Friday, April 6, 2012

The Crane King

The Crane King

The boy reached the clearing he had found the day before while exploring after all his chores had been caught up.  White lady slipper lilies covered the open area still undisturbed, with the sun shining through the surrounding treetops, shining on the flowers.  The beauty was breathtaking and he stood there staring. Living on a dusty farm at the base of the mountain, pretty things were seeing the striped candy sticks in the general store on their monthly visits to town. Not since he was five and the family had been leaving great grandmother’s house in the big city had he seen any flowers

The temptation was too much for the boy to resist, he just had to see them closer.  Not wanting to damage the flowers which reminded him of his great grandmother Eloise, he walked around the edge of the glade, seeking a way in.  He found a small break on the side where the sun was entering, as if the flowers were trying to avoid the sun. Awkwardly stepping in and around the flowers, which he could now see were not as dense a field as it had looked from further away, the boy eased his way towards the center of the glowing flowers.  Reaching the center, he was surprised to find a large granite stone lit by the sunbeam shining through the trees that seemed to resemble a small bench. Eyes dancing with anticipation, he stepped forward and crouched to set his rear down on the stone. 

“Screeeeech, bzzzzzzzzzzz,” in his face, a flapping of wings and loud noise caused him to fall to the side, batting at his own face and landing on his remaining hand and knees beside the stone.  Looking around, he couldn’t see any sign of flying insects, “Darned wasps” he muttered to himself. Shaking his head as he got back to his feet, he looked around again. Seeing nothing around, he shook his head and prepared to sit again.  This time, there was more screeching and it seemed even larger wings flapping in his face.  Not having made it to a crouch, he didn’t fall down this time, but his hand definitely felt something flying away from his face as he swatted around.

There! Something white rose out of the lilies flying fast towards his face.  He stopped his downward motion and lunged with hand grasping to catch this unknown assailant.  With the extra spring in his lunge from already being crouched, he flew through the air, hands closing together around the flyer, the boy landed hard.  “Oooofff!” he exhaled sharply. “Gotcha now!” he whispered excitedly.  Palms cupped, he could feel little feet and wings inside. Raising his hands up to his right eye, he peered inside and with a start, threw the creature inside to the air, “aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!” he shrieked. “Eeeeee!” the little creature flew up into the air, hovered above his head with a small scream. “Wha…wha….what are you?” the boy stammered.  The hovering white creature got closer to his face and he could finally see that it looked like a miniature lady all in white, with pearly wings fluttering behind her.  To top that off, what had sounded like buzzing, could now be made out as words, “I’m a Lily Fairy.  We protect the Flower Ring around the Crane King’s throne.”

Two more fairies flew up to fly slightly behind the fairy talking to him.  Wide eyed, the boy sat up, causing the fairies to fly back out of reach.  They shone with an inner light and the boy squinted while looking at them.  Then his eyes widened as he looked away from them to the flowers all around him.  Every flower turned towards him and he realized that they were actually fairies not lilies. Mouth hanging open, he turned back to the three that were still hovering just out of reach.  “What throne? What King?” 

This was not something he had ever imagined, not even when his grandmother had sat him on the settee in her front parlor to tell him stories about the old country and the little people. He had laughed at the funny stories, even when she would lower her voice and say, “Robert, you have been marked by the wee ones and must always be wary.  They mean to take you to their kingdom and someday they will fulfill that promise” 

“I am Genevieve, Pixella of this Ring and prepare the way for those who the Crane King wishes to visit with. You, young lordling, have not been invited.”

His thoughts were drawn back to the fairies in front of him. “You claim to protect the throne of this king, yet there is no throne here.”

The fairies flew lower to hover over the granite bench. “This is the throne, even your young human eyes must be able to see the glory of the Crane King’s throne.”  The light that came from the fairies’ tunics and wings lit the stone and once again the boy’s eyes widened in amazement as the simple stone was transformed into a grand seat covered in purple velvet.  Red gems gleamed amongst the carvings that wound their way from the head piece down the sides and onto the arms. 

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