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Fairy Tale

copyright 1996 Maggi Rohde

This is a story about a man named Pete Davidson, who lived by himself,
just down the street.  

In the ditch near his apartment building, there was a car which had lain
silent and still for several weeks. He figured it was just another
abandoned wreck -- until he saw a glowing light in the windows.  It made
him curious.

When he went downstairs to investigate, he found a fairy in the back seat 
of the car.

She was huddled in a ball to shield against the cold, hiding under one
crumpled wing.  She didn't even have the strength to protest when he
picked her up and tucked her into his coat.

He brought her back to the apartment and fed her everything she would eat.
Her favorite were grapes.  They came almost up to her shoulder, and she
would roll them against the salt shaker to brace them, and then stick them
with a toothpick until the skin broke and she could get to the juicy

As the evening passed, she shivered less and smiled more.  By midnight,
she was fast asleep, snoring delicately.  Pete made a bed for her out of a
matchbox and some cotton balls.  She was the most beautiful thing he had
ever seen.

In the morning they ate breakfast together.  The fairy's voice sounded
like windchimes and waterfalls.  Pete felt like his own voice was so rough
and loud in comparison, but she didn't seem to mind.  

When he asked her why she was there, the fairy looked sad and said, "My
best friend went away and left me all alone... so I'm looking for a new
best friend."  Pete was only too happy to oblige.

She asked a lot of questions about Pete and his life.  He was a bit
ashamed, but he told her about how his wife had left him -- she'd said he
was too irresponsible and immature.  And then about how he lost his job --
his projects just never got done.  But the fairy didn't judge him; she
just listened and nodded as if satisfied.  She was so patient and kind.

Days passed.  They went everywhere Pete could think of: the zoo, the
circus, the movies.  They packed lunch into Tupperware containers and had
a picnic in the snow.  They went to the store and spent the last of Pete's
unemployment money on candy and toys and Christmas gifts to each other.  

Pete didn't pay his phone bill, so they came and turned off the phone.  He
forgot about the gas bill and they turned that off, too, but somehow he
couldn't feel the cold.

It wasn't long before Pete noticed strange things were happening to him.
His beard stopped growing, and when he shaved it off, it didn't grow back.
His clothes became looser and he had to start rolling up his pants.  His
voice began to crack.  Finally he asked the fairy if she knew what was
going on, but she just looked at Pete with a little half smile.

And then she told him a beautiful story about an enchanted land, full of
pirates and mermaids and indians, and lots of fairies like herself, where
it was warm all the time and everyone played all day.  And in this land,
people could fly.

She stood on her little fairy toes and looked up at him, and held out her
hand.  "Would you like to learn to fly, Peter?" she asked.

"Yes," he replied.

And he opened the window and followed the fairy out into the clear
December night.

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