Fairies at the bottom of the garden


It was practically inevitable that Amelia would see fairies.  From early on her parents had taught her to take notice of what was going on around her and to pay attention to small details. For example, when she was very little, they would hide her favourite sorting blocks.  Some would be in plain sight, but difficult to distinguish by virtue of being in front of something of a similar colour, or above little Amelia’s head height so that she could only see them by stepping back and looking at the room as a whole.  Others were partially obscured with just a little part sticking out, and the rest were fully hidden, but in some ways these would be the easiest to find, because they were there for the looking.  Later, there were little messages, some which would lead Amelia to little trinkets or books that she would be interested in others were simple declarations of love.  (For be in no doubt, her parents, if a little eccentric in their methods, loved their daughter deeply and wanted her to be able to drink in the whole world).

So it was that Amelia developed her abilities, and from there it was no surprise that she came to be able to spot fairies.  Fairies DO live at the bottom of the garden, but they’ve had thousands of years’ experience of staying out of the way of humans.  But even those who are most cunning at concealing themselves leave traces that are there for the observing.  It didn’t happen all at once, but Amelia would notice little things that were different from one day to the next.

One day she saw a twig that was safely out of the way of any small scuffling creatures and predatory breezes, and the next she noted that it had moved quite 10 centimetres from its little quiet spot.  Another time she was exploring the overgrown bottom of the garden and she found a little posy of flowers that really had no right to be there.  She was half tempted to think that her parents had put it there, but it had been hard enough for a slight child to reach this spot, let alone some galumphing adult.

And so little details built up into a picture, one, which by degrees, revealed a hole, and that hole began to take on a definite, fairy shape.  Amelia thought very hard.  She wondered if the fairies might be coaxed out by small gifts, like some small, timid creature.  She’d already decided they must be intelligent, because the things they did appeared to have purpose, but she wondered if they were clever.  She wondered if they might be observed from some sort of hide.

Amelia started to interact with the changes that she noticed.  For example, if she saw that a twig had been moved, she would move it back to where it had been, but replace it with something that she thought might be better, if she’d guessed the purpose right.  If she encountered another posy, she would leave a duplicate beside it.  She was a patient child, and she needed all her patience, because it took months before anything happened.

But it was worth it, because the day before her ninth birthday, she met her first fairy.  And then her life changed forever.

© David Jesson, 2017

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