The story of Primrose is in 4 parts.
1. Stealing Pearls
Primrose pointed her toes and arched her arms above her head with her hands together and her fingers pointing toward the stars. She twirled; her multi-colored skirt twisted with her body. Time whipped around her. The stars appeared to explode in the heavens. She lifted, up and up until she broke through the portal from faerie land into the land of humans.
She stopped twisting and found herself in the boughs of a maple. The leaves a mere bud on its limbs. The smell of the human world differed from faerie. In her world, all smelled of earth, flowers and trees. In the human world, the scent was confused. Exhaust from their motorized vehicles was strong. Factories that produced things she couldn’t name left residual odors even when miles away.
Primrose sneezed. She patted her hair in place. It curled all over her head and cascaded down her back like ringlets in the shape of the flower she was named for. Each lock a primrose in colors of pink, mauve and yellow. The ruby and emerald gems embedded on the side of her forehead hurt. She touched them, ignoring their warning. Do not go to the human world. Too late, she was already there.
Before her stretched a view of multiple human dwellings. Three houses down, the lights were on, but not in the two-story home before her. She’d been here before, many times.
Lifting off from a branch she flew toward the dwelling, found the dryer vent and entered. Someone had shut the dryer door. Primrose wouldn’t be deterred from her mission. She pulled her wand from a pocket in her skirt and touched the dryer door. “Open.”
With little noise the door opened just enough to let Primrose enter the house. She flew toward the master bedroom. The entire house was dark. “Light.” The tip of her wand became a tiny glow.
All the bedroom doors were open except for one. She flew to her destination. No one was there as in the past. Curious. On the dresser was the most beautiful jewelry box she’d ever seen. She hovered above it.
The small box had stained glass inlay with a picture of a primrose. After nightly visits she had decided that the box was hers. She used her wand to open the delicate lid and heard the tinkling sound of a beautiful song. Gathered within were pearls. Earrings, necklace, and matching bracelet in all their perfect white splendor.
After making them all float so she could admire each, she lowered the jewelry into the box and shut the lid. Pulling out her pouch of faerie dust, she heard a noise and dashed behind the curtains. A human woman entered the room and turned on the light. Primrose had never seen her before.
The woman walked to the dresser and lifted the lid to the jewelry box. “I could have sworn I heard you,” she said to no one. Turning, the woman left. Primrose flew to the door and peered around the corner. The woman entered the bedroom that had the closed door, murmuring as she went. “I’ll be glad when you’re home from your vacation, sister. Your house is haunted.” She shut the door behind her.
Primrose hurried back. She let faerie dust fall over the jewelry box. It was heavy and she needed extra support if she was to take it with her. Wasting no time, she tapped the box with her wand, and it lifted off the dresser. Guiding the box before her, she flew from the room, down the stairs and out the dryer vent.
Predawn light spread its hue over the yard. The tree was against the back fence. The box began to fall, and she tapped it, then flew toward the tree. Without warning, a huge dog came around the corner and barked. The noise startled her for a moment, and she hesitated. The dog pranced toward her. She needed height, but the weight of the jewelry box zapped her strength and she couldn’t rise further. Speeding forward, she flew as the dog charged. Its mouth opened and captured Primrose. The jewelry box fell, and she heard it crack. Warm, wet saliva surrounded her, and the dog began shaking its head violently, releasing Primrose a moment later. She sailed, not with her wings but from the force of the toss and smacked into the tree, hard. She fell and lay unconscious at the base.
When she awoke, the dog was standing over her. Its long brown and black muzzle close to her body as it sniffed. Then it used its long, damp, tongue to swipe her entire body in a huge lick.
“Go away.” Desperation made her voice boom. The dog backed up before coming forward again. It nuzzled her causing Primrose to turn on her side.
There, in the grass was her faerie dust. She grabbed the pouch, reached in and took a handful of dust. Then she jerked up and blew the dust on the dog. Immediately, he lifted off the ground. Whining, his legs tried to run but he had no control.
Primrose found her wand, flew to the jewelry box, and saw that the lid was half way off its hinges. Gathering the misplaced pearls, she replaced them in the box before tapping it with her wand. Once at the tree, she released the dog from her spell and watched it fall to the ground where it began to bark again.
She tucked her wand and pouch away, held the ruined box above her head and began to twirl. She’d have one of the metal craftsmen fix the box. A moment later, she disappeared from the human world and entered the land of faerie once more.
