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Edith…Nineteen…final chapter

Weed was walking and shuffling papers in her hands.  She stopped by the bunny pen and dropped a carrot, lettuce and some kibble onto the grass.  She stepped over the wire and sat down.  “How have you been, Bunner?”  The rabbit jumped into her lap and promptly fell asleep. “Humm,” she said to herself.  “Now I can’t move until she wakes up.”

“I can move her for you,” said Edith, walking up behind her.  “She won’t even know it.  We can put her blankets in the sun and she’ll be happy.  I just fed the wolves and they seem happy to be here.  Moss has taken a liking to Lightening and they hang out together, go on long walks and tell each other secrets, at least that’s what he said.”

“I’m happy for them,” said Weed.  “Two more kids went to live with their real parents yesterday.”

“Do you think Moonbeam will stay with hers?”

“It’s iffy.  She really didn’t want to leave but she’s older and thought she should give them a chance.”

“She can always come back, unless she stays there too long.  Then, well…it will be too late to return.  And the worry about not having children in Fairy, once we all grow up, well your idea of bring orphans and abused children to Fairy was a brilliant idea.”

“Thank you,” said Weed, blushing.  “Most of the kids I’ve spoken to don’t even want to look for their parents.  They’re happy here.  They don’t want to leave.”

“I’m staying, that’s for sure,” said Edith.

“Edith,” called Lilly.  “The Queen wants you to round up the children and go to the Palace for Story Hour.  She said not to be late.”

“We better get everyone together,” said Weed.  “I hope the snacks are as good as last time,” she giggled.

Edith stared at her friend.  “Are you going to leave?” she asked.

“I’m not,” answered Weed.  “We have a lot of work to do here and besides, some one has to take care of you.”

“Hey, I’m older than you by two months,” said Edith firmly.

“Yeah, but I’m smarter than you are,” snickered Weed.

The girls started laughing, because that’s what happy kids do…they tell the truth, trust each other and they laugh together.

 

Epilogue

The Queen became known as Good Queen Ivy.  She put an end to swapping children with humans and she decreed that anyone who didn’t want to wear shoes at court could stop wearing them.  She swapped her jeweled crown for one made of flowers and she stated that she would kill as few beings as possible.  She had dinner parties for anyone who wished to attend and Story Hour was became one of her favorite things.  She passed Lilly’s laws and homes were built for human children who were offered art, dancing and flying lessons, at the Palace.  The flying lessons were quickly dropped, however, due to an astounding and utter lack of success.

Steven begged Lilly to love him again but while she said that she still cared for him, she admitted to being far too happy to ever tie herself to anyone again.  In an effort to win her favor he began making kites that would hold a human child in the air for quiet some time. He told Lilly that by using his kites, the children wouldn’t feel bad about their inability to get off the ground.

Edith and Weed continued to live with Lilly but could often be found at Buttercup’s.  Scott was delighted to have two daughters and everyone agreed that for a human male, who was never stolen, he was okay.

Weed and Edith reorganized the Palace library.  Lilly took the children shopping in the human world, so they could buy books they thought everyone would enjoy.  They also brought back peanut butter, jelly, boxes of cereal and cream cheese.

In the beginning, attempts were made on the Queen’s life, so she kept Lightening and Thunder, Edith’s wolves, by her side, until things calmed down.  Soon the fairies decided that perhaps not killing everyone was a good idea, so the death count dropped dramatically. They also thought that it might be okay to open their doors and let human children in. Few human children accepted their offers, preferring to stay together, but there were two or three who chose to have a family of their own.

The Queen could often be found dancing in the fields, riding her fairy horse and generally having a good time.  She strongly suggested that others follow her lead and just enjoy their lives.  Because Ivy knew what it was like to live by the rules and she knew what it was like to be free and that’s what she wanted for all of Fairy…freedom.  Because with freedom, came happiness and the flowers grew bigger and the rivers sang louder and everything, everywhere. hummed with joy.

Transformation is possible, if we simply change our thoughts/beliefs/traditions and refuse to let other have power over us.

 

Edith…Eighteen

“Wolves?  In the yard?” hissed Steven.  “Are you absolutely mad?”

“Actually, Edith was right, they are sweet and the rabbit likes them.”

The rabbit likes them?” he whispered loudly.  “Can you hear what you’re saying, Lilly?”

“Why do you come over here, Steven?  I think you should just go on your merry way.  You don’t add anything to our lives, you just find fault and want to share your fear and anxiety with us. You’re a status quo fairy in an anti-status quo home.  That’s not something that will ever work, so goodby Steven, try not to step on your wings on the way out.”

“I NEVER!” he sputtered.

“No, you never…never did anything but follow the rules.  We make rules here, we don’t follow the ones made by others.”

“Did the Queen really come for dinner?” he asked, biting his lower lip, his wings folded neatly behind his back.

“No.  The Queen did not come for dinner, my sister did.”

