Journey to the House of the Serpent Day II
I spent a surprisingly comfortable night on a pile of dried seaweed in my cave, but I woke up ravenously hungry, having eaten only two Duwamish cakes the day before. But there many rock pools at the foot of the cliffs, and I soon collected enough cockles and mussels to make a substantial breakfast. On my way back to the beach, I heard a chattering noise from one of the rock pools, and went to investigate. I put on my purple glasses, and found two tiny faery folk floating on the surface of the pool in a boat made from half a pumpkin shell.
``It’s your fault,” one shouted at the other.
``No, it isn’t.”
``Yes, it is, I told you to bring the anchor.”
``No, you told me to bring the anchor chain,” the other one said, holding up what looked very like a necklace chain to me. ``You never said anything about the anchor!”
I leaned over and called out softly, so as not to frighten them, ``I think I can help you.”
They turned two furious little red faces toward me.
``Oh, and I suppose you have just happen to have an anchor in your bag,” the one with the chain said sarcastically.
``As a matter of fact, I do,” I said. ``But in return, I need something from you.”
``I knew it,” sniffed the other faery, ``humans are all the same. What is it,” he sighed, ``gold, silver or just to be as beautiful as the Lady Oriel herself?”
``None of that. I just want to know how to get to the House of the Serpents and the Blind Pool..”
Both faces lit up.
``Oh, that’s easy,” said the faery with the chain. ``Just wait on that rock over there – the one shaped like a seal – and the boat will come and get you.”
I gave them the anchor and thanked them kindly – with just a twinge of regret that I hadn’t asked for the beauty of Lady Oriel, but then that might mean I’d end up four-legged – and made my way back to the rock shaped like a seal. While I was sitting there the tide started to come in, and while I was still well above the water, I started to worry that I would stranded if the boat didn’t come.
I needn’t have worried. A small boat came in with the tide and came to rest alongside the rock. I was half expecting another ferry woman, but this time a young fisherman steered the boat. He settled me courteously among the lobster pots, and unfurled a sail once we got beyond the cliffs, so we made good speed along the coast.
My young companion passed the time singing sea shanties and pointing out seal colonies, while a couple of dolphins played with the boat, ducking under one side and bobbing up on the other.
We eventually arrived at a small fishing village. All I had left to pay the boatman with was the rest of my Abby wine, but he took it gratefully.
``The House of the Serpents is that way,” he said, pointing vaguely at the hills beyond. I remembered I had been given a map – in fact, it was almost the only thing I had left, since I had forgotten to pick up the candlestick again – and I saw the fishing village and the jetty clearly marked, and a simple path to follow into the hills.
It was after midday when I finally arrived at the Blind Pool. I stopped for a refreshing drink and bathed my hot face, and then went on up the hill. Below me was a magnificent vista, a valley patchworked in green, gold and all the colours of the rainbow, filled with wildflowers. As I approached the House of the Serpent, I could seem some of my companions had already arrived, but all I could think of was a good meal and a hot bath.