The Fairy and I (Part III)
And so, I went away from my beloved teacher with knowledge I had not before possessed, and enjoyed the beauty of my youth. So quick was I to take care of my beauty, to bathe in the finest milk, and cleanse my skin with the oil of rose. To lengthen my lashes, and make my hair shine. To make my skin taught, and keep feasting at bay. To laugh but little, saving my eyes from lines. To disdain those who did not hold or care for the truth of what I knew, and to envy those who did better than I. Quick to look into every shined surface, to behold the beauty that shown, to squash any imperfection with a remedy or a cure, and to bask in my youthful loveliness.
Until one day, I saw upon my head, a thread of spun silver.
I gasped at the mirror, my dearest and truest friend so quickly turned destructive and mortal enemy, and fled at first moonlight to the forest where my fairy dwelt.
“Fairy!” I cried not only for myself, but for the sight I saw before me: my fairy was an ancient thing. Her wings crippled and crumpled, her small hands knotted with strange lumps, her face pinched and wizened, her eyes wrinkled and small. Was this my fairy? Yet I knew it was she, for somewhere deep, very deep, in my heart was a knowledge of deepest truth.
“Is that my dearest child?” her voice croaked.
I stifled my wince at her sound, and my fear at the sight of her tiny aged body. I had a duty to perform, and I would meet it: I would comfort my old teacher in these her poor, waning days.
“Yes, fairy, it is me.”
I bent my head to the branch on which she sat, all the better for her to see me by. She put her small hand to my cheek, and smiled at me. All at once a warmth filled my heart. A warmth that evicted my sense of duty, and brought me something else entirely. I was dancing with abandon, my mind free of thoughts of self. An ancient truth began to replace a broken one laid on me by a broken, lonely fairy, a truth that far surpassed that which I had come to know that day so long ago, a sure truth that turned a broken one into an awareness of my fairy’s pain. An ancient truth that made me remember a young girl in the forest, who saw her fairy for the first time, and thought her beautiful.
And I loved my fairy, all at once, and most completely for her prior folly. And saw that she was, before me in this moment, very beautiful, indeed. Her snow-white hair, her wrinkled cheeks soft like down, her eyes… Her eyes! How mightily they twinkled. More so now than ever before.
And I loved her all the more for knowing a truth far older than my fairy’s truth; for my fairy had been wrong. My childhood heart had known, as I knew it now, gazing at my fair friend: youth may have its blossom, but the trueness and light of age is the flower that bursts forth.
My childhood heart restored, it was honesty that, too, was wont to burst. But I was stopped by her voice, fair with the weight and wisdom of her age.
“I am sorry, dearest child. I fear I have lead you astray.”
“Think nothing of it, most beautiful of fairies,” I smiled, delighted to be near her once more.
“Oh, dearest child, how much you know now. As much as you knew before. Peace it will bring you, more peace than I had. But as much peace as I have now, perhaps.”
“And fairy, how young I am to know true things,” I exclaimed, the rapture of my heart basked in the very realness of the words we exchanged, and the peace of rest that comes with a contented heart in the face of true beauty.
My withered and lovely fairy looked up at me, the twinkle strong in her eye.
“Bless you, dearest child. I think that you are right.” And her smile lit her face like the sun bursting over the horizon. “How delightfully wondrous your life will be, now that you are free. Farewell, dearest child.” And she was gone...
(To Be Continued Next Sunday...)