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Magic Bubbles, a garden fairy tale

In the tiny kingdom of Florason, a princess and her father, King Gentian, gently rule over the land. The King has an enormous garden just outside the walls of the castle. He pretends he is not a king when he works inside the walled garden. Like everyone in the kingdom, he pulls weeds, plants crops, and tends beautiful flowers. 


His people know that unless there is an emergency, nobody is to disturb him there — ever! The only one who does not have to obey his do-not-disturb rule is his daughter, Princess Anna.

The princess loves the garden, too. “That’s where the fairies live, Father!” 

He smiles whenever she reminds him. She knows her father cannot see them. While he weeds, the fairies sit on the leaves, watching him go back and forth throughout the garden.

This morning, Anna watched him work while the fairies played nearby. The wee ones giggled when the King stooped low, and his face stopped before one of them. Chloe stuck out her tongue and danced, causing the leaf to jiggle.

“Father, there is a fairy right in front of you!” Anna giggled.

Even though the King could not see the wee one, he smiled. “Of course they are! How do you do kind fairy?”

“That’s Chloe.” 

The fairy jumped up and down and yelled, “Hey King, look at me! Look at me!” Yet, the King never did.

Anna laughed, “He doesn’t see you.”

“It’s only because he doesn’t believe we are here,” the fairy said. Fairies know that some people never encounter their kind.

One spring day, Anna came in after playing in the garden. She plopped down on the pillows on the floor and let out a big sigh.

Seeing his troubled daughter sprawled across the floor pillows, the King asked, “What’s wrong?”

Seeing his troubled daughter sprawled across the floor pillows, the King asked, “What’s wrong?”

“The fairies told me something today.”

He wanted to smile, but the seriousness in her voice and her face posed in a pout made him stop. “What did your little friends say that is making you pucker up your face like that?”

“They said do not disturb the spittle-bug nymphs that hide in the bubbles,” she replied.

“Spittle-bugs? Those hideous-looking, white frothy, foamy things?”

He didn’t mean his words to come out with such force. He loathed those creatures. Their spittle spoils the looks of the royal garden every year.

“Anna, they are just pests.”

The princess lowered her eyes. She had to save them. 

“They’re not pests, they’re just blowing bubbles.” Her voice quivered as she spoke. “You have to stop your decree that all the little spittle-bug nymphs are to be destroyed.”

“The garden looks unsightly, with all the white foam on the plants,” he said.

“But, Father, the bubbles are magical!”

“How do you know this?” he asked.

Her eyes widened, “The fairies told me.”

How could a father argue against his daughter’s fairies? Even though he was the King, to go against fairy wisdom would break his daughter’s heart.

Anna said, “They told me that nymphs are only here for a little while. In their kingdom, the bubbles are as precious as the jewels in your crown. When the nymphs make their bubble homes, the fairy world celebrates the arrival of spring.”

“Really?” the King asked.

“Really.” She stood, and put her fists on her waist. “The nymphs returned today, and we celebrated in the garden!”


Anna stared at the floor for a moment, then looked her father in the eyes. 

“The fairies.” She took a deep breath. “Please don’t have them killed. Please?”

“All right, Anna, I will reconsider, and only if you ask the fairies and a nymph to come to see me. I want to see them for myself.”

Anna threw herself into her father’s arms. “Yes, Father, I will go fetch them at once!”

“Wait. Ask the fairies to meet here in the morning,” the King called out as Anna ran down the long hall.

The princess skipped past the guards and ran into the garden, searching for a tiny nymph. She found a little one nestled inside its bubbles.

“Father will spare you, little nymph.” Her breath moved the bubbles delicately away from the tiny creature until she could see its shiny, yellow body. He looked up at her with big brown eyes but did not answer. He blew more bubbles and slowly moved them around with his tiny feet.

A small voice behind her said, “The princess brings good news!” 

Anna slowly turned and found Chloe and Zaria sitting on a daffodil leaf. Their legs dangled over the edge. They playfully swung their feet back and forth, and the leaf blade gently bobbed up and down.

“I wish I was small enough to sit with you,” Anna said. “That looks like fun!” The fairies smiled. “Father wants to…” her voice trailed off. 

The princess raised her head and said, “I mean, the King wants to meet you and a nymph. Will you come to the castle tomorrow?”

The fairies answered in unison, “He will see us?” They nudged each other playfully.

“Ha! I told you he would see us,” Zaria said.

“No, I told you!” Chloe replied, sticking her tongue out as fairies often do.

“Ahem!” said Anna. “You will meet with the king?”

“Of course we will!”

The following morning, just after sunrise, they arrived, carrying a twig with a drape of bubbles. Anna greeted them, picked them up, and took them to the King’s chamber. She noticed the leaves shaking as they held the twig.

“Are you nervous?” Anna asked.

Chloe bobbed her head. “Just a little.”

“A little?” the other Zaria cut in. “You must have changed your frock three times this morning!”

“Well, what about you? You barely touched your hibiscus tea. And all that pacing! Your cup clattered about every time you picked it up. There was more tea in the saucer than what went into your mouth.”

“Ha! He’s going to see us, so don’t you stick your tongue out at him!”

The princess giggled at the squabbling fairies.

Together, the fairies said, “It’s not every day you have an audience with a king that cannot see you!” 

Anna laughed, which made the fairies laugh at their silliness, which put them all at ease. The leafy twig with the nymph and its bubbles no longer shook when they arrived at the King’s chamber.

Anna gently set them on a table in front of the King. The fairies bowed and gasped when he bowed back.

“You can see us?”

The King shook his head in disbelief. “Why, yes. Yes, I can. 

“Well, let’s see this tiny, magical creature.”

“May I?” The princess asked the fairies. They nodded. Anna took a deep breath and silently blew on the froth of bubbles, gently moving them away from the spittle-bug’s yellow body with the big brown eyes. The nymph remained still.

“Isn’t he cute, Father?”

“Yes,” he said.

It was a lie. It’s a stupid-looking blob of a creature that makes a mess in the garden every year, the King thought. He looked over at the fairies. They silently stared and said nothing. He winced from guilt and looked back down at the nymph. Glistening bubbles continued to appear around its body.

The King looked into the big brown eyes of the tiny creature. He then scrutinized the nymph as the bubbles appeared around its stomach. 

The King chuckled. “Why yes, Anna, he is, he is!”


The nymph waited patiently for permission to retreat into its bubbles. In dismissal, the King waved his hand and said, “Yes, yes, yes. Go back inside your bubbles.”

The fairies bowed, “Thank you, your majesty.” The King smiled; he knew it was right to spare the nymphs.

The fairies danced in a circle around the little being as it made bubbles and disappeared under a foamy blanket.

That afternoon, King Gentian made a decree. “From now on, all spittle-bug nymphs are under the protection of the King. We will celebrate their return in spring with our fairy friends.”

When evening fell upon the kingdom, the princess thought she heard her father skipping down the hall, giggling.

To this day, all who live in the land of Florason celebrate the magic of the return of spring. The season when tiny nymphs drape the world with their houses made of bubbles.

Dedicated to my granddaughter Lennox. May she always find the magic in nature.


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