A Child’s Life at Sea Part 4

I slowly reach my hand out for my brother. It is so dark I can’t even see where my hand is. Then suddenly I feel something on my foot. ‘There is something on the ground,’ I whisper to my brother. ‘I felt it.’ Then I hear a splash and a croak and several other small splashes. ‘It’s just a frog, dummy,’ laughs my brother. ‘Perhaps you should try kissing it. Maybe it will turn into a prince.’ ‘Yuck!’ I say. ‘You kiss it yourself if you dare.’ But my brother doesn’t fall for that. He just keeps teasing me. I still am not able to find his arm in the dark, but hearing his familiar teasing is kind of reassuring. Then suddenly we hear footsteps behind us.

The sound is heavy and thudding, like it belongs to something really big. I hold my breath. My heart is pounding and I close my eyes, even though it doesn’t make a difference, it is just as dark in the tunnel as it is when I close my eyes. Then suddenly it is quiet again. My brother has stopped his teasing. He must be just as scared as me. I am completely frozen, I can’t even run. Then all of a sudden I feel a big hand on my shoulder and a voice whispers in my ear: ‘Got you!’

‘Daaaaad!’ Complains my brother. ‘I knew it was you!’ A flashlight lights up and I see my father laughing in front of us. My brother looks pale, but he starts laughing too. ‘Good one, dad!’ I want to laugh, but I can’t, my heart is still kind of racing around inside of me. ‘Come on,’ says my father and takes my hand in his. ‘ Let’s go see the canon.’ And we do, and just like that, with my hand in my father’s, I feel safe again, and everything is right in the world.

A Child’s Life at Sea Part 3

‘Did the soldiers really hide in here, daddy?’ ‘Sure did, honey. They used these tunnels to move unseen underground when there was an attack. If you follow the tunnel to the end you will find a lookout post with a canon pointed to the horizon.’ ‘Did they really shoot the bad guys, daddy.’ ‘They had to, honey, there was a war and if they didn’t protect our country, innocent people would die.’ I stare at my father. ‘Did you fight in the war, daddy?’ My father laughs. ‘No, sweetie, the war was long before I was born.’ I feel a little disappointed, I really wanted my dad to be a hero. ‘Come on!’ complains my brother, ‘let’s go inside!’

We are on a small island on the south coast, known to be one of the many military bases during the Second World War. Our boat is docked by the stone pier, and my father has taken me and my brother up to see the tunnels carved deep into the mountain. They go on for kilometers and have no natural, or any other form, of light. But my father has brought a flashlight. My brother is already on his way into the pitch black tunnel. I take my father’s hand and we follow him.

There is water dripping from the ceiling of the tunnel and it makes an eerie drip-drop sound that echoes far into the deep. My father switches on the flashlight, but all we can see is black wet slippery stone walls, uneven and bumpy. The ground is also wet. Our plip-plop footsteps bounce off the wall and disappear into the deep, only to return as a hollow mimic of themselves ten seconds later. The sound makes me think of ghosts dragging their skeleton feet on the ground. My brother seems to think the same because he whispers in my ear: ‘I bet it’s haunted! Soldiers must have died in here, you know.’ I shiver and all of a sudden I feel very cold. I grip my father’s hand tighter. We walk further and further in.

‘If the tunnel collapses now, we’ll be dead,’ whispers my brother. And even though I am sure my father can’t hear him, he just adds to the horror be saying out loud: ‘well kids, we have reached the point of no return. We are further from the entrance than we are from the exist.’ I swallow hard. The flashlight flashes a couple of times, and both my brother and I jump. ‘Hold on, let me just…’ My father lets go off my hand to adjust the batteries in the flashlight. Then all of a sudden it goes completely dark. I want to scream, but for some reason I seem to have lost my voice. My brother on the other hand has not. He lets out a roar, fit for a lion. ‘Daaaaaaaad, what’s going on?’ There is no answer. I desperately reach out for my father’s hand, but it is not there. He is gone. My father is gone, and with him: the flashlight.

