Prilla and the Butterfly Lie (5 page)

BOOK: Prilla and the Butterfly Lie
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. She had been searching for the butterflies for quite a while, and she was awfully hungry. It was time to eat her breakfast.

Spotting a table-sized toadstool, Prilla landed next to it. She began to unpack the food that Dulcie had given her that morning. She was pleased to find two strawberry muffins, a clay thermos full of hot tea with honey and lemon, and a cobweb napkin. Prilla sprinkled some fairy dust on a smooth, round stone. She floated it over to the toadstool table for a comfortable place to sit.

Just as she was about to take a seat, a breeze blew her napkin off the toadstool. She bent to pick it up.

Prilla straightened, poured herself a steaming cup of tea, and—

“Hey!” she said. “Where did my other muffin go?”

Had she accidentally knocked it off the toadstool? She knelt down to look for it. But the missing strawberry muffin was nowhere to be found.

She stood and reached for her remaining muffin. But it was gone, too!

Prilla was puzzled. This was too odd. Pixie Hollow was a place of magic and whimsy. Strange things happened every day. But strawberry muffins didn’t sprout legs and walk away. There had to be an explanation.

But try as she might, Prilla couldn’t come up with one.
he poured herself a cup of tea. Then she settled down on the stone and took a sip. Her stomach rumbled again.

Looking around, Prilla spied a raspberry bush nearby. “I’ll just have a berry for breakfast instead,” she said.

A big juicy raspberry landed right on the toadstool table. Red juice splattered everywhere. Prilla jumped to her feet, spilling her tea.
Now, where did that come from?
She looked up at the sky.
A passing bird must have dropped it,
she thought.

“Lucky it didn’t hit me on the head,” she said out loud.


Berry juice dripped down Prilla’s face and onto the collar of her dress. She had spoken too soon!

She wiped the sticky juice from her forehead and cheeks with the cobweb napkin.
Unless I want every wasp in Pixie Hollow to be buzzing around me, I’d better get to Havendish Stream and wash this off,
she thought. She placed the cork back into the thermos, put the thermos in her sack, took a step forward—and promptly tripped on a pebble.

How odd,
thought Prilla.
I didn’t see that there before.

Shrugging, she slung the sack over her shoulder and headed for Havendish Stream. “What a strange day,” she said. “It would be funny if it weren’t so…” Then she started to laugh despite herself. It
pretty funny that so many things had gone wrong!

Prilla got to the stream. She knelt on the bank, scooped up some of the clear, cool water, and splashed it on her face. She couldn’t resist magically making a fountain or two spring up from the water when she was done washing.
I’m getting pretty good at this,
she thought.
Rani would be proud.
Rani was the water talent fairy who had taught Prilla how to make fountains.
Maybe she’ll let me move on to water creatures next! I bet I could make a sea horse!

Smiling at the idea, Prilla raised her head and began to straighten up. And there, on the opposite bank, sat a blue and golden butterfly. Prilla blinked. The butterfly fluttered its wings two or three times, then took off into the air.

Prilla was right behind it. She hoped the butterfly would lead her straight to the rest of the herd.

She followed the butterfly along the banks of the stream. She trailed it through an underground passage. She chased it around and around a big oak tree until she was dizzy. She followed it past the Mermaid Lagoon…and ended up right back at Flower Field.

If I didn’t know any better,
Prilla thought,
I’d think this butterfly was taking me on a wild-goose chase!

At the edge of Flower Field, the butterfly suddenly darted under a pile of dead leaves. Prilla landed nearby and slowly crept up to it. She stifled a giggle as she saw the leaves rustle. The silly butterfly thought it was fooling her!

Prilla lifted the top leaf.

This is a surprise!
was all she could think.

For there was no butterfly under the leaf. Instead there was a Never stinkbug—an angry Never stinkbug.

a surprise—and a particularly unpleasant one at that!

The stinkbug raised its tail, and—
—it drenched Prilla from head to toe in its horribly stinky perfume.

“Yuck!” cried Prilla. She stepped back, coughing.

