Autumn Interlude

Autumn Interlude

By Intricate Knot

“Keep the Jack O’ Lanterns lit in solidarity”.
~Twilight Faerie


Last season our heroes, esteemed members of the Great Holiday Making Tribe Fiddler and Wilbur, were traveling as fast as their spry kitty and wiry owly-raven legs would take them. They had to find out what had happened Crimson, last of the Winter Wizards. Had the ill-famed Diavex Clop coerced or worse yet, somehow turned Crimson from being the Magickal Mentor of Fiddler’s youth into a Waywardly Wicked Wizard? Or had that wickedness lurked under Crimson’s wise and benevolent exterior all along? I promise no answers in this installment, Dear Reader. There is a matter that must be undertaken first. Rushing headlong into a battle without all tools at your disposal would be foolish, indeed. And in case you hadn’t noticed, neither Fiddler, nor Wilbur is foolish…

“Hang on a tick or two,” Wilbur, the owly-raven halted in his black-feathered tracks.

Fiddler, being the most graceful of felines, stopped right alongside him,

“What is it?”

“Diavex doesn’t like the cold.”

“I believe we went through this already, Wilbur. What’s your point?”

“We can’t run in what is surely a trap of some sort without some sort of defense. Diavex is at his strongest and most devious and unrelenting evilness in this heat.”

“And we,” Fiddler swiped a black as coal kitty paw across his perspiring brow, “are not at our best. What do you suggest, friend?”

“I believe we need to make a stop along the way.”

“Ah, of course, Vin Kaj.”

And who, pray tell, is Vin Kaj? Why Autumn Pumpkin Wizard Extraordinaire of course, Silly you. No one is more suited to dissolving the heat of summer and putting in its place that snap in the air, that slight chill, and those thrilling goose bumps along one’s arms and legs. And if while walking home at sunset you find the hairs tickling the back of your neck then you know for absolute certain that you’ve just been blown a kiss from Vin Kaj himself on the finest of Autumn days.

The twosome continued on their way, veering only slightly off their original course. They walked through a darker part of the Forest. Here the trees grew a bit taller than the rest of the Forest, and thereby cast deeper shadows. Naturally it was cooler here and a winsome breeze whistled his way through branches of trees, through the hedges, and stirred up a few fallen leaves, leaving them to dance along the way with Fiddler and Wilbur. Nearly as though they’d determined to join them in their quest. Perhaps they had.

Copyright Twilight Faerie

They heard him before spotting him. The sound of a sharp axe shrilled through the air. An axe? A sharp axe? Yes and yes. And our heroes didn’t run in the opposite direction of that sound that seemed to harmonize with the sighs and grunts of what must surely be a perturbed Wizard or perhaps something even worse? Of course not, that’s why they’re called heroes.

He was tall, a good seven feet, at least. He towered over what appeared to be vapors…red-gold vapors, barely visible, but Fiddler and Wilbur could feel the burning heat from where they stood. The red-gold vapors appeared to grow hotter still…a formidable foe that seemed to press, surround, and lick at the great orange and green twiney, viney heels of Vin Kaj. Drops of sweat rained off the twisted vine that sat at the top of his pumpkin head. More deep green curling tendrils sprung and bounced almost joyfully from out his fingers and down at his toes, while he hacked, chopped, slashed at the waves of Summertime heat that continued to pour up through a long crack in the earth.

“Damn it, Summer. It’s no longer your time. Why are you making me work so hard? We both know how this is going to end.” Vin Kaj asked, sounding more curious than angry.

“It’s Crimson,” Wilbur answered.

In surprise, Vin turned to our heroes, his ax coming precariously close to the two. A sharp toothy grin split Vin’s deeply orange face,

“Why it’s Wilbur and Fiddler, rascally heroes to my rescue! I’m ever so glad to see you both!”

“Erm,” Guiltily Wilbur glanced over at Fiddler, who twiddled his cat claws.

“Oh no, you see, Vin we-”

“Hmm, haven’t come to my rescue at all, have you?” The Autumn Wizard said jovially, and then threw back his head whilst giving a great hoot of laughter, “then I’m even all the more lucky, aren’t I? Because you’ve happened upon me when most needed.”

“Well, you see,” Wilbur began.

“We really need your help, Vin Kaj,” Fiddler finished.

“Of course you do, but first things first. Summer needs to sleep now. He’s being quite difficult this year and won’t let me kill him and stuff him into the grave.”

Our heroes merely blinked up at the giant wizard. Kill Summer? Why hadn’t they heard it put this way before? They’d lived in the Forest a long time. They’d been around the block, so to speak, a time or two or three hundred.
“Kill Summer?” They asked in unison.

