Once out of the Mirror World, Pippa pulled out her phone and texted Granny Gette. She was a nice old lady, and by any chance did she still have the recipe for Santa Face Cookies? Granny Gette was happy to reply that she did and that if Pippa dropped by her house, she’d be willing to share it. Pippa grinned and put her phone away.
“Okay Mini Hump, time to hunt down some ice gryphons and get some feather ice!”
They peered at the map and at the sky for ice gryphons and ended up high in the mountains. And well, if only it was that easy to collect the ice feathers from the ground. Well, it would have been, if the ice gryphons had been somewhere else.
Because ice gryphons had ice gryphlets, which had as much sense as a bundle of kittens, which was to say, no sense at all! It was a race between her getting all the ice feathers she needed and them upending her bucket and scattering them all over again!
The parents were no help. They found it hilarious. So, they sat about and laughed as Pippa scrambled about. But, at last, she managed and with a pink cheeks and a huff at all the ice gryphlets, she and Mini Hump went back down the mountain to see the blacksmith.
She raised her bucket of feather ice triumphantly.
The blacksmith applauded.
“You don’t want to know what I went through to get that!” she said.
The blacksmith laughed. “Cute little buggers, ice gryphlets.”
“Oh.” Pippa scowled. “Okay, show me how we’re going to forge a pine needle.”
“We. Oh no. You’re doing all the forging.”
Pippa took out her hammer tongs and first, they melted the fir sap over the fire and then used magic on the pine needle to heat that, and then they added them together, pounding it with the hammer. Then, an ice feather was added. Then they used the cypress oil and started all over again.
The blacksmith looked at it. “Good, good. We’ll let it rest overnight and tomorrow, you’ll be able to finish it.”
Pippa wiped her forehead with the back of her hand. “And I’ll be able to sew with it.”
“It’s magic,” the blacksmith said. “I’ll keep your ice feathers safe. They won’t melt here.”
Pippa nodded. “Thanks so much.”
On the way to the tailor, she stopped by Granny Gette’s house and picked up the recipe for Santa Face cookies. “Thank you!”
“You’re welcome, dearie! I remember when I was young and looking for recipes to make.” The old woman winked at her.
Then Pippa had been on her way musing about Grannies in biker leather.
The tailor looked up. “Ready to make some dye and create some wool cloth?”
“Ready!” Pippa said.
They ground up the different items with the mortar and pestle individually, crushing the cranberry and the holly berry so they gushed red juice in different bowls. The poinsettia produced a paste. And the feather a powder.
They stirred the two juices together and brought them to a boil, then added the paste and powder, stirring and stirring.
“There, we’ll let that steep overnight,” the tailor said.
They moved onto the wool. Yule wool was still lovely to look at. They carded it and spun it and then when it was ready, she left it to the tailor to weave. “And that will be ready tomorrow too!”
“The blacksmith says the pine needle will be ready too!” Pippa said. She smiled at the tailor and could hear the electronic loom clacking as she left.
Ugh, she was so tired and there was still so much to do. Pippa decided she’d have to talk to the carpenter at camp tomorrow to ask about the boards. It was back to Magpie Field and to bed!
Pippa had a bit of a late start. She’d almost forgotten about her magical Christmas tree seeds. She’d cleared an area for them and giggled as she planted them, this time humming “Here Comes Santa Claus.” The seeds looked like little gold bells and they actually jangled as she planted them. She wiped off her hands and nodded.
Pippa opened her list of things to do. Well, she needed to show the boards to the carpenter. Find some paint and runner polish. That would be a good start on the sleigh. Of course, she needed to finish Santa’s suit, which meant finishing the pine needle, and collecting both the dye and the wool fabric. She had to check in on the reindeer and the white horse. And she still needed to help Vesper finish up the town square.
It was just so much to do, she wasn’t sure what to do first. Flummoxing. Looking over it all, she decided that the reindeer and the horse were living things. She’d go take care of them first. And on the way, she might as well stop in and talk to the carpenter. If he could tell her what the boards were, maybe he could tell her where to find them!
She found him in his workshop sawing away at some old wood to make it look better. “Mr. Presley. Could you help me? I found these boards and I don’t know what they are.”
He took the boards from her. The carpenter stroked his beard and looked down the boards, hefting them, smelling them and making funny noises.
“Well?” Pippa asked. She had a lot to do and he was dilly dallying.
“Where did you say you got these?” the carpenter asked.
“I didn’t,” Pippa told him. Why was it that everyone had to ask such a question? That was so nosey.
He wrinkled his nose. “It might help me more if you told me.”
Pippa bit her lip. “Well, I can’t. Can’t you tell by looking?”
“I can. I just don’t know where you’d come across these.” The carpenter narrowed his eyes at her. “Because, bless my soul, if this isn’t white air feather fir.”
“That doesn’t sound like a real tree.”
“It’s a magical tree and it’s rare,” the carpenter told her. “Have you ever heard ‘light as a feather, stiff as a board?’”
“I thought that was a silly game,” Pippa said.
“Oh, it is, but it also describes this tree.”
“Where would I find one? This is important.”
“Now, it just so happens that I might have a few seeds of one of these trees. But!” He put up a finger. “I’ll need you to do me a favor.”
“Say please,” Pippa said.
“Please,” the carpenter said contritely.
“All right. Now what do you need?”
“Well, you see, when I was a lad, my mother made the best mince-meat pie. I can’t describe to you how good it was.”
Pippa decided to cut him off before he got into delirious raptures of words to describe this pie. “You need me to find the recipe and make you this pie.”
“How did you know?”
“Lucky guess,” Pippa said. “All right. Do you have any idea where she got the recipe?”
“From her granny, who got it from her granny, but I’m afraid I might have accidentally…” The carpenter made a face. “Cut it up and used it for tinder.”
“But, but my mother got ribbons for this pie at the winter fair one year. And they supposedly published a book of recipes of all the bakers that year. But I haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy, or at least a copy of the correct year. And I need this pie.”
“Well, that sounds like something a granny would have,” Pippa said. “Or a library. I’ll go check there.”
“Thank you so much, Pippa.”
Pippa smiled and waved at him.