Sparkly Rose was fed up. In fact she was very VERY fed up. Her mom, Dusty Rose, had been nagging her ever since she got home from her fish and chip shop.
“Hey! Sparkly Rosie – your mushroom is one big mess! When are you going clean it up?
All that fairy dust lying all over the place, getting up my nose and making me sneeze. As if the smell of fish is not bad enough!
And all those wings on the floor. Pick a pair to wear and put the rest away.
Right NOW! Before your father gets home. He’ll be a basket case if he sees the mess in your mushroom!”
“Nag, nag, naggity nag,” thought Sparkly Rose as she stomped off to her mushroom and slammed the door. Actually, it is quite hard for a fairy to stomp because they are light and airy and don’t weigh very much at all. Even though she was wearing her purple designer sneakers she still could not make much noise.
She sighed a big fat sigh. Her mom just did not understand. Sparkly Rose was tired of being a boring little fairy. She wanted to be special. She wanted to be a magic fairy and be able to do spells. Only good stuff of course… like magicing up more sweets when the packet was empty or making new pretty pink sneakers to go with her pearly pink wings… or maybe a floaty skirt with shiny silver stars on it. Nothing nasty like turning somebody into a hog or making a girl grow a beard. Oh no! She would never do something horrible like that.
Her daydreaming was rudely stopped by her mom barging into her mushroom. She stood in the doorway with a meanie look on her face.
“Okay okay Mother!” said Sparkly Rose quickly before her mom could say anything. “I was just wondering where to start.” Her mother backed out of the doorway and wagged her finger at her messy daughter.
Sparkly Rose closed her eyes and waved her hand over the mess, hoping that it would all magically disappear.
“Aw gee”, she moaned when she opened her eyes again, it did not work, the mess was still there.
She picked up a handful of fairy dust and blew it over the wings – saying – “Quickly fly into the drawers.” Now there was even more mess than before.
“Oh rats!” she said crossly, kicking at the fairy dust.
The next instant, a large, rather untidy looking rat appeared, blinking its eyes.
“Ruby the Ravishing Rat at your service.” the furry critter said.
Sparkly Rose leapt onto her flowerbed in alarm. She was not very fond of furry creatures unless they were stuffed and sat on her shelf.
“What are YOU doing in my mushroom?” she yelled?
“Well! YOU tell ME!” replied Ruby Rat. “One minute I was in my lounge, watching my favourite soapie on TV, enjoying my dinner, and the next moment I find myself in this tip of a room. What are you – a little fairy or a messy tokoloshi in disguise?”
Sparkly Rose was quiet for a bit. For starters, she’d never ever had a chat with a rat before, and definitely not in her room. This rat seemed a bit rude too – saying that she was a messy tokoloshi. What a cheek. What was a tokoloshi anyway?
Maybe I’m dreaming she thought, and gave herself a pinch to wake up. Nope, the scruffy rat was still there, staring with her beady eyes. Waiting…
“Well?” said Ruby Rat impatiently.
“Why is your name Ruby Rat?” asked Sparkly Rose, feeling a bit braver.
“Because my eyes glow red like rubies in the dark”, said Ruby Rat. “Especially when I get mad. Now, why did you call me?”
“I was trying to magic my room clean,” she explained to the rat. “And it did not work, so I got mad and kicked the fairy dust instead.”
“Hmmm, and took my name in vain as well I see.” replied Ruby Rat. “Why don’t you just do it the normal way like everybody else? Pick the stuff up.”
“Because” said Sparkly Rose crossly, “I don’t want to be like everybody else. I want to be special!”
“What’s so special about being special?” asked Ruby Rat.
“Oh you would not understand, you are just a stupid old rat!” Sparkly Rose said rudely.
Ruby Rat chewed one of her fingernails, her eyes glinting red in the light. She looked at the untidy fairy.
“Bit rude, aren’t you? I’m not old and how do you know I’m stupid? In fact I’m not stupid at all – I taught Harry Potter a couple of tricks.
“Yeah right – you and Harry Potter?” said Sparkly Rose, “and I’m Barbie!”
“Okay okay” said Ruby Rat. “But I did read the first few books. Then they got a bit too heavy for me to hold. Look, let’s stop bickering – what can I do to help? I am missing my favourite soapie you know.”
“Well… I have to tidy my mushroom, otherwise my Mom is going to have another hairy fairy fit and she says my dad will turn into a basket.”
“I should think so too – this place is a tip. Aren’t you worried that those spiders hanging up there in the corner will bite you when you sleep?” asked Ruby Rat.
“No” said Sparkly Rose. “I talk to him too and sometimes he lets me decorate his web with stars and sparkly things. He’s quite friendly really. That’s why I have to tidy my own room – my mom is afraid of spiders and wants to vacuum him up.”
Ruby Rat looked at Sparkly Rose in a thoughtful kind of way.
“Come on then, I’ll give you a paw. I quite like the taste of fairy dust, so I’ll clean the floor for you. You hang up those wings in the cupboard. No – hang them up nicely! Don’t shove them under your flowerbed.”
They worked together quietly for some time.
Then Ruby Rat said to Sparkly Rose. “You are rather special, you know.”
“No ways. I can’t do the stuff I want to do – I’m not special at all. I’m just a boring little fairy.”
“That can talk to spiders and rats?” answered Ruby Rat.
Sparkly Rose looked at the rat. “Can’t everybody do that?” she asked.
“Uh uh, only special fairies can do that. Most fairies are scared silly of spiders and rats.” Ruby Rat replied.
“Cool!” said Sparkly Rose, “I never ever thought of that before.” She smiled a big smile.
“Hey Ruby Rat! I’m not just a boring little fairy after all. I’m a boring little fairy that can talk to insects and animals. Not quite what I had in mind, but I guess it will do for the moment.”
“Marvellous!” said Ruby Rat. “Now seeing as your mushroom is now all nice and tidy, can I please go back to my soapie and my dinner?”
“Sure,” said Sparkly Rose. “Thanks very much for helping me. My mushroom has never looked so tidy.”
“No problem.” replied Ruby Rat. “Don’t mention it. Seriously – let’s keep this our little secret.”
Ruby Rat knew that Sparkly Rose really was special. By kicking the fairy dust she’d managed to call her up – just like a genie in a bottle, except she was a rat in a rattle. Ruby Rat also knew that she’d be seeing a lot more of the untidy Sparkly Rose, but she’d have to wait until she was a bit older and wiser before Ruby Rat would tell her anymore about her secret powers.
Ruby Rat gave Sparkly Rose a pat on the shoulder, whisked her tail in the air… and was gone.
Sparkly Rose flung herself on her bed and looked around her clean, tidy room. She waved at the spider.
She felt very pleased. She was special after all.
PS – A tokoloshi is a mythical South African creature believed to cause accidents and misfortune.