When Naida reached home it was bustling with excited fairies who had already returned. Everyone was talking at once and it seemed like a madhouse. Naida looked for her friend Jayda, but couldn’t see her. She went over to Zaida and asked if she had seen Jayda yet.
“Oh yes,” Zaida replied with a nod. “She came back and was talking to Merida and then they flew off together.”
Naida looked puzzled, so Zaida added, “They didn’t say anything, just went back outside. Don’t worry. I’m sure they’ll be back soon.”
Naida turned back to the entrance and sure enough the two of them were just alighting on the branch that served as a step in front of their doorway. Before she could move to greet her friend Merida was clapping her hands to get their attention. “What’s all this! Quiet down and prepare dinner. There’s a lot to do.” Seeing the fairies looked rather downcast at the scolding, she softened her tone and added, “I know you’re all excited. There will be plenty of time for sharing once we’ve all sat down to dinner. Come on now, and let’s get organized.”
The fairies quickly cleared a space and brought out the dishes of food and small cups to hold the celebration nectar that Merida had prepared for them. As soon as each fairy had her cup filled Merida raised hers and said, “Thank you all for your commitment today. Now we have ten trees that are connected to the Great Spirit. Congratulations and long life to you and your trees!”
The fairies raised their cups and repeated “Long life to our trees!” After taking a drink they quickly passed the food around the circle, each taking a selection of the delicacies. Once they were all settled and enjoying the feast Merida spoke again. “So now is the time when some of you can share about your experience today, if you wish. We’ll begin with Jayda since she has something to show us. Go ahead Jayda.”
Jayda smiled at everyone and then turned to Merida. “I don’t know why I have this special tree, but thank you Merida.” She brought something out from behind her back, “Look everyone, my tree already has leaves!” There was a buzz of excitement as all the fairies leaned forward for a closer look. Jayda lifted up a long, narrow green object and then passed it to Naida who was sitting next to her. “See, it’s from my tree. It was already growing these green skinny leaves so I asked Merida and she said they’re called needles, pine needles ‘cos I have a Pine tree. Isn’t it exciting?”
Naida was turning over the leaf and studying it carefully. “It has a sharp point, I can see why it’s called a needle. Careful everyone!”
Zaida took it next, and admired it while being careful not to injure herself on the sharp point. “It’s a bit sticky, isn’t it?” she said, wiping her hand which had gotten some sap on it. “Oh, but it smells quite nice, this sticky stuff!”
Jayda laughed, “Yes, the pine sap is very sticky. I should have warned you about that, but I thought I got it all over myself already and there was none left!”
As the fairies passed the pine needle around Merida asked Jayda to explain how her tree had leaves already. “My Pine tree keeps its leaves throughout the whole winter. It’s called an evergreen tree, because it always has green leaves. I think it has these special skinny needles, not big wide leaves, so the snow falls straight off!”
“Mm, and they’re kind of hard, too, so maybe they won’t freeze up when it gets too cold?” Naida suggested.
“Or be too heavy and break the branches down if the leaves got lots of snow and ice stuck on them!” Danida added, passing the needle on to Narida.
Jayda nodded in agreement, “And it grows new ones in the spring too, so I still have to tell it to wake up now and make new needles. I think they’ll be little and cute when they first grow, not as hard as this old needle!” At that everyone laughed. “But I still want this one back if everyone’s finished looking at it!”
“Thank you very much Jayda for showing everyone your Pine needle and explaining about your tree,” Merida was nodding her approval. “Tomorrow we will all go and visit Jayda’s Pine tree before everyone goes to take care of your own trees. Does anyone else have something special to share about their tree?”
The fairies looked at each other, but no-one seemed ready to share. In fact some were already yawning. It had been a long day!
“Alright then, off to bed with you,” Merida concluded. “You all worked hard today so get a good rest. I’ll clean up, but just for tonight!”
“Wow, good job Jayda,” Naida said to her friend as they prepared to settle down for the night. “How exciting to have a green needle leaf to show everyone! I’m looking forward to visiting your tree tomorrow. My tree doesn’t have any buds or anything yet.”
“Don’t worry, Naida. I’m sure your tree will get its leaves when it’s time. And then we can all visit your tree!”
Copyright © Jennifer P. Tanabe, 2015