They called her Nanny Bee, although as far as anyone knew she had never been a wife or a mother, let alone a grandmother. But she was popularly believed to be a witch – so Nanny it was. She lived in a pink-walled thatched cottage that crouched between the village green and the vicarage. The Reverend Alphonso Scoggins (a person of peculiarly mixed heritage and a fondness for large dinners) joked that between him and Nanny they could see the villagers from birth to burial.
Nanny’s garden was the most verdant and productive little patch you could ever imagine, and she could be found pottering in its walled prettiness from dawn to dusk almost every day. People came to visit and were given advice, or medicine, or other potions in tiny bottles or scraps of paper – but they always had the sneaking suspicion they were getting in the way of the gardening.
But there again, digging is second nature to gnomes.
Nanny was having a quiet think (okay she was occupied in the closet) when there came a ferocious banging on the door. She adjusted her clothing and made her way to where some person was assaulting her paintwork.
“Whatever is the matter?”
Gladys the Griffin clutched an eggshell to her breast.
“He killed my baby.”
“Who killed your baby?”
“Scoggins the Sadist.”
Nanny removed the shell from Gladys’ front claw.
“Right miss. Why do think this here egg is yourn?”
Gladys shuffled her rear feet and the lion claws dug into the lawn. Nanny winced but pressed on.
“I’m waiting Gladys.”
“It was the gore crow brung it to me and tells me Scoggins has my baby running down his chin.”
“Right Gladys, listen. You doesn’t lay eggs. You got a lion bumhole not an eagle one. And if you did, this here’s a ostrich eggshell.”
Which might even have worked had not the vicar his own self appeared at the corner with egg decorating his chin.
Gladys lunged and he barely got off the ground in time.
He was much too fat to fly well and Nanny idly wondered what would happen when Gladys caught him, but she was too busy tending the scrapes in her lawn to really care.
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