Later, after a hot afternoon dipping candles Leonard, Greg and Melly got a few hours of free time to themselves. Leonard and Greg told Melly about the candle making and how Ash had raised the circle with no words and Melly told about her afternoon swimming which hadn’t been out of the ordinary for a change. She still had her wet swimsuit on and she had persuaded the boys to put theirs on for some canoeing in the lake if they felt like it.
Leonard and the other two meandered down the trails and out to the lake and sat on the dock watching the dragonflies chase each other and seeing the first of the evening swallows swoop after insects above the lake.
Suddenly there was a huge splash and all three of them were drenched. The three sat sputtering and wiping their faces and looked around to see who had gotten them wet. A few yards away tumbled an otter with a huge grin.
“Did you do that?” asked Leonard a little heatedly. He was worried this might be some magical friend he hadn’t met yet and he didn’t want to make them mad.
The otter nodded and gave his tail a flip and dove under. When he came up there were two more otters. All chittering and playing with each other. One swam over and pulled on Leonard’s foot and motioned to the water.
“You want us to join you?” Leonard asked the otter.
The otter nodded and motioned again. “But I don’t swim very well.”
Greg and Melly were already stripping down to their swim suits excitedly.
“Come on, Leonard! If they want us to play, it has to be safe.”
Leonard wasn’t too sure about that but if the other two were going he didn’t want to be left behind and took off his outer shorts in a hurry. Greg and Melly dove off the dock and into the lake.
Leonard thought he’d ease himself in when he felt a light push from behind and in he went. He came up to sputtering and looked at the dock. He’d let an otter sneak up behind him but now he was in so he swam over to where the other two were treading water.
Two otters jumped on his shoulders and pushed his head under insistently. Leonard sputtered and came back up.
Greg signed to Melly and Leonard to dive and open their eyes. He said he had an idea. Leonard and Melly looked at each other and dove down and opened their eyes in the dim lake water. What they saw was a woman who was green and looking at them with one eye brow raised who motioned to them to come closer. Leonard didn’t know about that so he shot back up to the surface. Greg and Melly followed.
“Who was that?” Leonard cried to the other two.
“Maybe if we’d stayed we’d find out Melly signed and said. “She looked friendly.”
“I don’t know about friendly but how’d she get here?”
There was a bubbling in the water next to them and they turned.
The green woman broke through the surface and smiled at them.
“Sorry about that but I needed to see who was in my lake.” Said the woman.
“Your lake???” the three said.
“Yes, my lake.” She said firmly, “Blue Sky and Oak brought me here to live safely. Leonard, your mother is the one who found me and told them where to come and find me.”
“My mom?” said Leonard in shock.
“She did, she found me during one of her landscaping projects and told me they were going to dredge the lake I lived in so your camp directors rescued me and brought me here.”
Leonard was realizing his mother might be more magically inclined than he thought. He’d have to think about that later but for now he was getting tired of treading water.
“Could we go closer to the dock?” he asked.
The otters started giggling at Leonard and the green lady said something to the otters that wasn’t in English and the otters stopped and swam over to Leonard and grabbed his arms.
“Dude! Relax!” That was it for Leonard. He swam to the dock and pulled himself out. He was not ready for an otter that called him “Dude”. He laid on the dock and saw Melly and Greg still treading water and looking at him.
The green lady swam to Leonard and Greg and Melly followed. “The otter called me, Dude.” He said to the lady.
“Sorry about that. They speak because I live here and they have been listening a wee bit too much to some of the other campers. And by the way, My name is Celedon. I also know you grandmother from long ago.”
“Pleased to meet you, Celedon.” Said Melly, spelling the name out for Greg and giving Leonard a look that told him that his manners were lacking.
Leonard said nodded quickly and tried to smile. His head was spinning and he was wondering when it was going to feel safe to swim again.
“I’ve been waiting to welcome you to camp and I hope you visit me often this summer there are some things I’m sure your grandmother would want you to know, if you can bring yourself to get in the water again.” She laughed and dove under the surface and disappeared and the otters followed her.
“That did not make swimming any easier!” Greg and Melly laughed and joined him in the sun on the dock.