Submitted into Contest #88 in response to: Write a cautionary fable about someone who always lies.... view prompt


Fantasy Kids


Fiona Brice had cause to remember one particular day in her childhood one weekend she willingly helped her mother clear Grandma’s house, in readiness for auction. On the kitchen table, there was a large white box, without a label or pictures, to identify its contents. Still, she was puzzled, and Mum happily obliged her need

“That’s for you I think, Fi,” Mum said, as she made them their mid-morning coffee. Curiosity got the better of Fiona. Opening the box lid she saw them, slightly faded with age but most definitely the fairies: Grandma’s fairies. She looked up at her mother, and the two of them laughed despite their sadness, in fact for a moment, Fiona fancied that Grandma was watching, laughing with them. Smiling she recalled one day in her childhood a fond memory indeed. She learned a little about lies and a lot more about fairies.


Sometimes when we hear others tell stories we wish we could do the same. Grandpa, for instance, was a great storyteller.  Mummy agreed that Grandpa was always good at telling stories and sometimes she felt they had been just ‘lies’. Fiona was beginning to understand the impact of lying and a pricked conscience.  That morning Mummy asked her if she had finished her breakfast, and she replied she had. She knew in her heart it was quite not true, she had thrown the last piece of toast in the bin. Mummy saw it a few minutes later and said she was disappointed. Fiona could tell by the look on her face and the tone in her voice. Mummy said she was going shopping alone but she would leave Fiona at Grandma’s house. They usually did the shopping together.

“Why it’s Fiona.” Grandma greeted her at the front door of her house “have you come to stay awhile?” Seeing the look on her daughter’s face Grandma knew something had happened, and suggested a walk around the garden because she had bought some lovely plants and wanted them both to see them. She hoped Fiona would be able to help her in the garden.   She nodded eagerly and ran on ahead finding a little doll at the edge of the path. She picked it up and looked quizzically.

“What is this Grandma?” Fiona asked

“That’s Florence.” answered Grandma smiling “I wondered where she went.”

She saw Fiona’s delight. Florence was pretty and she wore a red dress and a tartan apron.

“Not that rubbish again Mum. You and Dad fill Fiona’s head with lies all the time.”

“Really dear! Not everyone is cut out to be a scientist. Children need to build their imagination; at the very least they can escape the harsh realities of life by reading. I am doing my best to see that Fiona learns the beauties of her world through her imagination. I’m sure if Enid Blyton or Agatha Christie were standing here, they would agree. Your father and I are not liars, in the true sense of the word, and if Fiona has erred today, she is young and will improve; but I fancy, she  will never meet your standards of perfection.”

If looks could kill! Mummy was silenced and hurried out to the car. It was a grown-up talk which Fiona was not meant to understand; but she was troubled, hated fighting.

“Let’s go down this path darling, I need to check on the … rosebush,” said Grandma bustling around collecting gardening tools. She too was troubled because she had spoken harshly albeit wisely to Fiona’s mother.

“Grandma,” said Fiona excitedly “there is another doll; no there are three dolls”

“Ah, there they are!  They have been hiding.  That one with the green dress is Frances, the one in blue is Fatima.”

“Is that ‘coz she’s a little fat?” asked Fiona. Grandma chuckled

“No darling, it is because she is more beautiful than the others. In Arabic, Fatima means captivating and shining.” Grandma thought Fiona was a little young to hear that it was also the alternative name for the Virgin Mary. “and the last one is Faye, I like her pink dress.”

“What is captivating Grandma?” asked Fiona

“It means attractive or charming,” answered Grandma

“Oh, I see. Why do the dolls all have names beginning with “F”? asked Fiona

“That’s easy. I knew there would be a little girl like you in the family one day and I wanted her to see the fairies in the bottom of my garden, I chose special names to remind us of their importance. So, we have Florence, Frances, Fatima and Faye. Shall we put them all together in a little ring, so they can gossip together?” It seemed a good idea to Fiona. After a couple of hours in the sun and helping Grandma plant the new rosebushes, Fiona was very tired though and Grandma could see it. She suggested they have a little rest on the porch couch, where soon after, Fiona fell asleep.

Fiona’s dream:

She awoke from her little sleep and sat up only to find Florence watching her.

“Hi, Fiona.” Florence said, “did you have a good sleep?”

“Yes, thank you.” replied Fiona “do I know you?”

“Oh, silly me of course you don’t, not really but I live here. I am Florence, and I live with Faye Fatima and Frances. We are about to have some birthday cake and tea; it is Faye’s birthday today.”

“I’m not dressed for a party.” said Fiona sadly “nor do I have a gift for Faye.”  then she had a thought

“I’m sure, yes I think Grandma would let me pick some flowers. Would that do as a gift Florence?”

“That would be very kind of you Fiona.” answered Florence “Faye likes pink Oh your Grandma has a lavender bush.”

“Yes we love lavender; that would be easy to pick.” said Fiona “just a few sprigs and no one would notice, unlike the toast this morning.”  Florence was not really listening

The party was in full swing by the time they walked the length of the garden. Fiona said hello to Faye who was delighted with the lavender and said so. She also insisted that Fiona sit with her to help blow the candles out. There were ever so many candles on a beautiful chocolate cake. It had thick icing and coconut.  Fiona was glad she came she loved chocolate cake.

One two three four… Fiona lost count of the candles. It surprised her that there would be a cake big enough for them.

“You can’t be this old Faye there have to be four hundred candles on that cake,” said Fiona, her blue eyes shone almost as big as saucers. She had no idea how many candles there were, she was ex ex exaggerating.

“Four hundred and three, to be exact.” said Faye “without a word of a lie.”

“People don’t live that long, Faye,” said Fiona

“That is true, but fairies live a very long time.” Faye said quietly “ah time for cake, and potato chips, and peanuts and oh yes fairy bread…oh my I will get fat.” Fiona laughed delightedly. Florence returned and introduced Fiona to Frances and Fatima.

The teacups and plates were very delicate, unlike the mugs, Mummy used, cloth napkins and cake forks. Oh yes, it was a real garden party.

“Florence did you tell Fiona what we are having for dinner? asked Faye

“I don’t think I can stay for that!” said Fiona ruefully

“Well, if you can’t you come back on Florence’s birthday.” said Fatima “you’d always be welcome here Fiona, after all, your name begins with ‘F’ too you could be one of us, Couldn’t she girls?”

“Yes, Indeed.” they chorused “Oh please stay, don’t go away; not yet anyway.” Florence looked sternly

“Now girls, Fiona may have other plans. Let’s just enjoy our little party.”

Suddenly there was a loud noise and what sounded like a car door closing…

The smell of lavender was strong Fiona woke up. Drat it was just a dream

“Did you have a nice sleep darling?” Grandma asked “you were telling somebody about lavender so I thought I’d pick some for you. There's tons here isn’t there Grandpa?”

“My word yes,” said Grandpa “who wants some chocolate cake?”

Mrs Brice looked at Fiona

“One way or another you learned something about lying as indeed did I. My mother rarely talked down to me like that, but I concede I was a stuck up brat and you were always…”

“Away with the fairies." They chuckled

There are two kinds of tales Mum, tall tales and fairy tales. I know which I prefer.”

"Me too." was the mumbled reply from the coffee cup

April 09, 2021 06:52

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