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This was my entry for a competition on INK – the theme was “spring”.
With blossoms everywhere I was more than ready to write this story. Only, I wanted it to reflect the Faerie world I usually write about. So, I looked in The Element Encyclopedia of Faeries by Lucy Cooper for a bit of inspiration and found flowers associated with Faeries and a few folktales, and suddenly a story was written…
Awakening of the Earth
By Ronel Janse van Vuuren
Softly they landed and the wind blew along. Everything was quiet. Yet there was promise in the way nature waited. The animal faeries flitted away to wake birds, insects and other creatures while the flower faeries each chose a plant to start with.
Renée hunched among the dry grass. She could feel the plant’s roots reach out to her. With intense concentration, she sang the right tune to make the plant as excited as she was about spring.
Foxglove shot up and formed the tubular flower consisting of tiny flowers that could fit on a human’s fingertip. More plants grew and filled the space where earlier there was only dry grass. Renée looked up at the foxglove towering over her. She sang louder and the flowers opened. For now they were colourless, not even white. Impressed with herself, she took out her paint. Carefully she unscrewed the top of the purple paint she’d scooped out of a rainbow.
She darted a quick look around. Everyone was busy painting the colourless flowers – mostly pink and yellow.
Renée chewed her lip. It was the first time she was helping to bring spring to the human world. She swallowed and turned back to her paint and the plants before her. She felt in her gut that it had to be purple.
Slowly she painted each foxglove flower the purple from a rainbow. Her diaphanous wings felt very strange as she tried to stay in front of one flower at a time while painting. She lost count of how many tiny flowers and plants there were – and still needed to be painted purple.
A scream made her dazedly look around a long while later. She only had to paint the leaves green. She wasn’t tired, but to paint the foxglove was hard work. She landed on the brown grass among the empty paint bottles.
Other faeries were chasing each other with paint. They were playing again. Renée stood worriedly between them and her painted plants.
But she wasn’t big enough to protect so many flowers.
The faeries ran into each other and paint flew everywhere.
Red, blue and yellow splashes fell on her and her foxglove.
Upset, she turned around. Only a few plants were unmarred. The rest…
Renée fell to her knees and tears streamed softly over her cheeks.
‘Hey, it’s okay.’
‘Lots of foxglove have spots and marks.’
‘The humans think it’s wonderful.’
‘It makes the flowers unique.’
The more the other faeries tried to console her, the harder she cried.
‘Come now, it’s not that bad. Every spring there are signs of where faeries had played and made a mess.’
‘Really?’ she asked softly.
‘Of course! It’s all part of the fun. Come, I’ll show you.’
She sniffed away the last of her tears and followed the redhead faery through the garden.
‘Look over there: the faeries are painting the faces of their loved-ones on the pansies. Like you, they use colours from the rainbow.’
Renée could scarcely believe that that brown and black came from the rainbow as well, but she kept quiet.
One faerie was painting all the pansies around her entirely black.
‘Ah,’ her guide said uncomfortably. ‘Not everyone is able to take part in the fun of spring. She’s doing her best.’
They quickly walked past. Renée got the impression that the unhappy faery had lost a loved-one very recently.
She got pulled out of her thoughts as someone collided with her. They had left the garden full of pansies and stood in a veld.
Faeries in yellow ran past with twigs of cowslip, keeping the golden flowers high above their heads like umbrellas. Some of the faeries were using these flowers as teacups.
Other faeries in the lightest pink strolled about with the flat, pink primroses that grew on small bushes, filling the air with their delicate scent.
Cats and other creatures with faeries on their backs jumped, ran and pounced each other in the veld. All the faeries laughed and it sounded as if the animals were also enjoying themselves.
It was a party to welcome spring, she realised as she watched them.
‘Do you hear that?’ her guide asked.
Renée listened carefully. Birds chirped happily in the trees above them. She looked up and saw how the animal faeries conducted the birds in a new song.
She looked around her and could scarcely believe how everything had changed.
The veld and gardens looked amazing with the first flowers, smells and sounds of spring. Their work was done.
Every faery took a branch of ragwort, until there were no more weeds left, and climbed on it like a witch’s broom. The faery at the front of the giant V they formed said the correct incantation and they all flew away. They flew faster than the wind, back to Faerie.
Did you like it? Any thoughts you’d like to share?
When I was a little girl, I saw a story on TV (or maybe I was told this story?) where a fairy was supposed to paint flowers before it starts to rain. Of course, she played while the others worked and then suddenly had to work while the others played. It started to rain and all her work was for nought. A powerful lesson, that. Now, did I see it or hear it? I can distinctly see her flowers fading… Mm.