Once upon a time, in a village where nobody could fly, a faerie was born. Her wings reminded all those who saw her of a butterfly’s. They were blue, like the clear morning sky, surrounded by the black color of the night, along with little dots here and there, like paint flicked on a canvas.
It was snowing on the day she was born. It rarely snowed in that little village. A woman took the newborn girl in her arms and looked at her wings, face scrunched.
Why were you born a faerie?
After putting the baby back in her crib, she took a knife in her hands, which she swiped from a nearby counter. Glancing down at the baby with blonde hair and skin as white as porcelain, she hesitated. Tears filled her eyes as she contemplated what she had to do. Her hand was shaking when she touched the child’s fragile wings. As if the baby somehow understood, she looked at her mother’s eyes and cried along with her.
“For the love of Mother Earth, be quiet! Faeries can’t survive in this world! They will kill you, just like they did with all your ancestors!” screamed the mother, hoping the child would understand and forgive her.
She got the sharp knife near her wings, but her hand didn’t seem to move and rip them out of her. With tears in her eyes, realizing she wasn’t able to do it, she turned the knife on herself and shoved it into her heart. With the little strength she had left, she took off her pendant and laid it beside her daughter. She drew her last breath, as one more tear rolled down her cheeks.
One of the midwives entered the room and let out an agonized scream. After she confirmed that the woman was, indeed, dead, she took the baby in her arms. Before leaving forever from that place, she swore to her mother that she would raise her with all the love she could give her.
Little Eloise – that’s how she named her -, grew more and more every day. Her eyes had a very unique shade of purple as if someone had placed an amethyst inside of them. She loved to sing when she was alone, and she really enjoyed the evening walks in the forest with her adoptive mother. The hunters were a big threat to her life, but they seldom roamed the woods at those hours. She happened to wear a cloak many times so that she could hide her beautiful wings.
She knew the truth about her family. Her father died long before she was born. He, too, had wings and he was killed by the faerie hunters. Her mother took her own life the day she was born because she didn’t have the strength to clip off her own child’s wings.
Indeed, a faerie’s life in that village, where nobody had wings, was very difficult. She was always endangered by the faerie hunters that were usually passing by the village. This forced her to stay hidden in her house. Her adoptive mother helped her study, whenever she had some spare time.
She didn’t have friends, nor could she make any. But, even if someone dared to get closer to her, they would kill them, along with her. Her adoptive mother happened to have some close friends visit her many times. Their children wanted to be Eloise’s friends, but she chased them away. She didn’t want anyone to suffer because of her, even if she felt lonely. She didn’t care. She had already gotten used to her loneliness.
One afternoon, she mustered up all her courage and went to the woods alone. She wore a heavy cloak, one that covered her wings. Her adoptive mother had to attend to a neighbor, who was about to give birth, so she wasn’t able to accompany her. Red and golden leaves decorated the trees around her and the road she was walking on. The sound of the leaves, as she stepped on them, offered her an unexplained calmness.
Suddenly, an unknown figure appeared in front of her. Walking closer, she realized that it was the daughter of one of her mother’s friends. Once, she had asked to be her friend, but Eloise declined. They hadn’t spoken since then.
“Nobody wants you in this village. You don’t belong here, Eloise.”
The blonde-haired girl was astonished, but she clenched her hands and spoke up, as calmly as she could at that moment. “I rarely leave the house. I don’t bother anyone. Why am I still an outsider to you?”
“Because you are not like us”.
“Why does it matter?”
“Listen. I don’t want to hurt you, but this is the truth and you know it already. You have to go. I heard them say they don’t want you here any longer. They are searching for ways to get rid of you. They may have already notified the faerie hunters.”
“What? What do you mean?”
“I can’t say anything else. I don’t want to interfere. They’ll kill me if they find out that I talked to you,” said the young girl before she left, running from the woods.
Eloise was standing alone on the path. She looked around her, worried. After what she heard, the woods started to scare her. The trees that she once loved to watch now made her shiver. Afraid, she returned home without looking back.
“Eloise!” exclaimed her adoptive mother, when she saw her. “Where have you been?”
“I was in the woods.”
“Did something happen?”
“No. Nothing,” she answered abruptly and sat on the sofa.
The old woman sensed her fear, but she couldn’t realize what was going on. She went to her room to change. She took off her heavy dress and put on her nightgown. She turned her back to the mirror and then looked at the two scars that she had. She touched them with great difficulty, and felt the same pain, as when they ripped them out of her. Those scars didn’t seem to vanish with time.
