Once upon a time, all the fairies in Fairyland who had been good were allowed to come down to earth for one whole day. They could fly away at sunrise on the strict understanding that they must be home before the sun had set.
Esmerelda was usually the naughtiest fairy, and very noisy, but she had tried very, very hard to be good, so she was allowed to go with the others.
‘If you come back late, you’re in trouble,’ Scary fairy said.
Esmerelda didn’t say anything naughty.
The fairies, knew that nobody could see them on earth, because fairies are invisible. They sat on the end of spades when gentlemen were digging their gardens, and they scattered little weeds. The gentlemen huffed and puffed and dug all over again. The fairies laughed, but nobody heard anything.
Some fairies perched on clothes lines when ladies were pegging out the washing. They pulled hard on the pegs. Ping! The pegs flew off and the ladies huffed and puffed when they bent down to pick them up. The fairies rolled about laughing – they were having a great time.
Soon though, it was time to go home. Everyone lined up for roll call. Esmerelda was at the end of the line, huffing and puffing, because she was very nearly late. One by one the fairies spread their wings and lifted into the air. Then they flew in a straight line for Fairyland.
At last it was Esmerelda’s turn.
She got up on tip toe, held out her wings and waited for lift off. Nothing happened! She tried again, and then again, and then she looked carefully at each wing. There was a tear, just big enough so that she couldn’t fly. Couldn’t fly? She must get back to Fairyland!
She sat down alone on a fallen branch and cried big, splashy tears.
Soon she heard a voice. ‘What’s the matter?’ There was a bird on the branch she was sitting on: a bird with bright red feathers.
‘Who are you?’ she asked.
‘I’m Robin Redbreast,’ he said. ‘I’m at your service.’
‘I’ve torn my wing, and I can’t get back to Fairyland. I must be back before sunset!’ Splash, splash went the tears.
‘If you can’t fly, I can give you a lift,’ he said. ‘We’ll go to see the spider: she’ll know what to do.’
Esmerelda wasn’t sure she liked spiders, but she needed a lot of help because she had to get back. So she climbed onto Robin’s wing and they flew off to see his friend.
His friend was very plump. She was enormous, and she was in the middle of a very big web. She stared down at them as she listened to their tale of woe.
‘I’m Ida Spider,’ she said airily, ‘and I have plenty of thread.’ She shuffled some of her eight plump legs so that they could see the threads of the web she was sitting in. ‘As you can see, this is a fir tree,’ she said importantly, so we have plenty of needles. It is a small matter to sew up your wing, so stop those tears at once! You are making me feel quite damp!’
Esmerelda hung on to Robin while Ida spider mended her wing with a cobweb of fine stitches. At last it was done, and it didn’t hurt a bit.
Ida sat back and viewed her work. ‘First Class,’ she said. ‘You know; I could write you an alibi in my spidery handwriting?’
‘Thank you so much,’ Esmerelda said, ‘but I really must fly!’
Robin perched at the end of a branch. He watched as she tried out her wings. She fluttered them once, she fluttered them twice, and then she rose in a perfect arc into the sky.
‘Last as usual,’ said the gatekeeper, a fussy fairy, called Mary, with very thick spectacles. ‘You only had ten minutes left!’
‘A stitch in time saves nine.’ Esmerelda said.
‘You’re being naughty again,’ Mary fairy said. ‘You’ll sit on the naughty step!’
‘You’ll have to catch me first!’ Esmerelda said – but she said it very quietly.
LaLa Land by Malabar Cash is an ebook for Kindle: available on Amazon.co.uk. Enjoy!