The Witching Hour, a children's story! For the young at heart (original)

Our story begins when the children were just about to nod off to sleep...............
It was a very balmy night, and it was as if there was a huge thunderstorm brewing somewhere in the skies.
All of a sudden there was what sounded like a clap of thunder..... and they all sat up in bed bolt upright.

"What was that?" Robert the youngest asked, but the other two,
Liam and Marie Eline weren't at all sure what it was, and before they could say anything

there right before their eyes was the most amazing sight the children had seen.
A clown standing in front of their beds with a dog balancing on its back legs, if you please!

"Ladies, Gentlemen, Boys and Girls" he boomed, "May I present to you, for the very first time,
the amazing, one and only FiFi"
"Who will now attempt to perform......."

But before he could finish his sentence,
there was an interuption from what could only be described as a distraught mouse
who kept flapping his hands and jumping up and down and crying out at the same time

"Quick, quick, you better come quick.....there's somebody....." and with that he darted off.
The children, if you remember were just about to fall off to sleep and so weren't too quick on the uptake, and were quite bewildered by all this.
First they thought, "This isn't happening.....this is part of a dream" But then they looked at each other, and almost together said,
"But its not a dream, because if it was we would be all dreaming the same dream. And that doesn't happen!"

Liam looked at the clock near his bed,
and saw that it was nearly midnight and we all know what that means, don't we?

The itching hour!!!!!!!

Well, with that thought the children were wide awake......they jumped out of bed, putting on their dressing gowns and slippers.
They gave each other the signal not to make a noise, and after excusing themselves from Clown, they started walking on tiptoe in single file, towards the direction Mouse went. Now Mouse lived in a little house in the broom closet. Mind you he had several places he could dive into when things got a little difficult for him.

Liam led the way, followed by Marie Eline and Robert......they crept down the stairs, listening for any strange noises, but they could only hear the odd creak of the stairs, and the house, as if the house were sighing and turning over in its sleep!
Liam wondered if houses slept, ah well, that was something else, but right now they wanted to know what had made Mouse
so agitated.

Just as they got to the bottom of the stairs,
there was a "scrowwll", and a black furry object sprung up,
"Watch where you put your feet....." complained Cat...."You very nearly killed me....lucky I've got 9 lives!"
"Oh! sorry Cat, we didn't see you there. Have you seen Mouse?" replied the children in a whisper.
"Well, I saw him earlier this evening in a terrible state....frankly I don't know why though." replied Cat.

The children hurried to the broom cupboard in the kitchen, and peered into Mouse's home.
They could hear some strange sounds, like singing, but they couldn't quite catch the words.
They used the light of a torch to try and see what was going on in Mouse's home,
and there appeared to be someone, who wasn't Mouse,
but someone with a hat on and mixing something in a big, big pot.

"Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble......." were the words they could hear now. Gosh, but where was Mouse?
Surely he wasn't in the pot was he? That couldn't be....but what if.....oh dear, this is very serious indeed they told each other.
They started to edge away from the entrance without attracting attention. They had to give this some serious consideration. This called for some plan of action. But first they had to find Mouse. Now where could he have got to? The children put on their thinking caps.........there were a dozen places he could be, he was very good at that, they knew. Robert thought he might be in the hole behind the coal they quickly went and had a look....but no he wasn't there. Then they thought he might have hidden in the linnen cupboard....he loved that place especially when the weather was cold, but he wasn't there either.

Rocking Horse started rocking.....
"Mmmmm....I wonder where else Mouse could be,
we've tried all the usual places and all the unusual places....... this is all rather puzzling..." he said.
The children agreed, they must have looked in at least a half a dozen places, but no luck!
While they were thinking where else they could look they heard a "pssstt" from behind the dresser in the kitchen.
They quickly bobbed down to see who it was, and yes you've guessed it, it was Mouse.

"Oh! we are so glad you are in one piece!" they whispered "Who is that person in your home?"
"That person....that, um, is none other than Madam," said Mouse in a very shakey way,
"and she just decided that she was going to concoct her magic potion in my home.....without a by-your-leave, if you please...
Imagine that...she just went in holis-bolis...... just like that."

"Well, maybe we can talk to her, and see how long she's going to be. Lets give it a try." they said
And with that they all trooped off to Mouse's home, with Mouse following behind.

"What kept you ducky?" came a booming voice from within the hole
"Come in, come in, I've nearly finished....its going to be reeeealy super duper.....would you like a draught? "
Now, the children didn't know how to take Madam, for they hadn't met her all that often, only heard stories about her, and you know how stories get embellished upon, don't you?

Marie Eline was the first to find her voice, she really couldn't help herself, she adored cooking, and piped up
"Ummm, Madame what exactly are you cooking in that pot? she asked, whereupon Madam, not used to the French pronunciation
looked up quickly, and peered at Marie Eline......

