Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 10

QueenContinued from: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 9

The force of the water pounded Belinda deep below the surface. Belinda saw only clouds of bubbles and heard only her own thrashing. She bobbed to the surface, her arms and legs flailing, and the current raced her downstream. She coughed and gasped and tried to swim to the river’s bank, but her tiny body could not fight the river’s course. Her drenched wings were pasted against her back. The final, insignificant spot of fairy dust was clumped, wet and useless, in her bag.

A fallen branch reached into the running current. Belinda grabbed it and pulled herself toward the river’s bank, almost making it to safety, but the end of the branch broke off, returning her to the mercy of the rushing stream.

Holding the broken branch, she wove down the river, her mouth filling with gulps of water every time she tried to take a breath. Ahead of her, rocks jutted from the water’s surface. The river bubbled and churned, water splashing in explosions of spray.

The fairy plunged into the white waters, rushing between rocks, the river trying to peel her from the branch. The branch veered down a tributary, and Belinda held tight, her legs hanging limply in the water behind her.

The branch caught between two rocks, stopping short, and Belinda was forced to let go. She thrashed under water, helpless as a lightning bug shaken in a jar. She found it hard to hold her breath as more and more water forced its way into her mouth and nose. Whenever she broke the river’s surface, she was immediately yanked under again.

Finally, the rapids eased, the rocks dispersed, the white water subsided, but Belinda still found it difficult to keep her head above the surface. Her muscles ached. Her lungs burned. Her head pounded. She wanted to stop and rest, but there was nowhere she could. Her body felt as if an anchor was attached to her ankle. Through blurry eyes, she spotted an outcropping of land jutting into the river. Belinda reached it and crawled up the riverbank to safety.

Belinda collapsed onto the ground. The sun beat down on her. She felt her energy evaporating, the sun draining her powers as the queen had warned. Belinda needed to return to Dreaming Mountain and replenish her light.

She staggered to her feet. The bright colors and kaleidoscopic movements of her dreaming eyes were beginning to fade. She felt dizzy and tired. She tried beating her wings, but they sagged behind her. She peered into her broken bag and found nothing in it but a tiny patch of caked, gold mud. Belinda walked along the river’s edge, deciding that if she couldn’t fly home, then she would walk, no matter how long it took. But her body ached, and she was exhausted.

Be wary of frogs. Don’t get wet. Do not allow your magic to fall into the hands of others.

Being a fairy was more than beauty and magic. Fairies had as much responsibility as any other creature. Her friends in the forest were right, their friend was gone, and all that remained was a fairy that couldn’t perform the simple tasks of everyday fairy life. The determination to walk home, no matter how long it took, drained from Belinda. For it is an elf that is stubborn, not fairies. Belinda sat on the ground and cried.

As she sobbed, she heard a rustling from the woods. She looked up to see an owl standing beside a giant elk. The two animals silently regarded the weeping fairy.

Belinda could not recognize the two creatures. They looked to her simply as animals, an owl and an elk to be exact, no different from any other. But deep in her heart, she knew who they were.

“Aristotle? Goliath?” Belinda whispered.

The two animals watched her with the blank stare of “unthinking” creatures, but Belinda knew of the owl’s wisdom, and of the elk’s devotion, and she knew she would never realize those wonderful qualities again. Belinda rolled into a ball on the ground, crying harder.

Something nudged her. Looking up, she found the elk nuzzling her with its massive snout. He was silent, his thoughts muted from her, but he would always be her friend.

Belinda then looked to the owl. “Aristotle, what should I do?” she said.

“Who. Who,” the owl answered in the voice all owls use to those that cannot understand them.

Belinda cried harder, putting her face in her hands. “I’m no fairy. My heart is that of an elf. It always has been. The only magic I need is that of my friends’ love.”

The elk nudged her again.

Belinda looked up through a prism of tears, seeing a flurry of glowing balls rise from the ground like sparks from a fire. The balls combined into a bright flash of light, and there, before Belinda’s eyes, stood The Fairy Queen.

“Don’t cry, Belinda,” the queen said.

