Chapter 3

The Fairy of the Pond

 

It was quite a daft morning. Elfrida kicked her doll Dolly.

You get up first, I don’t feel like it.”

Oops, what ailed Elfrida? O yes, Aunt Odilia was to visit them and that meant stress.


 

Clean your room and put the things from the bathroom into the closet. This looks horrible! And clear away the stuff from the kitchen table!”

 

Elfrida knew her mother was going to say that. Cleaning up and shutting up – was that what kids were there for? Kids were made for playing, were they not? If only she had a little sister or brother, then everything would be easier. A little sister or better a little brother could get the blame for everything. Moreover as an older sister she would be the one to say who had to clean up.

 

Elfrida sighed and trotted to the bathroom sulkily. Rudy, her toy dachshund, got a kick which sent him to the doll’s house.

 

That’s for your silly grin!” she called after him. When she came into the bathroom her mother stood in front of the mirror and combed her hair.

 

Gertrude Bobble at her heart was glad that her little daughter had left her alone up to now because she easily felt disturbed when doing her hair.

 

Good morning," she said. "By the way, I’ve put the things from the kitchen table to the staircase. You can…”

 

The telephone rang. Elfrida sighed in relief, but for certain it was only a short delay.

 

Paul Bobble! Are you sitting on your ears? The phone’s ringing!” her mother shouted.

 

Downstairs bumping and swearing was to be heard. Obviously an accident had happened to Daddy Bobble. Elfrida listened, but could hear nothing. Then Daddy Bobble raced up the stairs.

 

That was Aunt Odilia”, he said. “She can’t come as she wrenched her neck. I’m sure she eavesdropped somewhere, ha ha!”

 

Bobble appeared quite happy and with good reason. It was no secret that Aunt Odilia just gave him hell. Bobble himself simply could not stand Odilia. After he had called her a nagging old owl at Aunt Agatha's wedding, Odilia took every opportunity to slander him.

 

Elfrida was satisfied, too. She went back to her room, fetched Dolly and Rudy and danced around. Unfortunately she did not see a small wooden cube and if you ever trod barefoot on a hard object, you know how it hurts. Elfrida shrieked and the ever-grinning Rudy was hurtled to the doll’s house a second time. He knocked off the front door. “Daddyyy!” Elfrida was horrified – her lovely doll’s house was damaged.

 

Bobble came running. “What’s the matter, Elfrida-dear. Why are you shrieking?”

 

Daddy, the door is damaged, will you please repair it?”

 

Bobble craned his neck and smiled.

 

Certainly, that is nothing for daddy, I will have done that in a flash…. Ahhhh, dammit, ouch!”

 

The wooden cube. As daddy Bobble wore no slippers and was a tiny bit heavy weighted, it hurt indeed. Groaning, Bobble hopped through the room, stumbled over Rudy and fell over the small wooden chair which collapsed at once.

 

O Daddy, if you are at it, could you please also mend the chair? But first please ring up Mrs. Petersen to ask whether Daisy has time today!”

 

Now Elfrida felt much better and went to dress.

 

A short time later she was on her way to Daisy. They all had been waiting for her and Rosie said:

 

We’re going to the Magic Forest, hurry up!”

 

Sorry”, Elfrida replied, “but I had to have a roll at least so that I won’t faint.” They all laughed, only Rosie shook her head.

 

One roll? That’s nothing. If I don’t have at least two…”

 

Shall we go now or discuss your eating habits?” Bertha asked pertly. Rosie wanted to answer, but Jenny just gripped her sleeve and dragged her along. They passed the bus stop and went down the path into the Magic Forest. At first nothing exciting happened until the children reached a pond. That is, a pond should be at that spot. That is, Jenny said that her map showed a pond there.

 

Well, a dry pond is nothing special”, Daisy said, “even if there are a few puddles. Come, let’s go on.”

 

She walked on with the two pigs. Susie, Mary, Bernie, and Norbert were not with them at that time for they even weren’t old enough for the kindergarten.

 

But Elfrida stayed behind and took a good look. She pressed Dolly to her breast and stepped to the almost dried out pond. She thought she heard a whispering voice calling. Without hesitation she put off her shoes, stuck Dolly into one of them and covered her with her stockings. Then she cautiously walked through the mud which once had been the ground of the pond.

 

Indeed, something moved there between the reed. Elfrida plucked herself up and went a few steps closer.

 

Help, I need help!” Elfrida was scared, but the next moment she ran over to the reed. The mud under her feet sounded as if she stepped on frogs, such sort of nois her steps made. There, now she could see it, somebody was lying right in the reed.

