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AYLA- The Little Fairy Of Nyanza
(Ghost written by Vlad Paraschiv)


On the other side of the rainbow, there is a magical realm called Nyanza. In this enchanted land all creatures live in harmony, and the place is always humming with the buzz of joy and laughter.

The fairies of Nyanza dwell in the tallest, most beautiful tree in the forest. When they are happy, their wings glow and their wands shine brightly. They sing, dance, and play all day. Nothing dreadful ever happens in Nyanza under the watchful eye of beautiful Queen Nioma.

One evening, when the fairies' tree was lit up with brilliant sparkles, and songs were floating in the air, Ayla, the tiniest fairy of the land, was sitting on a branch at the very top of her home tree. No matter how strange it may seem, Ayla was very unhappy... Her wings did not glow, and her wand did not shine... She did not sing or dance. Ever since her best friend, the magical bird Kael, left Nyanza, Ayla was sad and lonely. She still could not believe what had happened....

One day, Kael had come to meet her—and without even saying hello—he asked:

"Hey, Ayla, how would you like to go with me on a journey?"

"A journey? Where would we go, Kael?" Ayla was not a very adventurous fairy, and the thought of leaving her home scared her a bit.

"To the land of humans, where else? That is all we ever talk about around here! I don't want to listen to the stories anymore! I want to see for myself!" Kael was excited and opened his magnificent wings to emphasize the magnitude of his vision. "All the wondrous places, all the people that live there, the shiny cities and green fields, the mountains covered with snow, and the rivers that run into the oceans... I want to see it all!" He stopped his tirade and inquired, grinning, "Are you in?"

"Oh, my, Kael! That is so reckless!" Ayla raised her voice in disbelief. "You don't even know what a mountain is! The land of humans is unknown to us and full of dangers! How about volcanos, floods and hurricanes? Terrible beasts live there, and people are mean and hurt each other. They would hurt us for sure!"

"Don't be such a wuss, Ayla," Kael laughed. "If the stories are true, we'll recognize the mountains when we see them, we'll stay away from beasts, we'll avoid volcanoes, we'll find shelter from storms—and the people can't all be mean... Come on, what do you say?" As Ayla hesitated, Kael declared: "I'd rather go with you, but if you are afraid to leave your tree, I'll go alone..."

Ayla stomped her foot in frustration, "Then go! See if I care!" Soon she realized how much she did care, when Kael shrugged:

"Suit yourself," and then he took off flying. "I'll tell you all about it when I get back!" he yelled from above, soaring higher and higher into the golden sky.

Her friend had not been gone for more than a moment when Ayla started to miss him, although she was too angry to admit it. She was mad at Kael, because he didn't try harder to convince her; she was mad at herself, because she didn't find the courage to go with him....
The feeling was entirely new to Ayla, and it would not abate. Her thoughts grew more and more confused.

She decided to take her mind off it all by joining in the dances and the games of the fairies. The fairy tried hard to enjoy herself, but being so tiny she could not keep up with the steps of the dance. None of the games the fairies played were as fascinating and exciting like the ones she used to play with Kael. Soon she gave up trying to fit in; Ayla could not find joy in anything without her best friend.

* * *

For a while the tiny fairy kept hoping that, any day now, Kael would return. She was not mad anymore. She couldn't wait to see him and tell him how sorry she was she did not join him. She couldn't wait to hear his stories about the places he had seen and the people he had met beyond their fairyland.

Many days passed. Ayla's hope slowly faded, and she started to wonder if she would ever see Kael again. The tiny fairy was sad and lonely all the time now... The other fairies were truly concerned about their tiny sister. They were doing all they could do to cheer her up. When nothing worked, the fairies respectfully asked Queen Nioma to intervene. The loving, compassionate queen summoned Ayla and asked her softly:

"What's wrong, my child? Why don't you play, dance, and sing with your sisters? Are you ill?"

"No, My Queen, I'm not ill," murmured Ayla, "I just miss my friend, Kael." By now the fairy's eyes were welled up with tears.

At the queen's request, Ayla told her everything about Kael's journey, about her frustration, sadness, and fear that she would never see him again. When the fairy finished, the queen sighed:

"I wish I could help, but my voice cannot reach outside our realm... If I call Kael, he cannot hear me. You better learn to be patient, my dear. I'm sure your friend misses you as well, and he will be back soon." The queen tried to comfort Ayla by gently kissing her forehead. "No more tears, all right? Be brave, little fairy!"

Oh, yeah—thought Ayla sarcastically—that is likely to happen...NEVER. If I were brave I would be with Kael right now.
The fairy returned to the comfort of her tree, and that's where she was now—just as miserable as before speaking with Nioma. She fell asleep thinking about what the queen had said: "he misses you as well... be brave....

The next morning, Ayla woke up with a start. Her first thoughts were: Certainly, Kael misses me! If he didn't return yet—he may be hurt! He may be lost and can't find his way back to Nyanza! Why am I sitting here feeling sorry for myself, when my best friend could be in trouble? A surge of fierce courage ran through her little body. I have to go and find him!

Ayla's magical wings trembled, because she knew that such journey would take her into the unknown, but all her fears were washed away by the thought that Kael might need her help. The tiny fairy was ready to confront any challenges might be waiting for her in the land of humans. In a hurry, she filled her pockets with berries from her beloved tree, and soared into the golden skies, without saying good bye to anyone. As she passed the clouds, she heard the songs of the fairies that live deep in the forest of Nyanza.


When Ayla crossed the boundaries into the humans' realm, she was confronted with a desolate landscape of rocks and sparse vegetation. Stony ridges, much higher than her home tree, went up in the sky and disappeared in the dark clouds above. Patches of white were covering the tallest peaks. Ah, thought the fairy, Kael was right! These are mountains, for sure! The white stuff must be snow... Brrr...

Suddenly, a gust of wind hit Ayla forcefully, throwing her against the side of the mountain, and knocking the breath out of her. This was nothing like the mild, caressing breezes of enchanted Nyanza! Caught by surprise, the fairy lost control of her wings. As the wind let up, she slid down the precipice, dropping like a stone right into a huge nest. There were two ugly birds in the aerial, and before Ayla could get her bearings, one of them charged forth with a huge, open beak.

"Hey! What are you doing!" the fairy screamed, defending herself with her magic wand.

The bird backed off and squeaked, startled: "What kind of insect are you?"

"I'm not an insect! I'm a fairy!" protested Ayla, getting up and shaking her wings.

"There are no such things as fairies!" chimed in the other ugly bird, raising his head with conviction.

"Sure there are," replied Ayla, "I have many sister fairies in the land of Nyanza. What kind of birds are you?"

The first bird declared with pride: "We are eagles! We're too young to fly, but we'll grow up to be the most beautiful birds on Earth! Mom says so."

Ayla found that hard to believe, but she kept her mouth shut, because she did not want to hurt their feelings.

Just then, a majestic black bird, with a white feathered head and tail, glided toward the nest. The bird's huge wing span shadowed the rocks underneath; the hooked, yellow beak could crack stones; the piercing red eyes seemed to bore a hole right into Ayla's forehead. Oh my!—thought the fairy—that really is a beautiful, but angry looking bird! Must be the mother eagle... She felt a twinge of fear, because her wand, magic as it was, may not be enough to protect her from such a menacing flying creature.

The eagle chicks started to squeak excitedly, as the mother eagle touched down lightly on the site of the nest, closing her beautiful wings. When the chicks finally stopped the ruckus, the regal bird cocked her head, looked straight at Ayla, and asked inquisitively: "What have we here? Who might you be, and what are you doing in my nest?"

One of the youngsters volunteered, "She says she is a fairy from the land of Nyanza, but I don't believe her! She threatened me with her stick!"

Up close the mother eagle looked even more intimidating, but Ayla gathered her newly found courage, cleared her throat, and spoke as clearly as she could:

"He wanted to eat me, I only defended myself." The fairy took a deep breath and continued, "I told the truth before, Mighty Eagle. I am Ayla, a fairy from Nyanza, the enchanted land just on the other side of this mountain. I'm looking for my friend Kael, a magnificent bird like yourself."

"Are you comparing that bundle of feathers with me? What, with all those showy colors he belongs in a circus among clowns, not among birds," said the eagle with a dismissive snort.

Ayla's heart started to pound in her chest. The eagle has seen Kael!

"Oh, Mighty Eagle, please forgive me, I meant no disrespect. He is beautiful and precious to me. I'm afraid that something awful might have happened to him... Would you be so kind to tell me what you know about his whereabouts?"

"Well, lets see..." said the eagle thoughtfully, "He passed through here quite a while back, asking directions and making a nuisance of himself. The fool kept blabbering something about seeing the world! As if there is anything more worth seeing than the mountains!"

"Where did he go?" asked Ayla, trying to hide her impatience.

The eagle shrugged: "Who knows? He seemed intent to see the city in the valley... Maybe he went there. I would not be surprised if he got himself tangled in some electrical wires...."

Electrical wires? Although she had no idea what those were, Ayla knew it could not be good getting tangled in them....

"Oh, Mighty Eagle, you are the most wonderful bird in the world!" cried Ayla. "Can you tell me how to find the city?"

Flattered, the giant bird winked: "I can do better than that, little one. I can take you all the way to the bottom of the mountain myself. Tiny as you are, you might be blown away by the wind. Who knows where you may end up?"

Grateful for the help, Ayla said good bye to the nestlings, climbed on the back of the mother eagle, and off they went. They circled down and down through the clouds, until the sky turned the bluest of blues, the same color as Ayla's dress. The clouds looked like puffy white balls of cotton. The landscape had changed to green forests and golden fields, rolling hills strewn with flowers, deep blue lakes, and clusters of structures with colorful coverings... Ayla asked about those, and the eagle told her they were houses, human dwellings. People build them just like birds build their nests, the eagle explained.

