Here is 15th Contest entry #4:
By: FRR Mallory
© All Rights Reserved, by FRR Mallory 2003
Once upon a time in the Valley of the Moon there lived a girl named Calamity Wiglesworth. Calamity was not very tall, and not very wide but where ever she went things somehow always went awry.
One day when Calamity was seven years old she set off for her first day of school. She walked down the long lane between the vineyards and waited for the school bus to pick her up. She was alone at the bus stop so she sat down on a big flat stone, put her little backpack down beside her and waited. Before too long she grew bored. Pulling off her glasses she sat them down on her backpack and climbed back down off of the rock to begin collecting little pebbles that she lined up all in a row on top of the rock.
On that morning, the Sun peered down over the hillside into the valley, in between the long straight rows of vines and found Calamity's glasses. The Sun being quite curious by nature, leaned down to look through Calamity's glasses, not knowing that his fierce gaze would contract through the thickness of the glass then race through the air to ignite the dry grasses lining the other side of the roadway.
"Oh Sun, look what you have done." Calamity exclaimed, her hand lifting to her mouth when she saw the flames burst out.
"Me?" The Sun rose higher in the morning sky. "It was not I who left their glasses laying about to get into trouble young lady." The Sun lifted himself to his full radiant magnificence, trying not to notice the rapidly spreading streams of fire, the loud blaring of car horns and squealing of breaks.
Calamity scowled but did not have the words to answer the Sun, after all, they were her glasses. So she put them back on and watched the fire get bigger and bigger. Pretty soon Calamity decided that the school bus wasn't going to come amid all the stopped cars and if it did she would no doubt be blamed for the fire, which really wasn't her fault at all. So she picked up her backpack and wandered slowly back down the lane toward her house thinking about what she should tell her mother about the school bus, the Sun and the fire.
When she was halfway down the lane she spied a very tiny brown man sitting on the top of a grapevine anchor post.
She stopped but didn't get too close since after all the little brown man was a stranger.
"What are you doing there?" She asked as politely as she could think to.
"Why I be waiting fer ye Calamity Wiglesworth." The tiny brown man replied, his voice a bit crooked and odd.
"I am not allowed to talk to strangers." Calamity answered primly, edging closer to the other side of the lane even though the hairy, raggedly dressed man was so very small she was sure that he must be harmless.
"Well then, let mise introduce mi fein." The brown man unwrapped his arms from around his legs and stood up on the post.
Calamity was mightily impressed with this feat, after all, the little brown man didn't even wiggle the least bit on the post top.
"I be Bugan Brite o' Nith and Wooar." Bugan Brite swept his arm down in a fancy curtsey, even though his long hair did fly about in grand disarray.
Calamity paused to watch his performance. "I don't know what Nith and Wooar mean." She commented a bit absentmindedly. A glance up the lane showed no signs of her mother in the yard and down the lane just the flames crawling steadily up the hillside amid a group of flashing lights. She returned her attention to Bugan Brite. "But, since you are no longer a stranger I guess I can stop and talk to you." She made good her words by sitting down on a small patch of grass facing Bugan Brite.
"Why are you waiting for me for anyway?" Calamity decided she was hungry and pulled open her backpack to rummage around inside for her food bag.
Bugan returned to his seat on the fence top, his big bare toes dangling over the edge. "Well Calamity, that be tricky. Ye know how mischief's seem to happen when ye are near?" Bugan asked.
Calamity nodded. "My Mother say's I attract problems like flowers attract bees." She found her lunch bag and opened it before continuing, "Mother say's thats why she called me Calamity, cause it started right when I was born." She found an apple and a candy bar. For a moment she stared at both, considered what she should do, then she pulled out the apple and leaned forward to put it right in the middle of the lane. She then ripped open the candybar and took a big bite.
Bugan looked at the apple, which hadn't been offered exactly, and then back where Calamity was happily munching on something brown and gooey. His hand darted down to claim the apple, snaking it up to rub and polish it on his pant leg.
"Well, mischief making be the glad doings of they as is known to mise." Bugan pronounced before taking a big bite of the crisp apple.
