Until Layla suddenly came flying into her life. Oh, Abigail was so surprised and excited. Layla flew straight through the open window and fluttered happily around and around Abigail’s head until Abigail got dizzy watching her. She was a fairy, a tiny fairy no bigger than a hummingbird, her short dress covered in silvery sparkles. Her long hair was so blond it was nearly white, and it flowed behind her as she flew, the way long hair will flow from a mermaid’s head when she swims under water.
Abigail raised her hand; the sparkling, beautiful fairy gently fluttered down to her palm where she sat, looked up into Abigail’s face and grinned. Abigail nervously asked, “Can you speak my language?” and the fairy said “Yes, of course I can, silly. Why would I come here unless we could speak together?”
“I am so happy. I have wanted to have someone to talk to for such a long time. My name is Abigail. What’s yours?” And the fairy answered, “My name is Layla,” and she giggled. Abigail sat on the side of her bed, the tiny fairy still in her hand, and it was then she noticed her new friend had huge feet. Oh they were so big for that tiny fairy who was no bigger than a hummingbird. They were encased in long, long pointed silvery shoes with a small star at each tip.
“Forgive me please for staring but oh my, what big feet you have!” said Abigail. Layla’s face got very sad and she looked down at her gigantic feet, sighed and said, “I know. It’s kind of like a curse where I come from in far-away FairyLand. If we do something wrong or we misbehave, our Directors, who are really such kind, good old fairies, to teach us a lesson give us something unpleasant to deal with and we have to get it fixed. One fairy lost her hair, another got a tear in one wing, another one…”
“OK Layla, I get it, but what did you do to make your Directors angry with you to make you have such awfully big feet?”
“Well I’ll confess I went crazy and buzzed the Directors’ heads when they were having a picnic outside of their offices. So they smiled and gave me big feet and said ‘Layla, you know how to make your feet get small again, so off with you and get it done!’ And so here I am, Abigail. You are lonely, you need a friend to talk to, I’m here until you don’t need me any longer and – well, I also have to fix my feet!”
“And how can we do that, Layla?” Abigail asked as the tiny fairy sped up and around the room and they both laughed and began to talk and talk and Abigail wasn’t lonely anymore but she could not stop staring at Layla’s ginormous feet.
“Abigail, my new friend,” said Layla. “My feet will only get normal again when you, not I but you, do a good deed. It is then I’ll earn my tiny feet back again. So think of something you can do that will be a good and kind thing for anyone on earth and when you do it, my feet will get small again!” And she flew madly around the room while Abigail laughed and wondered what kind deed she could do to help her new friend get her tiny feet back.
And then she knew. She went upstairs and pulled her mother’s favorite quilt off her bed, carried it downstairs and sat and sewed up a big rip in it with tiny perfect stitches. It had been torn that way for years but her mother had been too tired or busy to repair it.
No bells rang when it was done. No, Layla just sat again in the palm of Abigail’s hand and as they watched, those 2 huge feet gradually got smaller and smaller and so did her slippers with the tiny stars at their tips. Layla was so happy she flew out of Abigail’s hand and laughed and turned somersaults in the air with her tiny feet pointed like a ballet dancer’s, her beautiful, long white-blond hair swirling about her sweet face. Layla the fairy and Abigail the lonely little girl stayed best friends for the rest of their lives, and Layla could always hide in her friend’s pocket because after all, she was no bigger than a hummingbird.