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Autumn Lady

Pippa woke up.

She looked around. It was still dark.

The window rattled. Pippa snuggled deeper under the duvet and clutched Tom the Cat tightly to her chest.
She heard a strange “wheeeeee” sound.

‘Maybe it is a ghost?’ Pippa wondered and shivered.

“Mummy!” she called and pulled the duvet over her head.

Mum came into the room rubbing her eyes. “What’s wrong Pippa? It’s the middle of the night!”

Mum looked for her in the light of the little night light. “Where are you?” she asked sleepily.

Pippa peeped from under the duvet. “I’m here!”

“What are you doing under the duvet?”

“Hiding, of course!”

“What are you hiding from?” Mum asked.

“The ghost! Can’t you hear it? It goes ‘Wheeeeee’, and then it’s quiet for a bit, before it starts again,” Pippa explained.

“That’s no ghost. It’s the wind,” Mum laughed.

“It is a ghost. I heard it.” Pippa shouted and lifted the duvet completely off her face. “It’s far too scary tbe just the wind!”

“It’s the wind collecting all the most beautiful leaves for the Autumn Lady,” Mum told her and sat down beside her.

“Who is the Autumn Lady?” Pippa snuggled up to Mum.

“Remember Jack Frost who makes the winter come?” Mum asked.

Pippa nodded.

“There is also the Spring Maid, the Summer King, and the Autumn Lady,” Mum explained.“I remember.

“They make the seasons come, don’t they?” Pippa laughed.

Mum nodded, “Yes, the Spring Maid sings to the flowers to make them grow and calls to the geese to bring spring.”

Pippa interrupted, “And the Summer King rides the sun to make it hot everywhere?”

“Yes. He rides the sun like a horse high up in the sky,” Mum agreed.

“What about the Autumn Lady?” Pippa reminded Mum.

“The Autumn Lady calls the winds to collect the leaves—”

“You told me that already. But what does she need them for?” Pippa interrupted.

“For the dress she wears at the Great Ball,” Mum explained.

“The whole dress is made of leaves?” Pippa wondered, and tried to imagine it. “It must look very beautiful.”Mum smiled.

“What is the Great Ball?” Pippa asked. [..]

Copyright, Sybille Sterk 2002, 2003
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