“You’re a difficult woman, Lilly.”

“I’m not.  I’m someone you simply cant understand.”

“Are you working in the Palace now?”

“I am.”

“For the children?”

“Yes.”

“You’re as beautiful as ever you know,”  he sighed, his eyes softening. “I wish I was good enough for you,” he muttered, as he turned to go.

“Steven,” said Lilly.  “I’m sorry we didn’t work out.”

“Never as sorry as I am, beloved.  Never as sorry as that.”

“What’s with Steven?” asked Edith, bumping into Lilly.  “He looks really sad.”

“Sometimes we make our own sadness, Love.  But nothing is forever and things can change at any time.”

“Thank you for getting the lists of names.  Weed and I are matching the children to their parents and asking if they would like to see them or meet them.  Most don’t know what to do because they’ve never really known anything but Fairy and now that they are safe and happy, they don’t want to leave.”

“Then they can stay.”

“At least they have a choice, even if it’s a lopsided one.”

“Yes, Love.  At least they have that.”

Edith…Seventeen

“I’ll get it,” cried Edith, running toward the door.  She threw it open, still laughing at something Weed said at breakfast.  Four of the Queen’s guard stood in front of her.  “Yes?” she said.

“We are here for Lilly Moonsong.  She is to come with us, by order of the Queen.”

“Thanks for stopping by but we have company so now’s not a good time,” said Edith, slamming the door.

“Who was that?” asked Lilly.

“Some guards.  They wanted you to go see the Queen but I told them you were busy.”

Dead silence filled the room.  The pounding on the front door began again, only louder. Lilly grabbed her sparkly shawl from its peg and said, “I’ll be back before dinner.  Edith and Weed, you’re in charge and don’t forget to put the rabbit outside.  She likes to eat the grass and sit in the sun.  In case I’m delayed, Weed, take everyone to safety, do you understand?”

Weed nodded.

“I’m coming with you,” said Edith, pulling a sweater over her head.

“No, you are not,” said Lilly, gently. “Thank you but everything will be fine.”

“I want to come along.”

“You can’t.  I have to do this by myself.  Now stay here and make sure everything runs smoothly while I’m gone.”

“If you aren’t back before dinner I’m coming to look for you.”

Lilly ran her hand down Edith’s cheek.  “I’ll be here.  Promise.”  Then she opened the door and said, “Colin?  You came to get me?”

“I’m in the guard now Lilly,” he whispered.   “It was an order.”

“I’ve seen you naked,” she grinned.

“Shhhh,” he whispered, his face beet red.  “We were kids and you were naked too.  That’s how we went swimming, remember.”

“Oh, I remember,” she chuckled.  “Still I never thought you would come here…not like this. And following orders isn’t the right thing to do, Colin.  You have to think for yourself.  You used to be able to do that.”

“I’m sorry.  I really am, but it’s better that it’s me.  I can at least protect you from them,” he said, looking over his shoulder.

“Then lead the way.”

Lilly arrived at the palace and was led into the Great Hall.  The Queen was seated on her throne, her crown perched on top of her head.

“Your Majesty,” said Lilly. nodding toward her.

“Leave us,” said the Queen, staring at the guards.  “I do not wish to be disturbed.”

The guards bowed, turned and marched out of the room.  The huge doors shut LOUDLY and then there was nothing but stillness and dust motes floating through the air in the rays of the sun.

“I could kill you right here, right now, and no one would fault me.”

“Go ahead,” said Lilly.

“Even mother would understand.”

“You’ve wanted to kill me since I was born, now’s your chance.”

“Why?  Why do you constantly test me?”

“I’ve never tested you, Ivy, not once.  I’ve just been my own person.”

“I told you not to call me that.  I’m your Queen.”

“I know,” said Lilly.

“What am I supposed to do with you?  You do everything wrong.  You break every rule.  I can’t ignore what you’re doing just because of who you are.  You are putting me in a terrible position,” she said, standing up.

“I’m sorry, Ivy,” sighed Lilly, softly.  “I can’t ignore the things we are doing any longer.  Edith has made me see how cruel we are and I can’t look away.  As Queen, it’s up to you to make Fairy a fair and peaceful place, for all who live here, not just for some.  We steal children, Ivy.  We take them from their rightful parents and give them a child they can never understand or love. We starve and abuse the children we take.  It’s wrong and it’s time to do something about it. Let me start a home for the human children.”

“A home?  For human children?” said the Queen, horrified.”

“Yes.  A home where they can live and be healthy.  And there’s one other thing.”

“What is it,” groaned Ivy.  “Just say it and get it over with.”

“We want the human children, those who are interested,  to be able to find their real parents.”

“Absolutely not,” said the Queen, starting to pace.  “That is forbidden.  Besides, no one wouldn’t believe that their original child was stolen by fairies.”

“You, my dear sister, are the Queen.  Nothing is forbidden if you say that it isn’t.”

