A FAIRY STORY FOR GROWN-UPS by KATHERINE HARRINGTON

A FAIRY STORY FOR GROWN-UPS
by KATHERINE HARRINGTON

Oh! to bed, mother? So soon? See, the tulips are still open and the dandelions are as bright as day. Let's sit here in the willow rocker by the window. Please! just until the tulips close—and I'll whisper you the biggest secret, you could never guess. Listen. Do you know, there's a fairy lives on our front porch, right here in the honey-suckle? I found her one morning before breakfast, looking for the song sparrow's nest. And she showed me another fairy, too, who lives in the locust tree that grows by the roadside, and blows perfume on the people as they pass by. Yes, it is the fairy who blows down perfume! The perfume could never get out of the flowers at all, if it weren't for the fairies to blow it.

And it's the fairies who are my little sisters, mother, and we play together sometimes. Don't you remember once we were playing out in my sand-pile and I said, "Here! you're playing in my sand!", and then you came out of your kitchen—remember?—and said, "Who are you talking to?", and I laughed at you, and the fairies laughed too, and turned somersaults at you and said you were a grown-up. Yes they did! And you are a grown-up, too, and you don't know that we have a house. But we have, and if you ask me where it is and what is in it, I'll say, "I won't tell!" because then you'd say "Wha-a-t?" and frown your face and squint your eyes at me—See! See! You're doing it now!

Oh, at night? Why! didn't the fairies ever tell you what happens at night? You're so funny, mother. Why, every night at twelve o'clock when everyone's in bed and the big gas light on the corner has gone out, the lilies of the valley ring their bells and the wind-harps play and all the flower fairies in our garden come out and dance in the starlight—all except one— Oh, I can't tell you about him; because, see, it makes big tears come in my eyes. He's a poor little lame fairy that lives in a violet, and when he was a baby his mother told him that he was a violet-fairy and that he must always sleep in violets. But one night he said he was tired of sleeping in violets, and so he creeped out real still and went hippity-hop just as c-a-re-ful over into the pasture and crawled into an empty dandelion and went fast to sleep. But oh dear, dear, dear! by and by a big, nasty cow came along, and because there wasn't any dandelion fairy to tell her not to, she lay right down on that dandelion with the violet-fairy in it. And that's how he's lame in one foot and can't dance. But the fairies never tell it to anyone, and we all dance together—and we have such fun! I tell them how to make mud-pies, and they show me how to suck the honey from nasturtiums and how they make the three-leaved clovers grow to four.

But here is the biggest secret of all! Last night after supper when you were washing the dishes, I slipped out on the porch to watch the fairy ^hut up the honey-suckles. And as I was watching, she smiled at me and whispered: "Would you like to be a sweet-perfume flower?" And I said, "Yes," and clapped my hands. Then you came and snatched me up to bed; and on the way up-stairs you put your head close down on me, like this, and said: "Mm-m-m, but you smell good! You've been in the rose garden." That's how you said, mother, but I just laughed at you, for I knew what had happened—and the fairy lives on our front porch, in the honey-suckle.