A Good Lot – A Taradiddle, By Lillow Mi 

   We have an afternoon with no rain and Ishmael and I have decided to walk the meadow. We left the manor and turned left toward the main gate, snuggling into our coats against the cold winter winds. We followed the main drive up to the Golly Orchard, admiring the fruits hanging from the trees and the lush vegetable patches. All year round this magical garden blooms and produces! Before we reached the end of the orchard, we left the main drive and turned onto the upper meadow. The main drive is hard packed earth with some gravel on top which is fine for rolling things but not so great for walking so I was glad to be back on the meadow's semi-dormant grasses. The ground was wet but Ishmael and I both wore these fabulous rubber coverings for our shoes that we got in mythical Gresham so our feet were just fine. I smiled at the meadow's expanse opening before us and breathed deeply of her brisk moisture laden air. Raindrops glistened in the barren trees like diamonds and the Goodable herd in the distance was flashing rainbow colors although that was not necessarily a good thing. 

   As we walked, I could see Jack Ass a ways ahead. He spends most his days up here in the upper meadow, keeping it trim and neat while watching over the Goodable herd. I was impressed that he had come out on such a brisk and wet day, but I knew this was his favorite place. 

   “Hey Jack!” I called out as we approached. 

   He'd been munching on the grass and looked up, “Oh, hey Lillow! Hey Ishmael! How ya guys doing?” 

   “We're good Jack. Just out for a stroll now as the rain's let up.” I answered. 

   “Rain?” He looked around with a surprised expression. Goodness, I think he's been around Lorna too long. 

   “Been raining all night and most the morning Jack,” Ishmael said. 

   “Zatso? Well, I'll be darned. Rainin' here too?” 

   “Everywhere Jack.” 

   “Well ain't that somethin'.” He looked around, “Yeah I see it now. Wet.” 

   I was curious, “So Jack, how is it that you didn't know about the rain? I mean it's been raining pretty steady for quite a while. Kind of hard to miss.” 

   Jack tilted his head oddly and said, “Gee whiz.” Right away I thought I knew what had happened. Jack must have stepped in some jeewizium and been transported to another dimension. I looked at the Goodable herd and it seemed that the rainbow bubbles were diminishing. There's always tension when someone travels across dimensions using jeewizium until they actually say, Gee whiz. 

   “Okay Jack, were've you been?” I asked.  

   He looked at me with surprise, “Why I was just over there.” He pointed with his nose then began walking toward a small grove of trees. We followed cautiously with me looking every direction for jeewizium, since I was the only one of us who could see it. Jack trundled on while Ishmael followed closely in my tracks. Then we rounded a corner, squeezing between the tight knit trees into a hidden grove and were suddenly in bright sunshine. I looked around in total confusion. I hadn't seen any sign of jeewizium! I looked at Ishmael who was taking his winter coat off with a big grin. 

   “This is nice Lillow,” he said, glancing at me. 

   “Yeah, yeah,” I answered, unnerved at the situation. Everywhere I looked in this little grove it was mid-summer, while outside, I parted some branches, yep, while outside it was cold and wet. Nothing made sense. How could . . . how could . . . I was beginning to spin and I stopped and looked at Ishmael and Jack. Ishmael was lying, stretched out on the grass with his eyes closed and his hands behind his head, wearing a contented grin. 

   Jack was lying nearby munching on some grass and watching me. “Been here all morning Lillow,” he drawled. “Weren't no rain here at all.” 

   I could see the truth of that. While verdant and lush with flowers, the place was dry. I went over to the closely knit trees that made up the grove's wall and parted the branches again. Sure enough, dark, wet and cold. I unfastened my jacket as I was getting too warm with it on. Okay, something was going on here. I mean I don't think dimensions overlap like this, pretty sure. Could this be a dimensional anomaly right here in our own upper meadow? Jeez, what're the odds of that happening? I glanced over at Ishmael who was laughing at something Jack had said. An Ape, an Ass and a Fæirie girl basking in the warm summer sun in a verdant grove on a cold, wet winter day. I'd say there were way better odds of that not happening! My head was spinning. Why was I having trouble with this? Jack hadn't been in another dimension; he'd been right here. So where is here? Without realizing it I had begun pacing. Ishmael and Jack were both sitting up now and watching me.     

   “You seem troubled Lillow,” Ishmael said. 

   I stopped, realizing I was spinning out of control. “Gosh Ishmael. It's just that I've never seen or heard of anything like this before. Have you been here before today Jack?” 

