(A story read at the White Eagle Family Service in June and written by Anna Hayward)golden rose for story

The roses had the softest, golden petals which shone in the sunlight, and the perfume was like a little bit of heaven fallen to Earth. The rose fairy was very proud of this…she was up very early in the morning to check every petal, to encourage the little black flies to go somewhere else by fanning them away with her wings, and she sat in the rose bush breathing in the scent in the afternoon feeling drowsy and happy.

This particular fairy was on probation! There had been an unfortunate incident with a group of snails and some viola plants last year, which had got out of hand and resulted in violas with half-eaten flowers and snails with hangovers. The angels in charge of them all had not been pleased and this little fairy had to beg to be allowed to look after flowers this year, and to promise she wouldn’t fall asleep again when snails were nearby.

So these lovely roses were even more precious to her. They meant she would keep this job for another year…and what a wonderful job it was to be surrounded by such perfume as you worked. And no snails would climb up the prickly stems and spoil it for her. With that happy thought and the sun shimmering on her wings, her little head dropped onto the cushiony pillow of a nearby petal and…

When she awoke, stretching her wings carefully to avoid the thorns, she had quite a shock. Where were the roses? They had disappeared…she must be still dreaming, having a nightmare. But no, as she flew around the bush checking, searching, unbelieving, hoping and praying, most of the gorgeous golden heads of roses were gone…neatly cut off at their stems. This was worse than snails. This was complete devastation…! With horror the fairy flew further afield trying to find what or who had taken them and discovered one small human girl walking carefully down the grassy path towards the house, carrying a bunch of HER roses, clutched to her chest.

The fairy was angry…more than angry, she was incandescent…because she was afraid…afraid of what the angels would say and afraid of never being able to work with the perfume of roses around her again. In her fear she thought all kinds of unkind and ugly thoughts about the little girl, which I can’t repeat here, and then she flew to the farthest corner of the garden in the shade under the brambles and cried and cried, hoping no one would ever find her again!

It was a gnome called Hoppy who came across the fairy in the bushes and encouraged her to come out. By now it was dark and he had heard the soft sobbing and wondered who was so upset. With a bit of coaxing, the fairy had told the kindly gnome the whole story and Hoppy, who was a very plugged-in gnome, who had had many adventures, knew just what to do.

‘Come with me’, he coaxed, ‘But you’ll have to fly slowly, ‘cos my little legs don’t have wings!’ So together they had crossed the lawns and moved close to the lighted windows of the house. The fairy was very reluctant to go there and could feel her anger trying to come back, but Hoppy spoke softly to her and eventually he was standing on tiptoe with his little nose pressed against the glass looking in through the window and the fairy was hovering above his head.

What she saw made her little heart beat faster, and her eyes fill with tears…Her precious golden roses were in a bowl on a small table by a bed. In the bed was a lady who looked very poorly and by the bed was the little girl holding her hand. Now because gnomes and fairies are magic, they can tell what’s going on in people’s minds and hearts, without hearing any words. And so it was. They could tell that the little girl had brought the flowers in for her sick mother because her mother loved the garden and these roses more than anything else, and couldn’t go out there to see them. And the mother was so, so happy to see the roses, and to feel the love of her child that it was making her feel better. And do you know, through the window wafting out on the night air came the most perfect fragrance, not just from the roses, but from the sweetness of kindness and love.

‘Do you know’, whispered Hoppy, wiping a tear from his eye, ‘I think the angels would be glad about this, not angry.’ And the fairy believed it would be so. What do you think?