Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Not everything that flutters by ... may prove to be a butterfly.

Jack stared at the tangle of vegetation that grew wild along the bottom of his garden. It was so dense that he couldn’t see the fence. He wasn’t even sure that there was a fence. The garden was like this when he moved in three months ago. Today, he had finally decided to do something about it.

Jack held a wicked looking cane knife in his hand. It was a souvenir from when he had worked for a year in Fiji. He liked his cane knife. Its blade was broader and heavier than that of a machete, and the end was square rather than pointed. It was such a versatile tool for work in the garden. He had little need for anything else.

But looking now at the thick scrub before him, he wondered if his trusty cane knife would be up to the task. Swinging the heavy blade back over his head, he prepared to make an experimental strike at the nearest bush. But just as the blade reached the full extent of its backswing, a voice disturbed his concentration.

‘There’s fairies at the bottom of your garden.’

Jack staggered back in surprise, but managed to stay on his feet and lower the blade without doing himself any harm. He turned and saw a little girl staring up at him with disapproving eyes. She looked about six or seven years old—or maybe eight. Jack wasn’t much good at guessing kids’ ages. He had never married nor had children of his own. The pint-sized interloper’s dark hair hung down her back in twin plaits. She looked cute in her startling lime green gumboots and a faded blue dress.

‘Where did you spring from?’ enquired Jack.

‘I didn’t have to spring,’ replied the girl. ‘There’s a hole in your fence up there. I just walked through.’

‘Well, young lady, I suggest that you walk back out again. The fence is there for a reason. Don’t you know that you are trespassing?’

‘I don’t know what that means.’

‘It means that this is my place. I didn’t invite you to come into my place, so you are trespassing.’

‘Is that something bad?’

‘Oh yes. It’s very bad indeed. And dangerous. Do you know I could have lopped your head off with this thing if you’d been much closer?’

‘You wouldn’t do that would you?’

‘Not on purpose. But I didn’t know you were there.’

‘I only came through the fence to warn you.’

‘About what?’

‘The fairies, of course. At the bottom of your garden.’

‘You think there are fairies at the bottom of my garden?’

‘I know there are.’

Jack chuckled. ‘That’s just a saying. Fairies aren’t real.’

‘How do you know that?’

‘I don’t know how. I just know—that’s all.’

‘That’s silly.’

‘No it isn’t. It’s called common sense. But I guess that’s too much to expect at your age. Anyway, you shouldn’t be here. You run along home now and let me get on with my work, okay?’

‘You’ll soon know there’s fairies in there if you hit any with that big axe.’

‘It’s not an axe, it’s a cane knife. I promise I won’t use it to hurt any fairies.’

‘That’s such a big knife. Even if you don’t hurt any fairies, they’ll be awfully cross with you for using it on the bushes. That’s where they live.

‘I’m sure they don’t.’

‘But they do. Everyone knows that fairies like to live at the bottom of people’s gardens.

Jack sighed and wiped his brow with the back of his hand. ‘Persistent little tyke, aren’t you? What’s your name?’

‘Sophie.’

‘That’s a nice name.’

‘No it isn’t. I hate it.’

‘Why so?’

‘You’d hate it too if your last name was Waters.’

‘Is that your name? Sophie Waters?’

‘No, I was just saying if it was. I’m Sophie Wilson. What’s your name?’

‘My friends call me Jack. You can call me Mr Frost.’

‘Now you are joking, right?’

‘Nope, my parents had a weird sense of humour.’

‘Is there a Mrs Frost?’

‘Nah.’

‘Why not?’

‘I don’t know. I’ve never met the right girl I suppose. And I like living on my own.’

‘My mum thinks you are homo-sceptical.’

Jack frowned. ‘A homo …? Oh, is that what she thinks?

‘Yes. Mummy knows about these things.’

‘Your mummy thinks she knows about these things. I think she’s a bigot.’

‘No she’s not. She’s a Baptist.’

‘That’s immaterial’

‘Huh?’

‘Her religion has got nothing to do with it. She shouldn’t go round saying wrong things about me. It isn’t nice.’

‘She’s always on the phone with her lady friends. They say you’re a singer.’

‘I think you mean “sinner”.’

‘Yes, that’s what they say.’

‘Bloody gossip!’

‘Oooo. You said a rude word.’

‘Sorry, it just slipped out. I’m not accustomed to chatting with sensitive young ladies.’

‘What’s a homo-sceptical anyway?’

‘That’s not quite the right word. You’ll find out what it means when you’re a bit older.’

‘Would you like me to tell Mummy that you’re not a homo-sceptical?’

‘Yes … No! No, don’t tell her anything. It’s best that she doesn’t know you’ve been over here.’

