“Hi, Miss Abi!” Kendra called as she set her bike against the side of Abileen Bridges’ cottage. 

Abileen—or Miss Abi, as everyone called her—was in the gated side yard with her two goats, Samson and Sugar, and she grinned at the young girl. “Hey there, Kendra! Enjoying the sunshine today?”

“I sure am. I bet Sugar will want to stay outside and play all day, what do you think?”

Kendra loved coming to look after Sugar while Miss Abi went to work at the library. Samson, a grey little bundle of snuggles, usually went along with her. But his sister was a plucky white fireball of energy, so a few of the kids in town would come spend time keeping her occupied and out of trouble.

Giving Sugar a quick scratch under her chin, Miss Abi picked Samson up under one arm and informed Kendra that there were fresh chocolate chip cookies cooling in the kitchen if she wanted to help herself. Then with an enthusiastic wave, she let Samson hop into the back of her bright blue hatchback, slid into the driver’s seat, and headed off to work.

With the little goat happily dozing in the children’s section, Miss Abi manned the front desk– directing folks to various genres, checking out books for them, and generally keeping everything in order. But it wasn’t long before Nora Van Skeltzig came in, and it was clear that today was not her best day. Fine lines creased her forehead. Her eyes glistened with tears. She was clasping her hands so tightly it turned her knuckles white.

Miss Abi swooped in immediately and put her arm around the distraught woman. “Come sit, honey,” she said gently, and led her over to a cushy bench. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

The owner of Miss Nora’s Eccentric Accessories sighed. “I’m overreacting. I know it. It’s really not a big deal… but it’s just so upsetting. I made these new hats, you see. They’ve got a cute little brim, a bit of a point at the top, and a trio of feathers on the side in yellow, green, and purple. I’ve priced them quite reasonably, and everyone says how pretty they are… but I haven’t sold a single one!”

Miss Abi took Miss Nora’s hands in hers for a moment and patted them. “You sit here, I’ll be back in a wink.” And she went back to the front desk and pulled out her Big Book of Stories. It was old and brown and lovely… and she always had it nearby, no matter where she went. She brought it over to the cushy bench, sat down beside Miss Nora, and opened its pages. “I have just the thing.”

Nora sniffled a little, then settled in. Everyone knew what to expect when Miss Abi grabbed her Big Book. It was story time.


The Tale of the Flower Fairy

Once upon a time there was a little fairy named Lily. She lived in an enchanted forest and she sold flowers… or at least she TRIED to sell flowers. Itty bitty pots overflowing with yellow, pink, and purple petals. But hardly anyone ever bought any. Not the squirrels, not the badgers, not the birds, and certainly not the other fairies. “Why should we buy your flowers?” they would ask. “There are flowers all throughout the forest that we can see and enjoy. What makes yours so special?”

Lily would hang her head, never knowing what to say in response. She just knew she loved her tiny pots of flowers, and because they made HER so happy, she wanted to make a living sharing that happiness with others. But it felt like no one else could see or feel that happiness.

How could she MAKE them see it?

One day it hit her, as sudden and undeniable as an acorn dropping on her head. If they couldn’t see it by themselves… she had to make it obvious. She had to give them meaning that the others could connect to. She would give them new names!

Soon Lily had a fresh setup, and each pot had a tiny painted sign poking out of its dirt. The yellow flowers she called “Smile Givers.” The purple flowers were “Joy Bringers.” And the pink ones, “Little Love Blossoms.”

Now she was selling flowers for birthdays, flowers for holidays, flowers for bad days, and flowers just because! The new names made it clear to everyone in the forest what qualities and emotions Lily wanted to share with them. Finally they understood… it was always about so much more than just flowers. 


Miss Abi closed the Big Book and turned to look at Nora. The shop owner’s eyes were glistening with different feeling now. She was inspired.

“Oh, Miss Abi, thank you!” she cried. “I know just what to do. The feathers, the feathers! Green for luck, yellow and joy, and purple for…” She paused a moment, giddy and undeterred. Then her eyebrows lifted and her hands fluttered. “Purple for wisdom!”

A small, knowing smile crossed the librarian’s face as Nora followed her back to the front desk and she slipped the Big Book under the counter. “I love that idea. In fact,” said Miss Abi, “I think I’d like to be the first to purchase one.” She winked. “I could always use a little extra luck, joy, and wisdom in my life.”


Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay