right, the monster searched among the flowers, carelessly trampling them as it hunted. Occasionally, it would stop and dig a hole uprooting more flowers in its eagerness to capture the strange creature, which lurked within the shelter of the blooms. But luckily it did not find Mischief who cowered inside a large tulip at the other end of the white garden.

Bored, and thinking the little intruder had fled, the monster gave up and decided that it was time to rest under his favorite rowan tree. It was not long before it lay on its back with its feet in the air, snoring gently as it dozed in the dappled shade.

The relieved dragon quickly clambered down the tulip stem. His only hope now was that there was a hole somewhere in the wall, and with that in mind Mischief began to run towards the boundary between danger and his chance at freedom. On through the garden he ran. Once and then twice he fell down as he tripped over his little round belly. Each fall made him want to cry, each fall placed scratches and bruises on his tiny body. But on he went until he finally reached the edge of the garden that lay closest to the wall.

It was then that Mischief’s hopes were dashed, for it was then that he spied a new danger. Another monster lay asleep in the grass between the garden and the wall.

This one was different to the first monster, and a monster that Mischief’s kind knew only too well. It was the one real predator of the Witchwood, and every small creature lived in dread of being captured and eaten by it.

This particular monster was ginger and white, and actually looked quite harmless as it slept. While it slept its claws were not visible. While it slept its cruel golden eyes could not see the terrified flower dragon.

Visibly trembling, Mischief tiptoed past the creature. The flower dragon shuddered as he came close enough to hear the loud purring sound the monster made as it lay in the sun. But he also could not help his sigh of relief as he made it past and into the low bushes that ran alongside the wall.

Unfortunately, Mischief also did not see that the monster had woken and lay with one slitted eye firmly fixed on the dragon’s departing form.

The fact that the monster was even here gave Mischief fresh hope. The wall was way too high for even this wily monster to scale, so it meant that it must have come in the same way Mischief hoped to escape. It meant there was a hole in the wall around Nobitty’s garden.

Mischief began to search. He was determined to make it to safety. He had to … his mother would have his hide if he was not home before sundown.

Then he saw it. The hole was not much larger than the monster’s head had been. The same monster that now crept along behind the flower dragon with eating on its mind.

The dragon began to run which acted as a signal for the monster to pounce. Mischief had just entered the entrance to the hole when something heavy landed upon his tail. Horror filled the dragon as he turned to see a mouth full of yellow teeth descending towards him.

Mischief screamed.

His screams woke the other shaggy monster, which bounced to its feet with a growl. It spied the marmalade monster by the wall and, outraged by the intrusion, it began to give chase.

The orange and white monster hissed in fear, and quickly let go of Mischief’s tail. With a yowl it took off across the garden with the shaggy monster fast on its heels. Around the garden the two creatures raced, tearing up the garden as they went.

The following fight left much of Nobitty the gnome’s garden in ruins. The flowers were squished, the seedlings were squashed, and many petals and leaves lay scattered on the ground.

From the safety of the hole the flower dragon watched with some amazement as the two creatures continued to run and fight. He could not help but wonder just how the gnome would react when he returned home and found his prized garden destroyed.

With a final glance and a giggle, Mischief waddled through the hole and back into the safety of the oak trees. As he walked along, he made himself a promise, one that he vowed he would always keep. He would listen to his mother next time, and from now on, he would stay on the safe side of Norbitty’s stone wall.

But how long would it be before Mischief was into mischief again? 

Dimmitee giggled. Mischief was one of her best friends, so she knew that it was never long before the flower dragon was in strife again. He was always up to mischief. “So what did Nobitty do when he returned, Gam’ma?”

“Well I think he learned a lesson, sweet. It was not much later when he asked Grack the ogre to tear down the wall, and had him replace it with a much lower picket fence. I think he finally realized that a fence would do naught but trap the beauty within, and keep those who would admire it out. I think he also learned that the wall would not keep his flowers safe.”

“But what of the shaggy monster?” Dimmitee asked with a cheeky giggle. “Did Nobitty get very angry with it?”

“Oh you know he did, you wicked child. He was so angry he gave it away,” Giselle whispered as she placed a kiss upon Dimmitee’s brow.

And at that very moment the shaggy monster bounded into the room leapt onto the dryad princess’ bed.

Dimmitee squealed and wiggled as the monster, now called Shaggles, gave her a lick and a snuffle in hello. Then with a whuffle and a panting grin it moved down to the end of the bed, so he could watch over his little mistress.