(written in 2007)
Tales of the Renaissance Collection
the story of
Not that long ago and far away, yet miles and miles from here, there is a quaint country festival in a clearing in a wood where folks dress up in costly costumes and pretend they are in 16th Century England. It's quite droll, really- you might enjoy it, and anyway, it is where this story takes place...
The dollmaker very very carefully descended the steep steps which led down from her bedroom to the Doll Shoppe below. The floor downstairs was cold. Eyes closed, still half asleep, she unlatched the heavy wooden front doors. They swung outward by themselves, disturbing a dense cloud of October morning fog which turned and reached for her face.
The dollmaker was already in a fog more dense than the one outside. She plunged down the sidewalk, bee-lining it toward the privy, not stopping to chat with a neighbor who was sweeping out her shoppe; not stopping to chat with another neighbor who was returning briskly from the showers; not even actually seeing either one of them as she stumbled onwards with blind determination to relieve the natural function.
Once that had been accomplished, the dollmaker sighed and at last opened her eyes. She slowly began to take stock of the situation. As far as she could tell, she had somehow made it down the treacherous steps into her Doll Shoppe in her pajamas with her eyes closed and then she had found her way to this privy which she knew to be on the grounds of the Texas Renaissance Festival so it must be Saturday- or Sunday- morning....
Ok. Ok. What time is it now? she wondered. A canon would blow at 9AM sharp, heralding the opening of the front gates to let patrons onto the festival grounds. Must get back to the shoppe. Must get out of pajamas and into costume...
It was solid white back out on the sidewalk again; the dollmaker stood there and looked both ways, up and down the sidewalk.
"Good DAy Miss Wee!" a voice boomed from the fog, and to her left a huge beard materialized slowly. It soon became apparent that it was attached to the face of the Furrier, the one who had a habit of speaking in riddles. She thought she heard him say, "The moon is in Capricorn and that means that the conjunct despot will distort the indecisive, and feign companionship for it's own accumulation, so keep your distance!"
"I will." she murmered, looking down humbly and nodding. And he dematerialized into the mists. The dollmaker looked back after him and shook her head. Focus. Focus. The fog was so dense she almost walked past her own shoppe. Ah- but there was her doorway. She turned into it, glad to be back home and thinking about a nice cup of hot tea- when something in the doorway moved.
In fact, there was something large and blue and frilly backing out of her doorway, and this thing was going to run into her in a few seconds if she didn't get out of it's way.. "WHOA!" the dollmaker cried out. But the giant blue thing kept coming. The dollmaker got out of the way. And it came on- a huge deep blue sea of a dress, backing out through the half-closed double doors and spilling out onto the sidewalk in ruffley blue waves.
The dollmaker sprung into action and threw both doors wide open, freeing the dress to cascade outwards, it's arms waving wildly. The dress was occupied. The dollmaker stood forward, addressing the occupant of the dress..
"I am the Lady Kandra. Welcome to my Doll Shoppe."
The dollmaker, still in her pajamas, felt a little sheepish welcoming anyone formally- it had to be hours before the canon blew, and she wasn't technically open yet. The fog wasn't even gone yet. The Dolls weren't even out of the boxes yet. Who was this person, anyway, arriving in full costume so early?
The voluminous blue dress turned on it's axis so that the wearer revolved into view. Impossibly wine-red curls covered head, shoulders, back and front -more hair than a person could grow in a lifetime sat atop this woman's head...it was a veritable sea of curls....upon which floated a little diamond-studded tiara.
She was smiling and her lips were-well, her lipstick was a little- off. Like a little off to the left. And some off to the right. Her eyes were like- concentric circles. Like black rings inside of one another growing larger and smaller into infinity.
The dollmaker shook her head. Focus. Focus. Must get ready. Must get the shoppe ready. Must get the dolls out of their boxes. Must get out of my pajamas. Must have a cup of tea! Must get this woman out of the doorway!
Queried the dollmaker politely as she craned her head to see if she could find a way around the dress:
"And your name is...?"
"Don't you recognize me? I am The Queen!" The spots of lipstick smiled warmly. "I am here to meet with the Fairies!"
Oh no, the dollmaker thought.
"Oh Really?" The dollmaker said out loud. "This is quite a surprise!" The dollmaker clapped her hands to emphasize what a surprise this was.
"Yes, I got up nice and early and travelled a great distance through a fog all the way here, and I finally got here. I am so delighted to be here. So, now, do tell, where are they?"
"OH! Yes, of course, the FAIRIES! Well, if you will let me into my shoppe, I'll show you... " The dollmaker slyly said, negotiating her way along the coastline of the frilly blue sea and finally sliding through her doorway.
