Episode 1: Remember the Rain

gregwebb44Winglings under the Willow Tree

Ever wondered what everyday life is like for a fairy? Willam Wingling will tell you all about it in our first adventure of Winglings under the Willow Tree. (Duration: 26:16) Theme music by Kevin Macleod – Incompetech.com. Want to listen offline? Click the download icon on the player above to download this episode to your device.

Episode 1: Remember the Rain

Being a fairy is no joke. Seriously, it’s no laughing matter. It’s not all fluttering around and dancing with butterflies and dandelions. Okay, so maybe some of the time we do that stuff. But it’s not as common as you think. You see, we fairies actually have a purpose and it’s not to float around ponds sprinkling magical dust over nosey humans.

Fairies are Earth’s caretakers. What do I mean by that? I mean, the Earth is a big beautiful place in desperate need of tender love and care. To do that, us fairies make sure that the soils are rich for harvest, the trees are lush and full, and that its necessary cycles remain regular.

Now, the stories I’m about to tell you of my family are nothing short of remarkable. In fact, you may not believe one or two. But that doesn’t matter. I can assure you everything I’ve been through is as real as fairies. Honest to pixie.

The name’s Willam Wingling and I along with my impossible family live under the Willow Tree along Emerald Creek. Let me guess, you want to know what we look like? Psh, of course you do. You humans are such visual creatures. All right then. Hold out your pinkie finger. Stand it up nice and straight. And imagine a strikingly handsome face with beautiful brown hair at the top, a simple but suitable brown leather clothes in the middle, some legs at the bottom with leaf-shoed feet, and two glorious translucent wings jutting out the back. That’s me. Oh, and I guess one other thing that makes me and my Clan stand out is our eyebrows. They’re thin and long and stretch up high on the sides. All the better to give you annoying humans a questionable look when needed.

I’m pretty sure I heard you snicker a minute ago when you heard my name and I can’t say I blame you. Wingling is actually a quite rude name for a fairy. It’d be like the word Dummy for humans. Imagine that. People calling you dummy everywhere you go. Hey Willam Dummy! How are you today? Or Watch your wings Mr. Dummy! It’s awful really. Or it was until I got used to having an insult for a last name.

On the other hand, my parents, Walter and Elita are quite proud of the name. Apparently there were many brave and important Winglings down the line that brought honor to the Daffodile Clan. And for a daff, loony, and all around odd group of fairies that’s saying a lot.

You see, Clans are what each group of fairies belong to. Each is named after the flower they’re born in. That’s right, we’re born in flowers. You have a problem with that? Didn’t think so. Clans come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. The Tulips from the East are an obnoxiously chattery bunch and the Sunflowers to the North are as sunny and chipper as the Canadians. All of them have their own duties in caring for the earth.

In our little section of the world, the Daffodils nurture the forests. It’s hard work, especially during the fall when everyone expects some glorious color display. I’m exhausted just thinking about it, really.

More on that later. I want to start by telling you about a day that changed my life forever. It was a windy day at the edge of the woods and I was charged with checking the tree canopies to make sure the Spring green was filling out. As I sat on a mossy stone on a cliff high above the trees I pondered. Believe it or not, despite our tiny brains us fairies are capable of such deep thought.

I pondered on my duties, my family, and the never-ending rules put upon me by my parents.

Never show yourself to a human, they’ll turn you into a circus freak show, they’d say.

Or, flap your wings together on the porch Will, you’ll track the pollen and dust in.

Ew, and my personal favorite, Never pass the the Fragrant Falls. It’s dangerous and Daffodils have no need for danger.

I despised that rule. You have any idea how boring it gets, flying around taking care of trees? Trust me, flying is overrated. Imagine having another pair of arms coming out your back and you flapping them around as fast you can to stay afloat. I’d like to see how long you last. It’s exhausting. Especially before you grow into your adult wings.

Anyway, after a good long pondering, I decided I was ready to explore the lands beyond the Fragrant Falls. I wanted, no needed, a taste of adventure. A glimpse of the world yonder. And tonight would be the night to break the news of my plans.

I flew over the treetops, along the creek, and up to the willow. A gable wood roof stuck out of the trunk and covered a little porch made of twigs and leaves. An inviting glow shone through tiny glass windows with red panes. Words were carved above the little wooden door that read, “Welcome to the Winglings”. It was a humble place, the Willow. Not fit for a Queen of course, but perfect a poor farming family.

