It is finished. However, due to the wise advice of my dear younger sister, I have split it into two more episodes, only one of which you will find below. I hope that this will allow you to read and digest it bitesize, and not be so bored (at least not all at one sitting), as you might have been had I published it all at once.
The Grenobles caught each other's hands and twirled together; the glade was filled with a singing wind that once again tossed Lisa's hair up over her head, and showered her with leaves.
"Timothy!" she called loudly, half to test the strength of the wind's song. It drowned her out completely, even though it did not overwhelm her ears. The Grenobles broke their grasp and danced past her, careening, gusts of wind laughing for them. One cart wheeled from the land into the trunk, and down the stairs out of sight. The other leapt on top of the trunk, straddling it, with legs splayed so wide that Lisa gasped, lest it slip and fall down the center of the stairs.
"Come home," it whispered from all around her in the wind.
"That is not my home," she said back, and though her voice was drowned out, it seemed to hear her, for it replied.
"It is your way home."
Lisa did not consider too long, for the sun was blotted out by clouds, and a wall of rain drummed in from the forest toward her, soaking Timothy's moss-covered tree and making the brook leap up from its place as it approached. She stepped into the tree-trunk, ducking beneath the Grenoble's legs, and down until only her head was above the trunk. The water danced and rippled just beneath her eyes; the wind swept her hair about still, but her dress was not touched by rain or wind.
The Grenoble snapped its legs together, grabbed the side of the trunk with one arm, and swung down to stand on a step above her. Lisa turned and climbed down the steps to bring her head out of the wind and rain. Holding onto the twisting, bark-covered rail that ran along the inner wall of the trunk, she leaned over the center, and saw many soft lights, the other Grenoble descending gracefully, and Timothy just in front of it, now leaping with both legs drawn up at the knees, from one step to the next.
"We are coming home," sighed the Grenoble behind her in its normal voice.
"Excuse me," said Lisa, not wishing to offend it by changing the subject when it was discussing something so important to it, "Timothy!"
He turned, leaning back against the wall of the trunk, still making humming sounds to accompany his descent.
"Don't get too far ahead, and listen to the Grenoble. You're in its house. Should we take off our shoes? They are wet," she said, turning back to the Grenoble beside her.
"Yes," it said, and, turning back to sit down and take her shoes off, Lisa saw Timothy and the Grenoble ahead of her going into a hole in the wall of the trunk, from which the first of the glowing lights seem to be emerging. Coming to the hole, which was actually a giant knothole-door, Lisa bent over and entered the room within. It would not have been large in her own house, but the glowing light, that came from a vein of sap running down the wall, put shadows in the corners, and in such a small house, with such small people, the room seemed very large indeed. Leaning against one wall was a stove, which the first Grenoble opened and tossed in glowing crystals of sap, licking its fingers with a thin tongue that was deep red striped with brown tree-rings, like the wood on Lisa's old dresser drawers. The stove glowed bright in a moment, and warmth poured in, for the tree was cool and moist inside. The other Grenoble, meanwhile, had approached a stand on another wall, and pulled down four pairs of slippers, covered with a light tan bark that curled and peeled up, and filled with soft, spongy moss. Then they all sat down on a bench along the center wall, took off their shoes.
"Funny feets!" chortled Timothy approvingly, and he leapt down, shoes half off, to examine the Grenobles' feet.
"Feet," muttered Lisa, leaning back and struggling to pull her shoes off.
The Grenobles' calves were smooth and a little green, under moss stockings. As they took these off they wiggled stubby, knotty toes, each toe having a young bud atop it for a nail, and each of their four feet having a different number of toes. Timothy sat down on the floor, pulled off his shoes, and tossed them back over his shoulder. Then he did the same with his socks. He leaned back, holding himself up on his arms, and wiggled his own toes in the air to compare them with the Grenobles.
After this, they all slipped on their slippers, picked up their shoes and socks (Timothy only after Lisa told him to twice) and put them on the now-empty shelf before continuing down the stairs.
Timothy tried walking down sideways, looking up to grin and laugh at the Grenoble above him, but after he saw too many glares from Lisa competing with the Grenoble's quiet, mouthless smile, he turned and hurried on. Timothy and the first Grenoble passed the next door without even looking in, but Lisa caught a glimpse of bookshelves as she passed, and stopped with a sigh.
"Timothy, wait!" she called, and stuck her head through the door for a better look. Through sap-filled cracks in the wall streamed in the light and warmth of a summer day, but outside of the beams was the cool of late fall. A rocking chair and a couch of velvet pillows, one deep brown, the other deep green, sat in the room, and within the walls were curving bookshelves and hundreds of books. The Grenoble came in behind her, picked up pipe, book, and reading glasses from a stand, lit the pipe, sat down in the rocking chair, and opened the book with a modest creak. A sweet aroma like maple syrup filled the room with the pipe's thin smoke, and Lisa forgot Timothy and began circling the room, head sideways, looking not for a good book, for they were all good, but for the best book for that day.
Finally, she settled on a book about an afternoon spent by a group of dear friends on a grand estate, and fell slowly into the couch's palm, watching the dust rise to be caught in the shafts of light. The Grenoble sucked on its pipe, and turned to eye her over its reading glasses. She could not help but laugh at those beautiful and strange eyes staring at her over the oak frames.
"What are you reading?" she asked to cover her laughter.
"The latest volume upon the pine style of dance. It is quite modern; I am not sure if I and my brother will ever learn it, but it is fascinating. See," it said, turning the book to show a diagram that looked like a piece of Timothy's pencil scribblings, only marked with numbers in a good hand, "the tributary gusts are used to surround the wells, and gradually lift them. There's some thought as to popping them and showering down the forest carpet; quite tricky, you don't know," it chuckled.
"Oh," said Lisa, and hid behind her own book, which was much more suited to her tastes.