Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 19

Every picture tells a story…

New Mexico Territory 1880
New Mexico Territory 1880

Or it does if the camera is in the hands of Timothy Price at T&L Photos. The photographs make for a chronicle of day-to-day life for Tim and his family in “the land of enchantment” — also known as New Mexico.  That family includes a four-footed crew of felines that keep the humans in line.

Last weekend, a couple of you sent “three things” to drive the story, and thank you very much. However, when I was ready to write this episode, there were no “things” to fuel the locomotive to the Victorian Era. Then Tim happened to make a comment at his blog that mentioned some of the myths and legends of the American Southwest. As soon as I read the comment, I thought “Hey! That’s three things!”  So you have Tim to thank for the things that inspired this episode.

Even so, none of those three things were about food.  So KR Big Fish, aka Kathryn at Another Foodie Blogger agreed to share one of her delicious southwestern inspired recipes.  Be sure to read to the end of this episode for the link.

So now the locomotive has plenty of steam and it’s ready to take us back to the Victorian Era.  All aboard! 

From last time…

“Cornelis Drebbel, are you trying to tell me that this submarine is powered by a magical creature that farts a highly concentrated vaporous form of absinthe?” I asked and I couldn’t prevent my voice going up a full octave on the last word.

Cornelis twisted his lips over to one side and raised one bushy blonde eyebrow in a cringing expression.

“Well, yes.  That’s pretty much exactly what I meant.  But he only does that if you frighten him,” Cornelis said, nodding encouragingly.


19.  La Llorona, Coyote, Chupacabra

“We have to help her!” Copper screamed and burst into tears.

“She can’t be helped, Copper!  Her pain follows her in death.  She is not human,” I tried to explain as the girl struggled in my grasp.Copper pensive

Copper couldn’t be allowed to go to that woman.  If she did, she’d be killed.

I looked back to the water’s edge.  A woman with long dark hair wailed in sorrow as she walked along the shore.  Her dress of flowing white was a false suggestion of purity.  But no one could hear her intense grief and not feel sympathy as she repeated the distraught cry, “¡Ay, mis hijos!”

“Quickly Cornelis!  Pull Copper inside before the magic completely beguiles her,” I called to the alchemist.

His blonde head popped back up from the submarine’s hatch where he had gone ahead of us.  He said the Green Fairy would need reassurance, so we wouldn’t startle it.  Meanwhile Copper and I were poised, levitated on a cloud of green above the water beside the submarine.Vintage ghosts several

Wide-eyed, Cornelis hissed a warning that the noise we were making would frighten Absinthe, the Green Fairy who powered the submarine.  However, a glance at my face was enough for him to know something was wrong.  I motioned with my head toward the shore — I daren’t move one of my hands from the struggling girl so I could point.  She was already bespelled enough to try and reach the Weeping Woman.

“What is that…?” Cornelis asked, meaning the woman.

“It’s La Llorona!  She beguiles children.  Hurry and help me get Copper inside,” I urged.

However, Copper twisted free of my grasp.  She jumped from our levitated spot and dove toward the water in attempt to reach the sorrowful woman.

“Cornelis!” I screamed.

A thin thread of luminous green shot after Copper.  It was same trick the alchemist used to pull me from the river when the alchemically-amped road locomotive had taken a turn too fast and my hatbox (containing his skull) went overboard.  I had jumped into the river to save it, but we both ended up with head colds.  The alchemist’s sneezes had odd results.

Cornelis Drebbel
Cornelis Drebbel

The magical thread wrapped securely around Copper before she even touched the surface of the water.  With a couple of hand motions Cornelis reeled her back and quickly pulled her into the submarine.  I jumped in behind and closed the hatch.

“Such a tortured soul!  How did you know what would happen?” the Dutchman asked.

Cornelis seemed to sympathize with La Llorona.  I looked at him closely, wondering if her spell had affected the Dutchman as well as Copper.  Her magic was only supposed to be effective on children, but Cornelis was no ordinary human being, so I felt a moment of uncertainty.  However, looking into his eyes, I decided he was not influenced, just uncharacteristically empathetic.