“Your highness, I have failed at being a fairy. I have been unable to follow the rules and laws that govern your magnificent culture,” Belinda said.

“Belinda, my dear child, how could you ever expect to follow such rules? They are rules for a fairy. You are an elf. You have not failed, you have merely learned.”

“Then it’s not too late to be turned back into an elf?” Belinda asked.

“Belinda, you have always been an elf in your heart,” The Fairy Queen said. “But,” the queen said, “before I return you to your elf body, you must follow three laws. Number one: you will recall no knowledge of fairy magic, nor the entrance to Dreaming Mountain, and you must never attempt to rediscover them. Number two: You must remember that each creature is different and unique, and you must always respect and honor that fact. And number three: You must respect and honor yourself, and remember to look for your beauty in your heart. Do you understand the meanings of these laws, and the importance of them?”

“Yes,” Belinda said. And she truly did understand!

“Very well, then,” The Fairy Queen said, raising her arms.

Tiny fireballs engulfed Belinda in a ball of light, and when the light vanished, Belinda was in her old, familiar body.

The Fairy Queen smiled, and with a sweep of her arm, she turned to bright light, shattering into millions of starbursts that faded into the daylight.

“Welcome home, Belinda,” said Aristotle.

Belinda turned to face the owl and the elk, which were now clearly her friends Aristotle and Goliath.

She scooped the owl into her arms, “I’m glad to be back,” she said.

“I missed you, Belinda,” Goliath said in his low voice, his eyes looking down at the ground in his shy manner.

Belinda latched onto his thick neck. “I missed you, too, my friend. But most of all, I missed myself.”

“I’m glad you finally came to your senses,” said Aristotle. “Now, come along, there are many friends that wish to welcome you home.”

And as the three friends walked deeper into the Great Forest, the trees were happy to have their elfin friend returned, and the leaves above clapped in applause.

The End

Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 9

SquirrelContinued from: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 8

Belinda continued to fly about the forest, lost in the labyrinth of trees. She came across a squirrel foraging for nuts on the ground.

“Excuse me, Mr. Squirrel,” she said, once again, unable to recognize the squirrel to refer to him by name. “Could you please point me in the direction in which the Great River lies?”

The squirrel looked at Belinda, his whiskers twitching, Belinda’s glow reflecting in his dark, curious eyes. Belinda hesitated, hopeful for a response. But none came.

“Oh, it’s useless, no one can help me.”

The squirrel returned to his foraging. Belinda watched him dart about, picking up acorns, studying them, and discarding them.

“Who could help me?” Belinda said. “This squirrel could, if only he could understand the fairies’ language.”

Belinda once again remembered her magic dust. She took a handful of the lightning sand and approached the squirrel, who was sniffing at a pinecone. She tossed the dust, drenching the small creature in a cloud of light. The squirrel’s eyes brightened and his fur glowed.

“Squirrel,” Belinda said, “Lead me to the Great River.”

The squirrel nodded and scampered into the forest. Belinda followed, flying rapidly, dodging and weaving through branches and underbrush. She thought she lost her furry guide when he burst into a tangle of roots and brush, but he came out the other side, still running for the river.

After a time, Belinda heard rushing water in the distance. She flew ahead of the squirrel and landed on a small stone to rest. The squirrel bounded up to her.

“That will be all, Mr. Squirrel. I can find my way from here. Thank you very much. I release you from my magic.”

The luster drained from the squirrel’s fur and eyes. He looked, at first, somewhat confused by his new location, but then he didn’t seem to mind the change in scenery as he began nudging a berry with his nose.

Belinda placed her bag of dust at her feet and stretched her arms. She sat on the stone. Her tiny wings had done a lot of work, and she needed to rest. Her first day as a fairy was truly a strange experience. The world had lost its familiarity. It was an ever-changing mystery, and she was confused about her place in it. But it didn’t matter. She couldn’t wait to see her friends. They would stare in shock, speechless from her beauty. They wouldn’t be able to take their eyes off of her. Now that she was a fairy, they would love her more than anything.