“You NEVER change,” she said, stamping her foot, then going back to her throne.  She flopped into the chair and stuck out her legs.  “It’s not easy being Queen, you know.”

“I know,” said Lilly.  “At least I think I do.”

“I can never have any fun, I always have to be dressed and I can’t slouch.”

“Sounds terrible.”

“And you NEVER come to see me.”

“I thought that’s the way you wanted things to be.”

“Well, you were wrong,” she said, stamping both feet.  “I don’t want to kill people and be mean.  I wish you had been the first born and then I could have had your life.”

“I didn’t ask to be born second and you can have any life you like.”

“You’re asking me to fly in the face of tradition.  Tradition holds societies together, don’t you know that?”

“Traditions can be hateful and cruel, Ivy.  Misguided and evil, made up of lies.  Traditions put power into the hands of the few who use that power over the many.  It’s time to make new traditions.  Traditions that are kind and include everyone.  We have to stop swapping children with humans.  It’s wrong.  I want the records of the human parents.  I want to give the children a chance to go home.”

“They won’t go for it,” sighed the Queen.  Human children are cheap labor.  Everything is about economics, Lilly.  You should know that by now.  Every society holds certain groups back, stops them from being what they can be, from fulling their promise. Those who are used and abused for nefarious purposes.  Humans are worse than we are when it comes to hate and discrimination but what does it matter.   They’ll burn me, Lilly.  They will.”

“Ivy, listen to me.  You could be known as the Enlightened Queen.  The Queen who stood up to injustice.  You could be the one to make Fairy a better place.”

“I don’t know,” said the Queen, taking off her crown.  “This thing drives me crazy.  I hate wearing things on my head, other than flowers, of course, and I can only do that when I’m alone.  And, Lilly, I don’t know how I would go about making the changes you’re asking for.”

“I can help you.”

“How?” asked the Queen. “How could you help me at all?

“Put me on your staff.  Put me in charge of the the Department of Human Children. I can find places for them to live and I can write laws, as to how they are to be treated.  You won’t have to do anything but okay and enact the things I write.”

“What about Edith?”

“What about her?”

“She’s my niece, you know.”

“Yes, I know.”

“But she doesn’t know that, does she!”

“She does not.”

“I want her to know who I am and I want her to visit me.  If you agree to my terms, then you can have what you want.”

“Done!” said Lilly, running to throw her arms around her sister and pinch her ear.”

“I hate it when you do that,” said the Queen, smiling.  “It was foretold that someone would change the way we lived.  I didn’t know it would be Edith.”

“She’s quite wonderful, you know.”

The Queen smiled.  “I could see that.  And keep as many kids with you as you like.  Tell Steven to lighten up and for heaven’s sake, wear shoes next time you come to Court.”

“I’ll try to remember.  Ivy…”

“Yes?”

“Come for dinner next week.  You can meet the children.”

“I could probably sneak out for a bit,” she said, her eyes suddenly glittering with excitement.

“Do it,” whispered Lilly.  “You don’t have to wear shoes when you come to my house.”

“Oh, don’t tease me, please.  I long to go barefoot.”

“You can be any kind of Queen you want to be, Ivy. If you don’t want to wear shoes, you don’t have to wear them.  It’s all up to you.”

“Human children are rather unattractive. You have to admit that, Lilly  They’re so heavy, thick and solid.  Not a single one can fly.”

“Stop it,” laughed Lilly.  “I know you don’t mean that.”

Ivy grinned at her.

“Why don’t you stop killing people.”

“A lot of fairies won’t like that.  We need some kind of order, if we are to have order. but perhaps I can bring them around, if I do is slowly.”

“I miss you,” said Lilly.

“I’m tired,”  said Ivy, “and I miss you too but this job seems to take up all my time. And, there’s the whole King thing.”

“You can change that as well.  You’re in charge.”

“I’ll do what I can and I’ll be at your house, Tuesday night, as soon as the sun dips behind the horizon.”

“Remember, no shoes.”

***

“You’re back early,” said Edith, happily.  “I guess that means everything went well and you’re not dead, so that’s good.”

“Everything went very well and no, I’m not dead, Love.  You can tell that I’m not dead because I’m here talking to you,” she laughed.

“We named the bunny, Bunner.  We were going to call her Wolf but there are already two wolves in the back yard, so…”

“What?  Wolves, in the yard?” said Lilly, running to the window.

“I wrote them into the yard, just like I wrote them as friends when I lived with the humans.  They’re really sweet, Lilly, you’ll love them.”

“I knew she’d be okay with them,” said Edith, happily.

“You see things a lot differently than I do,” sighed Weed.

“EDITH! there are huge wolves in the back yard!” shouted Lilly.

“See, she likes them” said Edith, smiling.  “Told you she would.”

 

Edith…Fifteen

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?”

Edith nodded.

“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.”

“Thank you.”

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.

 

Edith…Fourteen

“I heard,” said Steven, evenly, “that a human child has moved into your tree.  Everyone is talking about it.”

“Everyone?” asked Lilly.  “You would think that everyone would have something better to do than talk about us.”

“Is it true?”

“It is.  As a matter of fact, Three was here last night as well.”

“Are you trying to get us all killed?” he growled, his wings ridged with anger and fear.

“No, Steven,” said Lilly, looking into his eyes.  “I’m trying to do the right thing.  I’m trying to make Fairy a nicer and more inclusive place, a place that I’ll be proud to live in, instead of ashamed.”

“We are going to die, you know that, don’t you?”

Lilly shrugged.  “I don’t think so, Steven.  I think we’re going to set a good example.”

“Lilly,” shouted Edith, jumping down the stairs, “can Weed and I bake cookies?”

“I don’t see why not,” said Lilly, smiling.

“Oh, hi Steven,” said Edith, coming to a halt.  “This is Weed.  She lives here now.  Weed this is Steven, my grandfather.  He was raised by humans, like I was.”

“Very nice to meet you, Weed,” said Steven, bowing.

Weed curtsied and turned scarlet.  “Sir,” she said.

“I think you can call him Steven,” said Edith.  “He’s nice and won’t mind at all.”

Lilly choked back a laugh and started getting the cookie sheets out of the cabinet.  “We used different ingredients, Edith, so you may have to substitute.”

“We’ll be fine, right Weed?” she said, looking at her friend.  “We’re going to make cookies for the other human kids because their life is terrible.   Weed and I are going to change that and the best way to start is with treats.  Weed knows where some of the kids hide. Don’t you think it’s horrible that children have to hide?  I do.”

Weed climbed onto a stool and started mixing things together.

“She said she’s made food before.  She worked for fairies, so she knows what she’s doing.  She’s going to teach me.  Maybe when she’s not afraid of you guys, she’ll talk to you.  She’s been treated very badly and it takes time to stop being terrified.”

Steven sighed loudly and ran his fingers through his hair.  His wings began to move in a start and stutter fashion which, like biting his bottom lip, meant that he was nervous.  Lilly laughed out loud.  “Go, Steven.  Tell everyone you don’t know us any longer.  Be safe, think of yourself, just as you always have.”

“That’s not fair and you know it,” he said, angrily.  “I worry about all of you.”

“Don’t worry about us Steven,” said Lilly, putting her arms around both girls.  “We’re fine.  As a matter of fact, we’re more than fine.  We’re happy.  Do you know what happy feels like, Steven?”

Buttercup walked into the cozy kitchen holding a basket.  She was dressed in a sheer sundress, the color of new celery and the flowers in her hair matched perfectly.  “Father, Mother,” she said, nodding to each of them.  “I have a gift for you, Edith.”

“What is it?” she asked, pulling Weed off the stool, so she could see the present as well.

The girls dropped to the floor and sat next to the basket.  The blanket inside was moving.

Edith and Weed looked at each other and nodded.  Then they slowly lifted a corner of the soft, fluffy blanket and a baby bunny started up at them.

Edith threw herself at Buttercup.  “Thank you so much.  Weed and I will take excellent care of the rabbit, I promise.”

Weed nodded and ran her hand over the bunny’s ears.

“I know it’s not a cat, but bunnies are lovely as well,” said Buttercup, watching the girls gently touch the tiny rabbit.

“She’s wonderful,” said Edith.

“So, this is your new friend,” said Buttercup.

“Oh, we aren’t friends,” said Edith, looking at Weed.  “We’re sisters.  We decided that last night.”

Weed cowered a bit and Edith touched her arm.  “She’s afraid of being mistreated because a lot of fairies are mean but I told her that we’re all nice, so she doesn’t have to worry.”

“A pleasure to meet you Weed.  That’s a nice name, by the way.  It means you’re strong and you can survive anything.”

“See,” said Edith.  “I told you that Weed was a great name.”

“Girls,” said Lilly, “your cookies are calling.”

“Lilly, will you watch the bunny until we’re finished baking?”

“Of course,” she muttered.  “Buttercup, I hope you brought a bed for the bunny.”

“I did,” she said, “although she may rather stay in the yard during the day.  Scott is making a pen for her right now, so she can enjoy the sunshine.  Is Weed living here?”

“She is,” said Lilly.

Steven huffed and walked out the door.

“Ah,” said Buttercup, knowingly, watching him go.”

“The girls are making cookies for the human children who are hiding from the evil fairies. We are the evil fairies, in case you weren’t aware of that,” said Lilly.  “We’ve done nothing to help those children.  It doesn’t matter than we haven’t personally abused them.  Not stopping others from hurting them is just as bad.”

“Weed,” said Buttercup.  “If you know someone who would like a home, please bring her or him to our house.  We live two trees down that way,” she said, pointing to her right.  The tree with the bird bath in front.”

