This story was originally posted on April 17, 2019. I think we all do great and terrible things now and then. And sometimes, the bad choices we make can cause us big problems down the road. In fairy tales, the effects are magnified, of course. I think that’s what makes them so much fun to read.
It is fall, and that means a change of wardrobe for the flower fairies. There are just a lot fewer fresh flower petals to stitch into stylish fairy dresses. And so, they’re left with colorful but stiff and scratchy fall leaves.
Of course, some fairies gather the long blades of grass to weave into lovely gowns. Unfortunately, this means that they are up weaving before dawn to get dressed for the day. Getting up early is difficult when so many fairies stay up late to dance by moonlight.
They know it won’t be long until it’s too cold to be out at all. By winter, the flower fairies will all be burrowed deep in hidden nests to sleep through the winter. The frost fairies will take over their duties while they’re finally able to get some much needed rest.
The flower fairies are so tired in the fall after using their earth magic to help things grow and bloom and painting the world with color and singing with the bird choirs and encouraging baby birds and butterflies to hatch. Tired fairies having to dress up in itchy scratchy leaf dresses means the fairies are very grumpy in the fall. Grumpy fairies often play mean tricks.
This is why you set something down somewhere safe in the fall and you can’t find it again for months and months. You won’t find it. The fairies hid it and won’t give it back until they wake up feeling guilty in the spring.
This is also why your yard is filled with leaves an hour after you finish raking. And why your dog barks at nothing all the time. And why your never-fail cookie recipe goes completely flat when you need the cookies to turn out well.
You may think that this means that grumpy flower fairies are to blame for all of the pranks that happen around Halloween. Actually, they love Halloween when people are happy and sharing with their neighbors. They love the positive energy, and those nice big pumpkins with warm candles inside are the perfect spot to gather and tell stories.
There are also pieces of costume and small candy wrappers left around for a silly evening fashion show. They especially love the shiny metallic wrappers that look like the reflective surface of a perfectly still puddle. It’s even better if the wrappers still smell sweet.
Flower fairies don’t hang on to their treasures. But it is fun to dress up and compare looks and tell stories just for one night. They know that soon, very soon, it will be time to sleep for a season.
Many people put out birdseed for the birds during the cold weather. Some people even put out food for stray cats. But not many people remember the poor flower fairies.
Consider planting some flowers that will bloom late. Sunflowers are a good choice. Some varieties of roses bloom late, too. Do a search and plant some seeds if you are able. The fairies will be grateful, and you may be able to find your car keys when you need them. It’s worth a try.
“Tell us a story, Grandma,” the oldest fairy child, Aurora, said. “A human tale. Those are the best.”
“No, I want to hear about the dwarf colonies on the moon.” The middle fairy child, Miles, stomped his foot. “Grandma is always telling human tales.”
“That’s ’cause that’s what Grandma tells best. I want a human tale, too.” The youngest, Autumn, nodded at Aurora, who smiled smugly. Miles scowled, knowing he was outnumbered.
“A human tale it is,” the old fairy said with a nod. “I know just the one.”
Once, there was a little fairy living in a big tree in the woods, just like this one. But the tree was knocked down by a storm, and the little fairy was separated from her family. When the storm stopped, her wings were wet and she was lost in a part of the woods she didn’t recognize.
“Oh, that’s awful!” Autumn interrupted. “Didn’t her mama and daddy go look for her?”
“Of course they did,” Grandma said. “They just hadn’t found her yet. They got tossed around in the storm, too. It was a terrible storm.”
Autumn frowned. “But they aren’t dead, right? If they’re dead I don’t want to hear this story.”
Miles clapped his hands. “Great! I want a dwarf story.”
Grandma shook her head. “They aren’t dead. Let me continue the story.”
She climbed up on a big rock, waiting for the sun to dry out her wings so she could fly up and look for landmarks. Unfortunately, her wings weren’t quite dry when a large animal came sniffing around the rock. It wasn’t wild, and didn’t know fairies. It was a dog. It picked up the little fairy in its mouth and carried her away to a human house.
“Did it eat her?” Miles asked. “Is the story over now? There’s still time for the dwarf story.”
The little fairy did not get eaten. Instead, she was carried inside the human house.
Aurora leaned toward Miles. “See. Grandma already said that. Now be quiet. I want to hear about the house.”
He scowled back at her. “It wasn’t me interrupting this time.”
Inside the human house, there lived a whole family of humans who were not at home when the fairy came to visit. The dog left the little fairy in a bowl of water by the door and wandered off to lay on a soft floor covering. The little fairy’s wings were wet again, and she was in a human house shut away from the sun and wind.
The little fairy tried to leave through the little door the dog climbed through, but it was too high for the little fairy to reach, and the big door around it was too smooth to climb. If her wings were dry, she could fly through the little door, but they were not dry. The little fairy needed to find a safe patch of sunlight.
“This wouldn’t have happened if she visited the dwarves instead of sitting on a rock,” Miles politely pointed out.