As Belinda sat, her squirrel guide scurried up behind her, sniffing at the ground. He stopped at Belinda’s open bag. His whiskers twitched and his nose wiggled as he sniffed the bag’s contents. He stuck his head into the bag and tasted the dust inside it.

“Wow!” the squirrel yelled, jumping up on his hind legs, his fur turning gold.

Belinda turned with a gasp.

The squirrel held her bag of magic and danced about the forest’s floor.

“Yeeha!” the squirrel hollered, reaching into the bag and scattering the dust like confetti.

“Hey!” Belinda shouted. “That’s not yours! Give it back!”

But the squirrel didn’t hear, or listen. He ran away, still distributing the magic dust all about him. A handful landed on a wildflower, and the flower sprouted to be twenty feet tall. Another handful engulfed a passing chipmunk, and the chipmunk cartwheeled in circles. Another handful touched a bird, and the bird flew off faster than a shooting star.

The squirrel disappeared into the underbrush. Belinda frantically followed. She knew she was going in the right direction, for the squirrel left a trail of magical blunders.

Belinda passed a rabbit that was singing a moving melody in a deep, baritone voice, his hands clasped passionately over his heart, his eyes looking skyward.

The fairy continued to fight through vines and branches, breaking into a clearing that bordered the river. Belinda recognized the waterfall she loved to sit beside as an elf.

She searched for the squirrel.

On the riverbank, a frog hopped in a series of back flips. In the river, a fish levitated above the water’s surface.

“Oh, dear,” Belinda gasped.

She found the squirrel tossing the dust onto the river’s rushing water, forming small patches of ice. “Yeeha!” the squirrel hollered.

Belinda grabbed hold of the bag. The squirrel held tight to the strap. Belinda tugged. The squirrel tugged. Belinda’s wings fluttered. The squirrel leaned back in defiant determination. Until, Snap! the bag’s strap snapped, spilling the remainder of magic dust and catapulting Belinda into the waterfall. She disappeared into the mist.

Continued in: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 10

 

Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 8

Fairy Tale TreeContinued from: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 7

Belinda darted through the trees of her old, woodland home. As an elf, she knew every inch of the Great Forest, but now, as a fairy in the same woods, Belinda was lost. Each tree looked different, but each tree looked the same, and every time she came to a place she’d just been, she found a new gathering of identical trees.

Belinda hovered beside a tree. As an elf, she talked with and confided secrets to these trees. They guided her in numerous ways in the past, and perhaps they could help her now.

“Mr. Tree,” Belinda said—using such an informal address, for she could not recognize the tree to call it by name—“I am lost, and you have guided me in the past. Please point me in the direction of the river, for that will lead me to my friends.”

The tree didn’t respond.

“Oh, please answer me. I wish to find my way. Please help.”

But the tree remained silent.

She was about to fly off, when she remembered her magic. She was a fairy, after all, with an entire bag of magic dust. Belinda reached into her bag and pulled out a million tiny stars, and with a flick of her wrist, she doused the tree with them. “I wish for this tree to answer me,” she said.

The tree began to glow. Then a small section of its bark twisted into two round eyes with knots as eyeballs. Between these eyes, sprung a small branch nose, and below the nose, a crevice appeared for a mouth. The knot eyes looked about, and then at Belinda. The crevice mouth drew into a smile.

“Hello, Mr. Tree,” Belinda said.

“Why, hello, Belinda,” the tree said with a hearty voice and laugh. “My, it’s good to see you. You look wonderful!”

“Why, thank you,” Belinda said.

“What can I do for you, Belinda?” the tree asked in its powerful, friendly voice. It was a voice Belinda never heard from a tree before. Trees usually spoke in soft whispers of wisdom. They were never concerned with greetings or flattery.

“Mr. Tree,” Belinda said, “which way is it to the Great River?”

“Why, it’s over there,” the tree said, rolling its eyes in an indistinguishable direction.

“Where?”

“That way,” the tree said, rolling its eyes again.

Belinda looked in the direction she guessed it meant, and saw only a deeper forest.

“Well, glad I could help…” the tree said.

“No, wait,” Belinda cried.

