Fog Magic

Fog Magic by Julia L. Sauer

Book: Fog Magic by Julia L. Sauer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Julia L. Sauer
    Greta stood in the middle of the kitchen drinking in its warmth, its friendliness. Her eyes rested on one familiar thing after another; the corner cupboard with the two egg cups side by side in the center of the lower shelf like a baby’s first teeth; Grandfather Tidd’s glowing dinner plate behind them; the stand before the window with its pots of heliotrope and rose geraniums, and the red and gold lacquered box that held Laura Morrill’s sewing; the conch shell for a doorstop; the ship model on the shelf; the black screen with the strange gold birds that stood before the couch. These were things she knew as you could only know the things you had dusted and handled; she would never forget them because the feel of them would always linger in her hands.
    When Mrs. Morrill came back, she put into Greta’s hands a little gray Persian kitten. “Princess would like you, to have one of her kittens to take home,” she said.
    The tiny soft thing snuggled sleepily into Greta’s arms. It was as gray and as gentle as a breath of fog, but it brought only dismay to Greta. She remembered the piece of strawberry pie that Mrs. Morrill had given her on the day of her very first visit. What would happen?
    â€œMust I—must I take it?” she asked. There were tears in her eyes and it was hard to keep her voice steady.
    â€œYou’ll always be glad you did, Greta, and you’ll love her. Now, my dear—” She opened the door. Greta forgot she was twelve and almost grown up. She threw herself, kitten and all, into Mrs. Morrill’s arms and clung to her like a much smaller girl than she was. Then she stumbled out into the fog.
    â€œSafe passage,” Mrs. Morrill said quietly, “safe passage for all the years ahead!” She gave Greta a last smile and sent her, comforted and confident, on her way. Greta stopped only long enough to pick up her sweater and wrap it around the kitten. She turned up the Old Road toward home without once looking back.
    Beyond Old Man Himion’s, Walter Addington stood waiting. Greta held up the kitten for him to see. “Can I keep it? I—I mean, will it keep?” She almost whispered the words.
    Father reached into his pocket and when he pulled out his hand he kept it closed for a minute. The kitten reached out an impudent little paw and slapped at his closed fist. Father looked at the kitten and laughed. “All right,” he said and opened his hand wide. On his palm lay an odd little knife. The kitten reached for it, but Father drew his hand back. “I suppose you think you’ve a right to it,” he said, “but you’re wrong. I’ve had that knife since my twelfth birthday and I aim to keep it as long as I live. No wisp of a kitten is going to bat it down a crack in the rocks and lose it for me.”
    Greta caught her breath. “Did you get it at Blue Cove, Father?” she asked.
    Her father nodded. “On my twelfth birthday.”
    Greta thought he wasn’t going to say anything more but after a while he began again.
    â€œI think you’ll keep your kitten,” he said at last very slowly. “On your twelfth birthday, Greta, you grow up, and you put away childish things. Sometimes you’ll wish you hadn’t because you put behind you so many things—happy and unhappy. But the next twelve years can be happier still, my girl, and the twelve after that. And try to remember this—none of the things you think you’ve lost on the way are really lost. Every one of them is folded around you—close.”
    â€œThen tomorrow there’ll only be cellar holes—and always, from now on?” she asked slowly. Her father seemed to understand.
    â€œCellar holes, yes. But cellar holes and spruce thickets, and rocks piled high. Old Fundy beating on the shore, clouds blowing overhead, and the gulls mewing. The grandest spot of land on the continent—and your homeland. And

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