Once upon a time two little boys sat on a doorstep wishing wishes.
Once upon a time two little boys sat on a doorstep wishing wishes.
"I wish, I wish," said the first little boy, whose name was Billy, "I wish I had something to eat as good as ice-cream!"
"So do I," said the other little boy, whose name was Bobbie, "and a rose as red as my sister's new Sunday dress."
"Yes, indeed," said Billy, "and a pony to ride."
"Oh, yes," cried Bobbie, clapping his hands, "a real, live pony to ride away"—
And then they both cried "Oh!" For, do you believe it? there right before them stood the tiniest, the loveliest lady they had ever seen!
Her hair was like sunshine, her eyes like the skies, and her cheeks like roses; and she had wings more beautiful than the wings of a butterfly; for she was a fairy.
"I am your fairy godmother," said she, "and I will grant your three wishes if you will do just as I tell you."
Billy and Bobbie had never known before that they had a fairy godmother; but they were very glad of it, and listened eagerly to all she said.
"Get up in the morning when the stars are growing pale," said the fairy godmother, "and be at my golden gates when the lark sings his first song."
"But how shall we find your golden gates?" cried Billy and Bobbie together.
Then the fairy godmother put her hand into her pocket and took out two tiny feathers.
"Blow these into the air," she said, as she gave one to each child, "and follow them wherever they go; and when they fall to the earth again you will find my golden gates near by."
Then, before the little boys had time to answer, she vanished from sight, and only a bright spot of sunshine showed where she had stood.
Billy laid his feather down on the door-step and ran to look for her, and when he came back the feather was gone, for a breeze had blown by and whisked it away; and though Billy ran after it he never could catch it.
"Now, there!" he said, "that horrid breeze has blown away my feather, and how shall I find my fairy godmother's golden gates?"
"Never mind," said Bobbie, "I have my feather safe in my handkerchief; and if you will get up early in the morning you can go with me."
"All right," cried Billy; and both the little boys ran home to tell their mothers the wonderful thing that had happened to them.
When Bobbie got to his home and had told his mother and eaten his supper, he made haste to go to bed; for he knew that he must be up betimes the next morning. He folded his clothes on a chair, tied the feather up loosely in the handkerchief and pinned the handkerchief to his jacket, that everything might be ready when he waked up.
Early, early in the morning, when the stars were pale, he jumped up and dressed, and ran to Billy's house.
"Billy! Billy!" he called, as soon as he got there; but Billy was asleep. He had not gone to bed with the birds, and he did not hear Bobbie call until his big brother waked him up; and then he said:—
"Oh! I'm too sleepy to go now. Tell Bobbie to go on and I will catch up with him."
So Bobbie started off alone. When he reached the road he shook out his handkerchief, and away flew the feather over the fields and meadows where the dewdrops waited for the sunbeams to make them bright. Bobbie followed it wherever it went, and by and by it flew near the lark's nest. The lark was just getting up.
"Good morning," said Bobbie. "When will you sing your first song?"
"When I fly up to the blue sky," answered the lark; and he flew up, up, till he looked like a tiny speck against the sky, and then he sang his morning song.
Just then the feather fell to the earth, and Bobbie found himself before the fairy godmother's golden gates which were swinging wide open.
The fairy godmother herself was waiting to greet him, and she led him into her beautiful garden where all the birds and all the flowers were waking up. In the garden, under a tree, was a little silver table, and on the table were two golden bowls, each with a golden spoon beside it, and filled to the brim with fairy snow.
"One is for you," said the fairy godmother; and when Bobbie had tasted the fairy snow he liked it so well that he ate it all up, and it was better than ice-cream!
Then the fairy godmother took him down the garden path till they came to a rose-bush; on the rose-bush grew two roses as red as Bobbie's sister's new dress, and that was very red indeed.
"One of these is for you," said the fairy godmother; and after Bobbie had plucked one very carefully, he pinned it on his jacket that he might carry it to his mother.
"Now," said the fairy godmother, "what was the last wish?"
"A pony!" cried Bobbie; "but you surely can't give me that."
"Look under the willow tree," said the fairy godmother, smiling. And there, sure enough, were two ponies! One was white and one was brown; and they had saddles on their backs, and golden bridles, and were all ready for little boys to ride.
Bobbie looked at them both and took the brown one, because it was a little like his father's big brown horse.
"Good-by," said the fairy, as he jumped on the pony's back. "You have done your part and I have done mine, and I wish you well in the world."
Then Bobbie thanked her and rode away through the golden gates toward home; and on the way he met Billy.
Now Billy had got up late in the morning
when the sun was high, and had started
out to look for his fairy godmother's golden
gates. As he was wandering about, he
met a grasshopper, and
"Grasshopper, grasshopper, do you know where my fairy godmother lives?"
"Not I," said the grasshopper, laughing till his sides shook. "What a funny boy, not to know the way to his own god-mother's!"
This did not please Billy, so he hurried away; and before long he met a bird.
"Bird, bird," he cried, "do you know where my fairy godmother lives?"
"Not I," said the bird, whistling in surprise.
"Nobody knows anything!" said Billy;
but just then the lark flew by, and when he
had heard the whole story he
"A little boy passed my nest just as I was waking up this morning, and I will show you the way he went."
Then Billy made haste as fast as he could from the lark's meadow, and very soon he met Bobbie on the brown pony.
"It is all there, Billy," cried Bobbie, "just as she said. There's a bowl of fairy snow on the table, and a rose in the garden, and a pony under the willow tree!"
When Billy heard this he ran as fast as he could to the golden gates; and he scarcely spoke to the fairy godmother, for he spied the golden bowl on the silver table.
But the fairy snow was all gone. It had melted away in the warm sunshine, and when Billy looked in there was only a drop of water left in the bottom of the bowl.
"The sun has been shining while you were on the way," said the fairy godmother.
But Billy thought of the rose and the pony, and made haste down the garden path till he came to the rose-bush.
But the rose as red as the Sunday dress was gone, and only a heap of rose petals and a stem showed where it had been.
"The wind has been blowing while you were on the way," said the fairy godmother.
"Dear me!" said Billy. But he remembered the pony, and off he ran to the willow tree.
But when he got there all he could see was a golden bridle hung up in a tree; for the pony had gotten so tired of waiting and waiting and waiting for somebody who did not come, that he had broken loose from his bridle and gone back to fairyland.
"There now!" said Billy, "I've had all my trouble for nothing. I wish I hadn't come!"
And, do you believe it? he had scarcely spoken when something whisked him up and whirled him away, and the next thing he knew he was sitting on the very doorstep where he had been when he was wishing wishes!