Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The Tumbledown Fairies Visit the Sun
The subjects of Tumbleby were known far and wide for the wicked tricks they played, but there was no mischief more wicked in all of the land than the tricks of the Tumbledown Fairies. It was the fairies, no less, who stole the tarts the Queen of Hearts had made, and it was the fairies too who fed them to the knave though his tummy soon complained.
This wicked trick, the tummy of an unfortunate prince complaining from summer fruits, and a queen without any treats for tea, did nothing to improve their fairy ways; no sooner indeed had the knave been sent up to his bed, his tummy jiggling and wiggling beneath the confines of his shirt, than the band of fairies were skipping off upon some new, wicked quest.
It took them that afternoon right into the garden of the King. All fairies knew that this garden had been forbidden by the sternest of decrees, and none could doubt the severity of the King if he was to find them there; and so it was with the hushest of fairy giggles and the quietest of scampering feet and hands that Flora led the fairies over the high wall and onto the bed that was forbidden.
The pride of this forbidden, royal bed was the sunflower that grew in its sunniest of centres. This flower was watered by royal command, and so great was this royal care, that the golden head upon the thick, green stalk rose high above the dark, brown earth. So tall was it indeed, that the King’s own boots tipped to their tops as he made the royal measures. He read these aloud each day.
“The royal sunflower”, he had announced that day, standing upon the highest step of his royal castle, the royal ruler grasped in his royal hand, “is ten feet tall this day; ten feet and seven inches.”
And yet, though this royal measure was followed by another of the sternest royal prohibitions, the royal voice making it known that this flower was for the royal eye alone, such prohibitions served only to encourage the wicked fairies. Their fairy feet skipped with the merriest of skippings, their petal tunics dancing upon the royal earth, even as the King wrote out the latest of the royal proclamations.
His royal eye was so busy with this important work that it did not turn to the fairy faces beneath the watchful royal window, and the many coloured petals of the fairy tunics might have been no more than leaves upon an autumn breeze; and so the fairies skipped in play, whilst the royal words sounded from the window above: None shall enter, they proclaimed, none at all shall enter except the water-bearer and I.
“And I,” called the naughty Flora as she hid beneath a leaf.
“And I”, called Galant, following close behind.
“And I”, called Schmetter, stepping boldly forth, her brightly coloured tunic fluttering as she danced for all to see.
It was Schmetter no less, still dancing with her naughty play, who was the first to skip unto the forbidden flower. Her strong, knobbled hands reached high up to the thin, white fibres of the stalk, and so quickly did her her fingers climb that her large, brown feet were left chasing the knobbles of her knees. Schmetter climbed lightly in the bright autumn sun and she was soon out of sight among the thick, green leaves.
There Schmetter rested, her merry, round head supported by her long, knobbled fingers, and her thick, green leaf rocking gently as the flower head followed the sun. She was joined soon after by the rest of the sleepy band, their stick arms stiff now from their many, long stretchings, and their tiny stick tummies growing as full as can be of the hungriest of spaces.
“I can dance in the sun”, called Schmetter, when the cranky band stepped unto the leaf, “like a butterfly on the breeze.” She gave an energetic skip to demonstrate.
“I can dance in the sun”, said Flora, not wishing to be outdone, “like a noisy swarm of bees”; she too skipped.
“I can dance in the sun”, said Ferkel, his words much quicker than his thoughts, “ like the knobbles of my knees.”
Fairy knobbles, as any tumbledown knew, did not dance. It was their fairy feet that skipped, their fairy hands that climbed and their merry, fairy lips that giggled; their knobbles were just knobbles. And so the fairies laughed at the silly words; then they frowned at the foolish Ferkel, and Ferkel might indeed have wished himself at home in bed, were it not for Dente and the feast ahead.
Dente, with his long, sharp teeth, had not paused to play the game that day, and as the fairies laughed the hungry Dente continued on his climb, Schmetter and Galant behind. The fairies did not wait to hurry after, climbing to the yellow petals of the flower’s head. There upon the golden disk they joined their friends, skipping and dancing among the many thousand florets, and having the merriest of fairy feasts.
Such merriment did the fairies have, and so sweet was the pollen from the golden sun, that they were soon the noisiest of fairy bands, skipping in the evening air; but the royal ear need not have bothered with the giddy sound, nor the royal head have leaned from the tall royal window, for even as he reached for the royal swat the fairies were asleep once more among the tallest of the tumbledown trees.
©2011 Padraig De Brún