Plughole Fairy

Artwork details: coloured pencil over paper stained with gouache, 8 x 8.5 inches (20 x 22 cm), 2003.

Here is a harmless little fairy, adaptable, happy to find his own niche and eke out a modest existence, though it doesn't do to ponder upon what this one eats...

'I had always meant to write a short story about the Plughole Fairy' - I said to my partner some weeks ago. 'You did write it' he said. 'I did?' ... rummage around the hard-disk... now where would I have put a story about the Plughole Fairy?... Ah ha! ... 'You're right, I did'. Well, I wrote it years ago and it seems I'm never going to do anything with it - even do the illustrations... so here it is (see below the picture). It's a children's story. I don't suppose children should be looking through this site, but they get everywhere nowadays...

'Plughole Fairy' - drawing by Nancy Farmer
Plughole Fairy

The Story of Bung, the Plughole Fairy

Once upon a time there was a fairy.
A very, VERY smelly fairy.
His name was Bung.
Bung lived down the plughole of a sink, which explains why he was so smelly.
But he liked being smelly.

Bung had pointed ears and very messy hair.
And little grey wings.
And skin the colour of cheese when it has gone all green and mouldy.
And bright green eyes.
He liked green.
Green reminded him of smelly slimy places.
And frogs.
Bung had heard of frogs from his sweeter smelling cousins who lived at the bottom of the garden, and he knew frogs were slimy and lived in smelly ponds.
He had never seen a frog,
but he thought he would like frogs.

There was a house where Bung lived.
In the house was a spare room that hardly anybody ever went in to.
And in that room was a sink.
And in that sink was a plughole.
And in that plughole was a plug.
The plug was Bung's front door.

And underneath the plug a pipe carried away all the water.
But the pipe didn't go straight down to the drains below.
Instead it did a little wiggle.
First the pipe went down for a bit.
Then it bent upwards.
Then it bent down again.
This is called a water trap.
All sinks do this.
But not all sinks have smelly fairies living in them.

Bung lived in the water trap.
Drains are very smelly places, but you can't smell them from the outside because the little wiggle in the pipe is always full of water and that stops the smell coming up.
This was Bung's home.
A slimy, smelly, cosy little home.

Early every evening Bung woke up.
He didn't get up in the early morning because he didn't really like the light much.
Only healthy people, who don't like smelly things, get up early in the morning.
He didn't wash.
He didn't clean his teeth.
But he did have breakfast.

Usually Bung managed to catch a nice fat juicy spider for his breakfast.
Sometimes he had to eat earwigs, but really he liked spiders best.
They are much more juicy and not so hard on the outside.
And he washed breakfast down with a nice drink of fresh, clean water from out of the dripping tap.
Even smelly fairies have to drink clean water.

Then he usually spent the night pottering around the empty room, leaving dirty fingerprints on the windows and scaring the nice clean fairies that came to look in.
And sneezing on the carpet.
Then, just as day was dawning, he squeezed himself back through the plughole, making himself smaller so he could fit through the little holes.
All fairies can do this, because all fairies, even smelly ones, are magical creatures.

One day, however, disaster struck.

Bung didn't notice at first, of course, because it was daytime, and the idle little fairy was asleep.
But there seemed to be odd squeaky noises coming from the room outside his plug.
The noises woke Bung up.
Cautiously he looked out of his plughole.
He was horrified.
Somebody was cleaning his nice grimy window.
From the inside!
They were in his spare room!

And it got worse!
That very evening two Somebodys came to stay in the spare room.
They came with very overstuffed suitcases.

And it got worse than that, too!
That very evening one of these terrible Somebodys cleaned their teeth!
Into Bung's lovely smelly home!

Bung, of course, didn't know what the Somebody was doing, because he never ever cleaned his teeth, but try to imagine how you would feel if a Somebody dribbled toothpaste into your home if you were not even as big as my little finger.
Which is about this big.