 

 

May I help?” Elfrida asked with a trembling voice. Now she could see who was lying there: A girl with long blond hair, a little older than herself.

 

Please help me, I need water”, the blond girl stammered.

 

I think, first of all you need a towel and something warm to dress”, Elfrida retorted.

 

No, no, water”, the girl groaned. “I’m living here, I’m the fairy of the pond, and the evil witch has conjured away all my water. Now I will die of thirst, for I need water to breath, as you need the air!”

 

Elfrida was shaken and when she looked around she saw Daisy and Jenny who came back to look for their friend.

 

We’ve got to get water immediately, otherwise the fairy of the pond will die!”

 

But how, there is nowhere water around here”, Jenny cried. “Only at the creek, but that is far off.”

 

Elfrida considered: “The witch house is not far off, she certainly has water. We must go there. No other possibility to save the fairy of the pond.”

 

Daisy and Jenny stood hesitantly, they did not dare to go. Elfrida thought her heart was going to burst, so excited was she.

 

We’ve got to do something or she’ll die. I’ll try it on my own!”

 

Wait!” the fairy of the pond said. “Take this ring and put it to your left hand. If you turn it to the right twice, you’ll get invisible and the nasty witch cannot see you.”

 

Elfrida took the ring, put it to her left hand and just wanted to go, when the fairy of the pond stopped her once more: “Wait, what is your name?”

 

I’m Elfrida, and these are Daisy, Jenny, Rosie, and Bertha.”

 

Thank you, Elfrida, even if you should not succeed. Remember that Irina, the fairy of the pond, always will be grateful to you.”

 

Elfrida ran as fast as she could manage barefoot. Again and again she cried out in pain when she treaded on spiky stones or twigs. Soon she reached the witch house, which stood on a clearance in the centre of the forest. It looked sinister. Close by the morbid croak of a crow could be heard, when Elfrida turned the ring to the right twice. Now she could only pray that she really was invisible. She approached the door of the witch house. She was directly in front of it, when suddenly the door was opened and the witch came out with a basket in her hand. Elfrida froze when the nasty old witch was facing her.

 

I’m getting old”, the witch said. “I really forgot the toadstools for the toad soup. Well, well, I hope I have not far to go to find some.”

 

The witch passed her so closely that Elfrida smelled the stink of mould and dirt. She waited a few minutes before she entered the witch house. When he was inside, she hurried to the water tap and turned it wide on. It did not take long and the water splashed over the sink to the floor and to the door. From there it ran into the forest.

 

Elfrida snatched a bucket which stood in a corner. She filled it with water and raced back to the pond. She handed the bucket to Jenny and fell down exhaustedly. While Jenny gave the water to Irina the fairy of the pond, Daisy looked after Elfrida.

 

Quick”, Elfrida gasped, “take a thick stick and make a sluice from the pond to the direction of the witch house. If I’m right, the water will be here soon.”

 

Daisy did not ask, but just did what her friend told her. And really, a few minutes later, the water from the tap of the witch house reached the pond. Slowly the pond filled with water again. Now the girls only had to wait until it was filled. They all knew that the witch would return soon and see what had happened. She certainly would close the tap. Yes, by and by less and less water came. Elfrida bucked herself up. She took a thick stick, turned the ring twice to the right and waited. Daisy, Jenny and Irina were hidden, while the invisible Elfrida was waiting. Nothing was to be seen of Rosie and Bertha, they had hidden in the forest. It did not take long before the loud scolding of the old witch was to be heard. The rabbits, squirrels and all animals of the forest ran as fast as they could because there is nothing worse than an infuriated witch. When she reached the pond, she shrieked in rage:

 

Don’t you believe you'll get away with this. I will punish you once and for all!”

 

She took her magic wand and pointed it at the fairy of the pond. But then something most unexpected happened: The wand hurtled out of her hand and the witch shrieked. The next moment she got such a kick in her bum that she tumbled into the mud. She hardly had got up, when the next hits came. The witch howled and ran for her life.

 

She won’t be back for some time”, Elfrida said. “Perhaps she doesn’t dare to come here any longer, what do you think, Irina?”

 

For the time being I will have no trouble with her. You must know that I am a white fairy and the witch of course does not like that. But from this day on you can count on me. Elfrida, please do keep the magic ring as a reward.”

 

For a long time the four of them sat together, and when it got dark, Elfrida and her girlfriends left the Magic Forest.

 

Elfrida sighed and stood up. All this happened some years back, but she never would be separated from the ring. However, now the ring seemed to be no help. She and her friends had not idea how to get out of the locked elevator in the mine.