Magical Tales from the Forest

Excerpt… for all the lovers of nature and fairies

Long, long ago in a faraway mystical place, when unicorns still roamed the free world, there was a small kingdom called Fair-Light. Within this kingdom, invisible and well hidden from human eyes, lived the elementals.

Elementals were the nature spirits; magical beings that’d lived peacefully together since the beginning of time. The first of the nature spirits were the graceful undines or water fairies, beautiful winged water creatures that lived near rocky pools. Then there were the sylphs or air spirits. They were quick and full of ideas and inspiration and lived in the ether, which surrounded all of Fair- Light. Thirdly, there were the fiery salamanders or fire spirits, otherwise known as fireflies; and lastly, the earth nature spirits, who were known as pixies, gnomes, elves and goblins. The undines or fairies were the shape-shifters among the elementals. They could change into any shape, size or form in the blink of an eye. Because there were so many of them, they dominated most of Fair Light.

A wise and beautiful Queen ruled over the fairies. It had been several hundred years since she had given birth, but now it was time for a new princess to arrive. According to legend, the new princess would bring great change to the fairy kingdom. As far as the eye could see, delightful celebrations were taking place on fairy mounds with dancing and cheerful music. Long days of merriment, singing and constant chattering went on well into the nights leading up to the momentous event.

Small groups of fairy-men sat quietly around their flickering fires, discussing at great length the changes the new princess might bring to the kingdom. Erin, a young fairy-man, sat chattering with his father. ‘It will be good to see some new energy in this place. The Queen is very set in her ways, that’s for sure.’ His father looked at him for a while then decided to answer, trying to conceal the smile on his face. ‘Now young Erin! That is no way to talk about our dear Queen. She would lock you away for a hundred years and throw away the key if she heard you. Then that would be the end of you.’ The young fairy looked up at his father with a very serious expression on his face and asked, ‘Would she Dad, would she?’ He stared at his father fearfully, too scared to utter another word. His little wings buzzed into a high pitch as he nervously peered around him, hoping no one had overheard his comments, least of all the Queen.

Erin’s father couldn’t hold back his chuckle any longer and laughed loudly as he looked fondly at his son. He continued to chuckle to himself as they sat side by side next to the fire, gazing dreamily into the hungry flames created by the fire spirits. The excited salamanders were working overtime tonight. If there was one thing they loved, it was creating a roaring fire with dancing, crackling flames. Nothing pleased them more. ‘I was only joking, son, you can relax now!’ said Erin’s father to his young son as he lovingly patted him on the head. ‘I was only joshing,’ he laughed, thinking of his small son’s horrified expression.

The night before the birth, the moon was at its peak. It was not only luminous and full, but also magical as its silvery light poured down onto the kingdom below. Everyone knew that when this happened it was a sign that something special was about to take place. The following day the princess was born. The tall grasses swayed in unison, announcing the wondrous event. Happy fairy folk from all over the kingdom sang and laughed as they made their way to the palace grounds, each one bearing gifts in different shapes and sizes. The proud Queen named her young princess Aystanna after the old queen who had died some three hundred years before. Sadly, not long before the young princess was born, the ageing King had died. It was very common for the females of the undines to outlive the males and they would often marry many times. The Queen was very lonely without her King, and with the added responsibilities, she was kept very busy. She went about her duties throughout the kingdom with great dedication and never complained. And now, she had her beautiful baby princess to look after. Thankfully, the royal nanny Makusa was by her side to help her, except on occasions of royal business. At the beginning of the royal naming ceremony, the Queen turned to Makusa and said, ‘I am so glad so many folk have turned up to see the new princess. She certainly is very beautiful, if I may say so myself.’ Old Makusa nodded her head in agreement as she sleepily watched over the celebrations from the comfort of her old, but very important chair. She smiled wisely and seemed content that everything was going to plan. The palace looked splendid. It was decorated with the most finely feathered ferns and flowers of every imaginable color and shade. The perfume from the blooms filled the air and tiny fairy lights sparkled and shone from every corner of the castle. It was an enchanting scene.

The Queen was dressed in a most exquisite red shimmering gown made from soft rose petals and sheer spider webs. As she walked, it spilled over the floor in front of her. Peeking out from under her gown were her tiny feet encased in silver and glass slippers embossed with tiny pearls. Around her neck was a beautiful chain of delicate white sweet-smelling flowers and a golden crown was on her head. Sitting on her throne, she was a vision to behold. At her feet lay the beautiful young princess, gurgling and playing in her royal crib, oblivious to the excitement all around her.The royal guards were in force, and they formed a protective barrier around the tiny princess.

