Fairly Tales

Stephanie Goes to Church

 This is a special edition of the Fairly Tales–special for two reasons:  it celebrates Christmas, and it celebrates faith.  Merry Christmas!

Anchor-Christmas-Pageant-2010-049-CopyOnce upon a time there was a fairly named Stephanie who had never been to church.  I know, that seems really strange to us because we have so many churches that we can go to, but we have to remember that fairies are imaginary, and leprechauns are imaginary, so it makes sense that their fairlies and leprefauns would be imaginary too.  And you don’t find very many imaginary things in church—at least, I hope you don’t.

But one Christmas time, the church down the road from the sugar bush was having a Christmas pageant for everybody in the neighborhood.  Have you ever been to a program where they had Mary, and Joseph, and a doll in a manger, and lambs and donkeys and shepherds and angels, and everybody sang songs and got a box of candy when it was all over?  If you’ve never seen one, you’ll have to make plans for next Christmas, because they’re pretty special, and the candy is good, too.

But getting back to the church down the road:  Stephanie’s mother tried out for the part of the main angel, and nobody recognized her as the tooth fairy, but everybody just thought she was already in an angel costume with the wings and all, so she got the part.  And Stephanie was jealous.

“Mom,” she whined, “if you’re the maingel, can’t you have assistangel?  I’ve got wings too, and I would help you say all the angel stuff like ‘Hark!’ and ‘You better be good, cause I’m watching you!’”

Stephanie’s mother was so patient it’s sickening.  “First of all, I’m the main angel, not the maingel, and the people in the church have already picked all the other angels they need.  Besides, you have green hair, and angels are supposed to have brown hair, so you can see their halos better.  And what do you mean about angels telling people to be good?”

“Well, whenever it looks like I’m going to get in trouble, you say you hope the angels are watching me.  I figure they’re like invisible policemen,” Stephanie replied.

“More like rescue squads,” her mother said under her breath.  “But anyway, I have an idea how maybe—just maybe—you can be in the pageant too.  I’ll check tonight at practice.”

Stephanie did her happy dance until her feet weren’t happy any more, and then she did her happy sit down and tried to concentrate on the present she was making for Grammie.  (She knew that Grammie liked cats, so she was trying to build one out of cattails, pussy willows, and caterpillars.  She had picked some catnip, but didn’t use it because she didn’t want Grammie to get bitten.)

She worked all the time her mother was at practice, and had just finished cleaning up her kitty litter when she heard the back door open.  Her mother appeared with a bundle under her arm and smiled as she held out the package to her fairly excited daughter.

Stephanie opened the bag and looked in, and all she saw was a bag of white.  But when our little fairly reached in, she pulled a furry piece of cloth with a zipper and a tail—what do you suppose it was?  It took her a moment, but finally Stephanie realized that she was looking at a lamb costume.  “I’m a lamb?” she asked sheepishly.

“It will be a sacrifice, but I know you can be the best lamb in the whole pageant,” her mother said.  “Besides, it was the only costume they had left that would hide your wings and your green hair.”Anchor-Christmas-Pageant-2010-044-Copy

“But no one will know who I am!”  Stephanie protested, even while she was trying to figure out how to put on the costume.  “My first performance, and no one will be able to see me.”  She zipped up the belly and looked at her mother.

“I would know those big brown eyes anywhere,” replied her mother, proudly.

Stephanie turned a couple of circles, trying to see all the way around herself.  “And I’ve got a tail!” she said finally.  “How am I supposed to sit down?”

“Don’t worry about the tail, honey.  Just try not to set your butt on the buttons, or you might become undone.  Now let’s practice your line,” her mother said, putting her arm around her favorite little Christmas lamb.

“My line?  I only have one line? Bah!” the little fairly complained, using a word she had learned from her Uncle Ebenezer.

“That’s enough practice,” said her mother.  “Now if Mr. Paul asks you to say your line, just say it.”

“Who?”

“No, not who!  You’ve only got one line, so don’t mess it up.”

Stephanie had no idea what her mother was talking about.  “Bah,” she repeated. 

“Now you’ve got it.  But you need to wear black on your feet, so you’ll have to wear your toe shoes,” continued her mother, referring to what she wore for her tap dancing lessons.  “I’ll be wearing my heels.”

Well, as you can imagine, Stephanie was at least half a foot confused, so she changed the subject.  “I think my antennas are wrinkled inside this costume.”

“Don’t worry about it—a little extra iron in your diet will straighten everything out,” her mother replied.  “Now—let’s get something to eat so we can go to bed early and be all rested for tomorrow’s pageant.”

“Bah,” said Stephanie.

“Very good,” said her mother.  Stephanie didn’t know what she was being praised for, but she was happy that her mom was happy, so she took off her lamb costume and went to get a salad for supper.

The next day passed much too slowly, but finally it was time for the main angel and the confused lamb to enter the church for the pageant.  Stephanie’s mother made her put her costume on before they got to the church, so that no one would recognize her.  They went in the back door, where everyone else was gathering, and Stephanie was amazed.  There were cows, and donkeys, and other lambs, and boys in bathrobes, and girls in white nightgowns, and three funny-looking guys with crowns on their heads.  A woman was asking in a loud whisper, “Who has baby Jesus?  Mary, do you have baby Jesus?  Keep him inside your robe until it’s time to put him in the manger.  And Joseph, this time just knock on the inn door—don’t knock it over, OK?”

Stephanie wondered if that Joseph was supposed to knock on the out door, too, but she didn’t know who to ask.  “Bah,” she said.

The man in charge heard her and raised her voice a little.  “Lambs, I’ve told you before—don’t say your line until the angel appears and the light comes on.  Do you understand?”  The other lambs nodded their heads, but Stephanie was too confused. She just sighed and sat down on her buttons.

Then the lights went almost out, and there was some talking, and some singing, and Mary and Joseph walked across the stage, and Joseph would have knocked over the inn if Mr. Keeper hadn’t been there to catch it.  And then the cows and donkeys and lambs were all sent out on stage, and Stephanie couldn’t believe her eyes.

There was a whole crowd of people in the long seats, and a few were standing up taking pictures, but the little fairly hardly noticed them.  What she noticed was the beautiful colored windows with pictures on them.  Candles flickered on every windowsill, and green wreaths and red flowers were everywhere.  Stephanie didn’t know that bigginses could make things so beautiful.

Then a bright light came on, and somebody whispered, “Say your line, sheep!” and everybody said “Baa!” except Stephanie, who said, “Who?”  And then she heard her mother’s voice.

“Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

And then there was a lot of talking and singing, and before she knew it Stephanie and the other lambs were herded off the stage, and then her mother guided her out the back door and they were on their way home.

“Did you like the pageant, Honey?” her mother asked as they walked up the dirt road.

Stephanie thought about it for a moment, and said, “I guess so, but I don’t know what it was all about.  It was a little confusing to me.”

Her mother smiled.  She knew that confusion was her daughter’s fairly normal state; but she also knew it was time to tell her something that she had meant to talk about for a long time.  “Did you hear them talk,” she asked, “about the baby Jesus, and my speech about the Savior which is Christ the Lord?”

“I guess so, but I just thought it was part of the play,” Stephanie replied.

20 days old baby sleeping in a christmas nativity crib“It was part of the play, but it was the most important part,” her mother began.  “Once upon a time, there was a great big powerful person named God who made the whole world, and all the animals, and even the bigginses.  And then He sent His son out of the sky into the world so that everyone could be happy and could live with Him forever.  That son is Jesus, the Savior and Lord that I talked about.  He was born as a baby many, many years ago, and Christmas is His birthday.”

Stephanie was puzzled.  “You said he made the bigginses—did he make us, too?”

“No,” replied her mother, “you have to remember that we’re imaginary.  The Maker in the sky created bigginses with imaginations, and they created us.”

“But you said that Christmas is Jesus’s birthday—what about Santa Claus?”  Stephanie didn’t ever remember getting presents from some baby Jesus, so her mother’s claim had scared her a little bit.

“We’ll talk about Santa Claus another time when you’re a little older,” her mother said.  “But for now, you need to know that Jesus is as real as real can be, and anything good or beautiful in the world comes from Him, and you need to learn to love Him just like you love me.  And tomorrow is His birthday, which makes us so happy that we give presents to each other; and that’s what Christmas is all about.”

And Stephanie kept all this things, and pondered them in her heart.

Now, I know that Joshua, and Dawson, and Emilie all know a little bit about Jesus, but today would be a good day to ask Daddy or Mommy more about Him, and what it meant when the angel called him “Savior” and “Lord”.  When we have birthdays, we turn 6, or 7, or 8, (or maybe 30 or even older!), but this year Jesus is older than parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and Christopher Columbus all put together.  And He’s still alive, and having a birthday every year.  Happy birthday, Jesus!

And next time, if the jello doesn’t mold and the turkey doesn’t lose its stuffing, I’ll tell you how Stephanie Learns a Lesson.

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Stephanie and the Birthday Party–A Fairly Tale

It has been a while since I have posted; maybe someday I will write about why.  But for now, here is a new installment in the story of Stephanie the Fairly (her mother is a fairy, and her father is a leprechaun).  If you want to go back to the beginning, check with the earliest posts in under this heading.  Astute readers will notice that one of the promised stories has not been posted here.  I decided for personal reasons to reserve that one, at least for now, for the family members for whom the series was created.

These days, most of us know exactly what to expect from a birthday party; but for Stephanie it was a brand-new experience.  Oh, she had celebrated several birthdays herself, as well as a few for her mother, but they weren’t real parties.  There simply wasn’t enough room in the tree house under the maple tree in the sugar bush for a fairly and her mother to throw a party. 

 

So when she got an invitation to a birthday party for Betty the Brownie, Stephanie was fairly excited.

 

“Mom, what will they do at the party?” she asked.

 

“I’m certain I don’t know for sure, but parties usually have games like Pin the Tail on the Biggins, Musical Stumps, or Name that Tuna.  Sometimes they have a piñata.”

 

“What’s a piñata?”  Stephanie wanted to know.

 

“It’s a little like a hornets’ nest, but when you hit it with a stick, candy comes out instead of hornets.”

 

“Sweet!” said her daughter, licking her lips.

 

Stephanie’s mother went on.  “And then they have some food, and the birthday girl gets to open all her presents.”

 

Stephanie frowned.  “You mean I have to buy a present to take to the party?  Isn’t my presence there enough?”

 

“No, dear, you’ll need to take a gift, but don’t worry—I’ve made a special necklace that you can take to Betty,” her mother replied.

 

So Stephanie went off to play, and to wait impatiently for the big day.

 

When Betty’s birthday finally arrived, Stephanie got herself ready.  She made sure that her dress was clean, her wings were pressed, and her antennae were dusted.  (After all, she wanted a good reception at the party.)  Then her mother gave her Betty’s gift:  the most beautiful necklace she had ever seen.  It was made of little green cones, strung together on a silver thread, looking like forest pearls.

 

“Oh, Mom!  It’s beautiful!”  Stephanie exclaimed, slipping the necklace over her head and admiring herself in the mirror.  “Where did you ever get the idea to use hemlock cones like this?”

 

“What did you expect me to use—old teeth?  Of course it’s beautiful; I’m a fairy!  Someday you too will be able to make everything you touch more beautiful.  But it’s time for you to be going.  It won’t be pretty if you’re late.”

 

So Stephanie wound her way through the woods and forged her way through the forest until she passed through the hedge of mountain laurel that enclosed the clearing where her friends were gathering for the birthday party.  She saw Betty the Brownie and her mother Fudgie—why her parents ever named her Fudgie I will never know, but I think it’s nutty, myself.  Patty the Pixie was there, along with Diet the Sprite, Ellen the Elf, and many of their woodland friends like Harey the Bunny, Spotty the Fawn, and Joshua the Angry Bird. 

 

As soon as Stephanie arrived, everyone started talking and chattering and wiggling their whiskers all at once—welcoming her and complimenting her on her beautiful necklace.  She couldn’t remember when she had ever gotten so much attention!  And she liked it.  A LOT.

 

She liked it so much that she made a bad choice.  I know that Dawson and Emilie have never made any bad choices, but most of us have, at least once or twice. Anyway, I know that bad choices always cause problems later on, but Stephanie wasn’t thinking about later on.  Everyone thought the beautiful necklace was hers anyway, so she decided to keep it for herself.

 

That bad choice created a problem for her.  If she kept the necklace, she had to find another present to give to Betty, so while everybody else was having Wild Berry Surprise for snacks, Stephanie slipped away out of sight.  But as hard as she looked around, she didn’t see anything that looked even a little bit like a birthday present.  Then, just as Betty’s mother called her, Stephanie had a thought, and she picked up a small stick and headed back to the party. 

 

Stephanie was very busy as she watched Betty get her presents.  Some were pretty, some were funny, and some were socks.  And while everybody else was oohing and ahhing, the little fairly was rubbing her stick, trying to make it look polished and special.