   “Not too much, Lillow. Most days I can't find it, but it was here today.” He smiled dreamily. “Really glad of it too, after seeing how dreary it is outside.” 

   “We are outside!” I said, looking around the grove. Jack looked surprised and I could see Ishmael scratching his head and peering around. I went over and sat beside them. I needed to think. 

   This little grove was so sweet that we all became dreamy as we sat there. Soon I saw flower petals falling from above, but there were no flowers growing overhead. I saw a beautiful Rabbit walking toward us in a kind of cloud. I felt peaceful, loving and grateful watching her. With a smile she sat with us, her eyes radiating pure love, her essence exuding goodness and joy. I smiled at her, then smiled at Ishmael and Jack who were both grinning wide. I think we were on the edge of bursting into laughter when she spoke. 

   “I am so happy to be here with you,” she said, bowing her head in reverence. 

   “I'm happy too,” I said as Ishmael and Jack murmured concurrences. “Is this your place?” I asked gesturing at the surrounding grove. 

   “It is always my place,” she answered with a smile. 

   “Wow, I've never noticed it before,” I said. I was deeply impressed. She had some major magic going on here. 

   “I've only recently begun visiting here,” she answered, then looking at Jack. “I've met you before noble one.” 

   Jack seemed flustered as he nodded agreement. “Yep, I remember. We sang,” he answered with dreamy eyes. 

   “We sang,” she repeated, smiling as if thoroughly enjoying the memory. 

   After a few moments I asked, “What is your name?” 

   Her long ears stood straight up, “Why I'm Reesha, Lillow. Reesha Rabbit. The other Rabbits have spoken well of you and I must say, I am thrilled to meet you!” Then she looked at Ishmael and her smile got wider, “And you my charming prince are Ishmael, Keeper of the Light. I am honored by your presence.” She bowed her head. When she looked up, she looked at Jack with shining eyes and started laughing, “And Jack and I have sung, oh how we have sung, his thunderous braying echoing off the clouds!” Ishmael chuckled and Jack snorted. I felt a joyful peace and love. So much love! 

   Reesha began softly singing and we joined in though we didn't know the words. I sang whatever came to mind and was pleasantly surprised to find I was singing along with her. We all sang, the words somehow appearing in a melody that was as comfortable and familiar as anything I'd ever sang, even though I'd never heard it before. Not that I could remember anyway. As we sang, I realized we were singing praises and gratitude for the rain! Imagine. Then we sat in companionable silence, peaceful in the lulling warm breezes while lounging in the lush green grass. I'm afraid I fell asleep because I was awakened by a splash of cold water on my forehead. I opened my eyes to an overcast and dreary day that was beginning to rain. Another raindrop splashed off my head as I shook Jack and Ishmael awake. The little grove was again just another grove in the meadow, wearing the meadow's winter colors. Ishmael grabbed his coat and quickly put it on while I fastened mine against the cold then we ran for Holly's Palatial Estate and arrived just before another beautiful downpour began. What marvelous luck!

Tomes & Crystal Balls: A Taradiddle - By Lillow Mi 

   We have just left our mysterious encounter with the enlarged Glamoury Wall. We flew our brooms for quite a ways east with still no sign of the meadow. Soon there appeared a dignified looking building with pillars in front and broad marble steps leading to ornate wooden doors. We landed in front of the steps and gazed up at this imposing edifice. Carved into the marble above the doors in flowery script were the words; 

Akashic Records – Tome and Crystal Ball Division 

   I was impressed. I knew the Akashic records contained all the knowledge of the universe and some believe the knowledge of all prior universes as well, but I had no idea how that all worked. But the words Tome and Crystal Ball however, were things I did know and I began to wonder if I was now going to see just how it all did work. We walked reverently up the steps and stood in front of the large wooden door. It was actually two doors that met in the middle of an ornate arch that framed them. Nonesuch and I led the way but before we could knock the doors swung open. An elderly woman (Elf I think but possibly Human) in long brown robes and a smiling countenance greeted us. 

   “Welcome to Akashic Records,” she sang melodiously, or at least that's what I thought I'd heard. I was so intimidated by this experience that she could have just spoken the words, but it did seem like singing to me. 

   “Gosh, thanks,” I answered, smiling meekly. 

   “You're welcome Lillow. Please, come in.” Whoa! How did she know my name? She was definitely singing and the greeting was delivered in such a beautifully crafted and musically sound piece that I felt silly replying in ordinary speech. 

   “Gosh you know my name?” I whispered, then louder added, “I mean I'm so glad to be here, thank you.” 

