Riverside Lodge

Riverside Lodge

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Hester Has A Breakdown




This story won't be easy to tell as it deals with hard times. But since it is what happened to our dear friends, the Hogwarts, and it is the truth, I believe it should be told. And maybe, because it all happened around Christmas, there will be a happy ending... 



A week before Christmas the Hogwart triplets were sitting around the living room table, watching "television". Their tv program consisted of their pet ladybugs crawling around underneath the glass of the table. They enjoyed this past-time but were feeling a bit cold that day. Ruff, the Hogwarts' meat-eating plant had joined them and was playing with his pet lion. 



Hester was also feeling cold. What was even worse though, she was feeling depressed. All that poltergeist business had finally managed to wear her out and this had the very unfortunate side effect that she hadn't been able to perform any magic lately.  So there was nothing she could do to mend all the cracks in the walls of their house and even though the cottage was little, the kitchen stove was too small to keep the entire space warm.  Hamish couldn't do anything either, because work was crazy before Christmas and he couldn't afford to take time off to fix the house.
Hester stared glumly at her empty worktable. She hadn't had the energy to purchase any new magic ingredients and was running low on everything. Herbie the rat gave her a compassionate wink, even offered her a bite of his loaf of gorgonzola, but she didn't react.



Although the Hogwarts had taken all their furniture with them when they moved into the woods (except for the old kitchen stove), they hardly had any chairs left. After moving they realized the poltergeist had placed woodworms on their furniture. They couldn't save the chairs or the sofa. 

This had been the last straw for Hester who hadn't had the energy to do anything inside the new forest home ever since. Ruff needed his weekly portion of minced meat, but she was too tired to cook it for him, so it sat there, forgotten, on the kitchen table. Instead, she had placed Slurp and Bounce, the two pet frogs, on top of the stove so they wouldn't freeze in the cold. 



Hester couldn't even enjoy the view through the cottage door anymore. Weeks before, she had bewitched that side of the forest, so that it would always look like summertime. Even the googly-eye plant was starting to sense that things were amiss and would stiffen up and become very nervous at times.



Now and again, it would lean over and stare into the children's beds that were stacked up next to the wall during the day, wondering how the triplets were suppposed to sleep that night inside such a hard and cold cot. The piglets' blankets had also been sabotaged by the poltergeist, who had placed clothes moths on them, and their maggots had slowly eaten the bedding all up. Maybe this had been the last straw for poor Hester, since her children were the most important people for her in the world and she couldn't bare to see them shiver during their sleep.

Let me explain what happened on the morning of Christmas Day. I wish I could now come to the point where I tell you something good, but actually, this is where everything got even worse.



The night before the 24th the roof of the tiny cottage had given in and cold gusts of wind had blown leaves and snow into the little home. Bounce and Slurp were lying on the stove in semi stiffened condition and Hester had cuddled up on the wooden floor with her toddlers propped on top of the last remaining cushions.



A single candle was shining its light and the tiniest bit of warmth onto their skin. Ruff and Herbie were also there, looking sullen.



Hamish had stormed out of the house that morning and Hester didn't know where to, so she was alone here with the triplets and the pets. The cottage was looking like... Well, have a look yourself...



 The minced meat on the kitchen table had become "frosted meat".



The googly-eye plant was covered in leaves and snow and was anxiously leaning over the living room table, toward the only other source of warmth, the second last candle.

After drying her tears, Hester left the house with her triplets, leaving only the pets at home. She had to warm up her children and find help somewhere, or they would probably all freeze to death that night.  She felt so ashamed for not being able to sort everything out herself, being a witch and all, but the least she could do for her family was ask somebody else for help.



This was why, when an old bearded man in a red coat suddenly came through the cottage door, there was no one to greet him or ask him what he wanted. He had a big funny nose and a friendly smile and small, intelligent looking eyes. He seemed to be scanning everything around him.



He looked at the frosted googly-eye plant and said, "Now that won't do."



Then he saw the stiff little frogs lying on the stove and said, "That won't do either."



When he bent over Hester's lab table and seeing the mounds of snow and all the empty plates he said, "No, no, no. This won't do at all." He seemed a little upset by what he saw, but at the same time he was smiling. What a weirdo!! Maybe he wasn't right in the head??



After a while, he came by Herbie the rat.



He placed the grey rat on his head, chuckled and said, "Just wait and see how they will rejoice when we are finished. Just you wait and see."

Herbie had no idea what the bearded man was talking about, so he just twitched his whiskers.



 Soon after that the man was out the door again and all was quiet.


  
The silence continued, but now there was a new source of warmth inside the cottage, as one of the bearded man's helpers entered the cottage, beaming. It was a lovely white-haired lady, dressed in a white gown with stars on it. She had what looked like golden wings sticking from her back. Her little round cheeks were pink and she seemed so content that anyone looking at her felt that way immediately, too. the googly-eye plant was feeling better  by the second.



Any part of the cottage the lady went, the snow and leaves would disappear and leave behind warmth and a scent of baked apples and cinnamon.



The googly-eye plant was staring at her and sniffing at her wing. Where did that wonderful fragrance come frome?



Herbie and Ruff were admiring her too, as she glided through the house.



 Finally Hester's worktable was clean again. The lady was beaming.


  
And on she went with Ruff and Herbie in tow.



What a happy moment it was when her magical touch defrosted Slurp and Bounce on top of the stove.




And as silently as she had appeared, she slid back out through the cottage door, leaving everything warm, dry, clean, and all the cracks and holes in the walls and the roof mended. 



TO BE CONTINUED