Here is where the adventures of Hedginald Q. Phitch began:
The Story of Splendid, the Yellow Fairy
As far back as anyone in the yellow fairy village could remember, Splendid had always been a cheerful and joyful little yellow fairy, in spite of the fact that she had been born with no wings.
But that didn’t seem to stop her one bit. Her pure exuberance and joy of life seemed to be all that was necessary for her to flit and flutter about as if she had wings.
Everyone in the village really did love her, but that didn’t completely prevent the occasional personal remarks about her out of the ordinary wingless condition.
Most of the time, Splendid was able to handle these kinds of remarks. For many years, her loving parents, Splendor and Yelia, were always very ready to comfort her and remind her about how much she was truly loved.
Unfortunately, Splendor and Yelia died quite young as a result of an incident involving black jacket rat poison, which was also the cause of Splendid’s winglessness. Her grandparents, Yeldrick and Yelonda, raised her from then on.
One day, Splendid was playing by herself at the edge of her favorite pond. In a still part of the water she caught a glimpse of herself and was troubled by something she saw on her back.
The area where her wings were supposed to be attached looked a little swollen and bumpy. It didn’t feel bad, but it definitely didn’t look good.
Splendid’s grandmother, Yelonda, took care of all of the personal health issues in the Yellow Fairy village. When she saw Splendid’s back, she was quite troubled.
“Oh Yeldrick, what are we going to do?” said Yelonda. Yeldrick, a rather gruff old fairy, said, “There’s nothing we can do! Those blasted rats are going to get another one of us.”
Well, unfortunately, Splendid was near enough to overhear her grandparents’ conversation, and for the first time in her life she started to feel very very sad.
“I guess I’d better just leave the village,” thought Splendid. “I don’t really want to spread my sadness all over everyone else.”
So, the next day, when Yelonda checked Splendid’s room, she discovered that Splendid had left the village. A single note on her bed read, “I love you.”
Of course, search party after search party went out looking for Splendid, but she had learned from her father, Splendor, who was a key member of the Village Protection Duty, how to hide very well in the forest.
“This is all too familiar,” said Yeldrick sadly as Yelonda tried to comfort him. “It’s no use. I’m just no good at this. I can’t find her.”
“Maybe we’ll have to do what we did the last time we found ourselves in this situation,” said Yelonda. “Can you do it, Yeldrick?” “I am such an old fool, Yelonda,” said Yeldrick.
“But you are my old fool and I love you very much,” said Yelonda as she gave him a big hug. With that dose of encouragement, Yeldrick said, “You are right, my dear. I’ll go find him and see if he can help us.”
Meanwhile, Splendid was getting along all right on her own. Her back was starting to bother her a bit, but she was not letting it worry her. She kept on trying to be a joy to whomever she met in the forest.
One day, Splendid came upon a blue hummingbird in the forest doing a series of rigorous aerial maneuvering exercises. She was darting rapidly in every direction between the trees.
“Oh!” said the hummingbird. “You startled me.” “I’m sorry,” said Splendid. “I was just really admiring your aerobatics. You are marvelous!”
“Hey,” said the hummingbird. “We have met before, haven’t we?” “I’m not sure,” said Splendid. “Well, something about you is very very familiar,” said the hummingbird.
“I’m Mezzo. Pleased to make your acquaintance,” said the hummingbird. “And I’m Splendid. Pleased to make your …” “What!?” interrupted Mezzo. “Splendid? Is that really you?” asked Mezzo incredulously.
“This is wonderful!” exclaimed Mezzo. “My, my, you are all grown up. I knew there was something familiar about you. We met a long time ago when you were very young. We helped you find your parents.”
Splendid looked down and said, “I do remember some of that.” And looking up, she said, “Thank you very much for helping our family.” Splendid realized that sadness was a very foreign emotion to her.
“You are very sad about something,” said Mezzo. “I’m ready to help you with whatever is troubling you.” “My parents died a long while ago and my grandparents are taking care of me now,” said Splendid.
“Are you lost? Did those blasted rats kidnap you? Do you need help getting back home? I know where you live. I can help you. We can make it a little way back before sunset,” said Mezzo rapidly.
Splendid stood quietly for a moment looking down again. “I’m sorry,” said Mezzo. “Sometimes I get a little eager. Why don’t we rest a bit and you can tell me all about what is going on with you.
“I’m running away,” said Splendid. “Why?” asked Mezzo. “Are you the only one in the world who doesn’t see that I have no wings?” said Splendid. “I never got my wings.”
“I remember the whole story now,” said Mezzo. “I’m sorry. I remember now what your grandmother told us when we first met you. I’m very sorry for your sadness.”
“I guess I have been able to handle it pretty well up until now,” said Splendid. “But look at my back. That is what I’m really sad and scared about.”
Mezzo took a good examination of the area on Splendid’s back where her wings were supposed to be. “Terrible, isn’t it,” said Splendid.
“Well, it’s definitely not looking right,” said Mezzo. “Does it hurt?” “It is kind of starting to hurt a bit,” said Splendid quietly. “Well, then we have no time to lose,” said Mezzo.