Ayla was overwhelmed by the beauty of this world, so much different from Nyanza, but just as wonderful. She looked over her shoulder to the blue-grey mountains they left behind, amazed by the vast distance they traveled. This land goes on forever, she thought. How will I find Kael? She didn't have time to let the creeping doubt overcome her, because her winged ride headed down toward the valley below, and stopped in a tall tree.

"That's how far I can go, little one," declared the eagle. "I have to return to my young. Still want to look for that silly bird, Kael? It's a big world out there, you know...."

"I noticed," sighed Ayla, climbing down from the bird's back. "Thank you so much for your help, Mighty Eagle, but I have to find my friend."

"Well then, the city is straight over those hills," the eagle pointed with his wing. "You'll know you arrived when the hills give way to a stretch of land covered with houses. You'll also see tall buildings with many, many stories, and paved paths that run through the city. Those are streets meant mainly for cars."

The eagle noticed Ayla's inquisitive stare, and asked, "Do you know what a car is?" When Ayla shook her head 'no', the eagle explained: "The cars are metal creatures that carry humans in their bellies from one place to another. The streets are full of them; small ones, big ones, even bigger ones... I have to caution you: the city is a noisy and busy place."

Suddenly, a thunderous sound came from above, and it grew louder and lauder. Frightened, Ayla jumped to take cover under the eagle's wing, covering her ears. She watched as a gigantic, silver bird with outstretched wings flew over them, and soon disappeared into the clouds.

"Oh, yeah. That was a flying car people call 'plane'. Nothing to worry about," the eagle comforted the fairy. "Just stay out of their way when you hear that awful roar.... Off you go now! The sun will be setting soon... You have quite a way until you reach the city. Take care of yourself, little one!"

"Thank you for everything, Mighty Eagle!" Ayla gave the eagle a hug and took off, flying in the direction of the city.


It was almost dark when the fairy saw in the distance a range of tall buildings. As she approached them, lights started to pop up here and there. Although Ayla knew that there were no fairies in the humans' world, her heart skipped a beat as she wondered what the lights might be, if not the glowing wings of magic fairies? The darker it got, more and more lights appeared, until a sea of sparkles covered the horizon. However, she could not see any stars in the sky. A cover of dark clouds was moving slowly over the city.

When Ayla came closer, she remembered what the eagle had said about the streets, noise and people. The din was almost unbearable; the streets were crowded with speeding car creatures, and humans were rushing everywhere. The buildings and cars had glowing eyes, and the rows of lights along the streets seemed to Ayla to be tall, metal plants with flowers that bloomed light.

As curious as she was to explore this miraculous place, Ayla could not forget about Kael. Where should she start looking for him? How could she find out which way he went? By now she was tired, and thinking about her home tree, so far away. Where would she spend the night?

Before she could find a place to rest her tired wings, a loud crashing sound came from the sky above, followed by an explosion of blue light, streaking through the clouds. Ayla's heart almost jumped out of her chest! That was no plane, she thought!

Terribly frightened, the fairy covered her head and squeezed her eyes shut, expecting to be harmed by some unknown monster. Instead, a big drop of water fell on her shoulder and Ayla opened her eyes. Oh, great—she thought—now it's going to rain! Just what I need....

Back in Nyanza, all fairies will gather in the home tree hollows to find refuge from the warm rains of their realm. Ayla knew she had to find shelter immediately, because when the fairy dust on their wings gets wet, the fairies can't fly anymore....

Forgetting her fears, the tiny fairy started down, looking for a tree. She spotted a group of smaller buildings surrounded by greenery, and she headed there in a hurry. Right when she was about to reach this promising place, the rain began to pour, drenching Ayla's wings instantly. She began to tumble out of control toward the ground. A big tree broke her fall. The fairy tried to grab on a leaf or a branch, but she failed. Luckily, the rich foliage of a bush underneath the tree softened her landing.

When Ayla finally dared to look around, she found herself right by the walls of a human house. A few stone stairs were leading up toward a covered porch. Although the fairy has never seen a porch before, it didn't take her long to figure out she'll find shelter from the rain up there. The exhausted and wet fairy gathered her strength and pushed herself up the tall stone stairs.

With a sight of relief, Ayla reached the porch. All she needed now was a dry corner to sleep in, sheltered from bad weather.

"Ruff, ruff!" A loud barking behind her startled the fairy. She jumped and turned around to face a strange furry animal with an open mouth and a wagging tail. The fairy's heart was pounding, and her knees were soft with weariness, but Ayla was ready to defend herself; nothing would chase her out into the rain!

The creature didn't seem to be a monster, but Ayla didn't want to take any chances.
"Are you going to eat me?" she asked, confronting the ball of fur, holding her wand like a fencing sword.

The creature backed up, surprised. "Who? Me? I'm a dog. I don't eat bugs!" Then continued, making a disgusted face. "I bark at intruders; it's my job!" To show he meant it, the dog barked again: "Ruff, ruff!"

"Stop that!" cried the Fairy. "I wish everyone would stop taking me for an insect! I'm neither a bug, nor an intruder, whatever that means! I'm a fairy!" Ayla declared, standing up for herself.

"Ah, a fairy! I heard of your kind... My master reads stories to his children, and I like to listen. They are very soothing," the dog explained.

"Aren't you supposed to live in some magic fairyland? You're lost, or what?"

"No, I'm not lost, but the friend I came to look for here might be..." sighed the fairy. Then she remembered her manners, "By the way, I'm Ayla."

"Nice to meet you, Ayla. I'm Max. So what's the story with this friend of yours? He's certainly not here, in our house... I would know," said the dog defensively.

"No," giggled Ayla, "I meant here, in the land of humans." Then she told Max about Kael, the magical bird from the land of Nyanza, and his taste for adventure. She told Max about her decision to come, and about the eagle she met in the mountains. "Now," said the fairy sighing again, "I'm not so sure I can ever find Kael in such a vast place as your world... Where would I look? Which way should I go?"

"That's easy!" Max said, wagging his tail. "Just ask the pigeons! If your friend ever made it to the city, the pigeons would know!"

"The pigeons?" Ayla asked, wide eyed.

"Yeah, the pigeons! Those birds know everything that goes on around here; they're real gossips, but useful too!" As Ayla tried to wipe the water of her face with her hand, Max declared: "Enough talk for now. Look at you, you're soaking wet and tired... You need to dry out and sleep! Let's go in the house," prompted the dog, inviting Ayla to walk through the doggy door.

"Are you sure that's all right? I heard that people are mean..." said Ayla with apprehension.

"Not the people I know," vowed Max. "My family is already asleep, so we'll have to be quiet," the dog added, and motioned the fairy to follow him.

Timidly, Ayla entered the strange home, keeping close to Max. They made their way through the kitchen, to the cozy corner where a big, round pillow marked the dog's sleeping quarters. The fairy has never seen furniture or rugs before, but after the long day of travel she was too tired to be impressed by anything. Max brought her a small hand towel, which was as big as a parachute for the tiny fairy, but she dried out as best as she could. Suddenly, Ayla realized how famished she was, and settled down on the soft pillow to eat her berries.

The rain was rapping on the window, the thunder and lightning blasted on, but Max said that all that was just a summer storm, and it would soon pass. Ayla fell asleep shortly, beside her new furry friend, forgetting the commotion altogether.


In the morning, the people who lived in the house woke up, had breakfast, and left for work, or school. Ayla slept through all the kitchen noises and slammed doors. The sun had been shining for a few hours already when Max finally decided to wake her.

"Ah, I slept so well," yawned Ayla, stretching her magic wings. When she looked outside, she jumped on her feet in a panic. "Max, it's late! I have to leave right away and find the pigeons! Where should I go?"

"Not to worry, lets just go outside and I'll show you," Max replied, sure of himself.
Ayla followed Max through the doggy door again. Outside, on the porch, the wonderful sunny day embraced them. Ayla was surprised to see no trace of the last night's storm. She looked around at the fresh vegetation and colorful flowers in the garden and felt fresh and new herself, ready to tackle whatever events this day would bring.

"What now?" the fairy asked impatiently.

"Just wait, and stop fidgeting! A flock of pigeons is bound to fly by any time," said Max, staring with concentration at the sky above.
After a few minutes, which time seemed like hours to Ayla, a group of white and gray birds flew over the house.
"Here they are!" Max exclaimed, pointing with his paw. "Just follow them and ask about your friend, Kael. They will help you find him."

Ayla didn't wait to be told twice! She gave Max a quick kiss on the cheek and rushed to catch up with the pigeons. As she flew away she looked back, waved and yelled: "Thank you Max! I'll never forget you!"

Max yelled right back: "Good luck, Ayla! I won't forget you either! Look me up if you ever come this way again!" But the fairy had already disappeared behind the tall trees across the street....

In hot pursuit of the flock, Ayla skillfully maneuvered around the tall city structures and across several bridges. Despite the many turns she had to take, the fairy did not lose sight of the birds in front of her. She tried to call out to them, but in the day time the city was even noisier than at night. Her voice was hopelessly drowned out by a cacophony of car horns.

Suddenly, the pigeons started to descend over a green patch of garden and finally landed in an open area, near a water fountain. They joined numerous other pigeons, already there. As she came closer, Ayla also noticed lots of people, walking on the many paths, riding two wheeled devices, or sitting down on the grass. Some smaller humans were running around, screaming and laughing, apparently playing games. Those must be human children—Ayla though.