To be continued…

How to catch a Fairy

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It happened on the night that the fairies were busy bathing in the stream. She had been visiting her godmother in the North, and on her way through the moonlit woodland path she spotted them. They were quite naked, except for one, she was sitting on a throne on the bank bossing a couple of pixies around. A rabbit laughed by accident, and the queen scolded him until he ran away into the forest, mumbling something about a watch and a waistcoat that needed mending. But he was obviously just embarrassed to have been caught laughing at the naked fairies. Emberly crouched down between the brambles to have a better look. Her godmother had given her a glass jar to catch fireflies in for light, but now Emberly thought better of it. She was going to catch a fairy! But she had to be real clever about it.

“I don’t need a bath,” protested a small fairy baby, or to Emberly it just sounded like a faint squeaking sound, but that is just because she was too big to understand fairy language. The little fairy baby was sitting on a pebble with a leaf over his head. He was trying his best to appear invisible. The grown-up fairies didn’t seem to notice him at all, so maybe he really was invisible to them. “That is the one I will catch!” said Emberly to herself. The queen of the fairies had ordered the crickets to play music and some of the pixies began a funny dance, jumping and sprinting around the lavishly decorated throne. The pixies were wearing suits woven with pine needles and snake grass, and hats made of hazelnut shells. All the bathing fairies were watching the funny pixies now, and Emberly saw her chance. She crawled on her arms and legs closer to the stream and held her open glass jar out in front of her. She had put a piece of her godmother’s strawberry cream cake inside the jar and was hoping the fairy baby would smell it and willingly climb into the jar. She pushed the jar so that it was quite close to the fairy baby, and she had been right. The little creature wiggled his nose, turned his head and sniffed. He smiled when he saw the white and pink little cake, and threw the leaf he had been hiding under to the side and staggered on his little fairy legs into the glass. As soon as he was inside, Emberly quickly tipped the jar so that it stood upright again and closed the lid. She had done it! She had caught a fairy!

“It is a nice dance,” said the queen from her throne, “but something is missing.” She got up and looked ponderingly around. Her eyes went to the pebble where the fairy baby had been sitting just minutes ago, and she gasped. “Where is the little prince!? Where is he!?” she shouted as loudly as a fairy can shout, but to Emberly it just sounded like a little tingle of teaspoons of sugar being dipped into a small cup. Emberly peeked into the jar to have a better look, but when she tilted the jar to give the fairy a bit more space to move around, she saw to her astonishment that there was no fairy in there anymore, just a very small green frog with big yellow frightened eyes. “What happened to the little fairy?” she said out loud and shook the glass until the frog became so dizzy he almost fainted. The pixies had begun to dance again, but the queen stopped them and commanded rather sternly: “Stop! Stop! What is the matter with you? The prince is missing and the only thing you can think of is dancing and being funny!” The pixies stopped dancing and looked at each other, rather ashamed of themselves. “Your majesty,” said the oldest pixie, “what do you want us to do?” “Find the prince of course!” said the Fairy Queen. The pixies nodded and started looking around the banks of the stream, under pebbles, behind rocks, in between the snake grass and dandelions, but the prince was nowhere to be found. Suddenly a tiny blue fairy appeared before the queen. She had finished her bathing and was wearing a lovely frock made of bluebell petals. “I will find the prince for you, your majesty.” The queen was very pleased to hear this and asked the blue fairy to get started right away. The little blue fairy, whose name was Minoria, flew up in the tallest tree, a white slim birch, and from there she could see the entire forest.

Emberly was sure the ugly green frog must somehow have gotten into the jar before the fairy baby and eaten him up, and she was very much disappointed in her catch. A frog was a very common thing, and nothing really to brag about. So she opened the lid of the jar and the frog hopped happily back into the green grass and headed for the stream. When the bathing fairies saw the frog coming at them, they screamed in fright and disgust and swam to the shore as fast as they could. And as soon as their wings had dried they flew away from the stream. The Fairy Queen did not much like frogs herself, and she called for her firefly horses to pull her carriage home. Emberly saw the fairies leave and so she lost her interest in the forest and headed home. The only one who was left on the scene was the little green frog. He did not really like the stream, even though he was a frog, so he climbed into a walnut shell, left behind by the fairies, and fell asleep.