    She smiled at my question but said nothing. Nodding at my thank you she turned and greeted each of our company in turn as they entered; Holly, Lorna, Ishmael, Ishytoo and Nonesuch, calling each by name and each in an original and finely crafted melodic welcome. We stood together, overawed by her greetings as she strode slowly past, smiling and gesturing us to follow. She led us to a large room with long rows of tables covered with manuscripts, books and other curious items. Scholarly looking Elves either sat or were strolling about, frequently with books under arm. The large tall windows let in shafts of sunlight that made some tables glow in dust mite glory while others languished in shade. The woman led us to a small, empty table and indicated the chairs around it for us to sit on. Our table was brightly lit from an unseen source and when we were all seated she went and stood behind a podium that seemed to be part of the table. 

   “What are your questions?” she sang. 

   I could only stare stupidly and I could see the others were doing the same. Here I was in the seat of all knowledge and my mind was blank! I was flabbergasted. I thought of the woman as She, and She looked at me with a smile and nodded yes. 

   Then She looked back at the group and smiling sang, “I'm not surprised at your reticence, most who find us by accident are speechless, blank minded and innocent.” She laughed, sounding like a harp with 

tinkling bells and continued, “Fear no loss, our Tomes provide, as do balls of crystal and their like.” Then we were immersed in the glory of a full symphony orchestra accompanied by a heavenly choir that slowly reached a shuddering crescendo while showing us images of Tomes, our Tomes like at the manor and crystal balls just like what the Witches used and I opened my eyes and we were standing in front of the building, which seemed further away than before, then further yet and I realized it was shrinking. Soon it was too small to see and there was a pop, leaving us alone in the forest clearing. I looked at the others with nothing to say and I could see they were all like-minded. 

   We mounted our brooms and continued flying east.

Smokin' and a Jokin' – A Taradiddle, By Lillow Mi 

   Ishmael, Holly Lorna and I have been adventuring. We'd just escaped falling off the edge of the world with Henry and the Commodore and were now back in our kitchen thanks to a magical round door that takes us to different dimensions. Thing is, this kitchen was different. It was pretty much as I'd remembered our kitchen except for some subtle differences, but enough to know. A big difference I noticed right off was that it was empty. That hardly ever happened in our kitchen. Not totally empty anyway. No one spoke but I could tell they all knew we weren't actually in our own kitchen, just one that looked remarkably like it.  

   I heard a sound in the front room where the large hearth is at and put my finger to my lips to signify silence then motioned them to follow. I led them out of the kitchen and into the short hallway that connects the kitchen to the great hearth room. The meadow outside looked similar to ours, but again, I knew it wasn't. I peered around the corner and saw the most beautiful Witch I'd ever seen. She was green, sporting a large crooked nose and a protruding chin with a big hairy wart. A classic beauty! She wore the traditional black dress and black pointed hat and slouched on a wooden kitchen chair with her feet propped up on the fireplace. She was singing and clapping her hands in time.  

   “Warm footsies, warm footsies, Oh we loves 'em, how we loves 'em.” Clap, clap, clap. “Waarmm toes en waarmm feet, dey surely got dat ol' cole beat, yeah, yeah . . .” she turned and looked at me but I ducked back, unsure if she saw me or not. I looked at the others lined up behind me with round eyes. I was certain I'd seen her feet in the fire. Not near it, but in it. Then I heard the sounds of someone entering the room from the great hall.  

   “Lillow, ju feet on fire agin. Izza big stink roun da whole castle.” Golly that voice sounded familiar, but what really jarred me was the name he'd called her.   

   “Sum un 'rouna corner, Ishy, check um ut, hyah?”  

   I knew we should have been running but I was too shocked at what I was hearing to formulate any kind of response. Suddenly there was an Ape who looked exactly like Ishmael standing there looking at us.  

   I stared in amazement, “Ishmael?” I asked. I glanced back at the real Ishmael who was standing behind me staring wide-eyed and slack jawed. Then I turned back to the Ishmael look-alike. He was tilting his head curiously, looking at me.    

   “D'ju sar Ishmael?” he drawled. I realized both he and the Witch were talking in a heavy accent that I didn't recognize. I nodded my head yes. “Ent no Ishmael. Ishytoo I'ma. Ju strange.”  

   I heard the Witch in the other room begin to chant, “Oom oom bigga bigga, oom golly oom golly oom bigga bum bum, ikka ikka, hyar I is!” And there she was, standing beside this otherworld Ishytoo. Her feet were black and smoking pretty heavily so it was hard to see her clearly but it looked like she was smiling as she stared at us. The strange Ishytoo was grinning and staring as well. Both had a slightly manic look to their eyes.   

