“The Telling of Tales” # 07
The Legend of the Fairy Stone
By Andre Norton (1940s)
The-old king gave Farree a long measuring look. Come a little closer, my eyes are failing me and I want to see the markings on the tips of your wings. Farree leaned forward and felt shaky fingers touch his wings. Thank you Farree, and please forgive me for doubting you. The story I am about to tell you has been kept a secret for fear of further exploitation of what is left of our race. My only daughter is kept hostage on our planet and her life is in danger if this secret is revealed to our enemies.
This is the season of the quarter moon, and it was at a time like this when life on our planet began. It is said that our beginning goes back to the creation of the universe. Our small planet was formed of crystal located in a direct line of the light source.
All colours, shades and hues imaginable were reflected and burned permanently into its core. It was known as the Planet of Everlasting Beauty. Colours also have healing properties and with their constant movement across the surface of the planet they created energy fields. It was within these areas that life started. The dominant colour determined the race of our people. You, for instance, belong to the green ones. Green builds bodies and prevents their decay. Your colour helped build the bodies of all the different races. Your sound equivalent is the basic sound of our music. You can understand that your ancestors were considered our life-givers.
It was the green ones who could feel, read and interpret the emanations of the core. So we learned our mission. We were chosen to carry beauty in all its many aspects to all corners of the universe. You will find essence of the Core on every planet in the universe. It is present in every form of life, be it man, beast or plant. That is why our races are so varied. You must be familiar with the flower fairies, mountain fairies, even tooth-fairies, to name a few. In our library you can read the many accomplishments of our people, though some of them have turned into “fairy-tales” by disbelievers.
The King paused and as his hands passed over his wings, his eyes filled with tears. Ah, the wings, he said, that is another story. With the vast distance to cover as the universe expanded and the light dimming in some places, we had to find a different way to travel The Green-Ones consulted the Core. Our ancestors were told to prepare for what we call the long sleep. We now know that it was the time of no-moon, which is the period following the lesser quarter moon. We went to the Hall of the Core and all races took their place in that part of the hall which reflected their respective colours. No-one knows for sure what happened then. When they awoke there was a hump like growth between our shoulders. Similar to the one you have carried around for so long. The hall of the Core was filled with beautiful music - the healing sound of all colours combined. When we again reached the time of the quarter moon the shoulder growth had broken open and the first winged race appeared. The basic wing colour matched the body colour, however, exposed to clear light, the wings reflected all colour. The Green-Ones wings had a sign of the core on the tips of their wings. That is what I was looking for when I asked you to show me your wings.
The changes of our moon phases resemble the time of a year on earth. We were told that during the period of no-moon, winter on planet Earth we were to return to the Hall of the Core for rejuvenation and instructions for the Old Ones as well as the young. Our life-span is four hundred earth years which gives us enough time to colonize planets permanently provided the light source is strong enough. Not every planet has a moon, consequently we cannot live there. We need the gentle light. Also, it makes man more receptive to our song. Man quiets down their day time activities and turns his attention to the more subtler or creative aspects of life. I am sure, you have observed this yourself.
For many of our moon phases we worked, fulfilling our mission. As we reached the farther areas of the universe the light was dimming and that was about the time we began hearing stories of doubt about our existence. The stories increased at our no-moon gatherings and it was believed that it was caused by changes in man's attitudes and lifestyles. There was less and less time for quiet, reflective moments. In order to prove our existence men began to kidnap us occasionally until, today, it has turned out to be a great hunt all over the universe for fairies. It was also discovered that were not only hunted to prove our existence but also our wings. Man believes our wings to be magic. There were tales of fairy god-mothers who granted wishes -- and men have so many wishes.
Instead of turning to the reflection of the Core within, they believe that catching a fairy brings them luck. This belief has spread over most of the universe, which brings us to our dilemma of today.
We do not dare to gather for our meetings at the Core, for fear of drawing attention to it. It is our life giver. Many of our race have given up their lives in an attempt to hide our origin. A few careless ones have shown the way to a hand full of men who are now visiting our planet at intervals. The Green-Ones are almost extinct because they were called upon for help. The ones who left this planet never returned. I am too old and weak to make the journey to the Core end my daughter is too young and not schooled enough interpret the Cores meaning.
You are not familiar with our ways. Yet you are our only hope. Maybe if you ¢an free my daughter....
Farree started humming -- it was the basic sound. The sound filled the king's chamber and the old king fell into a deep sleep.
Digitized and edited by Jay Watts ~ aka: Lotsawatts ~ May, 2015
Never before seen short story by Andre Norton
Released here for the first time
Copyright ~ Estate of Andre Norton
Online Rights - Andre-Norton-Books.com
Donated by – Estate of Andre Norton
Duplication of this story for profit of any kind NOT permitted.