 

When it came her turn to give Betty her gift, she pulled out the stick from behind her back and gave it to her friend with a broad smile.  Betty took the stick and looked at her, puzzled.  Stephanie put on her very best “I’m not lying!” face and said, “It’s a whistle—blow on it!”

 

Betty the Brownie put the stick to her lips and blew.  Nothing happened.  She blew again, harder.  She blew until she turned brown in the face, and was starting to frown when Stephanie spoke up again.

 

“It’s a special whistle—only grubs can hear it!  I have one for my pet grubs, and they just love it.  Everybody ought to have a grub whistle.”  And Stephanie grinned even more convincingly, she hoped.

 

“But I don’t have any grubs,” Betty said, a little disappointed by her present.

 

“Look at it this way,” Stephanie said.  “You’ll be ready when you get some,” and she smiled again, as broadly as she could.

 

Then Betty smiled, too.  “Hey—that’s right!  This is a very special gift.  Thank you Stephanie; you’re a great friend.” 

 

(I know it’s a little rude, but somebody has to say it, and you’re all busy reading the story, so I’ll say it myself:  sometimes Brownies are dumber than a stick.)

 

Stephanie didn’t care why Betty believed her; she was just glad to get away with her sticky little lie.

 

But when the time came for her to go home, Stephanie realized that she had another problem:  she was still wearing the necklace that her mother had made for Betty.  And that’s when she noticed that her one bad choice was leading her down the path to more bad choices.

 

She could try to hide the necklace from her mother, but she didn’t know where she could hide it.  She couldn’t put it in her pocket, because fairlies don’t have pockets.  And she just wasn’t very good at being sneaky around her mother.  (There was that episode with the cell phone, but that was a bad call all around.)

 

She could go back and tell Betty the truth and give her the necklace, but then everybody would know that she was a little selfish and a big fibber.

 

She could go home and tell her mother the truth, but her mother would punish her and then make her go back and tell Betty, and you know the rest.

 

Or she could throw her pretty new necklace away and hope that her mother never found out what she had done.  And that’s what she did.  She took off the necklace and turned around and threw it as far as she could, and went home feeling a little guilty and a lot sorry that everything turned out so badly.  She acted so sad when she got home that her mother thought she must have gotten sick from too much junk food at the party, and she made her go to bed.  And her mother never knew what happened.

 

That is, she never knew what happened until the next day, when Betty the Brownie came to bring Stephanie a thank-you card for the grub whistle, and to give her the necklace that she found along the way.  And she answered all of Stephanie’s mother’s questions.

 

And Stephanie ended up NOT having the necklace, AND she got punished by her mother AND she had to tell Betty the truth AND everybody knew that she was a little selfish and a big fibber which made Stephanie very, very sad.  But eventually she admitted that her problems all had grown out of the bad choice she had made; and she decided to try never to do anything like that again. 

 

And that was a very good choice.

 

Next time, if my fingers don’t fall off and my toes don’t get too full of lint, I will tell you the story of Stephanie and the Chicken Pox.

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Stephanie and the Fairly Bad Call–A Fairly Tale

This was one of the first Fairly Tales I ever wrote, probably 20 years ago.  Back then, everybody had land line phones, and so Stephanie put on her dancing shoes and tapped the neighbors’ phone line, and got into trouble.  When I began to revisit the stories and to rewrite them for the grandchildren, I thought that this story was so out-dated that I could never use it.  Then, as Stephanie was climbing into the fisherman’s truck to get his glasses, I got an idea.  Enjoy!

 

Once upon a time, there was a fairly named Stephanie who hated to write letters.  I’m not talking about letters like A, B, or C; I’m talking about friendly letters.  (I guess U and I are friendly letters, but that’s still not what I’m talking about.)  To put it plainly, Stephanie hated to write thank-you letters.

Stephanie’s mother was a New World fairy who believed that everyone should, in a manner of speaking, be polite.  She taught Stephanie to say please, thank you, you’re welcome, and excuse me.  She taught her not to talk with food in her mouth, and not to shake the rain off her wings in the house.  But when it came to writing thank you notes, teaching Stephanie was like trying to teach Mr. Grumpyface.

“How would you like it if you sent someone a gift and they didn’t send you a thank-you note?” her mother asked her when Stephanie complained for the umpteenth time.

“I wouldn’t care,” Stephanie responded.  “Winston never wrote me a letter thanking me for the hot pads I wove for him, and it doesn’t bother me a bit.  Winston was her twin brother—a leprefaun—who lived with their father in Ireland.

“That’s different,” her mother would say.  “Leprechauns like your father can’t write, so you can’t expect Winston to know how, either.  Besides, leprechauns have such notoriously bad manners that they wouldn’t write even if they could.  Fairies, on the other hand, always teach their children to do things nicely and politely.  And that, my child,” she said, “means that you need to write some thank-you notes.”

Now, maybe you don’t know it, but, for fairlies, gifts are not just given at Christmas or Easter.  Presents are in order for Groundhog’s Day, May Day, June Afternoon, Lewis Carroll’s Birthday,  the 4th of July, the 5th of August, all of September (which was National Imaginary Beings Month), and many other occasions.  And don’t forget birthdays!  Stephanie was growing so fast that she was having several birthdays each year.  In fact, while she was 8 at the beginning of this story, she may already be 9 and could be 13 next year.  Can you imagine how many presents that means?  Can you imagine how many thank-you notes that means?  Stephanie didn’t have to imagine it; she got cramps in her hand just thinking about it.

The problem came up on Flounder’s Day, which everyone celebrated by giving gifts.  Grammie knew how much Stephanie liked perfume, so she sent her a card with a few scents in it.  Her friend Joshua had sent her a royal caterpillar that was going to change into a monarch butterfly.  Fallon the Fairy gave her a pixie stick, and Stephanie’s mother gave her a gift-wrapped exercise wheel for her pet grubs.  But her favorite presents were from her father and Winston in Ireland.  Her Irish watch was broken, so her father sent her a new Irish spring; and Winston had mailed her an autographed picture of St. Patrick.  Stephanie loved the gifts, but dreaded the idea that she was going to have to write all those thank-you notes.

And then Stephanie thought of a brilliant solution.  “Mom,” she started hopefully, “now that we have a telephone, how about I just call everyone to thank them for my presents?  That’s what Dawson and Emilie get to do.” 

