The Moon Fairy

The  Moon Fairy

Magic!

What memories that conjures up!

Words that were said to me a long time ago.

Magic!

What does it look like and can you touch it, can you smell it. I had no idea of any of this all that long time ago.

The day had begun it seemed to me such a long time ago.  I had woken up when it was still dark.  I snuggled back down into the bed for a few minutes trying not to think of the cold floor waiting to meet my toes when I got out of bed.  But it was no good; sooner or later I would have to get up.  I thought, I know, I’ll be brave, I’ll get out of bed quickly and dash to; my pile of clothes, I’d be so quick that the linoleum wouldn’t have time to make itself cold to my feet.

Right, here goes, quickly now across the room to the chair.  Where’s my socks?  The floor was winning; the cold curled around my toes and started to creep up my legs.  Hurry! Hurry! First one, then the other, I quickly pulled my socks on.  Hooray! I’ve beaten the cold I won today.  Downstairs in the kitchen it was warm and cosy; the cat was asleep on the stool next to the oven.  Because it was so cold the fire and oven had been kept in over night.  I always felt that it must have been quite a struggle in keeping the fire under control with all those flames leaping and dancing trying to creep out when the door to the fire was opened.

There was no one else around.  I must have got up too early.  Should I go back upstairs, brave the cold floor, take off my socks and get back into bed?  Then the cat stretched and yawned, he pushed out all of his legs at once, and his claws came out of their sheaths, they could be wickedly sharp.  His name was Just Cat, or sometimes Damned Cat.  He was my friend; he was all black with just a tiny speck of white under his chin and the longest whiskers ever.  He jumped down and came over to me, his tail up in the air like a flag.  “Good morning” I said, to which he replied “Meow” which in cat language is good morning, as everyone knows.

The kitchen was like a secret cave, a secret place.  I couldn’t switch the light on I couldn’t reach.

My Gran said I was “too short in the leg”.  I kept looking at my legs every week but they didn’t seem to be getting any longer.  The light from the fire would be enough I thought.  So, I very carefully opened the fire door, and after telling the red coals not to be naughty and try to get out I sat down on the hearth tucked my “short” legs under me and waited for the house to wake up.  The cat of course being sensible decided that he should join me, just to keep the fire under control.  He was good at that, he would sit for hours just staring into the fire, and it always behaved itself.

I was suddenly pulled back from the comforting warmth with such a wrench I thought my arm had been pulled right off.  “You silly girl” cried a voice, “Don’t you know that children shouldn’t be left in front of an unguarded fire!”  I was fully awake now, I wasn’t left there in front of the fire, I put myself there and anyway there was someone looking after me.  I looked around, but of course the cat had long gone.

“You naughty girl”, said my mother, “you could have been burnt to a cinder, why do you have to be up so early and wandering around.  Why can’t you stay in bed like the others, why! You’ll be the death of me”!  I wondered to myself what it would be like to be dead.  It would be all right if when you got to be dead you went to heaven, which looked like a nice place in the pictures I’d seen.  As I seemed to be such a naughty girl I would have to go to hell, I should start to try and be very good from now on, especially as I could have been turned into a cinder this morning.

Mother was busy getting the dishes on to the table and stirring a big pan on the stove.  This contained lovely creamy porridge.  “As you are up” mother said, “you can have yours now and then go and call the others”.

I sat up to the table which seemed to be so big when you only had “short” legs, and, after a struggle got on to the   big chair.  Mother put a bowl of hot steaming porridge in front of me.  Then to my unconcealed joy she went to the larder and bought out a tin of golden syrup.  I was sure that this was as near to heaven as I would get today.  I took the spoon and dribbled the syrup over the porridge, making pretty patterns that sank and dissolved down into the wonderful stuff.  “Don’t play with your food, just eat it up like a good girl”, Mother looked at me with despair.  “I’ll try very hard to be a good girl today” I said to Mother, as I took huge spoonfuls of the creamy heaven and put them in my mouth.  Half of these spoonfuls missed.  Mother just sighed.

