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Sunday, May 12, 2013
The Little Jewel - Chapter 3
I raced back to my house, shouting as I approached it. “Mother! Mother, come quick! You have to see –”
“Jewel, my goodness child! What's wrong?”
“Nothing's wrong, mother. I've just met a beautiful fairy!” I announced as I pointed at Z.
“Fairy? Jewel, there's no such things as fairies,” my mother said with a chuckle of disbelief.
“No really, I have!” I motioned for Z to come closer.
I saw Z take a deep breath and slowly let it out. I guess she felt slightly better prepared because she slowly flew closer. She finally landed right next to me.
My mother gasped incredulously. “My word! There really is a fairy! Such a pretty little thing... Why I bet you're a fairy Princess!”
Z curtseyed. “Princess Zahara, if you must know. How did you guess?”
“That's easy!” I answered before my mother could, wondering why I hadn't thought of it myself. “Anyone as beautiful as you are just has to be a Princess!”
Z laughed, her voice tinkling like a bell. “Does that mean you are too?”
I felt my face fall sadly. “I... I don't remember. Maybe...”
“There there, Jewel... What does it matter?” My mother asked in a comforting tone of voice. “You are here now, and you are definitely a Princess in my eyes.”
“Thank you,” I murmured with a blush.
“Well,” Mother said. “Now you have a friend. Perhaps the world won't be such a lonely place anymore.”
I blushed even more. How had mother known I felt that way?
“Won't you join us for dinner, Princess Zahara?” Mother asked formally.
“Uh... Yes ma'am, and you can call me Z.”
“As you wish, Z,” my mother agreed with a smile.
I was entirely grateful that I had practiced making pottery enough to have plenty of dishes in our size to share. Had I not, dinner would have been fairly awkward! I couldn't claim that they were perfect, but at least they worked.
Mother noticed how dirty I was from romping around and running earlier, and prepared a bath for me so that I could wash up before dinner. This was excellent in my opinion because I loved taking baths!
“Z? Would you like to take a bath with me? There's plenty of room,” I stated enticingly, a pout on my face. Never before – that I knew of – had I had a friend to share my experiences with, and having one now was almost too good to be true!
Z looked embarrassed, but nodded in agreement. I was so happy that I squealed and jumped for joy. “Yea!”
For almost a year now, my mother has helped to bathe me, dress me, and brush my long hair, but tonight it was my turn. I helped Z wash her hair and back, and she helped me with mine in return.
“I just love your hair!” I informed her honestly. “It's so red, and it has a nice curl to it when dry. Mine is so long that it does nothing but hang there,” I confided with a sigh.
“Don't be silly,” Z said almost sternly. “Your hair is incredible! It's long and golden and it feels like silk!” Z fiddled with my hair for a moment. “Mine just does whatever it wants and it barely reaches halfway down my back.”
I laughed, finding her her comments funny. “I guess we would both be happier if we had each other's hair.”
Z laughed too. “Maybe!”
After our bath, Z looked at her tattered dress, and then at all of the dresses I had hanging the closet my mother had made for me.
“Where are my manners? Would you like to have one of my dresses?” I offered sincerely. “They're so quick and easy for my mother to make that I have way more than I could possibly need.”
Z found one that she liked – one with an open back to accommodate her wings – and I helped her into it. It looked really good on her even though it had been made for a human like me. She twirled around happily, admiring herself in the mirror my mother held out for her.
I was curious about something. “Surely a fairy Princess has many better dresses than I do.”
“Well... I suppose I would have, except I am the only fairy left and I don't know anything about making dresses... My father only taught me how to find and prepare food before he died...”
I hummed in sympathy. “So you're the last of your kind, and I'm the only one like me.” I sighed a bit morosely. “If only there was a fairy Prince for you and a cursed man for me.”
Even as I said it, I felt a pang of sadness at the thought. I wonder why...
Dinner was tasty... I think. I was too busy watching Z to actually taste any of it. My mother and Z chatted amicably, and I was indescribably happy that they got along so well.
“So...” Z began, hesitating when she realized that she didn't know my mother's name.
“You can call me Elda,” my mother stated with a smile.
“So, Elda, how did Jewel get cursed?” Z asked.
“I wasn't there when it happened, but I was told that Jewel refused to marry a man she didn't love, and he retaliated by cursing her. I have no idea when or even how long she had been imprisoned in the jewel before I got her from the witch. All I know is that she is the precious child I prayed for.”
“Why didn't you have a child when you were younger?” Z wondered, frowning.
Mother suddenly looked so sad. “I... did, once. When I was so young that I could just barely have a child – I was that young – and then... a man... he hurt me. My parents didn't want to raise a child by an unknown villain, so... they gave him away...”
Mother wiped a tear from her eye. “I never wanted a man to touch me after that. I always assumed that – one day – I would find a man who I could love, but I grew into an old woman while I waited.”
“I'm so sorry,” Z murmured sympathetically. “Well, you told me your story, so it's only fair that I tell you mine.”
I was glad that I was finished eating because my mother's story had slightly turned my stomach. In any case, I had nothing to distract me, so I could pay complete attention to Z.
“Fairies live a long time, and as a result, they only had children when they wanted to... On a whim, you could say. This was fine when the world was young and magic abounded, but over time, the magic faded. Magic is what keeps fairies young...” Z sighed and took a breath.
“Before anyone realized it, there were only a handful of elderly fairies left. The King and Queen of the Fairies knew that they had to do something, so they decided to have a child – Well, they actually decided to have at least two, a boy and a girl, but my mother was old. So much so that nurturing a child within her body was too much for her. She died giving me life...”
Z sighed again, her voice quivering a bit, but she continued. “Remember how I said there was a handful of fairies? Well, they all tried something similar, but none succeeded. The females all died trying to bring forth new life, and their mates died too; heartbroken. Only my father lived on for a while, but only long enough to teach me how to survive on my own. One day when I was 10, I came back from hunting to find that he had died in his sleep, his face at peace with the certainty that he would be with my mother once more...”
“That's so sad!” I cried out, tears pouring freely from my eyes. Something about this beautiful and lonely fairy made me want to comfort and protect her. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and hold her tight... but I knew that I was just a girl, and that I would never be her Prince...
Go To Chapter 4
Go To Chapter 4