“It was La Llorona,” I explained.  “I learned the legend from my maternal grandmother.  She was from Mexico.  Although it seems to be more than just a story,” I said shaking my head in disbelief at the scene I had just witnessed.

Drebbel Perpetual Motion Clock
Drebbel Perpetual Motion Machine

“Some say La Llorona was insane with jealousy, but whatever her reasoning, she drowned her children.  My grandmother told the story that she came to her senses enough to comprehend something was wrong, and she wandered, searching for them.  When she realized what she had done, she drowned herself as well.  But her spirit was forever trapped between life and death.  So she wanders and beguiles children, leading them to a watery death,” I explained the legend as my grandmother imparted it during my childhood.

“With that kind of bedtime story, you must have been afraid to close your eyes,” Cornelis said and I nodded.  “Why, your grandmother was a woman after my own heart,” he said with a lopsided grin.

I rolled my eyes at the incorrigible alchemist.  “She would have said you were an old coyote,” I retorted.  “And she would have liked you,” I added in a sardonic tone, knowing I spoke the truth.

The Dutchman looked over his shoulder and reminded me to be quiet.  “And whatever you do, you must not startle the Green Fairy,” he whispered.

Carefully, I climbed down the ladder from the hatch.  I was about to ask where Copper was when I heard muffled sobbing from a corner.  She was huddled under  a piece of furniture that seemed to be a sort of desk, and she was crying from the influence of La Llorona.

Drebbel Perpetual Motion Clock
Drebbel Perpetual Motion Clock

Whether it was a desk or something else, it was an interesting piece.  The hutch opened out, wing-like with numerous compartments of boxes and little apothecary type drawers.  Those drawers had crystal faces with little brass knobs.  The open boxes were filled with all manner of glittering apparatuses.  On the desktop two broadly different variations of Cornelis Drebbel’s perpetual motion clock were mounted within shimmering glass domes.  (I couldn’t help shuddering at the amount of trouble those might cause.)

The desk had an ordinary desktop supported by drawered cabinetry on each side.  The middle, where a chair might go, had a roll-down covering which was part-way down.  That’s where Copper crouched, sobbing.

I moved to go to Copper.  The poor girl couldn’t possibly understand what had happened, or the spell La Llorona’s wail had cast upon her.  However, Cornelis caught my arm.  He held a finger to his lips and then pointed toward the space just above the desk.

“Is that…?” I began in fascination.  “Is that the Green Fairy?  And that tiny thing can power this vessel?” I asked.

Cornelis smiled like an indulgent parent and nodded.  “Actually it is our energies combined, mine and his, but I do believe Absinthe could produce enough power to run this submarine and another as well — if he were of a mind.”

I tilted my head and watched in amazement.  Absinthe would have fit in my outstretched palm.  He looked like a fluffy baby skunk, but where a skunk would’ve had black fur the Green Fairy’s was, well — green.  And it was bright green, just like the liquor.  On butterfly wings, he fluttered down toward skunk palm

Absinthe chirped once as he investigated the girl, who had yet to see him.  Copper, sobbing, didn’t pay any attention to the next chirp either.  The tiny creature began snuffling at her hair, snuffle-chirp-chirp, snuffle-chirp-chirp.

I edged closer very cautiously, not wanting to interrupt the wondrous display.  I detected a faintly sweet aroma like licorice.  Apparently all the snuffling and chirping must have tickled, because Copper started to giggle through her tears.  I didn’t know if skunks, or rather Green Fairies could smile, but tiny Absinthe looked like he was smiling when Copper looked up at him in delighted fascination.

Cornelis pointed to the roll-down covering where Copper had tucked herself.  “He must really like her,” the Dutchman said.  “That’s his favorite pouting post.  Whenever Absinthe gets annoyed or frightened, he darts under there and slams down the cover,” Cornelis said with a mystified chuckle.

