Sammie was just about to tell her friend that there was no such thing as fairies when the path split.
“The path doesn’t split on the map,” she said, holding the map the camp leader gave her when they first arrived. The path on the map went straight to the lake–a real lake, not the small one back at the campsite with a hundred kids splashing around–but the path they were on split with the main path continuing straight and a spindly trail winding off from it.
“We should go back,” Karen said, twisting the handles of the fishing poles thrown over her shoulder.
“We’ll never catch any fish with all those noisy kids scaring them away,” Sammie said. She looked from the map to the mysterious pathway that wasn’t supposed to be there. “I wonder where it goes.” She folded the map and started towards the little trail.
“We can’t go that way,” Karen said. “It isn’t on the map.”
“Then we’ll find out where it goes and put it on the map.” The other campers would be impressed that Sammie had discovered something new. Maybe they’d even name the trail after her. Besides, it probably led to a great fishing spot.
Karen didn’t move.
“Scared there will be fairies?” Sammie teased.
Karen caught up to her and whispered, “Don’t talk about them. They might hear you.”
Sammie rolled her eyes. Karen thought fairies were vicious, tiny winged people who lived in the woods.
“Ouch!” Karen rubbed her arm, nearly dropping the fishing poles. “The fairies are throwing acorns at me.”
“It’s just a squirrel,” Sammie said just as something pinged her head. She glared at the trees, but didn’t find any squirrels to scold.
Karen wanted to turn back, but Karen was always a scaredy-cat, so Sammie didn’t listen.
“You two are going to get in big trouble for this.” It was their camp leader. Sammie and Karen whorled around, expecting to see her standing behind them, frowning at them for sneaking off. But no one was there.
“It’s the fairies,” Karen said. “They can mimic other’s voices.”
Sammie’s arm crawled with goose bumps, but she didn’t believe in fairies. And she didn’t want to give up that fishing hole.
As they kept walking, a strange melodious sound crept into the air. It was somewhere between the trill of a bird and the voice of a mother singing to her child.
“It’s the fairies!” Karen didn’t try to keep the panic out of her voice. “They can sing you to sleep. We’ll be asleep for hours out here. We can’t be in the woods after dark.”
Sammie put her hands over her ears and ran up the trail.
Then she was looking at the most perfect fishing spot. The sparkling water was framed by waving tree leaves, and an ancient log sprawled on bright grass as if nature created a place to sit just for her. Butterflies dotted the area like festive decorations.
“I told you there weren’t fairies.” Sammie turned, but Karen wasn’t there. A butterfly fluttered in front of Sammie’s eyes. It had a tiny face and arms. It wasn’t a butterfly. It was a fairy. There were a hundred of them around the fishing spot.
Karen always said if you find a fairy’s den, the fairies make sure you can’t go back and tell anyone about it.