Authors: Titania Woods
Hello, fairy fans!
My name’s Twink and I go to Glitterwings Academy, the most amazing school you could possibly imagine. It’s a magical school, located in an oak tree in a glade of flowers, and it’s where we fairies learn how to fly, use fairy dust and care for animals. If this sounds like your kind of place, you’ll love reading about the adventures my friends and I have at Glitterwings Academy. And once you’ve finished this story, turn to the very back for fun fairy activities, and to see all my glimmery Glitterwings Academy books.
The festive story you’re about to read takes place during the winter holidays, when I met humans, tasted chocolate and discovered the magic of Christmas for the very first time. I hope you find it just as exciting as I did.
Lots of love,
Illustrated by Smiljana Coh
Bloomsbury Publishing, London, Berlin and New York
First published in Great Britain in 2008 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
36 Soho Square, London, W1D 3QY
This electronic edition published in December 2009 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Text copyright © Lee Weatherly 2008
Illustrations copyright © Smiljana Coh 2008
The moral rights of the author and illustrator have been asserted
All rights reserved
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To the memory of my
grandmother, Esther Cruce.
She always made Christmas magical.
Twink Flutterby sat on the roof of her parents’ cosy woodland stump and sighed happily. Her home was the best place in the world to spend the winter holidays! Especially when her best friend, Bimi Bluebell, was there as well. The two fairies smiled at each other.
‘It’s so beautiful here!’ exclaimed Bimi. Looking around her, Twink had to agree. The fields and nearby woods all sparkled with frost, as if they were coated with diamond dust.
Already the two girls had packed a month’s worth of fun into the week they’d been at Twink’s: skating on the frozen brook with Teena, Twink’s younger sister; making elaborate snow-fairies; sitting up late to hear Twink’s parents tell stories – and eating lots of delicious honey cake!
‘You know, it’s funny,’ said Twink thoughtfully. ‘It’s been such great hols, but I’m really missing Glitterwings.’ The giant oak tree that housed Glitterwings Academy felt like home now.
‘Me too,’ said Bimi, nodding. ‘But it won’t be long before – oh!’ She jumped up and rubbed her arm. ‘Something hit me!’
Twink peered over the edge of the roof. ‘Not some
!’ she said grimly. Down below, Teena was perched on Brownie, the Flutterby family’s mouse. Her arm was just stretched back to throw another snowball.
‘Teena, stop that!’ ordered Twink.
Teena giggled. ‘Why should I? It’s not fair for you two to fly up there where I can’t follow.’ Twink’s little sister wouldn’t learn to fly until she started her first term at Glitterwings in the spring – a fact that caused her a great deal of frustration!
‘Yes, that’s the idea!’ said Twink. She loved her little sister, but didn’t want Teena tagging along after her and Bimi
‘Oh! You mean thing!’ screeched Teena.
Twink ducked as another snowball whizzed through the air. ‘All right, you asked for it!’ she laughed. ‘Come on, Bimi, let’s get her.’
She jetted off the stump, Bimi close behind. With a startled squawk, Teena nudged Brownie into a gallop. Mouse and fairy scampered across the field, zigzagging this way and that.
‘Can’t catch me!’ yelled Teena over her shoulder.
‘Just watch us!’ Twink shouted back. Her lavender wings blurred as she darted around frozen blades of grass. ‘Bimi, head her off !’
‘With pleasure!’ grinned Bimi.
Putting on a burst of speed, Bimi shot ahead, circling in front of Brownie. Teena gave a yelp and whirled the mouse the other way – but Twink was waiting for her! Swooping close, Twink grabbed Brownie’s reins and tugged hard. He trotted to a stop.
‘Ha! Got you!’ cried Twink, pulling her sister off the mouse. ‘Now, I think
deserves a tickle attack. Don’t you, Bimi?’
‘Definitely!’ said Bimi with a wicked smile. Her blue hair was tousled from the frenzied flight.
‘No!’ squealed Teena, shrieking with laughter. ‘Let me go!’ She fluttered her wings wildly as the older girls tickled her.
‘Girls!’ came Mum’s voice from the tree stump. ‘Would you like some hot nectar?’
