Zoe and I watched just such an event the other day, whilst camping. We knew it was a Fire Fairy, in that sudden flash of intuition that sometimes comes to grandmothers and granddaughters on a mild evening in February, when full of s’mores and tired from a perfect day, they stare into the last of the wood burning down to ash.
“It’s a Fire Fairy,” they whispered, knowing how shy such folk are.
“Sometimes,” they continued, alternating sentences, “Fire Fairies fly from the fire to flit around the campground, spying on people.”
“But they must be very careful when it rains!”
“One time, the Fire Fairy landed on a tree to hide, when she thought people had seen her!”
“She accidentally lit the tree on fire!”
“ ‘Oh, nooooo!’ she wailed in her squeaky, raspy little voice. ‘It was an accident! I never meant to cause a forest fire!’ ”
“Just then, a cloud was passing and heard her sobbing. ‘What’s that?” he said. ‘I think it’s a Fire Fairy hiding in that burning tree!’”
“So he began to rain on the tree, the Fire Fairy and the campers in the campground.”
“And the forest fire was put out before it could burn a single tree badly. And the Fire Fairy, being inside the tree, did not get her fire put out. But the campers grumbled very loudly and went into their tents to sleep.”
The next day, the campers saw the partially burned tree and they put Zoe inside and took a picture.