There weren’t any patches of sunlight. The fairy didn’t know what to do. “I wish there was some way to dry my wings,” she said. Just then, there was a wooshing sound nearby, and warm air blew up from small holes in the floor.
“The human house granted her wish? I didn’t know human houses did that.” Autumn bounced on her feet.
Miles rolled his eyes. “She should have wished to be home. She’s not very smart, is she?”
The fairy dried her wings in the warm air. Just as they were almost dry enough, the dog stood up again and looked around. The little fairy could hear the pounding of giant feet outside the door. The fairy squeezed herself against the wall by the big door and waited. The door opened, but she picked the wrong side of the door. Instead of being safely hidden behind the open door, she was clearly visible to the humans coming inside.
“There must have been a better hiding place than next to the door,” Miles said. “She’ll be lucky if they don’t step on her. Humans don’t look down.”
Startled, the little fairy flew into the air. Her wings were dry! The humans screeched and waved their arms around as they stumbled backwards. The little fairy flew past them and flew up and up until she could see the far away mountain and the edges of the forest. It took the rest of the day, but she found her home, and her family. They moved in with the little fairy’s grandparents until they could find a new tree home. And they all lived happily ever after.
“That was lovely,” Autumn said. “I’m glad they lived happily ever after.”
“They always do,” Miles grumbled. “It’s a human tale.”
“I liked the magic house that granted wishes. I would have wished the house was a field of bluebells.” Aurora patted her little bluebell hat. “I love bluebells.”
“Humans don’t really have magic wishing houses, right Grandma?” Miles asked.
Grandma smiled. “I think they do. I was that little fairy.”
The children gasped.
“Well, if it was a true story, and there really are magic wishing houses, then maybe this human tale was as good as a dwarf story,” Miles said at last.
Grandma smiled. “Thank you, Miles.”
“I still say you should have wished to be home, though.”
Grandma laughed. “I’ll remember that next time.”
This story was originally posted on June 29, 2017. I love writing stories about wishes. There are just so many things that can go wrong. I think we often don’t really know what’s best for us. It’s also easy to overthink things.
Did you know that every dog gets a wish? One day the dog fairy comes and asks what they want most. Then, poof! They get their wish, just like that.
Mostly dogs are pretty happy as they are. So, they wish for extra dinner or a sunny day or that someone would scratch behind their ears. The wishes are so easy that they almost grant themselves.
But once there was a dog that probably spent too much time thinking. He would have been happier if he’d jumped into more muddy puddles or barked at a few more people passing by his yard. But instead, he was sitting and thinking, and that was the cause of his problems.
One day, when he was resting in a patch of sunlight, sitting and thinking and ignoring the squirrels dancing around his yard and making faces, the dog fairy appeared. “What is your wish?” she asked.
“Do you know what would be handy?” the dog asked. “Having hands like a human.”
“Is that really your wish?” the dog fairy asked. “You only get one you know.”
The dog sat and thought for a moment more. “Yes,” he said. “That’s my wish.”
“So be it,” the dog fairy said. And the dog had human hands. He held them up and turned them this way and that.
“Thank you,” he said. The dog fairy smiled and disappeared.
The dog stood up. It was uncomfortable walking on his new hands. He tried to stand on his back feet, like he’d seen humans do, but it wasn’t as easy as it looked.
In the end he carefully picked his way across the yard, avoiding the sharp rocks and prickly weeds. It took him an hour or more to figure out the doorknob. As soon as he was inside, he raced straight to the kitchen.
The dog pulled open the fridge. He knocked down containers and tried to open them. Some things tasted great. Others were terrible. Some containers he couldn’t figure out how to open at all.
He hadn’t even started on the drawers when he began to feel sick. He left everything as it was and hobbled down the hall to Jack’s room.
Jack was his special human, and the dog wanted to curl up on Jack’s bed until he felt better. The dog was grateful that the door was open. He wasn’t feeling up to trying another doorknob.
He jumped on the end of the bed and curled up in his favorite spot. When he looked up, he was facing the mirror on Jack’s closet door. He held up his new hands. They didn’t look right on the end of his front legs.
The dog turned his back on the mirror and hid his hands under his chin. He fell asleep, and while he slept he dreamed.
The dream started out quite nice. Dogs were lining up, asking him to open things for them. Even cats were in line, clutching tins of cat food to their chests and looking hopeful. He used his amazing hands and could open everything on the first try.
But then, they wanted to run a race, and he couldn’t keep up while running on his sensitive human hands. Would he never be able to run again? How would he play fetch with Jack? Did it mean no more walks?
And then he saw the dogs barking softly to each other. When he looked at them, they stopped barking and looked away. A little dog laughed and then pretended it was coughing. His new hands did look strange. Maybe this had been a bad idea.
He woke up when the front door banged closed. Had he left that open? He could hear Jack yelling something in the kitchen. Oops. He’d left a mess in there.