Still laughing, the three fairies disentangled themselves and headed back to the stump. Twink and Bimi got there first, with Teena riding up on Brownie a moment later, her eyes shining with merriment.
They took the hot drinks gratefully, warming their hands around the acorn-shell cups. Twink sniffed hers with her eyes closed. Mmm! Nothing was nicer than hot nectar in the wintertime.
‘Mum, what’s that?’ said Teena suddenly, pointing towards the woods.
Turning, Twink caught her breath. There was a human walking into the woods! But what was he carrying? Whatever it was, it glinted sharply in the winter sunshine.
Mum looked troubled. ‘Oh dear! Your father won’t be very pleased – they usually go to the other side of the forest. Oh, the poor trees!’
‘What’s wrong, Mrs Flutterby?’ asked Bimi, her blue eyes wide.
‘It always happens at this time of year,’ explained Mum sadly. ‘When the weather turns cold, humans start going into the woods and chopping down trees – young, healthy evergreens! And then they carry the trees away with them.’
The three girls stared at her in horror. ‘They – they chop down
? ’ said Teena faintly.
Twink’s little sister looked pale. Twink didn’t blame her – she felt pretty pale herself. It was a fairy’s duty to take care of nature. The thought of young trees being killed was awful!
, Mrs Flutterby?’ asked Bimi anxiously. ‘What do they do with them?’
Mum shook her bright pink head. ‘No one knows,’ she said. ‘Maybe they resent nature and want to hurt it. They’re odd creatures, you know. Why, most of them don’t even set foot in the woods except to cut down a tree once a year!’
Twink stared at the forest. Her heart was thudding so hard that it echoed in her ears. ‘But we have to stop him!’ she burst out. ‘We can’t just let him kill a tree for no reason!’
‘I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do,’ said Mum. ‘It’s too dangerous for us to try tackling a human on our own, even with our magic. You never know what they might do!’
‘But –’ Twink choked to a halt as hot tears pricked her eyes.
Mum’s voice turned brisk. ‘I’m sorry, Twink. I don’t like it either, but we fairies can’t right every wrong, much as we might like to! Now, you girls go and play, and try to forget about this.’
Taking their empty acorn shells with her, Mum flitted back inside, and they heard her bustling about in the kitchen. The three fairies stayed where they were, not moving. Teena’s violet eyes were huge.
just forget about it!’ she whispered urgently. ‘You and Bimi have got to do something!’
Twink bit her lip as she and Bimi glanced at each other. Do something? But what?
Suddenly a harsh noise rang through the air, like the distant cracking of a whip. The fairies froze. The sound came again – and again.
‘Oh!’ sobbed Teena. ‘He’s doing it! He’s chopping down a tree!’
Twink’s wings were trembling with fear and fury. She
just stand here and let this happen!
‘Bimi, come on,’ she hissed, grabbing her friend’s hand. ‘Teena’s right – we have to stop him!’
Bimi looked alarmed. ‘But – humans are so big! What can
‘I don’t know, but we have to try!’ insisted Twink. Without waiting for an answer, she flew off across the field, the cold wind whistling through her wings. For a moment she thought Bimi wouldn’t follow, but then her friend came skimming after her.
Plunging into the woods, Twink darted through the trees, following the sound of chopping. Oh, they were going to be too late!
‘Hurry, Bimi!’ she shouted over her shoulder.
The noise of the axe grew louder and louder. Bursting out into a clearing, Twink saw a man in a red jacket standing beside a young spruce tree. The tree sagged sadly to one side, its trunk splintered and bitten. The axe gleamed as the man started to bring it down again.
‘No!’ screamed Twink. With Bimi just behind her, she flew straight at the man’s face. ‘Stop! Leave the tree alone!’
The man gave a surprised yelp and leapt back. ‘What on –’
A sudden rush of courage seemed to fill Bimi. ‘Go away!’ she yelled, buzzing about his head in a blue and silver blur. ‘We don’t want you here!’
The man backed away, staring at Twink and Bimi with bulging eyes. His mouth fell open, and he shut it again with a snap.
