Weed started to whistle. She slowed her pace and made Edith slow hers as well. She whistled some more and then stopped and started to sing. Pretty soon Edith saw a face look out from behind one tree, then another. Faces smudged with dirt, hair lank and stringy. One by one the children came forward in their tattered clothes and bare feet. They smiled and waved at Weed but became cautious when they saw Edith.
“This is my friend Edith. She’s a half and half.” The children stared at her and nodded. “She lives with her grandparents and we have cookies,” she said, happily. The children held out their hands and cookies were placed in their palms. Small noises of delight were heard and smiles were passed from one child to another, along with grunts of happiness.
“There are more tribes like this one,” whispered Weed. “I lived here, with these children.”
“How can we pick anyone to move in with my mother when they all need homes?”
Weed didn’t answer.
“How many are there?”
“Fifteen to seventeen,” said Weed. “It all depends on whether or not everyone comes home each night. Some have jobs and stay away for a day or two and some never come back at all. It’s a good thing that fairies have a very difficult time having children, or there would be more of us.”
Edith didn’t say anything, she just looked at the hungry and dirty children in front of her. “We have to take all of them,” she said.
“We can’t,” said Weed, unhappily. “There are too many.”
“We have to,” said Edith. “We absolutely have to. There is no other choice.”
So fifteen grubby and starving human children followed Edith and Weed back to their house.
“Let me go in first,” said Edith. Weed nodded, raised and lowered her hand and the children sat on the ground and remained silent.
“Ah, Edith,” said Lilly. “Did the children like the cookies?”
“They did,” said Edith. “I have to talk to you about something important.”
“Are you ill? Did a fairy try to hurt you?” she asked, panic in her voice.
“No, I’m fine, thank you, it’s about the other kids.”
“What about them?”
“Um, I brought them all home.”
Lilly blanched and leaned against the table. “All of them? How many is all of them?
Edith shrugged. “I’m not sure, fifteen I guess.”
“You brought fifteen human children to our house?”
“Where are they?”
“Out in front.”
“Quickly, take eight to your mother’s house and have Weed bring the other seven inside. Do it now, quickly, quickly.”
Edith ran outside and told Weed to take the children inside while she went to her mother’s. The she gathered the eight kids and took them to Buttercup’s. Buttercup opened the door and her wings turned blood red. “Hurry, inside,” she said, closing the door as soon as the last child crossed the threshold. Edith explained what happened. She asked Buttercup to please take care of the frightened children until they could figure out what to do. Scott walked into the room and his face was split in two with the biggest smile Edith had ever seen. He held out his arms and she said, “Dad? Look, I brought you a bunch of kids.”
Scott turned to Buttercup and said, “Isn’t she wonderful?”
Edith made sure everyone was in the right place, not quite as afraid as they were in the beginning and then she went home. Weed was in the kitchen, doing dishes. Kids were asleep on the floor and most of them were clean and in regular clothes. Edith started wiping the dishes and Weed smiled at her. “You’re very special, Edith.”
“Oh, don’t say that. I’m not special in any way at all, I’m just doing what needs to be done. I’m doing the right thing and there’s never anything special about that. It’s not good for anyone to think they did anything out of the ordinary. Really, It’s nothing at all. I’d want someone to help me, if I was in trouble, that’s for sure.”
“That’s a very nice thing to say.”
“No, it’s just a thing to say, not nice, just words. You can’t think things are special or nice, things are just the right thing to do.”
Weed chuckled. “Okay.”
Lilly came into the room carrying a sleeping toddler. She placed him on her favorite lounge chair and covered him with a blanket. He looked huge in her slender arms.
“Fairies must be really strong,” whispered Edith, to Weed. “I mean, human kids are so big, compared to them.”
“What’s going to happen Edith,” asked Weed, looking over her friends.
“I don’t know exactly. All I do know is that we have to keep going.