Sitting on the front of Granny Ezadora porch Morgan enjoys the stories that Gran tells her while Gran’s owl named “Cooter” intently watches his mistress’s every move.
“Tell me again the story about how you got “Cooter Gran”
“Oh that old story, gosh I told you so many times, think you would be tired of it by now”
“Maybe it’s just the way you tell it Gran.......please?”
“Well then alright.........I was making my way home one eve after bringing into town some herbs I had harvested and dried. Now mind, there had been some things being said about witches and such directed at me by this man. Us witches don’t need no one saying negative things about us, being that we help so many things in the world. So, I picked up my staff and shook it at him, yellin at the top of my lungs how someone could be mean to a little old lady like myself. Pretty soon many of the towns people gathered ‘round watchin’ the whole spectacle. Finally everyone got to yellin at this man for being mean to Gran Esadora who was a sweet old lady and how dare he say anything bad about a witch like Gran. I was so relieved that everyone was there for me and I made sure to build good relationships with the townsfolk. I never cheated them out of money, I was always honest and fair and I lived a life of integrity. I always did well for myself because of that.”
“Didn’t you do any abundance spells Gran?”
“Nope...didn’t have to. You live your life with honesty and deal with people with integrity in your heart you don’t need no spell, why being that type of person is greater then anything, cause then people come to trust ya............now where was I.............oh yes I did well for myself and the people came to know me cause the herbs and such that I made were very good and they worked too. So I felt better having all them wonderful people stick up for me, especially cause Beauregard my Oxen had just died the day before and being that we were so close and all...he was one of the familiars in my lifetime that bonded to me very deeply and I to him.
After I left the town to go home, I of course thanked everyone for helping me but I was still shaking with anger at that man. Figuring taking the woods path home would sooth and calm me down I set about into the wood. Soon I was into the heart of the wood and I heard the fairies calling to me sending me soothin’ words and condolences about Beauregard. They played me beautiful music and I all but forgot about what happened in town. Beauregard lived a very long long time, much longer then most oxen live. Many a time we’d even go into the wood to help out the fairy folk, being that he was so strong and all. Blessed by the pixies and fairies we were. Member how when you were learning to climb and you climbed right up on his back and sat there happy as a clam? Your Mama and I were frantic to get out to the field thinkin’ that Beauregard would go into a bucking fit and hurt you. But he didn’t he just walked around like you were a little bird sitting on him and he had not a care in the world, loved ya he did Morgan. Anyway, I guess I got a little lost in the memories along the path, for the next thing I knew I was standing by this big old tree just staring up at it. Then I heard a noise, looked down and there sat this little grey fuzz ball, flapping his fuzzy featherless chicken-like wings and peeping up at me. Look at you little one sitting here all by yourself I said. Where’s your Mama? Tilting my head back I looked way up and saw the nest. Why the little guy must have fallen, I thought, and how in the world was I going to get him back up there? I suppose one does what one must, putting the little owl chick in my pouch I climbed up that old tree. Seemed like I climbed forever but finally I got to the nest.
Placing the little feller back in the nest I made my way back down. Next thing I knew Owl mama was diving after me, talons out going after my head. Why my hat still to this day has her claw marks in it. Now I don’t care how great a witch you are or what your talent may be a Mother is a Mother and she is going to protect her babies, that’s the nature of things. I climbed back down as nimbly as if I was a child, almost like the tree itself helped me, getting out of there fast as I could was the best thing I was thinkin’. Next thing I knew I hear a peeping and a thump-thump and there he sat looking up at me. Jumped again he did or he was thrown out. This point his Mama is looking down at me, just staring at the two of us. Here I go again climbing up the tree, this time she dived at me even more, why it was all I could do to keep my head attached to my shoulders. I put him back in the nest with the other chicks and climbed down again. At this point I did not want to admit to myself I felt something very familiar holding that little chick, but I ignored it, thinking that I was doing the best thing for him putting him back and all. This time I waited and looked up at the nest and there he was looking down at me flapping his little fuzzy wings getting ready to jump. Jump he did, this time I grabbed my skirt and held it out and thump he landed right in! Then sat there looking up at me and me looking at him. I was getting ready to climb up one more time when Thistlebell the fairy came to me.
What am I to do Thistlebell? I asked her.
You are supposed to keep him Ezadora, his Mama cant keep up with feeding them all and she wants you to take him home.
Are you sure? I asked her
Why of course I am sure, besides he likes you very much and wants to go with you. You raise him up Ezadora and he’ll be good company for you.
Well you know how I feel about making wild things into pets now, I don’t like it one bit Thistlebell. Just not natural I say!.
He will not make it without you Ezadora.
Then the little fairy disappeared.
Then I looked into those big eyes of this wee grey fuzz ball and that was it. I was finished. I am positive I let out a big sigh and mentioned something about another mouth to feed. Once I got through the door I gave him a good look, scrawny he was, not one feather, just grey fuzz. He looked more like an old coot then a baby owl. Maybe it was in his eyes but I called him Cooter from that day forward. Seemed to like the name cause every time I said “Cooter” he hop around on the table flapping those silly things for wings doing his little dance. Once he got older he’d practice flying to that old tree out there in the field. As the years have passed, when spring comes, Cooter goes out there in that big old tree and raises up a family. Then he comes back. He hoots at night and sometimes I think it is to reassure me that he’ll be home soon.”
“Gran is Cooter a familiar?”
“I suppose you would call him that. There are connections to certain animals Morgan that can not be defined or explained. They just are, there is nothing that can stop it or change it. I used to dream of owls when I was a little girl and through out most of my life. I never knew that this would come to be, but I always held them in great regard. Thinking back now, that Mother owl really could have hurt me, but she did not and Thistlebell was right. Cooter really is a wonderful friend to me and he keeps me company. It’s funny because he never allows anyone to pet him besides me and I saw he greeted you today and accepted being petted by you. That is a complement I believe. Now I have something very special to give to you Morgan, it is something every Grandmother gives to her grandchild when they are ready.”
“Did your Mama give it to my Mama?”
“Yes she did. Now hold out your hand next to mine. Do not be afraid at what you will see and trust me in what I tell you”.
Of all the things our generations have passed on down
by bell, book or by candle or golden crown
One things remains steadfast and true
the light that’s inside is my love for you
And so by my hearts flame
To carry the gift of tradition is named;
I pass this to you on this wondrous night
Never will it dwindle, ever will it shine
Carry the flame of love, sweetest Grandchild of mine!
“Now Morgan hold the flame and look into it. What do you see?”
“I see us talking and I see Beauregard and so very many women passing on a flame, Mama is here, so is Sebastian. Who are they Gran?”
“They are your ancestors. Now hold the flame over your heart and let it go into you.”
“Oh Gran I feel so wonderful!”
“Good! Now you know how I feel about you Morgan and from now on every time you think of me I will feel good too.”
“Love is the most important thing isn’t it Gran?”
“Yes, it’s a tradition.”
by Liza Lambertini copyrighted 2007