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The Giant and the Fairy

"ARRAAG GNAARRLL!" The giant stamped down the mountain side towards the little girl.

With a terrified shriek that almost matched the giant's shout, the girl dropped her basket of eggs and ran and ran as fast as her terrified legs would carry her. She didn't stop or slow until she ran straight into her mother's safe skirts back home.

Meanwhile, back up on the mountain, the giant was behaving in a most un-giant-like way. He reached the point where the girl had been, stopped his headlong charge and dropped down onto a large boulder. He then put his head in his hands and started to cry.

Now a giant's crying is not too different from his shouting, and his mournful wails only served to make the disappearing girl disappear all the faster.

'ARRAAG GNAARRLL' is giant language for 'Hello, my name is Gnaarl, can we be friends.' But they just didn't seem to understand. Being a giant could be so lonely.

--o--

In the dingle dell, the young fairy Down danced her carefree dance, happy in the knowledge that the nasty fairy bullies were far from this private place. Or so she thought, until a carefully placed boot slipped out from a bush and made her tumble into a tangled mass of bruising roots.

She tearfully looked up into the leering face of Anda, her ultimate nemesis. Anda. Here! In her private place.

"You're so stupid, aren't you?" sneered Anda.

Down whimpered, and hated herself.

"Aren't you?!" bawled Anda.

"Y-yes, Anda."

"This place is mine now." said Anda, looking around, expansively.

--o--

The night was dark and stormy as Gnaarl stared gloomily out of his mountain-top castle at the fluttering leaf that danced around the skies before finally settling on the courtyard cobbles. Turning to finish packing his case, he knew he could never return. All he wanted was friends, yet all the people wanted was to scream and run away.

--o--

Early the following morning, Gnaarl stepped out, case under his arm. He stretched, looked up into the calm skies and down at the worn cobbles. The leaf from last night was still there. Then it moved and made a faint noise. Amazed, he dropped his case and carefully laid down so his nose was nearly touching it.

Down turned and stretched. What a night! But she was still alive, she thought, dully. Not knowing what

to do, she had left. Anda, the dell, everything. Packing her little case, she had fled into the darkening night.

She opened her eyes and gasped. For right in front of her was an enormous giant's face, staring strangely at her.

Neither moved or said anything for a very long time. Gnaarl was entranced, but terrified of scaring yet another little being away. Down was terrified, but entranced by the play of emotions on the giant's face. She was the first to break the breathless silence.

"Hello" she said, in her best giant.

"HELLO!" bawled Gnaarl.

She clapped her tiny hands to her ears. "Quieter!" she pleaded, in a tiny, shaking voice.

After a few repetitions, Gnaarl found a reasonable volume and, for want of anything else, they started talking. Down told her story of terror and bullies, and Gnaarl told of loneliness and frustration.

And in that quiet place, there grew between them a deep and satisfying friendship. And so Down stayed, and so did Gnaarl, and they talked long and often into the deep mountain night. She gave him the fairy gift of gentle languages and learned in return many great stories of the the ancient heroes.

And a cool day came when it was time to go. Somehow, they both knew and nothing was said as Down packed her bag, kissed him gently on the cheek and flew away.

Sighing happily, Gnaarl decided to go for a quiet stroll, where after a while, he sat down on a rock to enjoy the view. He was still sitting quietly when down the track came the same young girl he had terrified before. He was so still and quiet that she did not realise he was there until she was right next to him.

She froze. They stared at one another, wide-eyed, like a comical tableau.

Gnaarl broke the silence, though only just.

"hello. sorry i've been so loud." he said, in his new, quiet voice, and using the human language that Down had taught him.

"H-hello." said the girl. "You're big!"

And in no time at all, they were chatting about castles, eggs and living on the mountain. He agreed to help fix their roof. She offered to clean under his furniture. Eventually, after many sensitive stories, they parted as firm (and much relieved) friends.

--o--

As Down fluttered around and into the dell, she spotted a familiar movement in the bushes. Ignoring it, she proceeded to fold her wings and brush down her dress. The bushes parted and Anda stepped out, followed her pet thugs, Glora and Brux.

Anda was wearing her usual distainful sneer. It's a mask, Down noticed for the first time, and wondered what was underneath.

"Get her!" Anda ordered, and the thugs leapt forwards.

Down turned to face them and glared a giant glare, wide-eyed and unblinking. Glora skidded to a halt and Brux crashed into her back.

"TOUCH ME AND YOU WILL BE SORRY!"

Down's giant voice had an amazing effect on the two thugs, who turned as one and ran squealling from the glade, with hardly a sideways glance at Anda.

Down turned to Anda, impressed that she had stood her ground. But her mask was steadily slipping.

"Y-you don't s-scare me!" she said.

"No." said Down, looking straight into Anda's heart. "You don't scare me. Not any more. Not ever."

Anda crumbled. "P-please, don't hurt me!"

Down did not move.

"The past is past. The future will be different. I will not stoop to revenge, neither will I tolerate unkindness." she said, with rock and steel in her voice.

A silent tear rolled down Anda's face as she slunk from the dell. And although she never spoke to Down again, she never hurt another soul.

--o--

And so Down and Gnaarl found peace and happiness and their strange friendship became known far and wide in the curious tale of the strong fairy and the gentle giant.

 

***

 

~by David Straker~ (written for a young daughter who was being bullied)

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