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C H A P T E R   1

The Introduction of; Timothy Fernwood & Spore Nightcap


A twisted feather grass stem, if bent into a circle provides the perfect portal to enable travel by bubble.   The bubble membrane (or skin) can be harvested in the early spring from just below the surface of small woodland ponds. It must then be hung to slowly dry in the evening sun.

When completely dry, the bubble skin can be neatly folded and kept in ones pocket or knapsack for later use.  When required, stretch it over the grass stem, fix with snail trail and leave to dampen in the morning dew until light green.  

When ready (gooey and elastic, with a faint smell of frog), stand just behind the hoop and wait for a strong gust of wind, sufficient enough to stretch it like a balloon.  Then jump in quickly before it forms into a complete sphere behind you.   When you’re inside you have enough air for a short trip of about five fields.

You will be whisked high into the air to glide effortlessly on the breeze. Remember, with each field travelled the bubble will become thinner, the overall size will shrink, and slowly, it will drift slowly downwards until grazing the ground.  

When it does, quickly prick the skin, and as it pops, jump out… (You may have to resort to a little roll and tumble before regaining your balance).  What’s left of the bubble will soon disappear as it dries.

Now, few people know of the bubble form of transport, this is because it can only be used by Faeries ("Younglings" at that), any other person who tries it, is bound to fail (an ample covering of slime the likely result!).

Timothy Fernwood, an unusually gifted and perceptive twelve year old, would often find himself wandering around a wood not far from his home to escape the life he didn’t feel a part of at home or school. 

He loved the peaceful atmosphere, the smells, the colours, the plants and the animals he found there. He would, sometimes, even have conversations with himself, or the animals, trees, insects, birds, trees or or flowers, for it was they he considered to be his true friends.

On his adventures, Tim sometimes saw faint lights at dusk just above the giant hogweed stems or heard whispers that would tickle his ears. These spoke of trips across the lily pond to Martins Marsh and beyond, but was it his imagination or the gentle breeze that conjured his curiosity?

One spring afternoon he visited one of his favourite places… "Bulrush Bank", and sat down by what he knew to be a Fairy ring.   He began eating his picnic listening to the gurgles of the silken stream, which weaved its way down to "Mushroom Mill" and then on to "Davey Dunmow’s" house in a woodland glade beyond.  

Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he hardly believed what he saw… it was… yes, an actual Fairy caught in a bubble.   It was drifting high into the busy traffic of flies, gnats, bees and all manner of other insects jammed into the sky above him.

“Hey!” Tim called, “how do you do that? ...Can I?.. Can I have a go?”  

With a slight lean to the right, the Fairy turned the bubbles course.  With the careful use of a thistle spike the Fairy deftly managed to let out some of the air. This caused the bubble to descend slowly to where the boy was standing… and with a smart jab, it popped.

Quickly, a small Fairy of about two and a half inches got to his feet then bundled the remains of the bubble into his pocket.  

“Most can’t see me” said the Fairy in a quizzical, breathless kind of voice, “how can?”…. but before he could finish, Tim asked excitedly, “Can you show me how to fly a bubble?”

The young Fairy, more intrigued than ever that this “GreatWorld” boy obviously had no problem seeing his every move, decided to introduce himself and said, “My name’s Spore, Spore Nightcap” ….”What’s yours?”

“Spore?” questioned Tim, “That’s an awfully funny name”.
Tim paused, and then asked; “Whad’ya mean?”

Fairy names all come from things found in woods… like err… Nettle Woodbark or… um... Stumpy Leafmould,… mine comes from a type of toadstool… yours is Fern… Wood… see!”

“I’ve seen Fairies before”, said Timothy smugly, “but they’ve never spoken to me”. He let out a small sigh, shrugged his shoulders and bowed his head. 

“Don’t worry” said Spore... “They, (probably), were as surprised you could see them as me… we thought, we were invisible to all GreatWorld people like you”.

“I… I’m a GreatWorld person?… what’s that?” 

”It’s the place where the bigger people come from…what do you call it?

England! “ Exclaimed Timothy… “don’t you know where you are?”  he replied in a semi-patronising tone.

Of course!, we’re in Mossbrook Dell…

Both fell silent as if searching for the next question or examining the previous answer. Then with a gasp for breath they simultaneously quizzed”…BUT!... 

”Both saw the humour of the situation, smiled and then giggled, (slightly embarrassed and holding their hands to their mouths). 

After composing himself, Tim asked Spore... “What’s your house like?”  A short pause later, Spore answered…“Very nice, thank you!”…

No… I mean where do you live?... what’s your house look like?”  

“Oh!... Sorry” said Spore, I live at Little Oak Toadstool, 3 Pond Hollow, Mossbrook Dell in FreeWood, and my house is a crack in a tree, …by the roots.  

“Wow Spore, that sounds amazing!  Can I see it?”….

