At this time of year, my imagination goes to Peer Gynt’s “Hall of the Mountain King”. It is the time for dark caves and ogres. Dark bridges and ogres. Dark, gothic music and ogres. And fearless fairies. And hope.
Pindi looked out from her perch on top of the fence in front of her family’s winter home. “Its rainy and windy. There are no flowers. Few leaves. But, the Camelias are blooming and the Abutilon has some flowers. The Daphne has buds. I hope the hummers can find food.”
“Come back inside,” called Mindi. It isn’t fit for fairies outside today. There’s a fire in the winter hall, and honey treats.”
“I’m worried about the hummers,” Pindi replied. “They shouldn’t be here in the winter. Giants feed them and that has changed their migration patterns. I hope they don’t starve.”
“They won’t. A bunch of them are in the winter hall now talking with Father.
Pindi flew back into the winter hall in the Passion Flower arch next to their summer home in the Green Japanese Maple Tree. The hall thrummed with the beating wings of the hummers as they told Bran, King of the Green Japanese Maple Tree their story.
And the ogres waited below.
“We are able to find some food” a hummer explained. “But there’s not much. And giants who fill feeders with sugar water have corrupted our young. They don’t know how to find real food.”
“You are welcome to stay here. What can we do to help?” King Bran asked.
“Besides the struggle to find food, we’re being attacked by ogres. They come boiling out of the ground and clamber up the branches of our food bushes and trees. They swing their long arms out and prevent us from feeding.”
“Let me think about this,” answered the King Bran. “There must be a solution. We should be able to negotiate a truce with the ogres. But the problem with giants is more difficult.”
Pindi was ready to burst. “Giants should plant hummer friendly gardens – not fill feeders with sugar water!” At the sound of her voice, her father turned and gave her his sternest look. “Pindi, you have interrupted a council meeting – again. How many times have I told you to stay quiet?”
“I can’t remember,” Pindi whispered. “But it’s true. I can talk with my giants about planting hummer friendly plants that will provide food. And, there are other giants nearby who would do the same. I just know it!”
“She may have a point,” Zoom, the lead hummer, replied. “In this neighborhood, there are very few sugar water dispensers, and the giants seem to care about us. Maybe Pindi can help start spreading the word. Giants are good about planting flowers that provide nectar in spring and summer. Winters are when we suffer the most.”
“Pindi has a point way too often,” muttered King Bran. “That doesn’t make it proper for her to interrupt adult conversations. Pindi, go to your chamber and reflect upon proper behavior for young fairies.”
Pindi bowed her head and flew off towards her chamber, tears of frustration spilling over her cheeks.
As the King talked with his council about how to approach the ogres, Pindi was planning. “There are lots of nectar-rich plants that bloom in winter,” she muttered to herself. “Mahonia, witch hazel, Viburnum, Daphne, Grevillea, Camelia, Abutilon, and more. My giants have some of these in their garden. I can ask them to tell their neighbors about them. Even if they don’t have gardens, they can plant hummer friendly food in pots.” She planned to talk with Zoom and her giants the very next day.
In the Fairy King’s Council Chamber
King Bran addressed his council. “I need to speak with Olf, the King of the Ogres. We must be able to come to an agreement to leave the hummers alone. What do the ogres want? Why are they attacking the hummers?”
“They hate everything that lives above ground, especially if they can fly. The live in the dark, with oozing mud and the smell of rot. They do not value life,” explained Angus, Bran’s War Chief. “I don’t know what we can offer to appease them.”
“Hmmm, you know, we and the others who live here try to keep them in their underground lairs. Perhaps we could offer them safe passage to do their foraging in exchange for not attacking hummers. Ogres need to eat, too. And they do a service to the roots of our trees and plants by keeping them clean of pests.”
“Angus, seek out Olf and ask him to join us for a summit to discuss the situation with the hummers a week from today.”
On a cold, wet day a week later, Olf climbed out of his lair and lumbered up the Green Japanese Maple Tree. He liked this drippy weather. It suited his mood.
“Bran, come out!” Olf bellowed. “I’m too big to fit into your hall. We can talk out in the open on a tree limb. Come alone.”
Pulling his cloak closer around his shoulders, Bran walked out onto the limb. “Good Day Olf.”
“Get to your point. I don’t have all day.”
“Olf, the hummers came to me asking for protection. Zoom told me your people have been harassing them, swatting them away from their food. There aren’t many nectar-rich flowers blooming right now and the hummers are hungry. My people can guard the hummers, but that isn’t a good solution. We need a truce.”
“My people can’t abide that constant vibration from the hummers’ wings, or their cheerful chirping. They should just go somewhere else to feed.”
“There aren’t very many giants who plant nectar-rich plants in their gardens. The giants who live here do, so this is where the hummers find their food.”
Bran and Olf kept arguing and negotiating, each careful not to anger the other. Bran tried to lead the conversation towards an agreement. Olf wanted access to the chicken yard but he didn’t want to give in too easily.
After several hours, Olf decided he was done circling around what he wanted. “We require unrestricted access to the chicken yard. We will leave your people and the hummers alone in exchange for that.”
Bran looked thoughtful and made Olf wait for a minute before he nodded his head. “We can do that.”
“Good, we’re done here.” Olf grunted and climbed awkwardly back down the tree.
Earlier that day, Pindi had snuck out of the tree on her mission to talk with her giants. She saw her father and Olf arguing on a branch and flew the other way. She was sure she could talk her giants into telling their friends which plants and bushes grew the most nectar-rich flowers for the hummers.
Pindi stopped short, nearly falling to the ground in excitement. “I know, I’ll ask Zoom to come with me. He is so charming; the giants will love him and be willing to help” She turned around and raced back to where she had last seen Zoom.
A few minutes later, Pindi and Zoom flew towards the giants’ back door. Pindi knew one of her giants would open the door soon. When her giants came outside, she and Zoom flew around to get their attention, then launched into their proposal. They talked over each other causing the giants to laugh.
“Slow down. We can’t understand you.”
With an exasperated sigh, Pindi forced herself to speak slowly. When she had made her case, she turned to Zoom, who chirped in agreement.
Her giants nodded and agreed to talk with their neighbors. And to plant more hummer friendly plants in their own garden.
The hummers were happy and well-fed. The ogres had access to the chicken yard. And Pindi was pleased with herself.