Series: Young Reading Series 3 Fairy Ponies
By Zanna Davidson
Holly lay awake in her attic bedroom at Great-Aunt May’s house, thinking about what an amazing summer holiday she was having. It was more exciting than she ever could have dreamed. Adventures with fairy ponies! She had been to their magical land, Pony Island, three times now. And tonight, she was ready for another adventure…
There was the sound of footsteps on the stairs and Great-Aunt May came into the room, her red hair tumbling over her shoulders, her long dress swishing as she walked. “Sweet dreams,” she said to Holly, tucking her in. Then, blowing her a kiss goodnight, she went out, gently closing the door behind her.
Holly waited a minute or two, then crept out of bed. There was no sign of her great-aunt, so she padded down the stairs, through the back door and out into the starlit garden.
Ahead, she could see the old oak tree, its towering branches silhouetted against the sky. Holly ran down the lawn towards it, her bare feet silent on the soft grass. When she reached the tree, Holly glanced around to make sure no one was watching, then carefully slipped her fingers into a tiny bag of magic dust. The dust sparkled in her palm, full of the promise of magical adventure. Holly sprinkled it over herself, whispering
the words of a 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.”
There was a rush of wind and a tingling in her toes as Holly felt herself shrink down to fairy-size. Everything loomed above her, the grasses now as big as trees.
At last she was small enough to enter the secret tunnel in the oak tree that led straight to Pony Island.
Her heart fluttering with excitement, Holly set off down the tunnel, following the beam of light that stretched out before her. As she ran, she reached for the tiny silver bell she always wore around her neck, a gift from the Pony Queen. She rang the bell until its magical chime sounded through the tunnel, drifting out into Pony Island to let her best friend, Puck, know she was on her way.
At the end of the tunnel, the smooth oak pathway gave way to waving grasses and Holly ran out into a wild-flower meadow. Puck was already waiting, his butterfly wings shimmering as he came bounding towards her.
“I’m so glad you’re here!” he cried, hisvoice breathless with excitement. “The Pony Queen has a special job for us!”
“What is it?” asked Holly, wrapping her arms around Puck’s neck to give him a hug.
“I’m not sure yet,” he replied. “But it’s the annual Pony Island Dressing-Up Contest tonight, down in Butterfly Valley.”
Holly swung herself onto Puck’s back, loving the feel of his silky coat beneath her fingertips. “Maybe she’s going to ask us to help! Oh, I can’t wait to find out what our job is. Let’s go!”
Puck flapped his wings and they soared into the air, gliding over meadows, winding rivers and wooded glades. Holly wondered if she’d ever get over the excitement of flying – the wind in her hair, the breathtaking views.
“What kind of costumes does everyone make for the contest?” Holly asked.
“We use petals and feathers, leaves and dewdrops,” Puck explained, “and make cloaks and headdresses and necklaces. Some ponies weave flowers into their manes and tails. The winner last year had an amazing cape made of lilies!”
“Can we enter the Dressing-Up Contest?”
“Of course we can!” Puck replied. “We just need to make our costumes. I’ve got some brilliant ideas.”
Puck began telling Holly all about them, only stopping when the sparkling towers of the Summer Palace came into view. Its marble walls were covered in climbing roses, while the gardens bloomed with beautiful flowers.
Puck glided down onto the palace lawn, where the Pony Queen was taking tea, a young fairy pony at her side.
“Welcome,” the queen said, in her lilting voice, her gossamer wings glimmering in the sunlight. “I have someone I’d like you both to meet.”
She nodded towards the little pony, a beautiful palomino with patterned wings and a sparkling tiara resting on her shining mane.
“This is Princess Rosabel, my niece. She is visiting us from Waterfall Island, a magical land across the sea from Rainbow Shore.”
Holly smiled warmly at the princess, who smiled back, rising gracefully from the grass and trotting over to greet them.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you both,” the princess said to Puck and Holly. “I’m so excited about making new friends on Pony Island.”
“It is Princess Rosabel’s first visit here,” the Pony Queen went on, “and I have chosen you two to look after her. I know you’ll make her feel welcome. Will you also help with her costume for the Dressing-Up Contest this evening?”
“Of course we will,” said Puck, swelling with pride. He grinned at Princess Rosabel, who grinned back. “You’ve chosen the right team to take care of her, Your Majesty.”
“Thank you,” said the Pony Queen. She turned and kissed Princess Rosabel goodbye, before trotting back into the palace.
“Oh dear,” said Princess Rosabel, her smile fading as soon as the Pony Queen had gone. “It looks like I’m stuck with you two.”
When the Fairy Pony Princess comes to visit, Holly and her friend Puck are given the all-important job of looking after her. But then their royal guest goes missing. Can Puck and Holly find her again? 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.