Peg felt herself flying through the air in a gentle arc - the warm spring breeze lifting her, carrying her away from everything she had previously known.

She couldn’t see where she was going because she had no eyes, no arms, no mouth to scream or sigh or to say, “excuse me! I think I’m becoming lost” - for she was, indeed, becoming lost.  Peg was a sturdy, old fashioned clothespin who had just been blown high off the wash line by an unusually boisterous gust of wind.

She came to rest in what she imagined was a lovely patch of spring grass.  In fact, it was a rare tuft of weed that had invaded the stony and un-fertile bit of rocky ground that served as the setting for the wash line.  It was situated behind a cottage where a small girl and her mother made a home.

Peg lay in that little tussock of grass and felt the sunshine beaming down upon her, she felt how the breezes stirred the blades but she didn’t see anything - for, of course, she had no eyes.

Some time later - clothespins have very little sense of time - Peg felt something else.  She became enfolded in what she was to learn later was a hand.  It was, in fact, a small, moist hand and it belonged to a little girl named Patty.


Patty and her mother were the proprietors of the clothesline from which Peg had recently flown.  Patty’s mother worked hard at a small business she had invented.  Well, it was a very old sort of work, but it was newly invented by Patty’s mother.  It was an organic laundry.  All items guaranteed to be hand washed and dried in the fresh air that imparted that special scent that no amount of fabric softener or perfume could imitate.

Although the service was premium and expensive, the work was hard and the money anything but abundant.  Patty’s mother encouraged her daughter to invent her own toys.  

Therefore, the moment Patty saw the clothes peg lying in the grass she recognized Peg as a potential companion.  Patty snatched up the clothespin, gave her a kiss on the top of her head, and ran into the cottage.  After rummaging the little desk in the corner of the small living room (the corner Patty’s mother called her “office”) Patty found an “indelible marker, size 005”.   It was perfect for making two eyes, a smile and a scribble of black hair.  

“There you are!” said Patty, “I shall call you Peg.”


Peg was amazed at the world she could now see.  Of course, it was all in black and white but Peg didn’t know about color... yet.  It was enough of a miracle to be able to see Patty’s sweet face, the interior of the cottage and the great wide world beyond.

The first thing Patty did, after drawing Peg’s face, was to make her an “outfit.”  Patty rummaged the basket where they put their worn-out blouses and skirts and pants for that interval between when they were “decent” and when they were torn up to become cleaning rags.  Patty found a scrap that had been one of her mother’s favorite blouses, a couple of years before.  She carefully tore a small rectangle of the cloth and wrapped it around Peg.  It was secured with one of the rubber bands that Patty so hated using in her hair.  Now they were ready to explore the world.


Down the block, a small way from the cottage, there was a tiny wooded park.  Not many people came to the park, so Patty was allowed to spend time there getting sunshine and exercising her imagination.  She was anxious to include Peg in these exercises.

Today there was someone else in the park.  It was a small man in a red plaid shirt... and he had a knife!  Well, it wasn’t a sinister knife.  It was the short kind with a big handle and he was using it to whittle.  Patty had heard of whittling so she was intrigued.  Peg had not heard of whittling but she was interested in everything.  The two approached the man and Patty said, “Hello.”

The whittling man looked up from the little lump of wood that he had been carving.  He had a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face.  He said, “Hello.”

That was enough for Patty.  She began asking him all manner of questions.  She introduced him to Peg:  “This is my new doll, Peg.  She used to work for my mother but her fortunes declined (she fell off the wash line) and I have now adopted her.”  

The whittling man gazed seriously at Peg for a long time.

“She’s not really like a real doll,” said Patty, a little defensively.  “But she has a nice smile and she’s such a good size for my pocket.  I can take her with me wherever I go.  She’s easy to talk to.”

Peg was only a little disturbed by the statement that she wasn’t like a real doll.   Although she didn’t know what that was, it was pretty clear that Patty would prefer her if she were more “real”.  Peg thought she saw understanding in the face of the whittling man.  


