Dear Yai Yai,
You asked me to write you a story about faeries. I was thinking about what direction to take it, when I remembered my blog post about how you want to be like me in so many ways. So I thought of the ways that I want to be like you.
Once upon a now, there was a little girl named Lorelei.
Lorelei loved to use her imagination. She built towns out of legos and dreamed about all the different lives being lived in her pretend worlds. Maybe theere were mermaids! Maybe there were cute woodland creatures! Maybe there were little girls just like herself!
One rainy stay-home day, Lorelei decided to build an entire faerie village. She spent hours getting every detail just right. She made sure there were plenty of flowers, bright colors, and secret hideouts. There were houses for each faerie family, and mushrooms for shelter in the rain. She made little ponds out of glitter, and hung clouds of sparkling cotton balls in the pretend sky.
Soon, it was time to leave the house to go run errands with her mom, Rhiannon. She really just wanted to stay and make up lives for the pretend faeries.
“Lorelei! It is time to go! Please put on your shoes!”
Lorelei meant to get up, she really did. But she remembered one more small detail she wanted to attend to in the faerie village.
“Lorelei, let’s go! Shoes!” her mother said with impatience.
Lorelei stood up, but from her new vantage point she realized she had forgotten to give the faeries a place to dance. Faeries need to dance. She stopped to contemplate where that might go.
Her mother was getting angry.
Lorelei started to stand up, but kept thinking about her faerie garden.
Lorelei screamed at her mother, “I AM COMING!”
Lorelei was so frustrated with her mom. Couldn’t she see how important this faerie village was? Didn’t she care that the faeries so badly needed a place to dance? Why are adults always in such a hurry?
On the way to the store Lorelei thought about her faeries. She thought how nice it would be to live in such a carefree world, where nobody had any timelines, and nobody cared if you wore shoes. She dreamed that she was dancing with the faeries in their magical village, and that nobody ever yelled.
Then she felt so sad, because she knew that was makebelieve. She knew that faerie land didn’t actually exist. But she wanted it so badly.
That night she fell asleep clutching the little vial of faerie dust that belonged to her mom, and dreamed of Faerie Land.
In her sleep the cork wiggled loose, and the vial of faerie dust spilled out. There was a small twinkling sound, and the very light sound of fluttering wings.
“Lorelei. Sleepyhead. Wake up!”
Lorelei opened one eye, trying to figure out why her parents were waking her in the middle of the night. But nobody was there.
She sat up sleepily, and rubbed her eyes.
She heard the voice again, “Lorelei, down here!”
She looked down next to her pillow, and gasped. There was a tiny faerie sitting on the edge of her bed. She cast a faint glow, and was holding a wand. She was dressed in a pink fringed halter-top dress, and had the most beautiful large glittering purple wings. She sat about six inches tall, and had a crown of flowers atop her light brown hair.
Lorelei frowned. She must be dreaming. She dug her fingernail into her palm, expecting to wake up. Instead she felt the sting of her nail.
“Ummmm, who are you?” Lorelei asked.
“I am Blossom. I live in Faerie Land. Your bottle of faerie dust spilled out while you were sleeping, and so we came to see why. You see, faerie dust only spills when we are needed.”
Lorelei thought for a moment, then said, “Well. It can be so scary being a kid in a world where grown ups make the rules. There is so much that I don’t understand! I just want to go live with the faeries.”
Blossom smiled as she said, “Oh! You can visit! That is an easy request. But only this once, as our supply of faerie dust is running low, and human-to-faerie transfer takes quite a lot.”
Lorelei jumped up and said, “Let’s go!”
So, with that, Blossom waved her wand, and Lorelei felt herself growing smaller. When she was the same height as Blossom she looked down and said, “But wait! I can’t go to Faerie Land in my underpants!”
Blossom laughed, and looked up at the large rack of dress-up clothes. She pointed her wand at a beautiful pink faerie costume with a tulle skirt encircled by petals. It shrank down and landed at Lorelei’s feet. The she thought for a second, and waved her wand at the lovely green wings that had once belonged to Lorelei’s mother.
The next thing she knew, Lorelei was wearing the dress and the wings were firmly attached to her back. She cautiously and curiously gave them a flutter. She realized that as she moved her wings they gave off a very faint green glow, much like what she had seen when Blossom first appeared.
Cheerfully Blossom shouted, “Away we go!” and flew out of the bedroom, and into the hallway. The big grey cat, Squirt, flicked his tail as they flew by. When they got to the basement door, Blossom held the cat flap open for Lorelei to go through, and then she followed. They flew down the stairs, and Blossom easily pulled out the vent grate that led into the unfinished part of the basement.