“I know just the one who can help us with this,” continued Mezzo. “Really?” said Splendid. “I thought …well …I thought it was all over for me.”
“It’s not over until it’s over,” said Mezzo. “Let’s go!” “Where are you taking me?” asked Splendid. “To someone special whom I’m certain can help. In fact, you have met him once before,” said Mezzo.
After they had been traveling for a while, they heard the sound of someone muttering up ahead of them on the path. “You stay here,” said Mezzo. “I’ll go check it out.”
A few moments later, Splendid could hardly believe her eyes when Mezzo returned with Yeldrick, her grandfather, who rushed to her and took her into his arms with a big grandfather hug.
“Oh Splendid, Splendid! I am so so very happy to see you!” exclaimed Yeldrick.” “I have been searching and searching for you. Oh Splendid, your grandmother is going to be so happy that you are safe and sound.”
“Oh Grandfather! I am so happy to see you too,” exclaimed Splendid. “I love you so much.” After the two of them wiped away their tears of joy, Splendid said, “I am definitely safe, Grandfather, but I am not exactly sound.”
“Yes,” said Mezzo. “I was taking her to the Changeling because I know he is the only one who can help her with her wings.” “Do you mean Abercrombee?” asked Yeldrick.
“Yes, of course, Abercrombee,” answered Mezzo. “Sorry about that. I forgot that you knew him from before from the old episode with the rats. Lately, around here, he is sometimes better known by his title,” said Mezzo.
“I was on my way to see him, too,” said Yeldrick. “I was going to ask him to help me find Splendid, but you seem to have helped me with that already.” “Yes,” said Mezzo. “The safe part is done. Now we need to work on the sound part. Let’s go!”
After a while, they came into the clearing of the forest where Abercrombee lived. A familiar figure of a hedgehog was outside working in the garden.
“Hedgie!” shouted Mezzo as she flew ahead and greeted him. “Well, well, if it isn’t my old fearless friend, Mezzo,” said Hedgie. “And I have some other friends with me from the Yellow Fairy Village. Remember Splendid and Yeldrick?” said Mezzo.
“Of course I do!” said Hedgie. “Welcome friends.” “What is all of that racket out there, Phitch?” asked a voice from inside. “I thought you were gathering up some berries for these biscuits.”
“He is going to be so very happy to see you all. Please, please do come in,” said Hedgie. “By the way, he has taken to calling me Phitch these days. He says it reminds him of the old days when he first met me and my father.”
As they entered the house, Abercrombee glowed with friendship. “Well, well, well, this is truly a joy,” said Abercrombee. “It is always so wonderful to see old friends.”
“Well, Abercrombee, it is very good to see you too, but we are here on a rather urgent matter,” said Mezzo. “You are as insistent as you are courageous, my dear friend,” said Abercrombee.
“Now, what adventure brings you all here today?” asked Abercrombee. “It’s my wings,” said Splendid. “My back is all swollen and bumpy, and Grandmother is afraid I’m going to …”
“Alright, alright, everyone, let’s go outside and have a look at what is troubling you,” said Abercrombee. As they all came outside, Abercrombee looked at Splendid’s back, grabbed his staff, and said, “Follow me.”
Abercrombee led them all toward a ledge that overlooked a beautiful valley. “Everyone wait here while Splendid and I go on ahead a ways,” instructed Abercrombee.
“I’m going with you,” demanded Yeldrick. “It will be alright,” said Hedgie reassuringly. “Believe me, I’ve seen him do this many times before. Everything will be fine, you’ll see.”
The group stayed back and watched as Abercrombee positioned Splendid near the ledge facing out toward the valley. From behind her, he raised his arms in the air and the touched Splendid’s back with his staff. “Watch this,” said Hedgie.
With a bright flash of yellow light and a gust of wind from the valley, Abercrombee stepped back to reveal two glorious wings on Splendid’s back. She then began to flutter them and flew out over the valley.
“See?” said Hedgie. “That was amazing!” exclaimed Mezzo before darting away to join her in the air. “Oh Splendid, my dear dear Splendid!” cried Yeldrick as tears filled his eyes. Then Abercrombee returned and said, “I’ll never get tired of that.”
Soon Splendid came flying back to them, joined by Mezzo. “Oh Grandfather! Look! Look! I have my wings! I have my wings!” she exclaimed. Yeldrick flew up and gave her a big hug.
“Looks like you may have changed more than a wingless fairy,” said Hedgie. “I think you gave another one a little softer heart.” “That seems to be how these things always work,” agreed Abercrombee.
It was getting toward the end of the day when they got back to the house. Hedgie invited them all to share supper with them and then stay for the evening.
Hedgie had used all of the talents he learned from his mother to make the home welcoming and comfortable. He prepared a delicious meal for them all and served them saying, “Would you care for a biscuit?”
Toward the end of supper, Yeldrick was thanking Abercrombee again for helping Splendid to get her wings, and then he asked, “How did you ever become a Changeling? I remember the old days when you were Abernasty the mean black jacket rat.”
“Well,” said Abercrombee. “That is indeed a very interesting story.” At that, Hedgie perked up, brushed a few crumbs from his apron, straightened his eyeglasses at bit, and said, “Oh, I do love a good story.”