Many wonderful creatures make their home near the Puddles. There are beautiful butterflies a-plenty chasing each other round the plants and wildflowers which grow on the banks, and their cousins the moths can be seen fluttering about in the evening when the moon bathes the puddles in its creamy light.
Occasionally, a puddledragonfly visits the Puddle Pixies, who are particularly fond of them because their beautiful translucent wings, glowing with every colour there ever was, remind them of rainbows. There are lots of other creatures too, and the Puddle Pixies are always pleased to welcome them to their puddles.
One day, Puddle Pixie Caitlin was walking near the Southern Puddle with her big sister Ciara. They were on their way to school but had decided to take the long way round because they were a little early. Suddenly Ciara bent down to look at something in the mud right on the edge of the water. There was something which looked like a large caterpillar, sitting on a stone with his head in his hands, looking rather fed-up. Ciara said : ‘Hello little insect. You don’t look very happy. Can we help?’ The creature replied : ‘I am NOT an insect. I am a Puddledragonfly. And you are quite right. I am very miserable indeed’.
The two girls bent down closer to look at him. Caitlin said : ‘If you are a Puddledragonfly, where are your wings?’ The puddledragonfly replied rather crossly: ‘If you must know, they are down there’ And he pointed to the bank in front of him, where they could see a very bedraggled pair of wings lying crumpled in the mud. Ciara picked them up and had a good look at them. Turning them over, she said: ‘Oh dear, they don’t seem to be in very good condition. Shall we take them to school and see what Teacher suggests?’
So the sad puddledragonfly climbed into Ciara’s bag and Caitlin picked up the damaged wings, and off they all went to school together. Miss Martha-Sue was the Puddle Pixie schoolmistress. She was a very wise old Pixie and they felt sure she would know what to do.
Miss Martha-Sue shook hands politely with the puddledragonfly. First of all she asked him who he was and how he came to be in this situation. He told her: ‘My name is Antonio, and I live on the Meadow Puddle. Today I felt like a change, so I flew in a different direction and came here. It was very naughty of me, for my Mum had told me not to leave our own puddle. But I do get so bored with the same scenery all the time, and I am afraid this is not the first time I have disobeyed her. I don’t mean to be naughty, but I just don’t seem to be able to stay in the same place for very long! Unfortunately, this time I got caught in a very strong gust of wind, which blew me into a large spider’s web, where I got stuck. I twisted and turned to get free, but when I did, my lovely wings fell off, and now they are ruined’. How will I get back home when I can’t fly? And what will Mother say?’
Miss Martha-Sue sat Antonio down on a comfy cushion and placed an acorn-cupful of warm nectar in front of him ‘Drink that, it will make you feel better she said, picking up the broken wings. ‘Wait here with the children until I get back’. And off she went, having written several sums on the blackboard for the class to work on whilst she was away. She returned half an hour later, a big box in her arms and a wide smile on her face.
The children all crowded round as she opened the parcel and showed its contents to Antonio. Yes, you’ve guessed it – it was the most beautiful pair of puddledragonfly wings anyone had ever seen! Antonio took them out and held them up for everyone to admire. There was a great gasp as the wings flashed and twinkled and shone with every colour of the rainbow as they caught the rays of the morning sunshine streaming through the classroom window.
The teacher showed Antonio that there was a special ribbon covered in magic pixie dust attached to the wings, so that when he had put them on and the magic spell had been recited, they would never come off nor break again, for, as you may have guessed, they were made from a real rainbow! Miss Martha-Sue had taken the broken wings over to the Chief Seamstress Lilian (who happened to be her best friend) and she had soon made a brand new pair in the right size.
Lilian had written the appropriate spell on a piece of paper, and the teacher wrote it on the blackboard :
RAINBOW RIBBONS SPARKLING BRIGHT
SEAL THESE WINGS AND MAKE THEM TIGHT
PIXIE MAGIC WORK TODAY
LET THIS CREATURE FLY AWAY!!
Antonio looked very excited as the teacher fastened on his new wings, and waited anxiously as the whole class recited the spell three times over, as Lilian had instructed. As the children came to the end of their rhyme, the wings tied neatly onto Antonio’s back began to shimmer. Brighter and brighter they glowed, until the puddledragonfly began to rise slowly into the air. As the light died away, Antonio tried a little flutter of his new wings. To his delight, they worked perfectly, and soon he was flying happily round the room, all the little pixies cheering and clapping below him.
Before opening the window to let him fly off home, Miss Martha-Sue said sternly to him : ‘Now then. Young Antonio, let this be a lesson to you. Next time, listen to your Mother when she tells you not to stray. There is time enough for you to travel and see the world when you are old enough to look after yourself properly. And that won’t be for a while yet!’ Antonio thanked the Pixies, and promised to ask his parents if they would bring him back to visit.
Miss Martha-Sue opened the window, and the children all waved as Antonio flew up into the sky, his new wings flashing green, pink, blue and gold in the sunlight.
The Puddle Pixies had found another friend!