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by belka37 

Posted: 31 October 2009
Word Count: 884
Summary: Emergent Reader or early chapter book. Ashling wants to become a really truly fairy. She works hard to follow the advice of each member of her fairy family. But when she forgets her grandfather’s warning about the dangers of moon-glue, she risks missing her last chance of fulfilling her dreams.

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Chapter 1
Ashling wants to be a fairy

Ashling stamped her foot. ‘I want to be a fairy NOW!’ she cried.
‘One day you will be a really truly fairy,’ her fairy mother promised.
Ashling’s bottom lip dropped.
‘It’s not fair,’ she said. ’Everyone’s a fairy but me.’
It was true. Ashling’s mother was a fairy. Her father was a fairy. Aunt Everlasting, Uncle Fern, Grandmother and Grandfather were all fairies.
Ashling brushed away her angry tears.
‘Please Mummy,’ she begged, ‘tell me how do you get to be a fairy?’
"If you want to be a fairy, first you must smile,’ said Mother. ‘Then you must practise walking on tip-toe without falling over.’
’Next ,’ said Father, ‘you must learn how to flit across a lily-pad without getting wet and without bruising the flowers.’
Aunt Everlasting looked up from her knitting.
’After that,’ she said, ‘it’s time to learn to pirouette. First slowly and then very fast without going wobbly.’
’And when you can do all that,’ chuckled Uncle Fern, ‘it's time to leap high and land lightly.’

Chapter 2
A lot of hard work

Ashling practised walking on tip-toe without falling over. Every day she flitted across a lily-pad. Soon she could flit without getting wet and without bruising the flowers. She learned to pirouette. Round and round she turned on the very tips of her toes without going wobbly.
‘There's just one more thing you must do’, her fairy mother told her. ‘You must find your very own fairy wings.’
Ashling looked everywhere for fairy wings. She looked in the garden.
‘Do you know where fairy wings grow?’ Ashling asked two birds. But they only chirped and flew away.
She picked up two dry leaves. They were just the right shape. Ashling put them on. But the dry leaves were too itchy.
Under a Peppermint tree, Ashling found two soft feathers. ‘The birds have left me a present.’
She giggled with delight as she placed the feathers on her shoulders where fairy wings should go. But they tickled so much she had to take them off.
A kind butterfly with beautiful gold-tipped wings fluttered down and sat on Ashling’s hand.
’ Here! Take two of my wings, ’ the butterfly whispered. ‘I have enough for both of us.’
Ashling hurried home to show everyone - Mother, Father, Aunt Everlasting, Uncle Fern; and Grandmother and Grandfather.
Grandmother looked in her box of secrets. She took out a small wand and gave it to Ashling.
‘My dear,’ she said, ‘before you can be a really, truly fairy you must fly up beyond the clouds and catch some star-dust on your wand.’
Grandfather coughed.
’Take care!’ he said. ‘Remember! You must never look at the moon’. He shook his head as he spoke. ‘For if you do, your wings will become stuck together with moon-glue and you will fall "plonk" back down on the ground.’

Chapter 3
A long way to fall

Ashling flew high beyond the trees and clouds. Stars twinkled all around her. Each twinkle sprayed a little stardust onto her wand.
At last, she thought, I can be a really, truly fairy.
As Ashling turned to fly home, the shadow of the moon passed over her head and she remembered her grandfather’s warning: ’Never look at the moon!’
‘‘One eeny weeny tiny look can’t hurt,’ she told herself.
And she closed one eye and, with her other eye only half open, she took an eeny weeny tiny peek at the moon.
Just as Grandfather had warned, she fell plonk back down on the ground, her wings stuck together with moonglue.
Ashling pulled and pulled. But her wings would not come apart. She rolled in prickly grass. She rubbed herself against the bark of a tree. Nothing helped.
Ashling walked home very slowly, her wings drooped behind her.
She sat on Grandfather’s knee. ’I’m sorry, Grandad,’ she whispered. ‘It was only an eeny, weeny tiny look.’

Chapter 4
Grandad makes everything right

‘It only takes an eeny, weeny look for things to go wrong,’ said Grandfather
Ashling stared at the floor. ‘I’ll never be a really truly fairy now, will I?’
Grandfather smiled. ‘When you’re really truly sorry,’ he said, ‘you get another chance. Come with me.’
Ashling and Grandfather walked down the path and across the field. They came to
a secret rock pool hidden deep in the fairy woods.
‘Now,’ said Grandfather, ‘step into the pool and play.’
Ashling swam and splashed in the cool water. She tried her wings. They were still stuck fast.
The moon rose up over the top of the trees. Ashling remembered not to look. She turned her face away, her eyes fixed on a lily pad . . . and that was when the magic happened.
Two moonbeams hit the water, danced across to where Ashling played and softened the moon-glue. Ashling’s wings opened wide. Her wand sparkled like stardust. She stood tall on a lily pad - a really, truly fairy at last.
… … … … … …
If, one evening, you happen upon a gathering of fairies - watch them as the moon rises. Notice the way they spread their wings to shade their eyes and dance together in a circle. Not one fairy will look up at the moon.