Green fairy skunkA sharp ping distracted me and I turned toward the sound.  Beside what I thought must be a periscope was a multi-limbed brass contrivance.  Each arm ended with a walnut sized faceted gemstone.  The device gyrated and whirred so much that it was difficult to count its arms, but I thought there were seven, each capped with a different colored gem.  The base of the device lit up causing the gemstones to cast a rainbow effect.

Absinthe fluttered toward the colorful machine.  Apparently the tiny fairy had failed to notice me until I spoke.  “How pretty, Cornelis. What does it do?” I asked pointing at the device.

When I moved my hand to point, the Green Fairy fluttered backward a beat.  Luminous emerald eyes widened.  Absinthe hissed at me.  Then I heard a farting sound.  From his bantam backside blew a billow of bright green vapor.

“I told you not to startle him!” Cornelis admonished.  “Copper, stay where you are and don’t stand up until that cloud clears!” the alchemist instructed hastily.  “Felicity, hurry and open that hatch!”

“Hurry and hopen the hatch how?” I giggled as I wobbled up the ladder.

Albert Maignan's "Green Muse" 1895
Albert Maignan’s “Green Muse” 1895

“Dear heavens it’s too late,” Cornelis groaned as he climbed up beside me.

“I can’t budge the beastly bugger open,” I complained.  “Who needs fresh air, Cornelis.  It’s fine in here.  You’ll just let in that dank, damp…  Oh! Watch your hands!” I cautioned as he reached around me trying to get to the hatch handle.

A whoosh of air hit me in the face.  When I looked toward the shore I could have sworn I saw a hippopotamus singing to a group of infatuated mermaids who played music upon lyres.  La Llorona danced with a chupacabra — a goat-killing blood sucker from another of my grandmother’s stories.  Then I wondered how I had ever managed to sleep as a child.

When I turned my head, the world lurched.  The green vapors of concentrated absinthe streamed up through the opening around us.  When I looked at the alchemist he seemed to be standing at a peculiar angle.  He looked back at me and snorted laughter.  He took my arm and pulled me upright.  Apparently I was leaning far to one side.

For a moment he looked just like a coyote in a silk jacket.  I snorted out a laugh, then covered my mouth in embarrassment, then I collapsed in giggles.

Wolf as Colonial manI noticed that Cornelis held his harmonic tuner.  He looked quite bleary-eyed.  “Cornelis you should take better care of yourself.  Are you coming down with another head cold?” I asked feeling more than a little woozy.

He held the tuner above our heads and gave it one sharp ring.  The sound reverberated inside my skull in an unpleasant way.  I groaned as the world around me started to spin madly.  Cornelis rang the harmonic tuner again.

“Stop that!” I cried trying to reach high enough to take the damnable bell away from the alchemist.

As the ringing died away the coyote faded with it, leaving only Cornelis.  The chupacabra and La Llorona danced a final turn before they blurred and disappeared, leaving the shoreline deserted.

I took a long deep breath.

“I told you not to startle the Green Fairy,” Cornelis said drolly.


Will the Absinthe the Green Fairy calm down enough to let Felicity into the submarine?  If our characters reach the spot on the map where the word “Daddy” was magically written, what will they really find — Copper’s father or a fierce foe?  Come back next time for another adventure on the locomotive to the Victorian Era.


Now for this episode’s recipe.  With all the whimsical inspiration from the American Southwest, I selected a fun and delicious southwestern offering from Kathryn at

Recipe:  Chile Relleno Chicken Rollups

Chile Relleno Chicken Roll ups

Photo and Recipe Credit:  K.R. Bigfish,

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

86 thoughts on “Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 19

    1. Hi Andrea. Thank you so very much! I’m delighted you enjoyed this chapter. The green fairy was a pantser whim, but he seems to be a hit. :mrgreen: There well be a few more giggles next time. Hope to see you there. Huge hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. LOL! Okay, you discovered my weakness for farting green fairies. That was hilarious, Teagan. The effect of the flatulent fairy is even more entertaining. What a decision that must have been to include the fairy as a power source on a submarine 🙂 Loved it!