Minoria saw the frog from the tree, and thought to herself that he must not be much more than a baby, and she felt so sorry for him that she flew down from the tree, and covered his green ugly body with violet leaves. Feeling rather tired herself, she climbed into a marigold and settled herself in between the soft delicate petals and fell fast asleep. The next morning, when the frog woke up, he found the sleeping blue fairy beside him and woke her with a lick of his long tongue. Minoria was startled by the unfamiliar awakening, but she did not get scared. She actually laughed and started playing with the little frog. It was a rather charming sight to see, and the squirrels came down from the trees to watch. “Maybe he can help me to find the prince…” said Minoria to herself and she beckoned the frog to follow her.

For hours they walked around in the forest, sometimes Minoria took little flights into the trees to see a bit further on, but there was no sign of the prince. “You should ask the witch,” chirped a blackbird from its nest. “But how do I find the witch?” asked Minoria. “Oh, she lives here and there. Try under that root over there,” replied the blackbird and pointed towards a fallen over tree with its wing. The root looked rather abandoned and forlorn, but Minoria found a small piece of solid wood that perhaps looked a little bit like a door and knocked it three times. “Who’s there?” said an old hoarse voice. “It is Minoria, the blue fairy, and a little green frog; we have come to see you on urgent business.” Minoria could hear the sound of something being pulled and pushed and kicked, and then slowly the piece of wood, that was indeed a door, opened.

The witch was old and wrinkly with a toothless smile and a round, rather red nose. “What is it you want? I have a cold and a fever and I am not up to any spells today,” said the witch and coughed noisily. “I am so sorry to hear about your cold, Madam Witch, I will not keep you, but please we need help urgently!” The witch reluctantly let them inside. The root-home was dark and damp( a very bad place for colds, thought Minoria to herself), and there were only a few cones for furniture, and a big black cauldron made of a broken crow egg sooted black with coal. “Now, hurry,” said the witch impatiently, “tell me why you have come.” The little green frog huddled close to Minoria and stared at the witch with his frightened yellow eyes. “It is the Fairy Prince,” said Minoria, “he is missing. We have looked everywhere, but we cannot find him.” The witch looked from Minoria to the frog and cackled. “Oh, I think you have,” she said, and laughed even louder. Minoria looked at her puzzled. Perhaps the witch was mad with fever. “Take this seed,” said the witch and held out a little yellow and brown object, “and plant it tonight, when the moon comes out, in the garden of the white and blue cottage just at the border of this forest. By next morning a tree will grow from that seed, and you must pick the first berry that ripens on the tree and feed it to the little green frog.” “And then what will happen,” asked Minoria. She didn’t understand what the white and blue cottage and the frog had to do with finding the prince, but she was scared to disobey the witch. “Then you will see,” said the witch and cackled even louder.

Minoria knew the white and blue cottage well; she had flown there many times to look at the enormous golden haired girl who lived there. Fairies were not allowed to interact with, or be seen by humans, but Minoria had always been careful. The cottage garden was beautiful this time of year, all ripe and lush with roses, periwinkles, jasmines and forget-me-nots. Minoria chose a barren spot right next to the white strawberry flowers to plant the seed, and once it was done, she and the frog went to sleep amongst the sweet smelling flowers.

They were awakened next morning by a bumblebee who had mistaken Minoria for a bluebell. “Shooosh with you,” hooted Minoria and the startled bumblebee buzzed hurriedly on to the bed of roses. “Look!” called Minoria, “the seed has grown into a tree! Just like the witch said!” She kicked off and flew up to the crown of the tree to examine it closer, and there, just on the top branch, she spotted a little red berry. She picked it and gave it to the little green frog who hungrily gobbled it up in one bite (breakfast was his favorite meal). Then something funny happened, the frog started to grow! He grew and grew until he was almost as tall as the tree! His face changed too! His big yellow eyes became blue and small, and his green frog-skin turned white and pink. “You are a boy!” exclaimed Minoria. “A human boy!”