The rest of the morning passed with the usual arguing about whom would use the bathroom first.  “Where’s the hairdryer”?  This was my oldest sister screeching!  She spent all her time brushing, and drying her hair, more than the rest of the family put together.  But, she did have lovely hair; it cascaded from her head in shining brown waves, unlike mine, which unfortunately stuck out from my head like a fuzzy halo.  It never liked the comb and certainly when it was hair washing night we both tended to depart rapidly in the direction of the garden shed, even if it was cold and raining.

It was torture on a Friday night, hair had to be washed, and then the tangles combed out.  The worst ordeal, kneeling in front of Mother for what seemed, hours on end, having the long strips of rag wound into my hair, to make me look pretty.  You will have such lovely ringlets tomorrow when you get up I was told, who wants wrinklets anyway, I muttered under my breath.  These lovely ringlets would all disappear by lunchtime anyway.  Today was Saturday, everybody was at home, and it seemed everyone had something to do, except me.

I tried to help Mother in the kitchen, “Go away, you only get in the way”.  I tried to help Father; he was getting ready to wallpaper the hall.  “Run along, you’re far too little to be of any use”. He said.

Molly, my eldest sister, she was too busy trying to “put her hair up” to take any notice of me.  George and Edmund, they were twins, were engaged in “experiments” too secret for my eyes.

Harry, of course was far too grown up to take any notice of his baby sister; he was off to the football match with his friend Spike.

Perhaps Trudy would play with me, after all she was only a little older than I was, I went to find her.

Trudy was in the garden; she didn’t notice me struggling to open the heavy door.  She was too busy playing with her dolls.  They were all lined up on the old garden seat, all twelve of them, and there was Rebecca! My favourite doll!  I had hidden her under the sofa yesterday.  Trudy loved playing make believe with the dolls.  They all had names, all were smart and with their hair beautifully neat and tidy.  Except Rebecca, she was like me, grubby and untidy.  She had never been new but I loved her so much. What was Trudy doing!  She had a pair of scissors in her hand, and she was scolding Rebecca.  “You’ll be better for a haircut,” she was saying.  I could not believe my eyes!  My poor Rebecca!  Before I could say anything Trudy had used the scissors and Rebecca was shorn.  “There, that’s better”, Trudy smiled with satisfaction, “now you are fit to join my family”.  I stood still, rooted in horror, Rebecca was now exactly the same al all the other dolls, all neat and tidy, and she wasn’t my Rebecca anymore!  Trudy turned and looked at me.  “Well she said doesn’t she look better now.  I’m going to call her Edith”.  She turned away.

My heart was broken, my only friend gone.

I shrieked at the top of my voice, I yelled and cried, “Mother, Father!”  George, Edmund and even Molly ran into the garden.  I was distraught, I was crying so hard I couldn’t breathe.  Everyone was saying, “What’s happened, what’s the matter?”  I just couldn’t stop crying.  “Oh Mother” said Trudy, “she’s only making a fuss because I tidied up her precious doll and anyway Edith is a much better name”.

I rushed at Trudy I clenched my hands into fists and began to pummel her.  She started to cry, George and Edmund stared open-mouthed.  Mother caught hold of me and shook me.  “Stop that” she yelled.  “Trudy wasn’t doing any harm, and anyway I think the doll looks far better now”.  I wouldn’t be consoled, and quite frankly I was enjoying the attention I was getting from everyone.  “Right”, Father came over to me and picked me up, “Enough!” he roared.

Suddenly the world turned upside down, “Stop crying for nothing or I’ll give you something to cry for”.  I couldn’t.  I saw his hand go up into the air – I was so shocked that I stopped in utter amazement.  We looked at each other.  “That’s enough,” he said.

“All that fuss about nothing” Mother said as she went back into the kitchen followed by Trudy.  “Come in and have a drink Trudy, no not you Miss, you can stay in the garden until you learn to control yourself”.

George and Edmund looked at each other, looked at me, shrugged and went back to their experiments.

