The clutter around my computer finally reached that point of critical mass where I had to do something. So I took an afternoon recently to begin sifting through the mess.
Good grief! I still had Christmas cards and letters in the letter holder! As I was thumbing through the papers and filing the annual Christmas newsletters I realized that we hadn't heard from Mother Goose in months. The last time I had talked to her was when we made arrangements for transfer of the odd fellow who was trapped in a book from El Paso to Fairyland. I checked the stack again, because she is always so dependable about staying in touch, but no card, no letter.
I decided I better call, just to make sure she was all right. She is getting well on in years, although most of the time she doesn't act her age, whatever it might be.
"Oh, Wanna! I'm so sorry that I haven't called or written," she said, "but you know how things get around here. Just let me relax for a minute and all - well, you know - breaks loose. You're just the person I need to talk to. "
"Oh, really?" I asked. "What's going on?"
"Just come for tea and I'll catch you up on all the latest. I can't talk to anybody around here who doesn't have some kind of personal connection with everybody else."
So I put my clutter cleaning aside and hurried to FairyLand, where she greeted me warmly. "As I told you on the phone, I can't talk to anyone around here, and I know you will keep our conversations in strictest confidence.
"Hmm; well, er... I try not to repeat anything where anyone in FairyLand would learn about it; that's for sure."
"It's Candelaria," she said, as she got the teapot down from the shelf.
"Ever since Halloween she's been acting strangely. I think it's the sight of all those flaming pumpkins and lighted turnips and whatnot; they get her all stirred up."
I had to smile. Candelaria is famous for stirring up things, first one tempest, then another. To say that Candelaria was acting strangely was kind of like saying that politicians were acting hypocritically.
"What's she done this time?"
"Well, of course she had to deliver way more than the normal number of candles for the holidays and then New Year's Eve with its bonfires was what did it; she hasn't been the same since. She doesn't think she gets enough appreciation for all that she does around here to keep us lighted and warm.
"And the latest thing was when Jack Be Nimble jumped over the candlestick. You know how protective she is of anything connected with candles and she just thought that was highly disrespectful. And she's been flaring up about it ever since."
"Last I heard, she was really fired up about Georgy Porgy," I said. "Now THERE'S the guy who's irresponsible, kissing the girls and making them cry and all."
"Yes, poor Georgy. He's a pest, but she did give him third degree burns!" She looked at me with a somewhat embarrassed smile. "Would you mind very much coming with me to talk to her today? Maybe if another person is along she won't set anything afire or anything."
Now you may smile at this, but I kid you not.
The woman in charge of all the fires and candles in FairyLand is nobody to get on the wrong side of!
She pointed a finger once and set the entire Eastern Woods aflame.
So, after our tea, we met Candelaria in Mother Goose's garden close to the wishing well. A wise choice, I thought, considering past experience.
"Mother Goose," she said in greeting. " I am a busy woman, as you well know. I don't have time for idle chitchat."
I tell you what; I've seen some interesting things since I've been journeying to FairyLand, but seeing this woman with her flaming hair and fireman's canvas robe was quite an experience.
"I am here on a more businesslike matter before I deliver candles to the dear GRANDMOTHERS!" She continued, with some sarcasm.
"Oh, of course, dear," Mother Goose replied. She turned to me, "Let me introduce my friend Wanna. She's from El Paso in Texas; the USA, you know."
"How do you do?" I stammered, fascinated as I watched her hair curling up and down in tiny flames.
"I've heard about that place El Paso," she said. "Gets pretty hot there, doesn't it?"
She waved her candle basket gently.
"Well, yes," I said, "But it's not as bad as people think. We don't have all that humidity ...."
She smiled. "Oh, I know! It's a DRY HEAT! Right?" And I swear not only did her whole face light up but I saw a bit of a smile at the corners of her mouth.
She turned again to my hostess. "All I'm saying, Mother Goose, is that I am entitled to the same kind of respect the community gives Grandmother Matamosca and Grandmother Byrda! How could controlling all the flies and babysitting birds' eggs be more important than what I do?"
Mother Goose smiled placatingly. "Of course, everyone in FairyLand respects you, dear. There is nothing more important than that we have fire, and there isn't anything most of us wouldn't do to keep you happy. But you yourself are always insisting that no one call YOU Grandmother, and that's the title that gets the most respect here. You know that; it's always been that way."
"Well, I better not ever hear of anybody calling ME Grandmother! They will rue the day!" She huffed a bit, and I swear her hair glowed even more! I backed away because you never can tell. I hear Georgy Porgy had to have several skin grafts.
"I suppose it's enough to know that you appreciate me, and that others do, as well."
I kept a wary eye on her wand, or was it a cane? That thing could strike a flame like a blow torch!
At that point, Candelaria turned quickly, hefting her basket again. "Oh, Mother Goose, I know you do the best you can, considering. Just don't be surprised if you hear that I've blistered that pesky Gingerbread Man who's always telling me he wants me to light his fire! One of these days he'll be toast, in more ways than one!"
"Thank you, Candelaria. I will convey the message, and thank you again for providing all the extra candles for the holidays. Everyone greatly appreciated them."
And with a great sigh of relief, Mother Goose flopped down onto the bench by her front door. "Well, at least she didn't burn down my cottage or the West Forest! My goodness! What I have to put up with around here. You couldn't pay anybody else to take this job!"
I couldn't agree more.
NOTE: You can read about how this doll was made by going to Making Candelaria in the Dolls pages.