"Doings?" Calamity puzzled over this new thought. She had never considered that there might be a way to not attract troubles.
"Aye." Bugan nodded.
"You mean all my getting into troubles are because of these known to you persons?" Calamity demanded, her attention rising. That made the Sun peeking through her glasses to start the fire, seem even more unfair.
"Aye, it be a Daoine Sidhe blight, that it be." Bugan garbled the words out around his bites of apple.
Calamity scowled. She knew what blight was, sort of, like those little glassy winged bugs that made her Dad curse and swear deep into the night. Something about them killing the grapevines, although Calamity had never figured out how a flying bug could kill a field of plants.
"What is a D-ao-ine Siddee?" Calamity sounded out the name Bugan had used.
Bugan blinked, then looked side to side as if checking to see that they were still alone. "Dey bees faerifolk." He proclaimed, as if it were a big secret.
Calamity considered telling Bugan that fairies were make-believe but decided that would be rude and she was enjoying talking to him even if his words were peculiar.
"So why would the Daoine Siddee's make mischief on me?" After all, she could not recall doing anything wrong or bad to any fairy people, and her fairytale books mentioned rules about such things. Calamity took another bite of her candy bar noting that the whole vineyard was getting smoky making it impossible to see either end of the lane now.
Bugan finished up his apple and carefully tucked the core into his pocket.
"Ye ever see dey big big stump in dey middlin of dey vines?" Bugan asked, his accent thickening.
Calamity nodded, she had played there once before Father had told her never to go there again.
"Aye, that be it, dey old oak dat de Da chopped down without a nere thought be dey faerifolk ring surrounding it. And dey curses rained down about his head dat Calamity would follow him all the day's eor 'is life." Bugan grinned. "Dey dinnae know dat Da would name thee first born gaerl Calamity, so all thee vixens did fall upon ye and not upon Da."
Calamity fumbled over his strange words, they were almost too hard to understand but somehow she did. So, she had troubles because Father had cut down the fairyfolk oak tree in the middle of the vineyard? It made a very terrible twisted perfectly acceptable sense.
"That isn't fair!" Calamity spoke up loudly.
"Aye." Bugan nodded. "Gilty be, gilty be." "If ye come with me Calamity Wiglesworth, then thee mischief's can be undone." He started to climb down off the post.
Undone. Calamity stopped chewing. Something about the word didn't sound quite right. She pushed her glasses up on her nose a bit higher and looked very hard at Bugan Brite. He was too small to be a man, which meant the only thing he could be was one of those same Daoine Siddee, even if they weren't real. All her fairy tale books warned of tricksters, bogey fairies. He had said that 'she' would be undone, not the mischief's. And, if she were undone wouldn't all the mischief's then just pounce on her Mother and Father?
"I can't go with you Bugan Brite o' Nith and Wooar. I am sorry about the fairy ring, and the old oak tree and the guilty Daoine Sidhe whose curses rained down to land upon me. But most of all, I am happy being me." She smiled brightly.
Bugan frowned. This was not going at all well, and, she had left an apple for him, and, he had eaten it. "Ye must be wanting to be free of dey mischief's, Calamity!" He insisted firmly.
Calamity grinned. "I am only a small calamity and now I know it is not my doing and I won't feel guilty and bad anymore. So, I will keep my calamities, Bugan Brite, and you can keep your guilt."
Bugan stomped his foot, "But you will get in trouble, get yelled at and have nothing go quite right." His voice rose.
Calamity nodded. "And you will feel guilty, and small and bad about those troubles Bugan, not I."
"But, thats not fair!" Bugan wrung his hands together. "I don't want to be feeling guilty."
Calamity smiled, "I like you Bugan Brite, so if you don't make mischiefs upon me, I won't make guilts upon you." Her eyes twinkled. She stood up and picked up her backpack, slinging it over her shoulder before continuing, "Father planted an oak tree from one of the old tree's acorns Bugan, out back of the house near the barn, would you and the rest of the Daoine Sidhe like to come visit it?"
Bugan groaned, then he thought about free apples and how much tending a sapling oak needed to grow big and strong. He fell into step beside Calamity.
"Aye, I be liking that Calamity, I be liking that."