Fairy Secrets by Gwyneth Rees
By Gwyneth Rees
Published by Macmillan Children’s Books (2008)
Nine-year-old Ellie went to visit her Aunt Megan who lived in a small village in South Wales and received the shock of her life when she saw some fairies fluttering about. Aunt Megan did not believe in fairies and she could not see them, but she did admit that a lot of folks in the village do believe in them and claimed that fairies do exist. As it goes, only those who believe in them will be able to see fairies. Afterwards, Ellie was more careful before making any mention of fairies to her aunt.
During her stay, Aunt Megan had brought Ellie to visit a toy museum in the village. Apparently, the decades-old museum – owned by a Mr Daniels who inherited from his father – was struggling to continue its operations as visitors had dwindled over the years. A man from London had offered to buy the museum building for a development project, but Mr Daniels was having second thoughts about the proposal. Although he was desperate for money, Mr Daniels does love the museum, and to make it worse, the wealthy London man had required that all toys from the museum be transported to London and be given to his daughter after the deal is finalized. After learning about Mr Daniels’ predicament, Ellie was determined to help him save the toy museum.
One night, Ellie managed to have a conversation with two fairies by the name of Myfanwy and Bronwen. Apparently, all the fairies also wanted the toy museum to remain where it was, because the door into Fairyland was situated inside the museum. And in order for the magical portal to work, four special toys from the museum were needed. The four toys were Enid the china doll, Tedi the teddy bear, Dilys the Welsh costume doll, and Llewellyn the toy soldier.
They had been arranged into a circle as if they were having a picnic, and with some sprinkles of fairy dust, the toys will come to life and the door to Fairyland will appear from the centre of their picnic spread during the magical moment. The four toys must remain that way and must never be moved away, or the doorway to Fairyland will be closed forever. That was why the fairies also opposed the idea of selling the toy museum and moving all the toys to London.
Unfortunately for the fairies, Mr Daniels did not believe in fairies and so he was never aware of the implications to other beings other than himself, if he eventually decided to sell the museum. So the fairies were determined to seek the help of someone who believed in them – in this case, Ellie – to prevent the closing down of the museum.
***WARNING!!! SPOILERS BEYOND THIS LINE!!!***
Following the pleas from the fairies, Ellie was more determined than ever to help Mr Daniels find another alternative other than selling his toy museum to the wealthy London man. The fairies informed Ellie that there was a wealthy old lady named Mrs Lloyd-Hughes in the village, who was always donating money to charities related to children. Unfortunately she did not believe in fairies, thus telling her to donate money for the sake of the fairies would never do. So it was up to Ellie to convince Mrs Lloyd-Hughes to fund the museum’s survival.
When Ellie paid a visit to Mrs Lloyd-Hughes, she refused to donate any money for the sake of the museum. Mrs Lloyd-Hughes told Ellie that when she was young, her mother had taken away her favourite doll Henrietta and gave it to a charity drive. Henrietta had meant so much to Mrs Lloyd-Hughes – more like a family than a mere toy – that it hurts her until this day whenever she looked at toys. Thus her refusal to do anything that involved toys.
However, Ellie had her hopes up again when she saw a photo of Henrietta in Mrs Lloyd-Hughes’ album: the doll looked exactly like Enid! Desperate, Ellie tried to entice Mrs Lloyd-Hughes into donating her money to the museum by telling her about the china doll that looked exactly like Henrietta. That caught Mrs Lloyd-Hughes’ attention immediately and she decided to have a look at the doll herself.
But alas! When Mrs Lloyd-Hughes saw Enid, she decided that the doll could have been her long lost Henrietta and she demanded to keep the doll for herself in exchange for her sizeable donation to the museum. Mr Daniels – who had no idea about the importance of having Enid to remain in the museum – let Mrs Lloyd-Hughes have the doll. And with that, the door to Fairyland eventually disappeared and many fairies had been trapped in the human world.
Ellie felt guilty for giving false hopes to Mrs Lloyd-Hughes about finding Henrietta in the toy museum – and now she regretted it even more when her actions had also brought trouble to the fairies.
One day, Ellie saw a turn of luck when she paid a visit to Mr Daniels’ elderly mother who lived in a nursing home. Apparently Mrs Daniels believed in fairies and she knew about the magical portal inside the museum which connects to Fairyland. However, Mrs Daniels was oblivious to the current developments on the museum: she had not been aware of the museum’s plight for money, nor she was aware that the problem had been resolved albeit with the sacrifice of one of its dolls.
However, after keeping Mrs Daniels company with talks of fairies, Mrs Daniels presented Ellie with a most surprising gift: a china doll that looked exactly like Henrietta! According to Mrs Daniels, the doll had been given to the village church’s charity drive, which was supposed to hold a charity sale. The sale did not happen because the vicar’s wife passed away suddenly and the plan had gone into oblivion. Before the vicar moved from the village many years later, he found the toys which had been donated to the church, and finding no use for them anymore, he gave away the toys to the toy museum. However, the doll was given to Mrs Daniels as a gift from the vicar, and that was why she had not kept it at the museum.
Now that she was giving the doll to Ellie, the girl asked Mrs Daniels to permit her to give the doll to Mrs Lloyd-Hughes instead in exchange for Enid. Mrs Daniels agreed.
And so, Ellie managed to get Enid back to the toy museum. It was a happy ending for all of them: Mrs Lloyd-Hughes confirmed that the doll from Mrs Daniels is her Henrietta; Mr Daniels’ toy museum was saved by Mrs Lloyd-Hughes’ donation; Enid was returned and the door to Fairyland was open again; and finally, Ellie discovered that her shyness had been conquered as she dealt with the many people (and other creatures) in order to save the museum and also Fairyland. As a sign of gratitude, the queen of fairies threw a party and invited Ellie to celebrate with all the fairies and the toys at the toy museum before she ended her holiday in the village.
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