Under certain circumstances, fairies will just see a need to intervene. such was the case with Ms. Millar one warm springtime many years ago. It had not been long before that splendid day that Ms. Millar, they valley’s school teacher had to bury her young husband. He had died in a faraway war, in another country far, far away. Ms. Millar was still living in a big city then, she’d just finished going to teacher’s college. she was lonely and spent all her evenings in the darkness crying until she finally would fall asleep.
It was her cousin Elizabeth who invited her to come and stay with her in the valley, As it happens, and quite often it does, just then the teacher Mr. Rolf, decided he really needed to stop teaching after thirty years and open a candy shop instead. Perhaps it came about because after years of taking away candy from his pupils he decided he’s just much rather make the most wonderful candy for children to enjoy. So he did, within weeks he’s rented a store and was making the most wonderful candy.
The position did not come with a fabulous salary, just a small salary and a small cottage to live in just a hundred feet away from the little school house. It meant teaching all the grades and giving all the exams to all the valley’s children (numbering no more than 20 per term). Mr. Rolf , the retired teacher, now the local candy store proprietor, even offered to substitute those times that Ms. Millar (only her close friends call her Kate) should fall ill.
The valley over a period of weeks was fast becoming the only place in the world where Ms. Millar could imagine living. so she packed all her things in the city and moved to the valley. She has now been here more than thirty years.
Back to that afternoon, that warm peaceful afternoon, when the fairies were swinging from poppy to poppy. The dog and cat were occupied chasing butterflies. the smell of weak bleach and laundry soap permeated the air. The fresh coat of white paint made her little cottage home sparkle in the afternoon light. The warm wind caused the leaves to make a gentle rustling sound. You could hear birds chirping and the occasional snap of a towel as Mrs. Millar hung the laundry on her clothesline. All the changes in her life had Mrs. Millar losing some weight and it was partly that and partly her damp hands which had the ring slip off her finger. Not just any ring either, but the very ring with which years ago she had become Mrs. Millar. The ring that Mr. Millar had slipped on her finger on that bright summer’s day at their wedding.
Falling on the grass as it did it made no sound. Mrs. Millar was completely unaware. The dog took no note of it either. Two beady little eyes had noticed. The small rodent always noticed when sparkly things fell on the ground nearby. After all a tiny rodent like this mouse could not see much above the ground. This was his world, the ground and all that there was. The mouse scurried very quickly to the ring and ran off with it. He did not know precisely why he did it. He had no use for the ring, it could not be eaten, and mice don’t wear jewellery, nor had they any interest in how much it might be worth if sold. It just sparkled so intensely and he had to have it. That, and nothing more, was all there was to it. It was heavy to carry and he did not take it far away, just to behind a large oak tree in Mrs. Millar’s own yard. He sat feeling quite triumphant for the whole rest of the afternoon just staring at the ring, as it twinkled like a star in the bright sunlight. Well, he stayed, until he became hungry and was then off forgetting all about the ring.
It was an hour or so later when she was taking down the now dry laundry from the line when she finally noticed the missing ring. It was one of those suspicious absence of something. In this case the twinkling of the diamond in the sun as she held up her hand in the light was something to which she was well accustomed so when the twinkling was absent she noticed immediately. She shrieked. So loud was the shriek that several crows very nearly fell out of the tree above her. The shriek was followed by an absolute silence. The birds stopped chirping, the dog an cat suddenly sat in place, fairies and pixies stopped what they were doing, even the wind became silent.
There are all kinds of shrieks, but this one, was so incredibly sad, not just horrified but sad. There was no a soul who had heard it who was not profoundly saddened, just from hearing the shriek. The silence was broken by weeping and then sobbing and then for seemingly hours, a soft crying.
By now the weeping lady beside her unfinished laundry, had gathered quite an audience of the seen and the unseen. Faeries were busy talking amongst each other, wondering why this sudden sadness had overcome Mrs. Millar. They remember the crying at night when first she moved to the valley, but those nights of crying had tapered to only a rare night here and there. She did not seem injured, nor had there been anyone there to bring bad news.