“…I’ve got to go now…”

“Please,” Belinda said.

“…Hope to see you again soon,” the tree said. “Goodbye, now.”

And with that, the tree’s face reverted back to a pattern of bark.

Continued in: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 9 

 

Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 7

Belinda FairyContinued from: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 6

Belinda’s luminance revealed a constricted cavern.

“Hello?” Belinda called, her voice muffled in the small hall.

Belinda then heard the same low note, like someone drawing a bow across a bass string. Daylight streamed in through a growing opening as the tone traveled out. Then the opening slammed shut, snuffing Belinda’s view of the outside.

Be careful of frogs, her friend had warned, they are an unthinking creature and often mistake fairies for dragonflies.

Belinda was caught in a frog’s mouth! The sound she heard—like a bow across a bass string—to a dreamer’s ear, was actually a frog’s croak.

“Okay, Mr. Frog,” Belinda laughed. “You’ve caught the wrong winged prey. I’m no dragonfly! I’m Belinda, a fairy! Hello? Mr. Frog?”

The frog’s croak escaped through his opened mouth, but the mouth promptly collapsed shut once more.

“Oh, dear,” Belinda said, thinking with her chin rested on her hands. The frog obviously couldn’t hear her, and now she was trapped. But an idea sprung to mind. Finding one’s self trapped only happened to boring beings, like elves. She dug in her bag of fairy dust and tossed a handful into the frog’s mouth.

The mouth opened and shut with a sound like, “Ah…” and then again, “Ah…” and again, “Ah…” And then Belinda shot from captivity with a very loud, “Choo!”

She skipped and bounced across the ground into a flailing, flopping landing. She stood, brushing dirt and grime from her, and gave the frog a stern look with her hands on her hips.

“Now just what did you think you were doing? Can’t you see that I’m no dragonfly?” Belinda scolded.

The frog answered with no more than a croak. He made no statement or apology, just an inarticulate sound with a blank expression on his face.

“Silly creature,” Belinda huffed, turning and flying away.

Continued in: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 8

Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 6

Belinda at the StreamContinued from: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 5

The next morning, Belinda decided to visit her old friends in the Great Forest and show them just how beautiful she had become. Before she set out through the secret entrance, one of her new, fairy friends stopped her. “Belinda,” her friend said, “be careful of frogs. They are unthinking creatures and sometimes mistake fairies for dragonflies.”

“I’ll be careful,” Belinda assured her new friend, and then took off into the day.

The world was a dazzling array of colors and movement. In the sky, the sun was a bright ball, looking so tangible, Belinda felt she could reach out and grab it. Clouds changed shapes: one looked like a giant, sailing ship, and then it turned into a mighty dragon. The tall, green grass was a sea of shining emerald, and when the wind ripped through the blades, it created waves like the sea’s tide.

Belinda skimmed the tips of grass blades and enjoyed the birds’ melodies. Their songs seemed to travel through the air in draped ribbons of sound. She looped and turned into barrel rolls and dives. It was truly a wonderful morning, and Belinda flew high to watch the young daylight on her new, fairy world.

As she looked upon the dancing tree limbs, animated clouds, and the ocean of green grass, she felt no life, heard no animals’ voices or trees’ thoughts. The world was a magical, moving painting—no life, only fantasy.

She came upon the running stream that she had crossed as an elf before meeting with Aristotle for the last time. The rushing water looked like solid crystal and sounded as if it ran in one of her ears and out the other. Belinda landed on one of the rocks she had used, as an elf, to get from one side to the other. She laughed at the stream’s music and then heard a low note, like a bow being drawn across a bass string. Belinda thought little of it, and as she flew off, something grabbed hold of her, whisking her into darkness.

Continued in: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 7

Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 5

Mountain FlowersContinued from: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 4

Belinda’s first night as a fairy was the most exciting of her life. She and her new fairy friends left the mountain and flew into the night. Belinda found flying to be quite easy. It was just a natural reflex in her wings, and she mastered it quickly. She climbed and dove through the air, leaving a glittering trail behind her.