He looked down at his odd human hands. What if Jack didn’t recognize him anymore? What if he didn’t like them? Why did he wish for hands? They were going to get him into trouble.
“Dog fairy?” he barked softly. “If you’re there, please give me my paws back.” Nothing happened. He could hear Jack coming down the hall. “Please, dog fairy.”
His paws changed back to normal just as Jack opened the door. The dog was so grateful, that he told his story to every dog he met, and they told all the dogs they met. The dog spent less time sitting and thinking and more time playing with Jack. And he was happy.
Dogs still pass around the story today. As far as I know, no other dog has wished for human hands.
One day Amanda woke up and she was a unicorn. She wasn’t just imagining things either. She had big heavy golden hooves instead of hands and a sharp horn that had already torn a hole in the curtains.
She jerked her head around, trying to free her horn, when she heard a sharp cracking noise. At the same time, the bed dropped six inches. Amanda looked down, and as she looked her horn tore through the rest of the curtain with an awful ripping sound. Apparently the leg of the bed had broken off.
Stepping carefully off the bed, Amanda looked around her room. As a unicorn, she couldn’t change into her princess costume or read her books or pick up any of her toys. She couldn’t color or draw or paint. Being a unicorn wasn’t as fun as she thought.
Her brother Stanley came running down the hall. He looked into Amanda’s room as he was passing and paused. “Mom!” he yelled. “There’s a horse in Mandy’s room. I think she stole it.”
Amanda snorted and opened her mouth to set the record straight. “Naaaaaaah. Puh. Buh. Neeeeh.” That hadn’t come out quite right. She cleared her throat and tried again. It didn’t sound any better.
Mom yelled from the kitchen. “Is it an emergency? Is anyone bleeding?”
“Mom! It’s a horse! It’s in the house! Come and see,” Stanley shouted as he started walking towards the kitchen.
“I’ll come see later. If I come now, the eggs will burn,” Mom replied.
Stanley kept walking down the hall, grumbling. Amanda stepped out of her bedroom. She looked into the bathroom. Everything looked so small. It took her a while to get ready for the day. At least her rainbow mane looked pretty when she looked in the mirror.
Finally, she was ready for breakfast. Nervously, she entered the kitchen. It was empty. There was a note on the table, saying that Mom had taken Stanley to soccer practice.
After a very messy breakfast of eggs, Amanda wandered into the living room. She couldn’t use the television remote or the computer keyboard with her hooves. She could try to bite things, but if she drooled on them, it might ruin the electronics.
She decided to go outside. It took forever to get the door open. She stepped out and looked around. Now what? She couldn’t swing or climb a tree or make flower chains or assemble potions out of weeds.
She dug in the dirt with her hooves and patted it into castle-like mounds with her hooves. Being a unicorn was boring. She couldn’t do any magic, and there weren’t any rainbow bridges anywhere. She was just a horse with a big horn that got stuck in the branches of the trees as she walked past.
Amanda gave up. She went to the oak tree in the back corner of the yard. “Naaaaaah,” she yelled. She gave the trunk of the tree a few good kicks.
A grumpy fairy dressed all in black peeked out of the hollow branch. “It’s you again. Go away. You got what you wanted.”
“Neeeeeh. Bah.” Amanda said.
The fairy glared. “Well, that’s what unicorns are like. If it wasn’t what you wanted, you should have made a different wish.”
Amanda kicked the tree again. It wasn’t fair. Everyone said unicorns were cool and could do magic. She should have wished to be a pegasus. They could at least fly.
“I’m tired after doing all that magic, so if you would kindly go away, I think I will sleep until next Thursday.” The fairy started disappearing.
“Pah. Buh. Neeeeeeeeeeeeeh.” Amanda kicked the tree again.
The fairy stopped disappearing with a sigh. “I could change you back now, but only if you promise to never ask me for any more wishes.”
Amanda thought for a moment. She had always wanted to do magic. And own a diamond mine. And an island. And live with the mermaids.
On the other hand, if she was a unicorn until next Thursday, she’d miss the talent show. She’d probably break everything in her room before the day was over. It wasn’t fair.
“I’ll tell you what, I can fix anything you broke, too,” the fairy said. “Just promise to leave me alone. If you don’t, I’ll move and take my tree with me.”
Either way, it sounds like she wouldn’t be getting anymore wishes. Amanda gave up. She nodded. The fairy smiled and snapped his fingers.
A rainbow bridge appeared. Amanda squealed a horsey sort of squeal. She jumped up and climbed higher and higher, up through the fluffy white clouds. It was hard to see. Everything was bright and white and fluffy.
Amanda opened her eyes. She was in her bed, which wasn’t broken, and light was shining through her curtains, which weren’t torn. Had any of it actually happened?
Well, one thing was certain. “Unicorns are boring,” Amanda said sadly.
“I agree,” Stanley said as he walked by. “It’s good to hear that you’re finally coming to your senses.”
Amanda threw her pillow out the door, and managed to hit him before he disappeared beyond the doorway. It was good to have hands again.