Wealberry tarts and what they lead to

"No, honey. You can't eat the pies yet. We have to let to let them cool first. Besides, we are saving some for Richfest Fair." said the mother as she set a tray of Wealberry tarts from the oven on the windowsill to cool. They were the first fruits of the summer and would make a colorful treat at the upcoming summer festival.

"But Mommy! They smell so goo-ood!" pleaded the young boy, able to see, smell, but not touch the steaming little pastries, halfway inside the house, but halfway out.

"Why don't you go outside and clean up the yard for a while? If you are good you can have one after dinner." the mother suggested, handing him a broomstick and round dustpan and pushing him out the door to the garden outside.

The boy took his broomstick — which he imagined to be his sword — and the dustpan, gripped in his left hand as a shield, and skipped out to play “Men and Goblins” with the bunnies that threatened his mother's garden plot, and to explore the wilderness beyond his gate.

The early summer sun was falling toward the horizon as the boy returned from his hedgerow adventures to home, and remembering the pastries in the windowsill, looked up to see a remarkable sight. One little tart, maybe the largest tart on the tray, rose up into the air, a few inches from the tray. Then, all by itself, the crusty brown bundle of berries moved, slowly at first, horizontally away from the house and toward the hedge just outside the garden gate. Its speed increased, but not so quickly that the lad could not follow the object of his appetite on its arc from the window, high over the beans and carrots, as it miraculously flew to the hedge. Curious, and in awe of the miraculous flying wealberry tart, he crept through the well-known rows of his mother's vegetables toward the spot in the hedge where the little pie had flown.

Springing around the far end of the hedge, the boy came upon an shocking sight. Facing him, pie in hand was a strange creature. Well, not so very strange, as merely, totally, unexpected. The young lad, and the … stranger, were exactly the same height. Looking eye to eye with each other, the same width, the same height, and with remarkably similar shocks of brown hair, the pair inspected each other for more than just one moment. One little creature ate the pie, while the other, with his mouth agape, watched it being eaten.

"I'm sorry, but I am so terribly hungry after my long journey. I am running away from home!" said the eater.

"But how? How did you get it? I can't reach the windowsill!"

The stranger, whatever he was, made a gesture with his open palm, and from thirty feet away another little tart rose from the tray and drifted through the air, and in a few seconds was at eye level, both their eyes level, hovering between the pointing hand of the newcomer and the mouth of the little boy.

Reaching out to grasp the floating pie, the boy asked “Who are you?”

“My name is Tarquin.” replied the stranger. “I’m not from around here.”

Smiling with a pie in his hand, the boy began “My name is … “

“Garrick! Is that you?” Came the voice of the mother from the garden side of the hedge, a hint of anger in her voice. “What has happened to my pies?” And just then she came around the end of the hedge to see her son.

“Mommy! I didn’t take your pies. It was him!”


“Him. There!” He turned to point at the empty air where his new acquaintance had been standing. Only, there was nobody there. “My new friend. He is new in Hommlet. I was just talking to him.”

Hands on her hips, the mother glared, first at the empty ground where her son was pointing, then at her son.

“But, mommy, he was just there, with a pie. Really he was! … I don’t know where he has gone.”

With a sigh, the mother took Garrick by his free hand and led him inside the house, thinking to herself how strange Garrick had become since his father had died in the Goblin Raids. Garrick was given dinner, but sent directly to bed without any dessert.

The next morning, Garrick picked up his broomstick and dustpan and skipped out the door, saying "Mommy! I'm going out to get them goblins!" But he was thinking to himself "I've got to prove to my mother I wasn't lying."

"Don't be too late, honey. Captian Elmo is coming to visit us tonight." Called back his mother Fiona Elberton.

First, Garrick ran to the hedge at the bottom of his garden. Once around the far side of the leafy barrier, out of sight of the house, he called out "Helo—ooo?". The hoped-for answer did not come.

Undeterred, the little knight walked down the lane from his house into the larger streets of Hommlet, trying to think where he could find his visitor. Wandering down the street leading to the alchemist's shop, Garrick noticed another child of the village, accompanied by a dour dwarf companion.

"Renne. Oh Renne!" he called, as he ran toward one of the few children of the village he new, though she might have been a few years older than him.

"Hello Garrick. I'm sorry I haven't time to play imaginary games today. I have to open the shop today."

"Oh, that's too bad, because I have really a exciting thing to show you … if only I could find it."
"Say,Renne. Does your father know how to make things, … or people … um, … dissapear?"

As they stood in the road talking, two horses towing a wagon laden with goods rumbled slowly down the road.

"My father knows how to do many strange and marvelous things. But I do not know how he does it. I hope someday when I am older he will teach me. Until then I have to mind the shop while he is away. I am a bit worried about him."

"I know what you mean. My father is still away in the hinterlands, gone to fight the goblins with Captian Elmo. He hasn't been home for a while either."

"But who's going to miss another Elf, eh? Better off without 'em , I say" came from one of the men seated on the wagon.

"Yeah! Spugnorrr's a contrrributing member of society at least." came from the elder man on the wagon, snapping the reigns of the horse team.

Ignoring the interruption, Renne told Garrick "I'm very sorry about your father. Don't you know?"

"Oh, my father's a hero. That's what Mother says. I know he won't be back from the goblin battles for manyl days .. a long time …. Until then, I have time to find the new kid in town and show my mother that he is real."

"You have fun with your imaginary adventures." said Renne. "Maybe when you are older like I am you will have more serious things to think about." With her adult dwarf companion watching over the street, Renne turned toward the Alchemist's shop and continued down the road.

As the wagon drew along, the old man holding the reigns said "And don't ye be getting any ideas about the bonnie human lassies herrre in toon, you wee half-brrreed. They don't take to the like of yourrr ilk."

To be continued…

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