Manning's Ferns Part I

Manning the Woodland Whimble chirped softly. He walked along the shady path toward his favorite glen hidden in the woods. The most wonderful ferns grew there: Boston, Maidenhair, Lady, Painted. After the last bend in the path, the Whimble stopped in his tracks. His feathers ruffled. He shook from beak to toe.

"Where are they? All my beautiful ferns! What could have happened? Who could have done this?" Manning cried.

Indeed, the lush fern forest was gone. All that remained was recently turned dirt. 

 In shock, Manning ran around in circles. He looked and looked for just one fern frond but saw nothing green at all. He sat down and cried. Those ferns were his friends. In the heat of summer, he always brought water from the nearby stream to sprinkle over them, talking to each and every one. In return, they always greeted him with their serene, green beauty. Now they were gone, all gone.

Manning's heart broke. 

After a long while, the Whimble stopped crying. He rose slowly, sighed deeply and walked home. 

 The minute Manning's heartmate, Sophie, saw his crestfallen face, she knew something was very wrong. She rushed to the garden gate. "Manning, dearest Manning. What happened?", she questioned, hugging him closely.

"Oh, Sophie, The Fern Glen is gone, all gone. Not a fern to be had, just a bare patch of dirt!" he replied sadly.

"Who would do such a thing?" Sophie asked. She had heard rumors about plant thieves who slunk into the forest in the deep of night. They were said to steal every sort of plant from those in bloom to saplings.

Patting his back, she stated comfortingly, "There, there, my dear, we will solve this. In the meantime, come inside and have a bowl of pumpkin soup. It will warm you."

Manning's tummy growled. He hadn't eaten since breakfast. "Did I smell corn muffins too, Sophie?" he asked.

"You certainly did, dearest. Come now. You know soup and muffins always make everything just a little better." Sophie took his hand and they climbed up the ladder to their tree home in the large ancient oak tree.

Nikki the Anciennan Hummingbird had been zooming in and out of trumpet vine blooms in the nearby garden. She had heard everything said and felt very sad for her Whimble friend. She flew off to talk with every Lumenesian she could find. Something must be done to help the Woodland Whimble, something to cheer his spirit.

(to be continued from The Woodlands - Caelumen)