It could hardly be called a garden; in fact, it was little more than a herb patch. The scrawled labels on the small beds bore names such as Dead Man’s Wart, and Feverfew. Alex passed through it with some apprehension as he approached the Canny Woman’s cottage.
He knocked the door and stood uncertainty on the step. After a few moments, a silver-haired woman wearing a threadbare shawl opened the door.
“Yes,” she said in a weak voice.
“Um – I’m . . . , ” he began.
“You are Alex White,” the old woman said.
Taken slightly aback, Alex said, “Yes, Mam.”
“What can I do for you, Alex White?”
“I have a runny nose, and my eyes won’t stop watering,” the young man replied.
“Wait here,” she said and shuffled past him into the garden. She then plucked several peppermint leaves, and a few dried stems of what seemed a dead plant. She then pushed past him again and went to a mortar and pestle in the cottage. She put the stems and leaves into the bowl, and then took a small glass container from under her worktop. She poured a little of its contents into the bowl and crushed all together.
“Take a little of this each day until the blossoms fade on the trees,” she instructed. Be sure to do it in the morning when the dew is still on the grass.”
“Yes Mam,” Alex responded, and took the little parcel of mixture and placed it into his shirt pocket. “Thank you.”
“You are welcome, Alex White,” she said and closed the door as he stepped away.
Turning back to her workplace she lifted the glass bottle and weighed it in her hand. “I’ll need to get some more Benadryl soon,” she said to herself.