From Phee's Journal dated Late October
The fine fall weather invites many outdoor picnics before the chill sets in and we decided one day to visit my dear old friend Pernicious Darnsock who lives at the very edge of the Very Real Enchanted Forest. The Darnsock elves have ever lived here, protecting the borders of the Enchanted Forest. Although the name Darnsock may seem misleading, anyone who has ever tried darning a sock well knows that a good weaving of stitches will keep the most loathsome of creatures out, or in, depending on which side of the sock or border you preferred they stay.
I feel partially responsible for distracting Pernicious this day as we came along uninvited with all sorts of alluring yummy goodies to eat and dragged him out onto the meadow and had ourselves a fine picnic. Well, wouldn't you know that just then 'something' would attempt to jump through a portal of the Very Real Enchanted Forest making the most ridiculous noise any of us had ever heard.
As one, we all looked in that direction, our eyes and our mouths popping open thinking to see some vile creature come along, ready to make a fine tea of us. My imagination being what it is I was sure it would have one of those huge hinge like mouths and take us all in a gulp.
Pernicious patted my shoulder and said, "Now-now, tain't evil, sounds like my old donkey Hornpipe!"
I gave him a scornful look, "You mean the one that sounds like a foghorn with the croup?"
We listened as the sound came again. It wasn't as horrible as it was noisily sorrowful. It sort of gave my heart a wrench. "Well, then," I began, stood up and started to walk toward the sound. I heard someone gasp, probably Harkin, I swear he's worse than the girls. Then everyone was up and pattering away after me.
When we were close to the line of tall trees marking the edge of the forest, Pernicious stepped in front of me and whispered, "I'll go first now, you stay back, there is something more here than a donkey."
I nodded and quickly stopped, everyone bumping into me, stepping on my heels, squeaking and shushing each other. The terrible braying noise was just over a small knoll now and we all tucked our heads in our collars and held our breath.
Pernicious had jumped straight onto the path holding up his arms just as this this donkey ran up over the knoll. Good grated carrots, it had a human body! Behind it was the monster, or so it seemed to us. The donkey man ran right by Pernicious but the creature chasing it took one look at him and sort of folded up like a stack of kindling, a silly apologetic smile on its face. Pernicious gave it a pat and whispered something to it and the twig creature pulled itself into a little compact person shape and ran back into the Enchanted Forest.
"Who was that?" I demanded, for I swear in all my days I had never seen such a being.
"Twip," answered Pernicious, "He's harmless enough, just likes to have a wee bit of fun now and again, given the opportunity. Best we chase down that other fella in the donkey mask though, no idea what or who he is."
We found him back at our picnic, helping himself greedily to tea and cucumber sandwiches. He nodded at us, chewing and snuffling. I don't think he had any idea how ridiculous he looked with his great donkey head and human like body.
"Hello there," said Pernicious, "Tell us now, who would you be, young one-- a man or beast?" The head proved to be more than a mask.
The donkey man nodded and answered, "The name's Bottom kind sir. I thank you for rescuing me from that most unworthy creature." He swallowed and gulped down more tea and then warned, "You must have a care, all of you," he scrunched his donkey brow over a popping eye and gestured dramatically, "That wood, it has slithering whispery demons within its dark and shadowy places and fairies and er - elf creatures as well!"
We all smiled but said nothing. I was getting the gleaming of an idea about this lad. "Tell me, Mr. Bottom, how long have you been in that forest?"
He looked at me and wrinkled his great nose, "Oh, I would say since twilight of yesterday and what a long and trying night it has been. I say, have you seen my friends? Five there are, dressed as I, we're actors come to rehearse a play and things just went wrong. Now I can't find them, I'm besieged by demons and have a fairy queen in love with me."
He hung his head letting out a huge noisy sigh and then began to bray uncontrollably again. "What is this strange noise coming from me, why has this happened?"
I gestured for the lad to follow me for a short walk and he told me that the night before, he had the unfortunate luck of getting in the middle of what he called a domestic quarrel. Little did he know that this domestic quarrel between the fairy Queen Tatiana and her consort, Oberon had become history through the works of the poet, William Shakespeare.
"There is one thing, I don't understand Bottom," I said, "I thought you and your friends entertained everyone with your play after this er- quarrel was resolved. Why weren't you returned to your full human form?"
Bottom stopped and rolled a great donkey eye toward me, "What do you mean? Is there something wrong?"
I didn't know how to answer him without first gently telling the lad that his 12 hour stay in the Enchanted Forest had actually lasted 400 years.
This is the first in a full series of puppets and coloring pages based on the work William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream and from the stories related by Phee McFaddell.