She looked into the clear sky, wanting to see the stars that she now burned as bright as, but the radiance from her body made the stars look like faded pinholes. But she didn’t care, she had gotten her wish, she was a fairy, and now the world would be seen through a dreamer’s eyes and filled with wishes and magic.

Belinda darted past a bed of flowers that were closed up for the night. When her light washed over them, they opened. They didn’t look like any flowers she’d seen before. They shifted in size and shape, never holding the same color for long.

“Beautiful flowers, aren’t they?” a fairy asked Belinda.

“They’re different than anything I’ve seen before,” Belinda said. “What kind of magical flowers are they?”

“They’re roses,” the other fairy said.

“I’ve never seen roses like this,” Belinda said.

“You’ve never been a fairy before,” the other fairy said. “You’re seeing them through a dreamer’s eyes. From now on, you will hear with a dreamer’s ear, touch with a dreamer’s hand. Remember, Belinda, now you are a fairy.”

“Those are common roses?”

“Of course they are,” the fairy laughed, darting away in a wake of gold.

Belinda approached the gnarled trees she had seen earlier. The trees’ branches swayed and danced in her light. She asked the trees what they knew about fairy life, but they would not answer Belinda. She could neither feel their knowledge nor sense their lives. Belinda then remembered that fairies could not communicate with trees as elves could.

Later, the fairies showed Belinda how to enter the secret entrance of Dreaming Mountain and they brought her to her new lantern-shaped home. Belinda flew into her tiny house, which was a single, empty room.

A fairy popped her head into Belinda’s room. “Do you like your new home?”

“It’s nice,” Belinda shrugged. “Can I decorate it?”

“Decorate it?” the fairy’s flute-like voice giggled. “You silly elf, fairies don’t need to decorate. Imagine decorations if you must.” The fairy flew off laughing.

Belinda plopped onto her home’s floor and fell into a dreamless sleep.

Continued in: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 6

Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 4

The Fairy QueenContinued from: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 3

At first, Belinda was frightened. The rocks of the mountain were ominous, and as the fairies passed with their internal light, the rocks’ shapes shifted like restless ghosts. The fairies led Belinda through a secret passage, and suddenly, she was in a universe of light and wonder.

The entire mountain was hollow. The walls rose to a distant ceiling thousands of feet above her. Countless lantern shaped objects hung from unseen sources—tiny homes, which fairies darted in and out of, illuminating the walls when they remained inside.

The fairies brought Belinda into a large, empty chamber that, when her escorts left, became dimly lit.

Glowing balls whirled up from the floor like sparks from a campfire, weaving into a giant flash of light, so bright, Belinda’s shadow froze on the wall and remained there for some time. The blinding light faded, revealing a tall, beautiful woman with giant wings and eyes like two stars. She was a hundred times bigger than any fairy Belinda had ever seen, and Belinda knew instantly that it was The Fairy Queen.

“Welcome, child,” the vision greeted with a voice ringing like plucked harp strings.

Belinda dropped to one knee. “Greetings, your highness. I am Belinda, a tree elf from the Great Forest.”

“What brings you to Dreaming Mountain, Belinda?” the queen asked with amusement in her voice.

“I have come to ask that you please grant me a wish,” Belinda said.

The queen said, “If I granted wishes to all who came to ask, there would be a sea of creatures perpetually engulfing our mountain home.”

“But, you see, your highness, my wish is to join you. I wish to be a fairy. Please, I beg you to help me.”

“Now, child, what would a Tree Elf want in becoming a fairy?”

“I wish to fly like a leaf in the wind. I wish to create magic and live in dreams. I wish to see the reflection of my inner, radiant light. I wish to live the life of a fairy, and if you do not grant me this wish, then I will return tomorrow and ask again. And if not then, I will return the next day, and then the next, and the next, for my heart is the heart of a fairy, and I will not give up until that heart is in its rightful place.”

The Fairy Queen laughed and, remembering the stubbornness of Tree Elves, found it better to avoid a useless argument. She would grant Belinda’s wish.