The frog, who indeed had turned into a human boy, looked at himself and smiled. Unfortunately he didn’t have any clothes on, and this seemed to bother him immensely, so Minoria helped him to gather some maple leaves to fashion into a suit. When it was done, he smiled happily and took a few dance steps in the garden. “Who are you?” called out a voice. Minoria, who could tell that the voice was human, quickly hid under a rose petal. The frog-boy turned around and saw the most beautiful girl he had even seen stand before him. She had golden hair and pink cheeks and lovely brown eyes. “I am a prince,” said the frog-boy, who discovered to his great delight that he could talk like a human. Emberly, yes it was indeed Emberly who lived in the white and blue cottage, looked at the boy and smiled, “then I should very much like to kiss you,” she said. The frog-boy smiled back at her and lifted his face up to hers. Emberly planted a big wet kiss on his mouth, but then as she did so, something strange happened. Emberly started shrinking, she shrank and shrank, and something else happened too, her white and pink skin turned green and her lovely brown eyes became large and yellow. She had turned into a frog! Frightened out of her wits, Emberly started hopping around frantically. The frog-boy hurried to catch her, and he put her into a glass jar that stood nearby. “I will keep you forever and ever,” he said to frog-Emberly inside the jar, and kissed the glass wall tenderly.

Minoria, who had witnessed the whole scene, was now beside herself with worry. What was she now to do? She still had no fairy prince, only a frog turned into a live boy, and a human girl turned into a frog! She sighed in frustration. “I better take both of you to the witch,” she said. But neither the frog nor the boy could hear her. But she motioned desperately with her wings, and soon they understood that they were to follow her. The frog-boy carried frog-Emberly in the jar, and Minoria flew a few feet ahead. When the witch she saw them, she laughed and laughed, even more than she had done before. Her whole face twisted in involuntarily grimaces and she held her stomach hard as she threw back her head and heaved for breath. Minoria looked at her a bit sternly and gave a little cough. “I am sure you find this all very amusing, but I need to find the fairy prince and your advice did not help at all!” “Oh, you think so, do you?” said the witch and smiled mischievously. “But what am I to do with these two?” asked Minoria and threw up her wings in resigned frustration. “You are to take the frog in the jar to the fairy queen. Tell her to keep it there for three days and three nights. She is not to open the jar. The boy has to go back to the cottage and live there for the same amount of days and nights. On the third day you will return to him, and take him back with you to the fairies, but before you go, pick all the ripe berries from the tree you planted, and mix them into a juice. When the sun sets that same day, give one cup of the juice to the boy, and one cup to the frog, they should drink it just as the last rays of the sun disappear.” “And then what will happen,” asked Minoria, rather confusedly. “Oh, you will see,” said the witch. And Minoria could do nothing else but take her advice.

The boy, who now had to live in the white and blue cottage, soon became very lonely, there was no one to play with, and no funny things to look at. The frog on the other hand, was thoroughly amused. Frog-Emberly had no idea how much fun it was to be a fairy! They painted nutshells purple, and danced along leafy paths, they flew and twirled in breezes, and slept in petal hats, they dried the tears of squirrel babes and hung their firs to dry, they sat and read on mushrooms and never did she see them cry! On the third day, Minoria flew to the little cottage as she had been told to do by the witch. She found a very sad boy sitting on a rock outside the door, waiting for her. He lit up when he saw her, and wanted to leave right away, but Minoria remembered the berries and motioned to the boy to pick them and keep them in his pocket. They boy understood and did as he was told. The Fairy Queen was not at all glad to see the boy walking into her little queendom. She had been reluctant enough to let the frog live with them for the past three days, and she had only agreed because it had been locked up in a glass jar. Now, however, she was to entertain a fully grown human! She stamped her foot so hard her daffodil slipper came off, and the youngest pixie had to run after it as it was caught in the wind.

