Daisy has come to visit her friends at the Magical Insect Inn of Oh Valley. It has been a very long time since she last visited. She’s hoping her friends there will still recognize her. Even she thinks she looks so much different from her last visit, when she spent all her time out back of the Inn, in the cattail shallows of the Mighty Oh River. Much of her time was spent keeping her 360-degree gaze on the local Bull Frog, Fester. Daisy didn’t want to become his next lunch or dinner, either.

Her visit this weekend was due to a formally inscribed invitation from 2nd Lt. Darby for the 2020 Oh Valley Winter Cotillion. She gladly accepted. The Oh Valley Winter Cotillion was the event of the season and she was pleased to be attending with Darby.

Darby, however, had been called away on duty and was not expected to arrive until late on the afternoon of the Ball. He would not be there to greet her on her arrival but would do everything in his power to ensure he was there to greet and escort his guest to the fabulous ballroom, centrally located inside the three-turreted, Insect Inn. Daisy is so looking forward to seeing Darby and all her friends again.

The trip to the Inn took a fair bit longer than you would expect as Daisy was accompanied by her dear friend, Twig. As Twig is unable to fly, Daisy walked to Oh Valley too. Twig was on an errand to Silvio’s Haberdashery to pick up the new silk hat his mother, Willow had on order. Daisy convinced him he should come to the Cotillion and that he would have loads of fun. He would meet some new people, many of them with interesting tales to tell. With Willow’s permission to stay overnight at The Insect Inn, and return with her hat the following day, it was all set.

Twig missed part of the conversation because he instead was doing what Twig liked to do best – Imagining. While they were discussing, he was imagining life as a living “Pick-Up-Stick,’ where he, and only he, would determine the outcome of the game. What Power! Willow knew that her son would be learning a very good skill and like all skills, learning them young is definitely the way to go about it.

Do you know what a cotillion is? Twig didn’t… yet.

The walk was sunny and bright and the pair talked all along the path to Oh Valley. Twig was having some difficulty with his “times tables” , especially 7 and 8’s. He thinks it was because he missed school the day they were taught and never quite got the hang of them. They recited them together and Daisy helped him catch up to the others in his class. By the time they arrived at their destination, Twig knew all the times tables through 12 and was very relieved to now be ahead of his classmates. What Twig still didn’t know, and hadn’t thought to ask is, “What’s a Cotillion?”

Daisy and Twig checked into their rooms and Twig looked at all the fine decorations and then saw the poster. Why were all the insects dancing?

“Hey Daisy?”

“There you are, Twig. How’s your room?”

“Oh it’s fine but I have a question. Why does this poster show insects dancing?”

“Oh, that’s a poster advertising tonight’s Oh Valley Winter Cotillion. It’s lovely”

“Fine, but why the D.A.N.C.I.N.G?”

“Twig, what do you mean?” Dixie looked confused. “Don’t you know what a cotillion is?”

Twig shakes his head back and forth. “No.”

“It’s a french name for a Ball where we dress up and dance the night away! Isn’t it splendid?”

“Oh no… Not me. I’m not dancing. I don’t know how to dance. I have to go now. I’ve got to get to Silvio’s before he closes to get Mom’s hat. See ya….”

“Stop right there, Mister! Don’t go running off. I promised your Mom that I would teach you how to dance and you are just the right age. Learning how to dance now will be to your advantage so you won’t be embarrassed when you get older and want to dance but won’t know how. Please trust me. Twig?”

Obviously this will be Twig’s first Winter Cotillion and both he and Daisy had their work cut out for them. Twig doesn’t want to disappoint him Mom or his friend.

Now of course, Twig found walking easy, for Twig is a Walking Stick. Dancing, however proved to be a bit problematic. Though he was giving it his best shot, he couldn’t get all his 6 legs to do the same thing at the same time and unlike Daisy, who seemed to be comfortable on 4 and sometimes 2, he needed all 6 legs to keep his balance.

Fortunately as his frustration at not being able to control his own limbs started to set in, Darby arrived. He saw Dixie and they began to talk so fast to each other and totally forgot he was standing there with his legs in knots. This was his chance. If he could only untangle himself, he could get away and head off to Silvio’s Haberdashery.

“Not so fast, my friend.” Darby spoke clearly and sharply, something he’d picked up at Drone Academy.

I really do need to get my Mother’s hat before Silvio’s closes for the day. That way I can leave early tomorrow and be home by lunch.”

“May I join you?” Darby asked. “I need a new Top Hot for tonight and if any shop has what I hope to find, it will be Silvio’s Haberdashery.”

Twig was out of there so fast that Darby found it difficult to keep up. “What’s your hurry, Twig?”

“Daisy is trying to teach me to dance. I’m not very good. I’m not good at all. I don’t understand how she can stand on 4 legs and sometimes only 2. It’s impossible.

“Ahhh, I see. I think there is something that Daisy forgot to mention in her instruction. The easiest way to learn to dance is to find the best dancer in the room and ask them to dance. You support each other. They will hold you up so you can balance on 4 legs. Soon, you’ll be balancing on 2 legs because you’ll be using their legs to help you balance.

Twig stared at Darby in amazement. Darby was an insect of the world. He must know what he was talking about, right?

“I know it sounds impossible right now but you give it a try tonight and I guarantee you’ll enjoy yourself and by the end of the night, you will be glad you learned how to dance.” Give it a go?” asked Darby.

Darby bought a beautiful top hat lined with the smoothest royal blue silk while Twig waited with his Mom’s parcel.

That evening as the music started to play in the ballroom and all insects were assembled, Darby turned to Twig. “One last piece of advise?”

“Anything, Please!”

“Don’t expect to be perfect and if your legs do get tangled up, Laugh it off. Remember, tonight is meant to be fun.”

With that, Darby lifted his splendid Top Hat and set it on Twig’s head. Darby had only bought the hat to bolster Twig’s confidence. It was not too long ago when he was in Twig’s shoes.

“Now you’re the most dashing Gent in the room.” Enjoy yourself! Now where’s Daisy? And off Darby went to find his date.

“Thank-you Darby.” But Darby was already gone. Twig felt 10 feet tall as he crossed the room to ask Flutter to dance.

Have a wonderful week ahead everyone.

Sue, Axie, and the Fancifulls of Oh Valley

PS…. All Dragonfly Fancifull names begin with a “D” 🙂

Silvio of Silvio’s Haberdashery is a “Silkworm Moth” and all the silk for his hats is produced on premises. I promise to introduce him at a later date.