In chapter seven, Sammy and Selena have arrived at Winona’s house. Sammy has learned that Winona and Selena are fairies, and the dragon, Kalindra, has gone for a snack.

“Ah, Selena hasn’t explained to you yet.  Selena and I are of the race your people call the fairy folk.  Not quite the same, you see.  But do come inside and rest a bit.  I always like a cup of chamomile tea after riding dragon-back.”  She turned to the dragon.  “Kalindra, there’s a big kettle of fish stew out back, nice and hot just the way you like it.”

 Winona’s house was mostly one large room, with a fireplace in one corner, and two large windows facing the front yard with comfortable-looking window seats.  The walls were nearly covered with an assortment of cupboards and shelves full of dishes, books, and interesting odds and ends.  There were bunches of dried plants hanging from the ceiling, and long braided strings of garlic and onions near the fireplace. 

A table big enough to seat six people comfortably stood in the center of the room. It had three ladder-back chairs pulled up to it, and more chairs hung on pegs on one wall. A couple of cluttered work tables were at the sides of the room.  Sammy thought it would take her hours just to look at everything.  She was still a little dizzy from her ride, and from the news that Winona and Selena were fairies.  On top of meeting a real dragon, it was almost too much for her mind to hold.

“Sit down,” said Winona.  “Make yourselves comfortable.”  She bustled about the room, filling a teapot with hot water from a kettle hanging over the fire, and producing a plate piled high with cookies from one of the shelves.

Winona and Selena were so excited to see each other, they were both talking at the same time, eager to share all their news.  Sammy was content just to listen, sipping the sweet apple-flavored chamomile tea and munching on an oatmeal raisin cookie.  The tea soothed her stomach, which had felt a little queasy after their fast, bouncy ride.  As for the cookies…they were the most delicious thing she had ever tasted. 

Sammy was just reaching for a third cookie when a cloud of little fairy children burst into the room.  They were about half Sammy’s size, with gauzy butterfly wings in a rainbow of colors, and high-pitched voices that reminded Sammy of the silver bells at Selena’s back door.  “Aunt Winona, Aunt Winona!”  “Kalindra said…”  “She wants to see the girl…”  “Is that a real human girl?”

Winona laughed.    “Slow down, please, and only one at a time.  Bluebell, what are you all so excited about?”

A tiny girl with mostly blue wings stepped forward.  “Kalindra finished her stew, and she wants to talk to the human girl.  Please, can she come with us?  And can we touch her?  We never saw a human before.”

Selena smiled.  “It’s all right, Sammy.  They’re harmless, even if they do seem to have forgotten their manners.”  She gazed sternly at the children, who looked more serious for a moment, murmuring “Sorry, Auntie Selena.  Sorry, Aunt Winona.”  In a moment they were all smiles and laughter again.

“Yes, go on, Samantha Jane,” said Winona.  “If a dragon wants to talk to you, it’s always best to listen.  Kalindra is very old, and very wise.  I value her advice highly.” 

In a daze, Sammy got up and followed the fairy children out the door.  They led her around to the back of the cottage, where Kalindra lay resting beside a large, empty kettle.

Sammy wasn’t sure what to do or say.  She bowed, and stuttered, “Ma’am, I mean Honored Kalindra, I, uh, they said you wanted to talk to me?”

Kalindra chuckled, a big rumbly sound.  “Don’t be so nervous, young human.  And you don’t have to be so formal.  Winona and Selena keep to the old ways, but I’ve grown used to these excitable little creatures.”  She puffed out a breath at the fairy children, and they all went flying up in the air like so much thistle-down, giggling and laughing as if there was nothing more fun than being blown about by a dragon.  They gradually drifted back down, and Kalindra turned her attention to Sammy.

“All I wanted to say, young human, is that you are braver than you think, and there’s no shame in being afraid.  Courage isn’t lack of fear; it’s being brave enough to go ahead in spite of fear.  Yes, I could feel your fear, and smell it, but you didn’t let it stop you.  Just remember, if something needs doing, and if you know it’s the right thing to do, then sometimes you just have to do it scared.  That’s all I had to tell you.”

Sammy finally found her voice enough to say “Thank you.  Thank you very much.”

“You’re welcome,” said Kalindra, as she laid her head down and closed her eyes.  “And now I’m going to take a little snooze before it’s time to fly again.”

The little fairies led Sammy back to Winona and Selena, who had nearly finished the plate of cookies.

 “Bless me,” said Winona.  “I’m forgetting the most important part.  Selena, dear, have you heard from your father lately?”