This is a story I wrote for my oldest granddaughter soon after her baby sister, Isabelle was born. I hope that they both grow up with a love and appreciation for faeries.
BRIANA AND THE FAERIES
It was a beautiful October day. The sky was blue and dotted with silvery clouds. The air was cool, crisp and breezy. Briana rushed to the front window and peeked through the curtains. It had been raining for two days and she hadn't been able to go out and play. Excitedly she called out, "Momma, can I go outside today? Come and look! The rain has stopped and it's such a pretty day"
Briana's mother lifted baby Isabelle up from her cradle and walked over to the window. Smiling at her daughter she said, "Yes, Briana, you can go outside for a little while, but you have to put your jacket on. If it starts getting colder, you'll have to come back inside. Your Aunt Rachel is out in the garden, so stay close by where she can keep an eye on you."
Briana skipped happily to her room, put on her favorite purple jacket and ran out the front door. The first place she went was to her swing set. She climbed up onto the slide. The metal was very cold and Briana shivered when she sat down. After a few times of climbing the ladder and going down the slide, she walked over to the swings. Her favorite was the blue one with yellow flowers painted on the seat. It went much higher than the green swing. Her daddy had been teaching her how to "pump" her legs so that the swing could go higher and higher. She soon felt as if she was flying. Up to the treetops the swing took her, until it seemed she could almost touch the sky.
After a while, Briana's legs began to grow tired. The swing had reached its highest point and she was ready to play another game. She slowed the swing down by letting her legs dangle off the front of it. When the swing had dropped low enough, she jumped off into the soft beige sand that covered the ground below.
Briana landed on her feet and steadied herself. She heard a woodpecker tapping softly in the distance. She glanced up into the trees. It was autumn and the leaves were turning from their summer green to vivid shades of orange, red and gold. Suddenly, Briana noticed a quick flicker of light. At first she thought it was a ray of sunshine peaking through the tree branches, but she looked again and saw two flickers of light -- one from each side of the tree.
With a puzzled look on her face, she slowly walked over to the oak tree and laid down on the soft grass beneath. The wind was blowing lightly through the branches making a faint whistling sound. As she watched a squirrel run along a branch, Briana saw another flicker of light, and then another -- but they were all coming from different places in the tree. They looked like fireflys, but that couldn't be. Fireflys are only one color and these light flashes were three different colors.
Summons of the Faerie Queen - Gilbert Williams
Briana glanced toward the bottom of the oak tree and noticed a small hole. It looked as if it were going straight down into the ground. Her grandmother had read a story to her about tiny enchanted caverns that exist on the inside of hollow trees. These caverns were said to be the home of the faeries. Briana loved to hear faerie stories -- tales about small feathery-light creatures ... tiny beings who spent their time fluttering among the flowers and dancing in the trees. Sometimes, in the glow of a full moon, they had been seen standing tiptoe on windowsills sneaking glances through open windows. She had never actually seen a faery, but Briana was always on the lookout for one.
As her curiosity grew, she decided to get a closer look at that hole in the tree. Briana got up onto her hands and knees and crawled over to take a peek. As she peered down inside, she saw dozens of little light flashes flickering on and off. All of the sudden, one of the lights came rushing towards her. Startled, she jumped away and landed on her back. Whoosh ... a flash whizzed out and flew up into the branches. Then came another and another. Five lights soon were buzzing around the tree limbs. Two were purple in color, one yellow and the other two were a brilliant red.
The Gateway - Diana Elizabeth Stanley
Briana closed her eyes tightly, rubbed them with her hands, and slowly opened them back up. Keeping her hands over her eyes, she squinted and peeked out through spaces between her fingers. She thought she was imagining things, but there they were. She was actually seeing five different colored flashing lights dancing in the trees. In an instant, one of the lights stopped buzzing and stayed in place, but it was still floating in the air. The yellow light inched little by little towards her. When it was just a few inches from her face, Briana realized the light was a living being with a tiny little face and body and delicate white wings. "It's a faery!", Briana thought to herself. "It's a real live faery."
The yellow faery signaled to the others to join her. They hovered around Briana's head, looking at her as curiously as she was looking at them. The faery's didn't speak. The only sound that could be heard was the faint beating of their wings. Then, quick as a wink, they all flew to the ground. Briana thought she heard a giggle, but faeries don't giggle ... or do they?
A Midsummer Night - Margaret Tarrant
The faeries began to jump and frolic and move around Briana in a circle. "They're dancing", Briana thought to herself. Around and around they pranced to a beat, but there was no music. As they danced, Briana clapped her hands. She was much too tall to dance with the faeries but their cheerfulness was contagious. It made her so happy and her laughter echoed through the woods behind the house.
Briana had a playhouse that was very close to the tree. If she went in, she thought, the faeries might follow and they could play together. They could have a faery tea party. As she walked into her playhouse, she saw one of her favorite blankets crumpled in the corner. After walking over and picking it up, she spread the blanket out on the floor and sat down to watch the faeries continue their dancing. Within minutes, she felt her eyes starting to get heavy. Her energy was quickly melting away and she was suddenly feeling very tired. She laid back on the blanket and drifted off into a deep, sound sleep.
She dreamed that the faeries carried her off to a faraway enchanted land. Sparkling silver castles sat on high lofty mountains set in the clouds. Unicorns grazed on the green open meadows where colorful flowers were scattered about. Groups of elves in their little red caps were gathered together whispering and water pixies were skipping across a crystal clear pond. It was more beautiful than any story Briana had ever heard and she wanted to stay forever.
Fairyland: Forest Enchantment - Mimi Jobe
Briana decided to explore this faery land while she had the chance, so she began walking toward a small bridge that crossed a winding blue stream. Suddenly a majestic white horse appeared from out of nowhere and galloped gracefully across the meadow. The horse glided as if it had wings and little silver bells braided into its mane tinkled gently. The rider was an exquisite lady with soft porcelain skin and long blonde hair cascading curls down her back. She wore a dress of shimmering green satin draped with a green velvet cape. It was the Faery Queen. She was rarely seen outside of the castle and every living creature she passed stopped and gazed upon her with devotion. Then as quickly as she had appeared, the Faery Queen was gone. Briana was amazed at the sight. It was a dream within a dream. The stories in her faery books would never again sound the same.
"Wake up, Briana, it's time to go inside!"
Briana slowly opened her eyes. She felt dizzy and there was a dark haze in the air. She rubbed her eyes and when her vision cleared, she glanced around the room and realized she was in her playhouse.
Looking out the door, she saw Rachel walking towards her. "Wake up, it's dinnertime," Rachel said.
"Dinner!", Briana exclaimed. "What time is it?"
"It's around 5:30. You've been out here all afternoon."
Briana had been asleep for almost 4 hours, but it felt like it had only been minutes. She quickly looked around to see where the faeries were, but they were nowhere to be found.
"Where are they?" she asked.
"Where are who?" Rachel replied.
"The faeries! Where did the faeries go?"
Rachel giggled and said, "Oh, Briana, you were only dreaming. Come on, let's go inside. It's starting to get cold out here."
Briana rose from the ground and began to follow Rachel to the house. Before closing the door, Briana looked back at the magic oak tree one more time. She didn't see the faeries or the flickering lights. But she knew that she didn't imagine them. She had seen them and she knew that they were still there. Perhaps they had flown back into the tree when they heard Rachel calling. Faeries are very shy, you know.
"Tomorrow," Briana said to herself. "Maybe they'll come back and we can play again tomorrow."
© Laura Carney 2002