The sun was at its hottest in Etude Kingdom. A little girl was toiling in the field picking flowers to be sent to the factory. But she was getting tired and disheartened.
She’s tired of the tales her mother would tell her before sleep about some lucky little girls who would somehow meet with good fortune that transformed them into beautiful princesses. She was disheartened because with each sunrise, it only meant another backbreaking day in the fields.
“Good things happen to good people,” her mother always says. But for this little girl, it’s sounding more and more like stuff of fairytales.
On this particular hot day, she decided to take a little break under the shade of a giant mushroom. As she lay down, she began to contemplate her life and tears started rolling down her freckled, worn and dirty cheeks. She was getting hungry so she took out a banana from her pocket, which was the only thing her mother could afford and provide her with for lunch.
As she was peeling the skin, she noticed an old haggard woman approaching. “Hello little girl,” she said in a weak and barely audible voice. “I’ve been walking for miles and days without food nor water. My body is getting weaker and I don't think I have the energy to carry on,” the old woman said.
At first the little girl was apprehensive but when she saw that the old woman had kind eyes, her fears turn into concern. “Oh, you poor soul,” the little girl said. “Why don’t you sit down and rest with me? All I have is this banana and a cup of water but you can have them for you really seem to need them more than I do.” With that, the little girl fed the old woman.
“Thank you child,” said the old woman. The old woman noticed how dry the little girl’s hand and face were and so she asked, “I don’t mean to pry but what happened to your hands? It is covered with lines! And why is your face dry with uneven skin tone?” The little girl felt a rush of embarrassment and tried to hide her tiny fragile hands in her even tinier pockets.
“I’ve been picking flowers under the scorching sun for as long as I remember. These are used as ingredients for the beauty products this land is known for. My mother has been ill for a long time and this is the only work I know. Though it’s taken a toll on myself, the miniscule pay helps with the costs of medications,” the little girl explained holding back her tears.
“But what about you? Why have you been walking for miles and days?” she asked the old woman.
“Oh I’m looking for something, something special,” said the old woman. “But enough about that. Come, why don’t you have this last bite of the banana, you look hungry.” The little girl took a bite and no sooner after she did, she fell into a deep slumber.
Not long after, she woke up roused by the sound of cheers and laughter. Rubbing her eyes and she couldn’t believe what she saw. The little girl stood up and all around her were joyful animals playing and frolicking happily in what seemed like the most luscious garden she had ever seen!
At the far end of the garden, she saw the most beautiful waterfall, something she only knew and heard about from her mother’s bedtime stories. She walked towards the waterfall.
“Oooh now there little girl, where are you going?” a voice said. The little girl turned around and before her was the most beautiful creature in all of Etude Kingdom. “Now now. Come with me as I have a surprise for you,” said the angelic fairy. The little girl found herself being led to a majestic pink castle. Once inside she was introduced to a lovely looking cat.
“This is Etti who owns this beautiful castle,” said the fairy.
“Meow and hello little girl,” the cat welcomed her.
“Don’t be afraid for I am a magical cat and I’m here to grant your beauty wish!” it exclaimed.
“My beauty wish?” the little girl asked, a little anxious.
“Yes! Now let me see those hands,” Etti inspected her hands and gave an assuring nod.
“Now close your eyes and let me do some magic!’ The little girl was soon pleasantly overwhelmed by a fruity fragrance.
“Oh my!’ she exclaimed. The little girl looked at her hands at saw that they were smooth as silk! “Wha.. what have you done, dear Etti? Oh my,” she said in disbelief. At that moment, the fairy held her hands gently and off they went.
They stopped at yet another castle. This one reminded the little girl of winter. Inside the castle the fairy said, “This, my child, is the Mysterious Ice Flower Castle.”
The little girl walked around the castle and a huge mirror piqued her curiosity. “I’ve never seen a mirror this big and wait, are those snowflakes in the mirror?!” she asked excitedly. “Indeed they are,” said the fairy. “But this is a magic mirror for it grants wishes,” she continued.
The little girl stood in front of the mirror, closed her eyes and soon she was engulfed by a refreshing floral fragrance. She felt a tingling sensation on her hands and when she opened her eyes, she realized that not only were hands smooth but they were also supple!
“Oh my!” she gasped in awe. But before she could really soak in the excitement, the fairy whisked her away…
… to another magical castle!