"Oh! all sorts of things, m'lovely, but at the end of the day, its the taste that counts doesn't it?
And I can promise you that this is the most sweet tasting drink you have tried in a long time."

By now, Liam and Robert were feeling braver, and chimed in
"But how can we be sure that it is going to be good for us, and that we are not going to turn into toads or something silly?"

Madam turning towards Mouse said
"Mouse what on earth have you being telling these children about me eh?"
"Go on, go on, tell them who I really am."
Mouse was still a bit agitated by all of this activity going on inside his little house,
but after a bit of shuffling around, he said,
"Madam are you sure you want me to tell them your secret.....
a secret is not a secret when everybody knows about it, remember....and you have to be careful you know....."

Just then a very impressive owl in a dinner dress and top hat appeared.
He had a white cane in his hand and being the polite Owl he was, he doffed his hat, and cleared his throat.....
"Ahem...Beggin' your pardon, m'lady, may I be so bold and to suggest that the hour is nigh and that your carriage awaits."

"Oh very well Owl, I'm very nearly finished. Would you be so good as to tell Driver I shan't be long."

Now the children who had been listening to this, couldn't help feel a bit confused.
"M'Lady?" but Mouse had referred to her as "Madam" this was all getting a bit too much. Liam made the first move, and very boldly said "Mouse, Madam asked you to tell us who she really is? Well are you going to or are we going to be kept in the dark?"

Mouse was beginning to become calmer now that he saw that he was going to get possession of his home back again.
He looked up at the children, "Well, Madam likes to travel around incognito so to speak,
so that she can go where ever she pleases without attracting attention. Thats why she dresses up.
She particularly likes the Old Witches costume, as then people don't bother her - they are more inclined to give her a wide berth!"

Robert was becoming impatient by all this, and piped up
"But who is she, Mouse?"
Madam who had been listening while she was stirring her pot, interjected, "She?, she?, well 'she' is certainly not the cats mother!"
Robert taking the point, said "Sorry, but who is Madam, Mouse?"

"I was coming to that" said Mouse, "But you keep interrupting me......Now where was I?"
"You were saying that Madam likes to dress up" said Marie Eline,
who was imagining herself dressed up in a witches costume and what fun it would be.

Owl couldn't help himself, and continued on with Mouse's explanation.
"Well, you see Girls and Boys, Madam is none other than everybodys "Fairy Godmother"....
and she just loves visiting everybody and watching over them to make sure that no harm comes to them."

Mouse nodded excitedly, privately he was rather glad that Owl had taken over,
because he always felt bad, no matter what, when he was asked to tell a secret. Especially when it wasn't his secret to tell.
You never knew who was listening.

By this time, Madam had decided that her brew was just about done. She tapped the spoon on the side of the pot a couple
of times to shake off any delectable syrup that might have stuck on, put the spoon down on the bench, and bent down to pick up
the pot by its handles.....

Now as she was doing this, her cape fell over her head,
and then an amazing thing happened, the next moment she was outside Mouse's home standing next to the children.
And now she wasn't "Madam" to whom they had been talking to in Mouse's home,
but the most beautiful looking lady they had ever seen, and what's more, her voice was wasn't the booming voice they had been hearing before, which frankly was a bit scarey, but a lovely soft voice.

"Hello, you lovely children, here you are....I promised you something special, and here it is....Mouse, Owl, bring the mugs along,
and we will all have a drink. Mouse and Owl went to the dresser and fetched mugs for everyone, and Fairy Godmother started to fill them up to the brim. Gosh, this was the nicest drink they had tasted in a long time, they thought....even better than
"apple juice" thought Liam,....... than "milk" thought Marie Eline and Robert.

"Now children, I want you to listen to me.....we must have a talk about what your 'heart's desire' is soon, but its getting rather late now,
and you need your beauty sleep, so that you can grow up to be big boys and girls....but I want you to think about this.

"You see its very important to know when you are little what your 'heart's desire' is so that you can work on it, and make it come true.
Simply everybody has a dream about something they really want to be or do, and that is just your 'heart's desire' nudging you."

As Fairy Godmother was saying this,
she stooped down to give each of the children a big hug and kiss.

The children were listening very intently when all of a sudden the kitchen clock struck the hour!

Well that seemed to be the cue for breaking the spell,
and every one suddenly jumped up.

Mouse scurried off to his home, with a squeek.
Fairy Godmother smiled, and turning with a wave, mysteriously disappeared through the door, with Owl following her.
And the children rounded up all the mugs and placed them on the sink,
and headed off upstairs to bed
wishing each goodnight and sweet dreams.


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