The woman stood stunned at this transformation and also at the new task she must fulfill or she may die. For three days she thought and thought. She thought of this and she thought of that. But she could not think of something that would be a proper gift for kindness. Not that would be as immediate and appropriate as fair punishment.
Her dog overheard her desperate questioning and he said he knew the answer. The woman got excited, thinking here was the answer she could give the fairy and therefore she might not die. The dog wagged its tail happily, in fact it wagged it so much that it knocked over a pretty vase, a cup and saucer, and a rare crystal figurine that the woman's grandmother had given her. But the woman was so excited and relieved that she did not care. She took the dog's paws in her hands and said, please, oh please, tell me.
The dog wagged its tail even more happily, threatening several more household items and said, "Give them a treat and a good rub behind the ears. That is a proper thank you for all things."
The woman was disappointed because she knew this would not work because humans did not like dog treats or ear rubs from nearly strangers. But she did not show it because she did not want to ruin the dog's happiness. Instead she thanked the dog and gave him a treat and a good rub behind the ears.
The gate also overheard her questioning, and it said it knew the answer to what would be a good gift for kindness. Again the woman grew excited that here was the answer she could give the fairy and therefore she might not die. The gate swung back and forth happily at the idea of being helpful and said, "Oil their hinges and give them a good coat of new paint. That is the proper thank you for all things."
The woman was again disappointed because she knew this would not work because humans did not have hinges or need painting. But she did not show it because she did not want to ruin the gate's happiness. Instead she thanked the gate and sprayed its hinges with WD-40 and gave it a coat of new paint.
Now the geraniums had seen all of this and had seen the woman's disappointment at each answer because plants are very perceptive creatures. It whispered to the woman, because it also did not want to ruin the dog's and gate's happiness by suggesting they were wrong, that it knew the answer to what would be a good gift to those who are kind. Again the woman got excited that here was the answer she could give the fairy and therefore she might not die.
The geraniums rustled their leaves and nodded their flowers in happiness of being helpful and said the proper thank you for kindness was to be repotted and watered regularly and have its dead flowers pinched off so it might grow new ones. Again the woman was disappointed because she knew humans do not grow in dirt or have flowers that need pinching. But she was extra careful not to show it, because plants are very perceptive, and she thanked the geraniums and repotted and watered them and everyday she pinched off the dead and dying flowers so it might grow new ones.
By the third day the woman still had no answer and was in despair nearly to tears because she knew without an answer she would die. The fairy returned with a pop. The woman trembled and her eyes fulled with tears.
But the fairy showed no pity or care. She asked, "Do you have an answer? What should be done for those who show kindness?"
The woman shook so much she could barely speak, but she knew to have no answer at all would go worse for her than having the wrong answer and so she said, "I don't know. It seems to be so very individual. The dog wanted a treat and a rub behind the ears, and the gate wanted oil on its hinges and a new coat of paint, and the geraniums wanted to be repotted and watered and to have is dying flowers pinched. Each had such vastly different answers and all of those are kindnesses in return, but there seems to be nothing one can do to bring about true justice for those who are kind as you did for me."
The woman stopped speaking, even more afraid than before. The fairy said nothing. An idea struck the woman. She remembered the dog wagging his tail in happiness and the gate swinging back and forth and the geraniums rustling their leaves and nodding their flowers. "Perhaps the reward for kindness is already there. Kindness brings a happiness all its own."
The fairy nodded sagely, but said nothing.
Suddenly a fit of anger and petulance struck the woman at the unfairness of it all. She grew reckless and stomped her foot because that was a silly answer. An even worse answer than giving treats and ear rubs or oil and paint or dirt and water. It was the silliest answer of them all and she hated it.
"I don't like this answer," the woman said. "Not one bit. I want justice. If it hadn't been for you there would have been no justice for me. The boys would have continued splashing people in their car, the other woman at work would be celebrating her promotion, and the gunman, even caught, would feel nothing and I would be dead. But for you, nothing would have harmed the wicked or helped the kind. If not for you, it would just be unfair and stay that way."
The woman was now so angry she could not stop and she stomped again. "I hate it. I wish it were different. I want karma. I want good things to happen to the good and bad things to happen to the bad. I want everything to turn out right. I want a promise that everything will turn out right and everyone will get their just desserts."
The woman finally stopped, and realized she had just been very rude to the fairy and she trembled even harder than before expecting the fairy to rise up and kill her on the spot. The woman nearly wished it so she wouldn't have to be in an unfair world anymore.
But the fairy was not angry. Instead she looked very sad. After a moment she said, "I do to. That is why, when I saw your future, I decided to help you."
And with that the fairy disassembled and again became the fly. She flew off and the woman never saw her again. But from then on the woman knew the true, though unfair, secret of happiness and, except for moments of frustration at the unfairness of the world, truly did live happily ever after.
The end of my very first fairy tale! Thank you all for reading it and I hope you enjoyed it. I'm going to take a few days off from the fantastic, not to mention I have updates on my gothic blog to make. I will return with a new story for you on Thursday. See you then!! <3 <3 <3