A few adult humans were throwing what looked like confetti at the birds, but the pigeons didn't seem afraid. They surrounded the people, pecking at the ground. I think those people are feeding the birds...They can't be mean, Ayla pondered. However, she decided to land by a flowery bush—just in case she might need to hide.

Luckily, two of the pigeons wandered close to the fairy. One of them had gray feathers of different shades, the other was all white, with a beautiful fanned out tail. Ayla extended her arm and tapped the gray pigeon on the shoulder with her wand. The gray pigeon turned around slowly, and then jumped backward in surprise:

"Hey! What kind of dragonfly are you?"

Ayla sighed, finally resigned to be taken for yet another insect: "Actually, I am a fairy. My name is Ayla."

"A fairy, huh? Are you from the land of Nyanza by any chance, Ayla?" asked the pigeon looking her up and down.
Max was right! The pigeons do know everything—Ayla thought, and replied with excitement: "Yes, yes, from Nyanza! Did you meet my friend, the magical bird Kael? I came all the way here to find him!"

"The magical bird, Kael, huh? Sure, I knew the guy. He didn't seem magical to me..." the gray pigeon sniggered. "That bird was afraid of balloons! Who ever heard of a bird afraid of balloons? Am I right?" He looked toward the white pigeon for approval.

The fairy didn't care to know what a balloon was. "What do you mean 'you knew' him? Did something happen to Kael?" Ayla braced herself for bad news.

"How should I know? He'd been hanging around the city for a while, then one day—poof! He was gone! Ain't that right, Gus?"
The white pigeon cooed and nodded in agreement. Seeing Ayla's disappointment, he volunteered his advice: "You should talk to Rhonda," he said, waving his wing toward an imposing, reddish bird, with a collar of puffy white feathers around her neck. "She should know. Rhonda is our matriarch," he explained. "She took Kael under her wing when he was here. Showed him the ropes..." Then the white pigeon turned around and called out: "Hey, Rhonda! Come here a minute, please. Someone wants to meet you!"

The pigeon named Rhonda approached, and asked suspiciously: "What are the two of you up to now?" When she noticed Ayla, Rhonda came closer, to get a better look at her. "Where did you boys find this little creature?"

The gray pigeon mumbled out of the corner of his mouth, "She found us."
Gus, the white pigeon gave him a nudge and took over. "She's Ayla, a fairy from the land of Nyanza, that place Kael talked about. She's looking for him. Earl here told her..."

"Shush boy!" interrupted Rhonda, raising her wing, "I'll talk to the girl myself. The two of you can go about your business now," she dismissed them with a flick of her wingtip. The two companions left with no comment, looking back over their shoulder. Timidly, Ayla waved good bye.

Rhonda extended her wing around Ayla's shoulders. "So that rascal Kael never made it home?" she asked in a motherly voice.

"No, he didn't" the fairy whispered, "and I waited, and waited... I'm worried that something horrible has happened to him, so I came, and..." A lump in her throat prevented Ayla to continue.

"Now, now," Rhonda comforted the fairy patting her on the head. "Kael is a resourceful bird. True, he needed some guidance, but I taught him well. He was a good student and eager to learn about this land. Don't worry, he's all right, wherever he is." She added with a smile, "Kael always talked about you: Ayla this, Ayla that... He misses you very much, you know."

"Really?" It was so nice to hear that, but Ayla had bigger concerns at the moment. "Can you please tell me where he might be?"

"He could be anywhere," Rhonda opened her wings and waved them around. Then, to soften the blow, she added: "All I can tell you is that Kael wanted to see the ocean, who knows why? I never saw the ocean myself, but I hear it's just a huge lake… and the water is salty... yuck."

"Please tell me where can I find this ocean." Ayla asked, worried that it was almost noon and she hadn't even started with her search.

"Well, the ocean is toward west, a long flight from here. You should go back to Nyanza and wait there for Kael," said Rhonda, convinced of her wisdom.

"Thank you so much, Rhonda, but I'll have to find my best friend first!" Ayla replied, getting ready to leave.

"As you wish." Rhonda was slightly miffed that her advice was being ignored, but then she paused and added in a kinder tone, "Take care then, and give my best to Kael when you see him."

"I sure will," the fairy said, and took off. In no time at all, Ayla was flying over the city again, headed west.


The fairy kept going many hours, speeding over fields and hills, over sparkling lakes and rivers, over big cities and small towns. She saw a few planes crisscrossing in different directions through the clouds, but this time the metal birds were so high up in the sky that the terrible noise announcing their arrival was defused by the distance, so it didn't seem so scary.

By mid afternoon, after hours of flying under the scorching sun, Ayla was thirsty and in need of a break. She spotted a shining blue river, meandering through the flowery gardens bellow. A few red roofs were peaking through the tree tops, and Ayla knew now that people's houses were hiding behind the rich foliage. The fairy circled downward, looking for a good spot to touch down.

The river bed was paved with pebbles and stones, shining in all colors through the clear water. Ayla lowered herself lightly on a flat stone that rose above the shallow waves, close to the river bank. The fairy kneeled on the cool surface and bent down. She cupped her hands, filled them with fresh water and drank eagerly. Soon she felt refreshed, and stopped for a moment to listen to the melodious babbling of the river. She watched as starlings and dragonflies zoomed by. A sudden chorus of frogs, hiding in the reeds, broke her daydream. Ayla prepared herself to continue her journey toward the ocean.

As she fluttered above the river, a bed of beautiful pink flowers caught the fairy's attention. The rich perfume that filled the air held the promise of the sweet nectar stored in their cup-like petals. Back, in the land of Nyanza, fairies would drink nectar every day, so Ayla decided to sample the pink flowers' offering.

As the fairy was moving from flower to flower, sipping the delightful nectar, she suddenly heard a triumphant yell:
"I got you!"

Before Ayla had a chance to see who yelled, a dense net fell over her, and scooped her up. A small human hand closed quickly, to squeeze the net tightly above her head. Ayla was trapped!

"Oh, boy! I've never seen this species of butterflies before! So huge!" the voice yelled again, with unbridled enthusiasm. Through the net's openings, Ayla could see a boy's face, bursting with victorious joy. The child was holding her up to his eye level, and examined her, curiously.

Finally recovering from the disheveling event, Ayla started to kick and thrash, determined to fight her way out of the net. She screamed at the top of her lungs: "Let me go! Let me go! I'm not a butterfly, I'm a fairy!"

The kid almost dropped the net, but quickly regained his composure and closed his hand again below the opening of the net. "What? You can talk?" he exclaimed, bringing the tiny fairy in front of his face. "Oh boy, what a find! A huge talking butterfly! I hit the jackpot"

"I'm not a butterfly, you... you... bad boy!" Ayla admonished, "I'm a fairy!" she stated through her teeth. She struggled to squeeze her magic wand through the net, so she could touch his hand and make him release her.

"You take me for a fool? There is no such thing!" laughed the boy.

"Yes, there is! Let me go!" Ayla demanded forcefully.

"No way! You might as well stop screaming!" declared the boy. He turned the net upside-down and let the fairy drop in a deep, fabric bag. He pulled the bags' strings closed over Ayla's head, and exclaimed proudly: "I'll be famous!" Then Ayla felt the bag starting to sway, as the boy continued, "I'm going back home right now! Can't wait to show you to my brother and see his face get green with envy! Do you hear me, talking butterfly? No one else in the world has ever caught anything like this! We'll be on TV, you and me! I'll be rich!"

Ayla wasn't going to argue with him anymore. Obviously, the boy didn't care about what she had to say. The fairy decided to concentrate in freeing herself.

Ayla had fallen to the bottom of the bag. As soon as her eyes adjusted to the dim light inside, the fairy realized she wasn't alone: six or seven beautiful butterflies were trapped with her as well. They had surrounded the fairy, examining her curiously. A beautiful butterfly with yellow wings trimmed with black, spoke first:

"Are you really a fairy? We've heard of magical beings like you, but had never seen one in these parts."

Ayla knew that the boy couldn't hear or understand the butterflies, but he could certainly hear her, so she whispered, "Well, I'm not from these parts... I came from the enchanted land of Nyanza. What are you guys doing here?"

"Same as you, I guess," spoke one of the red winged butterflies. "That retched boy caught us in his net... Can't you use some of your magic to turn him into a toad?"

The first butterfly interrupted, "Yes, that is a lovely thought, but if we don't find a way to escape from this bag before the boy reaches his home, we'll all end up impaled in his collection!" The butterfly pointed to Ayla's wand, "Hurry! Cast a spell with that thing and get us out of here!"

Although terrified by the possibility of being impaled, Ayla took the time for a fast explanation: "It's not that easy. My magic wand works only on living things, to help someone ill or in pain. I can also defend myself with the wand if I'm fast enough, or if I see the danger in time. I wasn't able to touch the boy's hand through the net....

"We're doomed!" cried one of the smaller butterflies, shaking his head defeated.

"Not yet, we're not!" Ayla raised her voice a bit, with renewed hope. She had noticed a thin ray of light coming from the bottom of the bag. When the fairy looked closely, she saw that the seam had a small hole in a corner, where a thread had come loose.

At first, the butterflies were baffled by her statement, but as Ayla started to pull at the thread they all noticed the hole and started to cheer her on. It was hard and tedious work. The thread was strong and cutting into her hands, but the fairy kept pulling and breaking bits of it, making the opening larger and larger.

"Listen! The kid is already walking on the gravel path leading to his house!" yelled the yellow butterfly, in a panic. "Hurry up!"
With a last strong pull Ayla unraveled the rest of the thread holding the seam together. The bottom of the bag opened wide. All the prisoners flew out through the big gap, just as the boy reached his home and was ready to open the door.

"Oh, my! That was awfully close!" said the yellow butterfly, flying along Ayla. "You did magic after all!"

