Tamsin was starting to get a little motion sick when the Cat stopped and gathered himself for a jump. He leapt part way up a tree, onto a stump and then onto a fence. Tamsin swinging wildly all the while. “Heyyyyyyyyyyyy!” She yelled but the Cat stopped suddenly on a fence and dropped her gently on the top of a fence post.
“Ohhhhh!” She cried. She looked out onto a vast garden, spring flowers as far as she could see. She could hear water burbling to itself a short distance away and there were several very large and elderly oak trees scattered around the garden as well as roses and lilacs and in one corner bright orange poppies and blue and purple lupine. It was lovely.
“You’re sure there are no faeries here?” She asked the Cat.
‘Sadly, there are no faeries in this garden.” Tamsin jumped as she heard another voice. It was a dryad from the nearest oak tree.
“How can a garden this lovely not have faeries to guard it?” Tamsin asked with a quick bow to the dryad.
“Because it belongs to a witch that doesn’t believe in faeries?” the dryad said.
“A witch that doesn’t believe in magic?” Tamsin said unable to quite comprehend that.
“Oh, she believes in magic, she just doesn’t believe in magical beings.”
“So she doesn’t know you’re here either?”
“No, even though she sees us every day, she doesn’t believe her eyes.”
“What a strange witch!” Tamsin cried.
“But I’m being a bad host.” Said the dryad coming closer and extending out her hand to Tamsin. “I’m Sylvia and I need to get you past the wards.”
Tamsin put a hand forward and carefully touched in front of her until she found the ward. “Pleased to meet you, I’m Tamsin” and she gave a quick curtsy. “Why would a witch ward against things she doesn’t believe in?”
“She wards against everything and everyone except Samhain here.” Pointing at the Cat.
“Oh, so he does have a name.” The Cat was sitting looking rather pleased with himself as cats do.
“Yes, he does but I sent him out to find someone like you and he gets like that when he is on a mission. I take it this is your first quest to find a garden of your own?”
Tamsin nodded. “I only had 4 more days and one more day and I would have had to turn back until next year.”
Just then Gus caught up with them and landed on the fence too. “This is my friend Gus. He came with me to keep me safe and out of trouble.” Tamsin grinned at the tired bee.
The dryad bowed to the bee and the bee bowed back gracefully. Gus was delighted for bee speech is half in bows and it was very nice to find someone besides a bee that knew the right bow.
Gus sat regaining his breath. He’d had a very hard time trying to keep up with the Cat.
The dryad reached out her hand to Tamsin and let her climb on. “You can take me past the wards?” Tamsin asked.
“Yes, because I was here before they were cast. The witch didn’t think to keep out beings that might already be here.” She said with a smile. ‘There are also my sisters and one grumpy old gnome who lives on the far side that she never sees because she doesn’t look. So my dear you have a mission besides helping in this garden. You need to get her to see us and believe us or she will never be all she can be.”
“How do I do that?” cried Tamsin.
“That will be up to you but I suggest you do it soon before my sisters and I fade away. She has only been here since last fall and we are already fading from her disbelief.”
‘Oh, uh oh!” Tamsin thought to herself. Was this lovely garden worth the challenge? How would she ever do it? She looked at Gus who was looking encouragingly at her. Was this why she was being pulled so strongly to travel in this direction? She sat in the dryad’s hand and let herself be carried into the center of the garden.