Note: This piece was written nearly 10 years ago for an Anne of Green Gables fanfiction contest. I did not create any of these characters — that honor goes to the wonderful imagination of Lucy Maud Montgomery — I merely borrowed them to indulge my own storytelling, because I love Anne and her happy world so much.
Incidentally, this story did win the contest.
Finally it was summer. Anne could feel it at her very core. Each one of her senses delighted in some pleasure that was tied completely and exclusively to summer. Her eyes feasted on the sight of lilies in full bloom, and her pretty nose reveled in their exquisite fragrance. The warmth of the sun danced on her skin. Her ears strained to hear the robin’s tune as it wafted out from the Haunted Wood. Her tongue felt giddy when Marilla allowed her to sample ice cream at select church functions. At times, these combined joys overwhelmed Anne with such a great sense of summer that she feared she might die — happily — right then and there.
But somehow she survived and was already halfway through her vacation. She could almost see the fall semester jeering at her, but when she did, she just turned away from it and ran back to the safety of summer.
Often these flights led her to Orchard Slope, as it had today. She and Diana were skipping through the fields and gathering flowers for their hair like jewels for a crown.
Today Anne was feeling particularly adventurous. None of the beauties of Green Gables or Orchard Slope seemed to satisfy her, not even Lover’s Lane or the Lake of Shining Waters.
“We need a new place, Diana. One with a new scope for imagination!”
Anne grabbed Diana’s hand and pulled her away. They ran and laughed and stumbled along, almost tripping several times. They passed the Avonlea schoolhouse and the manse, but they just kept going. Finally, though she was enjoying herself immensely — as she always did when she was with Anne — Diana had to stop.
“Oh, Anne, wait! I can’t go on any further — I just can’t! Please let’s stop here. I feel as though my chest will burst.”
Anne, not wanting anything bad to happen to her bosom friend, not even at the cost of a great adventure, nodded and joined the dark-haired girl, who had taken a seat at the base of a large maple tree.
“I’m sorry, Anne,” Diana said softly.
“Don’t be! It’s my fault for pushing you so hard. And anyway, look how beautiful this spot is. Why, it has as much scope for imagination as anyone could ask for.”
Indeed it did. They had run so far that they no longer recognized where they were. In every direction there were large trees with an abundance of green leaves. In front of them lay the main road of Avonlea, but here it was streaked through with patches of unruly grass. Diana could hear birds chirping nearby, and Anne caught sight of a small butterfly prancing lightly from flower to flower. The air was clean and sweet with the smell of life. The whole area refreshed their spirits as they chatted gaily.
Soon fully restored, they began to investigate their surroundings. They tried the various dirt paths that twisted into the woods. While each one led to different little discoveries-a funny toad here, a cluster of lilies there — all of them seemed to dissipate into impassable thickets. When there was only one left to try, Anne looked solemnly at Diana.
“This is it. The last one, and the best, I’m sure.”
Though Anne’s voice seemed confident and lighthearted, Diana knew that she was afraid that this path, too, would end in dense bushes. Then they would be forced to come back, and their adventures would be over.
Luckily, it didn’t. Like the others, it wound a dizzying course through trees, but its width and definition stayed smooth and strong after every bend. It was by far the longest, and soon the girls began to wonder if it had an end at all. Their question was soon answered when the path of dirt ended shortly, giving way to a grassy knoll. All possibilities of disappointment evaporated from both their minds as they stepped off the path and into the clearing at its end.
“Oh, Diana, I knew it! I knew it would be pretty, though this exceeds even my wildest hopes!”
The girls moved forward in awe, walking carefully as if approaching some sacred object. The whole valley, small though it was, did have an air of reverence.
The clearing was surrounded on all sides by dark forests, trees that loomed like giants over this miniature world. A field of pale yellow and soft pink blossoms covered the ground, overshadowing the carpet of lush grass. In the center stood what remained of a stone building.
All of the room and most of the right side of the structure was missing. Vines crept up at the surviving walls, and blankets of lace-like moss enveloped the stones that had crumbled to the ground. Anne pressed a hand gently to the cold gray stone then drew it back sharply as if in pain. Actually, she did feel a queer ache, the same one she always felt when she looked upon something as marvelously beautiful as this site.
She and Diana exchanged quick smiles then raced off to explore every nook and cranny.
Nearly two hours later, they were lying on a slab of fallen stone, gazing at the clear blue sky above them.
Diana was just about to speak when Anne bolted up and looked around in bewilderment at the tops of the edifice.
“Diana, do you hear that?” she whispered excitedly.
“I don’t hear anything.”
For several seconds, both girls were totally silent, but still Diana could not hear this mysterious noise that had aroused Anne. The wind ruffled her dress, and she was about to repeat her last statement when suddenly a soft humming reached her ears.
The sound seemed to be comprised of several voices, each at a different pitch, softly murmuring the same tune. Diana’s eyes widened in a mixture of delight and worry at this eerie music.
Anne’s gray eyes shone with pure fascination.
“I’ve never heard anything so lovely,” she whispered. “It’s like angels singing.”
