The scullery maid often dreamt of a cottage in the woods, despite the cautionary tales cook joyfully recounted about cottages and woods and the wolves who visited.
Quite frankly, she was weary of all the drama and drudgery. What if, she wondered, as she drifted off to sleep.
When the wolf came knocking, lured by the smell of buttery scones baking in a wood-fired oven, she welcomed him in. She’d set the table with a blue gingham tablecloth and filled her favorite vase with geraniums and petunias. The napkins she’d folded into birds lent an elegant air.
The wolf bowed at sight of the lovely tableau, then pulled out her chair.
Even the mistress of the manor had few visitors with such refined manners.
At the touch of her guest’s dewclaw their napkins flapped wildly into a pair of startled geese. When he turned his attention to the floral centerpiece, dozens of petals took wing as butterflies.
The wolf ate and drank with equal delicacy. After they’d finished their tea and scones, he rose and held out his paw. She hesitated for a moment, then allowed him to take her hand.
A haunting orchestral melody spoke to her of fern and moss covered dells, and although she and the wolf hadn’t moved, it felt as though they were waltzing through a familiar doorway…
The wolf at her side.
A canopy of towering trees above them…
Leaf litter and loam cool beneath their paws…