Minoria lead the boy into the meadow where he was made to sit down on a log-stool next to the frog, then she started pounding the little red berries into a juice, just as the witch had told her to do, and poured the liquid into two cups, one big and one quite small and flat for the frog. Then the she told the pixies to open the lid of the jar. The frightened pixies were clumsy, but after a few attempts they managed to open the lid just enough for the cup to be brought to the captured frog, and just as the last rays of the sun disappeared behind the trees, the boy and the frog drank the sweet juice. The first thing that happened was that the jar broke. The fairies shrieked and leapt up, some of them even hid under leaves and behind dandelions. Then the boy disappeared, and in his place stood a tiny naked fairy baby, and next to the fairy baby, an enormous golden haired girl. “Who are you!?” demanded the astonished Fairy Queen. But only the fairy baby understood what she said. “I am the fairy prince,” he said, and the queen saw to her delight that he was in fact the missing fairy prince. Emberly said something too, but no one understood her. But she reached out her little finger, and the fairy queen touched it with her hand, and then she left, and to everyone’s surprise the fairy prince started crying. “Fairy babies don’t cry,” said the fairy queen sternly. “Perhaps there is a little bit of boy in him still,” offered Minoria, and all the fairies nodded their heads in agreement and stared at the fairy prince rather worriedly.

The fairy prince grew up to be a handsome fairy king, and Emberly grew up to be an author. She wrote many books about the fairies and how lovely they were, but how one should never try to catch them because if you do, they might just turn into a frog. The fairy king and Emberly met again one day, when they were both grown-ups. The fairy king was the ruler of his own kingdom then, and needn’t bother too much about rules and such. Emberly was so delighted to see him, she wanted to make him something special to drink, and then she thought of the witch’s tree in the garden. She picked all the ripe berries and pounded them into a juice. She offered one glass to the fairy king and took one herself. The fairy king did not want to be rude, but ever since he was a baby he had hated the taste of juice, so he just pretended to drink, and poured the juice discretely in the flowerbed. Emberly however loved juice, and it was a hot summer day and she drank thirstily. But as she drank she started shrinking, and shrinking, and shrinking, and suddenly something light and feathery poked out from her back. She turned around to see, and to her delight discovered that they were wings, and when she looked up at the fairy king she could see that they were the same size! Emberly had become a fairy!

The fairy king, who had always had a secret crush on the enormous girl, fell in love all over again, and asked her then and there to marry him. Emberly, who remembered being a frog inside the jar and seeing how much fun it was to be a fairy, said yes of course. . They married shortly after, and ruled the fairy kingdom as fairy queen and fairy king for many many years to come.

THE END

 

 

The Ghost House and the Crystal Ball

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On the first day of the Easter Holidays, Cecily and I found a proper Ghost House. I, as usual, was the first to spot it. I opened the door to the potato cellar of the house boldly, and entered inside. Cecily was too scared to come, so she kept watch outside. I held my breath as I walked across the cold mud floor. I am almost ten years old, but I am braver than most kids my age. Cecily is almost eight and not brave at all. About half way into the cellar I saw something shiny on one of the many tool shelves across the wall. My heart began to pound really fast. It was a green glass ball wrapped in an old fishing net.

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“Where are you?” called Cecily from the garden outside. “I’ll be there in a minute!” I yelled back. I took the glass ball under my arm and carefully walked back outside and into the daylight. “What is that?” asked Cecily when she saw the green ball under my arm. I explained to her that it was a magic crystal ball and that we were to take it back home with us.

I carried the crystal ball very carefully back to Aunty and Uncle’s summer house. When we got there uncle explained to us that the ghost house we had discovered belonged to an old lady called Olga, but she had died and now the house just stood there empty and decaying. Uncle lowered his voice so that Aunty couldn’t hear him and said that Olga had been a real witch with a broomstick and all! “I knew it!” I said to Cecily then, “I knew that the crystal ball was magic! Olga must have used it to see all kind of magical things in.” Cecily was too frightened to say anything.

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I spent the whole evening staring into the crystal ball trying to see something in there, but all I saw was my own reflection. “We need the spell,” I said to Cecily. “I am sure Olga had to say a riddle of magical words to make it work. Let’s go to her house again tonight and ask her about the spell.” “No, that is very dangerous,” said Cecily. “Ghosts are no joke.” But I managed to convince her to come. I always do. “We’ll go tonight at midnight,” I said.

