Frieda is Fooled

Liesel slipped into the kitchen to get what she needed for the tea party.  Her sister was already in the garden, setting the table in the playhouse.  Liesel poured some of the lemonade into smaller pitcher.  Then, she grabbed the little box of cookies from the bakery.  She lifted the pitcher in her other hand and headed to the back door.  There, she froze.  She looked at the box of cookies in one hand and the pitcher of lemonade in the other.  Then, she looked at the back door.

“Do you need help?”

Glancing over her shoulder, Liesel grinned up at her eldest brother.  “Could you hold the door for me, Konrad?” she asked, smiling brightly.

Konrad chuckled and pushed the door opened.  As she followed him out onto the patio, he held the door opened for her.  “Do you want to join our tea party?” she offered.

Chuckling, Konrad shook his head.  “If I want lemonade and cookies, there’s some in the kitchen,” he said, as he moved back inside.  “I don’t need to worry about gloves and hat, thank you.”

“Thank you, Brother,” Liesel called, as she hurried off the patio.  Frieda had arranged a small table near their playhouse.  They were outside today, to enjoy the sunshine.  As Liesel drew near the playhouse, their squirrel chittered and screamed at her, warning her away.  She was tempted to mimic the little beast, but Opa said that upset the neighbors.  Instead, she looked up into the branches, searching him out.  He was perched at the end of a branch, shaking his long bushy tail.

“This is our playhouse, Mr. Squirrel,” she called back.  Then, Liesel set the box of cookies and pitcher of lemonade on the table before she went into the playhouse.

“Hey, Liesel,” Frieda said.  She was wearing a teal blue sweater over her sundress.  She was also wearing a wide-brimmed hat and holding a pair of gloves.  “Did you get everything we needed?”

“Yes,” Liesel said.  She grabbed her own sunhat and settled it in place.  Then, she tugged on a pair of gloves and they headed out to the table.  Liesel frowned when she saw that the box was opened.  “Oh, no,” she said, hurrying over to look inside.  She was afraid that she would see the squirrel stuffing its face, but all she saw were cookies.

Frieda peered around her sister’s shoulder.  “One of the chocolate cake cookies is missing,” she said, frowning.  She looked at Liesel and crossed her arms over her chest.  “Did you snitch a cookie, Liesel?”

Liesel shook her head and frowned.  The squirrel might have gotten into the box and left it opened, but no squirrel would take just one cookie.  She looked up towards the tree.  The squirrel was still perched in the same spot, chattering and flicking its tail.  It gave no indication of having eaten anything.  Looking back at Frieda, she said, “Maybe it was Johannes… or Markus.”

“Markus is with Uncle Andrew and Zack,” Frieda said, shaking her head.  She shrugged and then sat down at the table.  “If it was Hansel, he’ll come back for some lemonade.”

Nodding, Liesel sat down beside her sister.  She watched while Frieda set a few cookies out on a platter.  Then, she cut them into quarters.  Liesel couldn’t have a lot of cookies.  If they made them small, it felt as though they were eating more.  Once that was finished, they could begin their tea party.

Frieda poured the lemonade, pretending it was tea.  Liesel giggled as her sister pretended to add some sugar and cream to her lemonade, even going so far as stirring it.  She did the same.  Then, they were sipping their lemonade and munching on their cookies, while they pretended to be fine British ladies.

 

When they had finished with their tea, Liesel frowned at Frieda.  “So,” she said, as she set aside the empty pitcher and closed the box of cookies.  “What do we do now?”

Frieda hummed thoughtfully for a moment.  Then, she grinned.  “Let’s gather flowers and make halos,” she said.

Liesel’s eyes brightened and she nodded eagerly.  “We could make a bouquet for Opa too,” she said.  “He can put it on the table when we’re having dinner and then, during evening prayers, we can put it on the altar.”

Nodding, Frieda scampered off into the garden, with Liesel close behind.  Soon, they were each focused on gathering flowers.  Frieda had found a large bunch of daisies and was busy cutting them off.  They would make very good flowers for her halo.

She frowned when she saw a woman peering out of the brush.  Then, her eyes widened.  “A fairy,” she breathed.  A part of her wanted, for some reason, to run away.  However, she didn’t quite understand why that might be.  After all, fairies weren’t anything to be frightened of… where they?

Frieda sat down in the grass and began plaiting the flowers together while she watched the fairy.  She froze when it noticed her.  Then, it giggled softly and glided towards her on gossamer wings.  Her heart was pounding in her chest, as she was torn between running and watching.  It was actually a real fairy!