I stood up suddenly all alone.  Trudy’s dolls sat there on the bench staring at me – I stared back, then, I ran to the bench picked up the dolls one by one and took them down to the bottom of the garden.  There I carefully placed each one, face down, on the compost heap.  “There” I said now they are all like me”.  When I came to Rebecca she seemed to be sitting looking so smug as if to say I think I really think I like being an “Edith”

I couldn’t bear it; I picked her up and flung her as far as I could right to the back of the compost heap.  Who needed friends anyway!

I stayed in the garden for the rest of the day.  Mother called me to go in for lunch, I didn’t answer.  She called me for tea.  I still didn’t answer.  “Stay out there all night”, she called out to me.  I felt so miserable.  I was hopeless at everything, too “short in the leg”, too dirty and untidy to be a little girl.  “A little ragamuffin that’s what Granddad had said last time I had seen him.  I crept into the shed, lay down on the old sacks left there and slept.

I awoke with a start.  It was getting dark.  I didn’t like the dark.  I got up from the sacks and looked out of the window.  The light was on in the kitchen, I couldn’t see if there was anybody in the room.  I must get indoors, but to do that I had to cross the garden in the dark!  I stood up undecided as to whether to call out for someone to come and get me or to take my courage into both my hands and run across the huge dark space myself.  I had to do it myself.  I took a deep breath and ran as fast as I could towards the back door, turned the handle and fell into the room.

There was nobody there.  I turned and closed the door behind me and crept up to the oven.  The cat looked at me from his place on the stool.  What to do next?  I was very hungry and thirsty, and didn’t quite know what to do next.  At that very moment the door opened and Harry came into the room.

“Hello squirt” he said.  “Decided to come in at last have you?  You really upset Trudy you know, spoiling all her precious dolls, although they did come up clean again with a wash”.  I sighed, “I know I’m a naughty girl, but she shouldn’t have taken Rebecca and changed her into Edith”.  I felt my lip tremble.  “Never mind all that now,” said Harry.  “I expect you are hungry and need a drink by now, don’t you?”  I nodded.  Harry went to the cupboard got out a loaf of bread and cut me two huge thick slices spread them with thick butter and covered the whole lot with jam.  He picked me up and put me on the stool and placed a glass of milk beside me.  He told me to eat up and be quiet so Mother wouldn’t hear me.  I fell ravenously on the bread and jam, nothing had tasted so good and the ice-cold milk was wonderful.  While I was eating this feast Harry had gone into the other room.

When he returned he said he’d seen Mother and told her I was in from the garden and that he had given me something to eat.  “Does she want to see me?” I asked.  “No” Harry replied but she did say that you had been very naughty and that you were to stay out in the kitchen for the rest of the evening.  I didn’t mind this at all as I enjoyed sitting next to the fire with that cat on my lap and looking into the flames dreaming about when I would as if by magic become a princess.

I sat there for a while lost in my own world of make believe.  The cat was purring like an engine, and the fire was cracking and spitting with the flames dancing about in it like fire fairies.

Harry suddenly came back into the kitchen.  “Well squirt, do you fancy a bit of adventure, or at least keeping me company for a while”.  I shrugged “I don’t mind”.  “Come on then we’re going down to the pub to get Mum and Dad some beer”.  With that Harry threw my coat at me to put on.  I struggled as fast as I could, the buttons as usual having a mind of there own and doing up all wrong.  Harry tied my red scarf around my neck and opened the front door.  “Ssh be quiet” Harry hissed.  As we were halfway down the front path I stopped.  “Am I allowed?” I asked.  “Well, no, not really” replied Harry sheepishly.  My mouth dropped open.  “But I’ll get into trouble again, and I’ll never be allowed out of the kitchen again”.  I was really worried by now.  Harry told me that I was not to worry, and that he would carry the can.  I thought this a bit odd and wondered what Harry meant.  We set off a crisp trot; my legs seemed to be going as fast as they could but I was still being left behind by Harry.  He stopped and waited for me.  “I forgot you are too short in the leg” he laughed.  I was a little hurt but as I was being taken on an adventure I didn’t mind.  As we walked through the streets I was looking into the houses whose curtains hadn’t be drawn.  Cosy scenes passed in front of my eyes, there was a mother taking her baby out of the bath that was in front of the fire, wrapping him in a towel and sitting him on her knee.  Next there was on old couple each sitting in an armchair either side of a roaring fire.  Both grey haired and both wearing glasses, she with her knitting on her lap and he with a pencil in his mouth thinking hard about his crossword.  I felt like a secret spy looking into all these scenes.

