This story is a sequel to Finding a Fairy Forest but both stories can also stand alone.
Camille walked home from school slowly. Alone again, she thought a little sadly. Oftentimes she enjoyed being by herself. There were so many dolls at school, and so many dolls in the doll room when she came home, she was constantly around other dolls and it was often a relief to get a chance to be alone and listen to the music that was always playing in her head, or just to think quiet thoughts to herself.
But lately, she had been alone a lot. Nan was always off with Felicity and Katelynne was hanging out with her own friends. Camille respected that, Katelynne was older than her so of course she should spend time with her girlfriends her age, but Camille admired and loved Katelynne so much, she missed her whenever she wasn’t around her. She smiled to herself. Sometimes she wished she could be a puppy dog and follow Katelynne everywhere she went!
Katelynne almost always waited for her at the far corner of the school and walked home with her. They would have snacks together and talk about their days before they did their homework. But Camille had been walking home from school on her own for over a week now. Katelynne was never there at the corner anymore. She felt a little lonely and forgotten. She trudged along, staring at the ground but not really looking at it. She tried to empty her mind, to keep thoughts of feeling sorry for herself out. “No pity parties, Camille, they don’t help anyone, and sometimes they make you feel even worse,” Lindsey had told her once when she had tried out for one of Lindsey’s plays but hadn’t made it. And she was right.
Instead, Camille thought back on all the good and wonderful memories she’d had with Katelynne. She smiled, thinking about their travels to Virginia and discovering a fairy forest. Any time she thought of it, it made her heart light. Even if Katelynne stopped being her friend and never paid any more attention to her, never even talked to her again, Camille would do it all over again anyway. It was all so worth it.
Suddenly, Camille caught her breath. A different sound was coming from under her feet. She looked down, this time really looking, and saw her feet weren’t walking on cement anymore.
She was walking on pine needles. Thousands of them. Millions of them. These weren’t here before! Camille thought, who put them?? and she looked up.
There was a pine tree standing tall, but clothed with very few needles. “Why did you give your needles up? Why did you-” Camille interrupted herself and gasped, “For the fairies!!!! You gave your gift for the fairies!!! A bed of moss for the summer and soft pine needles for the winter! Ohh, what a sweet pine tree! Are there fairies here?? I didn’t know that! I’m sure the fairies will love your gift! They will be warm in the winter time!”
Camille chuckled to herself. Nan would have laughed at her, talking to a tree! A cold wind blew, and Camille shivered in her thin tights and pulled the sleeves of her jacket down to cover her icy fingers. She walked faster until she got to her house. I bet nobody got the mail, she thought.
Yep! I was right! Camille pawed through the letters. Even though she had never ever gotten a letter herself, she couldn’t help feeling excited for the dolls who had.
“Felicity, Felicity, Felicity. Who keeps writing to her? She gets five letters every day!”
Suddenly, all the breath came out of Camille in a whoosh. She couldn’t breathe. Tucked in the fold of the newspaper was a long, slender, almost translucent scroll of a letter. There was something about it that was very special. It didn’t seem quite from this world. She picked it up, and a dazzling thrill went through her whole body, from head to toe, as if some one made her sparkle from the inside.
I have to show Katelynne!
She tucked the rest of the mail under her arm, and held the slender scroll tightly in her hands and ran – clutching it as if it might fly away at any moment.
“KATELYNNE!!!! Katelynne!!!” she cried. The front door burst open and Katelynne came dashing out, eyes wide.
“What the– Camille!!!! What’s wrong!!”
“Katelynne!! LOOK!!!” Camille panted, holding the scroll out.
Katelynne’s mouth dropped open, “Oh my goodness.”
She tentatively took the scroll from Camille’s outstretch hand. She gasped, as if she had been struck. “Where did you find this?” she whispered.
“It was in the mailbox,” Camille said almost as softly, “It’s from a different world, isn’t it?”
“Camille. This seal,..” Katelynne smiled and Camille chuckled to herself at Katelynne’s rhyme-by-mistake, “This seal is from the fairies.”
Camille’s eyes were as big as saucers. She shook her head, “No way. I was just thinking about them!”
