Teetering clumsily, crushing dandelions and daisies with her plodding steps, the young girl continued on her mission. I watched her eyes squint in search as she lifted rocks, leaves and twigs, scanning the damp ground beneath them for what she had told her mother were “fairies”. For us.
I’d always been wary of children, their wild imaginations often leading them to want to find myself and my people. We hid for half of the year, into tree trunks and flowers, hidden from the view of children at play. However, during the cold months the children seemed not to enter our garden, and so we were free to live as we wished. But, today was different. The toddler who was searching for us had been adamant (despite the chill of the autumn air and the discouragement of her mother) that she would go into the garden and look for fairies. There was no time to hide, and we had all had to dive under the nearest cover, squeezing under toadstools, Orange sycamore leaves and pieces of rotting bark.
I was shaken out of my thoughts by the realisation that the ground beneath me was trembling. She was stepping closer and there was no escaping now. The darkness I had been shrouded in was replaced with a flood of blinding daylight, the girl’s enormous chestnut eyes and unfaltering grin coming into view as the acorn cap which had hidden me from view was ripped from above me.
My body froze, betraying me completely, leaving me unable even to flinch when her muddy hands reached for me, hauling me through the air until I was level with the deep brown eyes which reflected my terrified face back at me. She studied me, eyes twinkling as her mind processed the reality of the situation. She was holding a real life fairy. And as her head buzzed with ideas of who she would tell and how amazed they would be, mine was plagued with fear for my people. The magic of the garden had been revealed, and our lives would never be the same.