‘Okay.’

‘Good. That’s alright then.’

‘Why?’

‘Why what?’

‘Why shouldn’t I tell Mummy that I’ve been here?’

‘Because … uh … she’ll know you’ve been trespassing. She’ll probably spank you for that.’

‘My friend Billie told me that grownups aren’t allowed to spank little kids any more.’

‘Pity.’

‘That’s an awful thing to say.’

‘Just kidding.’

‘Anyway, she’ll understand when I tell her I only came here to warn you about the fairies.’

‘There are no fairies.’

‘But you said—‘

‘Oh for goodness sake, THERE ARE NO FAIRIES!’

‘You shouted.’

‘I’m sorry. But you’re beginning to annoy me.’

‘At least I’m not shouting at you and saying rude words and calling your mummy a big-hotty.’ A tear ran down Sophie’s cheek. ‘You are so mean.’

‘For goodness sake, don’t start crying. I’m trying to be reasonable here. You have to understand that this is my place—my garden—and I can do whatever I like with it. What I’d like to do now is get rid of this untidy scrub and replace it with something nicer. But I can’t start work while you are hanging around. You might be hurt, and I wouldn’t like that. Okay?

‘No! It’s not okay.’

‘Why not?’

‘It’s not okay that you are going to smash up the fairies’ home. But if you’re going to do it anyway, I want to stay and see the fairies when they come out. I’ve never seen live fairies before.’

‘Now look here…’ Jack paused. Sophie had adopted an aggressive stance. She folded her arms and favoured him with her very best scowl.

‘Oh my! You do look fierce,’ he mocked, ‘but I’m bigger than you. I could pick you up and toss you back through the hole in the fence like a sack of potatoes. What do you think about that?’

‘I’d scream and scream.’

She would, too, dammit. Jack knew then that the only way he was going to get rid of this feisty little girl—short of risking a conviction for child abuse—was to eliminate her reason for staying.

‘Okay, you win,’ he said. ‘I’ll leave the bottom of the garden just as it is. How about that?’

‘Because you’re afraid of the fairies?’

‘Of course not. There are no fairies. It’s you who scares me.’

‘I’m just a little girl.’

‘Precisely.’ Jack began to walk up the path to his house.

‘You’ll thank me later,’ called Sophie.

‘For what?’

‘For saving you from the fairies.’

‘Humph.’

Jack paused at his garden shed and tossed the cane knife inside. He glanced back to make sure that Sophie was leaving. But she had already gone.

***

Back in his kitchen, Jack made himself a coffee and wondered what he should do for the rest of the day. He’d better fix the hole in the fence first. With his privacy thus secured, he might be able to tackle the back garden without interference.

Fixing the fence was easy. The previous owner had brought in some timber and an old sheet of corrugated iron for that very purpose. The repair was not pleasing to the eye, but a grown man would have trouble breaking through. It would certainly keep annoying little girls out.

Jack retrieved his cane knife and returned to the bottom of the garden. He stared into the scrub for some time, prodding the foliage with the end of the cane knife. Fairies? Nah. Still … he hesitated. Annoyed with himself for doubting his common sense, he abruptly stepped back and raised his cane knife. With a shout of ‘Fairies be damned!’ he took a mighty swing at the nearest bush. All of his pent up frustration went into that swing. Twigs and leaves flew in all directions.

To Jack’s astonishment, a fluttering flock of fairies flew into the air. Oh my god! Sophie was right! Then he laughed. He had just scared up a bunch of moths. No, not moths; butterflies—lots of colourful butterflies. He had never before seen butterflies flock together in such numbers and in so many different colours.

At that moment, Sophie peered round the corner of the garden shed. Her big eyes shone with excitement. ‘The fairies! They came out. I just knew they would. I do hope Mr Frost didn’t hurt any of them.’

She had been playing in her back yard when she heard Jack go into his shed for the cane knife. Finding the hole in the fence blocked off, she scuttled out to the street and came in through Jack’s front gate. She didn’t want him to yell at her again, so she watched from a hiding place behind the garden shed.

Mr Frost seemed to think that the fairies were butterflies. He just stood and stared at them when he ought to have been running away. Even from a distance, Sophie could tell that the fairies were not in a happy mood—and they had already identified Jack as the cause of their distress.

Sophie stepped out from behind the shed. ‘Run, Mr Frost!’ she screamed.

‘What?’ Jack looked back at Sophie. ‘You again? Didn’t I tell you—?’ All of a sudden, the butterflies were flitting around his head in a circle. Jack tried to bat them away with his hands, but they were too agile.

‘Don’t do that, Mr Frost. You’re just upsetting them more.’

