The Diary of Miss Aidyn Hall, author
Today I Met Apple Blossom
This morning after breakfast, I went back to the magnolia archway and found it still unblocked. I proceeded down the path, expecting to run into the daddy longlegs and his web after ten steps. But this time around, there was no daddy longlegs and no web. It sucked for the spider, who I figured had gotten his web demolished by some careless oaf. But how lucky for me!
The path remained straight for about ten more steps, and then it made a winding turn. It reminded me of Dorothy’s yellow brick road, and I hummed the song to myself as I walked. I was starting to wonder if I really would see Oz at the end of the path, and how I would react to seeing all those munchkins coming out from under hedges and behind buildings. And with that thought firmly in my head, what else do I see but a little green haired person coming my way? She was not a munchkin, but a little girl who looked to be around nine or ten. But munchkin or not, she was certainly odd; she was very small, but not quite munchkin small. She had hair the exact color of a well-tended summer lawn. She was wearing a crown of pink and white blossoms, and a pink and green dress that looked like a big flower—the bodice was a flower bud and petals, the skirt formed the leaves. I wish I had a cool dress like that.
The girl smiled brightly at me. She had a very pretty smile that used all of her pearly teeth. She was one of those people whose eyes got really wide and whose eyebrows rose all the way up when they smiled. I smiled back, tipped my head, and said, “Hey!”
“Hey!” she cried. “Hey! Hey!” She bounced on her feet, which made her mossy curls bounce. “I saw you!” she cried. “I saw you! I saw you out here yesterday!”
That was weird. I hadn’t seen her (if I had, I would have written about her, of course). She must have been hiding, or had blended into the trees. “Is that so?” I said, as I continued walking. “When did you see me?”
“I saw you when you met with the Grand Elder Guardian,” said the girl, “and I saw you get lost in the shrubs. I felt very, very sorry for you, and I wanted to help you out, but it was very naughty of you to disobey the Grand Elder Guardian!” She said this as if I were a kid who had gotten caught with her hand in the cookie jar. “Who is this Grand Elder Guardian,” I asked reasonably, “and how did I disobey him?”
“The Grand Elder Guardian is the head of the guardians of my land,” the girl explained. “He is the largest spider with the largest web, and he decides who comes in and who goes out. He was going to let you in because he saw that you still held the tag, but…”
I cut her off. “What’s the tag?”
“You do still have the tag with you, don’t you?”
“All I have is my notepad and this green stone I found.” I showed her both.
“That’s the tag!” she exclaimed, pointing to the stone. “That’s the tag that my people use to keep track of those who come by my land.”
“Your land?” I asked. “So, you’re the queen?” If she was the queen, then my visions of munchkins had surely become reality. In her little way, she did seem quite queenly. Her posture, her outfit, and the way she conducted herself just screamed “royalty.” But at the same time, she carried on like an excitable kid.
“My mother is the queen,” she told me. “I am the princess, and my name is Apple Blossom.”
“Nice to meet you,” I said. Since she was a princess, I attempted a curtsy. It was likely dopey and awkward looking, but she didn’t seem to mind. “I’m Aidyn,” I told her.
“Hello, Aidyn!” She walked over to me and held out her hand. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to shake it or, as is often the case with princesses, kiss it. But I opted for the shake, because kissing it seemed too weird.
“Today’s my birthday,” she said, “and I’ve always wanted to meet a real, live human and invite one to my birthday party. Then I could introduce it to my friends and family and all of the others at my palace. But I could never find a human. They always misplace or lose their tag.” So she wasn’t human, but I guess I could’ve figured that out. It felt incredibly strange to be called “it” and to be invited to a birthday party for a little girl—a little princess—I had only just met. But if anything made for excellent material, it was this! So I said to Apple Blossom, “I would be delighted to come to your birthday party. But I have a few questions for you, if you don’t mind. You can answer them while we walk.”
“I don’t mind that at all!” said Apple Blossom. She held out her hand, which I took, and we continued walking down the path. I had quite a bit more than “a few” questions, and she had quite a bit more than “a few” answers. For the sake of convenience, I will write the ones I felt were most important in a handy Q&A format:
Q&A WITH PRINCESS APPLE BLOSSOM
Q: So you aren’t human. What are you, then?
A: I am a Jadeite. We are forest dwellers descended from the tree elves, which were descended from the dryads and the ancient forest elves. We live in small, scattered, and secluded places in cedar and oak forests, though our ancestors ruled the forest in the way you humans rule the rest of the world.
(For such a little girl, she can sure talk big. I suppose it’s all part of being a princess.)
Q: So what kind of importance do jade stones hold to you?
A: Jade stones contain the essences of the forest around us, and allow us to better communicate with and form a bond to our environment. We are called the Jadeites because the years have allowed us to strengthen our abilities to harness the forest energies through the jades; we are really no different from the old tree elves otherwise, except that we prefer the ground to the trees.
Q: So could the tree elves harness these “jade forest essences” too?
A. They are the ones who discovered the essences of jades. Before them, forest dwellers thought that emeralds contained the essences of the forests. This is true in small amounts, but jades contain much larger and more powerful forest essences. After they discovered this, the tree elves began to abandon emeralds in favor of jades. By the time of the first Jadeites, emeralds had been nearly completely abandoned. So yes, tree elves could harness the essences of jades, but it was a very newly discovered thing in their time.
(By now I had taken out my notepad and was ferociously writing down everything I could catch. If Apple Blossom minded this, she didn’t show it. But this whole thing about elves and princesses and “forest essences” was a story just waiting to happen.)
Q: What does the jade “tag” do, and what’s carved on the back of it?
A: For our peace of mind, we like to keep track of the humans that come by our land. When a human comes by, a tagger is sent out to place a tag on them. The tag provides a link between us and the human, and allows us to observe the human’s ways. Most lose or throw away their tag, many remove the tags on the spot, and some return only to throw the tag back. It is rare that anybody returns with their tag in hand. The tag is inscribed with your number.
(I showed her my tag and asked what number was carved on it. She said I was number five. Four other people had come by here at some point.)
Q: Did the other four make it in?
A: Only one of them returned, and he did not make it past the Grand Elder Guardian.
Q: Why did the Grand Elder Guardian let me in, especially since I apparently “disobeyed” him?
A: He was not planning to. He and the other guardians didn’t like that you disobeyed him by trying to bypass his web! The only reason he did let you in is because I respectfully requested it of him, and since it is my birthday he was willing to grant the request.
Q: Because you wanted to play with a “real, live human?”
Well, I’ve always wanted to meet a real live fairy, elf, pixie, or nymph because I’ve always wanted to write about fairies, elves, pixies, and nymphs. I couldn’t very accurately write about them without meeting one first. Now I finally have my chance, and I don’t even need to come up with the story. The story began to tell itself the moment I met little Jadeite Princess Apple Blossom—though really, it started the moment I was “tagged."
It sucks that I don’t have much more time to journal today. I still have so much more to say about this day. But I guess I’ll have to save it all for tomorrow. I’ll dedicate my entire morning to writing about it.