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Comments by other Members

GaiusCoffey at 08:59 on 05 November 2009  Report this post
Not my usual fayre and don't ordinarily spend time with kids less than 30, so won't comment in any depth. Liked it, though, liked the simplicity and charm of the steady progression.

One picky that I didn't like was the "really, truly fairy". She is either _a_ RTF or the F becomes an adjective so that you need the last comma as in "a really, truly, fairy little girl".

Also; "she fell plonk back down on the ground".

I think "to plonk back down" is an irregular verb? The first usage of plonk also jarred the first time when her gd says it. IMHO; "she fell back down and landed on the ground with a heavy 'plonk'."

Thanks for the read,



Reread that and don't think my point is the way I made it! She wants to "really be a true fairy" or she "truly wants to be a real fairy" or she "really, truly wants to be a fairy". And, if she succeeds, she will be a "real, true fairy". She will really, truly be a fairy in her own right. Otherwise, it reads to me as if she is a "really"; truly, Fairy, I am telling you she is a "really".
Um, clear as clear can be when viewed through a dirty sieve.

Freebird at 14:58 on 05 November 2009  Report this post
I hadn't realised how much this had already stuck in my mind - I only skimmed it the other day, and yet when I was out walking with my daughter last night the moon was nearly full and I found myself thinking about moon-glue and fairy wings!

Loved the name Aunt Everlasting, and the things she tries out as wings.

I assume Ashling is actually a fairy (genetically speaking!) but just not a fully-fledged one yet?

I actually quite like the 'really, truly fairy' phrase because that's how little girls tend to talk when they are earnest about something.

It's a magical little story -it would make a lovely early reader.

The only thing that jarred very slightly was the moon-glue - I didn't quite see how looking at the moon would make this glue appear from nowhere. Maybe you could just keep it simpler and say that if she looks at the moon, her wings will stick together? Only a nit-pick, though, and very much down to personal taste.

And on that note, I'd better fly down to school!


ShellyH at 16:23 on 05 November 2009  Report this post
Hi Mabel, sorry for the delay, I did read this the other day and was going to come back to it and leave my comment, so I apologise.
I thought this was enchanting. I enjoyed all of it, and I too like the 'really, truly fairy' phrase.
I thought the names were great and language was spot on. Good chapter length for early readers too.
Little ones will love it.


SusieL at 20:31 on 05 November 2009  Report this post
Just to echo the other comments, Mabel: a beautiful fairy story. Regarding the really truly fairy comments - I wondered whether just writing it A Really Truly Fairy might work? Also wasn't sure about plonk - felt it needed something a little more dramatic, but obviously not too graphic! I hadn't really thought about the moon-glue until I read Freebird's comment, but I thought her suggestion was a good one. But this is a lovely story - I can already imagine the illustrations as well! Good luck with this.

belka37 at 03:51 on 12 November 2009  Report this post

Hi All,
Sorry I’ve been a bit slow acknowledging all your helpful and thought provoking comments on ‘Ashling”.(My only excuse, I’ve had an inflammation of the sacro-iliac joint which makes sitting at the computer somewhat painful)
Excuses over -
To Gauis first! You made me laugh. Why? Because I ‘never’ write fairy stories. But I was bailed up by a four-year-old (at a Family Day Care Centre where I volunteered one day a week) and demanded to tell her a fairy story right there and then - and ‘Ashling’ is what came out. The ‘really truly fairy’ part came from the child herself. So I’m tickled pink that that although you don’t usually spend time with kids less than 30, you did enjoy ‘the simplicity and charm of the steady progression.’

Freebird: Thank you, too for your comments. As this is a story set in Australia , the idea of Aunt Everlasting and Uncle Fern are taken from the Western Australian wildflowers of the names, Everlasting and Fern. The Everlasting is particularly spectacular. It covers whole fields in the springtime and lasts for months. If picked the flowers holds for what seems like forever - even without water.
Until you mentioned it I didn’t have a problem with ‘moonglue’. As it is somewhat central to the story, I can see I need to work on that a bit. There’s a poem somewhere that suggests the moon is made of cheese. Maybe, if the moon was made of glue - this would still work!!! Or not!. I envisaged the glue just oozing from the moon and sticking together the fairy wings of any young fairy who had the audacity to look her in the eye. (In Australian Aboriginal culture it is rude to make eye contact outside the immediate family.)