2. Primrose and Anvil
Primrose flew from the portal stump, past the faerie huts close to their city. Few lights were on. Dawn hovered close to the eastern edge. A sliver of sunlight spread in hues of red along the tips of clouds. She kept the jewelry box before her, maneuvering between trees and bushes. Passing the last hut, she headed toward the banks of the Shimmering River. There, kissing the ground were thousands of primroses in every shade. Ahead was an old willow tree. Its cascade of leaves gracefully touching the sparkling waters of the river on one side. She flew beneath the tree’s canopy and found her hut.
Entering, she deposited the jewelry box on a table and flew to her stove. The Stove was made of steel. She tapped a burner with her wand and it lite. She grabbed the kettle and filled it with water.
Her tea collection included one made of primrose petals. She pulled a mug and put the tea into a stainless-steel acorn with holes. While she waited, she sat at her table and glared at the jewelry box. What a night.
When the tea was done, she sipped it. The liquid soothed her body. Energy pulsed through her veins. A giddy sensation bubbled up through her throat and she laughed.
Wand in hand, she flew along her dining room wall, admiring all the precious stones that made up her collection of human jewelry. Necklaces hung in a graceful arch. Brooches adorned a section of wall. She stroked the butterfly broach and smiled. On a nearby shelf were all the jewelry boxes that had come from her travels. Some of wood and some of wire and glass as this last one. She brought the primrose jewelry box in from the other room and rearranged the boxes so her latest had a prominent place among her treasures.
Opening it, she removed the necklace first and magically attached it to her wall. She didn’t stop until all the pieces glittered beside the trinkets already there. Not many openings left, she’d have to return to the human world and scout out a new find. Time to rest.
* * *
That afternoon, Primrose removed her multicolored skirt and blouse. While she sang, she tapped the clothes with her wand and sparkles moved over both to clean the smell of the human world from the material. She brushed her hair and tapped the tightly curled locks in the shape of primroses. The emeralds and rubies embedded in the side of her forehead and along her cheek sparkled. She admired their beauty.
Last, she took a larger pouch and inserted the broken jewelry box within. Tying it to her belt, she flew from her house. As she passed along the delicate plants adorning the river bed, she swept her wand over the petals and released fertilizer to keep them healthy.
The city bustled with faerie shoppers. A few frogs transported carriages. Giggles circled like bubbles in the air. Primrose avoided them. If she inhaled too many, she’d get drunk on faerie laughter.
Past the busy shops she flew north until she saw the metal shop. Tall chimneys spouted steam into the air before her. She landed at the door, knocked and entered. Anvil worked to pour hot liquid into a mold. He turned when he heard her.
His hair was blue black and swept above his head in the shape of an anvil. His eyes were coal black and his hands large and strong for a faerie. He’d never had jewels put in his face. Now, as the steam cleared, she saw it was smudged with ash from the fire.
Anvil smiled, set down his tools and came toward her. His kiss brushed her cheek and she smelled traces of his faerie essence along with the smells in his shop.
“Tomorrow night is the May Day dance. Will you come with me?”
Her smile spread wide. “Of course.”
He grinned, wiping his hands on the apron he wore.
“I need something repaired.”
A frown replaced his smile as he followed her hands to the pouch. “Another jewelry box? Primrose, this must stop. You’ll get in trouble with the elders.”
“You’re one to talk. How many times have you gone to the human world in search of steel?”
“That is sanctioned by the council. You know we can’t produce it on our own.”
“Well, I’m not going to join the mining guild to obtain the jewels I want. Plus, they’re raw and these are cut and polished.”
“Primrose, I can’t be a part of this much longer. If it’s discovered, I could lose my license.”
“Please.” She lifted off the ground and planted a kiss on his lips. Her stomach churned. Lies weren’t good. They stole a little magic from you each time.
“Very well, let’s see it.”
She produced the jewelry box and showed him the damaged lid.
“You know I don’t work in gold.”
“Should I travel again and obtain the gold for you?”
“No, no, I have enough for this.” He grunted, lifted the jewelry box and opened the unhinged side of the lid. “I’ll have it done in a few days.”
Laughter tickled her tongue. She tasted the faerie liquor. Twirling, she few high. Anvil caught her and they kissed while hovering above his work station in an embrace.
“I want to marry you.”
“Soon.” Her promise hung as she left his arms for the door.
“The dance tomorrow night,” he called after her.
Primrose returned home. Her wand swept over the flowers on the opposite side of her hut. The song she sang was a faerie tune, full of love, promise and magic. In a month she’d continue her exploration of the human world. This time she’d be more careful not to damage any future jewelry boxes.
3. Caged Bird
Primrose twirled, her faerie wings flapping hard. The ruby and emeralds embedded in her forehead and cheek caught the moonlight that reflected off the human lake. Her giggles floated above her like bubbles in multiple colors. She touched down, tipping her toes in the waters as she danced in the middle of the lake.