“Yes! A pine tree gave up almost all of his needles and laid them on the ground for the fairies to pick up for their beds. I never knew fairies even lived here! I thought they didn’t live in cities.”
“I don’t think they do. Perhaps they visit cities, but I don’t think they live in or near them. They’re quiet, shy folk, who don’t often show themselves to others, humans or dolls. But Camille, are you sure this was the only thing you saw from them? You didn’t see anything else? Any other clue?”
“I don’t – I don’t think so. But maybe….I”ve been awfully distracted lately. I guess I could have missed something.”
They walked down the steps back to the mailbox and stood in front of it. Katelynne burst out laughing, “You’re awfully distracted lately? Yes! What music in your head so involved you, you sweet, silly girl? Look what you missed!”
Camille’s mouth dropped open this time as she watched Katelynne pull a HUGE envelope out from behind the mailbox.
“That’s a human envelope!”
“Yes, but it’s labelled for us! Look: Katelynne and Camille and the dolls of the Doll Room.”
“Yep!!” Katelynne laughed at Camille’s shocked face, “You got a letter today! And !!!! You get to open it!!!”
“Eeeee!” Camille squeaked as she started to pry open the scroll.
“WAIT!! Stop! No! Not here!!! We should do this inside, where it’s not so cold, where the wind can’t blow, and when you’re not holding all the rest of the mail plus a heavy pack on your back! Come on in the kitchen and let’s have us a snack!”
This time, Camille laughed out loud at Katelynne’s silly rhymes. She followed Katelynne into the house, still smiling at how she loved Katelynne and her rhymes, realizing again how much she had missed her dear friend.
Of course, once they got into the kitchen, both girls were so excited about the mail, they completely forgot about their snack, and just tossed their things onto a chair and put the envelope on the table.
“Let’s open it together,” Camille said.
Carefully, oh, so carefully, Camille peeled back the little leaf seal holding it closed.
Slowly, they unfurled the scroll.
“Can you read it to me?” Camille asked. Katelynne began,
Camille couldn’t contain her emotions. Her eyes filled with tears of excitement, joy and utter happiness, “The Fairy Fall Festivals!!! We’re being invited to the Fairy Fall Festivals!!! We thought we might go……remember? When we found the fairy forest?”
“I remember,” Katelynne said solemnly. She too, was deeply touched by the invitation, but there was a hint of sadness in her eyes that Camille almost didn’t catch.
Then, “Let’s see what’s in the big envelope.”
Again, they carefully opened the giant envelope and slowly slid the card out. There was a picture with two fawns on it. It seemed almost to move, Camille felt, as if she could see the fawns really moving through the forest. They opened the card up and let out gasps and squeals of glee.
“LEAVES!!!! Fall Festival leaves!!!!”
“A true gift from the fairies!!”
“I can’t believe this!”
“This is amazing!”
“This is wonderful!”
“What’s all the commotion going on here?” It was Keisha, followed by Sophie and Annaleis who had all just come home from Reading and Writing Club.
“Whoa! What are you guys doing?”
“The fairies brought us a gift! All the way from York!! Fall leaves from their festivals!”Katelynne explained.
“And this, too!” Camille held up the scroll.
“Can I read it?” Annaleis asked.
“Come out! Come out!
Come ‘way with us, amongst the tallest trees.
To skip and leap and sing and shout
To buzz amongst the bees.”
“Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s dance and sing and skip!” Camille interrupted and started jumping and dancing in the kitchen.
Annaleis smiled and continued,
“The trees are turning, air is crisp,
The wind blows chill and fey,
The spicy scent of fallen leaves
Accompanies our way.”
“Spicy scent! Ooo! That’s perfect! I was trying to come up with how to describe the smell of fallen leaves in autumn in my creative writing essay. Spicy. I like that,” Keisha said.
“To where the fairy folk converge
With woodland friends and gnomes,
With pixies, sprites, and forest nymphs
inside the high king’s home.”
“The high king’s home!!” Sophie cried, “You’re invited to the high king’s home!?? You’ll get to meet all those magical creatures! Oh! I wish I could go too!”
“We’ll feast on mushrooms, sprouts and seeds
Drink meade in snap dragon mugs,
We’ll dance to cricket songs and twirl,
‘Neath glowing lightening bugs.”