Lorelei shivered. She knew this part of her house. It was dark and damp and full of spiders. She could not imagine why the faeries would choose to live there.
But as she climbed through the hole in the wall, she realized that she was no longer in her house at all. She was outside and the sky was blue with big sparkling puffy clouds. Straight ahead there was a huge red and white mushroom with a crowd of faeries sitting stretched in its shade.
Blossom smiled and said, “Look familiar?”
Suddenly it dawned on her. She wasn’t just in a faerie land. She was in her Faerie Land. Everything looked just as she had created it.
“But… how?” Lorelei asked.
“Your family has been visiting Faerie Land for generations. Your mom and her sister came here many times as children. We are connected with you. You built our land with your legos through instinct.”
“My mom came here?” Lorelei asked, incredulously.
“Oh yes!” said Blossom, “Your mom loved it here! She was so much fun!”
As they were talking, Blossom was leading Lorelei down a beautiful path that swirled with blues and greens and purples, and seemed to shimmer in the sun.
Up ahead, Lorelei could see a large pond that had what looked like liquid metal in the bottom. There was a dock that extended out over the basin, but Lorelei could see that it did not come close to reaching the pool of swirling silver. “What happened?” she asked.
Blossom looked grim. “This pond used to be full to the brim. We would make random magic just to keep it from flooding.”
“Where does it come from?” Lorelei wondered aloud.
“Faerie dust collects when children dream about us. When children daydream, imagine, or dream of us in their sleep, the pond slowly fills. But these days kids spend more time watching TV than they do using their imaginations. We get some royalties from shows like Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Disney Fairies, but it isn’t enough. We need children to wish we were real, and to imagine what that would be like. And since we have so little dust left, it is difficult to get children here to show them.”
Lorelei asked, “What about adults? Do they not dream of faeries?”
“Adults dream of faeries occasionally. But they have shut themselves off from any part that might truly believe. So at most it adds just a small trickle to the ponds. If an adult could open up that part of themselves they would add very potent faerie dust.”
Lorelei thought about this as Blossom led her on a tour of Faerie Land. She saw the great faerie houses in the trunks of trees, and faeries collecting dew off of morning flowers. She was introduced to a few, and they were all so happy to see her. She could tell that hadn’t had many child visitors since the faerie dust drought.
Faerie Land was beautiful. So many colors, bright flowers, the sound of happy faerie children and adult faeries playing together. But as she looked more closely, she could see the fray around the edges. To her right there was a large open shelter that was a drab grey with a roof that sagged, and dead flowers around the outside. It looked so out of place next to the gleaming sparkle of the rest of Faerie Land.
Blossom saw Lorelei contemplating the building and said, “That used to be our great dance hall. We would gather for dance parties, and our music faeries would play their instruments. It was a central part of our lives, but without enough faerie dust we can’t fix it. We still dance in our houses, and on the paths, but we really miss the camaraderie of our big festivals.”
Lorelei remembered the faerie village she had created at home, and how she hadn’t been able to figure out where they would dance. Now she understood why.
Lorelei looked at the other buildings in Faerie Land. From a distance they looked perfect and tranquil. But as she inspected more closely she saw little details that showed the suffering they were enduring during this drought. Portions of houses had lost their glimmer. Some of the flowers were starting to wilt. There were faeries playing, but they did not look as enthusiastic as she had expected.
“What can I do to help?” Lorelei asked eagerly, “I know you wouldn’t have used so much faerie dust to bring me here if you didn’t think I could help you.”
Blossom smiled shyly and said, “We wanted to bring you here long ago. As I said, your family is very important to us. But you are right, we couldn’t afford the amount of dust it would take. But then last night there was a strong current of new faerie dust running into the pond, and we traced it to its source, which was you. But even if you dreamed of Faerie Land all day and night, it would still not be enough to get the pond to full operational level. What we need… is an adult.”
Lorelei looked confused and said, “But I won’t be an adult for a long time. You can’t wait that long!”
Blossom turned and looked out over the pond and said, “No. We can’t wait that long. Your mother – she needs to believe in us again. That would give us enough faerie dust to start our campaign for more imaginative children, which would hopefully allow us to resume child-to-faerie transfer visits, which exponentially boosts the flow of faerie dust. But we need that first jump start to make that happen. We need your Rhiannon.”