“Heck yeah! You don’t think he just decides to exit quietly to make room for round, sweet apples, shivery spider webs, shorter days, longer chilly nights, and fat pumpkins, like me, do you?” He took one glance at their surprised faces and gave another chuckle. “I see you did. Frankly, I’m surprised at you two, both of you the very spirit and vim of Halloween! Well, we don’t have time for a lecture I need your help, my fine fellows. You’ll find a few axes just beyond that hill in the circle of Spook Trees.” With that Vin turned his back and resumed his hacking, “I’m not really built for this sort of thing, you know,” he said while straw and bits of vine flew out from his fingertips. “Generally, Crimson gives me a hand or at least a pinky’s worth of a cool breeze. Can’t understand where he is this year.”

“Well-” Wilbur began.

“Well what?” Vin demanded. He stopped his hacking and looked at the two.

“Crimson, willingly or unwillingly is in league with Diavex Clop, which is why we’re having this untimely heat wave.”

Vin shook his head,

“If Crimson is helping Diavex then he is doing so unwillingly.” Then he winked at the two, “Better grab those axes, fellows,” and he turned back to battle those high temperature vapors.

Fiddler and Wilbur found themselves walking up the glowing, windy path to the Spook Trees.

“We can’t leave Vin battling Summer back by himself,” Fiddler said with a shrug.

Wilbur sighed,

“Yes, it sets us back on our quest, but this could help our cause all the same.”

“True. Oh my.”

“I’ll second your ‘oh my’ and raise you a wow.”

What a sight the two beheld! The glowing, windy path had led them to the dusky, most beautiful, and forbidding Circle of Spook Trees. These trees are tall, at least 20 feet or more and their graceful, gnarled branches stretch up toward an orange, pulsing light, which hovers directly at their center. Lavender pools of some sort of Magickal goop glimmered at their twisted roots and at the base of each jet black tree trunk lay a sharp axe, their blades glinting grimly, yet somehow mischievously in the smoldering light. Special axes meant for a special purpose: to chop the waves of Summer’s worst burning rays.

Copyright Twilight Faerie

“Hmm,” they both hummed and each of them grabbed an axe. Fiddler grinned,

“Let’s go kick some Summer butt.”

“Sounds good to me,” Wilbur agreed.

The two quickly joined Vin Kaj at edge of Autumn. Nothing like killing off Summer’s miserable, sticky, careless heat to let off some pent up steam! And these friends certainly had some built annoyance. Diavex had eluded them, caused all the Forest much trouble, and now it appeared to have captured, coerced, or somehow turned one of the few remaining Forest’s Wizards. He really was a most bothersome creature and this Summer was no picnic in the park, either. ‘Enough already,’ Fiddler thought while expertly swinging his shimmering ax at the wave of heat. ‘Enough, enough, enough’ Wilbur chanted in his head, whilst doing the same.
With one last heated shriek, Summer fizzled away, slipping through the crack at the edge of Autumn. Swiftly, Vin Kaj grabbed a handy headstone (just one of the many that hung about in this part of the Forest) and sealed old Summer in his grave.

Copyright Intricate Knot

“Phew,” they all said in unison.

Then with a grin, Vin Kaj swung his ax to rest on his broad, viney shoulder,

“It’s no wonder at all that the leaves on each tree and the petals of every flower whisper heroic tales of you two. A Happy Halloween to you both, my fine fellows.”

And with a renewed sense of energy and hope in their hearts, the trio now made their way to Diavex and Crimson.

To be continued next season!!

Illustration “Walking With Leaves” and “Spook Trees” by Angelique Duncan. Appearance of Wilbur with permission of Intricate Knot.
Illustration “Vin Kaj End of Summer” by Intricate Knot.

Intricate Knot is proprietor of Art For A Gloomy Day.Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next season for more adventures of Fiddler the cat and his best pal Wilbur.


A Tale of Winter

A Tale of Winter

By Intricate Knot

“Just as Spring needs the Faeries,
Winter must have her Wizard.
For who but a Wizard could make all those varied and wondrous snowflakes?
Keep up.”
~ Intricate Knot

When last we left our heroes and esteemed members of the Great Holiday Making Tribe, Fiddler and Wilbur (after a bit of schooling by Fizzy) had made up with Glassy. In turn, Glassy led them to the Faeries, Aloysius, Artemis, bunny helpers and fall assistants, flowers and pumpkins! Everyone was (and still are) back where they belonged, everyone of course except the villainous Diavix Clop, who sadly is still hiding somewhere in the Forest. Not where he belongs at all…

Copyright Intricate Knot

Winter had come in its full Magickal and icy force. Yule also came and a merry time was had by all. But from there things went a bit doolally…

The New Year should have begun, but somehow didn’t. Storms of rain and snow should right now be drumming and thrumming, sprinkling and crinkling throughout the Forest. But that’s not what’s happening!

