Once upon a time, in a backyard that was tended to as regularly as you tend to your own, there was a boy named Lucas who wasn’t having much luck catching small insects to put in a jar for his show-and-tell at school the next day. After gently picking up his eighth ant and putting it on the leaves he had collected earlier, Lucas screwed the lid back on and placed the jar on top of the dirt behind him. He took the magnifying glass out of his back pocket and started inspecting the plant with the pink flowers next to the water feature. Lucas was about to give up when he noticed something out of the ordinary. He didn’t believe his eyes at first, but, eventually, he realised that they were not lying. Through his magnifying glass, Lucas could see that a fairy had carelessly tangled her legs in the vines growing through the plant with the pink flowers and was struggling to set herself free.
Lucas unscrewed the lid of the jar quickly and emptied the insects onto the ground, the critters scurrying out of the sunlight as swiftly as possible. Using the felt-lined tweezers from his other back pocket, Lucas gently took hold of the fairy’s legs while unwrapping the vines from around her body. When the fairy was free, he held her up to the magnifying glass to take a closer look. All the hallmarks of a fairy were there; she wore a glittery dress with matching glittery shoes. Her long, golden hair was pinned back with a shining, silver tiara and she held a well-worn magic wand in her hand. “Well, well, well,” Lucas said. “Looks like my show-and-tell is going to be a legendary one.” He dropped the fairy into the jar and tightened the lid. A cheeky grin crept across his mouth as he held the jar closer to his face. The fairy had both her hands pressed against the surface of the glass and Lucas noticed that she had already started to cry. “Awwww. Don’t be sad, little fairy,” said Lucas. “You’ll be back in the garden in no time! Besides, you should come to school with me tomorrow as a favour for saving your life.”
“You’re right,” replied the fairy.
Lucas was shocked, “You… you can talk? And… and I can hear you?”
Realising her tear-trick wasn’t going to work, she wiped them away and replied, “Of course, Lucas. It’s called fairy magic. You know, lollipops and rainbows and all that. Now, unscrew the lid of this jar and we’ll call it even,’
“Even? I don’t think so. Also, how do you know my name?”
“I know plenty about you, Lucas Fitzgibbon.”
Lucas ignored the fairy and took her inside. He placed her on the desk in his bedroom while he sat on the chair, leaning in front of her with his chin resting on his hands and his fingers tapping on the desk. The fairy sat cross-legged towards the furthest edge of the jar with her head bowed low and, for a moment, Lucas almost felt sorry for her. “Alright then,” he started. “What’s in it for me?” The fairy lifted her head and squinted her eyes.
“What do you mean, ‘What’s in it for me?’”
“Well,” Lucas began, “If I let you go, then I don’t have anything of interest for my show-and-tell tomorrow and I’m going to be embarrassed in front of my entire class. But, if I keep you in the jar, then I have something amazing to show everyone and I become a legend. Not just at school, but around the world. So, what’s. In. It. For. Me?” he said, tapping his chest with each syllable.
The fairy thought about this for a moment. “Three wishes,” she responded.
“What?” Lucas asked.
“You heard me. You let me go, and I’ll grant you three wishes. And none of this, ‘more wishes’ nonsense, either. That certainly gets tiring after a while.”
Lucas couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“Deal,” he said with confidence and he stood up to begin contemplating his three wishes.