A Patchwork Fantasy Snippet full of old books and fuzzy snouts.
In which a new library assistant meets some very special library occupants.
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[Soft, mysterious music]
Laura: Hi, you can call me Laura. This is Patchwork Fairy Tales and you’ve just stumbled upon a Patchwork Fantasy Snippet. If you want to read as well as listen, check out the transcript linked in the description.
“Alright, there’s one more thing you need to know. The library has lemurs.”
The new library assistant took a moment to replay that sentence in their head. Lemurs. “I’m sorry, the library has what?”
The librarian gave them a patient look. “Lemurs.”
Ah, so they did hear that correctly. Darn. “Um-” Disagreeing with their new supervisor really wasn’t in their top ten of things to do after just getting hired. They put on their most polite questioning expression. “And by lemurs you mean…?”
“Multiple animals from a species within the classification Lemuroidea,” the librarian replied with a faint smirk. She gave a nod towards one of the back rooms, where some of the books were kept that were not for lending, but only for studying. “They mostly keep to that room, we try to encourage that anyway. Would you like to meet them?”
For a moment her practical efficiency gave way to a slightly softer, enquiring look.
“If you’d rather not, we can make sure you won’t have to go in there. But every now and they do tend to escape.”
The assistant gaped at her. “You mean there are actual lemurs living in your library?”
“I strongly suspect they think of it as their library,” the librarian answered complacently. “We’ve never been able to get rid of them. Not that I personally ever tried. I’m rather fond of the company. And they do eat the moths and the bookworms.”
After another moment of stunned silence the new assistant decided not to ask exactly what she meant by ‘bookworms’. One thing at the time. “Right, eh, okay? I can do lemurs, I think.”
The librarian’s face brightened up to a smile. “Wonderful. Come on in then.”
She led them into the back room and for a second they actually forgot what they came in here for, mesmerised by the shelves upon shelves of old to ancient volumes, reaching all the way to the high ceilings. Well, they wouldn’t have been much of a librarian-to-be if they weren’t perpetually impressed by the majesty of books.
The room was lit with soft, dim light – easy on the eyes as well as the ageing paper – and where the walls leaned against each other, or the bookcases reaches up at their highest, deep shadows hung down like dusky drapes. For a moment all was quiet and then, with a rustle and a murmur, at least a dozen eyes peered down from those little stowaway pockets of twilight.
The assistant, to their credit, managed not to gasp.
There really were lemurs. In the dim light they could just make out some tufted little ears above the round eyes, and below that, some snuffly little snouts. As they watched them, some of them leaned forward, small hands gripping the edge of the shelves they were perched on.
“As far as we can tell they’re a particular library-indigenous species,” the librarian hummed. “We tried to have a biologist in to identify them once, but of course they wouldn’t come out then.”
“How many are there?” the assistant asked and they watched in awe how one of the creatures made its way down to a lower shelf, careful not to disturb a single book, and with its fluffy red tail trailing elegantly behind them.
“Seven, last time I counted.” The librarian squinted a little, looking from left to right. “I don’t see the little ones at the moment. It’s not much use to name them, but they don’t seem to oppose to it, so feel free.”
“They don’t have names yet?” the assistant asked, not quite able to look away from the lemur that was making its way down the bookcase. The black eyes in the red-brown face were fixed on them quite intently.
The librarian hummed. “Not that I gave them.”
“Oh they should have names…” the new assistant whispered and as if it had understood, the lemur that had been climbing down nodded its head towards them invitingly.
Very carefully, they reached out a hand and scratched the small primate behind their ear. The lemur let out a soft purr and the assistant, suddenly filled with an odd sort of warmth, felt their lips smile of their own accord.
“Would you look at that!” the librarian laughed. “Most people have to bring fruit for that kind of condescension.” She gave a pleased little flounce with her shoulders. “I knew you’d do well here the moment I saw you, very good. Well, we best get started, opening hours are almost upon us. Oh, and if you ever lose a book in here, be sure to ask one of them first. They’re excellent at finding things.”
[Soft, mysterious music returns]
Laura: Thank you for listening, I hope you liked this snippet of patchwork fantasy. Transcripts, easy streaming, and all the information about this podcast and all my other creations can be found on laurasimons.com.
There’s another tale to tell some other day, but until then: remember to guard your name, and be safe.
Copyright Laura Simons, please do not copy my stories without my permission, lest you insult the fae.