Some days later, Doris arrived at school. Malcolm had been absent, and she felt strangely lonely. Timidly, she asked the owl, “Sir, Owl, Sir, do you know where Malcolm is?”
“Alas, my dear,” intoned the owl, “Malcolm is gravely ill. I feel most concerned. I suspect that a grave disappointment has made him give up hope.”
Doris felt as though the world had spun around her and settled back into a different pattern. The owl continued, “He asked me to give you these.” He reached behind his desk and gave her a bunch of flowers, curiously similar to the ones on the cover of the book in the summerhouse.
Doris took the flowers and glanced miserably up at the owl, and miserably down at the flowers again.
“Perhaps,” said the owl kindly, “a word of encouragement may help him. Would you permit me to send him a message, saying that you like the flowers?” Doris, too overcome to speak, nodded.
On the following day, as his pupils filed out of school, Sir Owl Sir, out of the corner of his eye, watched Malcolm and Doris walk down the familiar path into the undergrowth. Doris playfully put a daisy behind Malcolm’s ear, and he shook it off in mock outrage, whispering something to her. As Doris leaned closer to listen, they disappeared into the tangled green leaves.
The owl ruffled his feathers, shook them back into perfect order, spread his powerful wings, and soared away, high above the valley in the wood.