Written by Diana Cooper, illustrated by Maggie Waters.
Tara woke up in a bad mood. She picked a quarrel with her sister Mel and her brother Jack over nothing. She was cross with Mum because they’d run out of breakfast cereal. She refused to give Dad a kiss before he went to the allotment and she even glowered at her beautiful kitten, Ash-ting.
‘You’re a real grumpy-boots today, Tara,’ he meowed. ‘What’s the matter?’
‘No I’m not,’ she flared and flounced off.The kitten sighed. Mum shook her head. ‘It’s going to be one of those days,’ she muttered.
Ash-ting settled himself in a patch of sunshine on the sofa and closed his eyes, purring softly. But when Tara came back into the room and saw him, that didn’t suit her either. She picked him up irritated that he looked so comfortable.
‘Calm down, Tara,’ he murmured. ‘Let’s go to the oak tree and see if the fairies want to play today.’
‘If you want,’ she agreed ungraciously and carried him down the path into the meadow behind their house. Mum saw Tara go out and let out a big sigh of relief.
Tara walked round the lovely old oak tree calling softly, ‘Hallo fairies.’ But there was no answer. She wandered over to a thicket of brambles to see if there were any blackberries but they still weren’t ripe.
Then all of a sudden a creature stepped in front of her. He was tall and stout and wore a red cap on his head. When he saw Tara his sky blue eyes twinkled and he opened his arms wide. A bright white light beamed out from the centre of his chest and shone straight into the little girl. She felt it thump into her heart and immediately her bad mood lifted.
‘Hallo,’ she stammered smiling, ‘What are you doing here?’
‘I’m cheering you up,’ he replied with a grin.
‘Oh!’ she said and laughed out loud. ‘Do you help the blackberries to grow?’
‘I help everything,’ he replied.
Tara was rather surprised. ‘Well what’s your name?’
‘It’s Gobby. I’m a goblin,’ he responded and roared with laughter as though he had said something very funny – and disappeared into the bramble bush.
‘A goblin?’ Tara remarked to Ash-ting. ‘I thought goblins played tricks and were nasty.’
Ash-ting replied. ‘They play tricks alright but never nasty ones, just in fun. And they are very loving. They have huge warm hearts.’
‘I know,’ agreed Tara. She could still feel a glow in her chest.
‘Yes they are very special elementals,’ Ash-ting told her. ‘You were lucky to meet him.’
‘I wish I could see Gobby again,’ responded Tara wistfully but she didn’t expect to do so for elementals only come to you when they want to.
But she was pleasantly surprised. When they returned to the oak tree they saw Gobby sitting beneath it with two other goblins who looked just like him.
All three stood up as Tara and her kitten approached. They opened their arms wide to greet them. Again she felt a thud as a wonderful warm feeling of love shone into her chest. She grinned broadly.
‘What are you doing?’ she asked curiously.
‘We’re sending love down the magic lines,’ replied Gobby.
‘What does he mean?’ Tara whispered to Ash-ting. Her kitten explained that all places are connected by lines of energy called ley lines which you can’t see but you can sense or feel them. Some are thicker and stronger than others. Tara looked confused, so he added, ‘Well for example in the olden days all the churches were linked by these special lines.’
‘The lines connected them with love, so when people walked from one to the other they felt good.’
‘Cool!’ commented Tara.
Just then three Canadian geese flew above them honking loudly and they all laughed.
‘Birds like swallows who migrate to warmer countries in the winter fly above the main ley lines. It helps them to navigate and in return they send healing into the lines,’ explained Ash-ting.
‘Wow!’ exclaimed Tara.
Gobby stood up. ‘You can dowse for the magic lines. Have you heard of dowsing?’
Tara shook her head and Ash-ting said, ‘You could do it Tara. Lots of people dowse for underground water. They hold a twig or a rod and ask it to move when they reach water!’
‘Wow,’ the child repeated again. ‘How do you do that?’
‘Fetch a hazel twig,’ suggested one of the goblins, ‘And we’ll show you. Look that tree near the bramble patch is a hazel.’
Tara and Ash-ting raced to the hazel tree and the girl found a suitable twig. Gobby showed her how to hold it loosely and parallel to the ground.
‘In this field one of the ley lines follows an underground stream,’ Gobby told her. ‘So think about water and the magic line.’