Old Makusa had her eagle eyes planted on the royal crib, all the while watching to see that no one came too close. She always made it her duty to have the last say in the affairs of her royal charges.The music of hundreds of tiny harps and horns, expertly provided by the elves, resounded through the palace and laughter and joy filled the air. Everyone in the kingdom had been invited to attend this wonderful event—all except for one. Aicram, the powerful black magician, was absent. According to folklore, he once tried to lure the Queen with one of his potent love spells. The Queen, of course, was not impressed as she was extremely vain and could not imagine herself with such a vile creature.She had demanded that he leave the kingdom,never to return. He was banished, made anout cast, and forced to move far from the fairy mounds of Fair Light. Indeed, no one had seen nor heard from him in a very long time.It was said by passing pixies that he had become a sad and lonely figure, old and wrinkled before his time, which was unusual.Communal fairies were known to be ageless,vain and extremely attractive. Their gossamer wings were light and clear and their faceswere beautiful to look upon. Aicram’s hatred and bitterness had transformed his light into something mean and sinister, and his powers had become dark and evil.

Time passed and Aystanna grew into the most beautiful water fairy in all the land. Not only was she lovely to look upon, but also she had enormous courage and was highly spirited. Unfortunately,the latter was not very well tolerated by the royal circle. The Queen’s relatives could not be bothered with a young child, especially one who was so full of curiosity and did not do as she was told. Also, they were far too preoccupied with their own affairs.

Amongst the members of the royal circle was Adrianna, the sour and bossy sister of the Queen.She was always whining and complaining about something or other and on top of that she was extremely selfish. She had no time for anyone,except of course herself. Adrianna’s husband,the weak and lazy Lord Lilli, was stuck-up andvery portly for an undine. In his own eyes he was very important and walked with his nose up in the air. All he ever did was lie lazily on his royal sofa made of petals and stuff his face with sweets and honeyed nectar juice.Then there was Tilth, Lilli’s second cousin. Tilth was also a complainer and had been spoil this whole life. He demanded special favors from the servants and expected everything to revolve around him. Snoring was one of his most annoying habits and when he was asleep he made the most terrible noises, which echoed throughout the chambers of the fairy palace.Further down the social ladder was his wife,the fair fairy Trillion. She was very pale and saw herself as precious. It was said that she’d been quite beautiful in her day, but as she aged, her beauty seemed to fade, along with her manners.The years had been very cruel to her and had certainly given her no graces. She was forever looking in water ponds, staring at her reflection and fretting about her looks.If her gowns were not in perfect order, she complained bitterly to the royal dresser. If they weren’t shimmering and shiny enough, or were not prettier than everybody else’s, there was real trouble. She drove everyone mad with her constant whining and complaining. But her hair was the biggest problem. It was starting to fallout, and unfortunately there were bald patches all over her head, which she unsuccessfully tried to cover up by attempting to glue her hair back on. When she asked the others if they noticed,no one would dare tell her the truth. The last thing anyone wanted was a screaming match that could last for several days.

To a lively, young fairy princess like Aystanna,the members of the royal circle were not very interesting at all. In fact, the princess thought they were a very dull lot.

The Queen loved Aystanna very much and Makusa looked upon her as her own but they too had little tolerance for her vibrant lust for life. Makusa was of the ‘old ways’ and was ever watchful of the young princess. The old nanny tried to be firm and stern, but she never seemed to get anywhere when it came to disciplining the young princess as Aystanna simply went ahead and did whatever she wanted.‘Aystanna, Aystanna where are you?’ Makusa would scold, pretending to be angry with the young princess. She had been in charge of all the royal children for as long as anyone could remember and nobody could guess her age.Although her enormous fairy wings were tired and droopy and she wasn’t as fast as she used to be, she could still flit around with boundless energy, forever chastising and chasing the young princess.

‘I do hope you haven’t been riding the rabbits again. You know that is forbidden for aprincess, it isn’t proper. I know everything you get up to, missy!’ Makusa would screech in her high-pitched voice. But, as usual, her protests fell upon deaf ears. Aystanna would just shakeher ginger curls and defiantly fly off in a whirl,her wings buzzing excitedly.

The young princess’s love of the surrounding natural environment and wild terrain was well known. She was enticed by the sounds of nature, which beckoned her deep into the forest. This was forbidden territory, especially when aloneor without the royal guard. But all attempts to stop Aystanna were in vain.‘Don’t think you can sneak off again and goin to the forest to meet your friends missy! I will be watching you!’ Makusa screamed. ‘And if I catch you, you will be sorry,’ she warned as she lay resting and fanning herself irritably on her petal lounge. She had one eye half-closed and was trying desperately to stay awake. ‘You know your mother is away and if she finds outyou have been sneaking off again, there will be real trouble, so don’t even try it!’

‘Dear Makusa, you know I listen to everything you say,’ said the young princess yawning and pulling restlessly at her fuzzy hair. All Aystanna could think about were her good friends in the forest and what they were up to. Most of her days were spent living in her own little world. She gained great pleasure from gazing out of the window and dream of flying high and free in the sky on one of her adventures. Best of all though was playing with her friends deep in the forest, far away from watchful eyes. She loved nothing more.

Unlike the dreariness of the palace, the forest was alive and exciting; there was always the possibility of adventure for a young spirit edundine like herself. The forest dwellers were fun and unpredictable, and taught her a lot about life. Aystanna felt free in their domain, and free to be herself, which was something, she never experienced in the palace. In the forest everyone she met was very down-to-earth and friendly.