Weed looked at Edith.  “She means it,” said Edith.  “She’s my mother.  Maybe we can bring someone over to her tonight.”

“Thank you,” whispered Weed.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Thanks mom,” said Edith, smiling.

Once the cookies were done, the Edith and Weed packed them into the basked the bunny had been in and headed to the woods.  The bunny was in her pen, nibbling on grass and a small carrot.  “I promise you will have a name by bedtime,” she said.  “Be good and we’ll see you later.”

As they walked, Weed pointed out certain things to Edith.  She explained what life was like for the human children who had been stolen and where it was safe to swim and hide.

“Do you want to find your real parents?” asked Edith.

“I have no idea who they are,” said Weed.  “I was taken when I was two days old.  I wouldn’t know where to look, or who to look for.”

“There has to be a way to find them, so if you want to look for them, I’ll help you.  I bet they keep records somewhere.”

“Why would my human parents want me?” asked Weed, matter-of-factly.

“Why wouldn’t they want you?   You’re fabulous,” said Edith.  “Besides, they deserve to have the chance to love their real daughter.”

“Are humans as bad as they say they are?”

“Some of them are but some of everyone seems to be bad, don’t you think?”

“Maybe.”

“Humans aren’t nice but that doesn’t mean that your parents won’t be.”

Weed nodded and said, “These cookies will be gone in two seconds, you know that, don’t you?”

 

 

 

 

Edith…Thirteen

Edith looked out of her bedroom window.  Their house was in the trunk of a very large tree and she loved it.  It was multilevel and there were bridges, stairs and ropes all the way up to the top.  Her room was somewhere in the middle and contained a soft bed with pale yellow linens, a table made out of twigs and logs and a cuddly chair.  She looked down and saw a girl standing in the trees across from their front door.  Edith waved and said.  “I’ll be right down,”

She ran outside and walked over to the girl.  “My name is Edith, or Bluebell, I answer to both of them, so you can call me either one.”

“My name is Weed,” said the small girl, who immediately looked down.

“Wow!,” said Edith.

“I know, it’s the worst and lowest name there is around here.  It means unwanted, a blight, to be pulled up and thrown away,” said the girl softly.

“Are you kidding?” said Edith.  “It doesn’t mean that at all!  It means tenacious, able to survive anywhere, under any conditions, it means to take over everywhere you are, to grow and grow and spread and be the best and strongest thing in the garden!  Weed is a fabulous name, I wish my name was Weed.”

The girl stared at her, her eyes huge.  “That’s what you think?”

“That’s what I know,” said Edith.  “Weed is a name to be proud of.”

The girl started weeping softly.  “I’m human, you know.”

“I’m half and half,” said Edith, putting her arm around Weed.  “Where do you live?”

“Where do I live?”

“Yes, where do you live?”

“I’m human, I live where I can.”

“Don’t you have a home?  People who care about you?” asked Edith, in amazement.

“I’m human, so no, I don’t have any of those things,” sighed Weed.  “Human kids live where they can.  If we are working for someone, we get fed and maybe a mat to sleep upon until our job is done, then we’re on our own.”

“That’s unacceptable,” said Edith, standing up.  “Wait here,” she said.  “Do not move.”

Edith went into the kitchen and pulled on Lilly’s pale blue dress.  “Lilly there’s a girl outside who doesn’t have anywhere to live and she doesn’t really have regular meals and I want to know if she can live with us.”

Lilly bowed her head.  “She’s human, isn’t she,” she sighed.

“She is, how did you know?”

“That’s the way human children live in Fairy, Edith,” muttered Lilly.

“It’s wrong.”

“I know.”

“Now we can do something about it.  She can stay in my room and she won’t have to be alone and hungry any longer.”

“We can’t save everyone.”

“Maybe not but we can save her.”

“Bring her in.”

Edith skipped all the way back to Weed.  She grabbed her hand and dragged her into the kitchen.

“This is Weed, isn’t that a great name?” said Edith excitedly.  “Strong and tough.  Weed this is my grandmother, Lilly.”

“Hello Weed,” said Lilly, staring down at the terrified child.

Weed curtsied and refused to look up.

“Edith wanted to know if you could live with us.  In her room actually.”

Weed snuck a sideways glance at Edith and looked horrified.

“It’s not a very big room but there’s enough space for both of us,” said Edith, matter-of-factly.  We can fit another bed in there and that’s all we really need.”

Weed started shaking.

Lilly touched Weed’s shoulder.  “It’s okay Weed.  You’re welcome here.  Please be at peace and enjoy your new life.”  Lilly sent a calming spell through Weed and she stopped trembling.

“Come on,” said Edith, pulling on Weed’s arm.  I’ll show you where you’re going to stay.  THANKS LILLY,” she shouted, from the stairway.

“You’re welcome, Edith,” whispered Lilly, grinning.  “Life is never going to be the same around here and isn’t that wonderful,” she snickered.  “We might need a bigger tree.”