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We waited until Uncle and Aunty had gone to bed before we left. It was very dark, but we had brought our flash lights with us. Cecily walked behind me, she was so scared her teeth rattled. “Stop that!” I scolded. “You will scare the ghosts away!” But that was the wrong thing to say, because it made Cecily’s teeth rattle even more.

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I must admit that Olga’s house did look more scary in the dark, but I just decided not to be afraid, otherwise I would never get that spell. “Let’s try the front door this time,” I said to Cecily. The front door opened slowly with a long sigh. I pushed it firmly and went into the dark corridor. “Are you coming?” I said to Cecily, but she just shook her head. “Well, then I guess you will have to stand outside all by yourself.” I made my voice a little spooky for special effect. That did the trick. Cecily moved in behind me, but she insisted on holding my hand. I opened the door to the living room slowly and pointed my flash light into the dark room. Cecily sucked in her breath and gripped my hand tighter. “Olgaaaa!! Are you there?!” I yelled. “Olgaaaa, I have your crystal ball and I need that spell to make it work!” No one answered. We moved further into the empty living room. But all of a sudden out of nowhere, something huge with sharp claws jumped on me and screamed viciously into my ear. Both Cecily and I dropped our flash lights and ran out of the house screaming, with the big evil thing in hot pursuit. We managed to reach the corridor before the creature and I slammed the door shut behind me as soon as we were outside. The creature was locked inside the house.

Cecily was bawling and even I was shaking with the shock of it all, so we sat down on a couple of rocks to catch our breath. “What was that??” cried Cecily. I didn’t answer because I didn’t know. Then all of a sudden we heard a sound from one of the windows, like someone was tapping on the glass with sharp claws. I forced myself to look up at the window and there, to my horror, I saw two yellow eyes staring maliciously at us. I dragged Cecily to her feet and we ran in a panic all the way back to Uncle and Aunty’s summer house.

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We forgot to be quiet so we woke up Uncle and Aunty. Aunty was very angry with us for sneaking out in the middle of the night. But Uncle had a funny smile on his face and he made us tell him the whole story. After hearing the story Aunty shook her head angrily and said: “It must have been that wild cat you saw. He is big and vicious and growls at anyone who dares to come close to that house. Now off to bed with you two! March!”

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Uncle went with us to tuck us in, and when he put the blanked around me he said” “Your Aunty is right about the cat, but what she doesn’t know is that the cat is really old Olga transformed. You see, right before she died she put a spell on herself and transformed into a big black cat.” “Oh, I understand,” I whispered, Cecily was already sleeping, “because cats have nine lives, right?” “Precisely!” replied uncle and winked at me.

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I lay awake for some time staring into the green crystal ball. I would have to get that cat to give me the spell somehow. But next time I’d come prepared. And in my dreams I was already cooking up a magic master plan.

All the beautiful art is by Ilon Wikland. See more of Ilon’s wonderful art here: http://www.ilon.se/en/about.php

The Tale of Little Josie, The Wicked Prince and The Fairies

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once upon a time there was a little girl called Josie. Josie lived in a cozy a house in the forest with her big sister. Josie was a very good little girl, she was always sweet and did what her sister asked her to do. It was quite easy for Josie to do what she was told, because her sister only asked her to do fun things. But then one day something happened that changed things. A wicked prince came to the little house in the forest, and since he was a prince, at least he said that he was, he did not hesitate to demand to stay in the cozy house and to have the two girls as his servants. He was hardest on Josie, since she was the youngest. All day long she had to cook for him, make him endless cups of tea, heat his bathing water, and fill his mug with fresh drinking water. The wicked prince never said thank you or please, he only looked sternly at Josie, and told her to put some more sugar in his tea or less salt in his food. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, and the prince did not leave. Josie forgot all about what fun felt like, and she was always too tired to be sweet and to smile. One day Josie heard a little voice in her heart telling her that it was time for her to leave the cozy house, and to go looking for happiness somewhere else. Jose felt bad about leaving her sister behind, but she knew she had to obey the voice inside of her, so she promised herself that she would find a way to make the wicked prince leave so that she and her sister could live happily together again.