As if in a trance, she stood and began searching for the source of the mystifying sound. A minute or two later, she called out, “Diana! Diana, come here!”
Diana found her standing with her hands on her hips. She looked up to where Anne’s gaze was affixed and saw a cluster of holes in the corner of the second story of the structure.
“I think that sound is caused by the wind blowing through those holes in the ceiling.”
While Diana was not wholly convinced, she had to admit that the noise was stronger here. And she would certainly never question Anne, the best student in Avonlea — well, along with Gilbert Blythe.
“We have to get up there,” Anne insisted, pulling Diana to help her find a means of accomplishing this new goal.
Diana found a ladder and followed Anne up to the loft, most of which was remarkably intact. It was the only part of the building that still had even a part of the original stone ceiling. However, it had only three walls. Where the fourth should have been there was only air, allowing them to look down on the remains of the first story. It was due to this missing fourth side that they had been able to enter, and the ladder rested against the edge of the floor on which they stood.
“Yes, listen! When the wind blows through those holes, it makes different tones that all come together into that wonderful melody.”
As if to prove her right, a breeze came by and created that interesting, if not pleasant, tune.
Anne smiled and grabbed Diana to dance with the music. Giggling, they spun around the room, taking care not to step too close to the ledge. When the wind stopped, they collapsed, dizzy and exhausted, to the floor. While Diana wiped dirt from her dress, Anne stared at the arrangement of holes.
“I bet fairies made them.”
“Made what? The holes? Why would fairies make holes in an abandoned, destroyed building?”
“Oh, no, Diana! They made the holes when the building was still whole. I’ll bet it was their castle. Yes, a fairy castle. Diana, we are standing inside the heart of a fairy kingdom!
“But we were not the first to come. No, one day, many years ago, a young boy, not much older than ourselves, wandered in by accident. He had run away from his horrible foster parents-his real parents were a duke and duchess, but they had died on a journey to India. All the fairies hid when they heard him, so he thought the castle was empty. He decided to stay here in the woods where no one would find him, and he made this very room his own. When he went to sleep, the fairies made holes here in the ceiling so they could see him. They watched him every night as he slept, and they gave him everything he needed so that he would stay forever.”
Anne’s eyes were shining as she imagined her story.
“Why would they do that?” asked Diana.
Anne sighed happily. “Because they had all fallen in love with him. He was the most handsome young man on all of Prince Edward Island.”
“You mean like Gilbert Blythe?” Diana suggested with a giggle.
Anne frowned. Couldn’t she ever escape that dreadful boy? “Certainly not. First of all, Diana, I ask you again never to speak that name to me. He insulted me more than anyone else on this earth, and I do not wish to have his existence reminded to me. And second, this boy that the fairies loved was a thousand times better than Gilbert Blythe — in every way — not that that’s a difficult feat.”
“Oh.” She thought for a minute. She didn’t want to bother or upset Anne, but finally her curiosity got the better of her. “Why do you suppose the building has been destroyed?”
The question did not bother or upset Anne at all. On the contrary, she was quite pleased to contrive a fitting answer. “Well, after a few years, the boy become very lonely. He never saw the fairies, though he did know that someone was giving him food and whatever else he wanted. He began to venture out into the woods, and he met a beautiful nymph. She had lovely blond hair all the way past her feet and big eyes the color of amethysts. They fell in love, and he brought her back to live with him in the castle.
“Well, the fairies were furious. They stopped providing food for him in order to make the nymph leave, but her friends brought things to them, so she stayed. Then the fairies tried to break dishes and such in the house to scare her away, but she just fixed the items and stayed. Finally, the fairies had no choice. They began to destroy the castle, their own home. Well, the nymph did want to leave after that, but the boy was so in love with her that he went with her. So the fairies were left with no boy and no home, and they all died of sorrow.”
Both girls, even Diana with her slightly more practical heart, had tears in their eyes.
“How perfectly romantic!” Diana exclaimed. “I wish we could stay here forever.”
“Oh, so do I!”
However, the sun was beginning to set, and both of them were expected home for dinner. Before they left, Anne insisted that they name this new discovery.
“What about the Stone Castle?”
It was so plain that Anne almost shuddered. Not wanting to hurt the feelings of her bosom friend, she instead offered another suggestion. “How about the Ruins of the Fairy Kingdom?”
Diana nodded in approval. “And the sound? Should we name that as well?”
“Yes, we certainly must.” Wishing she had thought of it first, Anne cringed at what she knew she must say next. “Since you had the idea, you should do it.”
The dark-haired girl was both pleased and nervous. She knew her names were always less creative than Anne’s, and she so wanted to impress her bosom friend. “The Forgotten Song?”
Anne’s smile was so wide that Diana knew it must hurt. “Oh, Di, it’s brilliant! I absolutely love it!”
Completely thrilled by all of the day’s accomplishments, she girls ran home with the energy that can be tapped only by the fingers of a carefree summer.
That night, after eating dinner and telling Matthew and Marilla all about her adventures, Anne knelt at her bed and said her prayers. Then she slipped under the covers and closed her eyes. When sleep finally came to her, it brought with it the wind, carrying the notes of the Forgotten Song.