"Thank you, fairy! We'll never forget what you did for us!" the butterflies called out, as they flew in different directions.

"Good luck to you all! Be careful from now on. I know I will be!" answered Ayla, her heart still pounding after the feverish getaway.
It took a while before the fairy could shake off the emotions of her recent ordeal. Never before has she been so scared of anything in her charmed life. As she flew higher and higher, leaving the mean boy behind, Ayla pondered about the many unknown dangers Kael might have encountered in this world. She turned toward the west again and rushed toward the ocean, worried she might not make it there before nightfall.


The sun was low in the sky when Ayla cleared a range of stony cliffs and found herself face to face with the ocean. It was still far away, but what else could it have been? A wide ribbon of deep blue water, with shining flakes of gold, was spanning the horizon.

This amazing sight mesmerized the fairy, and she let herself be taken by a light breeze, closer and closer to the shore. Breathing in the salty air, and watching the foamy waves washing rhythmically on the golden beach, Ayla thought: This is no big lake! Snow white birds, with gray wings, were gliding above the sparkling water, plunging into the waves every now and then, calling to each other. Their high pitched shrills brought the fairy back to reality; she was here to find Kael, not to admire the landscape!

On the beach below, the fairy spotted a group of these birds rushing back and forth, pecking at dark shells in the sand, and she planed to approach them and ask about her friend. As she neared the seagulls, Ayla changed her mind pretty quick: the birds didn't seem very friendly! Some of them were fighting, attacking each other with their beaks, batting their wings wildly and screeching loudly. White feathers were flying everywhere, and the fairy thought it wise to stay out of sight before deciding her next move. There were many patches of tall grasses scattered along the beach. Ayla stirred in their direction to take cover.

Suddenly, a flash of color among the tufts of grass caught her eye. When the fairy looked closer, her heart started to beat faster! She recognized instantly the gold, red and green colors of Kael's tail feathers. Ayla flew there in a hurry and landed in the sand, convinced that she had found Kael. She parted the dry spades, unaware of the scratches and cuts on her delicate fairy skin. When she reached the place, Ayla found nothing more than one of Kael's beautiful tail feathers swaying in the breeze, caught between the tall stalks.

As the rush of hope subsided, Ayla was crushed with disappointment. She picked up the feather. Tears of frustration filled her eyes, but she didn't want to cry just yet. It was a good sign, she told herself. The feather was proof that Kael might be very close. She just had to look some more... Ayla sat down on a rock in the sand, to catch her breath. The sun was already halfway down behind the horizon, and she realized how tired and hungry she was.

"Hey, you over there! You're sitting on my nest!" a hostile, scratchy voice warned Ayla. Startled, the fairy jumped to hide behind the rock. Good thing, because when she saw the owner of the voice, Ayla's magic wings froze in fear! Coming slowly toward her, it was the scariest creature the fairy had ever encountered! The horrid being seemed to be made of stone. The body was shaped like a disc, with a snake like head and four stubby legs. The fairy was sure that her magic wand wouldn't be of much use against such a monster.

The creature came closer, dragging its steps through the sand, and Ayla cried in panic: "I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I'm new here; I didn't see any nest; I didn't mean any harm! Please don't hurt me!"

The stone being stopped, and raised its snaky head in surprise. "Hurt you? Why would I do that?" There was no trace of anger in its drawling voice. "Don't worry, I see now how tiny and light you are; you couldn't harm my eggs if you tried!" The creature pointed with its stumpy front leg at Ayla's feet. "My nest is right there, buried deep in the sand, holding hundreds of eggs about ready to hatch."

The fairy didn't even want to think about hundreds of scary stone beings roaming around the beach, but she couldn't stop herself from asking in a whisper: "Are you a"

"A monster? Who? Me? That's why you think I might hurt you? He, he, he," laughed, the creature. "You're new here all right if you haven't seen a sea turtle before... I may look tough on the outside, but I'm a softie on the inside."

Ayla considered for a moment. After her experience with the mean boy and his net, the fairy wasn't so quick to trust anyone. As far as she knew, a 'sea turtle' could very well be another word for 'monster'... However, Ayla was willing to give the creature a chance. "If you're not a monster, how come you're made of stone?"

The turtle frowned, "That's what you think? Well, I can see how it may appear to a stranger, but my shell only looks like it's made of stone; I'm flesh and bone, like most creatures... I'm just good old Edna, the sea turtle. Ask anybody!" There was no one around to attest to the truth of her words, so Edna changed the subject, "Enough about me. You said you're new in these parts, so who are you and what are you doing here, little one?"

Now that her magic wings were working again, the fairy stepped out from behind the rock. She was confident that, if need be, she could fly away and the turtle won't be able to catch her. "I'm Ayla, a fairy from the land of Nyanza. I came all the way here to look for my best friend, Kael, the magic bird." The fairy showed Edna the colorful feather still in her hand, "I know he was here... Maybe he still is. I hope nothing terrible happened to him... Would you know anything about that?"

"Oh, dear," the turtle sighed, but when she saw Ayla's worried eyes she added quickly, "No, no, sweetheart, he's fine! Such a nice fellow... All I meant was that just this morning he went back to the enchanted land where he came from. He was badly missing some friend of his. Oh, wait! That friend must have been you... Oh, dear..."

"No! That can't be true! Are you sure?" Ayla barely uttered. Of course, the fairy was very happy to hear that Kael was all right, but she could not believe that all the dangers she had faced across the humans' world had been for nothing.

"Sure I'm sure!" Edna shook her head, "The seagulls even had a good bye party for him! It was a lot of fun. All the critters around here liked Kael. To think he was going back for you, while you went through all the trouble to come here for him... Oh, dear...."

Crestfallen, Ayla sat on the rock, "I guess I should trace my way back to Nyanza in the morning, after I get some rest and something to eat... Would you know where I can find some fruit trees or berries?"

"I don't go too far from the beach, my dear—but I hear people live right over there, at the bottom of those cliffs." Edna pointed somewhere behind Ayla. "This time of year there should be lots of cherry trees full of red, juicy fruit. You'd better hurry; it's almost dark!"

Ayla, still a little apprehensive about getting close to Edna, waved to her from a distance, "I'm really happy I run into you, Edna. Thank you for all the help." She took flight and added, before disappearing over the sand dune, "Good luck with your eggs hatching!"
"Good luck to you too, little fairy," said Edna. "Stay away from the seagulls! They'll eat anything," warned the sea turtle.

A shiver went through Ayla's magic wings. She rushed toward the human dwellings, looking carefully around for these birds of pray.
After only a short flight, the fairy found the human dwellings, buried among trees. It was dusk and Ayla couldn't see very well, but the red fruits called cherries were easy to spot. She chose a tree with branches heavy with this fruit. The fairy found a comfortable place to sit on a branch, and plucked one of the appetizing red globes. She bit hungrily into it, savoring the sweet, delicious fruit all the way tot its pit.

By the time Ayla finished her dinner, the sky was pricked with sparkly stars studs, the moon was rising, and the sounds of the ocean were as soothing as a lullaby. Ayla covered herself with a leaf, took Kael's feather out of her pocket, and holding it tight near her heart, the fairy fell asleep. She dreamed about her best friend, and the golden skies of Nyanza.


Ayla woke up in the morning, startled by soft sobbing coming from the bottom of the cherry tree. The fairy peaked through the leaves and was surprised to see a little girl sitting by the trunk, crying desperately. Light-brown hair was crowning the little girl's head like a shiny helmet and she wore a yellow summer dress. Her eyes were closed shut, and big, round tears were running down her pink cheeks. She looks like Rina—the fairy thought, remembering one of her fairy sisters from Nyanza, and she felt a twinge of pain in her tender heart. Why was the little girl so troubled?

“Oh, I wish, I wish I could see again! I wish I could run and play in the sun with the other kids...” wailed the little girl, as if to answer Ayla's question.

A happy chorus of squeals and laughter could be heard in the distance. Distracted for a moment, Ayla looked around to locate the source of the joyful sounds. Not too far away, on a green expanse of grass down the hill, the fairy caught sight of a group of children running after a red ball. Ayla wondered why wasn't the little girl opening her eyes to see? If she wished so badly to play in the sun, why wasn't she joining the other children instead of crying alone under the cherry tree?

The compassionate fairy decided she must do something to soothe the child's suffering. Although Ayla couldn't wait to start back to Nyanza and reunite with Kael, she couldn't bare to see the little girl's pain. Maybe I can help—thought the fairy, her heart breaking as the little girl kept weeping.

Ayla didn't believe that this sad little girl was dangerous in any way, yet she made sure there were no butterfly nets around before she lowered herself and gently touched the child on the shoulder. "Why are you crying, little girl?" she asked softly.

“Who's there?” the little girl jerked her head around, but her eyes never opened.

Ayla moved in front of her and said reassuringly, "I 'm sorry... I didn't mean to startle you. I'm Ayla, a magic fairy from the land of Nyanza. Open your eyes and you'll see I'm no threat to you."

"What a cruel joke!" the little girl exclaimed. "Whoever you are, you know very well it would do no good to open my eyes! I still couldn't see anything! You think that because I'm blind you can tell me any lies you want?" Then she added, very upset, "Go away and leave me alone!"

Ayla was astonished to learn that the little girl was blind. How could that be? She knew it's easy to be blinded by a sudden reflection, or by the sun, but that kind of blindness would pass in a few moments. In the land of Nyanza she had never heard of anyone being blind all the time. The fairy put her hand on the girl's shoulder and said lovingly, "I'm not going anywhere. I didn't lie to you, and I think I can help."