For as suddenly as winter had come, it left. More baffling, it had left without a seasonal bridge between it and summer. Begging the Shakespearean question,

“What fresh madness is this?”

Fiddler, our fine, sleek, musically inclined feline and Wilbur, our coal feathered, grumpy, Magickally disposed owly-raven pondered this and many other questions. For they now had not only one but two mysteries to solve in the Forest. How is it possible that winter left so quickly? Without a sign, hide, nor hair? Usually the snow began to melt, exposing the earth, dark brown and fertile. In turn the slumbering earth awoke letting her hair down…or up (so to speak) by sending out tiny green shoots sprouting upwards to reach for the sun. Bare limbed trees yawned and stretched, their branches tingling with fresh leaves. Leaves steadily growing by the hundreds and all to be gloriously full blown just in time to bring much needed shade for the coming heat of summer.

Not so this year! One day there was snow on the ground with temperatures well below zero. The next day the ground was covered in tall, golden grass…summer grass. And not the summer of June, but the full-heated-swing, the tip most peak of summer: August. What of spring? And where did all the lovely fruit go? What’s summer without peaches and cherries? Apples and blueberries? A day feels far too long and hot in the summer without fruit pies to share with your friends!

Our heroes pondered while Fiddler dangled his smart red fishing pole and Wilbur dipped his very fine claws at one of their very favorite thinking spots, Thoughtful Pond. Every Forest should have one. If yours doesn’t, please go out and get one immediately.

Copyright Twilight Faerie

“It can’t be a coincidence,” Wilbur said firmly.

“Indeed, it cannot,” Fiddler agreed. “But how is it possible that Diavex has hidden from us for this long?”

“However and wherever he is, one thing is becoming clear.”

“Which is?”

“Diavex doesn’t like the cold.”

“Hmm…” Fiddler pondered. “Well that is something we can use to our advantage. Come on Wilbur, we have someone to see.” In the way of cats, Fiddler had leapt from his sitting position and was already halfway down the path before Wilbur had time to pull his claws from the pond. That was fine with Wilbur, though. Being such firm friends, he was quite accustomed to it.
Puffing a bit when he’d caught up with Fiddler,

“Who-who are we-e going to see?”

“The Winter Wizard, I think we need a bit more snow in our Forest, don’t you?”

“Absolutely! Good old Crimson, why we’ve not seen him in-”



“Yep. Since-”
Wilbur slowed his pace and fell silent. When Wilbur went silent it was palpable.

“What?” Fiddler shrugged. “Crimson has no reason to be upset with us.”
Wilbur merely grunted and then stopped in his tracks. Fiddler had breezed past five wise oaks before he realized that his pal was no longer beside him. Silkily, he turned and meandered his way back,

“Okay. You’re possibly right.”
At Wilbur’s look, Fiddler gave a great sigh,

“Yes, yes. It is possible, perhaps even probably that Crimson could be a tiny bit annoyed with us, but that’s not really the same as being upset.” Now, Fiddler didn’t exactly huff. Huffing isn’t something cats do, per se. Cats are very good at oozing frustration though, and Fiddler oozed with the best of them.

“Again with the ‘look,’ Wilbur? Please speak your mind.”
They knew one another well, these two. Right now Wilbur knew that Fiddler bordered on annoyed, which is very Un-Fiddler-Like. He knew he needed to tread lightly. Crimson was one of Fiddler’s most favorite of souls.

“I see three possibilities right now,” he began softly. “One, Diavex has somehow coerced Crimson into helping him. Two, Crimson is in league with Diavex Clop. Or three, something happened to the Forest’s Winter Wizard suddenly. So suddenly that there’s not been time to replace him.”
Fiddler sat back on his haunches.

“Any of which explains the lack of segue in our seasons.” It was Fiddler’s turn to fall silent.
Being a true friend through and through, Wilbur knew when to talk, when to jab, and when to be still. Stillness was called for here. So, he just sat right down next Fiddler to wait for him.

Wizards are of course revered in the Forest, and there are so very few left. If one were to fall, well, it is quite possible that there wouldn’t be a replacement. But to replace Crimson? Fiddler couldn’t conceive of it. Yes, Crimson was particularly special to Fiddler.

Everyone should already know this, but in case you’ve forgotten, every cat (and every owly-raven for that matter) must have a Magickal Mentor. Crimson had been Fiddler’s. And like a revered parent, one’s mentor will always claim a special place in one’s heart.

