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A Fairy Story

from Nature Myths And Stories For Little Children





Some fairies once lived in a dark glen in a pine forest.

They were real fairies, many of them not higher than a pin.

Their greatest treasure was a magic cap which had been in the fairy
family for many generations.

The most wonderful thing about the cap was that it fitted exactly any
one who wore it.

When one fairy put it on, he and all the others became invisible.

A stupid race of giants lived among the mountains near them. They wanted
the fairy cap more than anything else in the world.

One warm day when the elves were away from home, a giant came into the
glen. He was seeking just such a cool place for his afternoon nap.

He was so large and the glen so small that when he lay down he almost
filled the valley.

The music of a fairy brook soon lulled him to sleep.

Perhaps you have heard how a giant snores, and how his breath comes in
great puffs.

The giant was snoring and puffing when the fairies came towards home.

They heard the strange sound and thought a great storm was brewing.

"There has never been such a wind in the glen," said the fairy queen.

"We will not go down into it. We must seek shelter for to-night on this
hillside."

Just then they came to the giant's ear.

"Here is a fine cavern," the queen said, and she stopped and waved her
wand.

A fairy hastened forward to carry the cap to a safe place in the cave,
for that was always their first care.

Just then the giant awoke.

He raised his great head.

Oh, how miserable the fairies were!

They wept and moaned until even the dull ear of the giant heard them.

It was a sound like the tolling of tiny silver bells.

He listened and understood what the wee voice of the prisoner in his ear
was saying.

He was the wisest and most kind-hearted of all the giants.

He helped the little creature gently out into his hand, and looked at
him in wonder.

He had never before seen a fairy.

In vain the brave little fellow tried to conceal the precious cap.

The giant saw the wonderful star and knew at once that he had the
treasure cap of the elves.

He set the fairy carefully upon the ground, and shouted for joy as he
found that the cap exactly fitted his own great head.

The poor fairies could no longer see him, but they heard a sound like
thunder, as he hurried over the stones towards his home.

They were now afraid to move about while the sun shone.

They crept under leaves and into shells and cried bitterly.

By sundown every plant in the glen was wet with their tears.

The sharp eyes of the eagle on the mountain top saw them and a great
pity filled his heart.

"I must help the fairies," he said, "otherwise I should not be worthy to
be called the 'king of birds'."

He went directly to the home of the giants and demanded the cap, but
they refused to give it up.



All that an eagle could do, he did, but as the giants wore the invisible
cap he could not see them. He could only hear their great voices.

He knew however that the giants were proud of their great size and
strength, and liked, above all things, to be seen.

He was sure that they would not wear the cap in battle, and he did not
lose hope.

One day they carefully placed it under a large stone on the mountain
side below them.

The keen eye of the eagle was watching.

He flew fearlessly to the spot as soon as the giants had left it.

He lifted the stone in his great talons, and was soon flying away with
the cap to the fairy glen.

The giants saw him, and knew at once what he was doing.

They began a fierce attack upon him.

The air was filled with flying arrows and sharp rocks. Drops of blood
fell on the mountain side, and many feathers fluttered down, but the
brave eagle was soon out of their reach.

He did not stop until the cap was safe in the fairy queen's lap.

There was great rejoicing among the fairies that day.

They had a feast in the eagle's honor, and healed his wounds with fairy
magic.

On the mountain side, wherever the blood and feathers fell, there
sprang up trees with featherlike leaves and blood-red berries.

All the giants, fairies, plants and animals knew why they grew.

The unselfish love in the eagle's blood could not die, but lived again
in the beautiful trees.

But people who did not know how they came there, called them mountain
ash trees.





Next: Philemon And Baucis

Previous: The Secret Of Fire



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