Bethan was a 9 year old explorer, an adventurer who loved life. She had travelled from the wilds of giant country to the land of the forever young princess. Of course these were places she'd made up with her friends but they were real locations that could be seen from the back gate of her house so her mother could keep an eye on her. Bethan had many adventures much further away, at the zoo and at the fair where she visited with her family. She and her best friend had once climbed an entire mountain with the school and they had written a story about the magical creatures they found at the top.
But all these adventures seemed long ago now and it seemed she'd never have such a good story ever again. She had no words for how devastated this made her. It was so unfair. Bethan had been very ill and she even had gone to hospital. She didn't like it there very much. There weren't very many adventures to be had in hospital.
And when Bethan had come out of hospital, her mother had told her she wasn't allowed to go back to school. She wasn't even allowed to play with her friends. The doctor had said that although Bethan was better now, she had to be by herself for a while. Bethan didn't understand what an immune system was, but it meant that she couldn't go any more adventures for a while.
Bethan's mum said that it wouldn't be forever and that things would be back to normal before her next Birthday. But Bethan's mum didn't understand. Bethan knew that when you were waiting for time it would stop. And if Bethan really wanted nothing more than the day to come when she could go on another adventure and if she wanted it badly enough, as she did, then the whole world would be frozen in time forever and ever.
When school broke for the Summer holiday, Bethan's friends came to call for her but her mum told them that Bethan couldn't come out. They weren't even allowed to meet her at the bottom of the garden. Everyday, Bethan would watch them from the back gate. She'd watch them battle giants in giant country and take birthday presents to the forever young princess, who had a birthday every day but never got a day older.
One day Bethan was writing in her diary near the garden gate. She hadn't written much. There wasn't much to say these days as there were no adventures to record. Her eyes were wandering around the garden when something strange caught her eye. At the back, under the bushes, there was a very tiny hat. Bethan went to pick it up. How very strange, she thought. It was a cute little straw hat, far too small for anyone to wear. It would be too small even for her dolly.
When she reached under the bush to grab it, she saw something even stranger at the wall at the back of garden. She had never noticed before but there was a tiny door in the garden wall. That door would be of no use to anyone, she thought. It was so small only a mouse could use it. But mice couldn't use door handles. She giggled out lout at the thought of a mouse living in a tiny house behind a little door.
Bethan went and grabbed her mum to show her what she'd found. At first, her mum didn't believe her but Bethan pulled her into the garden to show her. She showed her the little hat she had found too. Bethan's mum had a theory about the door. She explained that when she was little, she had seen little fairies in her nana's garden. These fairies were always leaving behind their little things and she had collected lots of fairy belongings during her childhood.
Bethan was shocked. Her mum had never told her this before. She had always thought her mum was very boring and never had good stories to tell. Bethan's mum never had adventures like Bethan. Bethan didn't know whether she believed her mum. She wasn't even sure if fairies existed. But her mum was very insistent.
Bethan really wanted to see the fairies but her mum explained how the magical people were very shy and it wouldn't be easy to spot them. But Bethan was ready for the challenge. If there were fairies at the bottom of her garden she was determined to see them. She thought that she would leave gifts for them so she asked her mother what fairies like.
According to Bethan's mother, fairies love flowers and pretty things, so Bethan planted some pretty flowers in the garden. Although, she thought afterwards that maybe her mother was tricking her into helping her tending to the garden. However, Bethan found she actually quite enjoyed gardening with her mother and the garden looked so much better. Unfortunately, she still didn't see any fairies.
Bethan's mother brought home some stones and paint so that Bethan could paint some special decorations for the garden. She painted beautiful fairies on the rocks and placed them at the bottom of the garden near the fairy door. The fairies will love these, she thought. Hopefully, this will make them feel at home and they will be more confident.
The next day Bethan dug out her tent, her camera and a pair of binoculars and took them out into her garden. She hid in the tent and waited to see if the fairies came out. But she didn't see anything and after a while she started to get bored. She wondered how long she had been on her stake out and went inside to check and pour herself a squash.
When she got back, she picked up her binoculars and stared at the door. Wait a minute, what was that? She rushed to the door. A tiny bicycle had been left in the grass. A bicycle only big enough for a fairy. Had she missed them? Do fairies ride bicycles? She went to show her mother. Bethan kept watch for the fairies everyday and wrote down any clues in her journal but still she didn't see any fairies. She wrote to her friends about her progress. It almost felt like she was sharing another adventure with them.
One day, Bethan's mum had an idea. She suggested that Bethan wrote a letter to the fairies so they would know they could trust her. Bethan thought it was a brilliant idea and wrote a beautiful letter with lovely pictures. Sure enough, a few days later Bethan saw her first fairy. She took a photo for her journal but didn't dare get too close.
Bethan told her mother. Suddenly she felt the tears on her face. Why are you crying? asked her mother. Bethan explained that she had been waiting to see the fairies for so long and now she had seen them her mission was complete. Her adventure was coming to an end.
That's ok, said her mother. Don't cry. You can start a new adventure. It's time you can go out and play with your friends again. Bethan was so happy. She couldn't wait to see her friends and tell them about the fairies.