   I backed up and bumped into Ishmael who immediately moved back. I didn't know what to say so I just sputtered, “Well, uh, golly it's been, uh pretty grand to meet you all, uh Lillow was it? Uh-huh, uh-huh. And Ishytoo? Uh-huh, just grand.”  

   The smoke was getting thicker and I kept backing up. The others behind were clearly backing as well, unless they'd turned and run? I spun around just as they were spinning around and we started running together. I knew there must be a door by the pantry here, just like at home, so I took the lead and led them to the spot and there it was, the round door. When we got there I looked back, but the passageway was full of thick, acrid, black smoke that was billowing out and the visibility was decreasing rapidly.  

   I opened the door and we rushed through into a sunny meadow with profuse flowers and a blue sky dotted with puffy clouds. I slammed the door shut before any smoke could get through and it disappeared with a quiet pop.  

   Looking around the first thing I saw was a flashing red/orange neon sign floating in the air above a round door which also seemed to be floating, both about 15 meters away, with a green neon arrow pointing down at the door. The sign above said 'HOME'. The word 'HOME' and the arrow were both flashing on and off but the red outline stayed constant.  

   “Gee Lillow, what is this place? It's gorgeous,” Holly asked, ignoring the sign and chewing on some of the meadow's grass.  

   “I don't know, but you're right Holly. It is gorgeous,” I answered, looking away from the bright, flashing sign to better see the idyllic scene around us.  

   “I think that's how we get back,” Ishmael said, pointing to the flashing sign.   

    “Yeah, I expect so,” I answered, looking away.  

   It was so pretty here and the air smelled of flowers and grass with sylvan undertones. I breathed deeply. Then I noticed something dark scurry quickly behind a tree in the distance. I blinked, but nothing changed and I wondered if I'd imagined it. Ishmael was walking slowly toward the flashing sign and we followed leisurely behind. {There's no rush} There was no hurry and we'd each stop from time to time to breathe deeply of the redolent air or to admire a particularly beautiful flower. I glanced back and maybe a dozen or so dark shadows instantly disappeared behind trees or shrubs, and they seemed closer. I blinked again but the scene looked fine. {Nothing hiding here} Nothing trying to hide, I thought, just a pastoral verdancy that lulled and mesmerized. Yet I felt a shiver of uncertainty. Ishmael had reached the door and turned to watch us, the sign flashing overhead. Somehow it was projecting a sense of urgency. Suddenly Ishmael's eyes got round and he grabbed the wheel and jerked the door open.  

   “Hurry!” he yelled.  

   I looked back and saw hundreds of screaming, angry Trolls, Dinosaurs and Grimn-leapers with clubs, nets and snapping claws running toward us. I yelped in fright and we were all through that door in record time. I slammed it shut just as the first Trolls arrived, brandishing clubs and screaming curses.  

   “My, that didn't sound very nice,” a quiet voice behind us spoke. We turned and there stood Hayu Runjump, watching us with concern. “Taddy said you guys had gone through the door adventuring,” she continued. “I guess you found it, huh?”  

   I was so relieved to see her and to know we were back home that I just grinned wide and said, “Yep. That's right Mrs. Runjump, we've been adventuring and that's for sure! But I can tell you, we're glad to be back.” The others were all nodding agreement.  

   “Nothing bad came through then I guess?” she asked, looking around with a smile.  

   “Not this time,” I answered. “But the bad does seem to be getting closer.” Gosh, I thought. The next time that door opens is bound to be a doozy. But as Hayu started making tea, I mused.  

   It could be good. 

A Boat on the Edge - By Lillow Mi 

By Silver Gladstar 

On Taradiddles  

   Everything I write is a trivial lie, fib, and/or Færietale, known collectively as taradiddles. Everything. in the past I have referred to as my little fibs are taradiddles, and I have decided to call them taradiddles again. This is not only because I like the word but also to help prevent the unlikely occurrence of their being mistaken for reality.  

   To help clarify what I'm talking about, I've listed some of the more interesting synonyms for taradiddle: baloney, bilgewater, bosh, humbug, tommyrot, tosh, twaddle, blather, hooey, and crock, blarney, malarkey, horsefeathers, and folly, along with pretentious and/or silly talk. Gosh. Oh, and they must be love-based. Well that pretty much sums it up. Thanks for listening!  