Stephanie had “found” a telephone in a fisherman’s truck, and had brought it home to play with.  Her mother had taken it away from her, and told her what it was and how it worked.  From the way she described it, Stephanie thought it must have come from a jail, since she called it a cell phone and talked about it having bars.  But then her mother said something about finding and taking things that weren’t really lost, and she called it stealing, or ironing, or something like that. 

Stephanie’s mother was not happy with her idea to use the phone instead of writing her letters.  “Young lady,” she said gruffly, “I told you that we were not going to use that phone except in an emergency.  Now sit down and get to work”.

A little later, while Stephanie sat at the table still thinking about how much she hated thank-you notes, her mother came through the kitchen, putting on her jacket.  “You keep working on those letters while I go and try to cheer up Mrs. Possum, if I can,” she said.

“Is she sick?  I could go with you,” Stephanie offered, hopefully.

“No, it’s just that every time she asks her new husband to do something, he pretends to be asleep.  I want to reassure her that that is normal behavior—even leprechauns and bigginses do the same thing.  You stay here and get those thank-you’s done.”  And she went out the door.

Stephanie pouted for a few minutes, and then decided that she was so sick of writing letters that it had become an emergency.  She knew where her mother had hidden a list of telephone numbers “in case of emergency,” and since she had already determined that this was an emergency, she got the list off the refrigerator where it was hidden under a picture of Uncle Jeremy.  And she got the phone and started working down the list.

She called her grandmother first.  After she figured out how to touch the right places on the telephone screen, she got through and left a message on Grammie’s answering machine.  “One down, and so far, so good,” she said, proudly.

But then Stephanie began to run into problems.  After several tries at calling Ireland direct, she had to stop and ask the directory assistants for help.  They offered to put the call through for her, and Stephanie waited nervously while the phone beeped, chirped, and clicked, until finally she heard it ringing on the other end. 

She had been away from her father so long that she didn’t even remembered what his voice sounded like.  While she waited for him to answer the phone, she imagined that he would sound a little like Grandpa, and would answer with a cheerful, “Top o’ the mornin’ to you!”

But she decided that she must have gotten the wrong number when somebody picked up the phone and shouted, “Who be callin’ me in the middle of me dinner?” and then the phone in Stephanie’s hand beeped three times and turned itself off.  And that was the end of Stephanie’s calling for that day, or any day for a long, long time.

Her mother came home, and after she let Stephanie off the time-out seat, she explained that they didn’t have a charger for the phone, and that even if they did have a charger, they didn’t have any electricity to plug it into.  And that meant that they would never be able to use the phone again, even in a real emergency.

After Stephanie had finished writing all her thank-you notes, she cuddled up with her mother and talked to her about her very short call to her father.  “I wanted to talk to my dad, but whoever answered sounded like a cross between a billy goat and a grizzly bear,” she said. 

Her mother smiled and said, “That’s your father.  I fell in love with him the first time I heard that wonderful voice—and now you’ve heard him and will have a wonderful memory.”  Stephanie looked at her mother and wondered if maybe she had been drinking a little too much Mountain Dew.  But she decided to look on the bright side.

“And to think,” she told her mother, “I will have that special memory all because I didn’t want to write thank-you letters.  It must be a sign.”

Her mother just shook her head and sighed.  As much as she wanted Stephanie to grow up to be a good fairy, deep down she knew that the leprechaun in her made that fairly unlikely.

 

And next time, if the elephant stays out of the refrigerator and the cream doesn’t beat it, I’ll try to tell you How Stephanie Got a Poppa.

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Stephanie and the Fisherman: A Fairly Tale

If you are new to the Fairly Tales, I suggest you click on that category above and read the stories in order from earliest to most recent.  About a week before I post them here, I send each story to my daughters and son to read to the grandchildren.  If you pay close attention, you will find references in every story to the grandchildren and other people they know.  The sugar bush and the rest of the setting is real and located near where I grew up.  Stephanie is unreal, in more ways than one.

 

Stephanie and the Fisherman

Once upon a time, there was a fairly named Stephanie who was fairly curious.  She had never heard the old expression that “Curiosity killed the cat,” which is pretty violent for an old expression, but is quite fitting for someone who lives in the Catskill Mountains.  Good thing Tigger and Grandma and Grandpa’s cats don’t live there!

She was curious about many things, but mostly Stephanie was curious about bigginses.  She knew that they didn’t make good pets (and that’s why she had a grub farm instead).  And she knew they lived in square houses out in the open, instead of in round houses under maple trees.  She knew that when the apples in the old orchard got ripe and fell off the trees, bigginses might come and pick up the drops.  (Stephanie liked to get her drops from the spring; it made the apples juicier.)  And, of course, the bigginses would come to the sugar bush in late winter to tap the maple trees.  It made quite a noise, and Stephanie had to stay inside while they were setting up or emptying their buckets; but it was better to do that than to be a sap.

And starting around April Fool’s Day every year, some bigginses would come to the babbling brook to try to catch some fish.  (There weren’t any big lakes nearby like where Emilie and Dawson and their Mom and Dad catch their fish.)  They called it “fishing”, but Stephanie thought it probably should be called, “getting wet” or “standing around with a stick in your hand”.  And Stephanie knew that she should always stay out of sight when the bigginses were around, but, as I said, Stephanie was fairly curious….

So one day Stephanie went for a walk down by the babbling brook.  She thought about trying to bounce a flat stone across the water, but decided to skip it.  Then she saw a fisherman, and got very still.  He looked old, wearing a hat and boots, and he had a long, bendy stick in his hand, and was waving it back and forth over the water as if he were trying to do a magic trick.  Stephanie guessed that it was working:  magically, all the fish disappeared.

But after watching the fisherman for a few minutes, Stephanie noticed that he had an old metal box that looked like it had been tackled more than once.  The cover was open, and there was an amazing collection of colorful items inside.  There was a knife, and several spoons, but no fork.  There were rubber worms, and plastic worms, and gummy worms—in case the old man got hungry, she decided.  (She knew that she and her friend Joshua loved gummy worms.)  But the most interesting things were in a little tray right on top:  a collection of dead bugs.

There were blue bugs, and red bugs, and fuzzy bugs and bugs with wings.  Actually, she saw, they weren’t dead bugs–they were fake flies, and they all had a sharp metal hook running right through their fake little hearts.

She crept nearer to get a good look, and was standing over the box of flies when she saw the fisherman turn toward her.  She made herself very small and lay down in the box to hide.  Now, maybe you didn’t know that fairlies could make themselves small; but since they are mostly air and imagination, when you squeeze those things out, what’s left isn’t very big.  So Stephanie squeezed herself very tiny and hid in the box.

