From THE FAIRIES OF FAIRYOPIA by Doris Ray-
The Fairy Olympics
Prince Charles flitted and bobbed amongst the yellow flowers and tall grasses, stretching his muscular wings and practicing his moves for the Fairy Olympics that were to begin in Fairyopia in two months time. Charles was aware that he’d have no problem winning most of the medals in the competition. But he was the son of King Karmen and Queen Mirabella, two of the nicest kindest fairies ever hatched from a fairy cocoon. And he was a very kind and pleasant fairy as well!
It wasn’t that Charles did not enjoy winning. He was always pleased when he achieved the fastest time in a flying or swimming competition. But the other fairies, who were his friends, had to lose in order for Charles to win. And he was a wiss when it came to disappointing his friends. Charles had even flown backwards once during a flying match to allow his best friend Gurgle the opportunity to win a race. But Gurgle- who had no sense of direction – had become lost and flown off-course. And Charles had won anyway.
Charles hadn’t always been muscular and athletic. For most of his childhood he’d been a bit overweight. He was teasingly referred to by his sisters as “Chubby Charles.”
As babies, Charles and his sisters, Sunshine and Showers, had metamorphosed from the nymph phase in the same way that other fairies – and some insects- do. The tiny hatchlings had appeared on their parents’ doorstep following a snowstorm. When they were taken indoors where it was warm, the girl fairies had emerged from their cocoons far sooner than their brother. Charles wasn’t really that interested in learning about the real world.
Throughout their childhood his sisters had remained speedier than Charles. Sunshine could fly so fast that you could barely see her tiny body whizzing through the air. And Showers could swim as swiftly as the tiny, silvery fish that darted and twirled in the depths of The Black and Blue River. Both girls had beaten their brother many times in sports competitions.
One hot summer day Charles and his sisters were cooling themselves in the Black and Blue River.
“Let’s have a swimming race,” suggested Showers. The sisters’ long blonde curls were tied back with spider webbing and their wings were tightly clasped behind their slender shoulders.
“Yes, let’s do that,” agreed Sunshine.
Charles had eaten two large pieces of fairy-cake while visiting with Fred the hippopotamus at the ferry terminal. Fred had just hauled the ferryboat on-shore. It was laden with delicious cakes baked by the fairy cooks that lived on the east side of the river. As payment for his work Fred was permitted to eat as much cake as he desired. And he was good about sharing with his friends.
Charles’s stomach was still full and the last thing he wanted to do was compete in a swimming race.
“You’re just afraid that one of us will beat you,” Showers scoffed. And of course Charles’s masculine pride could not ignore that remark. As it turned out, he not only lost the race to Showers; but his other sister Sunshine, finished ahead of him as well.
The next morning Charles was still unhappy about losing the swimming race to his sisters. His wings dangled and his head drooped as he skittered along a woodland trail that led to an open meadow. Charles was wishing he was stronger and thinner. His sisters would no longer have a chance of beating him in any kind of competition!
Charles had expected to be alone that morning. But now, in the distance, he could hear his sisters joking and giggling as they fluttered back and forth behind him on the trail. One of them squealed something in a high voice about “Chubby Charles” and the other sister giggled. Charles felt his face turn beet red.
In the middle of the meadow there was a large rock. Charles noticed that a smooth tunnel had been drilled right through the middle of it. He wondered if it was the result of a fairy having previously wished for a hiding place….
Perhaps another male fairy had once desperately wished to escape from his sisters or some other pesky fairies? Charles thought to himself. Fairy wishes generally came true if one wished long enough and hard enough. The tunnel was not visible from the air. Charles had flown over the rock many times and had never before noticed the opening.
His sister’ voices sounded closer now – and from higher up. Sunshine and Showers had opened their tiny wings and were gliding toward the clouds. Very soon they would spot their brother below them on the ground. There was only one place to hide. Charles slowly eased himself into the rock tunnel until both ends of his body were out of sight from the air. It was a tight squeeze and he could barely breathe.
It was nearly sundown when he was finally able to emerge from the tunnel where he had been trapped for almost an entire day. By that time his stomach had shrunk and he’d lost enough “bulge” to escape.
It was then that Charles’ interest in becoming thinner and stronger was resolved. From that day forward he worked out every morning and every evening. He also assisted Fred the Hippo with towing the ferry, refusing all offers of cake as payment.
Charles sisters no longer referred to him as “Chubby Charles.” They proudly polished the medals their brother was awarded at various athletic competitions. At the Fairy Olympics, Charles had won several more to add to the collection displayed on the family mantelpiece.
This last batch of medals was what Charles was most proud of. He’d helped train some of the younger fairies to become better athletes. At the Fairy Olympics these upstarts demonstrated that they were even faster than he was.
Charles was very pleased with his second and third place medals.