Crimson being gone, was not an option. Could he be in league with Diavex? From what Fiddler could recall…well hmm…actually, that wasn’t a lot to recall. Crimson had not been forthcoming on his relationship with the insidious Mr. Clop, but yes, Fiddler sensed there had been something there…a previous encounter. Though he knew nothing solid, he knew this, Crimson would not knowingly, willingly, or otherwise purposefully aid Diavex Clop. It would be against the Forest and Wizard code.

And with that Fiddler stood and nodded firmly,

“I am not prepared to believe that Crimson is gone from the Forest by design or cause. You could be right and it may be that he has been coerced into helping Diavex. But a fourth possibility occurs to me, perhaps he was taken by surprise and Diavex somehow imprisoned him.”
Wilbur stood up and dusted off his feathers,

“Either way then, he needs our help. Let’s go.”

To be continued next season!!

Illustration “Thoughtful Pond” by Angelique Duncan. Appearance of Wilbur with permission of Intricate Knot.
Illustration “Flourish” by Intricate Knot.

Intricate Knot is proprietor of Art For A Gloomy Day.Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next season for more adventures of Fiddler the cat and his best pal Wilbur.


He is the Rub…

He is the Rub…

By Intricate Knot

“By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.”~ Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 1

Belying his hulking and awkward shape, he was fast and light on large, ugly feet. Most everything about him was ugly, though. Yes, he had large feet, with twisted, gnarled toenails; these were a good match to his long, crooked fingers that bore their claw-like tips.

He gave the appearance of having no neck; his stout head looked like it was being slowly swallowed up by his round, weighty shoulders. His complexion was an ashy green. His mouth seemed permanently affixed with a false grin, while large, decaying square-shaped teeth leered at anything unfortunate to catch their sight.

His brow hung darkly low, his chin jutted out nearly to his chest. His ears curled high above the top of his head, taller still than even his horns. His eyebrows lay heavy above smoky eyes that bore no spark of intelligence, but only revealed a sliver of cunning-will to survive. As his clawed toes ate up the ground, a tattered, ancient gold scarf flapped piteously, as if unwillingly, over his shoulders.

Unlike most creatures, he needed very little rest or sustenance. Ignorance and fear propelled him, which makes him the most dangerous of any beast.

His name is Diavex Clop and only one revenge-colored thought filled his fragile mind, ‘(the blue-feathered snake), she thinks she controls me, but I have my own plan.’

This fragment repeated itself over and over. It fueled him. It was his only companion. It was his armor.

And then he caught sounds that he’d waited thousands of years to hear. Voices. He stopped and blended effortlessly into the shadows of the trees. He listened intently with his large, unpleasant ears. Yes. It was them. Though thousands of years it had been, he would never forget that black, witchy cat or that baffling owl creature. They were his enemies. Right now they laughed together and those sounds made him angry. So angry. He peered through the leaves and could see them both in the far distance. They stood with a fox. He did not know her. It would not matter, though. When he made them pay, it would not matter who was with those two.

He could take them now. By surprise. He was so tempted. His fingers curled into misshapen fists. It was not time, though. Not yet.

He had to meet with the blue-feathered one. A low growl escaped his warped lips and in a whisper he was gone. The beleaguered golden scarf reluctantly pulled with him.

Mid-laughter, Fiddler and Wilbur stopped. A slow chill wound its way up their spines, while a heavy black, twisting mist oozed, snake-like out of the trees and swirled around the threesome. If there had been any flowers left in the forest they surly would have withered in protest.

Immediately and in unison, Wilbur and Fiddler grabbed a handful of silver sparkle from their pouches, puckered up and blew it to form a vibrant, protective circle around them all. The black mist, sizzled and screamed as if burned, retreated, then disappeared entirely.

Fizzy looked from one to the other in perplexity,

“What just hap-”

In all seriousness, Fiddler signaled silence. They all listened. Listened with all their power and they failed to hear, but it made no difference. The two friends looked at each other and with sinking hearts they knew. An old enemy had returned to the forest.

To be continued next month!

Illustration “Glassy Croon” by Intricate Knot.
Illustration “What to do?” by Angelique Duncan. Appearance of Wilbur with permission of Intricate Knot.

Intricate Knot is proprietor of Cards For A Gloomy Day.Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for more adventures of Fiddler the cat.


Spring’s Golden Light

Spring’s Golden Light

By Intricate Knot

“Pouring through our windows and doors, straight into our hearts,
All but one of us danced and sang
Welcoming Spring’s Golden Light…”

“You want me to do what?”

“Let me in, Wilbur and I’ll tell you.”
Impatiently Wilbur motioned Fiddler into his abode and then stood, his black wings folded across his chest.


