This story was written for Author Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt: for the above picture and the word ‘Token’
Here’s my enchanting take on the prompt …
A Magical Token of Friendship
They say; You have to believe it to see the magic.
Twelve-year-old Elsie believed with all her heart. Every time she got the chance, she’d run through her back garden and into the ancient oak woods beyond. She’d make her way through the bushes, and around the trees to the glade.
It was an almost perfect circle of grasses, and small shrubs surrounded by the dense woodland. There was a scattering of rocks, some covered in mosses other bare within the flora.
Elsie discovered a peculiar granite rock here. She knew it wasn’t natural, it bore the face of a man with black stones for eyes. Curiously it was part of a small circle of rocks. This became Elsie’s favourite place to play. She’d have dinner parties with her dolls and even read her fairytales here.
Sometimes, she was sure she could hear singing and chattering. During those times she’d search for people and find nobody there. Yet somebody must have been close by during those times.
Elsie began to notice her things disappearing. She’d lose a coin one day, a teaspoon another. One day her special birth ring vanished. It left her very upset when she couldn’t find it.
Determined to find the thief, Elsie began leaving a couple of beads by the face stone each day as a token of friendship. She’d always leave two of the same colour and shape. “I know you’re here. These are a gift for you,” she’d say as she got up to head home.
The next day a bead would be gone. A beautiful feather, a shiny rock or a majestic skeletal leaf would be left in its place.
“Thank you, for my gifts.” Elsie peered around the glade and smiled at the wise kestrel watching her from the trees. “I know you don’t take my things.”
He gave a squawk and bowed to her.
“Same to you, Mr Bird.” Elsie laid out two flat red beads before the stone. She sat cross-legged beside it and closed her eyes. “I feel you all around, I see my things disappear, I hear you singing so beautifully. My name is Elsie, I believe in you and I promise to keep your secret. Will you —” Elsie’s breath caught in her throat.
Something tugged on the bow in her hair. Blew in her ear like a gentle breeze.
Elsie opened her eyes and glanced about her. “I felt that – Where are you?”
Elsie looked to the face stone. Sitting cross-legged on the top was the most magical of beings. “I knew it! You’re a fairy!” Elsie beamed as she took in the three-inch tall figure, she had glowing, golden hair and the most enchanting, pretty face. Her wings were like the delicate dragonflies only silvery and glittering. She had on a dress of white dove down-feathers and the most serene energy about her.
“I am. My name is Petalee. Thank you for keeping my secret, Elsie.” The fairy fluttered her wings and smiled.
“Of course, bad people would come and take you away of they knew you were real.” Elsie leaned in closer to get a proper look at the glowing being. “I heard you talking and singing.”
“I’m sorry. Did I sing too loud?” Petalee placed her tiny hands over her mouth.
Elsie shook her head. “No, you sound beautiful.”
“Oh, that’s a relief.” Petalee leapt into the air and whisked around Elsie’s head like a graceful butterfly.
“You’re so pretty, I’m jealous,” Elsie said spinning about trying to keep up. “You’re also making me dizzy!”
“Oh, sorry. I like to fly in circles when I get excited.” Petalee swooped into the circle and picked up one of Elsie’s red beads. “Thank you for these.”
“I hoped you’d like them.” Elsie smiled. “I have lots. I make necklaces and bracelets with them.”
“That’s clever. I just have them in my home like ornaments.” Petalee settled on the face stone again. “Don’t suppose you could bring me a purple bead next time could you? Purple’s my favourite colour you see.”
“Hmm, I think I have purple.” Elsie pulled a thoughtful face. “I’ll bring you some next time I come.”
“Whoop! Thank you!” Petalee started flying in circles again.
Elsie giggled at her antics. “So, do you live in this glade?”
“Yeah, right here.” Petalee landed before the face rock. She reached up and placed her hands on the shiny black eye stones. They began to glow, causing an opening to appear where the mouth would be.
“Wow!” Elsie’s mouth dropped open as she lay on her belly to look inside. She could see a whole room in there. All the furnishing were made of woodland things. And there were her beads, coins and her special ring; all set out nicely along the walls. “Erm, may I have my ring back please?”
“Is it special.”
“Yes, Petalee. My grandmother gave it to me when I was a baby. I can’t wear it now my fingers are too big but I always had it on a chain. I broke my chain the day you took my ring.”
“I’m sorry, I like shiny things.” Petalee went inside and returned with the ring. “Here, you are.”
“Thank you.” Elsie smiled and gratefully took her ring back.
“Can we still be friends?” Petalee placed her hands together before her looking hopeful.
“Of course. I’d like us to be friends forever.”
Having a fairy friend is a special gift in life. Should you ever have a friend like Petalee — Remember to always keep her a secret.
Have a great day!