Food follows the story.
We Have Always Lived in the Mushroom
by Marian Allen
My name is Cobweb Peasblossom Mustardseed. I am one hundred and seventy years old, and I live in a mushroom with my pet centipede, Oberon. This is the third mushroom we’ve lived in, having moved into the second and third within the past ten years.
Our first was a beautiful morel. It had grown to the height of ten fairies, each hovering a smidge over the last one’s head. Everybody called it our castle, and Mustardseeds had lived in it for generations.
Then the giant came. Nobody knows where it came from, but we certainly know why: It lumbered purposefully through the wood, pulling up any morels it saw, including mine. I barely had time to magic my things into the bag fairies carry on their hips and dive out. Imagine my horror when I realized Oberon hadn’t made it out with me!
All the fairies and bugs and insects held a meeting and compared notes. The only mushrooms the giant had taken were morels, so we decided we’d all move into puffballs. They’re not very stylish, being round and white and featureless, but they’re very roomy.
I had just gotten settled into my new home when Oberon returned! He had eaten a hole through our house and jumped out before the giant got back to its lair. It had taken him days to get back to the neighborhood, but the bond between a fairy and her centipede is profound.
He said he had heard the giant talking to someone he couldn’t see, saying that it was going to eat our houses!
All was well, until the giant started ravaging mushrooms other than morels. It carried a flat thing with it that it pointed at a mushroom, then passed the mushroom by or cut it off at the ground.
Mine was one it cut.
We had all drilled for this possibility, and we had all networked our power as soon as the giant was spotted destroying the first puffball. As the giant put its hand out to steal a home, all the fairies magicked the threatened one and her (or his) centipede to safety.
Not all fairies lost their homes that day, but it was clear that puffballs were now no safer than morels.
Our cousins, the dryads, offered to share their trees with us, but dryads object to loud parties and fairies are very social, so we graciously declined.
After some consultation, it was decided: We would all move into galerinas. They were small, but they grew in clusters, making them easy to remodel into multiple spaces connected underground. The best part: They’re poisonous and grow in amongst look-alikes that aren’t poisonous.
Let the giant come! Let the giant take our houses, mistaking them for other things it wants to eat! One way or another, we would be safe from the giant in future.
Fear not. I only collect morels, and don’t plan to collect any other wild mushrooms. It’s very tempting, but I have no desire to flirt with poisoning myself, even if I don’t die from it. If I wanted to make myself sick, I’d eat liver and save myself the aggravation of chiggers.
ANYWAY, I wanted to show you one of my vegan feasts.
Red and gold potatoes boiled and buttered with fresh green beans, and store-bought mushrooms fried in vegan margarine and cooking wine. Packed with protein and delicious goodness.
MY PROMPT TODAY: Mushrooms