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Rose was born believing that she could fly. As soon as she could stand up, she started jumping off of things, flapping her arms and crashing to the ground. When people told her that she couldn’t fly, she just sighed, shook her head, and told them that her wings simply had not grown out yet and that it was only a matter of time. Her parents were distraught and worried that she would break something important, like her arms, legs and NECK. But Rose was unaffected by their pleas and begging. She knew she could fly.
It was impossible to keep Rose’s feet on the ground. She climbed on the furniture and on the windowsills. She climbed on things at the playground as well as the trees in the back yard. She was never afraid of climbing anything, since she knew that her wings would sprout when they were ready.
One evening, after everyone had gone to bed, Rose heard a tapping on her window. She got up, went to the window, smiled and quietly opened it. Two fairies chittered at her until she told them that she couldn’t understand a thing they were saying. The fairies took deep breaths, told her that humans were too slow in everything they did, including talking and listening. Rose agreed and said that there were a lot of other things wrong with humans as well. They couldn’t FLY, for example. The fairies chittered among themselves and then said that they had been watching her since she was born and they could see that she was not going to give up her dream of flying, no matter how many bones she broke. Rose agreed and told the fairies that she was a late bloomer and that her wings were bound to grow in one of these days. the fairies looked at each other and sighed.
“Not gonna happen,” said the fairy on the right.
“Not ever,” said the one on the left. “Humans can’t fly.”
“Well, I can,” said Rose
“No. No, you can’t,” said the fairy on the right. “That’s why you fall.”
“It’s just a matter of time,” said Rose sweetly. “You’ll see.”
“Well”, said the fairy on the left, “we made a pair of wings for you to use, until your wings appear.”
“Yes,” said the fairy on the right, “you may use them until the time comes when you don’t need them any longer.”
The fairies sang out a note and a large black raven landed on the windowsill, holding a pair of pink wings in his beak.
Rose gently took the wings from the bird, thanked her, and then watched her fly away. “These are the most beautiful wings I have ever seen,” whispered Rose, clutching them to her chest. “How can I ever thank you?”
The fairy on the right motioned for Rose to turn around, which she quickly did. Each fairy took one wing and attached it to the back of Rose’s dress. “You look wonderful,” said the fairies in unison, as they flew back to the sill.
“There’s just one thing,” said the fairy on the right.
“What is it? asked Rose, looking into her mirror.
“Well,” said the fairy, “those are walking wings.”
“Walking wings?” asked Rose. “What does that mean?”
“Uh, um, er,” stammered the fairy on the left.
“They are training wings. Like you humans put on your bicycles,” said the fairy. “You can wear them until your own wings grow in, but until then, you have to keep your feet on the ground. The wings you are wearing are for walking only.”
“I see,” said Rose. “So I just wear these to get used to having wings. Once my wings grow in, I can return these to you and then I can fly.”
“Exactly,” sang the fairies together.
“I don’t know how to thank you,” said Rose sincerely. “They are beautiful and I am so very grateful for your help.”
“Our pleasure,” said the fairy on the left. “Just remember to stay on the ground.”
“I will,” said Rose honestly. “I promise to wear them everyday. I’m sure I will know when it’s time to return the wings.”
The fairies waved good bye and took off into the night.
“Human kids aren’t very bright,” said the fairy on the right.
“That’s so true. It takes them forever to grow up.”
“Some never do.”
“We had to help her,” said the fairy on the right.
“Someone had to, that’s for sure,” sighed the fairy on the left.
“It is sad that they have to walk everywhere.”
“So sad,” said the fairy on the left. “So very sad.”
And with that, the wee fairies went about their business, having saved one more human child’s life.
The Chicago Botanic Garden is built of 385 acres of land. There are 23 distinct gardens on 9 islands and 81 acres of water. It is surrounded by an oak woodland, mile-long river and 15 acres of prairie. It’s fabulous.