MUSED
BellaOnline Literary Review
Three Women by Christine Kesara Dennett

Fiction
The Fairy Pageant

Michelle Taylor

Long ago, when the forest was full of trees and nature was still known as alive, the Faeries that lived in the woodland could often be heard filling the night air with their laughter and music.

Faeries: Dryads, Pixies and Elves would throw dances and parties that lasted months at a time. Wearing beautiful gowns, jewels, and flowers they would vie for the attention of the men of their kind. They would try to captivate humans with their beauty, luring them into the forest where they often forgot the mortal world, until one day they would stumble back out into the fields and wonder what spell they had been under.

But ultimately, all Faeries wanted the attention of Gaia, the Earth Mother. She was the Queen of all things in nature, and also was a Mother to all the spirits living in the forest. She was a loving Mother, kind to all - plant or animal that lived on her soil. Humans had forgotten her face, but Nature’s spirits remembered her embrace and loved her dearly. Gaia looked upon her children fondly, knowing them to be mischievous but fun loving and innocent.

She also loved to grant requests that would make her children happy.

One such request came from a tiny pixie with raven hair and green eyes whose smile could always wring joy from others.

“Mother,” her voice like tiny bells, “our dresses have gotten so boring. They are always green.”

“But my little beauty, green looks so lovely on you and all my children.”

“Can we try some different colors? I love the colors of the flowers, but they do not make good dresses as the leaves do.”

And Gaia was charmed by the dimple and the smile and decided to let her children have more colors to choose from.

So she had the trees´ leaves change colors; some were red, some orange, others yellow, and some even turned brown, while a few remained green for those who still loved their green dresses.

Gaia was so enchanted by how much fun her children were having, she declared they would have a contest – a pageant to decide who had the most beautiful dress.

So for months the pixies pulled leaves from the trees making more and more dresses. Extravagant dresses, simple dresses, dresses that had no sleeves to hold them up, but by magic stayed in place, dresses that they decorated with stones pulled from the stream or gems from the caves. Every night there was a different winner, for there was always some new delight to behold.

Until one day in December the Dryads, the spirits of the trees, came to Gaia shivering and in pain.

“Please, Mother,” they cried, “Please put an end to these pageants. Our trees have no more leaves. They are cold, they shiver in the night, and they stand bare to the world and are ashamed of their ugliness. Our trees cry to us for protection and to keep the pixies away, for they are now causing them pain as they rip the last leaves away!”

And Gaia wept for her poor trees. But she knew that if she put leaves on them again, the pixies would just keep on with their contest, so she decided to do something different.

She spoke to the Dryads, “Tell your trees that they need not fear the pixies any longer. Tell them also that they shall be the most beautiful entities in the forest.” And Gaia called down snow and ice to coat the trees. At first the trees were cold, but Gaia warmed the Earth underneath them and gently lulled the trees and the Dryads to slumber. Meanwhile the ice crystals formed on the trees sparkled like diamonds in the light. The snow that banked up against the trees looked like soft fur. And so the trees were most glorious, and soon the pageants were forgotten in the splendor of winter.

But soon the elves came to Gaia on behalf of the animals that lived in the woodland.

“Mother Gaia, the winter coating is beautiful indeed, but it hides the food that our animal friends need to survive. Many of them have slept these past few months, but now they are awakening and still cannot find food.” They pleaded with the Earth Mother, “Please, let the ice melt and food grow again for these innocent animals.”

And Gaia was once again struck by how her eagerness to help one of her children had managed to hurt another.

So she brought the Earth closer to the sun, and the snow and ice melted. The trees warmed up and woke, as did the grass and flowers and bushes with berries. The animals stretched from their dens of hibernation and quickly sought out nuts and berries and thanked the elves for their help.

The Earth continued to awake and grow, blooming and spreading. Soon, however, Gaia realized she missed the deep greens and scents that had always been part of the woodland. But this time she wanted to make sure no one was hurt by any changes she made. So she called a meeting of all of Fairyland.

“My Children” she intoned, “this past year I have tried to make each of you happy in your own way. But each time I tried, I have made another of you unhappy.” She paused, with thoughts heavy on her mind and heart.

“I love all of you equally, and would wish that every single one of you would be joyous at all times. But each of you wants different things. I cannot grant all wishes at the same time.

“So we must compromise. We will each have a period of time that is ours to enjoy to the fullest, then we will share our time with our siblings so that they may enjoy their time. Because part of family is wanting those that you love to be as happy as you are.”

The woodland broke out into a cheer. Because above all else, the Faeries were a family and enjoyed seeing their brothers and sisters were having fun, too. They also loved change, because they became so easily bored, so by alternating the seasons they would not be discontented.

So is the story of the Seasons. So is the story of Family, and how a Mother may not always be able to please all of her children all of the time, but all may have true happiness and love.

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