 

Edith…Twelve

“Do you have a few moments?” asked Buttercup.

“Yes.  I think I’ve seen all the sparkly things, so they won’t be as distracting.”

They sat on an overturned log and watched the dancers float across the floor.

“I’ll never be able to do that,” said Edith.  “I’m way too big and heavy.  Being half human makes a difference.”

“Your father and I are going to move back to Fairy and we were hoping that you would visit often and get to know us better.”

“I want to stay with Lilly.”

“I know that.  We would just like it if you would come over now and then.”

“Okay,” said Edith.  “Will you help me find the real Edith?”

“What will we do when we find her?” asked Buttercup.

“Take her home and admit what was done,” said Edith.

“Do you think her parents will believe that she was stolen by fairies?”

“Probably not but I have to do it anyway.”

“What if Edith doesn’t want to go home?”

“She might not but I think she should have the choice.  She doesn’t even know where to look for her real parents.  She doesn’t know who she is.”

“I’ll help you,” said Buttercup.

“Thank you.”

“We’re not getting a cat, you know.  Steven said fairies are like birds to them, so it’s a bad idea.”

“Indeed,” said Buttercup shivering a bit.

“Did you know that Sprites were discriminated against?”

“Yes.”

“Did you have any friends who were Sprites?”

“I did.  I mean I do,” said Buttercup, smiling.  “Her name is Radish because she has red hair.  She’s right over there,” she added, nodding to the Sprite who seemed to be yelling at Three. One hand on her hip, the other pointing to the punchbowl.”

“Three just pulled her sister out of the bowl,” said Edith.  “Three is my friend.”

“Buttercup waved her hand in the air and Radish looked toward her and waved back.  She said a few more things to Three and then flew toward them.

“So this is Bluebell,” she said, staring at her.  “Hmmm, she’s cute for a part human but can she fly?”

“No, I cannot fly,” said Edith, defensively, but I bet you can’t do some of the things that I can do either.”

“I like her,” said Radish, grinning.  “I like her a lot.”

Buttercup laughed.  “She’s friends with Three, you know.”

“She was supposed to be watching her sister but instead…”

“She was talking to me,” said Edith, “so I’m as much to blame as she is.”

Radish landed on Buttercup’s palm. “How did you ever produce a kid this smart?”

“Luck, I guess,” laughed Buttercup.

“Fairy isn’t that different from the human world, you know,” said Edith.  “You’re meaner but you tease each other and have friends.  You discriminate and are prejudice, but that’s part of the meanness, I guess.  You’re prettier, that’s for sure, and your clothes are beyond beautiful and you can fly and light things up.  Humans are dark by comparison.  Not being able to lie is certainly different.  I don’t know if humans ever tell the truth.  That could be because they don’t know what the truth is, of course.  You have a government and you can kill the people you want to kill, so that’s the same.  It’s lovely here, but the human world can be lovely in some places.  We can have cats and that’s a big plus.  But basically, they are the same.  I haven’t been here long enough to know if that’s true, however, but that’s my best guess at the moment.”

Buttercup and Radish stared at her.  “She’s right,” said Buttercup.

“I know,” sighed Radish.  “But right now I have to stop Bean from diving into the punchbowl again.”

“I like her,” said Edith.  “That makes me like you better as well.  You went against the rules by having her as a friend.  I wish you would have cared enough about me to do the same thing.”

Edith…Eleven

“Fairies really like sparkly stuff, don’t they,” said Edith, looking around the gigantic outdoor gala.”

Fairy lights were everywhere.  Strips of gossamer were hanging from polls and glitter was sparkling on tables, trees and the lawn.  The entire world seemed to have been turned into a giant snow globe.  Strange but compelling music was coming from the trees and birds were singing in harmony.

“It’s all so beautiful,” said Edith, slowly, trying to look at everything at once.

“I never get tired of seeing it,” sighed Lilly.  “Never.  You know beauty is what makes life worthwhile.  It’s like tiny rays of sunshine that nudge themselves into otherwise ordinary days.”

“Do you really have ordinary days in Fairy?  It doesn’t seem like it.”

Lilly laughed.  “Of course we do, Love.”

Buttercup walked toward them, a smile on her lips.  “Edith, I’m happy to see you.  Can we talk for a moment?”

“I don’t think I could concentrate right now.  There’s so much to  look at and so many sparkles,” said Edith, turning in circles.

“Maybe later then,” said Buttercup.

“Okay,” mumbled Edith, smiling at something that looked like a gigantic lightening bug.

“That’s a tiny Sprite,” whispered Lilly.  “Hold out your hand and be still.”

The sprite flew around Edith’s outstretched hand and then landed.  She was dressed in a scrap of gauze the color of a pink rose bud.  Her wings stopped moving and she stared at Edith.

“Hi,” said Edith.

“Hello, new child.”

“I’m almost eleven, so I’m no longer new but things might be different here, I’m not sure.”