"I don't believe in fairies, and magic doesn't exist—except in fairy-tales!" the little girl challenged her grudgingly.

"You have to believe!" urged Ayla with passion. "Magic is real! I can vouch for it! I mean you no harm." The fairy noticed that the girl had stopped crying, and showed slight signs of interest.

After giving this some thought, the little girl asked reluctantly, "Suppose I believe you... What then?"

"Than I might be able to help you!" replied Ayla with conviction. "But first thing first: what is your name, precious child?"

The little girl fidgeted a bit, and responded in a small voice, "I am Olara."

Happy with her small victory, Ayla said kindly, "That's a beautiful name... Tell me, Olara, what did you mean earlier when you said you wished you could see again." The fairy needed to know more about the little girl's blindness, because magical as she was, her healing powers were limited.

Olara sighed, "I wasn't born this way... I lost my sight in a car accident, last year. I guess it's harder for me than for the rest of the blind kids in my school, because I have to get used to it... and I try and try, but I can't! I miss my old friends... They visit me sometimes, but we can't play together anymore." Tears of sorrow started to flow again from under her closed eyelids.

Ayla knew everything about missing a friend, and she was astounded to hear that in this land there were other kids who couldn't see... She interjected quickly, hoping to distract Olara, "Couldn't your Queen help you?"

"What queen?" Olara smiled through her tears. "I'm beginning to think you really come from a fairyland..." She hung her head again and continued, "I had to stay in the hospital for a long time... When I was well enough to go home, the doctors told my parents that my sight should come back soon, because there was nothing wrong with my eyes. As you can see, that never happened..." she said bitterly, wiping a last solitary tear off her cheek.

Ayla didn't care much to ask what a 'hospital' or a 'doctor' was, because she now believed her magic would be strong enough to help Olara. She flew closer to the little girl.

"Olara, please believe that my magic can heal you. Please believe!" The fairy reached out with her magic wand and lightly touched the girl's eyelids, one after another. She whispered:

"Oh, magic wand, please heal these eyes,
So they can see the starry skies!
Make darkness lift and go away,
To leave the gleaming light of day!"

”Open your eyes, Olara,” Ayla said kindly.

Timidly, the little girl slowly opened her big, beautiful brown eyes. She blinked a few times, and then a shining light of happiness illuminated her pretty face. "Your magic worked... I can see... how beautiful everything is..." she said, choked with emotion. She looked beyond her house and saw the children running and playing under the warmth of the yellow sun, and her heart filled with joy. Then she noticed the fairy hovering beside her, and started to laugh and cry at the same time, "You are so tiny, Ayla! You really are a fairy! You have wings, and everything!"

Ayla was beaming with delight. She was thinking that her fruitless journey in search of Kael, wasn't fruitless at all... She came all the way to this world to find her friend, but she found Olara instead, and healed the little girl's sight with her magic. The fairy was happy again, for the first time in a long while. Her wings started to glow and shimmer brightly.

Olara clapped her hands, laughing, "Oh, my! You light up too!"

Suddenly, the little girl's smile faded, and she gasped: "Ayla! Something is happening! A shadow is clouding my eyes... I can't see you so well anymore..." Than Olara cried in a panic, "I can't see you at all anymore! I'm blind again!" She took her head in her hands and started to sob disconsolately.

Ayla was crushed with disappointment. She rushed to Olara's side and tenderly caressed her forehead, "Please don't cry, Olara. I didn't mean to deceive you. I guess my magic wasn't strong enough..."

The little girl stopped weeping, straightened up, brushed the tears away from her face and, swallowing the lump in her throat, she said bravely, "That's all right... It's not so bad being blind, really... I made new friends in school, I learned many new things... It's not your fault, Ayla. You tried..."

"Not so fast! We can't give up just yet!" Ayla declared decisively. "My magic isn't strong enough, but Queen Nioma, back in my homeland, will heal your eyesight for good. Her magic powers are miraculous, and so much stronger than mine. It's a long way, though... Are you ready to take the trip with me?"

"What do you mean? How far is it?" asked Olara, a glimmer of hope budding in her heart. "Oh," she added disheartened, "I can't go. My parents are back in the house, and they'd be worried sick if I'd leave without telling them. If I do tell them, they would never let me go..." Olara shrugged, defeated, "They would never believe in magic, Ayla..."

The fairy thought that even if she could convince the little girl's parents that magic was real, it would take too much time. She had a better idea: "My magic is powerful enough to take care of that," she said confidently. "I'll simply touch them with my magic wand, and although you may be gone for days, they'll think only moments had passed since they last saw you," she reassured Olara. "I'll be back in a flash."

Ayla didn't waste any time. She flew straight to the house, found an open window and went inside. Olara's parents were sitting side by side at the kitchen table, having breakfast, and talking. Making sure she wasn't seen, the fairy touched them lightly with her wand, and whispered: "You'll never know that time had passed, until Olara's back at last!" As stealth as she came in, Ayla flew out of the house.


Back by the cherry tree, Olara was waiting anxiously. "We can go now!" Ayla tapped her on the shoulder, "Your parents will be all right. They'll never know you've been gone."

"That's wonderful!" Olara couldn't contain her excitement. "How would we travel to your fairyland?"

"We'll fly, of course!" Ayla laughed, but when she noticed the worried expression on the little girl's face, she added quickly: "I know, I know, you can't fly! But I can! Just give me your hand, and my magic will surround you as well. You'll see all I can see, and you'll be lighter than air. Don't be afraid, and don't let go."

The fairy took Olara's hand, and the little girl gasped for breath; when she opened her eyes she could see what Ayla could see; she was lighter than air! Before she knew it, she was lifted high into the velvety blue skies, “I’m flying!” Olara cried with joy.

Hand in hand, they soared over the golden fields and green forests of Olara’s land. Over the trees, over the houses, over the deep blue lakes and rolling hills they flew. Olara never got tired of admiring the changing landscape gliding under and the marshmallow clouds sliding over, amazed by the beauty that surrounded her.

Along the way, Ayla told her about Kael, about how much she had missed him. "I was really upset when I couldn't find him in time... But then, I met you—and found a higher purpose to my journey," the fairy said, brightly.

"Lucky me!" Olara declared, laughing. "I'll forever be grateful to Kael's adventurous nature!"

When they passed over the blue river where the mean boy had caught Ayla in his butterfly net, Ayla plunged downward to say hello to the butterflies, and to make sure they were all right.

All the butterflies gathered around and cheered her as the hero she was. "Who's this girl, fairy?" asked the yellow butterfly, keeping his distance.

"No need to fear her," laughed Ayla, She's my new friend, Olara. I'm taking her with me, back to Nyanza," explained the fairy. "I have to go now. Good bye, all! Be well—and stay away from that boy and his net!"

"Good bye, fairy! Have a safe journey! Remember us! Good luck!" the butterflies answered all at once, as they accompanied them for a short while.

"I can't believe it!" Olara cried out. "I had no idea butterflies can talk! I guess your magic not only lets me to see what you see, but I can also hear what you hear! This is so cool, Ayla!" Then she asked curiously, "What was that about a boy?"

Ayla told her everything about her unfortunate ordeal with the butterfly catcher. Olara was horrified, "I don't even want to think of what could have happened if the bag didn't have that loose thread at the bottom... Ugh!" she said with a shiver.

When they arrived over the city, the two friends met in flight with a flock of pigeons. The birds surrounded them, curious to examine the two intruders into their air space. Before Ayla could talk, a black pigeon brazenly approached her: "You must be Ayla, the fairy all the pigeons in the park are talking about. Have you found Kael?"

"No, I didn't, but I will meet him back in Nyanza," answered Ayla cheerfully.

Another pigeon came up front and asked, cocking his head suspiciously, "How come this human girl can fly?"

"Magic!" giggled Ayla, knowing that this would be a new subject for gossip in the park. "I can't stop now, but would you guys give my best to Rhonda, Gus and Earl?"

"Will do!" answered the black pigeon. With that, the flock turned around to go and report the news to their friends in the park.

"I'll tell you all about it," smiled Ayla, as she saw Olara's questioning eyes, "but now we'll make a short stop to see a friend," and she slowly landed in the front yard where Max, the dog, lived.

The pooch was out on the porch and greeted them with a happy bark, "Ruff, ruff! I'm so glad to see you Ayla! I was worried about you!" Max wagged his tail. "I thought your best friend was a bird! I can see this little girl can fly, which is weird—but she's no bird!"

"Don't be silly, Max," Ayla chuckled. "Of course she's not a bird. This is my new friend, Olara. I found out that Kael already went back to Nyanza. We're going to meet him there."

Max rushed to smell Olara's shoes. The little girl bent over and started to pet the cute dog. Max liked that very much and he showed it by wagging his tail and licking Olara's face. "I'm happy to meet you too, Max!" said the little girl, laughing and ruffling the dog's unruly bangs.

Happy to see Olara and the pooch had become fast friends, Ayla told Max what has happened to her since she followed the pigeons. Olara already knew part of it, but she burst out laughing when Ayla recounted how terrified she had been by her encounter with the sea turtle. Max joined her, by rolling on the ground, wiggling and flailing his paws in the air. Ayla smiled ear to ear and shrugged, "Next time I'll know not to judge anyone by their appearance..." Then the fairy told Max how she met Olara, and what she was hoping to accomplish by taking her to see Queen Nioma.

"Don't worry. Everything will be all right!" the pooch reassured the little girl, putting a paw on her knee.

"Thank you Max, I know it will," said the little girl with a confident smile, and gave the dog a big smooch on the nose.

Soon after, they said their good byes. Max warned the fairy, "Stay away from the rain, Ayla! Take care of Olara!"

"I promise!" said Ayla with mock gravity. She laughed and took off with Olara, rising above the tall buildings of the city.

