The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

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Children of the Foam

We were playing with the Moon Fairy and laughing in the surf when a fisherman came walking along the beach. He appeared lost. We quieted, but the Moon Fairy hadn’t seen him and she was still playing with us when the man approached her feather robe. It hung on the branch of a pine tree, and fluttered with the feathers of all the birds that fly, the kingfisher and the golden pheasant, the love bird, the swan, the crow, the cormorant, the dove, the bullfinch, the falcon, the plover, and the heron.

“Ah, the pretty fluttering thing!” said the fisherman. He took it off the branch.

“Ah, the warm, sweet, fairy thing! I’ll take it home for a treasure. No money could buy this but I’ll show it to all the folk of the village.” He threw it over his arm and set off for home.

We bubbled around the Moon Fairy’s hair, around her hands and toes. “Listen! Look! He has taken your robe!”

She looked up through the cold clear water and saw that her robe hung no longer on the pine-tree branch.

“My robe, my feather robe!” Swifter than any arrow she sprang from the water, and sped, fleet of foot, along the wet sand. We followed, zipping along at her flashing heels.

Clad in the cloak of her long hair, she caught up to the fisherman.

“Give me my feather robe,” she said, and held out her hand for it.

“Why?” said the fisherman.

“’It is mine. I want it. I must have it.”

“Oho,” said the fisherman, “finding’s keeping.”

“I am a Fairy,” she said.

“Farewell, Fairy,” said the fisherman.

“A Moon Fairy,” she said.

“Farewell, Moon Fairy,” said the fisherman, and he made to take his way along the strand. She snatched at the feather robe, but the fisherman held fast. The feathers fluttered out and dropped upon the sand.

We surged around the lost feathers. This wouldn’t end well for the Moon Fairy! Without her feathers she might well dissolve and become one of us!

Children of the Foam, The Robe of Feathers, Japanese Fairy Tales. Illustration by Warwick Goble.