Jack’s common sense rejected the evidence of his own eyes. The creatures looked like fairies, but that had to be an illusion. The bush that he whacked must have sent a cloud of toxic dust into the air—some kind of hallucinogen. That, plus Sophie having harped on so much about fairies, caused him to see fairies where there were only butterflies.

But Sophie was just a little girl whose perception had yet to be impaired by common sense. She knew that the fairies were real. More of them swarmed out of the bushes. They rushed to help their sisters overcome this man-creature who had attacked their home.

They surrounded Jack in a whirl of colour. A feeling of euphoria flowed through him. He ought to have been terribly afraid of these aggressive little creatures, but he had never felt more at peace. They are so beautiful, he thought, and so feisty. The tiny flying ladies (butterflies?) weren’t hurting him, but they were doing something—something weird. And it was … so … wonderful.

Sophie relaxed a little when she saw the dozy smile on Jack’s face. They must have put a spell on him, she thought. I’m so glad they aren’t hurting him. She noticed that his clothes were looking baggy. It wasn’t because they were too big. It was because Jack was too small! He was rapidly shrinking! Sophie gawped as Jack’s clothing slipped from his diminishing body, leaving him naked as a peeled banana. Oh my! 

Jack stopped shrinking when he was about the size of Sophie’s Barbie doll. He was unaware of having shrunk to fairy size. He thought all the fairies had grown to human size. He wondered vaguely what had become of his clothes. Despite his euphoria, he cringed from these flying women, who now matched him in size. Women scared him even more than did crafty little girls. That was the real reason why he had never married.

Sophie hoped that the fairies would leave the diminutive Mr Frost behind when they left. It would be so cool to have a real live Ken doll for Barbie to play with. But Jack was not destined to become a doll. He surprised her by flying up into the air. The gossamer wings that had sprouted from his back were beating so fast that she almost missed them.

‘Oh-my-goodness-oh-my-goodness!’ she exclaimed. ‘They’ve changed him into a fairy! I s’pose they’re going to adopt him. That is so cool.’ She giggled and clapped her hands. She didn’t really need a Ken doll anyway.

Sophie wanted to watch the fairies for a while longer, but their task was done. They fluttered into the bush and vanished, taking their man-fairy prisoner with them and leaving no trace of Jack except his cane knife and his clothing.

Sophie gathered these up. She took the cane knife to the garden shed and hung it on the hook where it seemed to belong. Then she took the clothing into Jack’s house. She dropped his underwear into the washing machine (where it would probably never be washed) and folded the rest and put it away in a drawer in Jack’s bedroom (from where it would probably never be worn). Then she washed and dried Jack’s used coffee cup, which she found in the kitchen sink, and put it away in a cupboard. Finally, she locked the back door and left the house by the front door, which self-locked when she closed it. She left no clue as to what might have become of Mr Frost. She didn’t want anyone to disturb the fairies by searching the bush for him at the bottom of the garden.

Nobody would ever know what happened there. Nobody would believe it anyway.

***

Several days later, Sophie was in the kitchen with her mother.

‘I haven’t seen Mr Frost next door for a while,’ said Mrs Wilson. ‘I hope he’s alright.’

Sophie glanced guiltily at her. ‘He’s prob’ly gone off with his friends.’

‘He hasn’t got any friends.’

Sophie made no comment.

‘I see that he’s fixed that hole in the fence at last. I worried that you might wander through to his place. You haven’t been doing that, have you?’

Sophie shook her head with a little too much vigour. ‘No. No, I haven’t.’

Mrs Wilson gave her daughter a long hard look.

‘Well … I sort of did,’ mumbled Sophie. ‘I just wanted to warn him about—’

‘Sophie! You don’t know that man. He might have taken you into his house and done something awful … something you wouldn’t like.’

‘You mean like the stranger danger they tell us about at school?’

‘That is exactly what I mean.’

‘Don’t be silly Mummy. Mr Frost isn’t like that. He’s become a fairy.’

Mrs Wilson gasped. ‘I knew it! … I mean … how do you know that, dear?’

‘You believe me?’ asked Sophie.

‘Of course I do, dear,’ replied Mrs Wilson. ‘What worries me is how you found out.’

Jeepers! Mummy believes in fairies. Awesome! Sophie smiled happily. ‘I saw him with a whole bunch of fairies in his back garden.’

‘Oh Sophie! What were you doing over there? Did you see anything … awful? Tell me!’

‘Well, I heard Mr Frost in his garden, so I just went over to say hello. He had a big thing he called a kay knife and he was going to use it to chop down some bush. I tried to warn him—’

‘Yes, yes. A cane knife. I’ve seen him using it. What about the gays?

‘The gays? I don’t know what…’

‘The fairies … the fairies. What about them?’

