‘Dear Fairies,’ the Bombshell wrote. ‘Do you have an adventure for me?’
The letter was sealed and deposited in the Fairy Letter Box. She eyed me intently. ‘I wonder what the fairies will tell me to do.’
Crap, I thought. An adventure? How are the fairies going to come up with an adventure that can take place in the real world, where people don’t actually fly and pixie dust is a little hard to come by.
So naturally I forgot all about the letter until about 11 that night when I was lying in the dark willing myself to sleep.
The letter. Crap. The look on the Bombshell’s face when the fairies don’t answer her letters is heartbreaking. But 11 o’clock at night was no time to go find a fairy to write a letter. I needed a stop-gap measure.
I had recently been to a swap meet where I came upon some fruit carved out of marble. I had bought three pieces thinking the fairies might need a snack and promptly forgot about them. I bundled out of bed and armed with a torch, located some marble grapes and put them in the fairy letter box. No letter. No explanation.
What? It was really, really late.
The next morning I couldn’t stop the Bombshell from checking the Fairy Mail as soon as she sprung out of bed, and of course there were the grapes. I knew they were grapes, but apparently this wasn’t so clear to a six year old.
‘What do you think it means, Mum?’ she asked, bewildered.
‘I don’t know,’ I replied. ‘I guess it’s a mystery,’ I added honestly. I had no idea where this was going to go.
Over the next day or two she started writing lists about what this thing was. Was it a miniature tree? A musical instrument? Some sort of bobbly fairy wand. The on the third day, a marble pear arrived in the fairy mail box.
‘Look at this Mum,’ she said. ‘Now what do you think it means?’
‘I don’t know,’ I replied, still honestly. ‘It is a mystery adventure,’ I said stressing the word adventure.
Finally on the fifth day, with a little forethought, the mystery revealed itself. The three fruit with their magical qualities were being sent to us for safe-keeping, because a wicked goblin was trying to steal them.
Suddenly there was a real life adventure. The fruit needed a safe place, we needed to keep an eye out for goblin footprints, and a fairy charm needed to be hung by the door.
I really got into it.
But, as tends to happen, it backfired.
One morning goblin footprints were discovered at many of the doors and windows around the house. They looked suspiciously like white and green chalk and tended to disappear when you rubbed them, but I assured the girls this was the magic of goblins.
The Bombshell and the Mop thought it was awesome, knowing full well the fairies had put a protection spell on the family.
Unfortunately, no one remembered to tell the Mop’s little three year old friend about the protection spell.
‘Look,’ declared the Mop to her friend. ‘A goblin was here last night,’ she said pointing to a footprint in the backyard. ‘He’s trying to steal the fruit.’
‘A goblin?’ said the friend, eyes wide, slinking towards her mum.
‘Yeah,’ added the Mop for good effect. ‘They’re really evil.’
Her friend promptly ran to her Mum. ‘I want to go home,’ she said tearfully.
She would not budge from her Mum’s lap, thus negating our nice coffee and chat morning, since she had an extra appendage who would sob intermittently about being scared of goblins.
There was eye-rolling, though I suspect it was directed at me.
I spent the next hour treading a fine line between trying to convince the little girl that the goblin was of no consequence without outright ruining the fantasy for the Mop who thought it was ace she had a stinky goblin prowling around her yard. More importantly, I knew she would happily out me to her sister if I had claimed that I had made the whole thing up.
‘I’m so sorry,’ I mouthed to my friend for the tenth time as she tried to wrestle her daughter off her.
More eye rolling. Yep, definitely directed at me.