She had become familiar with all the elementalsin Fair Light and everyone loved her.Amongst her new friends were the humble gnomes; their king was known as Winflow the Bold. He and his good wife Glendalough always made it a point to welcome the young princess whenever she visited their kingdom. They were very fond of her and could see that she was full of wisdom, far beyond her years.

Everyone in the gnome kingdom knew Aystanna from her frequent visits. Generally shy and gentle folk who didn’t talk much and hada tendency to stick to their own, they welcomed Aystanna with open hearts whenever she flew into the forest.She in turn was very kind to the forest dwellers and respected their way of life. She understood why they preferred not to wander too far from where they lived. Their clothes, like their personalities, were simple and unadorned. The males wore brown baggy pants, a plain matching top, and a tiny brown hat with a feather in it, and brown lace-up boots.The females wore plain brown smocks and preferred to go barefoot. They were also taller than the males and most of them were hairless.

In the light their heads were smooth and shiny;the less hair they had, the more attractive they thought they were. Their wide toothy grins were always visible as they laughed a lot, often under their breath, as they were also very timid.‘Welcome again Princess!’ they would call out when they saw her.‘Oh, thank you kind gnomes, how lovely of you,’ she would reply cheerfully, pleased to being such good company.

As you might have guessed by now, Aystannawas quite different to her relatives in the palace.She was very fair-minded and hated any type of injustice. She was also very loving and compassionate and all her friendships were very important to her. She was much friendlier than most and had time for anyone, no matter who they were. She was a born leader and fearless to the extreme. Nothing ever seemed to frighten her.

The only thing that bothered her was when the pixies told her stories about mortals leaving their garbage in the great forest. This really enraged her as it seemed totally stupid and senseless. Indeed, Aystanna was not the only one to be disturbed by the mortals’ careless behavior. All the elementals were extremely upset by the pollution left in their beautiful forest.

The pixies, the most colorful of the earth spirits fascinated the young princess. Both males and females always wore loads of jewelry with matching over-sized and colorful hats. On their feet they wore odd-matching shoes. The odder they were, the funnier they looked. They would all scream with laughter whenever they met each other, commenting all the while on they’re unusual attire.They also found it difficult to stay in one spot for too long as they were extremely restless and loved to travel. But if there was one thing they enjoyed most of all it was to gossip. They loved to tell exaggerated and terrible stories, most of which were untrue; nevertheless, this was by fartheir greatest passion.Pixies generally knew everything there was to know about anyone in the kingdom, oftend own to their most personal and intimate secrets. They would spend hours chuckling naughtily and telling anyone who would care to hear about their terrible tales and hurt fullies. Their pointy long ears would twitch with mischief as they talked and their eyes would sparkle with glee. Often they were so busy gossiping about the perils of their friends that they would forget to take a breath and you could see right down inside their mouth and into their tonsils. This was often a problem as it made their mouths ache and their jaws would sometimes get stuck.

Pixies lived like travelling gypsies, catching rides on the backs of slippery green caterpillars.They were always roaming around the countryside, packing and unpacking all their belongings as they went. Being fickle by nature,

They would often squat for a while under a tree or root but it wasn’t long before they’d move on again, not content to remain in the same place,lest they got bored.

The caterpillars were by far their favoriteform of transport because they were so slow. Ifthey travelled too fast, the pixies might miss outon all the gossip, and an opportunity to catch upwould be lost. ‘La heeeee … Well helllllooooo!Hey yeeeeeeee’ was their usual greeting to eachother as they met along the way.At times when they needed to leave thekingdom of Fair Light in a hurry, the pixieswould opt for a faster form of travel and engagethe lovely and speedy ladybugs.

Most pixies were hilariously entertaining,and had a knack for persuading any passingstranger to be their best friend. They were alsoterrible gamblers, which was fine when theywere winning, but if they lost any of their gold,they’d get shifty and grumble.Aystanna relished the time she spent withthe pixies as they made her laugh so muchand helped her forget her own problems. Butshe also knew never to take anything they toldher too seriously as most of it was probablyuntrue.

Goblins, on the other hand, Aystanna thoughtwere a dull lot. It was hard to get to know thembecause mostly they kept to themselves. Therewere only a few of them around Fair Light asthey’d been pushed to the outer boundariesof the kingdom. This suited them fine, asthey were lazy and preferred not to mix withother company. They were bigger, slower andclumsier than the other earth spirits but weregenerally harmless. Most of the time they weregentle creatures, but they were known to eruptin a terrible temper if things didn’t go theirway. Easily influenced by others, they wouldsuccumb to any temptation put in their way.

The elves, the worker bees of the kingdom,were greatly admired by Aystanna. They mostlyworked in large groups close to the magicians and wizards. Elves had dedicated their lives tohelping others in need and were known as thehealers of the forest.In fairy-lore they were accorded greatrespect. They were the only earth spirits to showthemselves to mortals as everything they didwas for the benefit of other living species onmother earth. In appearance, all elves looked the same. They were smaller than the pixies,gnomes and goblins, and were known to befar more agile. They loved dancing and had apassion for anything musical.


Kerrie Erwin – Psychic Sydney