She was safe, at night, in the massive forest. There were human cabins here and there, but none were close. She waited until the humans were all in bed and if anyone was camping, she flew to the opposite side of the lake.
Her tight curls were in the shape and color of primroses. Her faerie dress tonight was midnight blue. She’d come here by accident the first time. When she flew from the faerie portal, she’d said “trees” and ended in the middle of this huge forest. The trees even dwarfed the humans. Curious, she came every day for two weeks until she found the lake, which she named, ‘Glorious Pond.’ In order to return to it from the portal the lake must have a name.
Not that it was a pond. No, it was a lake that stretched for leagues.
She swallowed a few giggles which made her giddy with happiness. Then she noticed movement by the shore. She stopped and hovered mid-air. Whatever it had been was gone. Probably a deer. She’d seen a herd of the beasts earlier and landed on the nose of one of them. It sneezed and she flew up, laughed and touched her wand to its forehead. The deer reared from the ground before crashing back down.
There was only one drawback to the lake and forest. No one brought their precious items from home. She’d inspected all the cabins. No jewelry boxes, no bracelets, necklaces, earrings or anything else. One cabin had an impressive display of fishing lures, but they didn’t tempt her.
Something shiny caught her eye in a tree close to the beach where she’d seen the deer. Curiosity floated up her faerie limbs until it reached her nose. She tweaked the tip of her nose and then flew across the waters to the shore.
The shiny thing seemed to float just under a tree limb. Primrose looked this way and then that. No humans, no deer. A racoon crept out on the other side of the shore. Somewhere, a terrible stench reached her. It must be a skunk.
I’m safe. She flew toward the shiny object to discover a metal bird cage. The dome of the cage came down and was secured in a wooden base. Is it iron or copper?
Inside the cage was a bar held up with links to the top. Once, in her travels to this human world, she’d seen a bird cage and she knew that the creatures would perch on the bar. She tapped it to test that the metal wasn’t iron. All faeries hated iron.
The door to the cage lifted up to expose an opening. Primrose flew inside. She stood on the bar, then sat and began to swing. Her laughter pinged against the metal making music. Then a bang. She flew from the bar and turned. The door had slammed shut.
Fear sped along her nerves. She flew to the door and tapped it with her wand. A dull thud told her the horrible news. It was made of iron. She couldn’t get out.
A loud noise caused her to cringe and cover her ears. Voices. “Look.” “We got it.” Two children arrived. A boy and girl.
“Oh, see how pretty she is?” The girl said.
“I’ll feed it to my praying mantis.” The boy grinned.
The boy took the cage down and handed it to the girl. “What will you tell mom?”
“I’ll hide her.”
“She’ll find it sooner or later, Gretta.”
Gretta slugged her brother in the arm which caused the cage to move with violent force and even turn over. Primrose was thrown around like a pile of seeds. When it was over, one of her wings was torn. The pain made her gasp.
“Be very quiet.” Gretta had her face close to the cage and peered in at her. “Oh, you’re hurt. How do I fix it?”
Primrose stepped as close to the cage bars as possible. “You can’t fix it. Let me go.”
Gretta’s face pinched with a frown and pressed lips and then changed to a grin. “You can talk. What are you?”
“I am faerie. If you don’t let me go, others will come and curse you.” She knew they wouldn’t curse the children or any human, but Primrose herself would be in big trouble.
“What’s a curse?”
“That’s when my kind changes you into a fish.”
The child opened a cabin door. It was dark inside. Her brother led her up the stairs. His flashlight illumined wooden walls, a deer head, a door and a bedroom. Gretta turned on the light as her brother left and shut the door. The bright glare of the overhead fixture blinded Primrose for a moment.
Gretta knelt, and shoved the cage under her bed. “You have to sleep now. Tomorrow we’ll play.”
A moment later, the light off, Primrose heard Gretta climb into bed, cover herself and whisper something against her pillow.
Primrose lay down on the wooden floor of the cage discouraged. Perhaps something would come to her in the morning and she’d free herself.
The Faerie Council
Anvil waited for the members of the faerie council to sit. Both male and female had their own favorite mushroom and Anvil stood in the center of the circle.
“You have called a meeting, Anvil?” Noble Soil asked. He was one of the oldest faeries and had passed along the care of the earth to his son.
“I have. Primrose is missing and I fear for her safety.”
A chittering noise that resembled crickets arose from the faeries outside the circle.
Noble Soil lifted a hand and silence settled among them. “How do you know this?”
“I have been to her house every day for five days and there is no answer.”