“Well, we need your help.”


“Yes, Loy and I.”

“Aloysius? And why should he need our help? He hasn’t asked for our help since-”

“Yep, since then.”


“Are you sure you want to ask that question?”
Thinking for a moment, Wilbur quickly shook his head,

“No, I suppose not. So, we are to help decorate eggs, then? Just like-”

“Before, yes.”

“I do wish you would stop finishing my sentences, Fiddler. It’s getting quite annoying. I’ll get my floppy-painting-the-eggs hat.” And with that Wilbur stomped upstairs.

Fiddler-the-Cat knew that Wilbur would help. He just knew that with that help came Wilbur’s peevish owly-ravenish ways. Perhaps that’s what happens when you’re magically part owl and part raven. Fiddler wouldn’t know, as he was purely, magically black silky cat. What? You think the services of these magical fellows are only needed during the Halloween season? Hardly. These two are kept busy year-round. Saving holidays left and right, that’s what these two do. The only difference was, Wilbur liked to complain: often and heartily. Whereas Fiddler just preferred to get on with. The sooner the deed was done, the sooner he could get back to hunting, playing his fiddle, or curling up on his porch with a good book on a lovely, Spring day such as today and perhaps taking a nap. Cats are famous for their napping, you know.

Wilbur returned wearing a ridiculous canvas hat that looked like a cross between a safari helmet and a bee keepers bonnet. Very strange. However, being accustomed to Wilbur’s penchant for odd hats, Fiddler (wearing his perfectly respectable witch hat) made no remark.
On their way out the door though, Fiddler stopped Wilbur,

“Good Naps! I nearly forgot. We’ll need some of your mani-sparkles.”
Though it seems impossible, Wilbur’s face fell even further,

“That bad, eh?”


When they arrived at Loy’s place, Wilbur couldn’t help but remark on the white rabbit’s disheveled appearance,

“What is going on here, Aloysius? You look like you’ve taken a turn in the wood cutter.”
The buttons on his purple velvet doublet were mis-buttoned, his white fur (normally pristine) was dusty and quite brown in spots, his right ear leaned to the left and his left ear bent backwards.

“Really Wilbur? You know we hand carve all our eggs. And the chocolate eggs are all hand molded. Wood cutter. Pfttt. Indeed. Are you here to help or to criticize?”

“Help of course. I’m only worried about you.”

“Less worrying please, and more decorating.”

It wasn’t like Aloysius (or Loy as Fiddler liked to call him) to be short-tempered. The holiday is tomorrow though and when the three entered the workshop they could see very well the reason for Loy’s distress.

Long, battered workshop tables held boxes filled with human child palm-sized unfinished wooden eggs. Not a lick of paint on them, although it appeared that there was plenty of paint to be found. A myriad of glass jars held pinks, greens, yellows, blues, oranges, and purples. Light colors and dark colors. Fine-tipped paint brushes sat unused at hundreds of stations. Where were all of Aloysius’ bunny holiday helpers?

“I don’t know where they are! I know that they would never abandon their posts. Not at this time of the year. I can only be grateful that the chocolate and sugar eggs are complete. But these,” he gestured desperately to the wooden eggs, “these are all undone. We will have to work the rest of the day-”

“And well into the night.” Fiddler finished.

“Yes,” Aloysius agreed.

“We’re going to need help. Has anyone asked the faeries?”

“The faeries are busy enough with the flowers, Wilbur.”

“Why? The flowers should be doing very well on their own right now.”

“Normally, yes, but it looks like whoever took Loy’s bunny helpers took the flowers, as well.”
A million thoughts shot through Wilbur’s head, but instead of sputtering expletives, he shut his beak and broke out the bag of mani-sparkles.

“It’s a very good thing Fiddler asked me to bring this, then.”
Loy and Fiddler exchanged a glance, both knowing that had the circumstance been less desperate Wilbur would most certainly have argued, long if not loudly.
Knowing his friends as well as they knew him,

“Yes, well there isn’t time to argue and question right now, is there? However, after this lot,” he gestured to the thousands of unfinished eggs, “are done and you’re making deliveries, Fiddler and I will be looking for the thief. And I have a sinking feeling that I who that is.”

“So do I,” Fiddler nodded to Wilbur.

Sprinkling the mani-sparkles, Wilbur called to the Ancient Artists of Old, Bringers of Holiday Spirit Untold.

“They will set things right. They will bring us Spring’s Golden Light with hands to help us decorate.”
And then there they were, hundreds of iridescent helpers looking like miniature ghosts of ducks and chicks, cats and dogs, even ponies and goats. All held brushes in one webbed foot, claw, paw or hoof and a wooden egg in the other, painting beautiful swirly designs and rich symbols on each and every egg.

