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Once upon a time. That’s how these stories are supposed to begin, isn’t it?

Well, it wasn’t once upon a time. It was just a few years ago, on a Wednesday afternoon in March. It was a cool day, but sunny, holding a promise of the spring that hadn’t yet agreed to arrive.

Sit down here with me, and I’ll tell you all about it.

I was at a loose end that particular day, I’d lost my job a few weeks beforehand, so had a lot of people. I decided to go for a nice walk, away from the stresses of everything, and I found myself here, in these woods. Lovely place, isn’t it? Feels like a million miles away, even though you know the motorway’s just over that hill.

You look a little thirsty. Here, I’ve got plenty of drink in my bottle, have a sip. Nice and refreshing, isn’t it? Not like the chemical-ridden stuff you get in the shops.

Anyway, so I was walking about through these woods when I came upon this clearing here. It’s a nice place to sit, especially when it’s quiet, so I sat down on this rock here, just like today, to rest my legs awhile and enjoy the sunshine. Well, it wasn’t quiet for long. Before I knew it, I had company.

Here, fancy a biscuit? Freshly baked today, they are. You like that? Here, have a few more.

You see the circle in the grass here? They call this clearing the Gypsy’s Dancefloor, you know. There’s an old legend that a Gypsy girl got caught by the fairies here. Once she’d shared their food and drink she was in their power, and she had to dance with them all night, every night, for the rest of her life.

It’s not true, of course.

She danced with them for a few months, that’s all. Clever girl, she was, so they say, and she soon figured out that if she could trick somebody else into sharing fairy food and drink with her, they’d have to take her place and she’d be free. The next person figured out the same, and the next, and the one after him, and so on until you get to me.

So, well, I’m sorry and all, but I hope you like dancing. I’ll let you keep the biscuits.

© Kari Fay

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