Thank you too, to Shelly and SusieL for your kind comments.
I must have another look at ‘plonk’. Gauis also mentioned that word. To me plonk is one of those words where sound and meaning match - onomatopoeia (or some such dreadful expression) Then again, ‘plonk’ can also mean cheap wine. Maybe plop is better?
Also Susie: Do you mean to use “A Really Truly Fairy" as the title?

Anyway, thank you all. You are a very helpful group and I hope that I can reciprocate your time and thought with my attention to your writings.

Mabel K

Ben Yezir at 20:59 on 15 November 2009  Report this post
Hi Mabel,

Having a herd/brood/vipers nest/clutch of three boys under the age of 8 - I know nothing about fairies. However I know a lot about Power Rangers and Ninjas.

I have to totally disagree with Gaius, I love the expression 'really truly fairy' - it's kind of hypnotic.

My only problem revolves around a wand. Suddenly Ashling has one - why? what is it? where did it come from and why did I only find out about it when the story needed her to have one.

I loved Freebirds comment about her being a 'genetic' fairy - very good. But she does raise a good point? What makes one a fairy? It's not clear, but does it matter... not sure. I think my brain has been rotted by Sonic the Hedgehog.

Ben Yezir

belka37 at 07:24 on 16 November 2009  Report this post
Thanks Ben,
In chapter 2:
Grandmother looked in her box of secrets. She took out a small wand and gave it to Ashling.
‘My dear,’ she said, ‘before you can be a really, truly fairy you must fly up beyond the clouds and catch some star-dust on your wand.’

Is that not enough?

You ask what makes on fairy? (Now someone else from a live group raised the same issue. I had thought it clear that -
(1) having fairy parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents was a prerequisite; and following that the fairy-in-training underwent an apprenticeship in which she
(2) practised walking on tiptoe without falling over;
(3) flitted over lilypads without bruising the floweres or getting wet;
(4) learned to pirouette without going wobbly;
(5) found her own set of wings;
(6) earned a wand (from grandmother);
(7) gathered stardust for the wand by flying to the stars without looking at the moon.

Maybe not!
Any ideas about how I can make the process clearer?

Ben Yezir at 10:28 on 17 November 2009  Report this post
Hi Mabel,

I missed the wand reference. My fault.

Ben Yezir

SusieL at 19:43 on 17 November 2009  Report this post
Hi Mabel, I didn't mean A Really Truly Fairy as a title, just as a noun within the sentence, to give it more impact if the child themselves were reading it. But that's just one point of view, and, like Ben, I have no daughters (so what do I know!) and am currently wallowing in a morass of motorbikes, beginner-guitar-type noises and loud rock music. My own childhood I can only dimly remember - although I used to love the Flower Fairy books!

Issy at 16:40 on 01 December 2009  Report this post
Hi Mabel,

A magic and totally charming story and how lovely to be asked by a young person to create a story, and it came, just like that.

Thinking of it at a slightly deeper level, and how it relates to the child reader, it seems to me its a story about doing things for yourself - finding your feet and "wings" in the great big world you've come into. And it is lovely that in the end it is the love and support of the adults that led her to the pool to refind her wings, give her a second chance.

Because they won't get it right first time.

A few suggestions on the story sequence. For this age just coming out of picture books I think a set of threes is what is expected.

So maybe there could be three events or three things that she has to do firstly to "earn her wings" as a truly fairy (and I do like that phrase). So she could perhaps teach herself to pirouette and then goes back and asks her family "Am I a truly fairy now" and they say you have to learn to do the next thing and goes back, and then maybe the third thing is she has to find the wings. (Alternatively that could be the second thing and when she goes back with the wings, she's told she is still not a truly fairy until she has learnt to fly with them)

Then there are three searches for the wings, like the leaves, then the birds feathers, then the butterfly wings. I would be inclined to leave out the conversation with the birds as this detracts from the story I feel.

I was a little disappointed that she was given the wings. I felt she needed to work a bit harder for them. Maybe she has to do something for the butterfly in order to be given the wings. Cast a fairy spell or weave a gossamer cover for the butterfly eggs?

I loved the section where she looks at the moon,and the language used, and the ending where the family give her the second chance. "Her wand sparkled..." a lovely phrase to bring it to the end and sum up her delight at being a truly fairy.

Sheer magic. Such a simple yet so effective idea, and you do write so well.

belka37 at 08:01 on 02 December 2009  Report this post
What can I say? Such generous and helpful comments.Thank you so much.

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