Once again, the holiday was saved. Saved by Magic, it’s true, but isn’t that what all holidays are? Magic?
Early the next morning, Aloysius used his own special brand of Magic, delivering baskets and hiding eggs in the grass and brush near every young child’s home. Hearts filled with delight as the egg hunt was back on. Although, no one but Fiddler, Wilbur, and Aloysius knew how close the holiday came to not happening at all.

Fiddler and Wilbur had their own mission. They had to discover who stole the holiday helpers and every wildflower in every field. A grim Spring, indeed without bunnies and flowers. Who could do such a thing? And why? They only had two clues left on the floor of the Loy’s workshop: a single blue feather and a torn and dirty piece of a muddy-gold colored scarf…

To be continued next month!

Illustration “Aloysius Dilemma” by Angelique Duncan.
Illustration “Decorated Eggs” by Intricate Knot.

Intricate Knot is proprietor of Cards For A Gloomy Day.Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for more adventures of Fiddler the cat.


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Valentine Dance

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Valentine Dance
(As secretly witnessed) By Intricate Knot

By Intricate Knot

“For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.”

~ D.H. Lawrence

“Dancing?” Wilbur asked with a strange mix of bitterness and piteousness on his Owly face (well, odd “Owly,” to be sure. Wilbur is technically an Owl, but he’s sort of an Owly Raven. It would be a great deal to explain right now and we really don’t have the time, Dear Reader, as this is a Valentine tale and not a Weird-Science-Gone-Pleasantly-Wrong Tale).

copyright Intricate Knot

“Yes, Wilbur. There most certainly will be dancing,” Fiddler-the-Cat spoke calmly and continued to steer his friend to the closet. Fine feathers he might have, but these fine feathers had a decidedly gloomy tinge to them this afternoon. He had to find him a scarf or hat or something to brighten the ensemble Wilbur continued to allow himself to be guided to the armoire, which Fiddler opened with his usual flourish. A flourish that Wilbur did not possess. And did not care to be in possession of, to be exact. Let the Cat have the flourish, Wilbur thought. He had his own talents. Still, though he loved his beautiful, talent-for-the-dramatic-and-Magick friend, it did not stop him from accusing.

“You didn’t say anything about dancing when I agreed to attend.”

“Really?” Fiddler asked while pulling out and rejecting scarves, hats, and silk ties from Wilbur’s closet and tossing them onto the large, pillowy bed, “I sort of thought that was implied when I told you we were invited to the Valentine Dance.”

“Yes, yes. But I thought the “Dance” part was really more of an expression. You know like when we say we’re going to have a Sunday Breakfast, but we really don’t get up until noon.”
Fiddler, back turned to his friend, felt free to roll his striking, emerald cat eyes heavenward,

“Come on, Wilbur, help me out here. What do you have to wear to the party?”

“Party? Now we’re calling it a “party”? You know how I feel about parties.”

“Yes, yes, but we don’t have time for a trip down Old Trauma Lane right now. What do you want to wear to the dance?”
Wilbur shuddered at the word “dance” and simply grabbed the first thing he saw: a rumpled, scruffy Witch’s hat.

“This?” Fiddler asked trying his best not to sound horrified.

“Yes, this.”

“I don’t know. It’s sort of-”

“I know and I don’t care,” Wilbur said and stubbornly stuffed the it-had-seen-better-days hat onto his black-feathered head.
Fiddler eyed him doubtfully,

“And you’re certain of your choice?”

“Yes.” His mind was made up. “Look,” he pointed to the brim, “it even has a heart sewn on it.”
The small, dusty pink heart sewn onto the deeply purple sash wasn’t the best example of a heart. It was a bit skewed. Crinkled, wrinkled, and quite frankly frinkled (another word for skewed) the poor little heart had seen better days…or at least Fiddler hoped it had seen better days.

“Fine,” and threw up his paws. Perhaps if his friend wore the Witch’s hat, he’d relax and stop complaining.

The truth was that Fiddler was nearly as nervous for himself as he was for his good pal Wilbur. Neither of them was entirely comfortable with the entire Valentine concept. Granted, they both belonged to the Great Holiday Maker Tribe and as such were committed to making the very best out each and every holiday, even the ones that seemed a bit odd to them. Not to mention (although we are) the fact that both Wilbur and Fiddler had experienced that most poignant of conditions: the Broken Valentine Heart.