After a while Patty started exploring the little wooded park.  It wasn’t as if she didn’t know every tree and weed in the place.  She spent a lot of time here.  Today, however, she had a new perspective.  She searched for places that Peg could play.  Patty put Peg on top of rocks.  She helped Peg climb trees.  She picked flowers and placed them around Peg.  

At last she found the perfect place.  It was near the whittling man so he saw her put Peg into a little cave in the bark of a giant tree.  It was rather like a little shrine and Peg fitted perfectly.  Patty stood back and admired Peg.  “You look right at home there.  I’m going to leave you there while I go to lunch.”  

And she did.


Uncarved Peg in shrine

Just after Patty got Peg situated in her little shrine, Patty’s mother drove up to the park in her red Toyota.

“Patty!  It’s time for lunch.  I have some Big News!”


What neither Peg nor the whittling man knew is that the news was, indeed, BIG.  Patty’s mother had agreed to marry a very nice man for whom she had been organically laundering for two years.  He was a generous man and would be kind to Patty and to her mother.  It was a good decision but it was a complete surprise to Patty.


When Patty went off to lunch the whittling man kept an eye on Peg.  He liked her a lot and he didn’t want anything unexpected to happen to her.  There were crows and bluejays in the neighborhood...  and squirrels.  One could never depend on squirrels to behave properly.  

The whittling man kept whittling.  He kept watching Peg.   He was a bit concerned when Patty did not return after the lunch hour.  He wasn’t concerned for Patty, he was concerned for Peg.

At dusk the whittling man went to the little wood shrine.  He picked up Peg in his big, warm hand.  “Lets go to my house tonight.  You and I can make a little surprise for Patty.”

Peg thought this sounded much nicer than standing in a shrine all night - even though she didn’t quite know what that might be like.  


After the whittling man prepared himself a big bowl of soup for dinner, he cleared the table, turned on a bright lamp and began making Peg into a new person.


Wooden clothespins don’t have a very exact sense of time so Peg didn’t know that it took several hours of very careful work to re-make her.  She just knew that he finally got out a tiny paint brush and dotted two little eyes, some eyebrows and painted on nice black hair.  All Peg knew was that she could see much more clearly when he was finished.  She saw in a new way - with colors!  ...and she had arms!  Also she had legs that could move!  Peg was delighted.


Early the next morning, the whittling man took Peg back to the little shrine in the tree and placed her there to wait for Patty’s return.


Carved Peg in shrine

The whittling man had things to do, so he couldn’t stay to see Patty discover Peg in her new form.  He gave Peg a little smile and walked away thinking happily of Patty’s delight when she discovered this new and improved Peg.

Peg stood hopefully in the shrine for the whole day.  Then she stood hopefully for a whole night.  It wasn’t scary, just a bit lonely.  She could hear the rustling of little animals going about their night business.  She heard the hooting of an owl that lived in the shrine tree - but he lived very much higher in the tree than Peg could see.  

For two more days and nights Peg stood, patiently but with shrinking conviction, waiting for Patty’s return.  


On the fourth day Peg had a visitor.  It was a lady who wore a red scarf around her neck and who had piles of curly gray hair.  The lady spied Peg and came over to talk.

“Oh dear!  Your little dress is quite damp.  I’m not sure that’s healthy for a little wooden person.  Are you missing a companion?”

Peg rather thought she might be missing ‘a companion’ and the prospect of another damp night in the tree did not fill her with delight.

“Well then, little one,” said the woman, “you can come home with me.  We’ll come back to the park from time to time, in case your missing companion returns, but you might as well be warm and dry in the meantime.”  And with that the woman took up Peg and tucked her into the large velvet bag that she carried.   The bag was soft and warm and had many interesting things inside - some quite a lot more exotic than Peg herself.


And that was the start of Peg’s life with the woman she came to think of as “The Enchantress”.


To be continued...