I landed gently on the front porch and walked inside.

The smell of fresh vegetable stew filled the room. To my right in the Gathering Room sat my father Walter at his oversized feather chair. A thin dark-haired fellow with a long face and even longer nose. He stared down at the itty bitty pages of a book through his enormous glasses, occasionally grunting or chuckling to himself. Beside him was a roaring Pixie Fire in the middle  the floor that illuminated the vaulted ceilings and walls covered with old books and family photos. Pixie Fire candles lined the floor of every room, giving the whole house a warm glittery glow.

“Walt! Put down that booksy and see to the Light!” That was my mother in the kitchen.

She was tending to  the stew in a large kettle and had stopped to wave the ladle at my father. Her bright red curls bobbed as she spoke and her blue eyes looked sternly at him.

“As you wish my dear,” my dad replied. Reluctantly he stood and walked over to the distinguished candles by the old clock. With a light blow and a wave of his hand, a sparkling orange flame shot up from the wicks. “Oh, Will. I was wondering when you’d be home. Do your Dah a favor and light that there candle by the door?”

I turned and blew on the thick stick of wax hanging next to me, making it come to life.

Ma kept looking out the kitchen window at the branch outside. She’d been doing that all week. Running to the window or out onto the porch to check on my baby brother. Well, that’s what I hoped it would be anyway. At the moment, it was just a little Daffodil flower resting on a branch, waiting to bloom. Mah and Dah had to keep it outside at this stage, they said the fresh air helps the flower to bloom quicker. I could tell they were anxious for my sibling to get here. It had been several years since my Ma had the chance to snuggle a tiny Fairyling.

“Don’t fret, it’ll be here soon enough,” my father assured her. He walked over to the table and set it with lily pad plates and cups made of hardened tree sap.

“I’ll fret as long as I like thank you very much,” ma replied. “I thought I heard a storm comin’. Bad enough it’s a chilly night. Poor thing’ll freeze out there. Maybe I’ll light a few Pixie Fires around the petals to keep ‘em warm.”

Father sighed. “Elita, you know we can’t have light outside after sunset. Royalty’s Rules. Can’t be havin’ curious humans climbing up the trees or drawin’ in The Dark with Pixie Magic.”

Mother poured the thick stew onto our Lilly Pads. “OOOoh Royalty’s Rules! Like they even know better. They just sit up there on their high branches and huff down at us! I’ll burn Pixie outside if I very well like it. Like it?”

I pulled my spoon from my mouth. “Delicious, ma” I said.

“That’s what I thought.” She sat down and took our hands. “Let us give thanks to Mother Moon.” We bowed our heads. “Mother Moon, thank you for your precious Light and the food before us. Light.” Dah and I said Light and then dug into our stew.

“Now,” Ma continued. “Did you check on the East Rim?”

“Of course,” I replied.

“And stayed far away from the Fragrant Falls?”

I hesitated. This was my moment. “About that,” I started, but before I could continue there came a knock at the door. Ma and Da exchanged a nervous look before they both stood to answer it.

When the door opened, they were surprised to find Jasper, the Clan messenger standing on the other side. The plump man’s gray beard was curled like an ocean wave and dusted with Pixie. He helped himself into the house without invitation and paced in front of the fire.

“Help yourself, Jasper,” Ma said sarcastically.

“Ah, thank ya much!” he waddled over to the table and started scarfing down my stew!

Ma rolled her eyes. “Come now, man! What’s the news? Such a late hour better bring something worthy of interruption.” She and Da walked over to his side and sat on the table.

Jasper swallowed. “Best not in fronta da boy,” he whispered.

Da motioned for me to leave. I did so, but stopped in the hallway and peeked out. As the messenger spoke in a hush to my parents, I could see a flood of terror filling their eyes. Before the old man could finish his message they were grabbing their coats.

“Will!” mother called frantically.

I walked out and she put her hands on my shoulders. “Your father and I must go, the Clan needs our help and by Light I hope there’s something we can do. Promise me you will watch your sibling with a your most vigilant eye until we return. Promise?”

I nodded.

And with that the three of them flew out the door.

