That part of the Enchanted Isle which was kissed by the rising
sun was called Dawna; the kingdom that was tinted rose and purple
by the setting sun was known as Auriel, and the southland, where
fruits and flowers abounded, was the kingdom of Plenta. Up at the
north lay Heg, the home of the great barons who feared not even the
men of Spor; and in the Kingdom of Heg our story opens.
Upon a beautiful plain stood the castle of the great Baron
Merd—renowned alike in war and peace, and second in importance only
to the King of Heg. It was a castle of vast extent, built with
thick walls and protected by strong gates. In front of it sloped a
pretty stretch of land with the sea glistening far beyond; and back
of it, but a short distance away, was the edge of the Forest of
One fair summer day the custodian of the castle gates opened a
wicket and let down a draw-bridge, when out trooped three pretty
girls with baskets dangling on their arms. One of the maids walked
in front of her companions, as became the only daughter of the
mighty Baron Merd. She was named Seseley, and had yellow hair and
red cheeks and big, blue eyes. Behind her, merry and laughing, yet
with a distinct deference to the high station of their young lady,
walked Berna and Helda—dark brunettes with mischievous eyes and
slender, lithe limbs. Berna was the daughter of the chief archer,
and Helda the niece of the captain of the guard, and they were
appointed play-fellows and comrades of the fair Seseley.
Up the hill to the forest's edge ran the three, and then without
hesitation plunged into the shade of the ancient trees. There was
no sunlight now, but the air was cool and fragrant of nuts and
mosses, and the children skipped along the paths joyously and
To be sure, the Forest of Lurla was well known as the home of
fairies, but Seseley and her comrades feared nothing from such
gentle creatures and only longed for an interview with the powerful
immortals whom they had been taught to love as the tender guardians
of mankind. Nymphs there were in Lurla, as well, and crooked
knooks, it was said; yet for many years past no person could boast
the favor of meeting any one of the fairy creatures face to
So, gathering a few nuts here and a sweet forest flower there,
the three maidens walked farther and farther into the forest until
they came upon a clearing—formed like a circle—with mosses and
ferns for its carpet and great overhanging branches for its
"How pretty!" cried Seseley, gaily. "Let us eat our luncheon in
this lovely banquet-hall!"
So Berna and Helda spread a cloth and brought from their baskets
some golden platters and a store of food. Yet there was little
ceremony over the meal, you may be sure, and within a short space
all the children had satisfied their appetites and were laughing
and chatting as merrily as if they were at home in the great
castle. Indeed, it is certain they were happier in their forest
glade than when facing grim walls of stone, and the three were in
such gay spirits that whatever one chanced to say the others
promptly joined in laughing over.
Soon, however, they were startled to hear a silvery peal of
laughter answering their own, and turning to see whence the sound
proceeded, they found seated near them a creature so beautiful that
at once the three pairs of eyes opened to their widest extent, and
three hearts beat much faster than before.
"Well, I must say you DO stare!" exclaimed the newcomer, who was
clothed in soft floating robes of rose and pearl color, and whose
eyes shone upon them like two stars.
"Forgive our impertinence," answered the little Lady Seseley,
trying to appear dignified and unmoved; "but you must acknowledge
that you came among us uninvited, and—and you are certainly rather
odd in appearance."
Again the silvery laughter rang through the glade.
"Uninvited!" echoed the creature, clapping her hands together
delightedly; "uninvited to my own forest home! Why, my dear girls,
you are the uninvited ones—indeed you are—to thus come romping into
our fairy bower."
The children did not open their eyes any wider on hearing this
speech, for they could not; but their faces expressed their
amazement fully, while Helda gasped the words:
"A fairy bower! We are in a fairy bower!"
"Most certainly," was the reply. "And as for being odd in
appearance, let me ask how you could reasonably expect a fairy to
appear as mortal maidens do?"
"A fairy!" exclaimed Seseley. "Are you, then, a real fairy?"
"I regret to say I am," returned the other, more soberly, as she
patted a moss-bank with a silver-tipped wand.
Then for a moment there was silence, while the three girls sat
very still and stared at their immortal companion with evident
curiosity. Finally Seseley asked:
"Why do you regret being a fairy? I have always thought them the
happiest creatures in the world."
"Perhaps we ought to be happy," answered the fairy, gravely,
"for we have wonderful powers and do much to assist you helpless
mortals. And I suppose some of us really are happy. But, for my
part, I am so utterly tired of a fairy life that I would do
anything to change it."
"That is strange," declared Berna. "You seem very young to be
already discontented with your lot."
Now at this the fairy burst into laughter again, and presently
"How old do you think me?"
"About our own age," said Berna, after a glance at her and a
"Nonsense!" retorted the fairy, sharply. "These trees are
hundreds of years old, yet I remember when they were mere twigs.
And I remember when mortals first came to live upon this island,
yes—and when this island was first created and rose from the sea
after a great earthquake. I remember for many, many centuries, my
dears. I have grown tired of remembering—and of being a fairy
continually, without any change to brighten my life."
"To be sure!" said Seseley, with sympathy. "I never thought of
fairy life in that way before. It must get to be quite
"And think of the centuries I must yet live!" exclaimed the
fairy in a dismal voice. "Isn't it an awful thing to look forward
"It is, indeed," agreed Seseley.
"I'd be glad to exchange lives with you," said Helda, looking at
the fairy with intense admiration.
"But you can't do that," answered the little creature quickly.
"Mortals can't become fairies, you know—although I believe there
was once a mortal who was made immortal."
"But fairies can become anything they desire!" cried Berna.
"Oh, no, they can't. You are mistaken if you believe that," was
the reply. "I could change YOU into a fly, or a crocodile, or a
bobolink, if I wanted to; but fairies can't change themselves into
"How strange!" murmured Seseley, much impressed.
"But YOU can," cried the fairy, jumping up and coming toward
them. "You are mortals, and, by the laws that govern us, a mortal
can change a fairy into anything she pleases."
"Oh!" said Seseley, filled with amazement at the idea.
The fairy fell on her knees before the baron's daughter.
"Please—please, dear Seseley," she pleaded, "change me into a