“But,” the queen said, “there are laws which a fairy must abide by. Number one: a fairy’s magic must never be used for evil or greed. Two: a fairy must never reveal the secret passage to Dreaming Mountain. And third: a fairy must never allow her magic into the hands of others. Do you understand the meanings of these laws, and the importance of them?”

“Oh, yes,” Belinda said, her heart filled with joy, knowing her dream was about to be realized. “I am ready.”

“Not yet, child,” the queen laughed. “Those are the Grand Laws. But there are also rules to fairy life that will allow that life to run its full course. First: you must stay clear of water, for your wings cannot become wet. Second: do not linger in the sunlight too long, for it drains a fairy’s light. And third: reserve your magic, for sometimes it can be exhausted faster than you think. Now, do you understand the meanings of these rules, and the importance of them?”

“Oh, yes,” Belinda said.

“Very well then,” said the queen. “Are you ready?”

“Yes, I am!”

The queen raised her arms. Tiny balls of fire rose from the floor, engulfing Belinda, creating a cocoon of light that shrank into a small, bright sphere. The sphere of light disintegrated from the tiny body of a fairy named Belinda.

Continued in: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 5

Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 3

Fairy TreesContinued from: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 2

As the sun sank into the western horizon, the shadow of Dreaming Mountain washed across the land like a black ocean. The sky was a furnace of colors. Bright red bled into the air, staining the bottoms of clouds with gold and scarlet. Long bands of sunrays shot into the deepening violet above Dreaming Mountain, which stood against the sunset as if someone had cut out the sky like fabric.

Belinda paused to rest. Sitting on a large stone, she watched the sun surrender the sky to the stars. Landmarks, such as trees and hills, blended into a landscape of darkness as the final rays of the sun winked out and night manipulated the land into a world of its own. The stars hung, low and dazzling, in the sky. Dreaming Mountain stood, darker than night, in the distance.

Belinda was tired, but she couldn’t wait to see The Fairy Queen, and so, she continued on her way. As she pushed on, she heard strange, nightly sounds—howls, buzzes, chirps. The night closed in about her, gripping her with fear. Her heart pounded, her breath quickened, her eyes found only darkness. The wind blew the tall grass she traveled through, and the blades whispered: Shouldn’t have come. Shouldn’t have come. Shouldn’t have come.

In this foreign land, Belinda worried about goblins and spirits, but the young elf pressed on, trying not to think about her fear. A loud noise, similar to a bark, erupted behind her, breaking her will and pushing her into a frightened run. The noise and dark chased her into a gathering of gnarled trees, their branches reaching like grasping hands. The howls and screams of the night spiraled around her, coming from every direction. Her legs felt weak, her head spun, tears filled her eyes, and she began to sob.

Out of the darkness, a soft light winked like a distant flash of lightning. Belinda drew in her breath and held it, her eyes scanning the darkness. She saw another flash. Then another. And another. And then a bright glow ate up the darkness, and there came the singing hum of tiny wings.

Fairies flew about the young elf, some hovering around Belinda, others darting through the dark, leaving streaks of light like paint made of sunshine. The fairies took Belinda’s hand and led her to Dreaming Mountain.

Continued in: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 4

Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 2

AristotleContionued from: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 1

Belinda continued her journey, the news of her quest still rippling along the leaves high above her: Belinda, don’t go.

As she traveled, the woods thinned. The sun approached the far horizon, causing shadows to reach for full length. Songs of crickets and tree frogs replaced the songs of birds. Belinda crossed a small stream on raised, rounded rocks. She heard the residing bullfrogs call in their low voices: Don’t go. Don’t go. Don’t go. Even the tree frogs, with their whistling chirps, hailed: Stay. Stay. Stay.

The Great Forest was all but behind her, only a few trees remaining on the woodland’s edge. In the distance, Dreaming Mountain looked over the surrounding landscape like a king upon a kingdom. With the sight of her destination, Belinda’s determination strengthened and her pace quickened.

“Belinda, stop!” a voice commanded.

Belinda stopped with a gasp.

