It took Rebecca until nearly lunchtime to realize that Golly the house goblin was missing.
She had collected the eggs, milked the cow, brought in water from the well, and started the fire. After breakfast she had left out a small mug of milk and some porridge on a saucer for Golly.
Then she had settled in front of the spinning wheel with a pile of wool. Miranda, her mother clacked away on the big loom on the other side of the one-roomed cottage, Willyum, her baby brother, kicked beside her on a rug on the floor.
Rebecca had finished her spinning, put the wheel away neatly and went outside to bring in the plate and mug. The mug still had milk in it and the porridge was untouched. Rebecca stared in horror.
Where was her best friend Golly? Even if he had other things to do he never missed his breakfast. Something was wrong!
"I'll collect some potatoes for our lunch," she told Miranda, picking up a basket.
Miranda looked up from her weaving. "Bring in a bunch of onions as well."
The white owl flew down from its perch in the corner and landed on her shoulder.
Miranda had gotten used to Rebecca's tame owl on her shoulder. Of course Miranda didn't know that he was her guard, Lord Be Thankful, or that Rebecca was a changeling and that her own daughter was now a fairy princess.
Rebecca had been the fairy princess Dewdrop, but the Fairy Queen had turned Dewdrop into a mortal girl and Lord Be Thankful into an owl in a fit of temper. She had then replaced the mortal girl Rebecca as the fairy princess Dewdrop.
"Golly's missing!" Rebecca said as soon as she was away from the cottage.
"Might be off working for the Queen," the white owl said.
"Doing what?" Rebecca demanded.
"Just be thankful she has no power over you."
"Golly must be in trouble."
Rebecca went to the vegetable garden. She pulled up some onions, bumped the dirt off them and put them into the basket.
"Sally might know," the owl suggested. "Animals hear everything."
Rebecca's face cleared. One thing about being an ex fairy princess was that she could still talk to animals and birds. Then she remembered. "George took Sally and the cart out to collect wood. He could be gone all day."
She trudged down to the paddock to collect the potatoes. She took them back to the cottage.
"Thank you, Rebecca," Miranda said with a smile.
Rebecca smiled back. She just loved her new mother Miranda. She made a much nicer mother than the Fairy Queen.
"Is George coming home for lunch?" she asked.
George was amused when she kept calling he and Miranda by their names instead of father and mother. The Fairy Queen had a consort, but he was always Your Majesty, and never Father or Dad, and the Fairy Queen was Your Majesty never Mother or Mum, so they were never words that Rebecca was used to.
"Yes, go and help him unload when he gets back."
Rebecca ran back out and along the track. She climbed into the biggest tree there and waited. Soon she spotted Sally plodding along pulling the cart full of dry wood. George walked beside her.
She ran down to greet them, the owl flying beside her. "Hi George, hi Sally. Miranda sent me down to help you unload and unharness Sally."
"You are a good girl, Rebecca," George said with a smile, ruffling her plaited hair.
This was something else that Rebecca liked. George often patted her or ruffled her hair to show he liked her. No one in the fairy court ever said she was a good fairy or patted her with liking. She wondered what the changeling who was now Princess Dewdrop thought about the lack of affection and niceness at Court.
Sally pulled the cart along to the small woodshed and waited to be unharnessed.
"Take Sally back to her paddock," George said as he undid straps. "Brush her down and make sure she has plenty of fresh water. I'll unload the wood."
Rebecca took Sally down to the paddock. First she wiped her down and then started brushing her.
"That feels good," Sally said happily.
"Have you heard anything about Golly? He didn't come up for his breakfast this morning."
"Haven't seen any goblins this morning," Sally said. "Rub between my ears again."
"You passed the Bidwhite farm, and the Simpson place," Rebecca nagged. "You must have seen their goblins?"
"No goblins around this morning," Sally said. "Keep rubbing."
"All of them missing," Rebecca brooded. "Someone must have seen something during the night." She looked at her owl.
"I sleep up at the cottage all night," her guard reminded her.
"Ask the other owls," Rebecca ordered.
"Wake them in the middle of their sleeptime?" her guard said in shock. "Never!"
"That's an order," Rebecca said. "Get moving."
"Be thankful I am obeying your order," her guard grumbled. He flew off. He was back by the time Rebecca had finished brushing down Sally and filling her water bucket.
"Be thankful you are mortal," he gasped. "There is big trouble!"
"Where's Golly?" Rebecca demanded.
"Orders of the Fairy Queen. They had to capture all the hobgoblins and send them back."
"Matilda the wise old goblin dame told the Fairy Queen it was her job to clear the hobgoblins from mortal lands," Rebecca remembered. "So where are all the goblins?"
"The hobgoblins won."
Rebecca stared in horror at her guard. "But the hobgoblins wouldn't have had a chance against the Queen's guards?"
"She didn't send any to help. The goblins were defeated." Lord Be Thankful left the bad news for last. "The hobgoblins captured the lot of them."