The Fairy's Thumb
'Hello! Hello, I say! Are you awake?’
A small, ringing voice that Anna could have sworn came from somewhere around the tip of her nose sounded in her ears. But that couldn’t be right. She hadn’t even opened her eyes yet. She was simply, she thought with blurry thoughts, on the edge of a vivid dream, almost, but not quite, awake.
But that did not explain the tickling feeling on the end of her nose.
‘Hello!’ the voice tinkled.
Anna's eyes flew open to a sight that made her blink twice and stare narrowly. For perched just in front of where her eyes crossed sat a small creature. A small creature with wings.
Every muscle in Anna's body froze. She didn’t even blink.
‘Are you up? Of course you’re up! You have to be up. Your eyes are open.’ As quickly and as fast as the tiny creature with the small tinkling voice spoke, it stopped. The creature bent forward toward one of Anna’s eyes.
Suddenly Anna heard the sound of a tiny hand against skin, and felt its sting.
‘Ouch!’ she exclaimed.
‘Aha! I knew it.’
The small creature fell backward with a laugh, and before Anna could grow alarmed enough to stretch out a hand, the creature righted itself all the way around and until its tiny wings beat fervently in midair.
‘Come on,’ the fairy said suddenly, as though it had just remembered why it wanted Anna, and tugged on her hand. ‘Please!
‘Are you a real fairy?’ Anna asked after she opened her bedroom door, bending down to look at the tiny creature who beckoned her.
‘Yes. And if you’re a real human, there’s a matter of life and death happening in your kitchen!’ the fairy said, and flew out the door and down the hall.
‘Oh!’ Anna exclaimed with great concern, and raced after the fairy.
When they arrived in the kitchen, the fairy stopped and looked quickly about. Anna, looking around too, saw nothing amiss.
‘“Life and Death” you say?’ asked Anna with a raised brow.
‘Well…’ said the fairy as she flew about the room, ‘She was here a minute ago…’ The fairy was knocking things here and there in a frantic search.
‘Who was here a minute ago?’ asked Anna, running behind the fairy and trying to put everything to rights.
‘Thumb,’ said the fairy.
‘Thumb?’ asked Anna, her nose screwing up as though she had just experienced a bad smell. ‘You’ve lost your thumb?’
‘Yes!’ the fairy said, and then threw up her hands in exasperation. ‘She’s here somewhere.’
‘Why do you keep calling your thumb a “she”?’ she asked. This was, according to Anna, really at the heart of the issue.
‘Because “she” is a she! My sister is around her somewhere, and we’ve just got to find her!’
Anna’s eyes flew wide. ‘Your sister is your thumb?’
‘Thumbelina, yes,’ said the fairy with great distraction. ‘But we call her Thumb,’ the fairy added. Then, ‘Hurry!’ the fairy cried in a whisper. ‘THEY’RE up!'
All at once Anna knew exactly who THEY were.
And Thumb needed help. Anna stood and moved quickly about the room, searching.
The fairy nodded in brief satisfaction, and then proceeded to tear apart the kitchen. The sounds were moving more thumpingly upstairs, and Anna knew there was very little time left before the great decent, when suddenly she said, ‘Hush!’
‘Why?’ the fairy said, but in a whisper.
But Anna was concentrating, for she had noticed that a small sound of tinkling bells followed the fairy wherever she went. And where one fairy sounded of bells, well…
A moments silence was all she needed, for coming from the shiny copper kettle atop the stove came the ever so slight sound of the tinkling of very tiny bells.
Anna rushed as the fairy flew to the stove.
Lifting the lid off the kettle, Anna saw a very tiny fairy bathing, and looking at her reflection that beamed in her own glow off the kettle walls.
‘Oh, Thumb,’ said the fairy sister, peering into the kettle with great exasperation.
The tiny face looked up. ‘Oh, Evie. There you are,’ came a very tiny voice. ‘I gots trapped.’
‘Of course you did, you silly,’ said Evie rolling her eyes.
‘I flew in the spout, and couldn’t get back out,’ continued a wide-eyed, though thoroughly delighted, Thumb.
‘Naturally,’ said Evie, tiny hands on small hips. ‘Come on, we’ll get you out,’ and she put out a small hand to help her sister.
‘Can’t. Alls wet,’ Thumb said, floating around to reveal two very sodden wings. ‘I’s made lemonade and took a bath. Looks at how pretty I’s am, Evie,’ she said preening to the kettle’s gleaming inner walls.
Evie had to think quickly; the thumps were becoming quite constant. ‘Give us a hand,’ she whispered to Anna.
Anna had to give herself a little shake, for during this exchange between fairy sisters, the awe of seeing two fairies struck her like a great big hammer and lifted the tiny body out of the kettle.
‘Thanks,’ whispered Thumb.
‘Don’t mention it,’ said Anna, holding the wet fairy in the palm of her hand as the three raced back to her room and closed the door behind them. Breathing heavily, Anna gave Thumb her handkerchief, and the tiny fairy proceeded to dry her wings with Evie’s help just as footsteps were moving closer to the door.
Evie looked at Anna, then gave Thumb a final pat.
‘We’ll be going now,’ she whispered. ‘You’ve rendered the fairies a service, and we don’t forget. Call on us if you need us,’ Evie said as she and Thumb moved toward the window.
‘Thanks,’ whispered Anna, who couldn’t believe her luck.
The fairies flew away with a wave, just as the door handle turned.
It had really been the most interesting morning.