“You must be getting hungry, my child,” said the fairy. The little girl touched her tummy and true enough, it was rumbling. It didn't help that the castle was filled with sweet vanilla scent that reminded her of delicious candies.
“Well, why don't you have a look at what’s inside the Magic Oven, you may just be surprised,” urged the fairy. The little girl opened the over and reached in.
When she pulled her hands out, she was amazed! “My hands! They look so flawless! So pristine!’ she exclaimed.
“This place is so magical!” said the little girl. “It’s filled with so many magical castles but I do wonder why are all the magic only for the hands?’ she asked. The fairy smiled and sat her down in the garden.
“You see my child, our hands are put to use every single day. We need them to allow us to work and play. But most often than not, they are neglected and chances are by the time we realized that, it’s too late,” explained the fairy. The little girl nodded her head and said, “That I find to be true. Sigh, if it weren’t for all these magical castles, I could never imagine such beautiful hands as the ones I have now.”
Sensing that the little girl was getting a little sad, she said, “Wait, we're not done yet!” With that the fairy whisked the little girl to the last and final magic castle.
“Oh what is this place?” asked the little girl. Everywhere all around her were beds of the most beautiful roses she had ever seen. Right in the middle of the roses, stood the most beautiful castle of them all.
“This, my dear is the Alluring Rose Castle,” said the fairy. The little girl stood in awe and asked, “Is there a magical cat waiting inside for me? Is there a magic mirror that will grant all my beauty wishes. Is there a magical oven in the kitchen?” The fairy smiled and whispered gently into the little girl’s ears, ”No my child. But if you gently touch the roses, you will find out what magic this place holds.”
No sooner than she did, the little girl felt a delicate sensation on her tiny hands. She brought her hands up and realised that they were smooth as a baby’s hands, pristine and even fragrant! “The magical roses will ensure that your hands stay that way, my child,” said the fairy. The little girl was so overwhelmed she fell seated on the ground. Her head was getting dizzy and she tumbled to the ground…
The chirping of birds woke her from her slumber. The little girl opened her eyes and realized she was still under the giant mushroom. “It was all just a dream,” she sighed. Then she noticed a basket next to her and in it were tiny versions of the magical castles in her dreams!
“Hello there my child,” a voice said. This time when the little girl turned around, where the old woman was now stood the beautiful fairy princess from her dream. “It is me, the old woman that you shared your one and only banana with,” she said. “
Thank you for being so kind even though you yourself were so hungry.”
The little girl scratched her head and asked, “So was it all a dream?”
The fairy princess sat down next to her and smiled. “Well, even it was a dream, it was a dream that came true,” she said. She continued, “Remember that I told you I have been walking for miles and days searching for something special?” The little girl nodded. “Well, I was looking for a kind soul. Someone who would go out of her way to help another,” she said. “But I didn’t do anything special…” the little girl asked.
“You shared your lunch with me, my child. The one and only banana that your mother had packed for you…” before the fairy could continue, the little girl suddenly remembered her mother.
“Oh dear my mother! She must be worried about me!” she exclaimed frantically.
The fairy princess took her hands and reassured her, “Don’t worry my child, your mother was well taken care of while you were on your adventure.” The little girl felt relieve and at that moment realized her hands were no longer worn and wrinkled, they were beautiful! It was indeed a dream come true.
“You don’t have to worry about your hands anymore my dear and you don’t have to worry about toiling in the field anymore as well,” the fairy said as she pointed to the basket.
“In that basket is an endless supply of magical hand creams that you can sell to everyone in Etude Kingdom so that they can experience the same magical effect as you did. And with that, you can afford to better care of your precious mother and yourself,” she said.
True enough, as the days and months went by word started to spread throughout the land, of a girl who possesses magical hand creams. People from all across the Etude Kingdom including the royal family themselves would turn up at the little girl’s home to buy the creams.
The royal family also gave her the honorary title of the ‘Hand Princess’ to show their appreciation. Soon after, the little girl could afford a bigger house and better medicine that eventually helped to fully heal her once sickly mother.
One night after putting her mother to bed, she looked up into the brightly lit starry night sky and asked, “I’m thankful for all that has happened but till this day I wonder, why me?”
Just then a gentle breeze whispered into her ear, “Because good things happen to good people.”
The little girl smiled and that night, she had the most beautiful of dreams.