Some time later, I worked on my blow pipe upstairs in my room, carving its edges and making sure the inside was smooth so that the dry berries I blew through it would fly fast and far. It’d be perfect for hunting flies once it was finished. As I whittled at the tip a soft breeze blew through my window.

Again the breeze blew and this time it carried a faint voice.

“Be watchful, Will,” said the wind.

I looked out the window up at Mother Moon and from high up in her starry kingdom she smiled down at me. Her pleasant face defined by shadows, her voice as gentle as the breeze.

“Good evening Mother Moon,” I said to her. “I’ve been checking on our little flower. All is well at the Winglings.”

“Not so, little Willam. The Dark is on the horizon and it is you that must protect not just the flower, but your whole family.”

As she said the words a chill ran down my spine. There was nothing I feared more than The Dark. But you see, to fairies, the dark isn’t simply the absence of Light, but rather, the absence of Good. The Dark was a group of creatures and fairies that didn’t like the rest of us trying to take care of Earth. They saw it as a waste of time trying to protect something that the humans so carelessly destroyed. So they spent their time working against them and against us in our efforts.

“The Dark?” I asked. “Here in Emerald Creek? But why?”

“You will learn soon enough, Young Will. But for now, remember the rain.”

“Remember?”

“Remember and do not fear it.”

I paused. Every fairy feared the rain. And so would you if bowling ball sized globs of water came crashing down from the heavens. To us, being out in the rain was dangerous if not deadly and as you well know, Daffodils don’t do dangerous.

“Remember where it comes from,” Mother Moon continued. It was normal for her to teach us fairies how to do our job, but the way she spoke I knew that my understanding was meant for something more.

She smiled. “When the glorious sun heats the waves of the sea, water turns to vapor and rises high in the sky until it becomes the clouds above. Wind blows those clouds over the land where the water rains down over us and brings life wherever it touches. When it is finished, it drains back into the rivers which carry the water back to sea. And thus is the never ending cycle of living waters. Do not fear the dark clouds above or the waters from the heavens. They bring life and can protect you.”

“But, why are you telling me this now?” I asked.

Mother Moon’s voice faded back into the breeze. “Remember the Rain,” it whispered before disappearing in the trees.

A giant glob of water whizzed by my window and splashed on the porch below. I jumped back. Another massive drop crashed on the outside branch, and another, and another.

Pretty soon, the sky was full of dark clouds that showered the land with rain, powerful, terrifying rain. Instinctively, I ran to the corner of my room and prayed for it to stop. But it wouldn’t. It only grew stronger.

Just when I couldn’t take it any longer, Mother Moon’s words echoed in my mind. “Don’t fear the rain. You will protect your whole family.” My family! The flower! It was…

I flew to window and looked down at the branch below. The Daffodil was nowhere to be seen. The wind and rain must’ve carried it off, I thought. As fast as I could I through on my coat, grabbed my blow pipe, and zipped out my window.

All around me, giant balls of water streaked by and crashed onto the branches below. I flew as hard as I could down the tree and around the trunk, looking for any sign of my lost flower. The one I had been entrusted to protect. I glanced around the tall grass in a panic, nothing. I soared through the nearby mushroom marsh, but again nothing. My efforts were hopeless. It was too dark outside, the storm clouds shunned the moonlight and bringing out a Pixie Flame at night was strictly forbidden.

Then I got an idea.

I flew to the Pearly Pond on the other side of the Mossy Stones to find the one person who could help. My best friend Timothy Toad. Why, might you ask, go to Tim? Because toads have incredible night vision and only he could spot my little flower during a rainstorm. He might be dumber than a Dandelion, but he’s the best friend anyone could ever hope for. I knew As always, I could count on him.

“Tim! Tiiiim!” I shouted over the thunder.

I flew to his hollowed out white pumpkin hut at the end of the pond.

“Eh?” came a voice from the muddy hole. “S’that you Dragonfly? I told you you can’t use my Lilly Pad as a bed anymore. It comes back wet every time.”

“No, Tim, it’s me!” I shouted.

A frumpy toad with big eyes, baggy pants, and a goofy smile emerged. “Oh! Eh der Will! Surprised to see you out flutterin’ about in the rain!”

“I wouldn’t be out fluttering if I hadn’t lost my flower!”

