The animals in the forest were waiting. They knew she would appear soon, but they never quite knew where. Owl was the chief look out and he floated silently among the branches of the big dark trees.
The old lady sneezed….purple mist will always make you sneeze….and surprised them all by emerging from underneath a big clump of bracken. Teddy snuggled deeper into the folds of her coat. Now that he felt safe, he was too tired to wonder what was going on or where he was. He let the slow steady beat of her heart and the gentle motion of her walk lull him into a deep dreamless sleep.
The old lady stepped onto the winding but direct path to her house in the forest; winding in order to keep it secret, direct because your heart’s true home is never more than a step away. Deer walked just in front, glowing gently to guide her as by now it was quite dark.
She walked slowly, partly because Teddy was asleep and partly because she loved to say hello to everyone in the forest. Everyone means the animals, the plants, the trees, the elves…well, just everyone.
Owl flew ahead to tell the house she would be home any minute. The cups and saucers and plates all chattered and rattled with excitement. The cushions rearranged themselves to look their most comfy and welcoming. Only the pot bellied stove grumbled…..”I was almost out”, hc complained to the armchair, who took no notice at all. The stove was always moaning. He did it to hide the fact that he loved her so much and he missed her when she went out.
The old lady sighed with pleasure as she reached the blue gate to her house. The fireflies all jumped into their lanterns….which were really jam jars hanging above the garden path…..and lit the path to the front door.
“Did you find him?”, asked Grandpa Teddy Bear anxiously from his chair beside the stove. The old lady did not reply, but instead she reached into her coat and very gently brought out a sleepy bewildered and distinctly bedraggled Teddy.
“Please bring some warm milk with spices” said the old lady quietly. Immediately there was a noisy rattling and chirping of bowls in the kitchen. All the bowls wanted to take Teddy his milk. Soon a big blue bowl came running into the room followed by a spoon shouting “wait for me”.
The next thing Teddy knew, he was sipping the most delicious sweet milk, watched by what seemed to him like a room full of anxious teddy bear faces. It was nowhere he had ever been in his life, but he felt like he had come home.
After a few spoons of milk Teddy yawned. “Time for bed”, said the Old Lady. “It has been a very long day”. She picked him up and carried him up the winding wooden stairs to the bedroom. Teddy opened his eye to see the biggest softest bed you could ever imagine. He felt himself being tucked in, and the very next thing he knew, he was fast asleep.