“Oh, where are my glasses?” muttered the old biggins as he struggled to unfasten a fake fly from the string on his long fishing pole.  He stopped and patted his pockets, then frowned and said, “I must have left them in the truck,” and went back to squinting and struggling and finally getting the wet fly off the line.  “Ouch!” he said as he stuck the tip of the sharp hook into his thumb, and then popped the thumb into his mouth for a moment.  Stephanie thought only baby bigginses did that.

He dropped the bug into the box right next to where the fairly was lying very still, and said, “Which one should I try next?  Hmm…that looks like a good one,” and he reached down and started to pick up Stephanie gently between two fingers!  She was very, very scared, but as he lifted her out of the box she grabbed the fuzzy bug she had been lying on and hugged it tightly.

“Seems a little heavier than most, but maybe that’s what I need today,” the fisherman mumbled and proceeded to thread his line through the hook, being careful not to squeeze too hard so he wouldn’t hurt the fly–which was fairly lucky for Stephanie! She was still very, very scared, but she stayed quiet and did her best not to cry.  She didn’t like it when the biggins was touching her, and was relieved when he let go of her.  But that was when her trouble just began.

She dropped a couple of feet straight down—and then was jerked up over the fisherman’s head.  She hung on to her phony fly as tightly as she could as the biggins flicked his stick backwards, then snapped it forward, and then jerked it backwards, and then sent it flying forward toward the water.  Stephanie was terrified, then a little sick (like Grammie gets on rides at the Fair), then terrified again; but before she could feel sick again, she landed on the water with a little splash and decided to let go.  The fake bug started to fly like a real bug back toward the fisherman; and the real fairly started to fly like a real stone toward the bottom of the babbling brook.

But before she had sunk even an inch, she bumped—hard!—into something racing upward.  With a thump and little splash, she bounced from the water onto a flat rock at the edge of the brook.  For just a moment, she saw Tommy the Trout jumping out of the water and snapping at the fly—but by bumping into her, he had slowed down just enough that he missed the bug with its dangerous hook!  She could see shock and wonder in his eyes when he understood how close he had come to being caught for someone’s lunch.  He swam toward her rock and blinked his eyes in surprise when he saw Stephanie and realized that she was the one he had bumped into.  (If you’ve never seen a trout blink his eyes in surprise, you should try to see it some time.)  He stopped by the edge of the rock, and Stephanie reached down and patted his nose.  “I’m sorry if I hurt your snout, Tommy.  But thank you for saving me.”

Tommy opened and closed his mouth, and thanked her for saving him from the fisherman’s trick—I mean, he would have thanked her if trout could talk.  Then he swished his tail and disappeared downstream.

“Well, that was a bumpy ride,” Stephanie said to herself as she stepped behind a bush, took a deep breath, and used enough imagination to get herself full-sized again.  She had no curiosity to go back and see the old biggins.   She had no curiosity to go back and check out his collection of fishing things.  She did have just enough curiosity to go in through his truck window and find his glasses and his cell phone on the seat.  (She didn’t know what a cell phone was, but it looked interesting, so she picked it up to take it home.)  She knew that the biggins would need his glasses in order to drive home, so she put them outside on the ground in front of one tire where he couldn’t miss them. 

So she went home to her house in the sugar bush, with an exciting story and a new toy.  And she was never quite as curious again—at least when bigginses were around.

 

Next time, as long as the brook is still babbling and the cell phones are still selling, I’ll tell you the story of Stephanie and the Fairly Bad Call.

 

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Stephanie Gets Fairly Lost

Stephanie the fairly had a problem getting lost.  Actually, she didn’t have any problem at all getting lost; she did that really well.  I guess her problem was getting found—or rather, not getting found…..well, I hope you’re smart enough to know what I’m trying to say.

Stephanie got lost a lot.  When she wandered over to the farmer’s field to get a bucket of milkweed, she ended up in the horse barn, where she got hoarse for a week yelling for her mother.

Once she got lost on the way from her room to the front door, and she had to spend a whole day inside reading American Girls books instead of doing her chores outside—or at least, that’s what she told her mother.  Then there was the time Stephanie said she couldn’t find her way to the time-out seat and her mother made her practice sitting in it for 20 minutes to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.

The funny thing was that Stephanie never got lost going to her friends’ houses.  Whether she was visiting Fallon the Fairy, or Betty the Brownie, or Emilie the Girl Guide, or Penny the Pigeon, or any of her other playmates, she could always get to their homes—she just couldn’t find her way back.  It was almost like her brain got too full of fun to remember anything else.  My brain gets like that, sometimes; does yours?

One day, Stephanie’s mother called her into the kitchen of their home under the maple tree and told her that her father’s birthday was coming up. She said, “Stephanie, I think your father would like some four-leaf clovers.  They are green, which is his favorite color, and the four leaves would remind him of the four of us:  Dad, and you, and your brother Winston, and me.  Would you help me out by looking around and seeing if you can find any nearby?”

So Stephanie went outside and began to look for clover plants.  In about ten minutes, she returned.  (Of course, along the way she took a wrong turn and ended up at the back window instead of the front door.)

“Mom, I think we need to kick someone out of the family,” Stephanie said once she had found her way inside.

Her mother stopped what she was doing and asked, “What are you talking about?”

“I can only find clovers with three leaves, so Dad will only be able to remember three of us.  He and Winston are already there, and I am too cute to forget, so I guess that means…well, I don’t think you actually have to move away or anything, but unless we find a better plant, we may have to leave you out.”

“Oh, no—you’re stuck with me,” said her mother, hugging Stephanie fairly hard.  “I happen to know that in the front yard of that biggins house just west of here there is a patch of clover that always has lots and lots of leaves.  I’ve even seen six- and eight-leaf clovers there.  I think some angel must have put Miracle-grow on them.”  Then she frowned.  “But I’m afraid you’re going to have to go get them.  I told old Mrs. Rabbit that I’d take her for a hair cut today.”

“Couldn’t you hop over and change her appointment?”

“No, I gave her my word, so I have to keep it.”

“But Mom—you know I always get lost!”  Stephanie protested.  (She had once been in a protest contest, to see who could whine the loudest.  Billy the Banshee won and Mr. Grumpyface came in second, but Stephanie came in a close third.  Dawson might have won, but he was busy at home playing with his Legos that day.) 

“Well, you will just have to concentrate, and pay attention, and NOT get lost,” said her mother firmly.

Stephanie stomped out of the house, muttering to herself, “I DO concentrate, and I DO pay attention, and I DO get lost.”  She stomped some more, and she muttered some more, and pretty soon she didn’t know where she was.  She sat down on a stump and cried.  That did not solve the problem.

