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leaf fairies.

From The suns babies by Edith Howes.
Age Rating 2 to 4.

Start of Story

In the wood the Leaf Fairies were busy making their leaves. They made them of every shape and size, for each fairy had her own idea of what looked prettiest. Some made them long and narrow, like tall and graceful ladies; some made them round and dumpy, like fat little men; some made them heart-shaped, and some cut up the edges till they were all dainty points and curves. Some placed them sitting down on the branches, while others set them on slender stalks. There was no set rule for anything. Each fairy followed her own pretty fancy. [Illustration: "In the wood the Leaf Fairies were busy making their leaves"] Most of the leaves were green, but a few were splashed with yellow or veined with red or lined with silver. Everywhere they covered trees and bushes and low-growing ground plants, growing here in clusters, and there singly or in pairs. The fairies swung themselves far out on the branches to admire their handiwork. "Now you must be busy," they said to the leaves. "In the daytime you must help the roots to gather food for yourselves and all the family--roots and stems and flowers and seeds; and at night when we have swept the passages you must throw out the rubbish." "Shall we never have time to play?" asked the leaves anxiously. "Yes," said the fairies. "When the family is fed each day you may dance with the winds and play hide-and-seek with the sunbeams, and when the autumn is here and all your work is done, we ourselves will take you for a pleasure trip."

The leaves were content, and at once set to work. The fairies made tiny kitchens for them, and here they gathered the food for the family and prepared it for their use. The fairies carried it to roots and stems and flowers and seeds, so they all grew strong and well. At night the fairies swept the passages so clean that not a grain of dirt was left anywhere; the leaves threw out the rubbish from their kitchen doors. Summer passed and autumn came. "You have worked well," said the fairies to the leaves. "Now you shall have your pleasure-trip." They dressed the leaves in gay frocks, all gold and crimson and bright brown; they loosened them from the trees and set them floating on the wind. "Now follow us," they said; and the fluttering leaves followed them. First they whirled and danced on the ground beneath the trees, then they rose in the air and flew away, away--nobody knows where. You could not have seen the fairies leading if you had been there, for they are not visible to mortal eyes; but you would have seen the leaves following them. Where they went to I can't tell you. They never came back, though it is said that the fairies did.

the end

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