Fairy Party: Invitation Story Text
Here's the full text of the story I wrote as an invitation for my daughter's birthday party. I wanted to entertain the kids, set the scene for our Cornish Fairies party, and introduce the guests to some of the concepts of Cornish folklore that we'd be using. See pictures of the invitation here, and watch for a how-to post soon!
Ainsley's very unusual day
written and illustrated
by Nicole wills
Once upon a time, in the mysterious land of Gilbert, there lived a sweet little girl named Ainsley. She was kind as cookies, clever as cupcakes, cute as a candy, and Totally Grown Up. Almost seven! Seven! A really magical number, you know. Everyone knows that.
But something perhaps everyone doesn't know is that Ainsley had a secret. A secret even she didn't know about until her 7th birthday. A secret that had been in her family for hundreds of years. Ainsley had the magic of the little people of the ancient land of Cornwall in her blood.
Ainsley's 7th birthday was very unusual.
On the morning of Ainsley's birthday, she woke up to the sunlight streaming through her window. It's going to be a sunny, hot, October day! Ainsley thought to herself. (No, that's not the unusual part—she lives in the mysterious land of Gilbert, remember?) She dressed for school in her favorite yellow polka-dot dress, rainbow peace-sign socks, and super sparkly pink shoes. Ainsley admired her reflection in the mirror, starting with her shoes and working her way up. “Mixed up is totally my thing,” Ainsley said to herself happily. Then she saw her hair.
“Mom!” she cried out. “The tangle fairy came last night, and WOW, did she make a mess! I need help!” Ainsley looked as though squirrels had been nesting in her nut-brown hair. Tangles and twitches of hair stood out in every direction. Ainsley looked CRA-ZEEE. “Mom!!” she cried again, as she walked out into the kitchen.
There was her mom, and her dad, and her little baby sister, Niamh.
“STINKIES!” Niamh cried out, as Ainsley's mom rushed around the room, trying to do twelve things at once, as usual. Sure enough, there was a dirty diaper.
“Ainsley, would you please take out this stinky diaper?” Ainsley's mom asked as she thrust the smelly package toward Ainsley.
“But mom, I need your help with my hair. Besides,it's my birthday! Look, I tried to brush it myself and the brush just got stuck in there!” Ainsley replied.
“Please, Ainsley, just take the diaper out to the trash,” Ainsley's mom said. “I'll help you as soon as you get back inside.”
“Oh, fine,” Ainsley said. Because she was not only kind as cookies, clever as cupcakes, cute as a candy, and Totally Grown Up. She was also as considerate as caramels. Ainsley held the stinky, smelly package as far from herself as she could manage, wrinkled her nose, and stepped out the back door.
But it was not a sunny, hot day, as she had expected.
It was a cool, misty day.
And it was not her backyard.
It was somewhere else, entirely. She spun around, dirty diaper in hand, to look for the door, but the door was gone.
That was what was very unusual on Ainsley's 7th birthday.
“Myttin da,” said a soft voice behind Ainsley, and somehow Ainsley knew that a voice had just said “good morning,” though those weren't the words she'd heard. Ainsley whipped around to look for the voice, but didn't see anything but soft hills and fields surrounded by what looked like walls made out of plants.
“Who's there?” Ainsley called into the misty air.
“I am called Rosenwyn,” said the voice, as a small figure shimmered into view. “It means 'The Fair Rose.'” She did look a little like a rose, with a dress that almost looked like petals. And as she turned slightly, Ainsley thought she saw the faint outline of wings. Wings!
“Yes, but who ARE you?” asked Ainsley, nervously looking around. “Where am I? Where did my house go?”
“I'm one of the little people, like you, of course!” exclaimed Rosenwyn.
“Little people? I'm tall for my age!” said Ainsley, nearly shouting, and with a shiver of hysteria edging into her voice. “I want to go home! I want my family!”
“Not a short person, silly!” smiled Rosenwyn. “A fairy person. You couldn't be here in Tir Spryrys, the land of fairies, if you weren't a magical being. You clearly know the piskies—nobody could get their hair so tangled without their mischief! And what is that remarkable stench? You're holding a powerful stink-spell there. Definitely magical. Why don't you get rid of it? I won't hurt you.”
Rosenwyn looked so friendly that Ainsley couldn't help but smile. This certainly did seem like a magical place. Rosenwyn did look just like Ainsley had always imagined a fairy would look. “But I'm a regular human girl,” Ainsley said. “And a stink spell?” Ainsley asked, holding up the diaper. “No, this is just my baby sister's diaper. I can't get rid of it here—there's no trash can. That would be littering!” Ainsley grinned, then frowned as she looked at the diaper. “It's really neat to meet a real fairy, but it's my birthday, and I just want to get back home. Do you know the way?”
“Ah, your birthday?” Rosenwyn asked. “How old are you today?”
“Seven,” Ainsley proudly replied, “Totally Grown Up.”
“That explains it!” Rosenwyn clapped her hands with the sound of tinkling bells and bubbling streams, and floated a few inches off the ground in her delight at having solved the mystery. “Seven is a very magical age. Sometimes, very rarely, a human can cross into Tir Spryrys, but only if they have a little of the fairy magic within them. Your ancestors must have known the fairy world quite well.” She grabbed Ainsley's hand, and tugged her toward a forest path just up the hill. “Come,” Rosenwyn said, “I know just how to get you home. We need the magic of the ancient stone circle.”
