Editor’s note: It’s not often that EC gets a submission that includes the work of a professional artist and writer like Lauren Mills. That’s right. The adorable image, “Berry Harvest,” that goes with this delightful and unexpected poem is also by Lauren. You’re going to love this!
A fever led the witch to bed,
Too weak to find a cure.
Her ragged breath, her aching head,
No more could she endure.
A healer she had been to all
Who dared to seek the crone;
But none would heed a witch’s call
She’d face her end alone.
At dusk she spied a little light
Float by her garden wall.
She fancied that a fairy might
Be tucked inside, quite small.
She rose and stumbled out her door
To see what might be there,
Then crawled across the leafy floor
With no one there to care.
Then, one by one, she watched them come
From out of mist and dew.
Her heart like rapid wings did hum
To glimpse them as they flew.
Their hair like tufts of milkweed down
Was lifted by the breeze.
Each gossamer and silky gown
As sheer as wings of bees.
They sang and played a lively reel.
Those dainty feet did dance
Upon the tufted chamomile,
A golden-fairy prance.
With fragrance as a sweet caress
Into a dream serene,
Her eyes half closed in drowsy bliss;
She saw the strangest scene.
A tiny, wounded mouse was laid
Across the blossomed-bed.
A mossy pillow, fairy-made,
Was set beneath his head.
One wrapped him in a petal shawl.
One kissed his tiny cheek.
With thorn removed, he stood up tall,
And thanked them with a squeak.
The next to come was old brown toad.
They set his broken toe.
His gratitude he shyly showed
By croaking rather low.
At last there came a chickadee,
Her feathers not quite right.
The fairies worked so carefully
To sew them back, snug tight.
And just when she began to think
Of taking slumber there
The fairies turned and with a wink
Wove flowers in her hair.
What happened next, she could not say;
The tunes began to fade.
By dawn’s first light they flew away.
She hobbled from the glade.
When she awoke upon her bed,
The dew upon the lawn,
With fragrant herbs around her head-
Her fever? It was gone!
Bio: Lauren A. Mills has been a visiting art professor at the University of Hartford in Connecticut and Hollins University in Virginia. She is the author and illustrator of several books for children including, The Rag Coat, The Dog Prince, Tatterhood and the Hobgoblins, and Fairy Wings which she co-illustrated with her husband, Dennis Nolan, and which won the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) Golden Kite Award. She and her husband have a grown daughter. They live with their Italian Greyhound, Ollie, in Western Massachusetts at their homestead called Faun Hollow. Lauren, a self-proclaimed Hedge Witch, grows herbs that go into her Faerie Botanica of healing teas and body care products that she makes for her family and friends.