Mrs. Padget lived down the street from Adelle, and always said hello when Adelle and her brother, Farr, rode by on their bicycles. Adelle and Farr were 7 and 8 years old, and Mrs. Padget was older than their grandmother. One day, Mrs. Padget was out planting begonias. She called: “Adelle!” Adelle stopped her bike. “Adelle, never fall asleep in a fairy circle!” Adelle was so surprised that at first she didn’t know what to say.
“What’s a fairy circle?” Adelle asked. Mrs. Padget just shook her head and repeated: “Never fall asleep by the Misty Lake hillside or you might find out.” Adelle’s brother rode by. She told him about the warning, but he said Mrs. Padget was just trying to scare her, and she shouldn’t worry about it. Misty Lake was just up the street from their house, and they often rode their bikes there to picnic or swim. Adelle looked many times that summer, but she never saw any fairies.
Adelle and Farr played with their friends during the long, hot days. One day, a group of them picnicked beside the hill and watched swallows flying over Misty Lake. The lake was mistier as the sun set. Adelle’s eyes felt heavy, and she nodded off on the picnic blanket, which was in the shade of a thick oak tree. She did not notice the red circle in the grass. Soon she was surrounded by fairies, their wings shining. Soft clothing floating as they danced. They were the most beautiful creatures Adelle had ever seen with sparking eyes and long, slender limbs. She got up and danced with them. She did not feel tired, she did not feel hungry, and she did not feel thirsty. She danced on and on.
A piper and a drummer kept the music lilting and lively. All the dancers took turns holding her hand and spinning her around. She never got dizzy or breathless. One of the dancers was a young girl like herself, except her thick hair was red and not brown. The red-haired girl was wearing an old-fashioned, long, green dress.
After awhile, she felt as though someone were shaking her. She became confused, she tried to hold onto the dancers, but soon she was looking up into her brother’s eyes. She was lying on the picnic blanket. Darkness was falling.
“I want to go back to the dancers!” Adelle cried, feeling lost at leaving all the beauty and happiness of the dancing fairies. Her brother now looked confused: “What dancers? You’ve been here sleeping. You must have been dreaming.”
“It was too real! I was dancing and spinning to beautiful music. The fairies were so beautiful. Oh, no! I fell asleep by the hillside!” Adelle realized. “I must have been in the fairy circle. Let’s go ask Mrs. Padget.” The children ran to her house and knocked.
“Your brother saved your life!” Mrs. Padget exclaimed when the children explained. “My sister fell asleep by that hill one summer day, and she was never seen or heard from again! She had borrowed my new, green dress without asking.”
“A green dress!” exclaimed Adelle, thinking of the girl dancing with the fairies. “I saw a red-haired girl in a green dress dancing with the fairies.”
“Maybe that was Shelley. Shelley had beautiful, thick red hair.” Mrs. Padget said sadly. “My mother always said that the fairies take those who fall under their spell. She has been missing 70 years. She has never come home. You are a lucky girl.”
Adelle felt happy that Farr had saved her, but always she remembered dancing with the fairies. She liked to think of them there, dancing still with Mrs. Padget’s sister. Perhaps Shelley was happier there. But Adelle took care never to fall asleep by the hillside again.
Copyright 2013 Brenda Davis Harsham