As she wiped the tears from her eyes, she glanced up. Sitting on the branch above her head was the butterfly she had been chasing. Its wings were shaking. Prilla could have sworn that it was laughing at her.

, but Prilla didn’t follow. Instead, she sat down and put her head in her hands. She was stinky, sticky, and worn out. Maybe it was time to give up. It was quite clear to Prilla that she was a terrible butterfly herder. She had no idea what she was doing. She was starting to dislike butterfly herding—and butterflies themselves—very much.

Then again, if she gave up now, the herd might get lost, or harmed by predators. And it would all be her fault. Prilla couldn’t bear the thought.

I can do this!
she told herself. She stood up and began to retrace her steps.

When she returned to the spot where her muffins had gone missing, to her surprise she spotted a butterfly. It was a pretty pink and bronze one. It sat there sunning itself on the toadstool she had used as a table.

The butterfly’s back was to Prilla. Smiling, she slowly began to creep up behind it. She was careful not to step on a dead leaf or a twig. She didn’t want to make any noise that would scare the butterfly away.
This is my last chance,
Prilla thought. She had to catch this butterfly!

Finally, Prilla was right behind the creature. She took a deep breath and lunged forward to grab it. “Gotcha!” she yelled.

The butterfly froze. Then it toppled over.

Prilla stared. Her mouth hung open in disbelief. She reached over and softly poked the butterfly’s wing with her finger. It didn’t move.

No doubt about it. The butterfly was dead.

“What have I done?” Prilla cried. She took a deep breath. “Oh, why did I pretend to like butterflies in the first place?”

Once again there was a flash of purple, and Vidia landed right next to Prilla.

“Hello, precious,” Vidia said with a smirk. “I’ve been looking for you all day. How’s the butterfly herding going?” She wrinkled her nose. “And what is that awful smell? It smells like…ugh—stinkbug! Prilla, what in Never Land have you been up to?”

But Prilla was too upset to reply. She slowly raised her arm and pointed to the motionless butterfly.

Vidia looked at it, then turned to stare at Prilla. She wore a look of shock. “Precious, it’s not…?”

“Dead,” finished Prilla forlornly. “Yes. I killed it!”

“My goodness, sweetheart,” said Vidia. “Now you’ve really done it. Even
never killed a butterfly.”

This did not make Prilla feel any better. “I must have scared it to death,” Prilla whispered.

Vidia shook her head. “You know, this never would have happened, darling, if you had just—”

Prilla put her hands over her ears. “I know, I know! But I can’t think about that now. Will you please go get Queen Clarion so I can explain everything to her?”

Vidia raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure, dear?” she asked. “You could just pretend this never happened. I won’t say a word.”

Prilla was aghast. “No, Vidia! I must tell the queen.”

“Suit yourself, precious,” said Vidia. “I’ll be back in two shakes of a dragon’s tail.”

Prilla watched as Vidia took off into the air. Then she lowered herself to the ground and leaned against the toadstool, where the tiny butterfly lay still. She could hardly stand to look at it. She closed her eyes and dropped her head into her hands. What a disaster this was! She wasn’t a butterfly-herding fairy. She was a butterfly-slaying fairy!

After what seemed like a lifetime, Prilla heard Vidia and Queen Clarion approach. She was surprised to see that Nettle was with them.
Maybe she’s been brought along for an expert opinion,
Prilla thought. With all the butterfly herders sick, caterpillar-shearing-talent fairies were the next best thing.

Prilla wiped her eyes and stood up.

Nettle opened her mouth to say something. But Prilla held up her hand for silence. “Please let me speak,” she said. “I have a confession to make, Queen Clarion. Something terrible has happened and it is all my fault.”

“Go on, Prilla,” said the queen.

“I…I…I…killed a butterfly.” Prilla lowered her eyes in shame.

“What butterfly? Where?” Queen Clarion asked sharply.

“Here,” said Prilla, pointing to the toadstool. But when she turned her head to look, she was shocked.

The butterfly was gone!

BOOK: Prilla and the Butterfly Lie
13.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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