“Come buy!” the farmer cried, standing in the marketplace. Held outstretched in his weathered hands were fat brown freckled eggs. “Come buy egg with golden yolk, rich and fine for any folk!”
A small girl approached, clutching a fistful of coins. Her bonnet hung around her neck, letting the brilliant sun reveal a face as freckled as the eggs. Her flame-red hair danced freely in the wind. “How much for the eggs, I pray you, sir?”
The farmer eyed the handful of shining coins and smiled. “What a bright and pretty lass you are! But these are fairy eggs, and I’m afraid the cost is more than you can pay.”
The girl’s eyes widened. “Fairy eggs? Oh, how much sir, how much?”
Crestfallen, the girl opened her hands. “I only have eightpence.”
“Well, for a girl as lovely as you, I can part with one for eightpence.”
Letting out a squeal of delight, the girl cheerily handed over all her coins. The farmer held out his basket, and let her pick the one she wanted.
“An extra-magical choice,” he said, upon her picking up the smallest egg. “Blessings to you, child!”
The girl said, “Thank you, kind sir!” and set of at a run.
Shaking his head and grinning, the farmer gathered his wares into his cart and moved to a different part of the marketplace. The girl made her way to the butchers, where her mother waited while the butcher packaged meat.
“Did you get the two dozen eggs?” her mother asked.
“Much better, mother, I have gotten a fairy egg for only eightpence!” The girl held up the small freckled egg.
Anger blazed in her mother’s eyes. “You’ve been swindled!” Her mother smacked the girl’s hand and the egg fell to the ground, where it cracked and splattered on the cobbles. “Foolish girl! Look, it’s only a small chicken’s egg! I should never have trusted you!” Her mother looked at the butcher. “We shall come back in a few moments—I pray your leave.”
Trying to stifle a smile, the butcher nodded.
Full of upbraidings, the girl’s mother grabbed her by the ear and dragged her across the marketplace, only to find the farmer gone.
“I ought to box your ears!” her mother shouted. “Now what will your brothers and sisters eat?”
Wailing, the girl followed her mother back to the butcher’s.
High in the treetop above the butcher’s cart, hidden by the summer-green leaves, a fairy sat and wept bitterly.
“The Fairy Egg” copyright 2017 by A.L.S. Vossler.
Constructive criticism welcome in the comments.
Image courtesy of OpenClipArt.org
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