The Fairies Remedy a Sick Day
From his bedroom window, Jack could see a frolic of fun laid out before him like a feast of all his favorite foods. Balls were kicked and thrown. Ants were burned (and eaten). Dirt was piled, and then knocked down as great clouds of dust swirled their small tornadoes about the air. Hoses were sprayed to the tune of glorious shrieks. And Jack could participate in none of it.
This was because Jack was ill. And illness meant one horrible thing: fun was forbidden. Worst of all, the horrid truth was that even if he had been allowed, he would not have participated. That was how fuzzy and painful his head was, and how bad his cough, and how achy his body. Nothing made him feel better, and that was a miserable thought. Thus, he had spent the day in his bed, in a daze of hazy sleep, his head pulsing with un-expelled mucus, in general misery.
How annoying for Jack, then, when he awoke suddenly to a cleared head and easy breathing, only to look outside his window and find that night had fallen. Lost in the deep, dark thoughts that whirled around his brain regarding the unfairness of life, he almost missed the sight of something—a golden something—flitting across his window.
But, fortunately for Jack, it was only an almost.
He sat bolt upright and peered intently at the window. Seeing nothing, he climbed out of his bed and pressed his nose against the window’s glass.
Then Jack saw it. A bright, quick thing hovering right in front of his face that caused his head to jerk forward and then, upon hitting the glass with his face, jerk right back. The little thing, with a ring of light beaming about it, threw back its head and laughed. There could be no doubt as to what it was; even through the fog on the window, Jack knew: just in front of him beating small wings that held aloft a tiny body, flew a fairy—and its small hands were beckoning Jack outside.
Jack swallowed the swallow of one who knew he shouldn’t but was very much about to, and did as the fairy bid him. In a flash, he bound, as quietly as he could remember to be, out his room, down the stairs, stopping only to step into his boots and weave his arms through a coat.
Throwing open the door, Jack flew down the front porch and stopped.
In front of him hovered not only the fairy from his window, but a whole host of them. There were so many fairies that, for all Jack knew, they could have been all the fairies in Fairydom.
But they were not flying all together, or even spread out about the air. They flew in two distinct ranks, as though on opposites sides of a team. And on their faces Jack recognized grins of a most mischievous sort. He knew that look as much as he knew the purpose of the two sides; they were getting ready to play.
But play what? What did fairies play for fun? Was it with humans? Jack had heard mixed reports. His hands started to sweat, imagining himself in an unfortunate tug-of-war.
Suddenly the fairy he had first seen flew towards him, flinging golden dust. Jack flinched and squeezed his eyes tight. But all at once he felt his body lighten. It was as though he were floating. Peaking out of his right eye, he saw gold shimmers all about him. Daring to open both he found that his feet were no longer on the ground. He, too, was in the air, and much, much smaller.
He found himself drift to one side of the split fairy ranks. All at once, Jack broke into a grin. For there were flags on each side, and he knew the game well. A nod from the captains set it off, and they all began to play. They played long into the night, an epic glowing battle. There had never been a game of capture the flag like it, nor would there ever be again. And when the game was won, the celebration lasted as long as the night had left.
Jack awoke. He was once more in bed, and once more a boy. But when he wondered if it had all been a dream, he found a small glowing flag nestled warmly in the palm of his hand and smiled.