River Mist Tales: Teacup and Saucer and Tree

Come in, come in, the mist is rising from the river, but here you’ll find some warmth, some tales, so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.

The chairs by the window give the best view, allow the best hearing. Ignore the cats, no matter what they say, and don’t open the window for the tapping crows.

I’ll be working at the table in the corner, if you have any need, or she knocks upon the door. And until you stop by again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

Until your next visit, until the next photograph, the next 12-line story, good fortune and safe wanderings.

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Teacup and Saucer and Tree

“Oh do tell that story again uncle Devlin, the one about Getta going away, and the teacup and the weeping beech tree,” said Avalyn, patting the faded cushion beside her.

With an imperceptible lift of the corners of his mouth, Devlin O’Connor settled into the pillowed wicker settee, sending his gaze across the porch, across the browning grass, stopping at the shadowed edge of his old foe, the forest.

“And Maggie, do you wish to hear about Getta and the teacup again?”

“Only if you tell the true story uncle, I don’t want to hear that fairy tale father tells, and neither does Avalyn,” said Maggie ignoring the frown covering her younger sister’s face.

“The truth, the truth is a bit more complicated, a much longer story full of sorrow and heartbreak. Would you settle for me finding the teacup?” asked Devlin, his gnarled hands smoothing the breeze blown hair of the cheerful Avalyn.

Maggie, nodding her head in acceptance, sat opposite her sister and uncle, sinking into worn cushions, tucking her feet underneath her body, her arms falling down along the outer sides of the wobbly wicker chair.

“It was early November, a Wednesday, after school, and your grandmother sent me in search of a teacup and saucer missing from the sideboard, your grandmother blaming her kitchen helper Getta, a young woman who lived down the road, at the old MacFarland farm, a strange girl from the other side of the mountain, even when she was in the same room as you, Getta seemed far and away.

“Most folks didn’t have much to do with Getta, except your grandmother, they thought she was touched, marked by the faeries, for Getta would go missing days at a time, more often than not found by that ancient weeping beech tree of hers, talking, telling stories about the village, the crows, whatever book she had found at the library that week, her daydreams and her night dreams, yet never revealing, no matter who asked, where she had been nor what she’d been doing.”

“Did Getta tell you about her night dreams?” asked Avalyn, keeping her eyes turned away from the impatient glare of her older sister.

“No Avalyn, she never told me, well, I never listened to most of what Getta said about anything, especially those silly old dreams of hers,” said Devlin.

“Now where was I, ah yes, finding Getta, well you know the forest can capture voices, keep them from flowing, keep them away from those who strain to hear, and as I approached Getta and that watching beech, I heard her voice, bright, laughing, full of wonder, asking questions, her mouth full of tea cake, then a wind rose muting Getta, muting the forest itself, the deep silence pushing through me like a winter’s storm.

“Stumbling, I ran toward that old massive tree with his arching tangling branches touching the ground before those long boney arms raced back into the sky, but no one was there, and it looked as if no one had been there for some time, there were no footprints, just dried leaves lying all around the tree, and as I looked for any sign of Getta I saw it, the teacup and saucer, tucked into a small space between a rising root and the massive trunk, abandoned, filled with debris, and nothing else.”

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