‘Now walk back past the oak tree,’ Ash-ting advised. Tara held the twig lightly as she had been shown and she concentrated as she moved slowly along. Then suddenly the twig turned in her hands all by itself. She almost dropped it she was so surprised.
‘How did that happen!’ she exclaimed.
‘Well done, Tara, you’ve found water,’ Ash-ting rubbed himself against her in delight.
Gobby added. ‘Now see if you can find where the line goes to.’
The girl walked this way and that while the twig pointed one way then another. Then she found she was following it towards the beech copse at the other end of the meadow. She was very excited.
‘I’m not allowed to go any further on my own but I’m going home to tell the others. Come on Ash-ting. Bye goblins and thank you for showing me how to dowse!’ And she ran back to her house with Ash-ting racing behind her.
Tara burst into the kitchen, her eyes shining and her cheeks red from running. Mum stared at her in surprise. Was this the grumpy child who had got up this morning? ‘Hey you look better!’ she exclaimed.
Tara grinned. ‘I’ve been dowsing,’ she replied excitedly.
‘What’s that?’ demanded Mel and Jack at the same time.
‘Dowsing? Where did you learn that?’ asked Mum.
‘Oh I just did,’ the child responded airily. ‘I found water.’
‘You mean water divining?’ asked Mel as if she knew all about it, though Tara knew she didn’t. But she was too excited to be annoyed this time.
At that minute Dad walked in and she had to tell him all about it. He laughed. ‘I used to do that with bent wire coat hangers,’ he told them. ‘I think it’s easier than using a twig. Shall we all have a go?’
‘Yes!’ the children all shouted jumping up and down in their impatience to start.
Mum quickly found spare coat hangers and Dad bent them into an L shape so they could hold one side loosely and it could turn by itself.
They set off down the garden path and once in the meadow they spread out into a row and walked slowly holding their divining coat hangers carefully. When they turned in their hands at the same spot Mum, Mel and Jack were very surprised.
‘Just look at that crazy coat hanger,’ shouted five year old Jack and everyone laughed for it was an expression he had picked up from television.
After that it was great fun following the line of the underground stream through the beech copse and out on the other side. They carried on until lunch time.
‘That was good fun,’ said Mel.
‘And I could do it too,’ added Jack proudly.
Tara smiled and thought how surprised they would be if they knew who taught her.
Later Tara and Ash-ting returned to the oak tree. Tara took her bent wire coat hanger with her in case she saw Gobby.
And there he was waiting for her! He waved when he saw her, ‘Well done for showing your family,’ he called and she smiled broadly.
She sat down by him under the tree and Ash-ting sat on her knee.
‘When I sent you love this morning, how did it feel,’ the goblin asked.
The girl thought for a minute. ‘All warm and tingly and happy and fuzzy,’ she responded at last.
‘Good. Now when you think about Ash-ting how do you feel?’
Tara looked at her beautiful little grey kitten and felt the same warm, tingly, happy, fuzzy feeling.
‘The same,’ she replied. Ash-ting cuddled against her. ‘I love you too Tara,’ he purred and she stroked him gently.
The goblin continued. ‘When you find a ley line or underground water, if you send that loving feeling along it, it lights up the line so that people and animals on the ground feel it.’
‘Is that what you were doing this morning?’ demanded Tara.
Gobby nodded. ‘We were sending it along a line that runs from the oak tree to your school. Then the love from the tree and all the elementals who live in it can flow into the school and the children will sense it and feel good.’
‘Oh that’s great,’ exclaimed Tara. ‘I’d like to do that too.’
‘That ley line is not very big yet but we can make it stronger if we send more love along it. Do you want to see if you can pick it up with the dowsing rods?
‘Yes please.’ Tara was up in a flash, focusing on the line to the school and at last the coat hanger moved. It was going to run through her own house.
‘Now the important bit,’ said Gobby. ‘Send love along it.
‘How can I do that Ash-ting?’ she murmured.
‘Hum from your heart,’ he suggested.
Mum looked out of the kitchen window and smiled as she saw Tara earnestly walking across the meadow with her coat hanger. But she did not know that she was humming love into the line or that the little kitten walking behind her was purring love – nor did she see three goblins walking behind Ash-ting with their arms out, radiating love towards the school.
And she didn’t hear the birds twitter, ‘Thank you,’ as they flew over the ley line.
But she did feel a lovely warm, tingly, happy, fuzzy feeling inside.