Poor little Bung was terrified.
And he didn't like the fresh minty smell at all!

And then it got ever so much worse!
Suddenly a terrible flood of water came roaring out of the tap.
More water than Bung had ever seen!
He had heard about large amounts of water, because he had heard of ponds, but he didn't think that the water in ponds moved as fast as this water.
Just at that moment Bung didn't really think of anything at all, because things had got about as bad as they could get for poor Bung.

Over and over he tumbled in the terrible flood.
He went right round the wiggle in the pipe, and he carried on falling!
Down and down and down he went.
Round corners and down again!

Then, just when he thought that even magic fairies might drown in this much water, he saw a faint light ahead.
Out he popped into daylight!
He landed on a metal grille outside, bruised and battered, but alive.
And all the water roared past him.

Poor, poor smelly Bung.
He was cold and battered and miserable.
And, with a shock, he realized he wasn't even smelly anymore.
He just smelt slightly minty.
That was the toothpaste, but as I have said before, Bung was really not familiar with toothpaste.

And now it was night time and Bung began to feel very alone outside in the dark, and he worried what sort of things might be around.
And he worried they might be the sort of things that liked to eat fairies.

He crept around until he found an empty flowerpot.
"That will do for the moment", he thought, and he crept in.
Then, because he was very tired, and had been kept awake all day, he fell asleep.

But not for long.

"Oi! What are you doing in MY flowerpot!"
Cried an indignant snail.
Bung found himself prodded awake by two eyes on stalks.
Imagine the shock!
He just squeaked and ran away.

He lay down on the grass to sleep, thinking grass could not possibly belong to anyone.

But not for long.

"Hello! What's this sleeping on MY patch of grass!"
Purred an enormous ginger cat.
"And can I eat you?"
Bung shrieked and flew into the air.

He looked down and saw water.
More water than he had ever imagined.
"So this is a pond", he thought.
He flew lower.

It was so big he thought he must be able to rest here without being disturbed.

But he didn't think this for very long.

Just as he was going to land on a nice, flat, safe looking lily pad, well out of reach of hungry cats and indignant snails, two huge yellow eyes popped out of the water, and a wide green mouth said
"What do you think you're doing, landing on MY lily pad, little Fairy?"
And the frog flicked out its long, sticky tongue and Bung had to move very fast or he would have been eaten.

Well, this was just too much for our poor little fairy.
He was tired, he was homeless and things were trying to eat him.
And he had discovered he didn't like frogs at all.
He even tried flying to the window of the spare room, where his lovely cosy sink was, but the window was shut, and anyway the room had two sleeping Somebodys in it now.

The garden was far too dangerous so he sat on the roof and cried.
And, exhausted, he finally fell asleep.
And he slept.
And he slept.

And the sun came up.
And it began to rain.
And it rained.
And it rained.

And Bung was so tired that the sunshine didn't wake him up.
And he didn't wake up when it started to rain.
And he didn't wake up when he was washed into the gutter at the edge of the roof.
And he didn't wake up until he was washed straight into the drainpipe!

Bung wailed as he was swept down with all the rainwater.
He landed somewhere in deep water.
Well, that was not such a hard landing as last time, thought Bung.
A lot of leaves and twigs and dead woodlice had been washed down with him so he sat on a big floating leaf, as big as a boat to a little fairy, and he looked around.
And he looked around.
And he looked around again.
And as he looked his bright green eyes got bigger in wonder.

You see, this drainpipe did not go the same way as that other drainpipe that came out of the sink. From this drainpipe rainwater was collected into a huge green plastic water butt, for watering the plants when the weather got too dry.

This was not a dangerous drain, nor was it a dangerous pond.
As Bung looked around him he saw a beautiful private little lake, with a private little waterfall and high green walls that glowed softly all around him, and a roof that shaded him from the bright daylight above.
Bung sat in his little boat and he smiled to himself.
This was a place he could call home.
It even smelled a bit.

The End.

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