Chapter 1: In The Beginning at Cherry Hill Farm
Cherry Hill Farm sits in a small valley tucked between low rolling hills on one side and a bubbling stream sheltered by vine maples on the other. It isn't the largest farm or a fancy farm but it has that peaceful homey quality that causes people to remember it.
The house is a large, solid two-story type with wide porches and tall windows. A huge barn and several out buildings stand watchful guard nearby and provide shelter for animals, equipment, and supplies.
In the spring the farm is awash with color. Fruit trees bloom in profusion and all the spring flowers compete for attention. The summer fields are painted with clover and the fences are covered with roses. In the fall maples, ash and sumac blaze into winter. Winter, not to be out-done, is all dressed in shimmering white and crystal.
The farm has been in the Rose family from the day it was homesteaded and passed from one generation to the next. The farm had never been well-to-do but the family had always had enough and been happy. Every one of them had lived long, peaceful lives.
Grandfather James said the family was blessed due to their hard work and good morals, but the truth was much smaller, in fact so small you couldn't guess it in many years. The reason that Cherry Hill Farm and the Rose family have always had so much is a mouse. Yes, a mouse; a small white mouse with bright blue eyes and wings, transparent blue wings.
You will have to take my word for this because she takes great care to never be seen. The animals know she is there, and there is one person who, for a very special reason, has not only seen her but had quite an adventure with her as well.
Now I am sure you have hundreds of questions, and even six books the size of dictionaries couldn't answer them all, but I shall try to give you enough of the story that you can be comfortable and not interrupt too often.
It is usually best to start at the beginning unless the beginning is so very long ago that it is before time as we know it. I will begin in the year 4221 in the reign of "King Justice the Good" or approximately 1925 our time....
It was the spring of 1925 in the valley. The back section of the farm hadn't been cleared yet. Trees stood tall against the sky with thick trunks as big around as houses. A meadow lay where the cow pasture is today and the stream laughed merrily in the cool shade of rhododendrons and ferns. A beaver pond full of trout covered the lower end of the meadow. Back then deer, bobcats, coyotes, eagles, hawks, ducks and geese, beavers, minks, rabbits and squirrels were just a few of the animals who wandered or lived on the farm. Each animal lived his life as designed and did not know what would become of tomorrow.
There are often secrets in places like this that go undiscovered even by the best scientists. Cherry Hill Farm is just such a place. For here, two worlds meet. Our world as we know it, with its history, present and future, and another world all together different than our own.
This other world is a special world where special creatures live their lives, sing their songs, and go about their days without much knowledge of our world and lives. They have stories about us that they call fairy tales and far too often those tales are rather grim ones.
The creatures in this world are most unusual and can do many marvelous things that we might call magic but they would call simply ordinary.
Anyway, as I was saying...
The valley where Cherry Hill Farm now sits holds a secret, a door, which stood between this strange world, called Fairlawn, and ours. The door was tight shut and locked fast. It had gone quite out of knowledge in Fairlawn, and had yet to be discovered at all in our world. Until one day a lovely little mouse from Fairlawn named Airabella Quick (Belle for short) came upon it, quite by accident.
Airabella Quick of Cherry Hill Farm is © copyright 2008 by Kimberlyn Kammerer. All rights reserved.
May not be reprinted elsewhere without permission from the author/illustrator.