                                                                                     A Boat On The Edge – A Taradiddle  

   Ishmael, Lorna, Holly and I have decided, since it's so rainy and cold, to explore a mysterious door with a wheel handle that's in the back of our kitchen. It's rarely opened since no one knows what's on the other side as it's always different, usually good but sometimes bad and every real long time or so it's flat awful. That's because the door is a portal to other dimensions, and they keep shuffling around. Anyway, with all this cold, wet weather we were ready to try our luck. Our chef Tadfast Chop has graciously cleared the normally bustling kitchen for the afternoon in the event of something bad popping out. She knew the history as well as we did. She has kindly fixed us brown bag lunches and we've each gathered whatever else we thought might be useful. It's difficult to pick things for infinite possibilities but I think we did alright. When everyone was ready, Ishmael walked over and gave the wheel a turn and the door swung open. We stood gaping at the darkness inside. I could barely see movements, but I couldn't identify anything, it being too dark and murky looking.  

   Then a figure inside approached the opening, “Tickets please!” a strangely familiar voice called out. I stepped inside and there stood our old friend Henry the Pigeon wearing a conductor's cap and taking tickets. Once past the door it was bright daylight. The others quickly followed.  

   “Henry!” I said. “How are you?”  

   He smiled at recognizing us, “Lillow! Lorna! Ishmael! Holly! Good to see you all again.”  

   “Gosh, Henry, what are you doing here?” I asked.  

   “Taking tickets Lillow. You got yours?”  

   “Uh, well, no. We don't.” I answered, giving Ishmael a worried look. “We didn't know, I mean we don't even know what the tickets would be for.” I looked around. “What is this place, anyway?”  

   “It's a dock and you're on the boarding ramp to the Flightless Grace, a paddle-wheeled cruise ship.” He frowned. “And you got no tickets.” I shrugged and I could tell the others were trying to look innocent. With a grimace, he growled, “Well there's nothing for it then, get on board and we'll sort this out later.” He looked at the ship. “Hurry now, she's taking off!” He began pushing us up the ramp. I saw the big wheel in back slowly beginning to turn and the ramp began creaking loudly. We scurried up, just in time to see the ramp fall over as the ship moved forward.  

   “Don't you usually push the ramp back when you launch?” Holly asked, looking at the twisted ramp lying on the dock with concern.  

   “Wasn't time,” Henry answered, closing the gate where the ramp had been. “You could see that. Why you just barely made it as it was.” He turned and began walking along the deck toward the front. “Come along now, the Commodore will be anxious to see you.”  

   With a worried glance to each other we followed. My immediate thought was that these Pigeons had stolen another boat and I hadn't seen or heard much to contradict that thought. The Commodore was sitting at a table in the bridge with a mysterious chart in front of him, another Pigeon at the wheel. He looked up as we came in.  

   “Ah Lillow! Ishmael, Lorna, Holly! Sit.” He waved to the chairs around the table. “Glad you could make it.” As we settled, he added, “So you decided to take a chance, huh?” I was too confused to answer. He continued, “Well, you pays your dime, you takes your chances!” He started laughing.  

   “They didn't have tickets,” Henry murmured.  

   The Commodore stopped laughing, briefly looked surprised, then added, “Well, I guess you all just takes your chances!” He laughed loudly again, then focused on the river ahead. “You see where we're going, don't you?”  

   I could see nothing ahead except haze and roiling clouds that split briefly to show stars in the background. That couldn't be right since it was broad daylight, but the clouds boiled up again, blocking my view. There seemed to be a huge roaring sound, deep and ominous. “No, I can't see anything. Just those clouds.” I squinted my eyes. “What's that sound?” No answer. “You know,” I continued. “I was just going to ask where we were going.” I looked at the Commodore. “So where are we going?”  

   “That's the edge of the world,” he intoned softly, pointing toward the roiling clouds.  

   “Huh?” I looked more closely. It did seem pretty chaotic, especially with those stars. But still . . .  

   “What do you mean edge?” Lorna asked.  

   “Yeah,” I added. “The world's round. There's no edge.” Ishmael and Holly had gone up to the windows in front and were peering nervously ahead.  

   “That's the edge there,” the Commodore spoke in no-nonsense tones, wearing a grim expression. “We're gonna see what's beyond.”  

   That's when I noticed a round door in the back wall. I motioned to the others to follow and we snuck over to the door. I looked back and saw the Commodore gripping the wheel, totally focused on the approaching edge with Henry by his side. Then I reached out and turned the door's wheel, the door opened and we all popped quickly through. I looked back just as the big boat started tipping over the edge with the Commodore still at the wheel, Henry still by his side and a misty blackness of star-filled space beyond. I slammed that door shut!  

   We were back in the kitchen. Only it wasn't quite the same.