Series: Young Reading Series 3 Fairy Ponies
By Zanna Davidson
Holly stood beneath the swaying branches of the oak tree at the bottom of her great-aunt’s garden. Under the full moon, the tree had taken on a silvery glow.
Holly glanced around to make sure no one was watching, then slipped her hand into her pocket and pulled out a tiny bag of magic dust. It felt light as gossamer in her palm. She undid the clasp and gazed at the dust, sparkling in the moonlight. One pinch of this, she thought, and I’ll be fairy-sized – small enough to enter Pony Island.
Holly had never dreamed her stay with Great-Aunt May would turn into such an adventure. She had discovered that inside the oak tree was a secret, magical land full of fairy ponies. They had welcomed her into their world and given her a bag of sparkling magic dust and a tiny silver bell, so she could visit them whenever she wanted.
Holly closed her eyes and sprinkled herself with magic dust. As soon as the dust touched her skin, she felt a tingling, shrinking feeling. Musical notes chimed in her ears, and when she opened her eyes, she realized with a gasp that she really was fairy-sized.
The oak tree now towered above her, its roots the size of branches where they writhed above the ground, the hole between them now looking like a huge, dark tunnel. Holly trembled with excitement as she whispered the spell the Pony Queen had taught her:
“Let me pass into the magic tree,
Where fairy ponies fly wild and free.
Show me the trail of sparkling light,
To Pony Island, shining bright.”
She reached for the delicate silver necklace the Pony Queen had given her, and rang its tiny silver bell. A magical sound floated down the tunnel. Holly knew it would ring out through Pony Island, letting her friend Puck know she was on her way.
As she walked down the tunnel, Holly saw a trail of diamond-bright light, guiding her through the darkness. The tunnel twisted and turned, this way and that, and as she rounded a corner, Holly gave a cry of delight. There was Pony Island! It was only the second time she had seen it, and it was just as beautiful as she remembered.
Holly ran the rest of the way, bursting out into a sun-filled meadow, thick with butterflies and wild flowers. She loved the feel of the lush green grass between her toes.
There was a sound of beating wings, and Holly looked up to see Puck swooping through the sky, his delicate butterfly wings glinting in the sunlight, his glossy coat the russet-brown of autumn leaves.
“Holly!” he cried, pirouetting through the air in excitement.
He landed gracefully beside her, his hoofs barely making a sound on the soft earth.
“I’m so glad you’re back,” he said. “And,” he went on eagerly, “the Pony Queen wants to see you again, too. She asked me to bring you to her as soon as you arrived. She’s going to take us on a tour of the Summer Palace.”
“Wow!” Holly beamed. “That sounds amazing…”
Puck bent his knees, so Holly could swing herself up by his mane. The next moment, he was pushing off with his hind legs and fluttering his gossamer wings. They rose up and up, into the cloudless sky.
Holly wrapped her arms around Puck’s neck, pressing her body close to his for comfort, trying not to think of the ground rapidly disappearing below them. Puck seemed to have forgotten Holly wasn’t used to flying as he swooped and dived over treetops, zinging his way between branches.
“Look down, Holly,” Puck told her. “You’ll see more of Pony Island! We’re flying over the Magic Pony Pools now.”
Holly finally allowed herself to look and saw a sparkling lake full of ponies prancing through the water. Their pretty wings shimmered like pieces of a rainbow.
As they glided above its smooth surface, Holly caught sight of their reflection in the water.
“Look – there we are!” she cried. “I can see us flying. I’m really flying!”
Holly felt giddy with excitement, but she wasn’t afraid any more. Puck’s silky smooth coat was soft beneath her fingertips, and it was amazing to pass over treetops and look down on the magical world below. She could see the wild flower meadows by the Great Oak, and beyond it, a beautiful valley, alive with butterflies. A warm breeze washed over her as they flew and she felt free as a bird, light as air.
“You haven’t seen anything yet!” said Puck. “Just wait until we get to the palace.”
Holly smiled at the thought, then tilted her head as she caught the faint strains of a few chiming notes.
“Can you hear that sound?” she asked.
“What is it?”
“It’s the Singing River,” Puck explained. “It’ll come into view soon.”
They followed the river as it wound its way through grassy fields. The further they flew, the more notes filled the air, coming together to make a lilting melody that rose from the river like a silver ribbon of sound.
As they rounded the corner, Holly had her first view of the Summer Palace. It stood on the banks of the Singing River, its curved turrets reaching up into the sky. Its walls were made of marble, white and gleaming in the sunlight. The front was laced with climbing roses, which arched above the doorway.
Puck swooped down to land on the path beside the palace, just as the Pony Queen came out to greet them.
She moved so gracefully, it was almost as if she were floating. Her shimmering wings fluttered gently, filling the air with sparkles. On her head, she wore a delicate crown of flowers, and a halo of golden dust glittered all around her.
“Welcome, Holly,” she said, in her musical voice.
Holly was about to reply, but before she could say anything, there was a sudden rush of wind and a great black pony with large gleaming wings, raced out of the palace.
“What is it, Shadow?” asked the Pony Queen, seeing his anxious face.
“It’s the Necklace of Wishes,” cried Shadow. “It’s been stolen!”
Holly and her friend Puck, the fairy pony, are visiting the Pony Queen when a magical necklace is stolen from the palace. Can Puck and Holly help to track it down before the thief uses its magic? The Fairy Ponies series is an exciting addition to Usborne Young Reading, introducing children to wonderful, original, illustrated fiction. Developed in consultation with reading experts.
Zanna Davidson has written over fifty books for children, both non-fiction and fiction. Her stories for children include the Fairy Ponies, Fairy Unicorns and Billy and the Mini Monsters series for Usborne. She lives in the countryside in a cottage on the edge of some deep, dark woods with two small boys and her scruffy black dog, Fred.
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