"Would you care for some tea? Or perhaps some breakfast cookies, what did you say your name was?" the dollmaker called out from the tiny kitchenette.
But, instead of hearing a reply, she heard the voice of Jeff the Chef:
"Good morning Lady Kandra, Dollmaker Extraordinaire! Where are you- in the kitchen?"
(pause...) "OH good morning Mistress Nevermind. How are you today?"
Jeff the Chef rounded the corner into the kitchen where the dollmaker grabbed him and whispered, "Who IS she?"
The dollmaker could hear, coming from the main display room:
"Fairies! Oh Fairies! Where ARE you, dear Fairies?"
Jeff the Chef whispered back- "Oh that's Lady Nevermind! She's quite mad, you know. She thinks she's the Queen!"
"I think she thinks the dolls are fairies..."
The dollmaker answered, loud enough for Lady Nevermind to hear:
"The Fairies are- ah- still asleep- in their rubbermaid- er- beds."
The dollmaker nudged Jeff the Chef out of the kitchen and briskly approached Lady Nevermind. Though still in pajamas, she bowed and crossed her heart and said, "It is a great honor, your majesty, to have you here for the waking up of the Fairies." Then the dollmaker opened up all of the rubbermaid tubs.
Lady Nevermind clapped her hands. "OH! Fairies! What FUN!" She reached into a pink rubbermaid tub and lifted out a red Flower Annie Doll and began a conversation with the doll. She inquired of the doll what it's preferences were, and evidently the doll suggested that she be placed in front of the begonias.
"Oh Yes! I do agree! You would look beautiful in front of those begonias! The red flowers match your dress!"
Then she turned to a blue Sea Goddess Doll. "Now you, dear, did you say you prefer a view of the pond? I quite agree. Now then, you there- you little Green Man- there's this spot I think you'll enjoy over here amongst the vines..."
The dollmaker threw open all five doors to the Magick Doll Garden, and walked through it, sweeping her arms around to indicate all of the little spots where she usually placed the dolls in the garden. The dollmaker felt confident that Lady Nevermind would occupy herself with "the fairies" for some time, and so she slipped back upstairs to get dressed into her own shopkeeper costume.
Lady Nevermind, meanwhile, explained to the Fairies that she was their leader. She inquired as to how many of them would like to listen to a story. Then she took a count of fairy votes. The consensus was that 35 dolls wanted to listen to a story.
The dollmaker slowly, carefully, descended the steep steps down into the Doll Shoppe again, dressed in her costume this time. She had heard the canon signal the start of the show, so she bustled out into the shoppe to get the rubbermaid boxes out of sight, but they were already put away. The music was playing and the shoppe was swept and the sunlight was filtering in through the stained glass windows- but where were all the dolls?
The dollmaker stood in one of the doorways to the Magick Doll Garden and spotted Lady Nevermind out there beside the pond, her voluminous dress under her like the great blue sea and 35 dolls in a semi-circle around her, all facing in towards her and listening raptly to the story.
"And so, my friends, the moral of this tale is... never give clothes to a pixie!" The Lady Nevermind finished her story with a laugh and a flourish and a nod of her head.
That was when the dollmaker heard the applause.
She looked to her right, to the outside of the Doll Garden border, to the sidewalk, where about fifty people stood, facing the storyteller, adults and children alike, all applauding.
The dollmaker couldn't be sure, but she thought maybe she heard some doll applause in there too.
Then... in the year 2008...
returned for a very special surprise visit
to the Wee Peeple Doll Shoppe?
None other than the
What's that she's holding?
Could it be... an empty Box of Nerds?
Along the way she picked up an empty box of Nerds
inside of which she discovered a whole colony of invisible "Nerdlings" who were using the small box for a home. Even as she attempted to reveal the presence of these Nerd-box inhabitants to customers trapped in the Doll Shoppe or passing by on the sidewalk by holding the open Nerds box out at eye level for them, she readily admitted that the Nerdlings were invisible...
The Lady Nevermind got right down to business and promptly found an audience of twelve dolls to whom she told one of her famous stories.
3rd Weekend at Texas Renaissance Festival featured the theme of All Hallows Eve, so the Dollmaker thought that the Lady Nevermind needed a Kitchin Witchin Doll to accessorize her "royal garb"...
The Kitchin Witchin Dolls ride on a broom or spoon and are suspended from a string... so...
They had a swinging time all day long!
(You can JUST IMAGINE!)
Kandra Niagra, Dollmaker
PO Box 326
Smithville, Texas 78957
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