There was once an old woman who lived alone with a big, black dog. Some people thought she was a witch, but, thanks to the dog, she was more of a furry grandmother. For a long time, though, she had just felt tired and her bones ached. It was as if much of the joy had been stolen from the world.
Then, one day, she was summoned to the palace. The two golden-haired princesses commanded her presence, believing that a little magic would brighten their day.
First, the old woman was turned into a monster who had to chase and capture the two giggling princesses as they crawled beneath the big table and hid behind the door. Then, tired from laughter and the chase, they turned her into a big, comfortable chair and snuggled together on her for a while, until they noticed the ‘sparkles’ in her hair. The old woman thought they meant the strands of grey, but no, said the princesses… it was fairy dust.
So they combed out her hair and put flowers in it. Then they painted her face with rainbow colours… and turned her into unicorn.
The princesses took turns at riding the unicorn around the palace… until they decided that they too needed the magic paint. So the unicorn, following their instructions, used the magic paint to change one princess into a butterfly and the other into a triceratops (that soon decided it would rather become a pterodactyl so that it, too, could fly)… and the three magical creatures played hide and seek in fairyland until the day was done.
When the old woman left to go home to her big black dog, she called at the little village shop and people looked at her and smiled. She had forgotten all about the rainbows still painted on her face and the flowers in her hair… and when the mirror in the hallway caught her reflection, it was no longer a tired old face… and a joyful creature, full of life, colour and fairy dust looked back.
There is real magic in spending time with those you love.