Deep-Wood Danger

story & illustration © 2001 Bruce Van Patter

t's an old saying in my village: "Only the afraid see fairies."
Who knows why it works that way, but it does. Take me, for example. I'm the best there is at being scared, and I can't step one foot into the forest without having one buzz through my hair. Other people think it's the wind. But I know it's not. I can see the little twinklers.

That's why I was elected the village Fairy Catcher.

Bruno Bottle-'em had been the last Catcher. Now, there was man who could jar a fairy faster than you could say Rumpelstiltskin. But one day he stumbled into a fairy ring deep in the woods. When he came back, he couldn't speak from shaking so hard. He took the road to the sea and never looked back.

So that's why I found myself, jar in hand, at the edge of the Great Forest on a fine spring Saturday. I found it hard to walk with my knees knocking like a drum-roll. I peered into the deep-green dark. No twinklers in sight. I started in. Within minutes, I was pushing a branch out of my dark hair when I stopped. My nose tingled. I knew that smell -- a sharp, woody, sparkly scent. The smell of fairy.

There it was -- on the branch above me. With my heart thumping, I grabbed for it. It dodged my hand. Landing on a higher branch, it laughed at me.

"Hurry, knee-knocker! The king won't wait all day!" Then it leaped into a bush and was gone.

The king of fairies was waiting for ME? I swallowed hard. W-w-why?

It's Your Story - and so begins another tale with no ending. But you can help!

Why does the King of fairies want to meet our fearful hero? Can you write an exciting scene where our hero tricks the King into getting captured? Or what happens if the king gets out of the jar in the town! And... how far into the forest can our hero go? (Half-way, of course; then he'd be on his way out!)

Have fun -- finish the story -- and be creative! Email me your ending if you want!