Since adults could not see the fairy, it was pointless to ask her directly. One fairy thought she might have confided in her dog, and since dogs can see fairies. The dog was but a puppy and really not a very clever one and was no help at all. While fitting around Mrs. Millar she heard the mumbles about the ring and the fairy had noticed the very beautiful wedding ring she always wore, and sure enough, the ring was gone.
Well the fairy took that tidbit of news back to the group of pixie and fairies standing in the poppy bed. Everyone felt it would be a good game to find the ring. One pixie remembered seeing a mouse run by with something shiny. The mouse had disappeared by the old oak tree.. So about twenty of them were checking the ground in back of the oak, but without much success..
Curious about all the hubbub a big crow swooped down to ask what was up. It was all explained to the big crow, who suggested he get back up to the tree and take a good look for anything that sparkled. Crows are notorious thieves of anything sparkly and could spot something as brilliant as a diamond from miles away. The crow returned to his favourite branch and took a concerted look to find the ring, but nothing was seen. He shrieked down at them “Get out of the light, I need some light so it will sparkle”. The crown dispersed and moved out of the way of the sun’s rays.
The great black bird swooped down again and digging lightly with his beak brought the ring up where a fairy, gratefully took it from him. The yard was very big and the ring for a fairy was very heavy, far to heavy to fly with it. It was becoming a little darker now, they day was nearly done. Mrs. Millar and her laundry were inside the cottage now. Not a good time for fairies to be carrying heavy things across the lawn when the neighbourhood cats would chase them for sport.
Again it was the friendly crow to the rescue, he took the ring to the bedroom window ledge. Two fairies flew with him. In part because he might be tempted to keep the ring, after all he was a crow and it is what crows do, they mean no harm in it, it is just what they do. So from the window ledge to a place where Mrs. Millar would find the ring was their next challenge. The red-haired fairy started it off by giving the ring a swift kick sending it off the ledge and a little bit back into the bedroom. It made a little noise, enough to have Mrs. Millar come back into the bedroom. The ring was out of sight still being behind a chair. They could not leave it there, it might not be found before a vacuum cleaner might loose the ring to her forever.
Perhaps it was because she was profoundly sad. Certainly the noise the fairies were making trying to get the heavy ring over to the bedside had something to do with it. More so it was just the very emotional state Mrs. Millar was in that put all those adult barriers aside. Just for the moment she saw little fairies laughing as they stumbled about trying to muscle the ring across a nubby and difficult to traverse carpet. Their laughter had the quality of tiny bells ringing, and the tiny gossamer wings in the soft night light were so lovely. Mrs. Millar thought her mind was playing tricks on her. she was tired, crying had made her exhausted. She sank down onto the floor beside the bed, and stared at the enchanted spectacle before her. Then she noticed, they were playing with the ring. The fairies stopped, Mrs. Millar stopped too, she had lost the ring in the yard, so they were bringing the ring to her. She was glad she stopped, as she had almost swatted them assuming they were thieves.
So she smiled and reached out her hand, and said out loud “am I dreaming this?” The fairies rolled the ring onto her hand, stunned and immobilized by the vision of two fairies bringing her ring back she sat for the longest time, until one of the fairies put her hands on her hips and yelled as loudly as she could, “would you mind taking this from us and putting it on please?”, while the other held up the ring. After she put the ring back on her finger, tears rolled down her cheeks and she said softly, “thank you”. The fairies curtsied and in one well practised movement tossed up a handful of fairy dust and made off into the warm spring evening.
Mrs. Millar on waking the next day could not explain how her ring had found it’s way back to her finger. Must be fairies, she mused to herself. In so many ways the unseen part of the valley interacted with people all the time, that’s just how things are. Especially good people will always be able to count on help form the unseen if they are in a position to help, but nasty people, likely will get no help at all.