‘Can’t you hear us?’ cried Twink, bobbing in front of him. ‘Leave the tree alone! Go home!’ What was wrong with the man? She knew most humans didn’t know about fairies, but surely he’d believe what was right in front of him.
The man shook his head briskly. ‘I’m imagining things,’ he muttered, pushing his cap back. ‘They’re just moths, that’s all. Strange, this time of year!’
’ echoed Bimi in disbelief. ‘Of course we’re not!’
But the man had already pulled his cap back into place and stepped forward again, raising the axe. Its blade shone.
’ Twink dived towards the axe as it
downwards. Flinging her arms around its handle, she frantically pulled and tugged. The axe didn’t even slow down.
The blade hit the trunk. The impact flung Twink off like a gnat, and she catapulted straight into the tree. Its branches burst past her in a prickly green explosion.
‘Oh!’ gasped Twink when she finally crashed to a halt. She was deep within the tree, with spiky branches every way she looked. Bruised and shaking, she started to take off to join Bimi again – but strain as she might, nothing happened.
Why weren’t her wings working? Twisting around in a panic, Twink saw both wings beating furiously – but her rose-petal dress was caught on a branch! Twink grabbed at the pink material, yanking hard, and succeeded only in snagging it further.
The axe hit the trunk again.
‘Aargh!’ Twink shrieked as the tree shuddered side- ways. Desperately, she gripped a nearby branch. She could hear Bimi screaming in the distance. Then the axe struck again and the tree fell, bouncing once on the ground.
Twink’s eyes burned with tears. She bowed her cheek against the rough bark. That was that, then. The tree was dead, and nothing they could do now would save it. Oh, why hadn’t the human listened to them? And why had he killed it?
Suddenly the world heaved upwards. Peering through the dense branches, Twink saw the man’s red jacket – and then the tree started to move. He was taking it away through the forest, with her in it!
Twink’s wings went icy with terror as she remembered her mother’s words:
And then they carry the
trees away with them
. ‘Stop!’ she shouted, tugging at the branch that caught her. ‘Oh, stop, stop!’
‘Twink, where are you?’ called Bimi’s voice, squeaky with fear. ‘Stop! You’ve got my best friend!’
The tree paused for a moment. ‘Stupid moth!’ growled the man, flapping his hand about his face. ‘Get away from me, you daft thing.’
Twink heard Bimi cry out, and her pulse raced like a galloping horse. ‘Leave Bimi alone!’ she screamed. ‘Don’t you dare hurt her!’
The tree started moving again. Twink held back a sob.
couldn’t she get free? She seized her dress with both hands, wrenching and twisting. All at once the petal fabric ripped, and Twink felt herself come loose. Finally!
She started to jet out of the branches – and then screamed again, clutching at spruce needles as the tree shot up into the air. Twink’s stomach lurched as she was flung wildly from side to side; then the tree seemed to slide and bounce . . . and stopped.
There was a slamming noise. Struggling free of the tree at last, Twink emerged from its branches – and stopped, hovering in bewilderment. Where
she? She was in a sort of large box with windows, with giant human-sized seats in it! The tree lay on its side, while the man sat with his back to her, fiddling with some sort of instrument.
‘A car,’ whispered Twink, remembering stories she had heard.
Cold dread gripped her. Cars were notorious among fairies: they were huge, smoking monsters, to be avoided at all costs. And now she was
one – and even worse, she was with this mad human! Twink looked fearfully at the back of the man’s head, remembering how he had swiped at Bimi. She had to get out of here!
She darted from window to window, searching for a way out – but there was none; the massive panes of glass were as smooth and unyielding as glaciers. Then she saw Bimi skimming up outside the car. To Twink’s immense relief, she didn’t look hurt.
‘Bimi!’ she called, beating on a window with her fists. ‘Bimi, I’m in here!’
The blue-haired fairy’s eyes widened as she spotted Twink. She flitted up to the window, yelling something Twink couldn’t hear.
‘I can’t get out!’ cried Twink. ‘Bimi, go and get my mum! Hurry, hurry!’
A roaring sound exploded through the car. Twink gasped, flinging her hands over her ears. The trees outside began to glide smoothly away.