Blossom shifted her weight back and forth on her feet, and looked nervous as she said, “But you only have one shot. We are going to use almost our entire stock of faerie dust to send you back. If you can’t get your mom to believe in us and start dreaming about us again, we won’t be able to do any more magic.”
Lorelei frowned as the thought about her mom and how she spends so much time in a hurry. So much time being an adult. Sometimes it feels like her mom expects her to be a tiny adult as well. How could she possibly get her to believe in faeries? But then she thinks about the times when they go on awesome adventures in their backyard, or spend hours creating and decorating a dollhouse. Maybe there is a little bit of hope for her, she thinks.
“I can do it!” Lorelei said with far more certainty than she felt.
With that, Blossom waved her wand, and Lorelei is back in her bed.
The next morning Lorelei studied her mother. She knows her mom likes to help her create imaginary worlds, so hopefully she could start with that.
That evening, after dinner, Lorelei asked her mom to play lego with her. “Ask your dad,” she said, “I’m tired and I just sat down.”
Lorelei sighed. This was going to be difficult.
She sat down with her legos, and moved some pieces around. She wanted to build a dance hall, but she just didn’t seem to have the right parts. Nothing looked right.
“I am going to go to bed,” She said.
Her mother looked up with a mix of shock, concern, and excitement, “You’re going to bed? On your own? At 7:30? Really? Are you feeling okay?”
“I just want to go dream about the faeries. They need faerie dust. You wouldn’t understand anyhow,” she mumbled, frustrated.
“I used to dream about faeries all the time. I would dream that I was visiting Faerie Land, and that I had so many great faerie friends. It felt so real when I was your age.”
“It is real, mommy,” Lorelei said, hopefully. “I was there last night.”
“That’s nice, sweetie,” her mother said condescendingly. “Why don’t you tell me about it?”
She told her mom all about faerie land, the huge mushrooms, the puffy sparkly clouds. It was all stuff her mother had told her about in the past. But then she said, “And Blossom says they really need more faerie dust.”
Her mother looked up. “Blossom? I used to dream about a faerie named Blossom. In my dreams she was the ambassador to our world. She would come into my room at night and wave her wand and take me to Faerie Land. Oh wouldn’t it have been nice if that was real?”
Her mother looked so wistful and like she could, right now, really picture it.
Lorelei saw her chance. “Mommy! It is real! Blossom took me to Faerie Land last night!” As she described Blossom she saw her mom’s mouth turn into a frown, then she had a look of consideration.
When Lorelei told her about the faerie dust pond, and the dance hall in need of repair, her mom started crying. “That is exactly what it was like in my dreams,” she said, hopeful.
She sat down on the ground with Lorelei, and they played with the legos. Lorelei told her more about her adventure with Blossom. Her mother showed her how some things had been different in her dreams when she was a child. She told her about what the dance hall had looked like, and helped her recreate it.
Lorelei realized that they were able to build the dance hall, because her mom had opened herself up enough to add faerie dust to the pond. This was the faeries’ way of showing them that it had worked. She hugged her mom fiercely, and said, “Thank you for helping the faeries. They miss you, you know.”
That night Lorelei slept curled against her mother, with her head resting on her Rhiannon’s shoulder. She was so happy. Suddenly she heard a flutter and opened her eyes. Blossom was standing next to her, looking at them. “You did it!” she said, “Your mom has been dreaming of faeries all night long. And really dreaming of us, believing it!”
Rhiannon opened her eyes and whispered, “Blossom… I’ve missed you so much.”
Blossom considered that an invitation, and waved her wand. Lorelei and Rhiannon shrank and shrank, and Blossom lay their best faerie outfits out at their feet. And then they were off.
Rhiannon stood at the entrance to Faerie Land and was so very happy. She did not realize she had lost this part of herself until she had it back. They walked to the ponds, which, while not full, had plenty of faerie dust for the faeries to start the hard work of reestablishing imagination in children, and maybe even some adults.
That night, Lorelei, Rhiannon, and Blossom joined the rest of the faeries in the bright and shiny dance hall for a party in their honor. They drank flower nectar, wore hats of daisies, and danced through the entire night.
As the party came to a close, Blossom said, “we hope we will see you again soon! Both of you.”
Rhiannon and Lorelei said in unison, “We can’t wait!”
With that, Blossom waved her wand, and Rhiannon and Lorelei were back in bed. For a second Rhiannon assumed it was all a nice dream, but then she saw the faerie dust on her arms, and realized there was still a tiny daisy on top of her head. She smiled, looked at the daughter she loved so much, and simply said, “Thank you.”