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The Green Fairy With The Long Train

from Things To See In Springtime





Some fairies are Brownies and some are Greenies, and of all that really and truly dance in the moonlight right here in America, Luna Greenie seems the most wonderful; and this is her history:


Once upon a time there was a seed pearl that dropped from the robe of a green fairy. It stuck on the leaf of a butternut tree till one warm day Mother Carey, who knows all the wild things and loves them all, touched it with her magic wand, called Hatch-awake, and out of the seed pearl came an extraordinarily ugly little dwarf, crawling about on many legs. He was just as greedy as he was ugly, and he ate leaf after leaf of the butternut tree, and grew so fat that he burst his skin. Then a new skin grew, and he kept on eating and bursting until he was quite big. But he had also become wise and gentle; he had learned many things, and was not quite so greedy now.


The Green Fairy With the Long Train (about 4/5 life size) The Green Fairy With the Long Train (about 4/5 life size)

Mother Carey, the All-Mother, had been watching him, and knew that now he was ready for the next step up. She told him to make himself a hammock of rags and leaves, in the butternut tree. When he had crawled into it, she touched him with her wand, the very same as the one she used when she sent the Sleeping Beauty into her long sleep. Then that little dwarf went soundly to sleep, hanging in his hammock.


Summer passed; autumn came; the leaves fell from the butternut tree, taking the bundle-baby with them, exactly as in the old rhyme:


Rock-a-bye baby on the tree-top,

When the wind blows, your cradle will rock,

When the cold weather makes all the leaves fall,

Down tumbles baby and cradle and all.


But the hammock, with its sleeper, landed in a deep bed of leaves, and lay there all winter, quite safe and warm.


Then when the springtime sun came over the hill, Mother Carey came a-riding on the Warm Wind, and waving her wand. She stopped and kissed the sleeping bundle-baby, just as the Prince kissed the Sleeping Beauty, and instantly the baby awoke. Then happened the strangest thing. Out of that ragged old hammock there came the most wonderful and beautiful Green Fairy ever seen, with wings and with two trains; and as it came out and looked shyly around, trembling with new life, Mother Carey whispered, "Go to the butternut grove and see what awaits you there."


So away she went. Oh, how easy and glorious it is to fly! She could remember how once she used to crawl everywhere. And through the soft sweet night she flew, as she was told, straight to the butternut grove. As she came near she saw many green fairies—a great crowd of them—gathered in the moonlight, and dancing round and round in fluttering circles, swooping about and chasing each other, or hiding in the leaves. They did not feast, for these fairies never eat, and they drink only honey from flowers. But there was a spirit of great joy over them all. And there were some there with longer head plumes than those she wore. They seemed stronger and one of them came with a glad greeting to the new Green Dancer and though she flew away, she was bursting with joy that he should single her out. He pursued her till he caught her, and hand in hand they danced together in the moonlight. She was happier than she had known it was possible to be, and danced all night—that wonderful wedding dance. But she was very tired when morning was near, and high in the tree she slept so soundly that she never noticed that many seed pearls that were clustered on the lining of her robe had got loose and rolled into the crevices of the trunk. There they lay until Mother Carey came to touch them with her magic wand, so each became a crawler-dwarf, then a bundle-baby, and at last a dancing fairy.


But the Green Dancer did not know that—she knew only that it was a glorious thing to be alive, and fly, and to dance in the moonlight.




You must never fail to watch under the butternut tree on mid-summer nights, for it is quite possible that you may see the wedding dance of the Luna Greenie and her sisters with the long-trained robes.







Next: The Wicked Hoptoad And The Little Yellow Dragon

Previous: The Great Splendid Silk-moth Or Samia Cecropia



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