Camille started twirling again, “Ooh! I can just imagine it! Dancing to the songs of crickets with our eyes sparkling in the lightening bug’s lights! AAaaah! I can’t stand it!!! I want to go! Let’s go!!!!”
But Annaleis still wasn’t finished,
“We’ll wrap ourselves in cobweb capes
Covered with dewdrop gems.
And listen as the sun goes down
To soothing froggy hymns.
We’ll watch and wait as stars come out
Like sheets of isinglass,
And softly sing goodnight, adieu,
When homeward all we pass.”
Annaleis ended in a whisper and everyone hushed, not wanting the images the invitation painted in their heads to leave their imaginations.
Camille broke the silence, “We have to go!”
The sadness in Katelynne’s eyes returned, but Camille didn’t see it this time.
“How are you going to go?” Keisha asked, “They didn’t give you any time or place.”
“They’re the fairies from York! It’s in York!”
Katelynne started to carefully collect the leaves and stack them to put away.
“How are you going to get to York? Only a human can take you, and I haven’t heard anybody mention such a trip.”
“But- ” Camille began but stopped herself suddenly, looking down at the where the leaves had been.
“Fairy dust!!” she gasped.
“This is fairy dust! We can travel by fairy dust!” Camille started to get super excited again.
“Camille,” Katelynne said softly, turning and looking deep in Camille’s bright blue eyes. She didn’t speak for a long time.
“What? What is it?”
“This is fairy dust. And yes, it probably will transport us to some fairy land, but I think we should wait.”
“I know, I don’t want to disappoint you. I, I feel like I’m disappointing you all the time. But, I have this deeper feeling. This sense. That … we should wait. For a better time. I don’t know. Some time when it feels right. Not now. But I’ll tell you what. Why don’t you change into your play clothes, and we’ll all have a little fall festival right in our own backyard!”
“In our own backyard?” Camille’s ever persistent smile returned.
“I’ll see you outside in 5 minutes!”
But Camille didn’t go to her room and change right away. She followed Katelynne to her room, wondering what she was up to, since she didn’t have to change into play clothes.
“Silly Goose! Aren’t you going to change? What are you following me around for?”
Camille was quiet for a moment, trying to be brave but feeling quite shy, “You’ll really meet me outside?”
“Camille! Of course!”Katelynne took another breath to speak, but Camille spoke before her.
“I”m sorry. I shouldn’t doubt you, but I’ve missed you so much……”
“Oooh, Sweetie,” Katelynne walked over and gave Camille a hug, “I’m so sorry. You’re totally right. I haven’t walked home with you in ages. I haven’t talked to you in ages! And I should have explained what I was doing, instead of just ignoring you, even though I never even meant to do that! I’ve missed you too! I’m doing a project with my friends. Part of it is for others and part of it is for you. It’s a surprise. A Christmas surprise and I can’t tell you about it until then.”
“A Christmas surprise? But Halloween just ended!”
“I know, but this project is going to take a long time to do, and it needs to be very special. You’ll find out soon! Don’t pester me about it though, or I’ll decide to give it to someone else!”
Katelynne started digging in the camping backpacks, “Ooo! This is new. Look at this! A lantern! How about we bring this out to the backyard.” She handed it to Camille.
“Ooh! It’s pretty!”
“Hurry up and change, Kiddo! Everyone else will be waiting for you!”
The four dolls gathered out in the backyard and started setting up.
“I brought the tv tray for the fairy food,” Keisha said. Annaleis grabbed it and helped her set it up.
“Guys! Who bought this lantern? I’ve never seen it before! I thought we could use it to sing our froggy hymns at night!”
Sophie walked along the edge of the yard, picking the choices fall leaves to make a table cloth so the tv tray might look more fairy-like.
Annaleis artistically arranged them all. Camille helped Sophie gather fairy food.
“Look! Pine cones!”
“It’s funny how you never even realize how much fairy food there is until you look for it! Even in the city!” Sophie had only spent two minutes searching on the ground for seeds and she had already filled the bottom of her bowl.
“Is that a fairy favorite?”
Sophie laughed, “For some fairies probably!”
“No mushrooms though,” said Katelynne.
“No, but look what I found!” Annaleis cried triumphantly.