The tall grass before her parted, and out stepped Aristotle the owl. He held his wing before him in a halting manner. His wide, circular eyes, looking somehow wider, held a combination of disapproval and bewilderment. “When I was told by the trees that an elf, who (he pronounced this word with the sound all owls are known to make) I thought had such elfin spirit and good sense, was going to run away to become a fairy, I didn’t believe it. I actually doubted those very trees, even though I know they never lie. And now that I see you approaching Dreaming Mountain, I doubt my own eyes.”

Belinda looked at her feet, feeling ashamed. Aristotle was a very wise and respected figure, one who taught elves the secrets of the forest, and now he traveled to demand that she go no further.

“What were you thinking?” he said.

“I want to be a fairy!” Belinda cried.

“Why?”

“Because I want to be beautiful and magical, not ugly and boring.”

Aristotle’s intense eyes softened. “Belinda, no creature is more beautiful than another, each one holds an unexplainable secret to its own beauty, equal to the next. Fairies are no more beautiful than elves, only different.”

“I don’t believe that. When I see a fairy, I see someone much more beautiful than my own reflection.”

“That’s not because you are looking at the wrong reflection, it is because you are looking at the reflection wrong,” Aristotle said.

“I don’t care what anyone says. I know you are wise, Aristotle, and I have great respect for you, but no one can change my mind.”

“You should be happy with who you are,” Aristotle said, once again hooting on the word who.

“I’ll be happy as a fairy.”

Aristotle was familiar with the inherent stubbornness of elves. He knew elves had to learn from experience, they could not be told. The old owl stepped aside, knowing Belinda was on a course that would not change. He lowered his head and said, “Farewell, my elfin friend.”

“I’ll come back to see you as a fairy,” she assured her old teacher. “I promise.”

“Farewell, my elfin friend,” the old owl repeated.

Continued in: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 3 

Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 1

BelindaBelinda sighed. As she regarded her boring face reflected in the river’s water, she had made up her mind. She was going to Dreaming Mountain to ask the Fairy Queen to make her a fairy. She would leave her former self in a wake of magic dust and living dreams.

Belinda stood and walked along the river’s edge. The trees of the Great Forest knew the choice she had made, and the news of her decision ran along a wave of fluttering leaves, whispering with a steady, rustling breeze: Belinda, don’t go. But Belinda ignored the trees’ pleas and continued her trek for Dreaming Mountain, the Fairy Queen’s magic lair.

“Belinda,” a voice rose from the forest in a sharp whisper.

Belinda stopped, her eyes searching the countless trees. One tree’s branches suddenly moved, shocking Belinda. She then realized that they weren’t branches at all, but instead, the antlers of her good friend Goliath. Goliath was a massive elk. Goliath’s deep, burning eyes were filled with worry and dismay. Goliath looked into Belinda’s eyes, and then he lowered his head, his rack surrounding her like a giant’s reaching hands. “It’s true,” he said, “You really are leaving, aren’t you?”

“Only my blandness is leaving,” Belinda said, “When I return, I will be beautiful.”

Goliath raised his head, his eyes filling with more worry. “Return? As a fairy, you will not return.”

“Why not?” she said. “Just because I’ll be beautiful and able to move like the wind, it does not mean I’ll forget my old friends and not come back.”

“You will not return. With the birth of a new fairy, my friend will be gone.”

“Oh, Goliath, when I see you again, I’ll be so beautiful that the joy upon seeing me won’t even be contained in your mighty body.”

“Often, I have wondered what it would be like to be a hunter and not the hunted, but I would never choose to be a wolf,” Goliath said.

“My mind is set, Goliath. The Fairy Queen will answer all my wishes. Why aren’t you happy for your friend?”

“My friend is an elf, and she is leaving, and I am sad to see her go.”

“Oh Goliath, I’ll be back soon, and when I return, you’ll see that I was right.” Belinda hugged Goliath’s thick, sturdy neck. Then she continued on her path toward Dreaming Mountain, calling over her shoulder, “I’ll see you soon, Goliath.”

Goliath lowered his head, and with sad, upturned eyes, he watched the young elf leave. He said, “Goodbye, my friend.”

Continued in: Quest For Dreaming Mountain: A Fairy’s Tale — Chapter 2