Tim stroked his rubbery chin that ballooned as he croaked, “That’s problem with you fairies. Losing something as silly as a flower becomes such a big deal. Calm your pixie, I’ll pick you a new one in the morning.” Tim turned around and headed back inside.

“Tim. This wasn’t just any flower, it’s the flower.”

Tim’s head poked back out the doorway. “You mean…”

I nodded.

He quickly grabbed his long brown coat and hopped out next to me. “Well, why didn’t you say so? Let’s go!” He held up his arms and closed his eyes.

Nothing happened.

“Really?” I said with a raised eyebrow.

He peaked at me with one eye. “Oh come on, I figure the only way to do this snappy is to carry me. I had a big dinner, Will, and bouncing it around isn’t going to do either of us any good.”

I sighed and grabbed onto his slippery hands and heaved him into the air. It was like trying to fly with an elephant tied around your waste. An elephant with an appetite.

Tim’s tongue shot out and nabbed a fly in the distance. He looked up at me. (with mouth full) “What? You snatched me before I finished dessert!”

Ridiculous! I shook my head and flew harder, gliding through the forest, passing fairy tree houses and the rope bridges that connected them. “See anything yet?” I asked.

Tim’s fat head swiveled on its slimy shoulders. “Not yet, not yet. Just a bunch of spooked fairies and a couple of Black Bees buzzing off with a little flower. Nothing of consequence.”

I shook his arms. “Bees! Flower! Where!?”

Tim came to his senses. “Oh! Oh! Um, there! There the buggers go!”

He pointed down at two Black Bees carrying my Daffodil. They flew low under the thickest branches to avoid the rain. A hard hit from raindrops could kill such creatures. Wait a minute? I thought. What were Black Bees, the Guardians  of The Dark doing with my flower?

Only one way to find out. I tucked my wings and dove straight for them. When we were within range, I held onto Tim with one hand and pulled out my blow pipe with the other. I shot a hard berry at the one on the left, hitting him square in the back. Knocked off course, he dropped the flower, but the other quickly grabbed it and flew on faster.

“Tim your tongue!” I shouted.

Tim closed one eye, took aim, and shot out his tongue that arced far in front of us like a fisherman casting his line. It stretched and stretched and streeeeeetched until it stuck right on the stem of the flower. Tim sucked back his tongue in the flutter of a wing until it was safely in his blown up mouth.

“Don’t you dare swallow!” I said, turning back and flying for home.

The Black Bee spun around in a fury and bolted for us. It zigged and zagged, dodging the raindrops and gaining on us quickly. I looked back at its sharp black stinger that got closer and closer by the second. Normally, I could outfly a bee no problem. But carrying your slippery oversized friend in the process is a whole other story.

I saw the faint glow of our Willow Tree in the distance and flew hard for it. But a voice came to me in the wind. “The rain will protect you,” it whispered. I looked up at the menacing cloud above and then back at the approaching Black Bee.

Against all my instincts, I jerked upward and flew straight for the sky, barely dodging the drops heading right for me.

“Where are you going?” called Tim.

“Trust me!” I said. And up we flew, up and up and up.

Below us, the Black Bee hesitated, almost turning around and giving up all together. No one was crazy enough to fly up into the rain. But something in him pushed that out of his mind and he charged after us. He flew higher and higher, his stinger only inches away.

“Um, Will?” Tim said.

“What?”

“Do Daffodils glow in the dark?”
What in all the kingdom? I looked down at Tim’s puffed out throat that was glowing like a Pixie Fire. Together we must’ve looked like a bright bulb shooting up into the sky. I could see the confused expression on the Black Bees face below us.

We finally reached the cloud above and vanished into the dark vapor. Unfortunately for us, Tim’s glowing throat kept the Bee on our tail. I was tired. I couldn’t go on. I wouldn’t. My wings were finished. They were done.

I stopped, reached into Tim’s mouth and pulled out the flower. With a good shake I said, “Come on! Come on! Bloom already! BLOOM!”

Just then, something incredible happened.  Two large raindrops landed on the flower, making it spring open. The moment the petals opened, the most brilliant light shot out in every direction. And inside, curled up in little ball, was an itty bitty girl. The most beautiful fairyling I’d ever laid eyes on. Her fiery red hair curled down her back. Her wings glittered and wrapped around her shivering body. She blinked and then looked up at me with piercing green eyes. I had a little sister. And she was glowing with a radiant pixie I’d never seen.

