Each fairy breath of summer,
as it blows with loveliness,
inspires the blushing rose.
On the day Rose Fairy was born, a young family picnicked in the sunshine. Their chubby firstborn, Barnabus, wore a solemn smile and chewed on his fist. Then his father slipped on the stony ground, and fell smack, bang, boom on the ground with an “Ooof!” that could be heard for miles.
Barnabus’s mom cried out, “Charles, dear, are you okay? Is anything hurt?”
“My pride!” Barnabus’s dad answered with a hand rubbing his bottom, where he landed on the rocks, and straightening his glasses.
Barnabus removed his fist from his mouth, and drew in a deep breath.
“Sandra, the baby!” Charles called. Sandra turned back to the blanket where Barnabus was sitting, and said: “It’s okay, Sweetie, Daddy’s okay.” And Barnabus laughed. He laughed until his face turned pink.
“It’s his first laugh!” Sandra cried, clapping her pretty sun-browned hands and sweeping her long black hair over her shoulder. Charles picked up Barnabus and swung him up in the air. “Look, he has a new tooth, too!” The young family ooh’ed and aah’d over black-haired Barnabus, and they did not notice a tiny sparkle near a pinkish rock. Dagor the Hedgehog did. That sparkle glittered and glinted. When it faded, a fairy was born, willy nilly from the baby’s first laugh and with only Dagor to see her.
Long after the family had left, burbling and calling the grandparents, the new fairy looked around her in bewilderment. She was born far from the nearest garden. In all directions, she could see broken stones. Far away down a slope was a line of trees. In the other direction was a paved road. She would need a garden and a family to look after, but where would she find them? Dagor picked his way carefully over stones.
“My, my, you are as pretty as a rose, my dear. I’m Dagor, your neighbor. You sure have a lot of work to do here.” Dagor looked gloomily at the rocky landscape.
“A Rose? That sounds pretty. Will you call me Rose?” Dagor nodded his brown head. “An auspicious name,” Dagor concurred. Rose felt a little better. Making a friend was a good start to her new life.
Over the next couple of months, Rose and Dagor watched contractors come and go. Materials were lifted off of trucks, and hammered into place with bangs and whooshes of nail guns. After the house formed, topsoil was laid over the stones. Rose was not idle. She built a cairn in the corner, and under that, she formed her fairy lodge. Bee Balm sprang up around it.
Masons came to build a wall, and as she fluttered her wings in distress, they hauled stone right up to her cairn. Day by day, the wall grew longer and higher, the masons selecting rock with great care. At the top, they incorporated purple stones from her cairn into the wall, smoothing the mortar around them. She watched them for a week, and, in the end, they left her fairy lodge undisturbed. The wall became a useful marker from the air. Rose had a soft spot in her heart for all stone masons after that.
When the last great roll of sod unravelled, Rose was ready. She had spoken to the moon, danced in sunshine and flirted with bumblebees. She collected holly berries and left them at the foot of the eldest oak. She buried an acorn at the full moon by the rowan tree, and she felt her magic surge. She sprinkled fairy dust over the new landscape plantings. The next day, she saw tiny new growth.
The leaves grew in quickly before the house painters were even done. Rose worked long days, sprinking fairy dust over all the greenery. The lawn looked green and lush, the bushes put down deep roots, and flowers seeded here and there. All the new growth made Rose twirl in midair, spilling sparkles of fairy magic across a rose bush.
The first flower to unfurl was a blushing rose. Rose thought that first rose one of the most beautiful flowers of nature. Now she had a friend and the beginning of a garden, but would she find a family to look after?
Soon, the banging and hammering was done. Cabinets and appliances were carried inside. Work on pipes, plaster and paint all seemed simultaneous. Stickers came off new windows.
A family arrived. Rose was so nervous, she hid next to Dagor in the tall grass.
“I can’t look! Tell me they look nice!”
“I see something tall, something small, something medium and something in a box.” Dagor nudged her gently with a quill where she was clinging to the underside of a dandelion. “Go on, look! You know you want to.”
“A box?” Rose asked Dagor.
“Just look!” Dagor settled down and closed his eyes, pretending to sleep. Rose peeked up over the grass.
She recognized Barnabus’ black hair immediately. He was now noticeably older, slimmer and walking. Sandra and Charles each held a hand and swung him up onto the wide front porch, all three giggling like children. The bespectacled dad, Charles, was carrying a large box, which he set down on the porch. He opened a small wire door, and out popped an orange cat. Dagor’s nose popped up from the grasses, and he hid again.
“Well, I’m not going to wait for that big orange bully to find me. No one likes me except you.” He headed for the tree line, quills drooping. Rose was so excited she couldn’t think what to say to Dagor, but she watched him go before turning back to the family.
The family was very busy, in and out, out and in, thumps, bumps and giggles. They placed foo dogs on the porch, fierce and protective. All day, the movers carried boxes and furniture into the house. That night, the orange cat surprised her under a bush. She flew up to the foo dog nervously.
“I’m Purrr-cy! You certainly are purrr-ty.”
“Thank you! Pleased to meet you, Purrcy the Cat. What a gentleman you are.” Rose fluttered down and scratched behind his ears. He closed his eyes with purr-fect joy. “The houses with fairies at the bottom of the garden are the best houses of all. We were living in an apartment while we waited for this house to be finished.”
“I’m so happy a family has moved in. Are they nice people?”
“I would not stick around if they were not,” Purrcy purred with satisfaction, flexing his toes with pleasure.
“My friend Dagor would love to be friends with you, too.”
“He’s a hedgehog. He has been my friend my whole life.” Purrcy smiled by wiggling his whiskers, and called hello to Dagor, whose nose was peeking up over the grass again.
“Purrr, pleased to meet you, Dagor!” Purrcy wiggled his whiskers in a feline grin. “You look like a fierce fellow.” Just then Sandra came out, holding Barnabus, who was swinging a ragged giraffe around in the air, narrowly missing his mother’s nose. They sat together on a swing and rocked.
“Mamamamama,” Barnabus pointed out with great enthusiasm. Purrcy nodded at Rose, and went to curl up on Sandra’s lap. Barnabus dropped his giraffe to grab Purrcy’s ear. Purrcy rolled a hairy eyeball toward Rose, and then winked.
“Yes, Sweetie, it’s a beautiful night,” his mother translated Barnabus’s babbling loosely. “I see our roses bloomed pink,” she sighed with disappointment. “They must have been mislabeled, I had hoped for red.” Rose was surprised, but she decided to gift Sandra her first wish as a housewarming present.
That very night, while Barnabus slept on his knees, his ragged giraffe under his arm and his diapered butt high in the air, Rose spoke to the moon, and the moon granted its radiance to her fairy magic. Slowly, the moonlight and fairy singing turned the roses red.
The next day, Sandra could not believe her eyes.
“Charles, come see the roses.” Sandra and Charles cha cha’d around the yard, celebrating the brilliant red color while Barnabus clung to the bottom step and wiggled his whole body with reflected joy. Dagor watched with hedgehog stoicism. “Can’t imagine why they want to dance,” he thought to himself.
“The little people must be pleased we are here,” Charles said. “We need to leave them a gift for granting your wish.”
The young family left out bowls of milk for the wee folk every night afterwards. Purrcy was delighted with the milk. Rose was delighted to have a family to look after. Every year, the garden grew more beautiful. The roses were always red.
Copyright 2013 Brenda Davis Harsham