Although it is hard to believe that anyone could break the heart of either of these boys (well, cat-boy and owl-boy and truth be told neither were “boys” being that they were each well over a hundred years old, but young by Great Holiday Maker Tribe standards). Both of them are terribly handsome, amazingly talented, and gainfully employed, but sadly broken hearts are part of life, are they not?

Halloweenish as the two were (all midnight feathers and fur and Wilbur wearing a Witch’s hat and Fiddler being his usual, sleek, black cat self), they made their way through the snow covered forest to the Grand Ole Oak Clubhouse. Each in their own manner: Fiddler strolled and hummed while Wilbur trudged and grumbled,

“Fine for you, Fiddler, you’ll have something to occupy yourself with.”

“You’ll not get any sympathy from me. You could always accompany my fiddle with your singing.”

It was a sore point between them. Wilbur used to sing and sing beautifully. He stopped after his heart was broken. According to him, Owly-Raven vocal chords are attached to their hearts and once the heart breaks, the vocal chords break, too. Fiddler was patient, especially for a cat and most especially with his friends, but
this had gone on long enough. His friend had a gift for singing, just like he had a gift for playing the fiddle.
One should not trifle with a gift.
copyright Angelique Duncan

And that’s when Cupid showed up. Not always welcome, but he certainly knew how to make an entrance. Lights flashed onto the pristine snow: pink and red and gold. It was a bit like a disco really, but who would
complain to Cupid? Certainly not Fiddler or Wilbur.

“Look, I really don’t have a lot of time, lads. This is my busiest time of the year, you know.”
Blinded by the sparkly, fuchsia beams that shot out of Cupid’s golden locks, both Fiddler and Wilbur merely nodded, although they couldn’t help but wonder what had brought the love-arrowed-candy-and-flower-
bearing-everyone-thinks-he’s-an-angel-but-he’s-really-a-demon dude to their part of the Woods.

“Your collective suffering has touched my heart. In a most unexpected way, I might add. So, I’ve decided to bless you both with an arrow.”
Unbidden, both lads gulped and took a step back. An “arrow” from Cupid? No, thank you, Sir. No, thank you, indeed.
Cupid let out a great sigh,

“Not that kind of arrow. This is an Arrow of Truth.”
Wilbur whispered to Fiddler,

“Sounds like it will hurt just as much as the other kind, if you ask me.”

“And I didn’t ask you, did I?” Cupid hovered above the two now and the arrows on his back glowed a foreboding crimson.
Fiddler who was not in the mood for a tussle with Cupid on Valentine’s Day decided to be the peacemaker and held up his paws,

“Come on fellows, we all have a busy schedule tonight.” He turned to his friend, “We should hear Cupid out, we’ve known him for a great many years and he doesn’t mean us harm, you know.”

“Of course he doesn’t mean us harm, we just end up harmed.”
Now Cupid’s skin began to glow as crimson as his arrows. Steam churned out of his golden earring adorned ears. And his arrows? Well, sparks seemed to be spitting out from the quills. None of this boded well.

“If you end up ‘harmed’ it is your own fault, Wilbur. No one told you to be so grumpy.”
Stung, Wilbur shouted,

“I am NOT grumpy!”
He glanced over at Fiddler, who gave him a “look.” You know the kind of “look” that only good pals can give us, because they’ve got our number.
He then had the grace to amend,

“Or at least I’m not all the time. Only about Valentine’s. It’s just not my thing, Cupid.”
Instantly, Cupid softened. Demon he may be, but his heart was that of a Lover.

“I know, dear Wilbur. And you as well, dearest Fiddler. You have both had a rough year, to be sure.
But here is my Arrow of Truth,” Instantly an arrow appeared in his hand, he threaded his bow, and aimed, “Your Hearts have been broken, this is quite true. Remember this though, inside your old, tired, broken Heart, a new, eager, and whole Heart grows. You’ll both feel it stretch out of you, quite soon. I promise.”
And with that he was gone, without a fare-thee-well or even a “later, dudes.”

Fiddler and Wilbur looked at each other. Fiddler spoke first,

“Huh. Cupid can be appallingly rude.”

“Yeah, nothing like shooting arrows and then just vanishing.”
They didn’t say, but they both actually felt a lightening of spirit. Like a tight band that had tightened around their chests had suddenly sprung and was no more. Deep breaths could be breathed once again. And that is a very good thing, is it not?

They went to the Valentine Dance, as planned. To the joy of the crowd, Fiddler played his fiddle and Wilbur
did join in with his singing. A grand time was had by all. And as it turns out both lads each met with a fine
lady that very evening: Wilbur met his Betty Bee (a Bee of great humor, spirit, and worth) and Fiddler met Carnival (“Carney” for short, a beauteous silver cat and possessor of a multitude of gifts).

