The Sprite's Birthday

 Once upon a time there was a little sprite who dreamed of his birthday. He had heard of birthdays. A little boy whose garden the sprite often sat in among the flowers had told him once of birthdays. Everyone had a birthday, the little boy told the sprite. And so, the sprite knew that he must have one, too. And it must be sometime soon, the sprite knew. Sometime just around the corner. After all, the little boy had told the sprite that birthdays happen every year. And so, the sprite waited.

    And waited.

    He timed the days, and made scratches into the tree trunks with the days that passed.

    He placed pebbles, one by one, until they wound around much of the forest.

    But, somehow, his birthday never came.

    One day, he sat on the top of a stone, his face in his hands, and wondered if he would ever have a birthday. 

    'Why so glum, sprite?' came the voice of a tiny fairy, the size of the sprite's thumb.

    'I am waiting for my birthday, but it never seems to come,' replied the sprite gloomily.

    'You'll be waiting a long time, if you hang around here,' said the fairy.

    The sprite's head jerked up. 'What do you mean?' he asked.

    'This is fairyland, sprite! Time works differently, you know. You can't have much of a birthday in fairyland,' the fairy answered knowingly.

    'Oh!' exclaimed the sprite, and bound off the stone.

    Rushing as fast as he could, the sprite came to the little boy's garden. It was there that he would wait for his birthday.

    But, alas, come nightfall, the sprite had to return to fairyland, and as far as the sprite was concerned this meant he would never have a birthday.

    Then, one day, the sprite came to see the little boy in his garden. The little boy was playing all by himself, and the sprite made for him at full speed.

    'Little boy, is it my birthday?' asked the sprite.

    'Yes,' said the little boy. 'After all, we've seen each other often, and I have never said happy birthday to you. It must be your birthday.'

    The sprite's eyes went wide, and his face burst into a smile. The little boy ran inside and grabbed a jar of jam, and the sprite and the little boy sat on the grass and ate jam with a spoon until it was time for the sprite to return to fairyland.

    'Come again, on your birthday!' the little boy called to the sprite as he bounded away.

    The sprite had no doubt that he would.

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