Then, the fairy did something very strange.  It began to fly around her at a shocking speed.  Soon, wind was swirling around Frieda.  After a few moments, Frieda was panting – and not from fear or surprise.  It was as if the wind was drawing the breath from her lungs.

Tears stung her eyes and Frieda said, “Stop!”  The fairy laughed at her and began to fly faster.

“Frieda,” a familiar voice called.  Then, the cackling fairy was knocked out of the air by Liesel’s hammer.

The wind stopped and Frieda sat in the grass, panting for her breath.  She looked over at Liesel, as he sister reached her side.  “It was a fairy,” she said, her voice faint.

“Not that kind of fairy,” Johannes said, his voice cracking.  As the fairy flew upwards once again, he darted forward, holding out his hand.  “Spirit of Pride, I name you!  I bind you!  Be sealed in my ring and trouble us no more.”

Frieda moved to her feet as the fairy shrink inward and then was drawn into the ring.  She rubbed at her eyes and looked at Liesel.  “Thank you,” she said.  “I just… it was a little fairy.  I was scared but… I didn’t think it could hurt me.”

“Appearances can be deceiving,” Johannes said, shrugging.  He gave his sister a wan smile.  “I’m glad that you’re all right.”

Liesel nodded.  “You need to trust your instincts, Frieda,” she said.  Then, she hugged Frieda tightly.  “I’m not ready to lose you.”

Frieda hugged Liesel back and sighed.  “I’ll remember,” she said.  Shaking her head, she pulled away from her sister.  She stooped to gather her flowers and said, “Let’s go and make halos.”

Nodding, Liesel headed for the house.  As Johannes fell into step with them, she said, “Was it you who took the cookie?”

“Actually… that was Michael,” Johannes said.  Then, he smiled.  “He took it for me, though.”

Frieda rolled her eyes and then shook her head.  “You could have just asked us for a cookie, you know?” she said.  “It’s not as if we would have said you couldn’t have one.”

Johannes gave her a playful wink.  “It was much more fun to sneak up on Liesel and snitch one when you were both inside the playhouse,” he said.  Then, he scampered ahead of them.  “Besides, I don’t have any interest in joining your tea parties, even if I can have cookies and lemonade during them.”

Liesel shrugged.  “Did you want to help us make flower halos?” she asked, as Johannes scampered through the kitchen and into the sitting room.

“Pass,” he called back.  Then, they could hear him running up the steps.

Frieda set her flowers on the kitchen counter.  After laying out some newspaper, she gathered the flowers once again.  Then, she and Liesel sat down at the table and began plaiting the flowers together into halos.

For a few minutes, they worked in silence, then Liesel said, “It’s actually really lucky that Johannes was outside snitching cookies.”  She looked over at Frieda.  “He sensed that spirit and I knew that you were in trouble.”

Frieda heaved a sigh and then shook her head.  “I still can’t believe that I almost got killed by a fairy,” she said.  Meeting Liesel’s gaze, she added, “I mean… I realize now that it was a spirit of pride, but it looked like a little fairy at the time.”

“It makes you wonder about the stories with fairies,” Liesel said, nodding.  “How many times where the unfriendly fairies really tainted spirits that just looked like fairies?  How often were the friendly ones just untainted spirits?”

“Is there really any such thing as a fairy – like a little winged nature spirit – at all?” Frieda said, shaking her head.  “Are they all really spirits of a virtue or sin?”

Liesel shrugged and then tied ribbons around the place where she had joined the ends of her halo.  She set the flowers in her curls and then bounced to her feet.  She twirled in place and the smiled as Frieda finished her own halo.

Once both of them were wearing their halos, they put the rest of the flowers into a vase of water and set it at the center of the table.  Then, they cleaned up their mess and scampered into the sitting room.

Opa looked from one to the other and smiled.  “Those are pretty,” he said.  Then, he grabbed his cellular phone off the side table.  “Let me get a picture and I’ll send it to Henry.”

Frieda grinned and set her arm over Liesel’s shoulder.  They posed for the photograph and then hurried up the stairs to their room.  As they headed inside, Frieda said, “Should we tell Opa that there was a spirit of pride in his garden?”

“It’s in my ring now,” Johannes said, peering around the doorway.  He shook his head.  “Sometimes… it’s better not to let adults know these things.  We’ll check later and make sure there aren’t any portals out there, though.”

Nodding, they gathered their dolls and their yarn and headed back downstairs.  Then, they settled down on the couch to make sweaters together.  Sometimes, it was nice to relax inside too.

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