“It’s too late to pay attention, and I don’t have any money anyway, but maybe it will help if I concentrate,” she said, taking out her pirate spyglass and scanning the woods around her.  Off in the distance, she could see a wisp of smoke trailing into the sky.

“I bet that’s the biggins house where I’m supposed to look for the clover,” she said, thinking out loud.  And it didn’t take her long to get there, find the special patch of clover, and pick a whole bunch of 4-leaf presents for her father.  But then, she had to find her way back home.  And she remembered that she was lost.

“Maybe if I talk to myself, I can tell me where to go,” she said, fairly convincingly.

“All right,” she answered herself.  “I’m standing in front of the biggins house.  The house is in front of me, and the woods are behind me.  Which way should I go?”

“Toward the forest, I would,” said the Stephanie inside her head.  So she went that way.

Once she got into the trees, she remembered that her house was under a maple tree, with oak trees nearby.  “I need to look for oak and maple trees,” she said.  “But first, I need to learn how to figure out the difference between an oak tree and a maple tree.  I know it has something to do with their bark, but they all sound the same to me.”  (It’s a good thing she didn’t have to try to figure out dogwood.  A Manchester Terrier would sound different than a Rottweiler would.)

She saw a chipmunk and thought he could tell her how to find her tree house.  But even though she was leaning English, and a little French, and some Tlingit (in case she ever visited the Yukon), she hadn’t learned how to speak chipmunk yet.  She tried asking him directions in French, but he just looked at her, so she gave up.  If Joshua had been there, he could have helped her, because he knows a lot about tree houses.  (But he doesn’t speak French either, so she would have had to ask him in English.)

“It should be easy to get home,” she decided, and walked downhill because that was the easiest way.  When she came to a brook, she was fairly puzzled.

“Is my house on this side of the brook, or on the other side?” she wondered.  She couldn’t find a toad stool, so she sat on a frog stool to figure out her situation.

“If I’m on the other side of the brook, then that would mean that I crossed it already, and my feet would be wet,” she decided, and looked at them.  They were dry.  “I think I’m being pretty smart for a fairly.”

“Don’t start bragging.  You’re still lost, you know,” she scolded herself.

“Don’t remind me,” she said.  Then she thought for another moment and realized that, when she was lost, it was actually hard to get home, so she should go uphill, since that was hard.

So she went uphill, and when she came to a deer trail she turned right, which was good, because right was right and left was wrong.  And soon the trail became very dear to her as it led her back to the sugar bush, where she could see her maple tree.  She even got out her pirate spyglass and concentrated herself right up to her front porch.

Her mother arrived home just as Stephanie stepped up to the door, and spoke to her with a smile in her voice.  “Oh, you found the four-leaf clovers, and found your way back!  I’m so proud of you!”  And she gave her a big hug.  Stephanie was going to tell her that she had really gotten lost, but then the Stephanie in her head told her to shut up and just be proud of herself.  And so she was.

 

And as long as the drum doesn’t beat it and the trees don’t leave, then next time I’ll tell you about Stephanie and the Fisherman.

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Stephanie and the Fairly Bad Pet

Once upon a time there was a fairly named Stephanie who couldn’t see why her mother wouldn’t let her have a pet.  She kept dropping hints, but her mother wouldn’t pick them up.  It was so annoying—and all over a little thing like a pet biggins.

Stephanie’s mother was a New World fairy who married an Irish leprechaun and had two children:  Stephanie the fairly, and her twin brother Winston, the leprefaun.  Winston stayed with his father when Stephanie and her mother returned home to the sugar bush in the Catskill Mountains.  Though Stephanie had not seen either her father or her brother since she was a baby, with her mother’s help she had begun writing to them fairly often.

The last letter she got from them was all about Winston’s pet gremlin.  He had caught it himself in the alley behind their house, and he kept it in an old holey water bottle that the priest had thrown out.  People came from all over Ireland to see the bottled gremlin, and they paid what amounted to a dollar apiece to see his strange pet!  A picture of Winston with the gremlin had even appeared in the Weakly Reader, a school newspaper for slow students.

Stephanie had always wanted a pet, and everybody she knew seemed to have one.  Grammie and Poppa had cats and a dog!  Emilie and Dawson had fish and sea monkeys, though why they were called sea monkeys is anyone’s guess, since they weren’t monkeys and you could hardly see them.  Joshua beat them all with a cat, some goldfish, and a bunch of angry birds. (The birds might have been happy birds, except that somebody kept stealing their eggs.  That would make me mad, too–if I had eggs, I mean.)

Stephanie wanted something that would coo when she talked to it and wiggle when she tickled it, but pigeons and snakes and all the other creatures who lived around the sugar bush were friends, and she certainly couldn’t keep one of those as a pet. That was when she decided that she ought to have a pet biggins.

When Stephanie first mentioned getting a pet, her mother suggested that grubs made good, quiet pets.  Stephanie thought the door to a pet might be open (though grubs never entered her mind.)  So she began to make other suggestions to try to wear her mother down to the point where she might allow a biggins in the house.

She mentioned Fallon the Fairy, who had a starfish, but her mother said they didn’t have enough space for a starfish.  Then she brought up Betty the Brownie, who had saved a sand dollar at the beach, but her mother said it didn’t make sense as a pet.  So Stephanie said, “How about a biggins?”

For those who don’t know, a biggins is like a fairy, but much larger, and without wings, and they live in houses instead of holes under maple trees.  They like to wear lots of clothes and eat lots of food and play lots of computer games.  You are probably a biggins yourself, though you might want me to call you a human instead.  (Unless you are one of my space alien readers, in which case you will have to let me know what you want me to call you.)

For days Stephanie continued to pester her mother with little hints:  “We wouldn’t have slept so late if we had a biggins in the house,” or “I bet I wouldn’t be bored right now if I had a baby biggins to play with.”  Her mother did her best to ignore the comments until one day when Stephanie was fairly upset with her mother and said, “You know, I bet Daddy would let me have a pet biggins if he were here.”  That got her mother’s attention.

“Come with me, young lady,” she said.  “It’s time we had a talk.”  She walked away very quickly, and Stephanie rushed after her, glad that her mother wasn’t flying or she never would have been able to stay up with her.  They went out through the sugar bush, past the old orchard, through fields and woods until they came to a house.  Stephanie’s mother went behind the garage.