“Perhaps you went when she was gone.” Lady Wisp O’ Willow fluttered her golden wings.
“I went at different times. I fear for Primrose. Her flowers are wilting.”
“Wilting…wilting.” The crowd whispered again and again. “Wilting.”
“That is serious,” Noble Soil said. “Where could she have gone?”
Anvil peered at the grass. What would happen? He’d done everything he could think of to find her. But, all to no avail.
“She often flew to the human world.” He omitted that she stole jewelry boxes and the precious jewelry too from the humans.
A loud gasp followed his disclosure.
“I warned her many times not to do that and now---."
“This is alarming!” Lady Wisp O’ Willow interrupted and flew straight up from her mushroom along with most of the council.
Noble Soil hovered above his cushioned seat. “She breaks the law. How often does she go?”
Anvil waited while the crowd repeated his word. Noble Soil held up a hand. Wisp O’ Willow along with the other members of council sat once more.
“This is a serious crime.” Noble Soil settled back down on his mushroom. His dirt skin flaked away from his face.
“I ask that we send a search and rescue team.” Anvil held his breath. Such a crime as Primrose had committed could lead to banishment. If the council voted to exile her, there would be no rescue and Anvil would lose the faerie he loved.
“You are a member of the steel crafters.” Noble Soil didn’t really ask, it was more of a pronouncement.
“Bring the other members at once.”
For faeries, time was eternal. Anvil had never troubled counting the minutes until today. Now, it seemed as if he would die from it. Even though he knew that to be impossible.
Click, click, at last they arrived, and the scent of their labor caused the enhancement team in the crowd to fly over all of them in the circle and sprinkle the essence of magnolias on each member of the union. The moon began to glow, and the faerie council brought forth their fireflies. Soon, the creatures were lighting up the circle.
Noble Soil brought the steel faeries up to speed on their discussion. “I will select two of you to go with Anvil to the human world, find Primrose and bring her back.”
* * *
Wisp O’ Willow handed Anvil her crystal charm. “This is a magic tracker. You will be able to find Primrose with it.”
“Thank you, my Lady.” Anvil put the chain around his neck and held the charm at its end in his hand. Then he flew with his chosen companions toward the faerie portal. Once at the gateway, the three of them stood on the flat rock and Anvil lifted the crystal once more.
“One so sweet it will make you weep. Find Primrose, who last traveled here.”
The rock beneath their feet began to rotate. Air swirled, lifting Anvils black hair, and tossing it in his face. Poof! The three faeries found themselves hovering over a vast lake. Each lifted their wands and tapped to bring light in the darkness. Just in time, Anvil saw the fish and the three jumped up high as the creature leapt from the water to eat them. Is this what happened to Primrose? His fear was lifted when the crystal charm began to hum and spilled a beam of light toward shore and a covered bird cage. Anvil charged forward, his wings flapping madly with his companions close behind.
They almost ran into the human child who sat on the beach. Changing course, they hid behind a nearby tree.
“Make the fish jump out of the water,” the child said.
Surprised, Anvil thought the little girl had seen them until she took the cover off of the cage and put it down next to her. Within, Primrose folded her arms and sat cross legged, shaking her head “no.”
“Come on,” the girl pleaded. “Make the fish jump.”
An idea hit Anvil like a buzzing fly. He soared high and out from the tree, he flicked his wand and thirty fish flew out of the lake and hit the girl. She jumped up screeching and ran away into the forest, leaving the cage behind. One fish got tangled in her hair and flapped as she left.
He dashed forward along with his friends and used their magic to part the bars of the cage, away from the iron latch.
Primrose ran from the enclosure. “Anvil.”
“I am here, come. We must return immediately.”
“My wing is torn.”
Her wing? Anvil caught her and examined the tear. Lifting her, he flew toward the center of the lake where they had arrived.
* * *
Anvil stood beside Primrose in the center of the mushroom council.
“Primrose,” Noble Soil said. “What have you to say for yourself?”
“I was enticed to visit the human world. I thought I was clever enough to be safe.”
“You were wrong!” Noble Soil lifted from his mushroom while the faeries gathered repeated the word, ‘wrong.’
“Your wings will be clipped. You must return to your hut and no faerie may see you except for one.”
Wisp O’ Willow flew toward Primrose and Anvil then. “Anvil rescued you, he has asked to marry you. What say you Primrose? Remain an outcast or marry Anvil and be welcomed home.”
Primrose turned to Anvil, studying his chiseled face. He had done so much for her. She hadn’t realized that she loved him until now. “I will marry Anvil.”
He smiled, lifted her and together they twirled in their own faerie bubbles of giddy joy.