“It really does look like Candy Cane Lane now!” Pippa said. “But UGH, it’s so much work.”
Vesper groaned and stretched. “It is! Fortunately, for the next bit, we can use magic.”
“We can?” Pippa said.
“Come along and I’ll show you how to make an ornament hut!” Vesper said.
Pippa hurried after Vesper. She stopped. “Wait, what about the trailer?”
“Oh, that gets turned into a float for all the leaders. Big deal or some such. We’ll deal with it soon enough.”
“To follow Santa.”
“Doesn’t that take away from Santa?”
“Not really my call,” Vesper said. “But yeah, I think it’s a bit much too.”
Pippa sighed. “Okay, show me how to make an ornament hut.”
Vesper grinned. “First, you need to cast an ornament spell,” she said and waved her hand. An ornament appeared on the ground in a swirl of red and green sparkles. “Then, you make it BIG.” Another hand wave and the ornament was taller than Vesper, why, it was quite tall enough to walk through! “Then, for a red or white ornament, you cast a light spell,” she said. “And for a red and black check ornament, you cast the red light spell and a bead garland spell, like so!” She cast both spells and grinned at Pippa.
“You just wanted to make a rock’n’roll ornament hut,” Pippa told her.
“Of course!” Vesper wasn’t the least bit repentant. “Now, the shopkeepers can come and set up their wares. Go ahead and do a bunch of them up and down the street.”
Pippa giggled and had fun making different type of ornament huts up and down the street. Some of them, she put smaller lighted ornaments beside them. And as she did so, she felt her phone vibrate. She opened it and looked at her achievement list. “Well, more coupons!” she said and giggled. It looked like there were plenty of ornament huts for her to put up in all the villages. She went back to Vesper. “There, done!”
“And I think that is more than enough for one day. Hey, you better start going around and telling the children that Santa is coming!” Vesper said. “All the villages in the district like to come here.”
“You’re right! And I better tell them about Santa’s horse.”
“Santa’s horse?” Vesper asked, looking confused.
“Santa is riding in on a white horse,” Pippa said. “And, the poor thing, he feels forgotten. I told him I’d tell the children about him. He wants carrots of course.”
“Of course,” Vesper said dryly.
“Well, I’ve got a lot to do then!” Pippa said and waved at her.
“Don’t forget to eat!”
“I won’t!” Pippa shouted.
Vesper sighed and tugged at her hat. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” she sang and twirled her cane as she walked down the lane to inspect their work.
First Pippa went to the library to look for the mince-meat pie recipe. Oh, they had the book, but someone had loaned it out. Could she come back later or would another recipe do? Pippa told the librarian it had to be that recipe from that cookbook. It was important. Well, the librarian wouldn’t tell her who’d loaned out the cookbook. But, maybe, Granny Gette would have the recipe?
Pippa sighed. She stopped at Granny Gette’s. Granny Gette didn’t have it either. “But I’m not the only granny in the district. Try Granny Kay,” she said and gave directions.
Well, the blacksmith was on the way to Granny Kay. So she stopped in and finished forging her pine needle. It glowed green when it was done and the one end looked like a pine cone and the needle part was golden and very sharp! She thanked the blacksmith and asked if he had any sleigh runner polish. He told her that if she brought him the ingredients, he’d make some for her and have it ready tomorrow.
Pippa left with a list. Granny Kay didn’t have the pie recipe. But she did know who’d borrowed the book. It was her granddaughter. So, Pippa went to visit her. Of course, she was running across children on her travels and telling them about Santa coming to town and his horse. And of course, she was able to get the ingredients for the sleigh runner polish as well. And, thankfully, the granddaughter did have the book and was more than willing to let her copy the recipe for mince meat pies.
So, it was back to the blacksmith with the ingredients for sleigh runner polish. And then to the tailor with her needle. There she picked up her wool and dye and was able to dye the wool! There was even some dye left over. Now all she needed to do was collect the dried popcorn kernels, chestnuts, fresh fallen snow, and mint and she could go see Holda and make Santa a new outfit.
And so, it was back to Magpie Field. Where she baked a mincemeat pie, and, with the left over red dye and a paint recipe, she made red paint for Santa’s sleigh. (In different bowls and on different counters of course!)
Once the mince-meat pie was finished, she took it to the carpenter, who gave her in exchange the seeds for the white air feather fir. She also gave him a copy of the recipe with a bit of a scolding not to use it to light fires with. The carpenter looked contrite and thanked her profusely. The seeds were cold in her hand and were light blue and looked like tiny pine cones.
So, just before she went to bed, Pippa planted the seeds. And over one seed she promised it that she would take that tree and replant it in the wild, in the Mirror World. That seed glowed just a little brighter.