Later, when they were miles away, Olara asked: "Are you afraid of the rain, Ayla?"

"I'm not exactly afraid, but I can't fly if my wings get wet," Ayla clarified, grinning. Then the fairy entertained Olara with the story about the thunderstorm, and how she met Max.

"You had quite a few adventures and made many friends in our land, Ayla," said Olara brightly. "I know I'll be your friend forever!"

"Me too, Olara!" replied the fairy affectionately, "I would go through all of it again, just to meet you!"


Later in the day they were passing over a wide, sparkling blue lake, nestled among woody hills. White sand beaches and green grass areas trimmed the shores. Many boats of all kinds were scattered across the water. Lots of people were sunbathing, swimming and para sailing, fully enjoying the warm weather. In Nyanza, Ayla had seen before only rafts and small boats with oars, which gnomes and leprechauns used to cross the magical Yellow River. Olara told her how sail boats worked, pushed by the wind, and about the motorboats, towing behind them the bright parachutes sailing through the air.

"It's Saturday, so everyone is out on the lake, having fun..." the little girl said.

Ayla was about to ask what a 'Saturday' was, when Olara cried: "Ayla, look out!"

The fairy raised her eyes to see a square faced monster with menacing eyes and a snarling mouth full of big teeth, coming straight for them! Ayla's heart started to race like crazy. She swooped sharply downward, to get out of the way. She was already scared, but the fairy became down right frightened when she looked over her shoulder and saw the threatening monster following them! Its long, multi-colored tail was moving with short, nervous wiggles. Ayla could swear she could feel its hot, foul breath on the back of her neck... She didn't know what to do...

"Stop!! We'll hit the water!" Olara yelled, urging Ayla to look where she was flying. The fairy pulled up in the nick of time, just a few feet above the water. Right then, the monster seemed to have changed its mind about catching them, because it turned around and started in the other direction, moving up and up in the air, swaying side to side as it went.

The fairy paused to catch her breath and to make sure the monster didn't come back. "What is that?" the fairy asked in a voice squeaking with fear, pointing with her wand. "I thought for sure it was going to eat us!"

"That?" Olara burst into laughter, almost losing her grip on Ayla's hand. "Ha, ha, ha... We were just about to fall splat in the lake because of that? That was just a kite—nothing but a toy, Ayla!"

"What do you mean 'a toy'?" screeched the fairy. "It had angry eyes and sharp teeth! It came after us!"

Olara giggled, "You're so funny Ayla! The kite is made of paper! The eyes and the teeth were painted on! It only seemed to follow us, because it moves with the wind... There is a kid somewhere on the beach pulling the string." Then she reminded the fairy, "Didn't you say this morning that you won't judge things by their appearance anymore?"

"I said that, didn't I?" sighed Ayla, as her heart was finally starting to slow down.

Still hovering above the water, not yet completely recovered from the kite scare, the fairy heard a roaring noise growing louder and louder. Before she could look to see where it was coming from, Olara shrieked: "Watch out! Speedboat!"

There wasn't much time to react, because the speedboat was already upon them. Ayla jerked up abruptly, horrified that the trail of spray could wet her wings. The boat was gone in a flash, leaving behind the swelling waves of its wake. The fairy breathed a sigh of relief, "Ugh, that was close..." then she instantly noticed she wasn't holding Olara's hand anymore. In a blind panic Ayla started down again, frantically searching the turbulent water under her. Olara was nowhere in sight...

Only a few moments had passed, but terrible thoughts were racing through the fairy's mind, when suddenly Olara's head bobbed to the surface. The little girl was spitting water and dog-paddling feverishly.

"Olara! Are you all right?" cried out the fairy, circling a short distance above her friend, painfully aware that the little girls couldn't see anything.

"Yes...I'm fine..." gargled Olara, sloshing around while trying to stay afloat.

"Give me your hand!" urged Ayla, moving closer, despite the water splashes created by Olara's attempt to swim.

"No way!" protested the little girl, forcefully. "I can't... swim... very well... and if you get wet... we both... could drown... The shore... couldn't be... too far..."

"All right, all right, I see your point," Ayla agreed anxiously, but she knew how frightened Olara must be, treading water in the darkness of her blindness. She tried to speak as confidently as she could, "You're right, the shore is very close... You can make it there on your own. Just slow down and follow my voice."

"That's a plan..." muttered the little girl, starting to save her energy by making longer, more controlled paddling moves.

"Come this way!" Ayla called. Olara listened, trusting the fairy's voice to guide her.

After a short while Ayla reassured her, "The water is quite shallow here. I can easily see the bottom now! You made it! You can stop swimming and wade the rest of the way toward my voice."

Olara was quite tired by now, so she was happy to feel the sand under her feet again. Soon she emerged from the water. Ayla quickly grabbed her wet hand, to give the little girl her sight back. However, she made no attempt to take Olara flying just yet. "Come, sit on that rock over there," she told the little girl. "You need to rest up and dry out." Olara nodded in agreement. Breathing hard from exertion, she sat down on the warm rock, just a few steps from the water.

The beach was very narrow on this arm of the lake, so the only people around were much further away, camping on the grass. Ayla was glad she wouldn't have to explain her presence to anyone. She swallowed hard, looked the little girl in the eyes and spoke softly, "I'm so, so sorry, Olara... I don't know how that could have happened. I let you down... I know how scared you must have been, swimming in the dark... I'll understand if you never forgive me."

Olara looked at her curiously, but then she understood what the fairy meant. "Oh, no, no, Ayla! It wasn't your fault!" she said emphatically. "My hand slipped... Or I let go, I'm not sure... I thought that boat was coming directly toward us... It all happened so fast. Sure, I was scared, but I knew everything would be all right when I heard your voice."

"If it weren't for that darned kite..." Ayla began to say, but Olara interrupted her.

"You wouldn't have another adventure to add to your travel story." She smiled crookedly, and started to pour the water out of her shoes.

"Oh, yeah, there is that..." smirked Ayla, "Although there are some adventures I could do without."



While Olara's clothes dried out, the little girl fell silent, and Ayla could tell that something was weighing heavily on her mind.

"What is it, Olara? Anything the matter?" asked the fairy, worried about her friend.

"Oh, I was just thinking... I feel so blessed to have met you and get a magic chance to see again... I wish all the blind kids in the world could see..."

Ayla lightly caressed her cheek, "I'd rather help one single child, than none at all..."

"I know and I'm grateful for it," offered Olara, "I just hope every child in pain could find magic..."

"I know how to cheer you up!" Ayla said brightly. "Ready to go?" When the little girl nodded, the fairy squeezed her hand, gave her a confident smile and they both started to rise up. The lake below grew smaller and smaller, until it disappeared completely behind the milky clouds of the heavens.

Ayla carried the little girl so high in the sky, that Olara could see the curve of the planet—with the blue oceans, tall mountains, and green plains far below. The fairy took her even further up, to where the light of the Earth met the blue black of the universe. Ayla finally stopped the ascent and they both watched in awe. Shooting stars were crossing the blackness, leaving vibrant, luminous trails behind.

"Wow!" marveled Olara, at a loss for words. "Am I dreaming, Ayla?"

"No, you're not dreaming," smiled the fairy. "It's so wonderful to share this amazing sight with you, Olara!" Ayla said earnestly. Before leaving, they hovered together for a few moments to watch the sun sliding down behind the far off horizon.

When Ayla took Olara back down under the clouds, the light was growing dimmer. The two friends decided to stop and rest for the night in a lovely grove by the edge of a thick forest. Near by, Olara discovered a raspberry bush full of juicy berries, and a peach tree with branches heavy with golden ripe fruit. A bubbling brook ran through the grove. The two weary travelers sipped from its fresh water and dined on sweet peaches and raspberries. As the moon rose up in the night sky, Ayla delighted the little girl with songs of the fairies of Nyanza. They both fell asleep under the starry sky, curled up on a bed of freshly cut grass.

At the crack of dawn, Ayla and Olara were brutally awakened by a hair raising roaring sound. They jumped from their slumber to see a huge creature with brown fur, towering over them, no more than six feet away. The animal was standing on its hind legs, grabbing toward them with his front paws, growling furiously. Its drooling jaws were full of sharp teeth. The two friends huddled together, trembling in terror.

Ayla asked, speaking barely audible into Olara's ear, afraid that she might make yet another misjudgment, "Is this a monster?"

"Yeahaa! That's a BEAR!" emphasized Olara, whispering back through her chattering teeth.

Once again, Ayla was paralyzed with fear and unable to fly, but she hoped to keep the bear at bay with her magic wand. Alas! The wand was not in her hand! The fairy realized she must have dropped it when she jumped awake. Ayla looked around. A wave of terror chilled her to the bone when she noticed her magic wand on the ground, just out of her reach...

All of a sudden, the bear took a step toward them, snarling. Olara froze, her eyes round with horror. Ayla summoned up her courage and yelled as loudly as she could: "Stay away, you... you... big, ugly beast!"

The bear stopped, puzzled for a moment. Booming roars of laughter shook his huge body. Wiping tears of joy with his paw, the bear bellowed, "Feisty little thing, aren't you?" Then he frowned, "Called me ugly, huh?" When Ayla cringed, the bear waved, "Relax! I'm not gonna eat you... At least not right away, mind you..." he smirked. "What kind of critter are you?"

"I'm... a f...fairy," stuttered Ayla. As frightened as she was, she cautiously started to inch toward the magic wand.

"Hmm... I've never tasted a fairy before... Maybe I'll eat your friend first and keep you for dessert," grinned the bear, showing his fangs and grabbing toward Olara. The little girl screamed, petrified with fear. The bear chuckled and slapped his knee jovially, "Scared you, didn't I? Then the furry beast took a serious stance and shook his finger at them, "That'll teach you not to steal next time!"