”Errr…I don’t think the elders would let  you… we keep our places secret… in fact, I shouldn’t have even told you where I lived… may-be I’ll go now”

No...Wait!  Please don’t” implored Tim, “I wouldn’t tell anyone….really…I just wanted to know what it’s like… you know …being a Fairy!”…

“Sssshhh!”   Spore thought a moment and whispered, “Do you swear on StarDancer’s soul… never to say anything about what I tell you…        ever?”  

Who’s StarDancer?” retorted Tim indignantly;

Spore replied, “Huh!... only the greatest unicorn that ever lived!… Don’t you know anything?” then almost as quickly as he’d replied he added; “I s’pose you can’t see unicorns either?”

Tim didn’t quite know what to say. Sure, he’d seen pictures of unicorns in books, but Spore was right he’d never actually seen one himself… may be they were invisible to humans. 

He explained this to Spore, and as they both sat down on tree stumps, cupped there chins in their hands, looked as if it was going to be a very long day.

The sky started to look like a washed out water colour background as it turned shades of turquoise and orange the sun squeezing out the last rays of golden light through the fern leaves.  The coolness of a fading summer breeze made Spore’s tiny wings shimmer and him, in turn, shiver, in momentary realisation of the time they had spent talking.

At dusk, the whole forest comes alive.  The evening stars pierce through the now indigo backdrop revealing the silhouettes of birds, animals and insects gathering to see if the workers and walkers have left.  Only now do the hedgehogs, the deer, the bats, foxes, owls, night bugs and moths show.

The shadows of farm animals in nearby fields spookily pass through the trees being drawn into ever darker patches of undergrowth.  The frogs start croaking eerily.  A rustle here, a twig broken there, a hoot, a squeal, a screech or flutter in the bushes all let one know… you are NOT alone!

“I must get back now”, said Spore, “Can we meet again tomorrow?... you can tell me about GreatWorld, your house and your friends!   

“Um… I   d-o-n-‘t really have any… err... friends” Tim said….” But you could be one if you like”.

Why not” said Spore as he jumped into the bubble he’d prepared as they spoke.  Catching the last breath of wind, he drifted gently upwards though the branches “See you tomorrow then” he shouted in a muffled voice as the bubble got smaller and smaller until it disappeared into the darkening sky.

Tim sauntered off home feeling he had just had one of the best days of his life.  As he approached his house he heard the familiar sound of his brothers arguing and his parents shouting.   Immediately his heart sank, he was reminded “I’m back in the real world”.

As… on numerous previous occasions, he was sent up to his room without supper for coming home late.  He didn’t mind though, as it meant he wouldn’t have to get involved with all the arguing and turmoil downstairs.

Instead he dragged out a large leather-bound book from under his bed.   It was his favourite gift from Granny. He used it for keeping scraps, ideas, poems and personal stuff.   Excitedly he thumbed to a spare page.   Immediately he started writing about the day’s events and what he’d learnt from his new friend Spore.  He wanted to include as much as possible before he’d forget, so he used his own note form to remember what he could…..

TRANSPORT – Younglings travel by bubble to cover long distances or dandelion clock or other airborne seeds to travel short distances (they cannot fly until they are teenagers)

HOUSES – Fairies don’t live in toadstools or mushrooms (They use them to shelter under or as seats, tables or to dance on) they live mostly in tree roots (trunks) sometimes in tree stumps or uprooted trees.  Fairies mainly live in woods and forests that have moss, birch trees, pine, oak, willow etc.  Often in areas that have sandy soil and have water nearby.   The richer and more diverse the habitat the more likely for it to be attractive to Fairy folk

HISTORY – There are two types of Fairy, Younglings (learners) and Elderlings (teachers) the older fairies are from Gaelic descent and they are the FAERIES
…more later

HOW DO YOU KNOW A FAIRY – Most people can’t see fairies, but if you should touch one it turns into a butterfly (Pixies turn into moths) Fairies respect all nature and only live by its rules and use natural things (they always replace what they use) Fairies are always tall, thin and very delicate, mostly pale, younger ones always have freckles

CLOTHES – Fairies only wear natural clothes e.g. HATS – harebells, lilies, foxgloves, campion, other wild flowers & some leaves  JACKETS & DRESSES - are made from honesty, poppy leaves, old mans beard, dried flowers, leaves, grasses etc  SHOES – small seed pods,

FAIRY FIBS - Fairies can’t lie because of the Fairy code …if they should they would turn into Imps (Impure fairies)

FAIRY FASHION – always delicate, chiffon like, pale and pastel colours, will always incorporate green somewhere………….
(It wasn’t long before his eyelids were dropping, the torch was getting dim and his head felt like it weighed a ton.  The book dropped to the floor and he was out!)


*You can read Timothy Fernwood’s little Fairy Factbook at the back of this book



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