This is a wonderful story written by my mother. It touched me in such a way that I had to create a painting of it. The original was created using gesso and sepia ink and measures 5x7. God Bless you and MERRY CHRISTMAS! James
THE BELLS WILL SOUND
Ilys was sure she was the last of her kind. As she gazed longingly back over the hills of Gogalea her heart sank knowing she would never come back. The others left some time ago in little groups or two at a time for safety, always with that same look on their faces. Ilys had stayed in her beloved Gogalea for as long as she could always hoping things would change.
Rising from her little perch on the tallest of the old firs she spread her wings, gave a last look and flew north.
After what seemed forever, she looked for a place to rest. There was a clearing below, however, not having ever ventured this far from Gogalea she was afraid to be in the open so she searched further and soon found a grove of cranberry trees – a perfect sanctuary and sure to be a source of nourishment for her journey. Hungry, tired and feeling very much alone Ilys went from branch to branch among the cranberry trees looking for just the right berry ripe enough to eat. Frost covered cranberries are the tastiest and being very good at berry picking she soon found the best one then flew to a nearby moss covered rock to enjoy her breakfast. She thought filling her stomach would take away the deep sadness she felt, however, it only made her feel worse.
Presently she was rested enough to investigate this new land. When she had first arrived she hadn’t noticed its’ beauty, but now it was clear to see she was in the center of a most lovely park or garden. At least at one time it was beautiful. Ilys, being a very curious fey, soon found herself wandering farther than she intended. As she was about to turn to go back to the cranberry trees she heard a sound she was all too familiar with. It was crying, but not like any crying she had ever heard. It was actually more like a weeping. Being sad and lonely as she was, she did not want to be near any weeping, however, she was drawn to the sound and as she approached her little heart went out to the distraught creature, whatever it was.
There behind a large oak sitting on a huge boulder, Ilys saw the largest and most wondrous fairy she had ever encountered. Never in all her life had she seen anything like it. Its’ wings were not at all fairylike, but more like those of a great falcon. Indeed they would need to be quite large as this fairy was as tall as a human. Ilys’ own wings were the size of a butterfly and iridescent like a dragonfly.
Ilys heart skipped a beat as she approached. She did not want to disturb the weeping fairy.
Suddenly there was a rustling of the huge wings as the creature was aware of an intruder and turned to look. Of course the intruder was Ilys and she stood frozen in her little yellow slippers as the wings reached full length in front of her. She couldn’t move! She wouldn’t move even if she dared. And indeed, this was a creature as no fairy ever had a more noble or fierce face and all at the same time.
As frightened as Ilys was at this moment her overwhelming sadness and loneliness caused her to speak out but in the most respectful way. “Who are you and why are you weeping?” cried Ilys in her tiny voice. The creature knew instantly that Ilys was fearful and tried to calm her by slowly lowering its magnificent wings. “Do not be afraid little one – I was unaware you were here in the garden and I had been feeling very badly. What brings you to this place?”
Ilys lost all of her fear at that very moment and began to pour out her heart to the beautiful creature.
“I am Ilys and I have left my beloved kingdom because there is no one left of my kind. It was difficult to stay being the only fairy in the land. The others had left over a long period of time since the humans in the land did not have imagination any more. They gave up all thinking about those things one cannot always see. At first just a few people didn’t believe in fairies or elves. As time went on and as more and more folks made things for themselves they started to believe in the things they made. These things became very important to them and soon the whole kingdom was impressed with themselves and the things they made instead of things that were already in the land. Time went by and all of the fairies gave up even trying to get folks to believe in anything but themselves. Fairies do not do very well where there is no imagination to tickle. So eventually all fairies left the land and I am the last. I am not sure where or when I shall see my kin again, or when I will be able to tickle someone’s imagination. I left Gogalea this morning after daybreak and just now I was resting and then I heard you weeping. Oh, I am so sorry to be talking about myself. You were weeping - and your wings! I have never seen a fairy such as you.”
Actually Ilys was very amazed that the creature seemed so interested in all she had said. After shifting its wings a bit the creature explained:
“Greetings Ilys and welcome to the garden. I am not a fairy at all, although some get me confused with the world of imagination. I am so sorry you had to leave your homeland and I understand your sadness because in my world much the same thing has happened. Unlike you, I am unable to leave this land because I am responsible to guard the gates of the garden. What I have seen from the gate is the cause of my weeping. The king of this land gave the people the whole garden to enjoy if they would just work to take care of it. At first they enjoyed the garden and the work and all its wonderful bounty but before long weeds started growing and the people argued who would weed the garden. Folks were too busy saying how the garden should look all the while not noticing more and more weeds were chocking even the great white oaks that grow around the garden edge. In the center of the garden stands a bell tower that would chime the most beautiful sounds each day, morning, noon and evening. As the day would progress the chimes would be an encouragement to the people in their work. But the people began to complain louder and louder trying to be heard over the sweet music of the bells, until someone finally put a stop to the music altogether by cutting the cords that rang the bells. The bells were also there to be a welcome call to those outside the gates. Without the bells no new folks came to be welcomed and soon after folks died off and now there are only a few weak people left who are not tending the garden very well as you can see. Even the fruit trees blossom early and produce no edible fruit. I weep because my king is sad. I weep because all that could be good is going to waste and I am the guarding angel and there is no joy in my work.”
Ilys was spellbound as she sat listening to the angel and finally inquired, “what if there was a way to get the bells repaired? If they could ring again throughout the land perhaps your job at the gates would make you glad once more. New people would come to the sound of the music of the bells and they would want to stay and grow the garden once again. Do you remember the tunes the bells played? Perhaps between us we could find a way to get the bells working. All it takes is hard work and a little imagination.”
The noble and fierce face of the guarding angel suddenly changed to a silly grin and he decided at that moment to put forth his best effort to fix the bells. Although it was winter there would surely be folks who would hear and answer the call of the bells. The weak people already living in the garden could become strong again with all the work that needed to be done to get ready for new workers. The king would be delighted, the garden would grow and the work would be good work for all.
Ilys and the angel set about weaving a strong rope from the vines that grew up chocking the trunks of the great white oaks, leaving them to grow in strength. The ropes would be attached to the bells in the tower and the guarding angel who knew the music by heart, would ring them one cold winter night very soon just in time for the King’s birthday.
Ilys never flew any further north.
Copyright 2007, SUSAN BROWNE