    1. LOL — i’m just tickled pink… I mean GREEN that you enjoyed it, Daniel. :mrgreen:
      Actually it was no decision at all really. That’s the fun of this pantser serial. About the time “absinthe” came along as one of a reader’s “things” something made me think the sub needed to be fueled by something. Then i saw a tiny winged green fairy piloting it, but still nothing for fuel. (At that point he was a teeny hippo with wings.) Fuel? My mind wouldn’t let go of fuel. Then the tiny hippo became a green skunk who sprayed absinthe vapors strong enough to fuel a submarine… After that, naturally i had to make the poots intoxicating… Yes… i’m just messed up that way. I’m so happy you took time to read and comment. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was hilarious and ingenious 🙂 I haven’t gotten caught up from all my extra-curricular activities. But, thank goodness you leave the chapters up so I can come back to them. 🙂


  2. I loved the three things you chose and as usual you incorporated them perfectly into the story. I enjoyed this episode very much. That desk is fantastic! So many secret compartments, and it’s definitely a work of art with all the intricate details. The recipe looks tempting to try. Great post! 😀


    1. Thank you Vashti. I’m delighted that you’ve gotten into the spirit of this story. Yes, it’s a fantastic desk. Even more amazing, the same artisan created several more pieces. Have a lovely night. Hugs. 🙂


  3. I’m giggling over the green fairy ‘blowing’ hot green air. *giggles*
    I loved the desk as you described it and then you had a picture too. If the desk was just a little bigger, I’d be tempted… What a gorgeous piece of workmanship. However did you find it? You wove in those Mexican legends and stories seamlessly. You are s.m.o.o.t.h. Can’t wait till next time. I’m late as I took the weekend pretty much off. ❤ ❤ Wonderful work, Teagan.


    1. Tess, you deserve a weekend off. Thanks for catching up with this story. I’m tickled that you liked it! The video desk isn’t really what I imagined, but the desk/bridge idea reminded me of it & I hoped all would enjoy it. A dear friend in NM sent the video a couple of years ago, & I found it (& a few more!) on YouTube. As you said, gorgeous workmanship. Mega hugs. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m going to take a week in August with my sisters if things pan out.
        The video of that desk was a special treat. Can’t believe the workmanship.
        Mega hugs to you. Don’t work too hard. See you on the weekend. I’ll be at the station…


  4. Teagan, you know I love your “unruly sense of whimsy!” It keeps getting better & better. Fascinating desk, and fabulous green fairy! This episode has to be one of my favorites. There’s mythology & Absinthe intertwined to power it along! I’m always amazed and delighted with your writing! You keep me smiling! Hugs for a wonder-filled week! Christine


    1. Christine! It’s so nice to see you. I’m delighted that you enjoyed this most whimsical episode. Now if my out of control imagination could just dream away the work week…
      A week full of wonders to you as well. Huge hugs.


    1. LOL… I’m delighted that you liked Absinthe, Christoph. At first i saw a tiny flying hippo… but i soon realized the skunk-like creature had just as much incongruity and much more potential to cause trouble! Mega-hugs :mrgreen:

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a cool desk. All those hidden drawers and secret panels. Wow, what I wouldn’t do to find one of those and start exploring.

    So nice to be introduced to the Green Fairy even if he is a tad shy, Teagan. I hope he stays in the story cause I’m kind of getting attached to him.

    Look forward to next week’s episode even if I am going to be at a Wedding that day 🙂


  6. I am so loving where you took the absinthe, the green fairy taking the form of a little animal, green farts, the absinthe powering the submarine. This is whimsical, magical, mesmerizing and soooooo entertaining. Brava!!! More please…..


    1. Suzanne i always look forward to your visits — and is it any wonder? Thank you so very much. I realize it’s no wonder some people insist that surely I’ve done far too much acid in the past. But i swear i never had the first hit. My mind is naturally that bizarre! LOL. 😀
      You really do “get” fantasy stories, and i appreciate that.
      I just now finished the next episode. Not sure i’m satisfied with it because it doesn’t advance the story much… But sometimes a little describing and explaining are necessary, i guess. Thank you again. Wishing you a wonder-filled week ahead. Mega hugs!


