Long ago in the Land of Lully it was brought to the attention of the King that the animals in the forest did not dream. So the King decreed that Wood Nymphs would be in charge of giving dreams to all the animals that slept during the day while Forest Faeries would be in charge of giving dreams to all the animals that slept during the night. Leona Belle was a little Forest Faerie in the Land of Lully. Her part of the forest was very lovely. There was a little stream that trickled along a moss-covered bank. The trees were tall and stately and had wonderful nooks and crannies at their base where all the little animals made their homes.
Before Leona Belle could start her assignment, however, she would need to attend the Forest Faerie Dream-Keeper School. There she would learn how to draw each dream in a journal and how to choose which animal should get which dream when. On the last night of school she would be shown how to unfold and use her wings, which she would need in order to get around to all the sleeping animals before dawn as well as keep out of old Mr. Owl’s way (for owls loved faeries as midnight snacks!). It was a big responsibility, and she was a bit apprehensive.
Leona Belle was shy by nature and the youngest of six sisters. She had watched each sister become a Dream-Keeper. Whenever she asked if school was hard, they’d just pat her on the head and tell her not to worry so much.
Finally, it was Leona Belle’s turn to go to Dream-Keeper School. On the first day of school all the Forest Faeries were taught how to draw the dreams into their journals, but Leona Belle fretted that she wouldn’t be a very good artist.
On the second day of school they had to memorize their routes, and she worried she wouldn’t be able to remember everything.
On the third day of school all the Forest Faeries had to tell how they planned to avoid the dangers of the forest, but Leona Belle was concerned she wouldn’t be a very good speaker. This went on for two more nights. With each assignment Leona Belle doubted her ability to do a very good job.
Finally, graduation night arrived. Despite Leona Belle’s doubts she passed. When her name was called she went forward to receive her diploma and unfold her wings. Faerie Godmother said, “It’s time, Leona Belle. Let’s see you fly.”
Leona Belle climbed up unto the tree stump, raised her arms, and waited. Nothing happen. Not a thing. Zilch. Faerie Godmother looked at her expectantly. Still nothing. Leona Belle couldn’t believe it! She’d lost her wings!
Faerie Godmother consoled her, saying, “I’m sure you’ll find them, Leona Belle, and when you do, you’ll be a full-fledged Forest Faerie Dream-Keeper.”
With a heavy heart, Leona Belle climbed down from the stump and headed for home. What was she to do?! If she was going to do her job, she must have her wings.
As she walked along the path strewn with pine needles her eyes filled with tears. “What am I going to do?” she thought to herself. “I’ll never find my wings. I’ll never be a full-fledged Forest Faerie. I’ll never be a Dream-Keeper.”
As she kicked the pine needles about she stubbed her toe on something. “Ow!” she cried as she fell to the forest floor. Her tears began to flow freely.
Just then a small piece of cloth came floating by in the breeze and landed next to her. She picked it up, intending to dry her eyes with it when suddenly she had an inspiration! Maybe she could use the piece of cloth to make herself a parachute. She could climb up into the trees, and then parachute around the forest to all the sleeping animals!
Leona Belle hurried to her Faerie Hut and got to work. First she trimmed the cloth to size. Then she attached some string she had saved from an old kite. She made a harness using her old backpack. By morning it was finished. She slipped on the parachute just as the sun peeked through the trees.
“There! I’m a real Forest Faerie,” Leona Belle said with contentment, then closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep to await the setting of the sun.
That evening Leona Belle began her rounds. She became quite good at climbing the trees and then drifting to the forest floor at her next assignment. All was going well until old Mr. Owl caught sight of her one night. It was a full moon and Leona Belle’s parachute reflected its silvery light. Suddenly, with sharp talons extended, Mr. Owl swooped down! Fortunately, the wind came up just as suddenly and blew Leona Belle’s parachute off-course. Mr. Owl missed her by two feet. Leona Belle scrambled to safety in the tree roots.
Her heavy breathing woke up the chipmunk that had been napping nearby. “Who are you?” he demanded.
“Shh! He’ll find me!”
“Who will find you?”
“Mr. Owl!” Leona Belle whispered.
“Oh, yes,” Mr. Chipmunk whispered back, “we must be quiet. I don’t want Mr. Owl to find me either! My name is Oscar. What’s yours?”
“Leona Belle. I’m your Dream-Keeper.”
Oscar was surprised and said, “Oh, you’re a Forest Faerie. I thought Forest Faeries could out-fly owls!”
“They can, I mean, I can; that is, I could, if I had my wings,” Leona Belle whispered, still out of breath.
Oscar looked at the parachute, now crumbled in Leona Belle’s arms. Leona Belle told him the whole story and then sobbed, “I wish I could find my wings!”
Oscar was confused, “How can you lose wings? Are you sure you lost them?”
“Of course I’m sure!” she snapped back as she peered out into the dark to see if Mr. Owl was still around. Seeing it was safe to leave, she said goodbye and hurriedly climbed up the tree so she could parachute to her next assignment.
This routine went on for several weeks. She had many more near-misses with old Mr. Owl and was growing extremely tired of all the climbing and all the hiding. One evening while she was crying and feeling sorry for herself she was startled to find Faerie Godmother standing over her. “Why do you cry, child?” she gently asked.
Between sobs Leona Belle managed to tell her story, ending with reminding Faerie Godmother that she had told her she would find her wings. “But, my dear,” Faerie Godmother said, “you never lost your wings--they’ve been with you all along.”
“Yes, my dear. You’ve just needed to believe.”
“Believe what?” she asked.
“Believe that all you need is available when you are ready to ask--believing you already have it.”
“How do I know I’m ready to ask?”
“When you know you are worthy.”
Leona Belle didn’t need to ask any more questions. She stood up and took off her parachute. Because Faerie Godmother had been so caring Leona Belle felt loved. And to be so loved made her feel worthy. This gave her the confidence she needed to believe she would always have whatever she really needed, and since Forest Faeries really need their wings, she just knew her wings would be there.
As the parachute slipped to the ground her wings sprouted, then gently unfolded. She felt the energy flow through each wing as she was lifted off the ground. She could fly! She could really fly!
Leona Belle flitted across the forest floor and up into the night air with such freedom it took her breath away!
She had to stretch out on a limb to catch her breath, nearly tumbling off because she was so giddy with laughter. Faerie Godmother just smiled knowingly, and then was off to look after her other children.
Leona Belle went on to do her job as a Dream-Keeper exceedingly well, giving thanks always for her Faerie Godmother.
© 2002 Cathy Gilleylen Schultz