Elidorus and the Fairies
Once upon a time, there was a travelling priest called Elidorus. He told this story to a man called Gerald of Wales who wrote it down in the year 1191.
Once upon a time, a 12-year old boy - just like the children in year 6 - was working frowning over his school books. His teacher was really strict and the boy hadn’t done his homework. He could hear his teacher walking towards his classroom, and instead of staying and confessing to his teacher he hasn’t done what he’d been told, he climbed out the window and ran towards the rover.
When he got there, he still didn’t feel he was safe from his angry teacher because he could hear the shouting, so he scrambled down the river bank and hid himself in a little muddy hole. Many hours passed and it started to get dark. The boy was hungry and knew he would have to go home. He knew his parents would be cross with him for being muddy and not doing his school work, but he also knew he couldn’t stay there forever!
Just as he was about to leave, he got the fright of his life. Right in front of him appeared two Fairy men! They were very small and they said to him, ‘Don’t go home - come with us instead and we’ll take you to a land full of fun and games!’
The boy agreed happily - it meant he could avoid going home and getting into trouble - and he followed the fairies along a dark underground path. After a while the path opened up and he arrived in a beautiful country, of rivers and meadows, woods and valleys. But something wasn’t quite right. The sun wasn’t bright and the light was hazy. And at night - as he found out - you never saw the moon or stars.
The fairy men led the boy through the land and and took him to meet the Fairy King. The Fairy King smiled at him and said, “Welcome, young man. Let me introduce your new best friend: you can play with my son.” and the boy met a fairy child his own age and they played very happily.
The boy wasn’t always very observant, but he did see that this was different to home. The people were very small, with long, light hair, both women and men. Their dogs and horses were also small and they never ate meat. They always told the truth and so never had to promise anything and they visited the land of humans all the time.
The boy learnt the fairy language very quickly, because they were so kind and keen to help him learn. He learnt their dances and their games, and how to make fairy food, and how to heal sick creatures.
Sometimes the boy would return to our world with his new fairy friends, climbing through the river bank, or through other secret tunnels. But he was sometimes embarrassed at what the fairies said about human behaviour. They would sigh with sadness when they saw humans hurt each other, or lie.
His friend, the fairy prince, noticed the boy looking sad when the fairies talked about humans and he said to him, “Do you miss your old home, my friend? Perhaps you would like to make a visit?” And the boy nodded. “Then wy dont you go tomorrow?” said the prince. I will take you to the tunnel and wait for you to come back safely.
So the next day, the boy returned to the human world alone. He had decided to visit his best friend, to tell him all about his adventures. His friend was excited and full of questions, but he didn’t want to go with the boy. He was happy where he was. “But next time you come back,” said the friend, “I would like you to bring me a present. I hear the fairies have plenty of gold -that is what I would like.”
The following week, the boy was playing with the fairy prince and having a lovely time. They were throwing a golden ball. And as he caught it, the by remembered his old best friend and how he had wanted some fairy gold for himself. So he pretended to lose the golden ball, by throwing it into the long grass, hiding it for later.
The next day, he sneaked into the grass and stole the golden ball. He crept through the river tunnel and ran over the fields to his friend’s house. But when he reached the doorway, he stumbled over the step. The golden ball fell from his pocket and rolled to the floor. The boy’s friend smiled when he saw what the boy had brought him. But not for long. Because behind the boy were two tiny fairies - their eyes full of tears and pity for the thief they’d thought was their friend.
The fairies picked up their golden ball and walked away. His friend sniggered and thought it was funny. But the boy felt terrible. He left the friend’s house and walked back to the river bank, to go back home to the land of the fairies.
But where was the tunnel? He looked and looked, getting muddier and muddier, but no matter how hard he stared and felt and wandered and poked, he could not find the entrance. Every day for a year he spent hours searching along the river bank, trying to get back to the fairy kingdom.
Time passed. Years went by. The boy grew up and became Elidorus, this travelling priest who first told this story. He was wise now, a teacher and a helper, who always told the children he met to be honest, and be kind, always - yes, always - treat others as you would wish to be treated.
1. Who was the boy’s real friend?
2. Does a real friend want your love or things?
3. What happens when you steal?
4. Can you un-do a thing that you’ve done wrong?