Fragaria, a little red haired fairy likes to live in gardens, particularly rose gardens, particularly in spring. She especially loves attending the spring ball even though she never had a date to go with; she’s always with the shrinking violet fays, the shy retiring fays.
One day, just at the beginning of winter this all changed, or so she thought. A fine young fairy swain zoomed into her life from the snow, or so it seemed.
“Greetings fair maiden” said the white haired gent, taking off his ice capped hat and bowing courteously to her.
She instantly shied away behind a sleeping lilac bush and hoped she would sink into the soil beneath, but she couldn’t, for the ground was frozen solid, so she had to grin and bare this strange newcomer to the garden.
“Hope I didn’t alarm you, there” said the brazen character.
All Fragaria could do was giggle and skip across the garden behind an ash tree.
“Ah, I see, you’d like a game of chase?” asked the stranger.
He quickly ran after her, this frightened Fragaria and she ran across the garden and hid behind flower pots, sleeping rose bushes, garden gnomes and various other objects in order to keep away from this strange, but handsome stalker, but he still wouldn’t quit. Poor Fragaria tried hard to do away with his advances, she quickly hopped over a large rock but tumbled the wrong way and fell into the half frozen pond and went down with an almighty splash into the icy depths.
The young swain leapt in after her and pulled her out after cutting away some of the algae that tied itself around her legs.
He wrapped her up in his rabbit skin coat and carried her off to a little clearing in the ivy where he lit up a small fire for her to warm herself up and dry.
The whole time she never spoke to him, both of them were looking at each other apologetically, Fragaria with shy sideways glances and slowly sipping hot cups of rosehip tea.
“What kind of fay are you”? He eventually asked.
“I was thinking the same of you, but since you asked first, I’m part rose and strawberry fay, strawberry on my father’s side, I’m Fragaria Fraise”. She proudly announced.
“I’m Hail, I’m a winter fairy” He said, as though she should have known that.
From then onwards their meets were regular and Fragaria became ever more attached to this gentleman, her heart grew light and fluffy with the love that started to grow.
She started planning in her head the ball gown she’ll make for the spring ball, she planned it all completely and she began to quiver with excitement, until the day the snow started to melt.
“I have some bad news for you Fragaria”. Hail reluctantly said.
“In the next few days I’ll have to leave this place and I am not sure when I’ll return, I hope you understand?” said Hail, with all sincerity.
Fragaria immediately felt shattered into a million pieces, she found someone to go to the spring ball with, yet now he has to leave and the spring ball is only a month away she thought.
“I’ll come and fetch you late this afternoon; the sun will be in the perfect spot to start melting those long icicles I told you about and I don’t want you to miss a thing”. He said, and he skipped away merrily, unknowing of what he had done to poor Fragaria.
Fragaria ran home to her mother in tears.
“What’s the matter with you dear child?” said Fragaria’s mother.
“Hail said he is leaving me, now I won’t have anyone to go to the ball with” she wailed.
“Hail? You never mentioned Hai… oh no!” stopped her mother suddenly, she knew what a name like Hail meant; she was a fairy of the world, she knew winter fairies came and went like rain, well, during the winter that is and sometimes late spring snow showers bring them back and hail storms in random times of the year, generally a winter fairy was bad news to the likes of other fairy’s in fact all seasonal fairies were:
“I can’t bare the pain mother; I can’t bare it I tell you”, whimpered Fragaria.
“There, there, I know what we can do if you want this pain to stop and if you’re sure he won’t come back to you” said Fragaria’s mother.
“What? What is it? I’ll do anything to stop this hurt”. Fragaria begged.
“Luckily I noticed one in full bloom this morning, where the snow melted a few days ago because it gets a lot of sunlight there by the lawn, well anyway there I found it, a DAFFODIL, all you have to do is go and crawl right in and it will sense your pain and it will set things to rights!” said Fragaria’s mother in excitement.
Fragaria looked up at her mother and without a word dashed tearfully through the garden to where her mother had directed her and climbed up into the daffodil and cried herself to sleep.
Fragaria had the most peculiar dream; she dreamt the flower sprayed perfume at her and told her that to put all her woes behind her and that friendship is immortal.
When she woke up, she felt no more pain, but had sunny memories of Hail and her sharing fun in the snow like happy children.
She went home and had a lovely supper, of nettle soup, followed by spiced beetroot salad, when suddenly there was a knock on the door of their little tree house, Fragaria’s mother opened the door to find a crestfallen Hail standing there.
“Are you Hail?” asked Fragaria’s mother.
“Yes Mrs Fraise, do you know where she is? I was due to meet with her late this afternoon to look at some icicles melting in the sundown and I noticed a fox going under the garden shed and I got worried for her because she didn’t turn up”. He said dolefully.
“Don’t worry about a thing, Fragaria is here with us, eating a lovely beetroot salad, but I thought you should know, she’s been to the daffodil about you.” said Mrs Fraise, warningly.
“Oh no, she thought… oh dear no, then I’ll go there myself presently” he said dejectedly.
Mrs Fraise just stood and nodded.
“That is the best you can do, she’ll never leave the gardens, you know that, it’s in our blood, it’s in all our blood to stay with who we belong, and it’s only fair”. She said.
Hail agreed and went to the daffodil, where he too had memories of friendship and child games in the snow with Fragaria, and every winter there on in, they met up and played in the snow together, never ever falling in love with each other again… but that was for the best, for they both knew they loved their birth right too much to lose and each found love in their own way eventually.
© Tina Cousins 2013
This story was influenced by the poem I wrote earlier called “The magic daffodil”, it is also semi-influenced by a novel I read last month called “The Snow Child” By Eowyn Ivey.
This idea happened completely at random. I wrote a poem, the poem sounded like a story and I sat back all day thinking, wow, this needs to become a short story and there it is, right up there, winking at you, my story.
I feel the story was slap dashed, I don’t think it’s well written. I hoped for it to come across like an old fairy tale, but I am unsure if my voice/style is any good. But anyway, critics are most welcomed to comment.
I am here to hone my skills, not flaunt them… well, partly so.