“Whoa!!!! Is that a milkweed pod?”
“I think so!”
“Wow! What a find!”
“Yes! And I have an idea for it, besides pretend eating too!”Annaleis smiled her pixie smile.
And when everything was collected and gathered, the girls spread out in the middle of the backyard and danced.
They skipped and leapt.
They sang and they shouted.
Sometimes dancing to the music of the breeze in the trees.
Camille danced to the music in her head.
But mostly, they danced to the sound of their own laughter.
Then, when it was time, they gathered around the little fairy feasting table and ‘ate’ the seeds and pine cones they found.
They danced some more after that! Faster and faster and Annaleis cried out, “We’ll feast on mushrooms, sprouts and seeds. Drink meade in snap dragon mugs. We’ll dance to cricket songs and twirl, ‘neath glowing lightening bugs!”
And while she spoke, she tossed the white milkweed fluff up in the air, and it floated above their heads like the lightening bugs.
Smiles and joy and laughter filled the air, and cries of “Wow!!!” “Annaleis!! What a great idea!” “Snow flurries!” “Fall flurries!” “A Fall Flurrie Festival!” “I feel like I’m really in fairyland!” echoed in the backyard.
More dancing and singing ensued…..
until at last, exhausted and thirsty, the dolls sat down in a circle and ‘ate’ some more and drank the apple cider Sophie had thought to bring from the kitchen.
“This has been so fun!”Keisha said.
“I never even thought to have our own fairy party here! Katelynne, you have the best ideas!”
“It’s not over yet, either!” Katelynne smiled. She got up, lit the lanterns and started a campfire as the sun was disappearing fast, and went to the camping packs again and took out two blankets. She walked over and covered Keisha, Annaleis and Sophie with one and said softly,
“We’ll wrap ourselves in cobweb capes
Covered with dewdrop gems….”
She covered herself and Camille with the other.
“And listen as the sun goes down
To soothing froggy hymns.”
And so, with the firelight dancing over their faces and the warm glow of the lanterns, they sang church hymns, campfire songs, and silly songs late into the night.
“It’s a good thing it’s Friday and I don’t have to do homework until Sunday night!” Katelynne laughed.
“Sunday night! I dare you to do it Saturday night!”Annaleis said.
“I don’t want to think about homework now! Let’s tell stories! Keisha! Tell us a story!”
Keisha told fairy stories of the wood nymphs and the dryads and nyads and pixies and sprites
until the fire died and it grew too cold, even under the blankets. One by one, Annaleis, Keisha and Sophie said good night and headed back into the warm house. Just Katelynne and Camille were left.
They were huddled tight together under the blanket.
“Katelynne, do you think we’ll ever get to see real fairies?”
“Yes, that invitation is real. The fairies always keep their promises.”
“I wish the fairies could have come to our little party tonight. You made it so special and real. They would have enjoyed it as if it were their own!”
“Camille, fairy laughter and magic can happen at any time. I think we saw some real fairy magic tonight, maybe not the actual fairies themselves, but definitely the magic. It happens in different ways and at different times. You just have to be on the watch for it. Always. And be the caring, kind, and loving little bundle of joy and laughter you’ve always been! Hee!” Katelynne tickled her.
Katelynne continued, “Just like you did with the pine needles. You saw fairy magic even then! So of course the fairies will reveal themselves to us sometime! We’ll just have to be patient, and some day, we shall go again to York and knock on the fairy door and see if they are home! But for now, just keep watch, and see the beauty of God’s creation all around us. He even made the fairies you know.”
“And the moon and the stars – ”
“And the moon and the stars!” Katelynne agreed.
Camille snuggled in with Katelynne and gave her a hug, “I love you, Katelynne.”
“I love you too.”
Camille looked up at the sky. As usual, there weren’t many stars out because of the bright city lights, but the moon glistened through the tree branches and seemed to glimmer with the promises of the faerie folk.
Behind the scenes: I really did receive a letter in the mail with the leaves and the poem invitation from the fairies of York! Actually it was one fairy, my dear aunt, who loves dolls and fairies and magic just as much as I do and wrote that poem for me. She has inspired me to do more than just write this story! Can’t thank God enough for her!