  7. Isn’t it a lovely desk, David! I also saw videos of a secretary cabinet and other desks Roentgens made. Amazing.
    I’m happier than you could imgaine to know i’ve made you smile. As for Copper, she was safely tucked under that desk/bridge thing so she was spared from seeing drunken adults. 😉
    Oh… thanks for reminding me of the “wee beastie” needing to do something. Oops! Now i’ve given myself yet another “loose end.”
    Mega hugs my friend — and here’s another treat


    1. Hi SD. I’m happy to have some very talented chefs reading along here. KR Big Fish is great. I’d be delighted if you did catch up reading. It doesn’t include the promotions i do for other bloggers, but it would be easier to catch up at the serial’s homepage. Look for the link button at the top of the page. Huge hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I enjoyed all the giggles in this episode. You nearly had me ready to open doors for air. When I worked in middle school I helped a student do a report on Chupacabra. It was a learning experience for both of us. Have a fantastic week, Teagan. Thanks for sharing another recipe.


    1. Hi Mary — and thanks so very much for commenting! I was fascinated to realize how much local mythology differed from one coast to the other when i moved out west. I had a lot of fun writing this post, so i’m delighted you enjoyed it. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You really have a knack of story telling. Very interesting episode. Is it possible that you add a summarized recap at the beginning of each episode. Just a thought.


    1. Thanks so very much fore reading. I usually try to place a reminder of the previous episode at the beginnings, but not a summary. However, for refreshers I’ve provided two different ways for you:
      1) On the right of the screen, scroll about half way down and you’ll see “Categories.” Click on the one for “Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.” That will let you work back through the episodes. This way also gives you the introductions/promotions of other blogs.
      2) Go to the top of the screen and click on the homepage “button” for the serial. That gives just the episodes (no intros) in chronological order.
      I hope this helps. I’m very happy that you’re reading along. Huge hugs! 🙂


    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, John. I hope it lessened the tediousness of waiting in line. I also hope your weather is as nice as ours has been today. (After at least a week of rain, it was about time.) 😀 Huge hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It amazes me that such intricate things could be crafted back then. And that wasn’t the only one. Do a search — there are lots of lovely things like that on YouTube. Glad you enjoyed the video. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What a fantastic episode. Love the stories from Tim’s post, the recipe, and I also want that desk. And of course I want a green fairy…Looking forward to more!


    1. I’m delighted to have entertained you, Olga.
      I actually went to the trouble of making that composite picture of the Green Fairy with his wings. Somehow doing that made him very dear to me — so I too wish i had a green fairy! :mrgreen: Wishing you loads of luck with your “angels” and their “business” 😀 Mega hugs.


  11. Oh Teagan, what a masterpiece this episode is! I was swept away into the drama, descriptions, and absinthe farts, lol! And a special THANK YOU for posting my chicken rollup recipe! It was such a hit in this household that it’s going into our rotation. It rained here too for almost a week, but today will be sunny and in the 80s, and tomorrow it is supposed to hit 90! Feast or famine, huh? We are without internet camping at the coast again next weekend, so won’t be able to read your next episode until Monday night, unless I sneak off to town and read it on my cell phone. I might have to do that, lol! Absolutely Huge Hugs to you Teagan!


    1. Oh thank you so much Kathryn — and double thanks for the image of you sneaking into town. LOL. Anyway you are far too kind. Camping at the coast sounds fantastic! I hope all of you have a fabulous time. Mega-hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks Teagan for the mention! I was wondering how you were going to weave the ever faithful “other worldly” phantasms, and ever present four legged pests who keep me company as I battle gophers in the moonlight at 3:00 am on the mornings I’m allowed water to irrigate. You are so clever and worked them into your stories so well and naturally. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

    Let me tell you, while I can have fun with the ghosts and monsters of folklore now that I’m in my 50’s, I spent many sleepless nights as a child worrying about La Llorona and other monsters who were masters of the night on our dark property along the river. Laurie and Tristan believe the monsters still rule the night on our property and they will not venture anywhere outside the limits of the light shining out from the house or deck at night. But then it’s not uncommon to be sitting on the deck in the cool of the night, when all of a sudden our peaceful bliss is broken by the sound of rustling, shaking and growling from some beast making it’s way through our forest black bamboo only feet from where we are sitting.