“My name is Three,” said the Sprite.  “And your name is Bluebell.”

“It is but I only found out about that two days ago.  I was raised by humans and they called me Edith.”

“So are you Bluebell Edith?”

“I’m not sure.”

“It was nice meeting you,” said Three.  “I think my little sister just fell into a punchbowl so I must be off.”

“If you need help getting her out, let me know,” said Edith.

“Excuse me?”

“I said, if you need help getting your sister out of the punchbowl, just tell me and I’ll help you.”

Three looked at Lilly, who smiled at her.

“Thank you Bluebell Edith,” she said softly.  “You are very kind.”

“I haven’t actually done anything.”

Three flew away.

“I like her.  Maybe we can be friends.”

Lilly looked at her and said, “Maybe you can be.”

“You both look beautiful,” said Steven grandly, his arms held out to encompass them.  “My lovely ex and my lovely granddaughter.”

“You look nice too,” said Edith, blushing.  “I’ll never be as beautiful as the real fairies but I’m okay with that and I think I just made a friend.”

“You are as beautiful as anyone here,” said Steven, in a way that made Edith feel as if the subject was settled and closed.  “And I’m happy to hear that you have a new friend.”

“Her friend’s name is Three,” said Lilly, staring at him.

“Three?”  he asked, frowning.  “You mean Three, the Sprite?”

“Oh, you know her?” asked Edith excitedly.  “Her sister fell into one of the punch bowls.”

“He knows her,” said Lilly

“Yes, well, but she’s a Sprite,” he whispered.

“I know,” said Edith, looking at him.

“Sprites usually work for fairies, they aren’t really friends,” he said, nodding a bit.

“Well, it’s a good thing I’m half human then because humans can be friends with Sprites and I’m proof of that.  Humans can be friends with anyone, or anything.  I don’t have to be prejudice or discriminatory, which are both very bad ways to be.  Lilly said we can get a cat.”

“She did?” said Steven, his eyes wide.

“Yes, she did.”

“How very…interesting.”

“What do you mean?” asked Edith.  “Lilly said she liked cats.”

“Oh, she does, she does.  It’s just that cats like to….”

“Cats like to catch and play with fairies, Love,” said Lilly.  “We seem like birds to them, so we have to be very careful when they are near.”

“We probably shouldn’t get one then,” said Edith, horrified.

“Probably not,” said Steven, biting his bottom lip.

“He does that when he’s nervous,” said Lilly softly.  “He’s biting his lip because he wants you to be happy but he’s afraid to have a cat live with us.”

“I bet he learned to bite his lip from his human parents.  Humans do a lot of strange things like that.”

“She’s right,” sighed Steven.  “She’s absolutely right.  Humans do a lot of strange things like that.”

Edith nodded.  “They really are.”

 

 

 

 

Edith…Ten

“Maybe I can’t fly because I’m too big.  You guys are all slight and wispy,” said Edith.

“Maybe, but I don’t think that’s it,” said Lilly, kicking her feet as they sat on a branch in the old Oak tree.  “I think you can either fly or your can’t.”

“I guess.”

“You did well at Court today.  I mean we’re alive, so you must have done something right.”

“Thanks,” said Edith. “The Queen’s really nice.”

“I don’t think she knows what a refrigerator is,” snickered Lilly.  “She’s probably never been in a kitchen.”

Edith gasped.  “I never thought of that!”

“Well, she liked your drawing, that’s for sure.  And I didn’t hang up your picture to make you feel better,” said Lilly.  “I hung it up because I like it and you that’s the truth because fairies can’t lie.”

“Seriously?  They can’t lie?” said Edith in amazement.  “How can you possibly manage?”

“We manipulate words, Love, that’s how we manage. We say things in a way that no one knows exactly what we mean.  We also twist things so that others think they know what we mean, when they don’t.  It’s not a good way to communicate but life can be vicious and we never truly know who we can trust.”

“I get it,” said Edith.  “It’s like if someone asks you if you like her dress and you don’t but you know she loves what she’s wearing, so you say the dress looks great on her.   That way the other person feels good about herself and you didn’t have to tell her that the dress isn’t something you would buy for yourself, right?  Humans lie all the time time and I know life can be nasty, believe me.  Lois Harken had her lunch stolen every day by Brad Digger.  He was so awful.  People who lie think everyone lies so they don’t even recognize the truth when it’s right in front of them.  I don’t know why it has to be that way but never being able to lie must be difficult.”

“It’s all what you’re used to, Love.  Fairies don’t know how to live any other way.   All of us are what we are taught to be.”

“I guess,” said Edith, thoughtfully.

“We accept what we are used to and that’s never a good thing.  Acceptance stops us from thinking for ourselves.”

“I don ‘t want to live with Buttercup.  I want to stay here with you and that’s the truth.”

“You’ll have to talk to your mother about that.”

“Why?  You told the Queen that you would be responsible for half of me.”