“Be very quiet!” cautioned Rosenwyn, as she led Ainsley along the narrow sun-dappled path. “Most of the fairy folk are kind. They might make mischief, like your house browney did to your hair last night, but it's all good-natured fun. Browneys are usually very helpful. Piskies like to play tricks, but they won't hurt you. Knockers and buccas might scare you, but they're not dangerous. But there is an evil spriggan in the woods, and he has been causing all sorts of trouble.”
“What is a spriggan?” Ainsley asked in a hushed voice.
“Spriggans are nasty spirits. If something is stolen, or something is broken, or something goes wrong, it's usually a spriggan's doing. They especially love treasures, and will do anything to steal and protect it. This one just stole our magical fairy treasure! I was just out looking for it when I found you instead.”
Ainsley inched a little closer to Rosenwyn and moved as quietly down the path as she could manage. She couldn't help but notice that her footsteps crunched sticks and leaves beneath her feet, while Rosenwyn seemed to glide soundlessly through the forest.
The girls saw a light ahead, and the woods opened into a grassy clearing. They ducked behind a bush at the edge of the forest and peeked out into the meadow. Ainsley saw a strange sight: twelve stones, each almost as large as she was, standing in a circle. She'd only seen such things in books, but seeing a stone circle in person was a completely different thing. It felt magical. It felt important. It felt like the way home. Maybe I am a little bit fairy, Ainsley thought to herself.
Rosenwyn looked nervously around. “The spriggan is close. I can feel him,” she said.
Ainsley noticed another circle on the ground, but this one was made of tiny orange mushrooms. “What's that?” Ainsley asked.
“That's a fairy ring. The toadstools appear in a circle on the ground in places where fairies appear. Let's watch for a moment to make sure that it's safe for you to go to the stone circle.”
Rosenwyn's magical instincts were right, and soon the girls saw a shimmer in the air over the fairy circle, and a dark cloaked figure appeared. “The spriggan!” Rosenwyn exclaimed! “I knew it! Just like him to make trouble for us and get in the way of you going home!”
The spriggan crouched low, tilted his nose high in the air, and sniffed. Sniffed again. Slowly turned toward where the girls were hiding. “What should we do?” Ainsley asked, worriedly.
“You need to get home to your family!” Rosenwyn said. “The portal is open today, but it will close soon. I'll distract the spriggan, and you run to the center of the circle. On the count of three... onan, dew, tri!” Rosenwyn darted out into the clearing, faster than anything Ainsley had ever seen before. She spun around the spriggan's head, making him turn and sway, confused as to where the attack was coming from.
Ainsley ran as fast as her human legs could take her. She almost made it to the center of the circle and could feel the Arizona heat pouring into the misty cool of fairy land, when she heard a cry behind her. Ainsley turned around and saw that the spriggan had caught Rosenwyn! He was holding her tightly by both arms, and growled, “That's enough of that, you troublesome little piskie! I've finally caught you, and now I'll get rid of you for good!”
“No!” Ainsley cried out and ran toward her new friend. She had no idea how to stop the spriggan, but she couldn't let him hurt Rosenwyn.
“The stink spell!” Rosenwyn shouted to Ainsley.
The stink spell? The diaper! Ainsley thought. It was still in her hand! She took threw it with all her might at the shadowy spriggan, and caught him smack on his long, crooked nose. He cried out in disgust, dropped Rosenwyn, and disappeared faster than Ainsley when it's time to clean her room.
“You saved me!” Rosenwyn cried, and hugged Ainsley with the biggest, friendliest, happiest hug she'd ever received. “Now you must hurry. The portal is closing. You need to get home.”
“But the spriggan will be back!” Ainsley said. “He still has your treasure! I can't leave you all alone.”
“The portal will open again in just a few days,” Rosenwyn replied. “Come back. Bring help. We need all the help we can get to defeat this creature. He's much stronger than I had feared.”
“I will!” Ainsley promised. “I'll be back, and I'll bring friends! We'll figure something out, Rosenwyn!” She stepped once again toward the center of the stone circle, and again felt the hot breeze of an October day in Gilbert. The air shimmered around her, and the landscape changed. The cool green hills were replaced by bright sunshine and the familiar shapes of her own back yard. She was home!
Ainsley's mom smiled as she walked into the house. “Thank you so much for taking care of that diaper for me, Ainsley,” she said. “And happy birthday. I can't believe I didn't say that already. I love you, my great big grown-up girl.”
Ainsley rushed into her parents arms, grabbed her little sister, and hugged tighter than she'd ever hugged before. She was so happy to be home!
But she knew her adventures weren't over.
Now all Ainsley needs to save the fairies is you! Yes, YOU. Sitting right there—no, no, don't look behind you, I'm talking to you, (Insert name of the intended recipient). Please come to Tir Spryrys to join the adventure! The portal to this mystical land will appear at Ainsley's birthday celebration:
Friday, October 15, 2010
Starting at 5:30, through the gloaming, and until the fairy lights dance across the fields.
RSVP to (EMAIL)