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.
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.”
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
“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.
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.”
your name?” Jessie picked up the sparkling green gem.
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.
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.”
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.”
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 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.
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
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
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
“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.”
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.”