“Wake up, lazy bones!” Pindi shouted to her cousin Blade as she poked at him with a stick. Blade, a leaf fairy, was visiting from the Red Japanese Maple Tree near the koi pond. It was a long flight from the back garden and around the house to the Weeping Cherry Tree, and he was tired. Right now, he was lounging in a hammock in the Weeping Cherry Tree, his arms and legs dangling, enjoying the meager warmth of a winter afternoon.
At 18, he considered himself a man fairy and wanted nothing to do with his preteen cousin. He was tall for a fairy. His long, muscled arms and legs were dark brown, as was his shoulder length hair. His wings were golden brown and heavily veined. He looked like what he was; a leaf fairy.
“Go away, pest!” He shouted at Pindi. “Go play your little fairy games.”
“I’m NOT a little fairy! I helped save our home tree from spiders and helped Grandpa save a baby frog. What have you done?” demanded Pindi. “You just lie around all day and then go flirt with the pretty fairies. They just giggle and preen. They’re useless. They don’t DO anything.”
“You don’t know anything, Blade replied. “You’re just a little fairy. One day you’ll giggle and preen, too. Although I doubt anyone will want to flirt with you.”
“NEVER!” shouted Pindi. “I will NEVER be like those mean pretty fairies. I don’t care about the latest fashions in leaves or flowers. I don’t care about their crushes. I will do important things when I grow up.” Pindi stomped along the branch above Blade’s hammock. “What if I unhook the ties to your hammock? What will you do then?”
“You wouldn’t dare!” Blade rolled over and leapt onto the branch. Thoroughly annoyed, Pindi continued stomping down the branch, muttering to herself. “Idiot – thinks he’s a man fairy. Ha! I can do anything he can do. And more. I’ll show him. I’ll show them all!” She stopped to look at the finches flitting around on the branches, picking at the aphids and ants and could harm the tree. They were huge, but Pindi knew they were gentle – unless you were an aphid or an ant.
Pindi reached the end of her branch and jumped off, flying with the breeze. She looked around as she floated on the air currents. “Wheee!” she shouted as she turned summersaults and dove into the wind. She pointed her toes and turned a few pirouettes in the air. “This is fun!” The air smelled like wet leaves; fresh after the recent rains. She heard winter birds chirping their songs and joined in. “Chirp, chirp, chirp” she sang with the chorus. “How happy I am to be here.”
With a whoosh, a group of male fairies, her cousin Blade among them, flew by, upsetting her rhythm and pushing her off course. “Ha, Ha, little fairy! That will teach you.” They shouted as they flew by.
Pindi landed on a small branch and shook her head. “They’re just off to find trouble. Maybe I should follow them to see what they do.”
Pindi started to follow the group of rowdy male fairies but she was, again, blown off course by a gust of wind. She tumbled through the air and looked around. She didn’t know where she was. “OK. OK. I know how to find my way back. I just look for the lights on the Weeping Cherry Tree and follow the light,” she said to herself. Then she heard a noise, a very small groan. It seemed to be coming from a pile of leaves on the sidewalk. Pindi flew closer to look.
“Oh, No,” Pindi exclaimed as she glimpsed an old leaf fairy laying crumpled on the sidewalk, “are you ok? What can I do to help?”
“I-I’m ok. I just need some help to get up. I got caught in a gust of wind as I was going out for lunch.” The old leaf fairy sounded very weak.
“Here, lean on me,” Pindi coaxed as she braced to help the old fairy to his feet. Slowly, he stood, wobbled, and collapsed again.
“I think my leg is broken. And my wing is torn. I can’t fly,” whispered the old leaf fairy. “Just leave me here.”
“No! I’ll find help. We’ll take you to the healer fairy where your leg and wing can be fixed.” Pindi flew off, looking for Blade and his buddies.
She spotted them in a nearby tree, guzzling nectar mead and telling stories. “Blade, I need you! There’s an old leaf fairy laying on the sidewalk. He’s hurt. We have to help him!”
“What?” Blade asked. “Did you follow us? Don’t you have anything better to do than pester me?”
“Did you hear me? I need you and your friends to help get an old leaf fairy to help. Come on!”
“What do you say, guys? Should we help my little cousin with her imaginary adventure?” asked Blade.
“Sure, let’s go and see if there’s really an old leaf fairy laying on the ground.”
Exasperated, Pindi let them back to where she had found the old leaf fairy. He was laying very still. “I hope he’s still alive,” whispered Pindi as she landed beside him and gently touched his forehead. The old leaf fairy groaned.
“Go find a hummer ambulance!” she ordered one of Blade’s friends. “We’ll try to lift him, so he can ride the ambulance back to the Weeping Cherry Tree.”
Pindi stayed with the old leaf fairy, comforting him as best she could. In a few minutes, she heard the thrumming beat of the hummer’s wings as it zoomed down and hovered. Blade and his friends lifted the old leaf fairy as gently as they could and laid him across the hummer’s back. Pindi jumped on and helped him hold onto the bird’s back. Then, with more thrumming, the hummer took off straight up into the air, circled, and zoomed towards the Weeping Cherry Tree.
“You got him here just in time,” said the healer fairy. “He was very cold, and in pain. I’ve set the bones in his leg and stitched up his wing. He’ll be good as new soon. You can see him now if you wish, but don’t stay long.”
Pindi, Blade, and his friends all trooped in and gathered around the bed. “Thank you,” said the old leaf fairy. “You saved my life. You are heroes.”
Blade decided it was nice to be a hero and that Pindi wasn’t a pest after all. Or at least, not too much of a pest.