As the Season of Goodwill approaches, we talk with writer Annalinde Matichei about all-girl Seasonal Stories, We learn about a “lost” one and have the honor to present a very small new one!
AGW: Miss Matichei, you wrote our favorite all-girl seasonal story ever, The Dream Key. we are recommending everyone to read it this season, even if they have read it before.
AM: Thank you very much. I am honored.
AGW: We are honored to host the story. Was this your first Nativity story?
AM: It was my first published one, although I did help prepare “Home for Christmas” in Enter Amelia Bingham That was Miss Falconer’s story though. Actually there is another seasonal Amelia Bingham story that I helped tidy up for the book, but neither Miss Falconer nor I were over-keen on it, and we felt two seasonal stories were a bit much anyway, so it never made the book.
AGW: You mean there is a “lost” Amelia Bingham story?
AM: That’s right.
AGW: Any more?
AM: No – at least that’s the only one I know of.
AGW: We’d love to have that at All Girl Worlds.
AM: You’ll need to talk with Miss Falconer, of course: though I know she isn’t keen on it and may prefer to leave it buried.
AGW: We hear you have done a new seasonal story this year.
AM: Well, hardly a story really. More of a little sketch as part of a group project.
AGW: But we’d love to print it here to give the readers something new this season.
AM: You are certainly welcome. I would have to fill in a detail or two. The background to this story is a pair of magical gloves that appear when they are needed and a pixie whose real name is unknown, but who answers to the name of Miss Vivi, who is the Guardian of the Gloves.
AGW: Like a sort of genie?
AM: In a way, but a genie tends to be the Slave of the Lamp, whereas Miss Vivi is much more in charge of things. You’ll see.
The Boon of the Perentillas
I was just thinking that I do know something about these magical gloves [see above]. Not perhaps a story exactly, but a thing that happened. You see one day they appeared for a special reason, but owing to the curiosity of a very young brunette, one of them ended up on the ground outside the window.
It was about this time of year and the snow lay thick outside and the glove lay there, hardly visible in the snow until it was spotted by someone who moves very close to the ground. That someone was a miffletifflin.
I don’t know if you know what a miffletifflin is. It is a tiny creature, much smaller than a mouse with the fluffiest, fluffiest fur you have ever seen. Now this miffletifflin had a family of five little miffletifflins and a dear blonde miffletifflin. They were very, very poor and had nowhere to stay for the winter, and the dear little ones were so, so cold.
So when Pen-pen Peretentilla (that was the brunette miffletifflin’s name) saw the glove, she had an idea. She called dear Pingletii (that was her blonde’s name) to bring the children, and very soon each child had her own room in the magical tent (for there were five rooms) and mama and mimi slept in the big main hallway.
It was a wonderful tent, for although it was made of the thinnest fabric, it did not let in a single drip of water or a single puff of the cold north wind.
Now whenever anyone wears one of the magic gloves, Miss Vivi appears, and here was the magic glove fully worn with each finger and the palm-place filled with warm and loving life.
“Who is in there?” she asked.
“Oh dear,” thought Pen-pen Peretentilla. “It is someone else’s tent. Now we shall have to leave this nice warm place after so short a time and go back to the terrible coldness.”
“Who is in there?” asked the voice again.
“It is a people,” thought Pen-pen Peretentilla. “She will never understand a word I say. I hope she will not be angry that we have gone into her tent.”
Pen-pen Peretentilla put her head out of the glove – and oooh! how very cold it was.
“Well,” asked Miss Vivi, “who are you?”
Pen-pen Peretentilla thought it would be rude not to answer, even though she knew peoples never understand miffletifflins.
“Honored madam,” she replied, “my name is Pen-pen Peretentilla.”
“Rayati Miss Peretentilla,” said Miss Vivi. I may not tell you my real name, but you may call me Miss Vivi.
“Oh, can you understand me?” asked Pen-pen Peretentilla.
“That would appear to be the case, wouldn’t it?” said Miss Vivi.
“Rayati Miss Vivi. I deeply regret that my dear family and I took shelter in your very fine tent, and we shall, of course be happy to vacate it immediately.”
This was not actually true. As she felt the freezing wind on her nose, Pen-pen Peretentilla knew that she would be extremely unhappy to leave the tent. And when she thought of her dear blondie and her five poor children shivering again, she knew they would all be positively miserable to leave. But good manners are more important than vulgar physical truth.
“Thank you, dear miffletifflin,” said Miss Vivi. “That is very kind of you, and indeed very necessary, for your temporary shelter is one of a very important pair.”
“Two tents,” thought Pen-pen Peretentilla. “How blissful that must be.”
The family wiggled out onto the cold, cold snow, and each of them began shivering again as they had before they got into the glove, and one of the children (Squiggles, whose room was in the thumb) began to sneeze. Miss Vivi waved her hand and their fine shelter disappeared.
“My, how cold you all look,” said Miss Vivi.
“Oh it is nothing,” said Pen-pen Peretentilla. “Qu-qu-qu-quite bracing really.”
“Atishoo!” sneezed Squiggles.
“If I were you, I’d run home to your miffletifflin house,” said Miss Vivi.
“Hmm, yes…” said Pen-pen Peretentilla.
“No ‘hmm, yes’ nonsense,” said Miss Vivi sternly. “Promise me you will go straight home to your miffletifflin house and light a good fire.”
“I am afraid I can’t promise, ma’am,” said Pen-pen Peretentilla.
“Whyever not?” asked Miss Vivi more sternly than ever.
Pen-pen Peretentilla shuffled her tiny, tiny feet and looked very embarrassed. “You see, ma’am, we don’t actually have a house.”
“Where do you live then?”
“We don’t have any home at all, ma’am. We used to live in a hollow tree, but it was struck by lightning late in the fall, and since then…”
“Why didn’t you say so in the first place?” asked Miss Vivi. “Well you’ve worn the glove – in a manner of speaking – so you have a boon coming.”
“What is a boon?” asked Pen-pen Peretentilla.
“Why, this!” said Miss Vivi. And she waved a wand that she did not seem to have before and suddenly there was a little house leaning up against the side of the big big Rison family house. Lights were burning in the windows and a roaring fire was burning in the hearth.”
The Peretentilla family gazed in astonishment for long minutes and then Pen-pen Peretentilla, remembering her manners, turned to thank Miss Vivi. But Miss Vivi was nowhere to be seen.
“Come along, come along, into the house,” said Pen-pen Peretentilla. “You heard what the Lady said.” And the family lived in the beautiful house for the rest of their lives. The house could not be seen by peoples, but miffletifflins and other small animals, as well as all the fairy-folk, could see it, and were often invited to take tea and hot buttered toast by the big, warm fire.
And they would say, “What a lovely house you have.”
And Mama, or Mimi, or one of the little ones, always corrected them, remembering what they had been told.
“It isn’t a house, it is a boon.”
Read The Dream Key – a full-length seasonal tale by Annalinde Matichei. A heartwarming story of a small girl, a magical toy shop and the key that opens dreams.