There is a mysterious forest within the woody area we all have near our homes. In this forest children are able to witness experiences that are so incredible that they carry the memory well into their adult life. Upon becoming an adult they stop sharing their story because they are embarrassed by the thought that people will not believe them. This is why many adults long for their childhood and regret not being able to live those days.
I myself experienced an enchanted moment that was caused by me taking advantage of a friend who should have known better. To this day I regret and marvel over an incredible experience I had when I was a child. I tell you this story and call it fiction only to protect myself from being teased for knowing the almost unbelievable truth. My name is Kevin.
My friend, Morey, and I liked to explore and do many things. Morey was very adventurous and was more willing to try things on a whim. I would constantly dare Morey, “Why don’t you try this”. He would always reply, “Okay.” Morey trusted me and to this day I regret that I broke his trust. Up until the event in question, I had never suggested anything that would get my friend in trouble. However I did possess a mischievous streak and I let it get the better of me. He forgave me for what happened, but unfortunately I never forgave myself.
In the mysterious forest lived a small community of gnomes. They looked exactly like garden gnomes. Among the gnomes was the supervisor, Timothy. Because we were children, only Morey and I were able to see the gnomes. For some reason adults were not able to see them. We even tried to tell our parents about them, only to be punished because they thought we were making up stories. Because we got punished, Morey and I made a pact never to tell our parents or any other adults about the inhabitants of the mysterious forest for fear of being punished or laughed at.
In addition to the gnomes, a quiet old lady lived in the woods in her small house. The house blended into the forest and consequently not many people knew she lived there. Timothy the Gnome had warned us to stay away from her. He never told us why. Timothy the Gnome believed everyone had a right to privacy, because gnomes value privacy above everything else. Little did we understand that this warning was not an idle warning but rather a warning that was a matter of life or death!
Every afternoon we passed the old lady’s house only to smell the most intoxicating aroma of fresh baked pastries. Some days she would make these beautiful luscious looking pies with fresh apples. Another day she made the incredible cup cakes suitable for a king. However on this day she made muffins. The muffins were made with various herbs and berries from the forest. They had an intoxicating aroma and there was something magical about them that made them irresistible.
When I smelled those muffins I got a mischievous idea. Neither Morey nor I needed to steal the muffins. We had brought lunch with us and had plenty of food. But the aroma of the fresh baked muffins drove us crazy; making it impossible to ignore them. I turned to Morey and dared him to steal that muffin. “Hey Morey, bet you can’t steal at least two muffins from that old lady.” “Yes I can.” he replied. “Yea, let see you do it.” I shouted back at him.
Ever so quietly, Morey and I sneaked up the house to check it out. Morey wanted to steal the muffins when the old lady was not looking. We waited while hiding until the old lady left the house. Afterwards Morey bolted for the front door. Guided by the luscious fragrance he made his way to the kitchen. Upon seeing the muffins, Morey grabbed all of them and put them in his pockets. He then ran from the house to where I was waiting.
A funny thing happened when Morey offered me a muffin. I immediately felt guilty about stealing the old lady’s muffins. I realized that we had gone too far. While pondering whether I should accept a muffin, Timothy the Gnome happened to come by. He told us that we made a mistake and should return the muffins and apologize before it was too late. “Too late!,” replied Morey. “Yes, too late!,” the gnome repeated. At this point I refused to take any muffins. However Morey explained that the Gnome could not hurt him, because only children and not adults can see him.
I cringed as Morey started to eat the muffin. As he ate the muffin, he reveled about his successful mission, or so he thought.
At this time I was sick with guilt and told Morey I wanted to go home. Morey decided to accompany me home and continued to revel about his accomplishment. In the distance we could hear the Gnome warning us that we had made a big mistake.
While walking we notice some birds perched in the trees. It was a normal site, but seemed kind of strange because I never had my attention caught by them before. However I noticed that as we walked more birds were starting to appear. When I looked again up at the trees I tripped on a rock and fell to the ground. While picking myself I notice that there were crumbs on the ground. “Morey”! “What,” he replied. “Are you dropping crumbs on the ground. Morey checked his pockets to see if crumbs from his muffins were dropping on the ground. There weren’t any. This was a mystery that plagued us until the next event answered our question.
Then it happened! First the birds flew down and pecked and started to eat the breadcrumbs on the ground. Then they started to follow the trail of breadcrumbs to straight to source. Then to my shock they started to hop and fly straight for Morey’s beautiful long locks of hair. To my shock the crumbs were falling out of his hair. ‘Get them off of me! Get them off of me!” he yelled. I quickly brushed them off and then yelled, “Run!”
After we got far away from the birds I looked at Morey’s hair only to discover that it was changing from black to the same color as a muffin. “Morey, what is going on?” “I don’t know, but I’m scared.” “Morey! Lets head home, maybe our parents can help you,” I replied.
So we headed home, toward a narrow path on the side of a pond. As we got closer to the pond we could hear ducks. Hundreds maybe even thousands. This almost seemed like the end of our adventure. We couldn’t get to the path, because the ducks, which started to run toward Morey, blocked it. “Morey, run! I think they want to eat you!”
“Where, where?” Morey asked. I then suggested we run back to Timothy the Gnome. He was a supervisor and seemed to be wise beyond years. Little did I know that he was almost 300 years old and had wisdom beyond my imagination.
After running for a half an hour and dodging birds that were diving at Morey we caught up to Timothy the Gnome. “Timothy, Timothy, we need your help!” we both screamed. “What is happening to you boys?” Timothy replied. We quickly explained.
There is a reason I warned you not to go near her. She is a witch with magical powers. You boys would have been all right if you had left her alone. We then asked the wise Timothy why he had not told us that she was a witch. Timothy then explained to us that everyone deserved their privacy and that we should not have stolen the muffins.
We realized now that it was wrong to steal the muffins and not only felt scared but guilty at the same time for our crime.
“What can we do Timothy?”
“You boys must go to the witch and ask her forgiveness. Hopefully you can work out something so that you get rid of this problem.”
Afterwards we went to the witch and asked her for forgiveness. The witch explained that she would take the spell off Morey if we did some chores around the house. We quickly did the chores. As we did the chores Morey’s hair color and locks started to return to the natural black color. When we completed the chores Morey’s hair had completely returned.
You know that witch wasn’t that bad of a person. She offered to give us good muffins anytime we wanted to do chores for her. She explained that she was getting older and needed help and wanted some company. I will never forget those days we spent with her and hearing her stories. That was 50 years ago and it is has taken all these years to have the courage to share my story.
Morey and I lost touch after high school, but I hear he owns his own bakery. I imagine that Timothy, the supervisor is still tending to that forest and guiding other adventurous boys to do the right thing.
Written by Lawrence Ticotin