Christmas Hiatus: The Mist-ery of the Disappearing Butter

The blog is on hiatus for the Christmas season. New stories will return in January. Here’s one from the archives:

Nestled amongst green rolling fields, blanketed by early-morning mist, is a mansion. On the ground floor of this large, old but rather cosy mansion, is a room. Sitting in this long, underlit but tastefully decorated room, is a table. Resting upon this long, overly-polished but beautifully arranged table sits a bountiful breakfast feast. Half-hidden behind a very large, ornately carved and salad-filled bowl is a young girl. She is attempting to yawn and eat at the same time.

She appears about three years of age, yet sits with a grace and precociousness that somehow commands the room, the whole house and possibly the entire world. The salad bowl is slowly diminishing beneath the power of her careful onslaught. Plates of sauerkraut and boiled eggs tremble in anticipation of their impending consumption. A glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice watches over the entire ceremony.

A tiny hand picks up a buckwheat cracker, eyes rove the empty spaces of tablecloth between the dishes, searching. The desired item is not present, so a voice sings out to a well-dressed man standing stiffly in the corner of the room.

Mister Lowkigh. There is no butter here on the table. Please go and have a word with the chef.”

The butler, apparently trembling just a little, clears his throat.

“I’m sorry Miss, but the butter has gotten a little lost again.”

The little girl harrumphs, jumps down from her chair, trots over to the French windows, opens them and strolls out into the misty garden.

Shivering in the early morning sunlight, the little girl walks quickly across the grass, plunging into the mist. Within moments the house behind her has faded from sight. Grass leads to more grass, the wet blades making her socks and shoes damp. She walks around bushes sculpted by her skilled groundsmen into the shapes of rabbits, hedgehogs and teddy bears, and reaches a garden path sprinkled with small pebbles. She turns to follow the path, little buckled shoes crunching over the stones.

Out of the mist looms a small shed, guarded on three sides by trees. The little girl walks straight up to the shed door, which is just the right size for her diminutive frame, slides a rusty bolt back and throws the door open.

Inside the shed a small black and white kitten, shocked at the sudden entrance of its mistress, leaps back into a corner and stares at her with wide, surprised eyes. A little yellow duckling, flapping its wings with excitement, looks up and gawps. On the floor of the shed between the two fluffy criminals is a small white saucer, upon which sits a half-eaten block of creamy yellow butter.

The little girl puts her hands on her hips and frowns, looking from one culprit to the other. Remnants of the surreptitious feast sit upon the duckling’s open beak. The little girl glares.

What on earth do you think you are doing?” she says. The duckling closes its beak and looks at the floor. “Well I should hope you feel guilty!” the girl continues. “That’s twice in a week!” The kitten’s paws are covered in butter. It starts licking them, but stops under the glare of the righteous accuser.

The little girl points out of the shed.

Go and apologise to Mister Lowkigh at once, both of you.”

The kitten meows and the duck quacks in synchronised, subdued apology. The two felons slink between her shoes and out into the garden.

With a huff, the little girl crossly escorts the two breakfast delinquents back to the house, taking her butter with her. As she goes, she mutters under her breath.

Six hundred and fifteen words. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

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