"But... but... we didn't steal anything..." Ayla muttered, defensively.
"Oh, yes, you stole my fruit!" boomed the bear, pointing at the peach pits on the ground. He hit his chest, "This is MY orchard!"

"We didn't know that, we were just hungry..." the fairy explained, finally reaching the wand and surreptitiously grabbing it. The bear didn't seem to notice. Ayla gave Olara a reassuring nod. The little girl breathed a sigh of relief, but she was still shaken. "We apologize for trespassing," the fairy concluded.

"Don't apologize to him! "He's nothing but a liar and a bully!" a thin voice spoke in Ayla's ear. The fairy saw a golden bee circling near them. "I saw what he did to you and I called for reinforcements!" the bee added, directing them to look up toward a bee swarm bearing toward them. Then the bee called to its comrades, "Let's get him!"

The bear heard the buzzing even before the swarm was upon him, and without any parting ceremony, started to run. The swarm caught up with him quickly. "Leave me alone, you despicable insects!" the bear yelled, defending himself by swinging one arm wildly around his head, and covering his rear with the other. The bees didn't relent—and the bear kept running and shouting. He soon disappeared in the forest.

Ayla and Olara burst into laughter. "Thank you so much for your help!" the fairy told the bee who came to their rescue.

"You're welcome, fairy. That'll teach him to scare our visitors!" the bee said. "The orchard belongs to all the creatures in the forest, the bear just indulges on fruit more than the others... He won't show up here for a while, so please be our guests! Stay as long as you like, have as much fruit as you want." With that, the bee waved good bye
and took off after the swarm.

"I can see what you mean now... Some adventures we could really do without." Olara sighed, wiping drops of sweat from her forehead. "I was so scared, Ayla! I couldn't move!"

"I know, me too," the fairy agreed. "However, it was very satisfying to see the bear running, worried about his hiney," she giggled. Olara joined her wholeheartedly.



Putting the bear scare behind them, the two friends washed their hands and faces in the brook. Then they enjoyed a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit and watched the magnificent sunrise light up the world. Ayla and Olara left the grove a bit later, under the caressing rays of the morning sun.

The sky was clear, with just a few wispy clouds smeared across, like dabs of white paint on a blue canvas. The air currents worked in their favor, pushing them swiftly toward their destination. When the white snow capped mountains, with their black, jagged edges loomed in the distance, Ayla called to Olara, "Look! Nyanza is just beyond those peaks! We'll be there way before night fall."

As they came ever closer to the mountain range, Olara suddenly pointed and cried out, "Watch out, Ayla! That huge bird is coming straight for us!"

Ayla laughed lightly, "Don't worry, that's the mother eagle I told you about. She probably wants to say hi." The fairy waved to the eagle with her wand. The eagle caught up with them shortly, matching their speed.

"So nice to see you again, Mighty Eagle!" Ayla greeted her. "This is my friend, Olara," the fairy tried to do the introductions, but the eagle only nodded a short acknowledgment toward the little girl.

"Finally there you are, fairy! I was keeping an eye out for you," said the eagle. "We have a situation here..."

Something in the eagle's somber voice worried Ayla, "What happened, Mighty Eagle? Are the chicks all right?"

"They're fine, thanks for asking, although I can't say the same about your clown of a friend..."

Ayla knew immediately whom the eagle meant, as her heart sank. "Is Kael in trouble? Is he hurt?"

"You might say that..." the eagle replied, "The fool broke his wing. I heard him cry, but I can't do much for him... Follow me."

The eagle took the lead. Ayla and Olara followed her toward a scanty strip of fir trees halfway up the mountain. "Your friend is down there between those two boulders, right by the tallest tree," the eagle pointed. "Now I have to take my leave, and go back to my babies... Good luck, fairy!"

"Thank you, Mighty Eagle!" shouted Ayla gratefully, but the majestic bird was already turning in the direction of her nest and didn't answer.

"How terrible!" Olara uttered, just as worried about Kael's predicament as the fairy was. "Let's hurry!"

They headed down. Soon Ayla could see a pitiful heap of gray feathers lodged between the two boulders. She landed close by and asked Olara, "Will you be all right if I let go for a few moments, so I can better tend to Kael?"

"Of course. I'll sit here," Olara motioned toward a stone bench near them. She sat down. "Go. I'll be perfectly all right."

Ayla rushed to her fallen friend's side. The bird's head was tucked under one wing. She couldn't recognize him. "Kael, is that you?" the fairy asked tentatively, hoping for a second that the eagle has been mistaken.

The bird flinched, raising his head, "Ayla! Aren't you a sight for sore eyes! I'm so happy you're finally here! I was beginning to think I'd never see you or Nyanza again..."

The fairy kneeled and gave her friend a warm hug. "What happened to you Kael? Why are your feathers gray? The eagle told me you broke your wing..." Ayla asked, caressing her friend's drab feathers.

"Well, the eagle is probably right to think I'm a fool... Right when I was ready to cross into the enchanted land of Nyanza, a thunderbolt struck the mountain right in front of me. I was startled by the boom and blinded by the light. I fell out of the sky like a rock. On my way down, I broke my wing hitting a branch in this tree..." sighed Kael, "I lost my magic, because I can't fly... Now I'm just an ordinary, gray, flightless bird," he shrugged, desolated.

"No, you're not!" Ayla encouraged him, smiling. "I'm here now."

"Yes, you are. The eagle told me you went to look for me on your own in the humans' realm." Kael raised his voice, "Why would you do such a thing, Ayla? You're not the reckless kind. You could have been hurt! I was sick with worry when I heard..."

"Now you know how I felt when you didn't come back to Nyanza," smiled Ayla, her eyes filled with reproach.

"Where have you been? What have you done?" Kael asked, anxiously.

"We'll have time to exchange stories later. Now please shush and let me heal you!"

The fairy closed her eyes and chanted, while touching her friend with her magic wand:

"You'll fly again, Kael, my friend!
My magic wand your wing will mend.
A magic bird you'll be anew,
Your broken wing as strong as new!"

The fairy opened her eyes to witness her friend's miraculous transformation: the gray feathers started to shimmer with a blue glow, then returned to their original luster and bright colors. Kael stretched his magnificent wings. In front of Ayla stood the regal, magical bird she had always known.

"Oh, I'm well again! It feels so good..." said Kael, turning around and fanning his tail. "Thank you, Ayla. I don't know what I would do without you."

Ayla shook her finger at him and frowned, mock-threatening, "You don't have to find out, because I'll never leave your side again!" She laughed and took his wing, "Now come with me. I want you to meet somebody."

Kael followed Ayla to the stone bench, where Olara waited, patiently. Before he had a chance to ask, the fairy took the little girl's hand—to give her eyesight back—and made the introductions: "Kael, please meet Olara, my new friend."

"Oh, I didn't know you brought someone with you... Happy to meet you Olara." Kael bowed politely.

"A pleasure, Kael." Olara smiled. "I heard so much about you. You are even more majestic and beautiful than I imagined!" she said. She was in wonder of the magical bird's colorful feathers trimmed with gold.

Ayla explained, "Olara is blind without my magic, but I'm not strong enough to heal her for good. She needs the powerful magic of Queen Nioma."

"Blindness? That is an ailment unheard-of in Nyanza. What am I saying? Beside an occasional elf's scraped knee, there is hardly any ailment at all... I'm sure that Queen Nioma holds the magic to make you well, Olara," Kael declared, confidently.

"All right, friends. Time to go!" Ayla spurred them on.

"Let's go, then! Nyanza, here we come!" Kael unfolded his wings with exquisite grace and started to rise. Ayla and Olara followed. Soon they all reached the mountain's summit and crossed over into the fairyland.

The little girl watched delighted as the skies changed from blue to golden yellow. The green forest canopy they were flying over was strewn with many trees unknown to her. Their leaves, in all shades of silver, red, blue, and purple, seemed assembled into a colorful quilt.

"How come people in my world don't know about this place?" Olara asked, truly bewildered. "There is no barrier of any kind beyond the mountains... we just flew through."

"Oh, but that's deceiving, my dear," Kael grinned. "Nyanza is a hidden realm that can only be entered by magical creatures. While holding Ayla's hand, you're magical too. Once they reach the mountain peak, all that the people in your world can see is... the other side of the mountain!"



Ayla, Olara, and Kael started to descend through the blue clouds and soon they could hear the songs of the fairies. They touched the ground in a clearing, where many dwellers of the magic forest were gathered. Olara was mystified by the enchanting sights and sounds this magical world revealed to her. Softly colored flowers of all kinds covered the clearing's floor. Their sweet aromas perfumed the air. Shrubs with golden and silvery leaves surrounded the area. Fairies were floating around, singing and swigging on delicate vines, like swarms of glowing butterflies. Griffins with lion bodies and eagle wings were lying lazily in the soft grasses, soaking in the last rays of the late afternoon sun. Close by, a small herd of unicorns with silver horns, were grazing on silky herbs, calling to each other with musical harp-like sounds.

Olara could not believe these creatures really existed! She had only seen them in fairy tale books. Before she could ask Ayla about them, a wispy fairy perched on a huge mushroom, announced enthusiastically:

"Hey, everyone! Ayla and Kael are back!" Fairies, elves, and many othermagical creatures came running to greet them with warm hugs and a chorus of joyful salutations:

"Welcome back, Ayla! We missed you so much! Where have you been, Kael? We were so worried about you!" Some of them backed up apprehensively as soon as they laid eyes on Olara. Others crowded around, asking curiously, "Who is your friend? What is she doing here?" A hundred voices uttered a hundred questions at the same time.

