Part 1 of the Fairy Forest Mysteries, as illustrated text.
In his younger years Alvin had travelled the World. He´d been quite the explorer, it wasn´t much he hadn´t seen, or so it felt like. Yes his goblin lineage made him small and strange looking to most people, but luckily people was polite enough not to stare, so he had wandered the World feeling rather invisible.
Now that he had turned 200 he had returned home to his cottage on the edge of the forest, and had taken over his late great uncle Malvins book collection. There were lots of ancient books on herbs and spells and magical creatures and Alvin had decided to take up his families magical heritage. He was a goblin after all, and still a young one. His great uncle Malvin had lived to be over 800.
His days was simple. He slept and read and fed the dog. His garden was already well established, but the cool climate had made him start building a greenhouse for the less hardy herbs. Whenever he met with other creatures it was really thanks to his dog Lady who tended to take long walks on her own and make friends all over the place.
Alvin was impatient. He felt like he had started too late learning about magic, and there was no one around to guide him anymore. All he had was his uncle Malvins` books. Living as remotely as he did, made it hard to get hold of the herbs that he needed and the winter made it even more problematic. It had just started snowing and the green house was not even finished yet. If only there was a way to chase the winter away?
This idea made him study even harder. There had to be some clue in the books that his good sense could make use of. The days grew shorter. The polar night crept upon him, and still there was no revelation. Every night he went to bed with a book and a hot water bottle and read until sleep overpowered him.
One day last summer he had gone out to look for Lady who had been off on one of her longer walks and got to meet some kids that lived a way over on the other side of the dale. One little girl had a decent collection of fairy tales, and the thought struck him that maybe there was some hidden truths somewhere inside those books. The origin of fairy tales is ancient, and who´s to say that they are all just what they are made out to be, fairy tales?
The next day he decided to defy the snow and the cold and to make the best out of the short daylight hours to visit the kids. He brought along Lady for company. She loved the kids and the kids loved her, so she´d keep the kids busy while he dove into the books. I was a beautiful clear day where the sky and the snow were coloured in pinks and purples. Alvin and Lady put up a good pace, and after a good stroll they made it to where the kids lived.
The kids were happy to see them. Alvin put his feet up next to the fireplace and was handed a cup of hot chocolate to get some warmth and energy back. Then they all sat down to have a chat and some sandwiches.
The group of kids had grown since last summer. It was really quite miraculous how they all had come to live here on the edge of the fairy forest. The house was big enough to house them all. It was almost as if the house grew another room now and then to accommodate them all. Most of the kids had pointy ears, and their sizes were a little off. He suspected they all had some fairy blood running through them. Especially those two teeny flower fairies, Pinky and Rose. They were even smaller than he was.
Over lunch Alvin explained his challenge. The kids were excited about the idea and flowed over with imaginative ideas about turning the green house into a forever- green house where he could harvest his herbs all year round. Alvin realized that seeing things from new angles was really useful. He might actually be less of a hermit from now on.
After the meal he and a couple of the girls, Frida and Ruthie, went up to the nursery to find the books. They sat down with him and drew while he poured over the stories about fairies. Lady was having fun with the rest of the kids downstairs, but probably dosed off from time to time. It was while he was going through the Encyclopedia of Fairies that the kids told him about a fairy that had visited with them the winter before.
They might all have a hint of fairy blood, but they were all children. This one, whos´ name was Nanni, had seemed particularly ancient. Much like himself they pointed out to his discomfort. It had been a particularly cold and windy winter night when a blizzard had raged across the Dale when she had knocked on the door.
They remembered her clearly, but none had seen her since. Alvin thought she might be a good place to start when it came to this kind of grand magic. She might have some advice about how to move forward with the challenge. Frida suggested that he could just call her on the phone, but Alvin doubted he could reach the Fairy Realm that way. When he got home he would write her a letter that the messenger penguin Ponk could take to her. He knew how to find most creatures.
Pinky the Flower fairy got so excited about everything that he decided to come along on the journey back. There were no flowers that needed tending to this time of the year anyway. The snow was deep, and his tiny fairy wings were quite useless with all the layers if clothes that he had to wear, so he brought a reindeer for his ride. If anyone saw them on the journey back I don´t know, but I wonder what they would have thought about the strange party of creatures, a goblin, a dog and a tiny flower fairy riding a reindeer?
After explaining everything to Nanni in a lengthy letter, he sent it off with Honk. They made sure to pass the days working with getting the green house finished and furnished. The afternoons and evenings were spent by reading and telling stories from Alvins many travels around the World. There was an old photo on the wall of Alvin by the Pyramids that caught the flower fairies` interest, and Alvin had to answer question after question to satisfy his curiosity. Sometimes Alvin would play the piano while Pinky sang with his pure fairy voice.
For Winter Solstice they went over to the kids again for a good meal. In the evening they sang some carols, and Alvin and Pinky got to show what they had worked on during the last couple of weeks. It was a good change to break up the monotonous days and nights at the cottage.
Some weeks later the green house was completely finished. The lights were on and lit up the snow under the dancing auroras. The shelves were stacked with pots and seeds and all kinds of tools and gear that Alvin would need for planting. But off course it was still too cold and dark forsuch activities. That was when Ponk the Penguin brought the long awaited answer from Nanni.
Alvin opened the letter with hasty fingers, eager to read her advice. He was even more surprised when he realized she was already searching for a solution to his problem, there was however a delay. Apparently there was some issue concerning a fiddle and possibly a dragon. Alvin was excited that the issue might finally be resolved. At same time he realized it was all out of his hands, and that the waiting time might be even more frustrating with nothing much to do. The days were already growing longer, and spring was getting closer and closer.
They awoke one night. There was music coming from outside and a rustling of leaves from trees. Pinky looked out from the attic window. The full moon hung bright and clear up above, but instead of the black winter forest he looked into a forested glen. Music was playing through the night, the veil to the fairy realm had lifted and the snow was going drippety drop.
There were little lights floating in the air reflecting on a pond between fairy tree houses. He could see a tiny fairy with a fiddle, almost as teeny as himself walk across the glen towards the green house, still covered in snow. Alvin and Pinky hurried down the ladder and out the door. Just as they turned the corner of the cottage they heard the beating of heavy wings and an immense shadow was lifting. They could hear Nannis words:
“With a stroke of the bow,
a flick of the wand
and the stomp of a dragons` paw,
winter melts away
and summer comes to stay.”
And just like magic, every seed and twig bloomed within the field, and just like that Alvin got his forever- green house.
The dragon had already taken off on heavy wings, but both Nanni and Fiddle, because such was in fact their names, were happy to stay for a while. The word about the magical spot of summer around Alvins greenhouse travelled fast and it wasn´t long before the neighbours, kids and creatures, turned it into quite the garden party. It wasn´t before much later the fairies realized what their dealings with grand magic had caused.