Matilda was in a joyous mood as she looked out across the vast dew covered field. She sang and danced as she thought of the task at hand, planting five acres of petunias. Her favorite colors were violet, orange, pink, red and yellow, and the job she had been given was monumental for one person so she decided she would need help. Sitting on the ground with her legs crossed, fingers interlaced and laying in her lap, she closed her eyes and began to recite the poem that would summon the Woodland fairies.
“Oh Woodland fairies far and wide,
Please hurry now to my side.
I need your help to complete the task,
Heed me now again I ask”.
As she sat and waited with her eyes shut tight the breeze picked up and the sweet smell of grass invaded her senses. Suddenly, the feather light touch of the fairies brushed her skin and she opened her eyes. There in front of her were her small friends, Lily, Sam, Cherie, Edmund, and Jamie.
“Hi, you guys, it’s been a year and once again I need your help only this year we have five acres to plant. Are you ready”?
The fairies leapt upward flapping their wings and circled Matilda’s head in delight. Their wee little voices yelled “yes” in unison which delighted “Mati”, the name the fairies had given her the first year she summoned them. Mati loved the fairies and every season they helped her with the flowers. Earlier in the week she had set about the business of making the seeds available to each of them.
“I have made five piles of seeds, these here are the seeds for the orange flowers they will be planted in the northeast quadrant of the field, the seeds for the yellow ones will be in the northwest, the violet in the southeast and the pink ones in the southwest corner. Right in the middle will be the seeds for the deep red flowers. Everyone has a small shoulder sack to carry the seeds and I will carry the hose and do the watering. Sound good”?
“Yes” they yelled!
“Okay, let’s grab a sack and get started”, Mati said delighted.
Lily took one sack and filled it with the seeds for the orange flowers, Sam would plant the yellow flower seeds, Cherie the violet, Edmund the pink, and Jamie would plant the deep red flower seeds. The task was labor intense and would take a good deal of time and the fairies would be hungry before the end of the day so Mati set out a small table with five little chairs and a platter of freshly picked fruit sliced to accommodate their little hands. She set a wee glass at each place and a picture filled with water graced the middle of the table.
The fairies quickly readied the field for planting with furrows dug in each section and as they started to plant the seeds when the wind began to blow. It picked up the seeds and scattered them across the field mixing them together making it impossible to separate since all the seeds look the same. Matilda stood at the side of the field with the watering hose in hand, her eyes wide with horror and mouth hanging open.
“Oh no” she said “what will I do”?
“It’s okay Mati, the seeds will still grow just not the way you wanted, instead there will be one field with many colors of flowers mixed together”.
“But the flower colors must be separated, that’s the job I was given. What will the town’s people think when they see that this is what has happened”? Mati hung her head and tears filled her eyes, she had failed and would probably never get to plant flowers again. She hurried from the field and ran home, sobbing all the way.
Later that night when the lights were out and the people had gone to bed the fairies decided to help Mati and fix all but one section of the field, the center section, they would leave as it is.
Hurrying, to beat the morning light, the fairies used their magic. Swirling their wands in the air the seeds began to float upward separating over each quadrant of the field, yellow to the yellow area, orange to orange until they were all separated and planted. In the center plot the seeds remained scattered together and would grow as one, nobody would know the difference until the flowers bloomed in a few weeks. When they had finished they sat at the table and ate their fruit, drank their water and finally left the field to go back to the Woodlands. Mati would be surprised at harvest time since they had not told her what they were going to do.
As the weeks passed, Matilda was still depressed and sad because she just knew her job would end and there was nothing she could do about it. At night she would cry herself to sleep and in the day she would weed, worrying about her problem, which really wasn’t a problem at all but she didn’t know. The plants grew and the buds popped out revealing it was getting close to harvest time.
“Oh bother” Matilda said as she hurried out to the flower beds but when she crested the hill and saw the blossoms her eyes widened in delight. There before her were all the flowers, they had been separated into colors except for the center area where the scattered seeds grew together, as one. They had blossomed into a rainbow of colors; pink and white flowers, violet and black flowers, red and yellow flowers a beautiful array never before seen. She was laughing, singing, crying and dancing with happiness when she noticed the fairies had returned and were hovering over the center plot.
“They are so beautiful, thank you for all you have done and for your help”.
“Remember this lesson Mati, all the colors are beautiful. Perhaps your job is safe and the people in your town will remember what you have shown them on this day, May 1st”.
Matilda picked the flowers and filled her basket with all the colors in the field. When she had finished she took them to town and showed them to the people who loved them all and decided to make this May Day the best day ever, it would be forever known as Mati’s Day. She did not lose her job and every year there was a mixed plot of seeds that showcased the multi colored Petunias.
The fairies came back to help each year until one year Mati did not return and nobody else in town knew of her secret planters or of the poem used to call the fairies. Still, the flowers were planted each year in the spring and May 1st was celebrated with grand festivities; the fairies, well they watched from the edge of the Woodlands and remembered with delight their only human friend, Mati.