Soon we arrived at the pub.  I was told to stay outside while Harry went in.  He said the he wouldn’t belong and that whilst he was in there he might as well have a “swift one”.  He put me up onto the low wall and told me not to dare move an inch until he got back.

I sat still.  I sat very still.  I didn’t move, not even an inch for what seems an age.  Maybe he had forgotten me. After what seemed and eternity I was starting to feel stiff.  I slid off the wall and stood up.  I slowly went to the end of the wall towards the entrance of the pub.  I could see no one.  There was laughter and music filtering out of the building.  No sign of Harry.  I was just going to push open the door when I heard a loud splash!

I had forgotten that the pub backed onto the river.  There was another splash, this time not quite so loud.  Now, I had always been told not go near the river, but Harry had said he would be responsible for me.  I tiptoed toward the area from which the noises had come.  I was out of the pool of light cast by the pub window and it was quite dark.  This time I remember quite clearly not being afraid.  This time, the dark didn’t seem horrible and menacing.  I went a bit further nearer and nearer the edge of the river.

I stood still.  There was no noise at all.  I turned and looked back expecting to see the lights from the pub.  There was nothing!  I was alone.

Suddenly there was another splash!  I turned back to the water.  Look! Now the water wasn’t black and scary.  It was shining, and softly moving it was a path of silver!

My eyes opened in amazement, where there had been just a moment before dark cold water there was now ripples of silver light dancing over the water.  I leant over and looking right into the water I could see a giant silver ball, shimmering and shining.  I was getting tired of leaning over the edge so I straightened up and in doing so gazed up into the night sky straight into the light of the same silvery shimmering shining ball!  I had never seen anything like this before!  The whole of the river and its banks were bathed in the wonderful beautiful light.  This must be magic I thought; it’s so beautiful.  I stood fascinated, watching the ripples of light leaping and dancing on the water.  Then as I watched I saw…

I know I saw beautiful creatures with gossamer wings and moon tinted hair skipping over the ripples.  I held my breath, surely these were fairies!  I watched entranced while they skimmed and seemed to skate across the water.  They held hands and floated up above the river, turning in circles up and up.  Then they stepped onto a moonbeam and with tinkling laughter rose up toward the huge moon that hung low in the sky.

I had been holding my breath all this time not wanting to scare those wonderful creatures.  Suddenly I was lifted into the air!

“What are you doing near the river, don’t you know realise that if you had fallen in the current would have carried you away down the river and over the weir”.

Harry was shouting at me.

“I saw the moon fairies, they were dancing on the river, they were, they were!  It was like magic!”  I too was hopping up and down absolutely bursting with excitement.  “There’s no such thing as magic” Harry snorted, he was, by this, time hurrying me up to get home.  “The only magic there’ll be is that I won’t get into trouble staying out too long at the pub!  Still it was good to see that new barmaid again”.  This time Harry was smiling.

We did of course get home safe and sound with fortunately no lectures about being out late

I never saw those moon fairies again, but I will always believe I saw them.  Each time I see a full moon low in the sky, I remember that night.

Now here I am, in front of my own fire, with my own dear little Rebecca, the light of my life.  Today we will be looking for the magic; the magic in makes believe and dreams that she too will find.  When it is the next full moon I will take my little daughter to the river to wait for the moon fairies and we will share the “Magic”.

About the author

Koda
63 Up Votes
Lived and worked in Essex all my life, moved to Staffs, what a lovely place to retire to! My husband has also taken early retirement and we are enjoying living in our new home with our little dog. Trying to finish a short novel I have been writing for a number of years. 2017 Finished my book at last! have ppublished it and now am well on the way with the second one!

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