Delicately, I scooped her out and dropped the flower, still holding onto my croaking friend.

Timothy snapped me out of my daze with a panicked shout, “Will, look out!”

I looked down just in time to see the Black Bee’s stinger burst through the cloud.

“NO!” I shouted. Immediately I felt a surge shoot through me. A warm energy that started at the arm holding my sister and ending at my toes.

A bolt of lightning flashed from my feet and zapped the Black Bee before it could reach us.

The buzzing insect fell with static flickering in its pricked hairs.

Tim stared up at at me with his gummy jaw dropped.

We had done it. She was safe.

As the storm calmed, we flew home, neither of us said a word about what happened. What was there to say? Hey Will, how about that lightening you shot out of your pinkie toe? Nonsense. I wasn’t even sure if what I saw and felt really happened. Then again, my toes were still buzzing all the way home.

After dropping Tim off, I flew my little sister into our Willow and wrapped her in a warm blanket by the Pixie Fire. The flames roared and turned colors the closer I put her to it.

We were only home minutes before my parents walked through the door.   

“Willam P. Wingling! What have I told you about throwing Spider Sauce in the fire! You know that…” She was stopped as my father grabbed her arm and pointed to the curled up fairyling at the foot of the flames.

They both ran to my sister and picked her up.

“When did she-? How long ago-?” My ma started to ramble but she was too overjoyed to see her beautiful daughter to put words together. They both snuggled the little girl. She reached up with her tiny hand and played with Da’s nose. As she did, she started to glow.

My parents gasped.

“It can’t be,” said Da.

Mother was speechless. Her trembling hands clasped over her mouth as tears filled her eyes.

Father looked out the windows in a panic. “Who has seen her?” he asked, his voice growing defensive.

“N-No one Da. She bloomed only minutes ago. She’s only…”

“You’re sure of it!?” Father insisted. His unusually harsh tone frightened me.

“Da, Ma, what’s going on?”

Father handed the child to my mother. “Elita, hide her in the lowest root and cover her well. I’ll be down in a minute with supplies. Hurry!”

Ma took the child and full down the spiral stairs.

Father dug through the closets, grabbing blankets, Pixie Fire sticks, and supplies.

“Da, talk to me!” I said.

Father spoke as he continued. “The Queen. She’s on her deathbed this very night. The Light is fading out of her and the Clan is in a frenzy trying to save her. She won’t last, Will. I’m sure of it.”

I shook my head. “What does that have to do with my baby sister?!”

Da stopped and turned to me. “Everything, Will! Everything! When was the last time you saw a fairy shine like her, huh? When was the last time you’ve been blinded by such Light?”

Thoughts raced through my mind, trying to keep up with the situation and all I’d been through. Finally they stopped on a memory. A vivid, unforgettable memory. The only one that compared.

“The Queen,” I said softly. “Last time I saw such a glow was when we met the Daffodil Queen.” I looked up at my father with wide eyes. “My sister…she’s going to be the new…Queen?”

“Not if The Dark has anything to say about it,” father said. “We must get her as far away from here as we can. The Queen wasn’t sick, Will. I’ve seen a poisoned face in my time and won’t forget it. They’re stripping us of our Queen. The very Light keeping this Clan aglow.” He looked down at the staircase. “The future of our people lies with her. And it’s up to us to protect her.”

I couldn’t make make any sense of it…..

He handed me a packed bag and together we flew down the stairs.

Discussion

Talk to your child about the importance of family. Discuss why it’s important we watch over our siblings and help each other when we’re in need. Ask them what they can do to watch over one another.

 

Activity

Where does rain come from?

When water becomes warm from the sun, it evaporates and turns into vapor. Vapor rises into the air and cools, forming frozen water crystals and itty bitty water droplets. When these water droplets and crystals come together they become clouds. Over time, the water droplets attract even more water and once the cloud gets nice and heavy, full of lots of water crystals and droplets, gravity pulls them down out of the cloud in the form of RAIN!

 

If it’s cold enough outside, the water crystals stay frozen and grow nice and big, making them fall from the sky as snow.

snowflake

 

 

Snow and Rain are forms of Precipitation.

Precipitation