On the back side of the run-down building, among the thistles and weeds, were piles of old lumber, broken furniture, and such things, and her mother looked around until she found a wooden box with screens on all the sides and a door in one end.  It was mostly broken, but Stephanie could tell that once it had been a cage.  It had the name “Jaimie” carved into the top of the door.

“You’ve caught my attention,” said the fairly to her mother.  “What’s this all about?”  Her mother sat on the edge of the box and motioned for Stephanie to sit beside her.

“Once upon a time, when I was little like you, I had friends who lived in the woods here and I used to come and play with them.  I think I’ve told you about them–the Sprite sisters, Lemon and Lime?  They had a brother, too.  His name was Pepper, and he became a doctor.  Anyway, one night we were all out playing with the fireflies when two little bigginses came along.  They had nets and jars, and they caught me along with a firefly that didn’t fly.  (He wasn’t too bright.)

“When the bigginses saw that I wasn’t a bug, they put me in this old rabbit cage and kept me locked up for almost a week.  They fed me grass and called me their pet, and sometimes they took me out to play with me.  The boy biggins said he was going to pull my wings off, but his sister punched him and told him no.”  (Now, I don’t want any of you girls getting any ideas about punching your brothers.  It’s never right to do unless he’s about to tear the wings off a fairy.)

“But then one day they took me to the house to show me to the bigger bigginses.  When their mother saw me, she took me out of the cage, and held me gently, and talked quietly to me.  Then she told her children about fairies, and how happy they are when they can run and fly around, and how sad they are when they are caught.  She also told them that fairies didn’t eat grass, and that it was really hard to find fairy food.  (I didn’t tell them that I like pizza without cheese, French fries and bannock; they didn’t need to know that.)

“Then their mother told them, ‘Fairies are people, too.  Treat them the way you would like to be treated.’  And she said that people don’t put other people in cages or keep them locked up, and then she sent the little bigginses to their rooms and told them to close their doors and not to come out until they were ready to stop being Mr. and Miss Grumpyface.  Finally, she set me outside in the flower box.  ‘Good-bye, little fairy,’ she said.  ‘Be happy and be free.’  And she turned and walked away.

“Well, that’s just about the end of my story.  The Sprite sisters had called my Pop, and he came and helped me get home, and we all lived happily ever after.  And then a few years later my daughter wanted to catch a baby biggins and keep it as a pet.  What do you suppose I should tell her?”  And Stephanie’s mother paused for an answer.

“I guess ‘Go ahead’ is out of the question, huh,” said Stephanie, doing a fairly good imitation of Miss Grumpyface.

“Bigginses are people, too.  Treat them the way you would like to be treated.”

Stephanie walked home with her mother, disappointed in a way, but understanding the lesson fairly well.  And the next day she got the address from her mother and ordered a kit to start her own grub farm.

 

And if the caribou don’t boo and the mooses don’t moo, then next time I will tell you the story about how Stephanie Gets Fairly Lost.

 

 

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Stephanie and the Close Away Family–A Fairly Tale

The next in a series of stories written for my children to read to my grandchildren.  Artwork courtesy Mrs. Sharon Dahl.

 

When Stephanie was very young (as young as Joshua was before he got to be so grown up), she was fairly curious.

She never thought of herself as curious; she may not even have known what the word curious meant.  But she knew, and her mother certainly knew, that she liked to ask questions.

“Mommy, why is the sky blue?” Stephanie asked.

“So that you can see the yellow sun better,” her mother said, washing the dishes.

“Mommy, why is my hair green?” Stephanie asked.

“So that people will notice your pretty brown eyes more,” her mother said, still washing the dishes.

“Mommy, why don’t I have a daddy?” Stephanie asked.

Her mother stopped washing the dishes.  She picked up a little towel and dried her hands very slowly.  “Why do you ask?” she said in that special voice that mothers use when there is a problem but they want to pretend that everything is all right. 

I’m sure that Emilie would have recognized that there really was a problem, but Stephanie was fairly young and fairly busy, so she didn’t notice that her mother was unhappy.  She was juggling three acorns and didn’t look up as she answered.

“I was just thinking about the birds and the bees,” she said, dropping two of the acorns.  “Oh, nuts,” she muttered, bending over to pick them up.

Her mother acted like she had a hiccup stuck in her throat, but she managed to repeat her daughter’s words.  “The birds and the bees?”

“Yes,” said Stephanie as she stacked the acorns in the corner of their little home under the maple tree.  “The birds have daddies, but the bees don’t.  I don’t think I’m sweet enough to be a bee.”

“No, honey, you’re not,” said her mother with a sigh.

“And I’m not flighty enough to a bird, even if I did have a daddy,” Stephanie continued, flapping her fairly small wings.

“That question is still up in the air,” her mother replied, taking Stephanie by the hand and walking with her into the living room to have a seat on the couch.  “But you do have a daddy.  He just doesn’t live here.” 

“Why not?”  Stephanie asked, poking at a spot on the wall of their tree house.

“He lives far away, like Grammie and Poppa, and it’s not easy for him to come and see us.”

“Does that mean we’re not a close family?” Stephanie asked.

“I guess that’s open for discussion,” said her mother.  “People can live far away and still be close.  Farness is measured in miles, but closeness is measured in smiles.”

“Hey—that rhymes!” Stephanie exclaimed, smiling broadly.

“And when we count the smiles, I’d say we’re a very close family.  Your daddy loves you very much; you just don’t remember him because you were so young when we moved here.”

So Stephanie’s mother told her (with a few fairly curious interruptions) about how she had won the lottery (“What’s a lottery?”) and had gone to Ireland (“What’s Ireland?”) where she met and fell in love with a leprechaun (“What’s a leprechaun?”) and they got married and had twins (“What’s twins?”) named Stephanie and Winston.

At that point Stephanie’s interruption was very curious.  “You mean I have a daddy AND a sister?”

So her mother had to explain that Winston was a boy, so technically he couldn’t be her sister.

“Oh, brother,” Stephanie said.

And her mother told her how she had gotten so homesick that she brought Stephanie with her and came back to her home in the New World.  “And that’s the story, from the ground up,” she concluded.

Stephanie scrunched up her fairly cute face and started a new series of questions.  “Why don’t they ever call us?”

“Because we don’t have a telephone.”

“Why don’t they ever Skype us?”

“Because we don’t have a computer.”

“Why don’t we have any pictures of them?”

“We do.  That picture on the wall over the fireplace is them.  I know it’s a little blurry, but let me tell you clearly that those are your daddy and your brother.”

Stephanie got up and stepped over to the fireplace to examine the photo.  “I always thought they were pirates, or Jedi knights, or something.”

