Chapter 1. The Fairies Appear
Mary could clearly remember when she first began seeing them. One day she was sitting in class, drawing on a scrap of paper, hardly hearing Miss Abbott droning on about the wonderful world of animal reproduction, and the next she was aware of a strange golden light. Looking up she saw them – two little creatures with long golden curls, wearing beautiful shimmery silver dresses. At first she thought she had imagined them, and looked away, but when she looked again they were still there.
The one on the left winked and said :”Hello Mary, what’s that you’re drawing?”
“Nothing , I’m just scribbling” she said loudly. The girl sitting at the desk nearest hers looked at her strangely.
“Perhaps you’d like to show the rest of the class your wonderful work” said Miss Abbott. She had stopped talking and was standing in front of Mary with her arms folded. Mary felt mortified when Miss Abbott snatched her paper and held the picture up in front of the class.
“A fine example of abstract art Mary” Miss Abbott sneered. The rest of the class were smirking or giggling at the drawing, which was loosely based on Miss Abbott’s most noticeable features – her horn-rimmed spectacles, large beaky nose and wiry hair. Just when Mary thought she was going to sink into the floor with embarrassment, a strange thing happened. The end of Miss Abbott’s nose began to glow. It grew brighter and brighter until it looked like a small red headlight.
“Oh!” shrieked Miss Abbott, “I feel most peculiar. “ She raised one hand to her forehead and touched the end of her nose with the other. Then to everyone’s astonishment she exclaimed: “You can all have an early mark. Good afternoon boys and girls.” With that she opened the door and rushed out as if she was being chased by a teacher-eating crocodile.
Mary couldn’t believe her luck. The other children surged out the door, chattering loudly with excitement about their teacher’s strange behaviour. She turned to the little fairies and said: “Did you have anything to do with this?”
“That would be telling wouldn’t it?” said the one on the right, laughing merrily. “Come on”, said the other one: “it’s a beautiful day outside, why waste it in this stuffy old room”.
On the way home Mary found out their names. The one on the left who was slightly larger was called Thimble, and the one on the right who had a wicked laugh was Thistle.
“Can anyone else see you?” asked Mary.
“Oh no, “ said Thimble, “we only appear to children who have Great Imaginations.”
“But I don’t have a Great Imagination,” protested Mary. “Mum and Dad are always telling me I couldn’t see an elephant if it was sitting on my bed. That’s because my room is so messy that I can’t ever seem to find things when I want them.”
“Ah”, said Thistle, “That’s different. You can see us though can’t you?”
“Yes” said Mary, “but…”
“Well then, you HAVE got a Great Imagination” said Thistle.
“And you saw Miss Abbott’s nose glow didn’t you” said Thimble.
“Yes, she looked like Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer” laughed Mary. “I thought she might turn into a lighthouse and start spinning round and round.”
The fairies laughed, a funny tinkling sound like water running over tiny pebbles. It made Mary feel good. It was the same feeling she had when she was scratching her cat Simba under the chin, and Simba started to purr.
“Would you like to have some more fun?” asked Thistle.
“Come on then, let’s fly” said Thimble, and before Mary could blink her eyes she was flying through the air at lightning speed with the wind whistling through her hair. When she looked down the path seemed very far away, and the trees and houses were so small she felt like a giant. Suddenly she recognised her house and backyard. The next moment she was descending rapidly until her uniform opened up like a parachute, and she found herself gently floating down .She landed with a bump on the branch of a big fir tree. A big black crow next to her gave a loud croak and nearly fell off the branch.
“What are you doing, you stupid child” it said.
“Landing” said Mary. “I’m sorry if I frightened you – I even frightened myself”. It suddenly occurred to her that she was conversing with a bird which was most unusual, but seemed to fit in with the rest of her day. Thimble and Thistle suddenly appeared on the other side of the crow.
“Sorry, Sir” said Thistle: “She’s new to flying. We’ll be more careful in future”.
“I should hope so,” said the crow. “You nearly made me turn white with fright. What’s your name child?”
“Mary Wilmott, Sir, but you can call me Mary” said Mary respectfully.
“You can call me Caw “ said the crow. “I’m well-respected in these parts, except for that annoying cat which is always trying to sneak up on me.”
Mary realised he was talking about Simba. She decided to keep quiet for the moment as she could see he was upset enough already. It felt strange enough to be sitting in a tree in her backyard talking with a crow without trying to defend her cat’s behaviour.
“Well now that you’re here, you might as well meet the rest of the family”, said Caw kindly. “Follow me.”
Mary found herself following Caw as he strutted majestically along the branch. The fairies hovered on on either side, just in case she fell. When she reached his nest, she discovered she had shrunk and could now fit in quite comfortably. Mrs Caw looked startled to see the visitors, but soon recovered her wits, and offered them all a piece of half-eaten mouse.
“No thank you “ said Mary politely, “I’m not hungry at the moment. I only had lunch a while ago.” The fairies declined on the grounds that they had a party to go to.
Mrs Caw seemed quite relieved and proceeded to feed portions of the mouse to her hungry offspring who were making a terrible racket.
“Have you lived here long?” asked Mary.
“All my life, chick and bird” said Caw proudly. I’ve watched the seasons change seven times. It’s been a better year for mice since that cat decided to spend more time indoors. I thought I’d be reduced to spiders and worms for a while.”
Mary suppressed a shudder at the description of his diet, and tried not to screw up her face. She was saved by Thistle who suddenly exclaimed:
“Goodness me, look at the time. We’ll be late for the party. Thanks for your kindness Mr and Mrs Caw. Perhaps we can drop by again some time.”
“You’re most welcome” said Caw . “Next time we might have some more food – perhaps even a rat. What a feast we could have then! “
“Yes indeed” said Mary trying not to vomit at the disgusting thought. “Goodbye and thanks again.”
With the fairies on either side she was suddenly airborne and whizzing away at tremendous speed towards the woods.
This is the start of a fairy story I started writing some time ago. I will post the next chapter tomorrow. Hope you enjoy it. I would appreciate any feedback.