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Fairy of the Wood | Menike Wickramasingha | Auckland

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ශ්‍රී LankaNZ is a free distributed Sri Lankan Community Newspaper that aims to reach a Sri Lankan population of over 18,000 all over New Zealand. The demand for entertainment in literacy media itself gave birth to ශ්‍රී LankaNZ

Ransina looked up at the trees. She looked around. She looked everywhere. She called her two children. Then she went outside to the garden. She called them again at the top of her voice. Her voice echoed far into the forest, but she heard no answer. 

That was the day before the full moon day. She saw them playing under the large tree. She gave them evening tea. Ransina called them again. This time it was much louder. Heard no answer except her own voice echoing from far. Perhaps they went to the forest to pick some wildflowers. They would return. She went to the stream, filled her clay pot and the bucket, and put them in the kitchen. 

There stood a hollow tree a few yards away from the big tree. She thought they were playing in it. She looked for them until it was dark. Then she came home. Her husband, Appuhamy, was sitting on his bunk bed. 

“Our children are missing,” Ransina said.

“What nonsense. They might have gone to their grandmother’s house. They will come tomorrow morning.”

She cooked some roti, as her son Tikka liked to eat roti with lunu miris, a chilli paste. Early the next morning, she ran to her mother-in-law’s house, but the children were not there.

She came home weeping.

“Stop crying you silly woman. They will come home. They have no other place to go,” Appuhamy said.

Ransina waited impatiently day after day. She put a tick on the calendar after each day. Days passed. Weeks passed. Months passed. Her two children never returned. 

One day she went to the Big Tree. Cleaned around it. Brought some wildflowers, offered them and began to pray. She told her agony to the tree, as it could speak with and hear her.

“You saw my two children growing since their birth. Please help me find them. They are my happiness.” 

She told the Big Tree as it was listening. Then one day, she saw a piece of wood lying under the tree. She picked it up. It looked like a wooden boy. It had a head, a neck, hands, and legs. She took it to the stream, washed it, and cleaned it. Made short pant and a shirt. Dressed the wooden boy and treated him very kindly. Then she went to the woods, cut a small branch, and made another wooden toy. 

She made a frock and sewed beautiful lace and a few buttons. Then she dressed it with it. Her daughter liked to wear long gowns like a princess. 

Ransina was happy. She thanked the Big Tree for the great gift. She dressed them, fed them, and took them to the stream for a bath. Once again, she came back to her old self. 

Appuhamy watched her carefully. Saw his wife’s change. He laughed to himself. Silly woman. These are only pieces of wood. Good to burn as firewood, he muttered.

One evening, he came back after a hard day’s work. He was hungry. He wanted to make some tea. There was no firewood in the kitchen. He felt angry. Ransina was not at home. He went inside. Saw the two wooden dolls lying on her bed. He grabbed them, and went to the stove. Put the wooden dolls along with the dresses and lighted the fire. Soon the dolls were in flames. Little by little, they turned to charcoal. He poured tea and enjoyed drinking tea while looking at the ash. 

When Ransina came home, she went near the bed as usual. The wooden dolls were not there. Her children, as she treated them, were not in bed. 

She was furious. 

“Who took away my children…? Who took away my happiness…?” She cried.

Appuhamy was lying down in his bed. She went there crying and weeping.

“My children are missing. Do you hear me?” asked Ransina.

Appuhamy laughed. “You silly woman. Those are pieces of wood. Good to burn on the stove.”

Ransina realised what had happened. Tears rolled down her cheeks. She went under the Big Tree. She went there whenever she had great sorrow. She wept bitterly. Suddenly she remembered what her friend Susi had told her about The Fairy of the Wood.

She offered wildflowers and began to pray for the Fairy of the Wood. For several days she did the same. Then one day, a huge gust of wind blew. Branches swayed this way and that way. Suddenly, a lot of leaves fell down along with the flowers.

Ransina heard a strange voice. 

“Your children are with me. I am the Fairy of the Wood. They are safe and happy. They live in the Fairyland with me.” 

Oh, Fairy, have mercy on me. You took away my children. You robbed me of my happiness.” Ransina said in a sunken voice. 

“No. No…,” said the Fairy. “It is true that they are your children. It is true that they were born to you. Please understand they are different individuals. They have their own life. Do you remember how you left your mother some time ago. Did you take away your mother’s happiness with you.”

“Your happiness is within you. No one can make you happy or sad. Look inside your heart. Your happiness is there.”

The voice faded away slowly.

By Menike Wickramasingha

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