    1. Hi Tim. I’m tickled that you enjoyed your episode. I started to wonder myself, if i had chosen too much of a challenge for myself, with those “3 things.” 😀 Happily, my unruly sense of whimsy took over.

      Good golly Miss Molly, I’d be afraid to go out there at night too. I’m with Laurie and Tristan — i watched a few vampire movies as a small child (a few, but still a few too many!), and LOL, i just don’t like being outside in the dark.
      Huge hugs to you and yours. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to go out without a flashlight all the time. I’d tripped over raccoons a few times, but that was of little consequence, but one night I stepped on a skunk in the dark, and ended up a smelly mess, hit point blank by the rightly offended little critter. And now that porcupines come on the the property at night to ravage our rose bushes on a regular basis, I don’t go out without a flashlight.


          1. I used a tomato juice bath, multiple times! 😉 When Diné got sprayed years ago, I gave her a tomato juice bath — you would have thought I was killing the kitty by the sound and looks of it.


  13. Lovely, lovely installment, Teagan. You have such a terrific imagination to spin out these real but ethereal tales. And I really love the “look” of your posts (I’ve mentioned this before, I know) — visiting your blog is like stepping inside a cabin or maybe better yet, a magical castle. Love it! Say, have you ever read anything by Kelly Link? I just bought her latest collection of stories for adults, Get in Trouble. Enjoying it so far! Have a great, fun weekend, Teagan — hugs!


      1. I think you might like Link, Teagan. Her stories are set in reality but also have other-worldly twists that make them so fun and interesting to read.


  14. You are masterful with descriptions Teagan. I felt like I was in the submarine. This was such a great episode but I can’t believe you’re leaving us here until next week – Saturday can’t come fast enough. Getthat woman in the boat and get going 🙂

    The recipe looks pretty good too – amazing what you can do with chicken.


  15. Hi Teagan,

    Ooh I love this steampunk story – Now I’m so intrigued, I’ll have to start at the beginning of the story to catch up. I loved the cool pictures and that gorgeous desk — would love to have a replica of that desk.
    Have you ever had absinthe? I tried it and it was like drinking gasoline. Pretty heavy stuff!
    Now I have your story added to my TBR pile for today..

    Thank for the treat and have a lovely day!

    Hugs, MaryJane


    1. Welcome MaryJane. I’m delighted that you read this episode and commented. I’d be very flattered if you did all the catch-up reading (though you might not want to spend that much of your Saturday). At the top of the page is a “button” for the serial’s homepage. The episodes are in chronological order there, but the introductions are not included. If you want to see the intros (i always use that to promote the blogger who leaves me “3 things”) click on the category at the right. Great-big hug!

      > PS: No, I’ve never tried Absinthe. I haven’t seen it offered anywhere I’ve been. I kind of figured it would taste about like Jägermeister (or Listerine). So I’m not surprised to see a sharp division in the liking of it. One describes it as delicious, another as gasoline. Just as fantasy stories are usually love or hate. Thank you again for commenting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. First of all, bravo, loved it!!!
    Second, yum, I need to try that recipe.
    Loved the desk, clock, photos too.
    Another wonderful installment, Teagan, what an amazing way to start the day!!!
    Hope this day is good to you – I’m off to share this and then go yardsaling (almost sounds like a sport, doesn’t it?).
    I’ll be back to read this again later in the week. Thank you again.


    1. LOL… i had to “replay” yardsaling a couple of times before it clicked. Yes, getting more coffee now! 😀
      Donna i’m so happy you enjoyed this chapter and that you’re having a beautiful day. It’s very nice here too, after more than a week of rain. Mega-hugs right back!


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