A fairy was flying over Europe. Her name was Samaljotka. She was on her way to Santa Claus with long lists of what the children of Italy wanted for Christmas. She had been collecting this information for months and was really tired. She had to crawl in each child’s ears and listen to their wishes. Then she had to write it down on tiny rolls of paper in microscript. It was a lot of work and she was exhausted. Maybe that is why she crashed into a Church tower in the little Slovak town of Trnava. Christmas fairies cannot be seen by humans, unless it’s a human who is truly filled with genuine Christmas spirit. Luckily she was found by a caring lady who happened to be on her way to work to bake pizzas.
Samaljotka is completely confused and can hardly move. Zuzana picks her up and cups her in her hands. The fairy asks Zuzana for help, but Zuzana is cunning. She knows fairies can fulfill wishes. And she has a very specific wish in mind.
She would really love to spend more time with her soulmate.
He’s from Belgium, she is from Ukraine. They are in Slovakia. During the week they are about 30 kilometers apart. They communicate in Russian. Well, she does. His Russian is like a bombed city. It’s a city, but on every street a few buildings are missing. Still, they understand each other easily. And when she thinks he didn’t fully understand she laughs heartily.
They like each other a lot, but because of their circumstances they can’t spend much time together.
Zuzana tells the fairy: ‘Give me an apartment in Bratislava with a view of the Danube, for me and my soulmate to share. And I swear I will help you.’
Zuzana was lying. She would never let the fairy die on the cold ground of a square in Trnava. The pizzeria employee simply wanted to play her cards to great advantage.
Samaliotka sighed and said: ‘That’s really a lot to ask for. I am but a small fairy and an apartment is big. Especially the ones with a view of the Danube are expensive.’
‘It’s that or I walk away.’
Zuzana wanted to walk away, because people were staring at her. She was talking to something in her hands and nobody could see what it was. But she wasn’t serious about letting the fairy suffer there.
The fairy said: ‘You will have to feed me a lot so I regain my strength. And then I will try to grant your wish.’
Zuzana said: ‘no problem, I have Belgian chocolate at home.’
Samaljotka shook her head: ‘Ai ai, it’s sad, but people have forgotten all lore. Fairies don’t eat chocolate. Not even Belgian chocolate. Feeding me is going to be a lot trickier than you think.’
‘What is it you eat then? I can cook any kind of Ukrainian style pirogi you like.’
The fairy rolled her eyes and just said: ‘oh dear…’
Zuzana kept the fairy in her pocket. She was wearing a white shirt like all the kitchen staff. The fairy made herself comfortable in her breast pocket. She said: ‘You smell nice.’
Zuzana started explaining where she bought her perfume, but the fairy fell asleep. All she said in her sleep was: ‘am hungry.’
The diligent pizza baker wondered out loud: ‘What does a fairy eat?’
Her colleagues looked at her in amazement. One asked: ‘Did you just ask what a fairy eats?’
Zuzana shook her head and said: ‘No, no, you misunderstood. I asked what a fair price would be for eating our pizzas.’
Her colleagues were very confused. They said: ‘But Zuzana, all the prices are on the menu…’
Zuzana said: ‘Blin, of course. I should have known that.’
One colleague put her hand on Zuzana’s forehead to check if she had a fever.
Sometime in the afternoon the fairy woke up.
She had been snoring all morning.
Zuzana said the snoring sound was her own stomach. Her colleagues told her to eat something. She ate chocolates very loudly so her colleagues would not hear the fairy snore.
The fairy sighed: ‘I haven’t slept this well in months.’
Zuzana asked impatiently: ‘So what does a fairy eat?’
The fairy cried out: ‘Oh, it’s hard!’
A colleague interrupted and asked: ‘Zuzana, are you again asking about the prices of our pizzas? We have told you, the prices are on the menu. Do pizza restaurants in Ukraine not list their prices?’
Zuzana said: ‘Yes, you are right. The Russians come and steal everything anyway. Why list prices then?’
Her colleagues got a thermometer at a nearby pharmacy. Zuzana still had no fever.
When her colleagues weren’t looking she again asked what fairies eat.
The fairy said: ‘Well, I eat the wrappings of gifts given by generous people to the people they love, but who ask for nothing in return. It will be hard to find.’
Zuzana shrugged. ‘That’s all it is? That’s too easy. I thought you would give me a serious challenge.’
The fairy was confused. ‘But surely, this must be very hard to come by!’
Zuzana took her mobile phone and texted her Belgian soulmate:
‘Send me some lovely gifts by courier tomorrow, but please wrap them this time. You give me nice gifts, but you never wrap them.’
As was typical of him he answered: ‘Ask and thou shalt receive, my Queen of Dough.’
The next day the gifts arrived. She got a barbie doll just like the ones she played with till she was 14. She got a long burgundy skirt with sunflowers painted on it. There was also a jeans jacket that made her look like the member of a rock band. Scented candles, Dutch cheese and Lego for her 8 year old son, Timur.
‘So’, said Zuzana, ‘you have a lot of wrapping paper here. You can eat for a year.’
‘I can’t eat it like this. You have to prepare it. This is only the main ingredient.’
‘What else is needed?’
‘You need to soak the paper in tears of joy and create something like a milkshake or smoothie.’
‘Ok, that’s impossible. It’s probably easier if we just apply for a huge loan and get that apartment ourselves. I would need at least half a liter of tears of joy to do it.’
‘Does your soulmate not let you cry tears of joy?’
‘He gives me much joy, but so far no tears of joy. Am sure he would if we could spend more time together. But still, half a liter of tears of joy… That’s a lot.’
