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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Rainbow Applecore


Jessie and her brother Gavin lived in a small village. Each house was painted a different color and giant trees surrounded the clearing where the homes were built. Jessie and Gavin lived in the pink house with their mother and father and Grandma Innes.

Every morning Jessie and Gavin woke up early and went into the forest to gather mushrooms, nuts and berries. Their mother spun wool and she always had her eye out for brightly colored flowers. Their father, a woodsman, left after breakfast to go into the forest and search for different types of trees that he thought he could sell. They raised chickens and geese.

One day after they returned with a basket full of berries, Grandma Innes called Jessie into her bedroom upstairs. She sat in a rocking chair near the window. “Jessie, I have something to show you. Come closer.”

Jessie watched as her grandma opened her tightly clasped hand. In it sat a stone. “It's a stone, Grandma Innes.”

“It's not just a stone; it's a magic stone. I've kept it hidden all these years, waiting for you to grow up. Now that you're twelve, I think you're ready to learn about the magic.” Grandma slid the black and white mottled stone into Jessie's hand.

“What does it do, Grandma? It looks quite ordinary.” Jessie held it closer for a better look.

“I want you to go into the forest, alone, and find the old oak tree behind your friend Gretta's house. Put the stone on the big root that pokes from the ground and then step back and wait.”

“What good will that do? How long do I have to wait? What will happen?” Jessie rambled on with questions.

“Just do as I ask. You'll find out soon enough. Be sure and go alone. Don't take Gavin with you or let him follow you.” Grandma smiled and closed her eyes.

Taking that  as a sign of dismissal, Jessie tiptoed from the room, closing the door behind her. She put the stone in her pocket, crept down the stairs so Gavin wouldn't hear her and went outside. She stood near the front door looking over at Gretta's house. The purple house looked quiet and empty. “Maybe Gretta's gone for a picnic with her mother.” Jessie ran behind Gretta's house and looked for the old oak tree. She saw it and walked towards it. The root poked out of the ground, just like her grandma had said. She put the stone on top of it and stepped back.

Her glance darted from side to side, eager to see what would happen. Leaves rustled and a scratching sound came from under the root. A little man in  pale orange clothes and a white and orange striped hat crawled out. He looked over at Jessie and then saw the stone. “Hmm,” he said. “You must be Jessie. Your grandma told me you'd come some day. Here it is.” The elf handed her an emerald. “You can keep this and I'll take the stone. Bring me another one tomorrow.”

“Wait, what's your name?” Jessie picked up the sparkling green gem.

“I'm Rainbow Applecore. I'm an elf and I live under this tree. I've lived there for a hundred years now.” He adjusted the hat on top of his head.

Jessie noticed bright green hair poked out from  under it. “You're hair is green.”

“Very good. I'm also the height of a large toadstool too. Speaking of toadstools, if you see any, I'd love some to eat. Been years since I've had a toadstool.”

“You're funny, Rainbow Applecore. I'll be back tomorrow.” Jessie put the emerald in her pocket and as she left she turned to see the elf crawling back under the root. Jessie ran home to tell her grandma.  She darted up the steps and opened grandma's door. “Grandma! Grandma Innes! I met Rainbow Applecore and he remembers you.”

Grandma Innes nodded, a slight grin on her lips. “He loves toadstools. Always bothering me to bring him some. I did every day until I was too old to go out alone. It's your turn now, Jessie.”

“He gave me an emerald. I think it's worth a lot of money. Did he give you any?” Jessie sat on her grandma's bed.

“I've got a whole drawer full. I've never done anything with them, just saved them all up so I could give them to you when you grew up.” Grandma Innes pointed at the drawer. “They're yours now, Jessie. Maybe you could build your own house. Don't leave the village though. I need someone to take care of Rainbow Applecore.”

“I could buy food and a new dress for Mother and buy Father a new axe. I'll build my own house too, over by the old oak tree so I can see Rainbow Applecore every day.” Jessie put her hand on top of her grandma's. “Thanks, Grandma Innes.”

That night Grandma Innes passed away. Jessie's father buried her behind the house and marked the grave with a cross. That very day Jessie went to town and bought her father a new axe and her mother a new dress. She also bought Gavin a lollipop to lick all day and herself a loaf of hot bread. She went to the shops and picked up a basket of food. The shopkeepers were happy to be paid with emeralds. When her family asked how she bought the gifts she told them Grandma Innes had left her something and she used it to buy them things. She also promised that every day she'd go shopping and they'd never have to eat mushrooms and berries and nuts again.

Jessie had Gavin help her gather toadstools. “We can't eat them, but I want to give them as a gift to someone,” Jessie said.

She went to the old oak tree and put the toadstools and another stone there. She stepped back and two elves came out. Rainbow Applecore and a girl elf, wearing a pink dress with pointed pink slippers.

“Who are you?” Jessie sat in the grass.

“I'm Lily Cornflower. I live here now with Rainbow.” The girl elf took the toadstools and Rainbow Applecore took the stone. They left an emerald and then went back under the root, hand in hand.

That night as Jessie and her family sat around the table eating beef stew with potatoes, carrots and turnips and a loaf of hot bread, Jessie thought of something. “What was Grandma Innes's first name and was she ever married?”

Her father looked at her. “Grandma Innes is my mother and her name was Lily. My father died when I was a boy. His name was Rainbow. His mother named him that because the day he was born a bright rainbow filled the sky. Why do you ask?”

Jessie nearly choked on her stew. “Her name was Lily?” Her mind raced back to earlier that day near the oak tree. She whispered, “Lily Cornflower and Rainbow Applecore.”

“What did you say, Jessie?” Her father put his spoon down. “Mother's favorite flower was the cornflower and she told me that my father loved apples and always threw his applecores into the woods.”

Jessie smiled and finished her stew. She'd keep the secret to herself. Every day she went to visit the elves and took them toadstools and a new stone. Whenever she saw them they held hands and she knew they loved each other. One day she left a basket of apples and a sprig of cornflowers, lying on the root. She hid and watched them come out to find them. They both giggled. As she walked home she said, “Goodnight Grandma Innes and Grandpa. I'll see you tomorrow.”


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