Nina and the Flower Dryads

 Nina sat on the ground, her little legs stretched out in front of her. She was staring intently at a flower, and with very good reason. For, only moments before, something magical had happened.

    But she couldn't be sure.

    Nina kept staring. She leaned back on her pudgy little hands and thought. Had she really seen a tiny dancing woman come out of the stem of a flower? Yes, she answered herself immediately. Nina was sure of it. As sure as she was that her mama was real. All she needed to do, she thought, was keep watching desperately. She waited a long time, before standing up and making her way to her mama on her small wobbly legs. She pulled her mama's tunic.

    'Mama, mama!' she said, grabbing her mama's hand and pulling her into the garden.

    But it didn't matter how much Nina pointed and pulled her mama's hand toward the flower, a tiny dancing woman did not appear.

    Nina's face fell. Her mama picked her up, held her close, and kissed her cheek so nicely that Nina almost felt better. And then her mama whispered in her ear, 'Tonight, my little love.'

    Nina didn't know what her mama meant, but she could hardly fall asleep that night for wondering.

    She could have sworn she hadn't slept at all, though the sky was suddenly pitch black lit with shining stars when her mama placed a gentle kiss on her forehead. Taking Nina's hand, her mama led her out into the garden, sat Nina on her lap, and wrapped them both in a thick woolen blanket. 

    Nina watched her mama starring at the flowers. And then she saw them.

    One by one. Out of every flower's stalk. Tiny dancing women, twirling and swirling about.

    Nina stared in awe, in wonder, in a grave happiness more magical than she had ever known. When the dance ended, and the tiny women had made their way back in their flowers, she laughed and clapped her hands. She felt her mama's warm chin press against the top of her head as she smiled.

    And when she was grown, and her mind held only a vague memory of watching dancing flowers with her mama at midnight, she remembered that whatever it had been, it had been magic.

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