So…if you find yourself dreading this red-pink-and-otherwise-gawdy-hearts-candy-flowers-and-variously-painful-mushy-doo-dahs Valentine’s Day, not to worry, it will all right itself in the end. Perhaps not this Valentine, but then maybe next. As Cupid says,

“…Your Hearts have been broken, this is quite true. Remember this though, inside your old, tired, broken Heart, a new, eager, and whole Heart grows.”

Illustration “Wilbur” by Intricate Knot
Illustration “Wilbur’s Trepidation” by Angelique Duncan. Appearance of “Wilbur” with permission from Intricate Knot

Intricate Knot is proprietor of Cards For A Gloomy Day.Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for more adventures of Fiddler the cat.


Twas the Eve Before Fiddler The Cat

‘Twas the Eve Before Fiddler-The-Cat

Translated from an Unknown Elvish Language into English

By Intricate Knot

‘Twas the eve before Fiddler-the-Cat and all through the forest, every creature was stirring…most especially the mice (since they had to keep out of Fiddler’s way, being that Fiddler is a most excellent cat and a mouse catcher extraordinaire).

Popcorn and cranberries had been strung on pine trees with an artful flair, with only a few nibble liberties taken. Handmade poppets and cards, jewelry and glittery decorations were all wrapped up in pretty boxes. Cakes and cookies home baked smells filled the air.

Tiny faery stockings were hung on big, fat toadstools to dry out. The Faeries, it seems, had been very busy in the early morning snow and got their small feet quite wet.

Sweet little wolf pups were all snuggled in a cubby hole at the base of a tall tree, while visions of juicy bones and wide open fields played out in their furry, little heads.

I took it all in and couldn’t help but give a sloppy grin. That most favored time of the year, Winter Solstice is upon us and to not celebrate would surely be a sin.

But that will have to wait until tomorrow. Yawning hugely, I knew celebration or no, right now it was time for my bed.

Making my way to my tiny cabin in these woods, a brilliant white light suddenly flashed overhead.

“Now what could that be?” I asked myself, for it appeared no one else was around. I didn’t have an answer for myself though. So I scanned the night sky to see what might be the source. But all I could see was Lady Silvery Moon and three Sleepy Blue Stars.
copyright Intricate Knot

Then without rhyming, reasoning, or warning, that very same brilliant white light filled a clearing in the forest, just straight ahead. Before I could make one step in its direction, a happy tune, a jig (if you will) begin to play out. But play by itself? This I must see for the tune’s happy notes seemed to be coming from that brilliant light, just up ahead.

I leaped in a flash and I’m actually quite lucky I didn’t slip in the snow, which had suddenly covered all the ground like a fluffy white blanket. But I had no time to wonder over the snow for now it dawned on me that I wasn’t alone. Colorful faeries, tiny red finches, squirrels, Ms. Owl, Mr. Beaver, Mama Wolf and her pups had followed that very same light, now listened as I to that very same tune and had found themselves here in the blink or two of an eye.

And what did we see in the great forest clearing? What played such lively music so freely and with such magical flair? Why, ‘twas Fiddler-the Cat, our Faery Forest mascot, our firm friend, and our very well suited partner for all our creative, holiday endeavors!

And what a jolly mood Fiddler was in! His golden-green eyes, how they sparkled with mischief and fun! His black fur how it shone like a well-polished gem! His cute, kitty paws moved with such grace and such speed as he continued playing his much beloved violin!

copyright Angelique Duncan

Playing one tune after another, he said not a word, just gave us a wink. Ah, it truly was magic we heard.

And somehow we knew that he needed our help. Velvet bag at his feet, each of us dropped a handmade Winter Solstice treat inside. To whom would these special gifts go? Well, that was for Fiddler to decide.

Enchanted though we all were, we knew the evening must end and the new day to soon begin. Before the sun could start his rise in the distance, and the deep, dark blue skies, stars, and full luscious moon give way to golden beams and warm shine; Fiddler finished his closing tune. At our applause, he gave a slight bow, scooped up his great velvet bag and gave a genteel “Meowww.” Then with his kitty vim and vigor, he sprang up the tallest tree and disappeared from our sight.

I watched the faeries and animals and elvish creatures yawn and stretch as we made way to our beds. But I heard Fiddler exclaim, ere he nimbly leapt from tree top to tree top,

“Merry Winter Solstice to all and to all sweet dreams and a good night.”

Illustration “Three Sleepy Blue Stars” by Intricate Knot
Illustration “Night Before Fiddler” by Angelique Duncan

Intricate Knot is proprietor of Cards For A Gloomy Day.Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for more adventures of Fiddler the cat.