“I did, didn’t I,” said Lilly, remembering Edith telling the Queen that she wasn’t half of a child but a whole one.

“So I want to stay with you, at least the half you’re responsible for.  Can I get a cat?”

“A cat?”

“I had a cat named Geraldine, and I miss her a lot.  It was so hard to leave her behind,” said Edith, sniffing loudly.  “She was black and white with a pink nose and the softest paws ever.”

“I like cats too. Maybe we can work something out.”

Edith threw her arm around Lilly’s shoulder.  “I’d hug you with both arms but I’m afraid I’ll fall out of the tree.”

“I understand,” said Lilly, looking down.

“Why do you think my mother didn’t love me?  I don’t care, not really, I’m just curious.  My teacher, Mr. Bender, said that I was curious to a fault but I don’t believe that’s even possible and I told him that, so he wouldn’t let me go out for recess, which was fine because I got to stay in and draw.”

“That was a long sentence.”

“I know but why didn’t she love me?”

“She loves you very much.”

“I don’t think so.  And if she does, that kind of love doesn’t count.  It’s more imaginary, or just an idea, rather than a true feeling.  You don’t give those you love to mean people.  At least, not where I come from.”

“You come from her, Love.”

“Not really.”

“Yes, really.”

“I want to find the other Edith and tell her the truth.  I want her parents to finally meet their real daughter.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea for anyone.”

“Why not?  Her mother didn’t give her away.  That Edith was stolen.”

“Steven lived with human parents until he was eleven.  He ran away, just as you did.”

“Does he know his real parents?”

“He knows his father.  His mother was trapped and killed by humans, while she was watching him play in a park.  She always kept an eye on him, even though she knew it was an extremely dangerous thing to do.”

“So, she loved him.”

“She did.”

“I’m so sorry that happened.”

“We all are, Love,” sighed Lilly.

“Why do humans and fairies hate each other so much?”

“I will answer all of your questions but it’s time for the feast, so may we postpone that discussion until later?”

“Yes, of course,” said Edith immediately.  “We’re going to a feast?”

“We’re going to a feast for you, Love.  A feast to celebrate the homecoming of a child who found her way back.”

Edith…Nine

“Lilly,” said Steven, as he rushed into the room, his voice hushed but urgent.  “I saw the whole thing.  How could you have let her go on like that?”

“Me?  Let her go on?  I told her exactly how to act,” she snapped.  “She hasn’t been here long enough to know our ways.  We’re alive, aren’t we?  If you think you can do a better job then you take over,” she added, turning away from him.

“I think the Queen likes her,” he chuckled.

“I think you’re right,” sighed Lilly, “but I can’t imagine why.”

“Are you talking about me?”

“Yes,” said Lilly, “we are.  I’m going outside for awhile, I need to sit in a tree and calm down.”

“Have fun,” said Edith, turning toward her mother.

“So?  You gave me away and then, when you moved into human society, you didn’t come and get me.”

Buttercup looked at her daughter.  “Yes.”

“Why?  Didn’t you like me?  Am I too ugly for you, because I’m half human?  Why would you leave me with those awful people?”

“I don’t think you can understand,” said Buttercup.  “Our ways are different than those of the humans.”

“Meaner, right?” said Edith.

“I suppose it seems that way to you.”

“There’s really no other way to see it.  You gave me to people who wouldn’t love me and when you could have taken me back, you didn’t.  I may be young but I’m not stupid, so you can call yourself my mother all you want but to me, you’re just someone who gave me away,” she said, as she turned and ran outside.

“She’ll come around, Buttercup,” said Steven.  “She’s new and things are….”

“She’s right,” said Buttercup.  “She’s right about everything and we are meaner than the humans, which is something I never wanted to admit.”

Steven looked at his daughter.  “She will come around. I did.”

“No, father, you didn’t.  You still have mixed feelings about what was done to you.”

“I’m not saying it isn’t difficult,” he said.

“I know you aren’t,” said Buttercup, smiling weakly.  “We shouldn’t switch our babies with theirs, it’s not good for anyone.”

“Well, she’s here now, so what are you going to do?”

“I talked to Scott and he said he would move back here, if we could all be together.  Either that, or take her back to the human world, to live with us us there.”

“Did you tell her that?”

Buttercup shook her head.  “Not yet.  I thought we might get to know each other a little better before I say anything about her future.”

“That’s probably a good idea,” he said, nodding.  “Your mother is stressed and exhausted.”

“I can see that.”

“How do you like living in the human world full-time?”

“I’d rather be here.  See, that’s the thing.   You should know where you came from.  You can’t feel like you belong, if you don’t know where you’re from.  That was taken away from you, from Edith and from too many others.”

“Well, your mother kept you,” he said softly.

“Why?”

“You’ll have to ask her,” said Steven.  “But, truthfully, neither one of us would let you go.”

“What does that make me?”

“That’s something you have to ask yourself.”

 

 

 

 

 

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