"I should love to be a bard," Columbine said after she had sung her fairy song for her family members, much to the delight of her parents, and even her grandmum. "But what should I sing of? No one around here ever had any adventures. When I ask them they become angry. They say, 'No one in my family ever had any adventures, and if they did I had better not hear of them.' So what would I have to tell? Elves and big folk have adventures, why can't we? I don't wish to write songs of just fairies. I'm a hobbit too, am I not?"
She stood in that way she had, as though she were owed something, and someone really ought to give it to her. Petal was certain that she was the one in debt, and she smiled softly to herself.
"One need not have adventures to be worthy of song," she said, although she was not absolutely sure she believed it, herself. "I married a mortal, and it was then I became aware of the beauty of common things. The things no one thinks to sing of. Watching a bird teach her young to fly. Seeing a spider weave her web. Helping a babe learn to walk. Baking a pie for one's family. Such things have the true music and poetry in them. Why worry over having adventures? You are a child yet. Go on about the business of being a lass, and you will find much poetry in that."
And although Columbine was doubtful, she did as bidden. She would go about softly unobserved, as her mother had once done before her, often watching the neighbors about their business, and then she would run home and write down their doings in a small notebook, which she never showed anyone. Even her mother did not peek. And one day she tried making a song of her observances:
Mrs. Pease was down on her knees
working her garden one day
when a powerful gust of impudent breeze
snatched her skirt almost away.
And from the stickers I saw her knickers
So white and ruffledy on her
And from the neighbors they drew snickers
Like a huge white cloud they were...
She was certain her family members would be proud of her, and her brother Valerian, who was the only one she showed it to, suggested she sing it at the Mayfest, turning away so she should not see the naughty twinkle in his eye. Yet when she did so, somehow it did not go down very well. And she wondered if her mother had been pulling her leg, after all, and if she should ever take her advice again....
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