This is my contribution to the last month of Sian's 2011 Storytelling Sunday. I am sorry it's late - I wrote it at 4am on Sunday, but I had a bit of trouble with the ending!
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Once there was a Little Witch who was so excited because her friends were coming to her tea party. She was especially pleased that a particular lovely fairy was among them. The fairy had curly hair and a beautiful smile and the little witch thought she was the loveliest fairy she knew.
The friends all came and they began to play together happily. They played leap frog, hide and seek, consequences and "who am I?" And they all had fun and laughed and laughed.
While they were sitting down, having a rest, another little witch said, "the Curly Fairy fell in the mud. She has stinky clothes now and it's making us all feel sick."
The Little Witch thought, "Oh dear, it's my party and I have to look after my friends and be nice to them. I must do something."
So, without any more time to think, she said, very loudly, "Oh, Curly Fairy, you have smelly clothes. I can't let you sit next to the others because you might make them feel ill. Please go and sit on those mushrooms over there."
The Curly Fairy stopped smiling. Her happy face turned into a sad frown and her lovely curls went all droopy (if you know about curly fairies, you will of course know that this is what happens to their hair when they are very sad). She sat at the table looking lonely and sad, with a big unhappy frown. Even her wings were drooping.
The Little Witch suddenly felt sad too. She was sorry for the Curly Fairy and realised she had hurt her feelings very much. "Why didn't I think before I spoke?" she said to herself.
Then a dreadful thing started to happen. The Little Witch tried to speak, but every time she opened her mouth, she heard a horrible growling sound. It was rather scary and made the Little Witch feel very stupid. No one else seemed to have noticed, however, because they all went on with their picnic. Only the Curly Fairy and the Little Witch were no longer eating the lovely food and laughing together.
The Little Witch tried to speak to the Curly Fairy, to tell her the heavy feeling that was in her heart and how sorry she felt for making the Curly Fairy sad. But all she heard, whenever she opened her mouth, was the odd growling sound.
The Curly Fairy was brave and strong. After a while she began to join in with the others, in their next game. She took off her smelly jacket and shoes, then played in her dress and bare feet. She began to smile and pulled her droopy wings up. But her curls were still all flat and the Little Witch was sure she was still unhappy, despite her brave smiles.
The Little Witch did not feel either strong or brave. She felt terrible. And still she could hear the growling sound, slowly getting louder. Once everyone was busy again, she crept away into the wood, to find the Wise old Toad and ask his advice.
The Toad was glad to see the little witch and welcomed her most kindly. But the Little Witch said, "Ah, you mustn't be kind to me, for I've been so mean to the Curly Fairy and made her sad. Now, I can't speak and all I can hear is growling. If you can understand me, please help me!"
"Oh dear," said the Wise Toad, "it seems that you have been opening your mouth too wide and letting your tummy rumble. Didn't your mother tell you about that when you were little?"
The Little Witch remembered that her mother had indeed warned her about this. She wanted to cry, but she remembered that she wanted to help the brave and smiling Curly Fairy, so she made herself stay calm. She asked the Wise Toad what she could do to solve the problem.
"You must do Good Deeds." said the Wise Toad, and with that, he gave a big leap and was gone.
The Little Witch was puzzled. She wasn't sure that she really quite understood what the Wise Toad had said. "Do Good Deeds." That sounded very simple, but also very difficult, both at the same time. What kind of deeds? How did she know what was good? Why would Good Deeds help her - or the Curly Fairy - anyway?
She thought she had better return to her party, or her guests would notice she had left them. When she arrived back, they all said "Oh, where did you go? Are you alright? We missed you!"
The Little Witch felt that she did not deserve to be missed. She was not a nice witch, she was nasty. She had been mean to the Curly Fairy and hurt her feelings.
But she remembered what the Wise Toad had said - "Do Good Deeds". So, she swallowed the lump in her throat, pinned on her best smile and served the Fairy Cakes to her friends, making sure that she offered the best and prettiest to the Curly Fairy. As she held out the pretty cake, she found herself able to say, "I am so sorry I hurt your feelings, please forgive me." - and it didn't sound quite so growly. At least, the Curly Fairy seemed to have understood what she said. For a moment her wings drooped again, but she gave herself a shake, smiled at the Little Witch and said bravely, "That's alright. Thank you. This is a pretty cake."
The Little Witch felt a bit better. She wasn't certain if the Curly Fairy had forgiven her, but she knew that they were both trying to be friends again and that was a good start. She made sure that she was extra nice to the Curly Fairy, for the rest of the party. She did her best to do good deeds, serving her guests herself, making sure they were comfortable, smiling at their jokes and helping to organise the games. Everyone seemed to be having a lovely time, including the Curly Fairy. Her wings had stopped drooping and even her curls were looking more bouncy.
When everyone was going home, the Little Witch was sad. What if the Curly Fairy hadn't forgiven her? Maybe she would never come to see her again. She had Party Presents in a basket under the tree. She offered one to each person, as they were leaving, saying "Thank you for coming" and smiling at them. As she offered the basket to the Curly Fairy, she said, "I am so glad you came. I do hope you'll come and play another day. Here is your present, I hope you like it."
The Curly Fairy smiled a big and beautiful smile. "I had a lovely time. Thank you for inviting me and I would love to come again." And the Little Witch knew she was forgiven. She saw the Curly Fairy carry away her dirty clothes, without making any comment. All the other witches and fairies seemed to have forgotten about the smelly clothes too.
As she tidied up after the party, the Little Witch thought about the afternoon's events. She realised that the Curly Fairy was a wonderful and forgiving person. She also realised that it wasn't only herself who had been thoughtless and unkind; perhaps she did deserve to be forgiven, as she had done her best to make up for her mistake and to make sure everyone - including the Curly Fairy - had a lovely time. She felt better. As she made her way to bed, she sang her favourite song and realised that her tummy wasn't rumbling any more.