by Sami Bennett
Once upon a time, there was a fairy who was lonely and very unhappy. She wore a mask because she hated her own face. She knew how ugly she was. She was always jealous of all the human girls that passed through her forest, and one day she cast a sleeping spell on one and planned to steal the girl’s face. She took the girl back to her dwelling in the trunk of a large oak tree. The fairy put the girl down on the bed and began rummaging through her spellbook for a way to steal the girl’s face. At last she found the spell, and pointed at the girl as she said the magic words.
It just so happened, at that very moment, a spider crawled onto the girl’s face. Instead of getting the girl’s face, as the fairy wished, the fairy traded faces with the spider.
The fairy screamed in dismay when she looked in the mirror. It was a horrible sight! The fairy looked around frantically and saw the spider, who had a very elegant face.
“Where did you get that face?” the fairy demanded of the spider. “Did you steal the girl’s face for yourself? Wait until I get my hands on you!”
“I stole no one’s face, thoughtless fairy,” the spider said contemptuously. “This face was the one you traded for mine. I wish I had my own again, but I suppose that this will do.”
The fairy was surprised. It had been so long since she had looked at her own face without a mask, that she had forgotten what it looked like. It wasn’t so ugly or horrifying as she remembered. It was much better than a spider’s face.
“Let me give you back your face, Spider,” the fairy said, almost pleading. “Forgive me for disturbing you.”
The spider said, “Humph,” but she did not run away.
The fairy hurried back to her spellbook and pointed at the spider and said the magic words once more. This time when she looked in the mirror, she was relieved to find her own face again, and for the first time, she was proud.
The girl started to wake up from her sleep, and was very startled when she realized where she was. She got up and ran for her life out of the oak trunk and out of the forest. The fairy didn’t stop her. After all, the girl’s face was rather plain compared to hers.
The spider crawled off to find a snack to eat, laughing to herself about foolish fairies and thinking about what a story she would have to tell when she got back to the nest.