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That night when the wicked prince was sleeping Josie packed a few of her belongings and ran away from the house.

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She kept running and running deeper and deeper into the forest until she came to a clearing where the full moon shone through the trees and where all kinds of colorful wildflowers grew. Josie felt that this was a safe place to sleep.

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She lay down in the dewy meadow and closed her eyes to the starlit sky. Then all of a sudden she heard a very funny noise, it sounded like the chiming of little bells! Josie opened her eyes, and there right in front of her she saw two tiny silver fairies looking down at her. Josie startled and got up immediately. The fairies laughed. Their bodies almost looked like moonbeams, and their wings were like gossamer threads.

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Josie smiled for the first time in many many months. The fairies pulled her hand to make her follow them, and she did as she was told.

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The fairies brought her to a place under a very big tree with beautiful heart-shaped leaves in golden hues, and to Josie’s great surprise each leaf held a little fairy inside!

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Some of them were the silvery color of the moon, others were more golden like starlight. now all of them started flying towards her, they took her hands in their tiny wings and pulled her into a beautiful dance. Josie could hear faint music playing from the forest and the music swayed in her heart and she drifted away into a magical fairy dance.

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She was having so much fun she forgot all about the wicked prince and the promise she had made. She danced and danced and laughed and smiled and she was again filled with sweetness and joy.

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Then all of a sudden the music changed and the fairies stopped dancing. Everything went very still, but it was as though the
air was filled with Light and sparkles, and then she appeared: The Fairy Queen. Josie knew right away it was her, because all the other little fairies bowed down to her. The Fairy Queen looked at Josie and asked her in perfect human language: What was it you wanted to ask me dear?
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Josie startled and did not understand what the Fairy Queen meant, but then she remembered the wicked prince and her promise to find a way to make him leave. She mustered all her courage and told the Fairy Queen about the wicked prince. “Oh, he is not really a prince,” said the Fairy Queen, “he only says that to make himself more important, and to have an excuse to put others down. He is actually a poor beggar who is too lazy to look for a job, so he pretends to be a prince so that he can impose on others and eat their food and drink their water.” Now Josie felt really angry. The wicked prince had made her do so much work wen he himself was too lazy to do anything. This was not right. “Then how can I get him to leave?” asked Josie, “I am just a little girl!”. The Fairy Queen smiled, ” Don’t worry little girl, it is quite easy. The wicked prince has all his life dreamed of being rich, only he is too lazy to earn any money for himself. So what you will do is this: Tell him that where the rainbow ends there lies buried a big pot of gold, and if he just follows the rainbow he will easily find it and can claim it for his own.” “But what if there is no rainbow that day, ” asked Josie. “Don’t worry about that, ” answered the Fairy Queen, “I can easily help you to make a rainbow!” And as she said that, hundreds of little fairies appeared, and these fairies where neither silvery like the moon or golden like the starlight, their tiny bodies shone in indigo and pink and green and all the seven colors of the rainbow. “Oh, rainbow fairies!” exclaimed Josie.

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The Fairy Queen smiled and nodded. “When you need them to make a rainbow for you, just put a glass of water in the sun, and soon the whole sky will be filled with the most magnificent rainbow.” ” Oh, thank you so much Fairy Queen!”, Josie smiled and bowed her head. “Goodbye for now Josie, hurry home to your sister, she will be worried about you if she finds your bed empty in the morning. I will send some star fairies with you to light up your path.” The Fairy Queen nodded to a couple of golden star fairies and they immediately came to rest on Josie’s shoulders. Josie thanked the Fairy Queen once again and wished her good bye. Then she started on the long walk home, but with the star fairies lighting her path before her, the journey did not take very long.

