THE PLOT THICKENS
Rose was absent again at the pre-school the following day. Abby, Tom, and Rob helped the group move the play city and the forest to the sunny spot near the south windows. It was a lengthy task. The children expanded the city in the process, and added characters. Franklyn wanted a wizard to live in the forest. He also wondered if there were any bad guys there. Tiny reported that Emily, the daughter of the Good Fairy, had said there definitely were bad guys, but she wasn’t sure they were in the forest. Lucy said the bad guys always want to steal the treasure.
“Is there really a treasure?” asked Ned. “I’ve never seen it.”
“That doesn’t mean it isn’t there,” Lucy told him.
“This is our city,” Rob said. “It’s our story. Let me find a few more people you might want to live here.” He crossed the large room, rummaged in a wooden chest, and returned with a little metal wizard with a tall pointed hat, a cloak, a staff, and a clear glass crystal ball. Rob handed it to Franklyn, who stared at it in awe. “Look! The ball changes color!” And indeed, the transparent ball faintly shimmered with colors as it moved.
Rob opened his other hand and displayed a metal dragon with outstretched wings, standing on the edge of a treasure chest containing another glass ball, as well as tiny stones of different colors. The dragon may have been just landing, or just taking off. Rob handed it to Ned. The others gathered round to examine these delights.
Franklyn placed the wizard in the middle of the forest, and Ned moved the trees slightly to place the treasure there also. Jane wanted to know if the dragon was good or bad. The group disagreed on that subject. Tiny flew her witch into the forest and said that the witch was in charge of all of them.
Franklyn wasn’t sure, and asked her if the witch was good or bad.
“Good,” Tiny replied with confidence.
“Then who are the bad guys,” Franklyn wanted to know.
Rob again rummaged in the chest, and returned with an assortment of figures and set them out in a row. There were comic book heroes and villains, men in suits, a princess, and a hand carved figure of the Good Fairy, more than twice as tall as any other character.
“Do Robin Hood and his band live in the forest?” asked Ned.
“The Good Fairy says they do,” answered Tiny.
Rob took another trip to the wooden chest and returned with very small figures made of green felt with painted faces. Each wore the tell-tale green Robin Hood jacket and hat. And next to Robin Hood’s band Rob set out a series of gnomes clothed in brightly colored felt.
“Oooh!” said Kayla. “Can these be over here?” She placed the gnomes among the trees near her, and one next to her house. “This gnome is our guard,” she said.
“I know where the bad guys come from,” Lucy declared. “They come from town, and want to steal the treasure. Everyone needs to guard the treasure.”
This story developed for a whole hour. Rob found angels, more men in suits, and a policeman. Wonder Woman and Robin Hood’s band created a line of defense. Tiny placed the Good Fairy on a windowsill above the city, and made it clear that the Good Fairy was very aware of all happenings below, and could intervene whenever she wanted to. Jane insisted that there should be animals, including dogs, birds, cats, and raccoons.
“Can we have an owl?” asked Ned. Rob found a small, very beautiful gray owl with wide brown eyes.
“I want to see the owl again!” Kayla burst out. “In the churchyard. Just like that one.”
“Can we go to the Secret Place?” Tiny asked, looking straight at Abby.
She hesitated, looked at Rob, and then replied, “It’s too far to go there today. But perhaps we can go outside and try to be very quiet and see animals.”
“Wonderful idea,” said Tom. “I know where woodchucks and raccoons live.”
The group’s enthusiasm reached a fever pitch. Rob found a pair of binoculars and promised each child a chance to see things far away. Tom led the group out to explore.