The reading fairy
‘‘There are open books on the table again,“ the young prince thought, when he entered the library in the morning. It has been like that for a while. Every morning you could see the same: open books on the round table and a burned-down candle. If you asked the servants of the Royal Palace, whether they had seen or heard anything, they always answered: No!, and got ready to see to their work.
“Tonight, I will hide in the room and finally find out what is going,” the prince thought.
The window was opened by an invisible power. A strange ball of light floated into the room, bringing along a soft buzzing sound. With each passing moment it got louder. It came closer. The young prince moved back behind the curtain, that was his hiding place. The boy didn’t dare to breathe. His heart beat wildly and he trembled. Was it because of fear or the cool wind, coming into the room through the open window? He wasn’t sure.
“What is this shining and humming thing?” he asked himself. To find out, he had to come out of his hiding place.
The ball of light floated above the table. Strange sounds came from it. It was as if somebody was whispering, but you couldn’t make out the words. A few moments later, the ball of light grew bigger and began to shine brighter. In the middle of it you could see a creature with a head, arms, legs and wings!
“A fairy?” the young prince thought. “Fairies only exist in fairy tales.” But there she was: a fairy right in front of his nose.
Again, there was a whisper and the boy watched something forming in her hand as she muttered to herself. Shortly after that, she held a wand between her fingers. She waved it and the candle on the table lit up, making it easier to see. Quickly, the fairy flew to the shelves, filled with hundreds and hundreds of books, and had a look at the bindings.
Enraptured, she clapped her hands and sighed with joy. In her little world there weren’t that many splendid books. The written word was known there and her people could read, but they only had parchment rolls, which were about plants and medical herbs and did not tell stories about brave heroes, fighting against sea monsters or dragons. The little fairy was so happy she had found this wondrous place, where she always found something new.
Sometime later, she had chosen a book. With a wave of her wand she made the book move out of the shelf and fly to the table. Slowly, carefully she lowered the book and silently it ended up on the piece of furniture. With her magic, she opened the book. Reading, she flew from the left to the right of the page. When she reached the end of it she flew to the top again and continued reading. Every now and then she giggled or made a sound of surprise.
“It must be a funny and exciting story she’s reading,” the young prince thought as she watched her. “I wonder whether I know the book. We could talk about it,” he thought.
There and then, he came to his feet and emerged from his hiding place.
Totally absorbed by the story she had chosen, the fairy didn’t notice the young prince coming closer. When he stood behind her he cleared his throat. Though it didn’t cause a strong breath of wind, he blew the little fairy away. She spun around and crashed into the bookshelf.
“Hey, what happened?” she wondered.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare or hurt you,” a voice said, coming from behind her.
The fairy turned around and when she saw the boy she jumped. She shrunk back, her beating wings touching the books in the shelf. “Don’t be afraid. I won’t do anything to you,” the prince said, pointing at the book on the table the odd visitor read. “I just wanted to see what story you’re reading. Maybe I know it.” He had a look at the binding and read the letters on it. He smiled and nodded. “The Adventures of the brave Ladybird. I do know the book. It is a very good one. So, you like to read?” he asked the fairy.
She was still floating in front of the bookshelf, far away from the human being, who had discovered her. Leery, she looked at him and thought, whether she could fly to the window quickly enough to flee.
The boy saw her looking to the window and moving in that direction.
“Please, there’s no need to be afraid,” he assured her. “The whole royal household noticed the opened books, but nobody seems to be interested in knowing who is responsible for the mess. My father, the King, is suspecting me, but it is definitely not me and now here is the proof.”
The fairy shook her head at his words and flew over to the boy, excited. She was worried he would give away her secret. “Please, don’t tell anyone. I promise not to come back and I will leave you alone,” she said, whizzing around in front of his nose.
Now that she was so close he could see her better and how beautiful she was. Actually, she looked like a human being and still she was different. She had a pretty heart-shaped face, bright blue eyes, a snub nose and red lips. She had put her blond hair up in a knot. She wore a green skirt, which reached to her knees, and a white strapless blouse. She didn’t wear any shoes. What made her different to humans was her height and wings, which shone white and blue behind her back, making her seem like a ball of light from the distance.
“Don’t be afraid, little fairy. I won’t give away your secret,” the young prince said, stepping back. With a wave of his hand he indicated that she could continue reading. “Please, read on. It is okay, if you come here to read these books. I like to read, too. Maybe we can talk about the adventures we find between the pages. But we must not forget to tidy up.”
From this moment, the two bookworms became really good friends. The prince kept to his promise, he wouldn’t give away the secret of the reading fairy.
Years later when he was the King and had children himself, they all sat together in the library and enjoyed the written word.