This is the tale of StaraLilly
Which, at first glance, may seem a bit silly
For in regards to the snow
This Poogle said, “No!”
And ventured for lands far less chilly!
~ Alstaf the Poet
The strawberry Poogle elder eased her tired bones into the comfort of her ancient rocking chair, sighing gently as the warming glow from the fireplace crackled and brightened the cozy room against the cold Winter weather. She reached for her needles and yarn from the nearby tea table and continued her task of knitting a cheerful red snow cap. She had lost count long ago of the many mittens, hats, and scarves she had made for her fellow neighbors of Terror Mountain. It was even rumored that she had knitted the infamous cold weather clothes worn by the Snow Faerie Taelia! She chuckled to herself at the memory, showing teeth that were once razor sharp, now dulled a bit from age. Still, she was quite proud of the fact that the Tooth Faerie had stolen not a single one of her precious Poogle teeth- all originals, as she was fond of reminding her family.
The festive atmosphere of the season was ringing throughout the cottage as Poogles young and old bustled about finishing the preparations for their holiday feast while sharing family news and the children came indoors from their play. Snowballs had flown, sleds had descended down the icy mountain slopes, and a giant snow Poogle had been built in the front yard as a demonstration of their joy in this Winter wonderland.
Steaming mugs of cocoa brimming with melted marshmallows was served as the Poogle children unlaced their boots and hung their wet clothes to dry by the hearth.
“Gather around Grandmother Ceedra, little ones,” invited the eldest Poogle from her knitting chair, “and I will tell you a tale as you warm yourselves with your hot chocolates.” The youngest of the Poogles gathered quickly by her feet, and while some of the older children smiled at each other with knowing glances, they still joined the others to listen to Grandmother’s story.
Grandmother Ceedra lightly wound her yarn around the paws of a tiny pink and purple camouflage Poogle called Pepper, who was sitting closest to her knee and listening with wide-eyed anticipation as her Great Grandmother began the story.
“This is the tale of Ostara, a brave and remarkable white Poogle, who was so named because she was born on the first day of Spring.”
Pepper jumped up excitedly and exclaimed, “Why, Great Grandmother, she sounds just like...”
An older Poogle grandchild raised his paw to his lips and said to Pepper, “Shhh... don’t interrupt!”
Meekly, little Pepper settled back down and obediently held her yarn twined paws out to her Great Grandmother so she could continue her story and her knitting. The Poogle elder gave her great grandchild a merry wink and a kind smile, and Pepper beamed back- quietly.
“Ostara was a special Poogle from the day she was born. Try as her mother would, she could not entice her youngster to eat meat of any sort, unlike Ostara’s siblings. Now, we all know that Poogles are equipped with teeth made for chewing,” explained Grandmother Ceedra with a sharp chomping gesture to emphasize her point, much to the delight of the attentive children.
“But Ostara could not be swayed, and she ate only Snow Puffs and snow fruit- nothing else! With resignation, her Mother fixed her special meals of Snow Grapes and such, because she knew that all young Poogles need nutrition to grow strong and healthy.”
“Soon, Ostara’s family learned that her taste buds were not the only thing that was different about her. While her siblings loved nothing better than to romp about in the snow, practicing for the day that they would try out for the Flying Poogles racing team and earn the high honor of a silver badge, Ostara preferred to sit by the fireside and read her treasured books. In fact, her Mother would bundle her up with hats, mittens, scarves, and two pairs of socks per paw, but Ostara would run back in the house within minutes, shivering from the cold!”
The entranced audience gasped, for this was quite unusual behavior for any Poogle!
“Although Ostara loved traveling with her family to the Poogle Races in Faerieland, (where, as we all know, the climate is much milder than our home on Terror Mountain) this was the only thing she seemed to share in common with other Poogles.”
“Sadly, Ostara’s unique ways eventually led her to believe herself strange. Her lunchbox received looks of disdain from her classmates, and she was teased for her unusual food preferences. Since she did not like to play in the snow drifts like other Poogles, she regrettably did not make friends and was left with only her storybooks for playmates. Ostara would spend hours reading about far away lands, wishing for the day that she would be old enough to journey to these exotic places herself.”
“Time passed, and that day arrived soon enough. Ostara, thinking not to embarrass her family any further, packed a few changes of clothing, a knapsack of snow fruit, and as many of her favorite books as she could carry, then headed as far from Terror Mountain as she could go. Her family was distraught upon waking the next morning and finding their dear Ostara gone! No one knew where she had disappeared to, and although the Poogle Rescue Teams searched every inch of the Ice Caves, courageously outsmarting the Snowager and avoiding his frosty blasts- alas, they found no sign of Ostara.”
Grandmother Ceedra paused, and patted Pepper softly on the head as the young Poogle bit her lip to fight off tears from Ostara’s plight.
“Many moons passed, and the citizens of Terror Mountain began to lose hope of ever finding her. Now I should remind you that Ostara was a fan of the Faerieland Poogle Races, and she always cheered for Poogle Number Four, who you well know is your...”
“Great Grandfather!” shouted Pepper, and was stilled again by an angry look from her older cousin, but not without sticking out her tongue at him.
“Yes, my mate, and your Great Grandfather, Pepper. He is still a great contender, even in his maturing years, but for some time this was not the case. For you see, without Ostara to cheer for him, Great Grandfather experienced a losing streak like never before- or since, thank goodness. He became quite depressed, and began to speak of leaving the races for good!”
“I sat right here in this rocking chair, knitting and thinking of how to find Ostara, if she was to be found at all. Soon, I had an idea. I knitted furiously for a week straight, barely stopping to sleep, until I had created the most wondrous of winter outfits any Poogle ever laid eyes upon. I wrapped my gift in holiday paper and ribbons, and took it myself to Taelia the Snow Faerie. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? If anyone could find Ostara, she could!”
“The Snow Faerie accepted my gift graciously, and when I explained to her the situation, she gazed into an icy snowball and told me, ‘Ostara has changed her name, and now resides in Meridell.’”
“I thanked the Snow Faerie profusely, and then hurried home to tell everyone that Ostara had at last been found! Her family cried with tears of joy, and hastily gathered their traveling gear for the long trek to Meridell to recover their beloved Ostara.”
“It took many days, and the family questioned numerous Meridell farmers and potato counters, until finally they discovered her new home! They approached the humble cottage yard eagerly, and her Mother gasped with glee to see a pair of white Poogle ears sticking up from amongst the gardens surrounding Ostara’s house! The entire family ran to Ostara and gathered her up in a crowd of hugs and kisses and excited chattering.”
Pepper laughed and clapped her paws together merrily!
“Ostara realized then that to her family, it did not matter that she was a vegetarian Poogle and did not enjoy the cold weather- they loved her just the way she was. She had left in shame, not knowing how much she had hurt them by her absence. Although she was very pleased with her new life gardening in Meridell, (especially so because she was close to Brightvale, the village of literature and scholars) Ostara promised her family that she would again attend the Poogle Races and visit her childhood home on Terror Mountain every holiday. And she kept her promise; in fact, she should be arriving right about...”
Suddenly, there was a clamor at the cottage door as the wind blew it open to reveal a lovely white Poogle carrying a basket overflowing with fresh fruits and berries.
Pepper danced in circles, then, yanking Grandmother Ceedra’s yarn across the room as she threw her little arms about the visitor’s leg, she shouted out, “Auntie StaraLilly! I knew it was you in Great Grandmother’s story, I just knew it!”