‘You have to find a way. If I do not regain my strength the children of Italy will not receive their Christmas presents this year. Surely you can think of something.’
‘Can’t you do some magic? And get us those tears? You are a fairy.’
‘There are limits to our powers. It’s so we would stay humble and stay motivated to do good things.’
‘Fine, my soulmate is a writer. I will ask him to write something so moving it will bring the readers to tears of joy.’
The fairy disagreed. ‘Am sorry, I should specify, those tears of joy have to be completely spontaneous. You cannot organize for it or plan for it.’
‘This is getting harder and harder. Am not a greedy person, but I request more for this service.’
‘What else would you want on top of the apartment?’
‘The perfect literary agent for my soulmate. He writes a lot, but he needs a publisher. The perfect education for my son. And an end to the war in Ukraine.’
‘That last request is way beyond my powers. The other two I can grant, but I will really need to eat very soon then.’
Zuzana thinks and thinks. Where to get those tears of joy?
In the evening she exceptionally drinks two gin tonics for inspiration.
No idea comes, but during the night she wakes up and she has a plan!
Whenever the Ukrainian army liberates a city occupied by the Russians the inhabitants cry many tears of joy!
All we need to do is be in the right city at the right moment…
But hmmm, then she realizes it could be very dangerous to go so close to the front. And how would they collect those tears? People will be celebrating… It will be almost impossible to ask them for their tears.
Zuzana gets up and tells the fairy:
‘Am very sorry, but I think this assignment may be a little too hard. Is there really nothing else you can eat?’
‘I admit I made it hard on purpose. And I am really getting very hungry. If you mix the wrapping paper with drinks bought for a happy occasion I will also feel nurtured.’
Zuzana and William had recently organised a party and they had lots of rum, wine, vodka and beer left.
‘The fairy will be very drunk after this. And she already crashes into buildings when she is sober…’
The fairy had no such concerns.
‘I was tired, hungry and a little bored when I crashed into the church tower. Surely with some alcohol in me my journey will be more cheerful and I will be able to concentrate better.’
‘If you say so…’
Zuzana prepared a powerful cocktail and poured some of it in the tiniest shot glass she could find, so the fairy could lift the liquid to her lips with her own hands.’
The fairy was instantly revived and flew up and perched on Zuzana’s shoulder.
‘That was pure nectar of the Gods. Please pour me another glass!’
The fairy got very drunk. So drunk she she almost fell into the soup Zuzana was preparing for her and her family.
In her intoxicated state she became very open and direct:
‘I cannot do any magic. I only collect information and give that information to Santa Claus. Normally I can only share the wishes of children. Santa Claus is there for children only. Not adults. I will ask for exception and will tell Santa Claus what you wish for. I must go now, because the elves need to start producing toys for Italy based on the info I have for them.’
The fairy flew out the window yelling:
‘Goodbye, cocktail maker!! You have helped me heaps. Sorry for tricking you, but millions of kids depend on me!’
Zuzana was not angry. ‘At least this was interesting. One doesn’t find a fairy every day. Even if it’s one that can’t really do magic.’
She sat down in her most comfortable chair and drank some of the cocktail she had made for the fairy.
Outside it started snowing and Zuzana felt as cozy and happy as a wandering band of hunter-gatherers who had found the best and warmest cave in the middle of a big storm.
Three weeks later, when she had already forgotten the fairy, because of so many other unusual things that kept happening in her life, she received a postcard.
This was most unusual, because she almost never got mail. In her rental apartment the name on the postbox was still the name of the owner. This confused the mailman.
But this postcard had no stamp.
It was a picture of two trees connected at the roots, their roots intertwined and overlapping deep under the ground.
‘Your wishes need not be granted, because the warmth and harmony that is between you and your soulmate can generate whatever you desire.
I kindly ask you to not make any more of my employees completely drunk. Thank you.
Zuzana smiled and made an even more detailed wish list which she then sent to her soulmate.
Her soulmate instantly wrote back: ‘I love how you always tell me so precisely and clearly what it is you desire, want, crave and appreciate!’
Then she heard a bang against her window.
She opened it and saw a dazed fairy sitting on her window sill.
‘I have been told you help fairies in distress! I am flying all the way from Malta to way up north to see Santa Claus. In Malta I have collected all the wishes of the children. Now I am exhausted and need a very unique cocktail to regain my strength. If you prepare me this cocktail, I will fulfill any wish you have with my magic powers.’
Zuzana shrugged and said:
‘Am not falling for this again. I am no longer allowed to make fairies drunk. I will make you a virgin mojito. That’s a mojito without alcohol and you can have some of the cookies I baked, but then you’re back on your way to the elves.’
The rest of December a fairy stopped by almost every day, flying from countries down south all the way up north. Their heads filled with the wishes of millions of children.
Zuzana drank a gin tonic or maybe two or maybe three whenever one landed, fed all the fairies, but never gave them any alcohol.
She also saw how her wish list was slowly becoming reality. And this without magic, just a lot of mutual support, shared joy and abundance.
It was a very cheerful month.
But she was also happy when January arrived, because sometimes those fairies crashed into her window in the middle of the night and Zuzana really loved her sleep.
The fairies came back every December.
Even after she had moved to her dream apartment.
The dream apartment had a tiny entrance for fairies. A small door, about the size of three apples, where the fairies could enter. Zuzana loved fairies and their Christmas spirit, but she also loved having intact windows.
Help me keep the lights on while sharing my creativity
Much love, William