Her mother frowned.  “Why would a have a picture of pirates or Jedi knights over my fireplace?”

“Maybe because you knew I like pirates or Jedi knights?”

“No, I have it there because I love your daddy and your brother.”

Now if Dawson were here, he would probably try to make a joke about the man in the picture saying in a deep, dark Jedi voice, “Look—I am your father,” but Stephanie wasn’t old enough to get the joke.  Instead, she sat down on a toadstool and continued her list of questions.

“Why don’t they ever write to me?”

“Because you can’t read or write.”

“That’s just wrong.  Why don’t they ever write to you?”

“They do,” her mother answered, “but it takes a long time to get here by snail mail.  The snails get seasick crossing the ocean, you know.”

Stephanie made a face, “I don’t want to be sick OR see sick,” she said.  But then, after being thoughtful for a minute (which was a new record for her), she said, “So a family can be close even if they’re far away.”

Her mother smiled.  “That’s right.  That’s exactly right.”

“Then maybe we should call it close away instead of far away.”

“That’s a fairly good idea.  Our family is close away,” said her mother, still smiling.

Then Stephanie asked, “Can I write them a letter?”

(Obviously Stephanie didn’t know the story, or she would remember that she couldn’t write.  Duh!)

Her mother just smiled and suggested, “Why don’t you tell me what you want to say, and I’ll write it for you.”

“And then,” Stephanie excitedly, “maybe we can get a rabbit to take it to them by hare mail.  That should go fast!”

“Now, honey, how would a rabbit get across the ocean?” her mother asked, sensibly.

“You’re right—he would probably flounder in the waves, and somebody would have to fish him out.  But maybe he could get a ride on a sailfish.  I heard they’re cheap.”

Her mother smiled again.  (She smiled a lot, if you haven’t noticed.)  “Now you’re just being silly.  But let me get some paper from the drawer and a pencil from the pen, and we’ll get started on your very first letter.”

“A-OK, Mom, but I have a question,” Stephanie said.  “Who was born first?”

“Well, if we go all the way back there was Abel, then Cain…”

(I know, it should be easy to make a joke about Abel’s name, but I just can’t do it.)

“No—seriously.  In our family, who was born first?”  Stephanie insisted.

“Let me see,” said her mother, putting on her glasses.  “There was your father, then me, then you, and then Winston.”

Stephanie smiled.  “That’s good.  I always wanted a little brother.”

And Stephanie was fairly contented with her new, close away, family.

Now if the ice cream doesn’t fall out of the freezer and melt all over the cat, then next time I will tell you the story of Stephanie and the Fairly Bad Pet.

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Fairly Entertaining Week-end Reading

Many years ago, I wrote a handful of stories for parents to read to their children.  They were intended to be interesting enough to hold the attention of a child, but entertaining enough (with jokes, puns, and other wordplay) that adults would enjoy them as well.  I never did anything with those stories.  Until now.

Since I cannot write as work while I am on unemployment, I have started revisiting these stories and tailoring them to my grandchildren.  They are not deep, inspiring, or instructive, but I think that you may find them fun to read.  So, for your reading pleasure, I offer

Stephanie

A Fairly Tale

You’ve probably read some fairy tales at one point or another in your life.  I don’t like fairy tales, because they have people like kings and wicked queens and woodsmen, and porridge and glass slippers and other things I have never seen in my life.  I like stories to be about things I can understand.  And why do people call them fairy tales?  Most of them don’t even have fairies in them!  I know about the fairy godmother, but whoever made up that story didn’t know a fairy from a pumpkin.

So I wanted to set the record straight—oh, please forgive me, the youngsters won’t understand me if I write like that!—I wanted to set the iPod straight.  There are fairies here in the New World, and you’ve probably known one or two yourself.  I know one quite well, for she lives near where I grew up in the Catskill Mountains.  (There used to be cats there, but they are all gone for some reason.) 

You may have met this fairy yourself along the way.  For a time, she was the First Assistant Tooth Fairy for all of New York State, and she did a fine job, except for the time she left a Canadian Loonie under Dawson Baker’s pillow when she meant to leave an American dollar.  (She always thought that she must have gotten that coin from a Canada goose, but actually we have a lot of loonies in our mountains.)

One day, this fairy bought a lottery ticket and won a million dollars in American money and decided to travel across the ocean and visit the Old World while she was still young.  She started in England but got mad and went to Ireland instead.  There she met a leprechaun, and fell in love, and got married, and had twins, and I’ll tell you more about them later if you are still reading.

But then our fairy got homesick (she was really only allergic to the curtains, but she thought it was the whole house making her itch.)  So she used the last of her money to return to the New World, and made a home under a maple tree in a sugar bush near my house.  If you don’t know, a sugar bush is one sweet place to live!  When a whole lot of Maples live on the same street, (or avenue, or drive,) the saps who make pancake syrup call that a sugar bush, but this fairy just called it her home, sweet home.

She was out of money and looking for a job, but her life was full of excitement because of her daughter Stephanie, who came with her from Ireland, and I’m glad she did, because she’s the one I really want to tell you about.  I only told about her mother because she’s going to be in the stories too, so you needed to meet her.

Stephanie was a fairly.  No, I didn’t misspell that; she was a fairly.  Since her mother (you know about her) was a fairy, and her father was a leprechaun, Stephanie turned out to be a little bit of both, so her parents called her a fairly.  (Now, I know a particularly smart girl named Emilie who remembers the story so far and wants to know about the other twin, and she’s not very patient so I’ll tell that part next.)

Stephanie had a twin brother named Winston, who lived with his father in Ireland.  And was Winston a fairly too?  No, don’t be silly!  Since his father was a leprechaun and his mother was a fairy, he was a leprefaun.  (That may be a hard word to say, but I know good readers like Joshua can do it.)  And Stephanie and Winston were not identical twins, so we should be able to tell them apart during our stories.

Since Winston stayed in the Old World with his father, I never met him, though I might someday when I’m in my 60’s or 70’s.  But I know Stephanie fairly well, because she lived near my house and I liked to look for nuts in the sugar bush.  (I know, it’s crazy!  If I wanted to find lots of nuts I should go to Washington, D.C., or maybe to Canada; but I was too sensible to do that.)  So I went to the sugar bush, and I met Stephanie, and the stories I will tell you in the weeks to come will be about her and her fairly exciting life.

I hope to see you soon with the next chapter of what I call my “Fairly Tales”.

Illustration courtesy graphic artist Sharon Dahl.  Thank you!

 

 

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