At last she could see the Witches’ Home in the distance. The wind was blowing her first one way and then the other, but in general terms she seemed to be heading for Timber creek.
Once she was over the river she increased her weight slightly and began dropping down towards the village. She was sheltered from the wind once she dropped below the tree level and finally came to earth not very far from Lurgin’s bridge.
Nobody from the village seemed to have seen her, so rather than get involved in long explanations as to how she’d arrived and why she would like a lift back to the Witches’ Home, she decided to walk.
It wasn’t too far and was still quite early in the afternoon, the weather was pleasant and she was happy just to be her proper weight again.
As she got nearer the bridge she suddenly remembered that she’d need a riddle to get past Gordon. She searched desperately in her mind but couldn’t remember a single one that she hadn’t used before.
There was a notice by the bridge on either side of the river, so she went closer to read what it said, before turning back to the village to find a riddle in Lurgin’s old book.
‘Free crossin until furver notis.’
‘Well thank goodness for that,’ she thought. She crossed over and then looked under the bridge to see if Gordon was there.
His riddle business was obviously paying well. He was sitting comfortably in a wing-backed chair. A screen at either end of the tunnel under the bridge, kept out the worst of the draughts and the walls had been painted in a horrible shade of pink. Still she supposed he must like it, it was certainly a lot better than the way Lurgin had lived. He was seated at a rather rough table busily writing.
“Hello Gordon,” she called.
He looked up. “Hello miss, smashing idea this riddle business you suggested. I’ve got so many riddles since the woodsmen had to fetch all those tree trunks from the woods near Tasmin’s cave that I’ve had to stop people from giving me any more while I catch up with my writing.”
“I like your decorations,” said Jennifer Jane politely, if not very truthfully. “I met a troll called Tony who lived a long way from here, not so long ago and he subscribed to your riddle sheet and was very pleased with it.”
Gordon grinned and waved, as she climbed back up the bank and set off for the Home. Abigail was waiting for her as she trudged wearily over the drawbridge after her long walk.
The witch on guard duty had seen her coming and sent for Abigail to meet her to see why she hadn’t got her broom.
“Replacing the broom is no trouble, I see you’ve managed to hold on to your saddle, but whatever have you been up to this time?”
“I got stuck overnight in Happy Valley,” said Jennifer Jane with a shudder, “it’s a horrible place. It’s full of nasty dirty goblins who just take anything they want. The only good thing about it is that none of them can get out, the cliff sides are too steep!”
“Good heavens! I’m surprised they’re still there. They were all the really horrible types that even the nastier fairy folk in this world couldn’t put up with. They were all taken to that valley and left there, so that they would never get out. It all happened years ago, I’d forgotten about it until you just reminded me. However did you manage to get out, without your broom?”
Jennifer Jane told Abigail how she’d remembered the spell used to make the grindstone lighter. “I thought it might work if I used it on myself. I was just lucky the wind was blowing in the right direction to bring me back near here.”
“‘Luck’ is the right word,” said Abigail, “you certainly seem to have more than your fair share and it’s just as well, the scrapes you get into. Come on, let’s go over to the goblins and I’ll treat you to a new broom.”