Wednesday

Lucinda, The Streetlight Fairy

High above a little road a fairy lived in a street light. At night the street light shone down and the fairy played in its yellow glow.


When she was tired she flew up under the light’s little, tin roof and slept with the rain tapping around her.


The fairy’s name was Lucinda. Her friends called her Lucy, for short.


One night, Lucy woke up and saw something new beneath the light. There was an animal on the nature strip below her, but it was not an animal she had seen before.


The strange animal was as big as a cat, but it was not a cat. Cats had long tails like sinuous cable that stretched behind them, but this animal had no tail. Cats had pointy ears like triangles on their heads, but this animal had long, floppy ears. Cats did not eat grass. This animal did.


Lucy flew down.


“Excuse me,” she said to the strange animal. The strange animal turned its back on her.


Lucy thought. Then she tried again.


“Good evening,” she said politely.


“What’s good about it?” asked the animal.


“The stars,” suggested Lucy.


“Who cares?”


Lucy thought of something the animal might like. “The grass?” she suggested.


“It would be nice if people left me alone to eat it. But no. Humans try to catch me and put me in a cage. When I get out they chase me. Dogs chase me. Cats chase me. Cars try to run over me.”


“It is important to stay off the road,” Lucy agreed, “if you want to be safe from cars.”


“All I want,” said the animal, “is grass to eat, fresh water to drink, and for people to leave me alone.”


Lucy thought.


“I think I know a place like that,” she said.


“Where there is grass?”


“Yes. Lots of long grass.”


“And water?”


“Yes. There is water all around.”


“But will they leave me alone?”


“Oh yes. Come with me now and I will show you.”


Lucy lead the way. She flew along in the air. The strange animal followed her. He was a very fast runner. They crossed the road carefully, safely, when no cars were coming.


“Here it is,” said Lucy. There certainly was grass there. The lawn was long and grass grew in the flowerbeds. The water was fresh. Rain had fallen and made big puddles all over the front yard.


“Are you sure there’s no dog?” asked the animal.


“There used to be a dog here,” Lucy said. “There are new people here now and they have no dog and no cat. I do not think they want pets. I think they will leave you alone.”


“I suppose it’s all right then,” said the animal. “I’ll just hide under the house while I make sure.”


“But, could you tell me please," Lucy asked, before the rabbit could hide, "what sort of animal are you?”


“A rabbit,” said the animal as he hopped away. “I’m not a bunny, I’m not cute and fluffy and I don’t bring Easter eggs. I’m a rabbit who wants to be left alone.”


Lucy flew away to where the glow of her street light was waiting. She played with the moths and the other fairies, and she left the rabbit alone.


One night the rain tapped long and hard on Lucy’s little roof. The wind blew hard and the light went out. She lit her wand and went back to sleep.


Finally the storm stopped. The rain ceased. The wind faded into a murmur. Lucy looked out at the world. There was a big mess everywhere. A tree had fallen down and covered a car in branches. A cable had fallen across the road. People were moving slowly down the road in a truck. There were bright, flashing lights on the truck. Every now and then it stopped. People got out to fix some cables. They were making the lights come back on.


Lucy thought. She thought about her friends. She remembered the rabbit who wanted to be left alone.


"The puddles around that house must be getting very big," she thought to herself. "I had better go and see if the rabbit is all right."


Lucy made her wand into an umbrella and flew along the street until she came the house where the rabbit lived. The puddles were very big.


"Hello," she called to the rabbit.


"Hello yourself," the rabbit answered from under the house.


"I was just wondering," said Lucy, "if it was too wet for you now under the house. Would you like to come out now that it has stopped raining?"


"Go away. Rabbits like the dark anyway."


Lucy thought.


"I know there is a puddle in your doorway, but there is a place by the tulips where you could come out."


"It's too small."


"I could help you."


"I don't need any help," answered the rabbit.


"I'll just hold out my hands," Lucy told him, "and you can use them to pull yourself out."


The rabbit did not answer.


Lucy put her hands in under the house near the gap where the tulips grew. Soon, the rabbit's furry paws hooked themselves over her hands. The rabbit wiggled and squiggled and scrabbled his feet. Finally, with a great big kick of his big back feet, he got himself out from under the house.


Thump! Lucy and the rabbit fell in the tulips.


The fur tickled. Lucy laughed.


"What's so funny?" the rabbit asked.


"Look," said Lucy. Lights were flashing from the truck down the street. Street lights were coming back on, and house lights were shining once more through the windows. "The rain is sparkling."

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