Sometimes in the telling of a story, the narrator must dig a tunnel going backward in time. The tunnel eventually swings forward, loops around or can doubleback on itself. The tunnel that Maybell was in was a real one, and tunnels were the abodes of Moles and Rats... it was dark and creepy. She searched her mind for the memory of her Mother telling her about this place. She had a clear Memory of the description of the door to the Baggaraggs, and the directions to get there, but there was no memory of a dark and creepy tunnel to traverse. She would have remembered that part of the directions, for sure. There was nothing left do do but to creep forward. She had to speak with Mrs. Tenderstitch.
Maybell felt a little angry with her Mother, and would have told her Mother so if she still lived. Her Mother Marvel, had made so many things look easy that were not so easy. Maybe this is the thought of many children who love their parents, I don't know. But Maybell knew that Marvel had left this part of the story out...left out the part of the creepy tunnel.Did she know that the knowledge of this place would put her off this quest? Many mice faced with a fearful place will turn around and go back. Retreat, retrace their steps. Some get frozen to the spot and wait for someone else to rescue them: their rigid bodies are toted off like statues in need of sunlight, and some cheese wine.
Maybell sniffed the air, and smelled the wormy loam smell of rich earth. Her tiny whiskers twitched with anxiety and fear. This would never do. "One paw in front of the other." And reaching forward blindly, she felt what seemed to be a thread on the floor of the darkness. She grasped it, and tugged. It felt secure. And so, paw over paw, she followed its narrow length through the tunnel.
To settle herself into this task, she thought of the long stories that her Mother would tell her about Mrs. Tenderstitch. "She has the love for all creatures," her Mother would say. "She has tended us when we are sick, fed us when there was nothing to eat and taught us to push threads, to make our clothing. Most importantly, she has what the animal world calls the 'EAR.' "It is something wonderous to speak to a Human, and Mrs. Tenderstitch felt that it was indeed a wonderous gift to speak with us."
These were the thoughts that provided the courage that Maybell needed as she followed the thread through the gloom.