Author of Grampa in Oz, Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, The Wish Express, "King, King! Double King!" etc.
Originally published in the Phildelphia Public Ledger, March 27, 1921.
Down under the brown earth, in gardens where the cold never penetrates, live the fairies. Yes, there they live and are happy as the days are long. Yesterday, as they all lay curled up I the hearts of the flowers, a shrill whistle sounded and, like so many jack-in-the-boxes, out popped heads from every flower.
No wonder! Right o the heels of that whistle skipped the fairy postman, the dearest sort of a little fellow, all dressed in brown, with shimmery blue wings. Over his shoulder hung a huge bell like a flower, just overflowing with dainty pink, blue and green letters. Most delightful letters, girls and boys, written with dew on flower petals and cunningly sealed with honey. The next time you see a crumpled flower leaf you'll know it's a fairy letter and perhaps--oh, a very perhaps!--you may read it.
The postman waited till the fairies had settled down cozily to read their mail, then the little rascal blew such a sharp blast on his silver whistle that the whole company nearly tumbles from their flowers.
"Listen!" cried the mischievous sprite when they had in a measure recovered, "there is a great, bug, stiff letter lying against the post-office 'cause it's too big to go inside. I don't know who it's for and I don't know whom it's from, but who will help me carry it to the queen?"
"I! I! I!" cried all the fairies together. Mercies! What curious creatures these fairies are!
"Come on, then!" cried the postman. And, half skipping and half flying, the whole company trooped after him. When they reached the postoffice--a giant jack-in-the-pulpit--there stood the monster letter. Truly an enormous letter, just about the size you or I might write. But think how tiny fairies are!
"Come," laughed the postman, "let's carry it to the queen!"
With a great fluttering of wings the little gentlemen fairies seized the edges of the letter first inviting some of the little lady fairies to ride. Then away they flew gayly to the great fragrant rose, where the queen lay napping. But the fluttering of wings wakened her, and when she saw the giant letter she was as curious as the rest.
"Open it! Open it!" she cried, rosy with excitement. And an obliging young woodpecker, who had heard the queen's request, flew down and slit it open with his long bill.
Then with great difficulty the letter was dragged from the envelope and two fairy guards stationed upon the edges to keep it from blowing away.
"Read it! Read it!" cried the whole company, hopping up and down with excitement. The court scribe stepped forward and peered knowingly at the writing.
"Ahem," began the scribe I some embarrassment, "er--really, your majesty, I can make nothing of it!" And, really, boys and girls, I don't see how he could, for this writing was so fearfully large! Why, one letter alone was as big as a fairy!
"The wise men! How about the wise men?" called one of the court ladies, and a dozen ran off to fetch them straightaway or some way. The wise men were studying the skies through a monster telescope for signs of fairies on Mars and were not pleased at the interruption, so they came grumbling and growling, and one not wishing to lose any time brought the telescope along, pausing every few minutes to squint through it at the sky. The queen was provoked by their slowness in obeying her commands.
"Here!" she cried imperiously to the old fellow lagging behind, "read this letter at once or you shall be stung by the fiercest bumble bee in the kingdom!"
This so startled the old wise man that the telescope turned a complete somersault. He caught it nervously and without noticing that it was upside down pointed it tremblingly at the huge letter. Then to the amazement of every one he read in a deep though shaky voice:
"The Easter Bunny wishes all of the fairies a very happy Easter, and has left some surprises in the secret tree hollow known to the queen!"
"Oh, oh!" cried the fairies, "isn't it lovely?"
"Let's go for the surprises!" laughed the queen, and gave the old wise man a little hug--she was so pleased. And he, the foxy old dear, pretended that he knew all along that squinting through the wrong end of a telescope was the proper way to read a g =iant letter, and he explained to the other wise men that if looking through tone end make objects large, looking through the other end would make them small.
Well, well! I don't know about that!
The Puzzle Corner
Last week, you will remember, the Forgetful Poet had something to say with vegetables. This time he is going to say it with fruit. The vegetables missing from last week's verses were: Beet, leek, lettuce, cress, turnip and carrot.
A Fruitful Tale
Young John is in the ----- light now,
He has some lecture -----
On ----- history in the east
And in the Balkan states!
But Mistress Ann, who is the
Very ----- of his eye,
Cares not a ----- for history
When Johnny is not nigh.
They'll be a happy ----- I guess
When John comes home again--
He wrote to Mistress Ann, but -----
Forgot to say just when
(He would return).
Fill in the blanks with fruit.
What kind of door's described by war?
There's a cock that doesn't crow,
But has a lot of feathers though?
[Answers next time.]
Copyright © 2013 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.