‘Well, they’d been hiding in the bushes. When Mr Frost whacked a bush, they all rushed out to greet him. It was like a party … you know? … Where the guests hide and then jump out and say, “Surprise”. It was so lovely. Mr Frost looked frightened at first, but then he smiled a lot. I think he was happy to see them.’

‘Did any of them see you?’

‘No. I was hiding behind the shed. The fairies looked so nice as they danced around in their beautiful gowns.’

‘They were wearing … dresses?! Oh my giddy aunt. What about Mr Frost? Was he…?’

‘No. Not at first, but then he slipped out of his clothes and—’

‘He was naked! Oh good heavens!’

‘I only saw his back, Mummy. I didn’t see—’

‘Never mind. Just tell me what happened.’

‘Well, after Mr Frost lost all his clothes, I saw him change into a—’

‘Bloody dress! Of course he did. I always knew there was something odd about that man.’

‘That’s not what I was going to say.’

‘Of course it wasn’t, dear. You would never swear like that. I’m sorry, but it just slipped out. It was the shock, you see?’

‘I would have told you before, Mummy, but I didn’t think you’d believe me.’

‘Oh I do, but I never suspected him of such depravity. And to think that you witnessed him taking part in an orgy…’

Sophie had no idea what Mrs Wilson was talking about, but she thought it was something nasty. It would be best if she kept the rest of the story to herself.’

‘Sophie, dear, can you bring yourself to tell me exactly … no, I can’t ask you to do that. You poor child.’

‘I don’t remember anything more,’ Sophie lied.

‘Yes. Well, let’s say no more about it shall we?’ Mr Frost will be lucky to escape a tarring and feathering by the time I’ve done with him. ‘You must promise never to go near Mr Frost again.’

‘Okay.’ That was an easy promise. Sophie had a feeling that nobody would ever see Mr Frost again. She was happy for him though. He was the only boy fairy living at the bottom of the garden with a whole bunch of beautiful girl fairies. Wow! It’s like that Bachelor show on television, she thought, except he gets to keep all of the girls.

The End


Submitted: September 05, 2021

© Copyright 2022 Vance Currie. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

Donald Harry Roberts

excellent

Sun, September 5th, 2021 9:54pm

Author
Reply

Thank you, Donald. That's a word that makes me happy.

Sun, September 5th, 2021 3:03pm

moa rider

Good one Joe! Fairies sure are tricky beings. Usianguke

Sun, September 5th, 2021 10:24pm

Author
Reply

And cute little girls can be, too. Thanks, Moa.

Sun, September 5th, 2021 3:36pm

niah

So I'm heading down to the garden and find myself a fairy. lol

Thu, September 9th, 2021 9:17am

Author
Reply

Ha-ha. I suggest that you leave the cane knife at home and take a good strong butterfly net with you.

Thu, September 9th, 2021 2:31am

D. Thurmond aka JEF

A little twisted but still a good one Vance. It was a nice ride through all sorts of visions and places, imaginary and otherwise.

Fri, September 10th, 2021 1:06am

Author
Reply

Thanks, DT. Yes, it is twisted, but therein lies the story. Never doubt the wisdom of a little girl with no common sense.

Thu, September 9th, 2021 7:45pm

Ph0en1xR1s1ng

This was absolutely delightful. Sophie and Jack were both very believable. Of course it was no surprise that fairies really existed at the bottom of the garden, but it was a happy twist that the fairies shrunk him. I wasn't 100% clear if they changed him into a fairy. No visual clues like wings.
The only critique-ish comment I could come up with was that the POV changed between Sophie and Jack from one paragraph to the next, but honestly, it didn't bother me a bit. It was very clear and well handled as far as I was concerned.

Sat, September 18th, 2021 6:32pm

Author
Reply

Nice to hear from you, Maureen. Thanks for your kind and helpful comment. The tiny Jack did grow wings, but they were flapping so fast that Sophie did not notice them at first (that's in the story). I'll have another look at the switch of POVs, The switch was needed for the purpose of the story because each character perceived things in a different way. There might be a better way of doing that but I didn't want to interrupt the flow of the story any more than necessary. Anyway, I'll certainly take a look at it.

Sat, September 18th, 2021 2:59pm

Sharief Hendricks

What beautiful story Vance...only from a child's perspective unfortunately LOL...

What a cute relationship between curious Sophie and grumpy Jack Frost...
Loved it as only you can bring that combo to life ...

Excellent Vance

Loved it !!!

Sat, September 25th, 2021 11:19am

Author
Reply

Thank you, Sharief. Jack and Sophie are two of my favourite characters. Everything in the garden is lovely, if viewed through the eyes of a little girl.

Sat, September 25th, 2021 2:56pm

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