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Soon, right before the first rays of dawn bathed the forest in their gentle light, Josie was home again, and the star fairies flew back up to the sky. Just as she opened the door she heard that the wicked prince was already up. “Where is my tea Josie!”, he shouted angrily, “it is far past dawn”. Josie could feel that all the sweetness and joy she had inside faded and she decided that she could not wait long before she put the glass of water in the morning sun. She made the tea for the wicked prince, and surly, like every day, he complained that it was not sweet enough nor hot enough. Josie sighed, but said nothing. “My water mug is empty, fill it up!” demanded the prince. Josie’s sister came out of her room and told Josie that she would fill the mug with water. But Josie would not let her. She took the mug and an empty glass and went into the garden where the well was. First she filled the glass with water and put it in the sun, and then she filled the mug. It did not take long, only a couple of seconds, and there right before her eyes, a beautiful thick rainbow appeared in the sky.

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Josie started laughing, and she ran into the house with the mug for the wicked prince. As she gave it to him, she told him about the rainbow and the pot of gold buried where the rainbow ended. The wicked prince immediately took interest in this. He went into the garden and when he saw the rainbow, the temptation of the gold became too great and he started running, as he had never run before, after the rainbow. That was the last Josie and her sister saw of the wicked prince, and if you have not heard differently the wicked prince is still running around chasing golden treasures. and what of Josie and her sister?, well they lived happily ever after of course, filling each day with joy, sweetness and fun.

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All the magnificent art is by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

The Tale of the Twin fillies

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There were once two little twin fillies. They had been born in the Lilac forest, but not long after their birth they discovered that they were all alone. They did not cry, the two little fillies were already brave and strong. They stood up on their thin long legs, took a few trying steps and then they wandered off into the forest.

One of the fillies was white as snow, the other black like night. They walked deeper and deeper into the forest, trusting their instincts to keep them safe from harm.

The Lilac trees were in full bloom, and their sweet scent wafted through the forest. A family of pink butterflies danced through the air, drinking full cups of warm pollen served by the lilacs as they passed them by.

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The two little fillies stood for a while examining the beautiful little creatures. And all of a sudden they felt a deep thirst well up in their throats. They tried to drink the pollen, but the small cups collapsed before they could even attempt to fill their mouths with the sweet smelling nectar.

The two little fillies abandoned the butterflies and moved further into the depth of the forest. Soon they came upon a hill blanketed in tiny white flowers. The snow white filly whinnied. And something stirred in between the leaves on top of the hill. Then the night black filly whinnied, and again something stirred in the leaves.
Now both the white and the black filly whinnied together. Once, twice and thrice.

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Then a magnificent silvery white unicorn stepped out of the leaves. She was like the moon itself, glowing like mother-of-pearl. The twin fillies shivered and bowed their heads in respectful greeting. The unicorn gracefully ascended, and came to stand right in front of the twin fillies. She gave a loud beautiful whinny that echoed in the forest.

Her mane was flowing like moon beams, almost touching the ground when she moved. The unicorn gave a majestic toss of her beautiful white head, then she turned away from the fillies and started walking into the forest.

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After a few steps she beckoned to the fillies to follow her. Deeper and deeper into the forest they moved until they reached a little lake. There the unicorn stopped and called the twin fillies over to her. She lowered her head and showed the fillies how to drink her milk.

The fillies drank her milk greedily, but gently, so as not to hurt the unicorn. When the two fillies had quenched their thirst, the unicorn walked over to the lake and stood next to the mirage on the water surface. She dipped her muzzle into the water and drank. Then she whinnied to the two little fillies and they came to stand next to her.

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The twin fillies lowered their heads into the water to drink, but as they dipped their muzzles into the water, they caught their own reflection in the water and to their astonishment they saw that they were not fillies anymore.
They had become fully grown unicorns.

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The unicorn mother called them Night and Day, and she sent them out into the world to carry the milk of daylight and the milk of nightfall to all living creatures.

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And from that day onwards the beautiful dawn and the majestic twilight would grace the sky for all to marvel at.

If you look closely in these hours of change you might see the twin unicorns gallantly galloping over the sky, whinnying to each other in friendly greeting.

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All the amazing art is by the magical Ruth Sanderson. Please see more of her art here:
http://www.ruthsanderson.com/