Ayla raised her wand in the air to demand silence. Once the chattering stopped, the fairy said cheerfully, "We're so happy to see all of you! We'll tell you everything about our travels later. Now we have to see Queen Nioma..." The fairy motioned toward the little girl, "This is our new friend, Olara. She needs the queen's help."

Since no one moved, Kael intervened, "Ayla meant NOW! Please, let us pass!" He started to part the crowd with his wings. Ayla and Olara followed him on the sandy path leading to the queen's quarters, a short way off. The little girl felt like a giant among the fairies and elves, moving with the utmost caution, afraid that she might hurt someone. All the magical creatures filed behind them. They were curious to find out what kind of help Olara needed.

Soon they all arrived at the flowery archway that marked the entrance to the marble paved courtyard where Queen Nioma's held her court. Two elf pages, dressed in golden tunics, stood in guard on each side of the opened gateway. They ushered everyone in, and blew their gold horns to let Queen Nioma know that she had visitors. Led by Ayla, Olara, and Kael, the entire procession filtered inside, scattering about the courtyard.

"See, that is my home tree!" Ayla showed Olara the beautiful branches extending over the courtyard like a dome. In the soft light of the dusk, the leaves seemed to float in the air around the tree, as green, gold, and silver butterflies. The fairies living in the tree were coming out to see what the commotion was about. Olara thought they looked like glowing ornaments in a Christmas tree. She opened her mouth to say how amazing that was, but a horn call announced the queen's arrival.

Ayla, Olara, and Kael stepped up in front of the throne to wait for the queen.

The Queen Nioma's throne was placed on a raised marble platform in front of them. It was empty at the moment. Dainty flowers were exquisitely woven around its back and arm rests. Holding her breath, Olara watched in awe as a swirling mist appeared in front of the royal chair... As the mist slowly dispersed, a winged shape emerged. The queen of fairies came into sight, in all her splendor. A flowing gown of golden threads was draped around the queen's delicate body, and the crown of the fairies was resting upon her head. Nioma's wings were shimmering like liquid gold. Her dark hair was braided and twisted softly around her face.

Olara thought Nioma was the most beautiful being she had ever seen.

All the creatures in the courtyard greeted the queen warmly. The queen sat on the throne and signaled with her wand. The crowd fell silent. Nioma raised her eyebrows in surprise and smiled brightly at the sight of Olara, who stood wide eyed in front of her, with Ayla and Kael at her side.

The queen spoke with a voice as melodious as a song: "I can see we have a visitor. We welcome you to Nyanza, child!"

Intimidated, the little girl blushed and curtsied. The Queen looked at the other two travelers. "Ayla, Kael—I am so happy to see you back with us! I am so looking forward to hear your stories about the world beyond Nyanza. First, I would like one of you to tell me why was this human child brought to our fairyland."

Ayla took a step forward, but she didn't let go of Olara's hand.

"Thank you for your warm welcome, my Queen," she said. "I brought my friend, Olara to Nyanza because she needs the healing of your powerful magic... My magic isn't strong enough... It can help her only if I hold her hand..." The fairy then proceeded to tell the queen how she met Olara, about the little girl's blindness and her sorrow. Ayla recounted how her own attempt to heal Olara failed, and how they hoped the queen's magic would bring her sight back for good.

Queen Nioma was touched by Ayla's story. Fondly, she told the fairy, "You did good, my child. Bring Olara to me." Ayla and Olara stepped up on the throne platform and into the loving embrace of the queen. Then Nioma put her hands on Olara's shoulders and looked kindly into her eyes. "Sweet child, I shall give you the gift of sight you so fiercely desire. From this time on you will forever gaze upon the wonderful world around you!” She touched Olara's eyelids with her bright magic wand, and chanted:

My magic spell shall heal your sight
And turn the darkness into light...
You'll see for miles in day light,
You'll see the moon and stars at night.
Your precious eyes, lit up with glee,
The beauty of the world would see!

When the queen finished, you could hear a pin drop in the courtyard! All the magic creatures present had great sympathy for Olara's predicament. They wished with all their might for Nioma's incantation to work.

"Now let go of Ayla's hand Olara. Open your eyes..." the queen of the fairies spoke softly. "Don't be afraid, child."

Olara did as the queen asked. Her vision, a bit blurry at first, cleared up almost immediately. The little girl blinked and looked around to make sure it doesn't go away like before. When it didn't, her eyes welled up with tears of joy. "The magic is holding!Thank you, Queen Nioma, thank you for your priceless gift!"

The queen kissed Olara's forehead. "You're welcome, sweet child. I wish you a glorious life."

As if on cue, the entire congregation erupted into gleeful cheer. The fairies clapped their hands, the elves threw their hats in the air, Ayla and Kael hugged each other and then hugged Olara. The little girl was so happy that she almost crushed them!

The magical creatures and birds joined in the celebration. In no time at all, a full blast party got started. The elves tuned their instruments and the music started. The queen's pages brought huge plates of fruit and jugs of nectar, for everyone's enjoyment. Olara tasted delicious fruits she never knew existed, and sipped the sweet nectar from a flower cup. Ayla and the fairies showed Olara their dance and they taught her their songs. Later, the little girl fed the unicorns from her hands, and even sailed through the air on the back of one of the griffins, under the watchful eye of Queen Nioma.


The festivities continued well into the night, under the light of the moon and the glowing wings of the fairies.

As the party was winding down, Olara sat on a cushioned bench and took Ayla's hands in hers. She said gratefully, "I love you, Ayla. You brought me to your fairyland and helped me get my eyesight back... I will never forget what a wonderful friend you've been to me." Before the fairy had a chance to answer, Olara curled up on the bench and fell fast asleep. She was exhausted by the day's events. The fairies songs lulled her into happy slumber.

Queen Nioma climbed down from her throne and went by Olara's side. She caressed the little girl's forehead. "It's time for Olara to go home..." she whispered to Ayla and Kael, who were watching over their friend.

"Yes, my Queen. Can't it wait until morning?" the fairy asked softly. "It's quite a long journey... She needs some sleep before Kael and I fly her back."

"That won't be necessary," smiled the queen. "You and Kael need your rest as well..." She tenderly touched the little girl's cheek, "Olara will spend the rest of the night in her own bed, and wake up in the morning in her own world."

"But how?" Ayla questioned, wide eyed. "Are you as powerful as that, my Queen?"

"No," laughed Nioma. "There are tasks that no one being can accomplish alone..." Nioma raised her wand. All magical creatures heard her silent call and gathered around, ready to follow the queen's instructions.

"If we all hold hands and merge our magic powers, we can send Olara home," explained the queen. She took Ayla and Kael's hands. Everyone present locked hands with one another, to make an unbroken chain of magic around the little girl. Queen Nioma looked over her subjects, making sure they all brought their magic power to the circle. She chanted:

"Together we will cast the spell,
And send you back to your world.
Remember us... We wish you well.
Olara, you'll go home again
As soon as we all say the word:

And all the magical creatures repeated in unison: "Homeward!" In the blink of an eye, Olara was gone!

"Good bye, my friend..." whispered Ayla, "I'll never forget you."

Happy with the result of their joint spell, the entire congregation of magical creatures applauded, laughed, and cheered. Meeting Olara and merging their magic powers to send her home, had been new experiences for them.

As they got ready to close the evening's celebrations, the queen raised her wand again, calling for silence. "Thanks to Ayla and Kael, we all had an exciting day..." she said. "Tomorrow we will hear their travel stories and find out what they learned from their adventures." The crowd voiced its enthusiastic approval, but the queen dismissed everybody with a hand wave. "Now it's time to rest... Good night to all."

"Good night, Queen," replied the assembly, as Nioma disappeared in a swirling mist.

The crowd of magical creatures started to disperse. Leaving the courtyard in smaller groups, they chatted excitedly about the unusual events of the day.

Ayla and Kael flew high into the fairies' tree, along with a glowing swarm of fairies, returning to their home. Ayla found her familiar sleeping place—a small hollow between two branches. Kael settled in on a limb across from her and said, yawning, "I wish I wasn't so tired... Can't wait to hear what possessed you to come after me..."

"Just missed you that's all..." Ayla volunteered. "I want to hear what you've been doing since you left Nyanza... without me, I might add. I guess tomorrow will be soon enough."

"I'll never go anywhere without you again...promise. Hey!" Kael jumped, with new found energy, "Queen Nioma wants to know what we learned from our adventures. I surely learned not to be so hasty! From now on I'll look before I leap!"

Half asleep, the fairy grinned, "Right when I was thinking that I learned I should be a bit more spontaneous..."

Kael didn't answer this time. He was already fast asleep, with his head tucked under his wing.

Soon, there was peace and quiet over Nyanza. The glowing lights in the fairies' tree blinked off one by one, as the fairies went to their leafy beds.


In the morning, Olara opened her eyes and found herself in her own bedroom... At first she thought it was all a dream, but then Olara realized she cloud see! She could see everything: the posters on the walls, the toys on the shelves, even the scratches she made on the door with a marker when she was little!

She jumped out of bed and ran into the kitchen. Her mom was making coffee and her dad was reading the morning paper. They both looked up, as Olara came in shouting breathlessly: "Mom! Dad! I can see! I can see!"

Her mom dropped the coffee pot, and ran to embrace her. Her dad joined them. They were all laughing and crying.

"The doctors said your sight would come back..." said Olara's father, swallowing the lump in his throat, trying to appear reasonable.

"My sweet girl... It's a miracle!" said her mom, caressing and kissing Olara's cheeks.

"No, mom!" Olara laughed, "It's MAGIC!!"