She thought about Eloise and her eyes teared up. She didn’t want to clip her wings off, too, but somewhere deep inside her, she kept feeling that this world would never fully accept her. It wasn’t meant for her to live at that time. A part of her heart broke and her hands started trembling. She tried so hard to chase all those weird thoughts away and hardly got any sleep that night.
The next day, Eloise woke up from a strange nightmare, where a group of faerie hunters caught her and stabbed her with a thousand knives until she couldn’t breathe anymore. She got up from her bed, cold sweat running down her face. Her whole body was still shaking and her heart was beating fast.
Her adoptive mother had already prepared breakfast and she was waiting for her. The girl didn’t notice the black circles under her swollen eyes and sat beside her, smiling. She ate the eggs that were on her plate and drank her juice.
“How about a walk?”
“I’d love to!” she replied with a smile on her face and got dressed as quickly as she could.
It was still morning, but Eloise didn’t wear her cloak, nor did she follow the road to the woods. On the contrary, the older woman led her to a completely different place. There was no trace of plants or flowers anywhere. Only a barren land and some dried grass spread out around them.
The girl seemed surprised. She looked at the landscape and a shiver ran down her spine. They were already very far from the village. “What are we doing here?” she asked looking around the wound with eyes full of worry.
The woman stopped unexpectedly.
“Eloise, my child, on the day you were born, your mother should have ripped your wings out. You would have lived a happy life and you wouldn’t need to hide in a house. You wouldn’t be afraid to go out and meet other people and nobody would hate you, just because you are different. I shouldn’t have allowed you to grow up as a faerie. When I was younger, I used to blame my parents for the decision they made, without asking me. You see, I was born with wings, just like you, but they ripped them out of my body. So, I was able to live a normal life,” she said and showed her the scars on her back.
“It can’t be!”
“I had no intention of telling anyone, but I couldn’t take it anymore. You have to understand that this cruel world isn’t made for us. We don’t belong here. Mother Earth is our only home and that’s where we should be”.
“I don’t understand what you mean, mother,” Eloise replied confused.
“I think it’s time to fix your mother’s mistake and set you free of the shackles that keep you bound in this world. Better I than the faerie hunters who have targeted you,” the woman continued and pulled a knife out of her pocket.
“Mother, please! I don’t mind living like this. I want to live longer! Let the humans hate me, let the hunters find me… Let me live! No! You’re hurting me!” she screamed in vain, as the knife had already pierced through her dress and stained it red.
As the old woman dug the knife deeper into her heart, her breath became heavier and heavier. She could no longer speak. She stood there, laying on the dry land. She let one tear roll down her face, as she watched the old woman leave regretful, holding the bloody knife in her hand.
Nobody has been near that spot for many years, so the corpse of the young faerie was never found. However, it is said that after her death, that barren land had come to life once again, as thousands of different flowers decorated it, turning it into a colorful meadow. In fact, it’s said that once, a couple casually walked in the same woods and stumbled upon the girl’s skeleton. Upon closer examination, they discovered a blue butterfly that wouldn’t leave, no matter how much they shooed it away.
Over time, the faerie’s tale became a myth. From person to person, it was constantly changing. According to its most valid version, the people living in that village believed that it was the faerie’s tears that gave life to that land. Others said she was sacrificed to Mother Earth, to bring the dead land back to life.
Mother Earth, indeed, had taken her into her arms. The mistreated faerie had found the home and warmth she could never have, by Mother Earth’s side. She often played a sweet melody on her golden harp and Mother Earth rejoiced.
“Eloise, my daughter. I want to give one more gift to you.”
“You have given me so many gifts, Mother. I’ve been here for centuries, in your arms. I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.”
“I will make you human, so you can live the life that you have been deprived of. When your human life is over, you can come back to me. I’ll be waiting.”
“I don’t want to leave you.”
“No, Eloise. You can’t refuse. Go now.”
Eloise looked at her sadly and flew high with her wings, toward the only source of light that existed there. She felt something pull her upwards. Her white body began to disintegrate and small pieces started falling to the ground. Underneath that thin layer, appeared the form it once had on this earth; that beautiful girl with shining, golden hair and unique, purple eyes. When she opened them, she realized that she had risen from the ground, her wings left behind. She didn’t need them in this new life Mother Earth had offered her.
The woman closed the book with the embossed cover, that she was reading and touched her silver pendant. She turned her gaze to her daughter, who was staring at her with great dedication.
“Mom, do you know that this tale could have been written for you? Your name is Eloise, you have blonde hair and purple eyes!” exclaimed the little girl excitedly.
“My little Ayree, there is always a little bit of truth in every fairytale. You never know; maybe this one is true, after all.”