Series: Young Reading Series 3 Fairy Ponies
By Zanna Davidson
It was nearly the end of the summer holidays and all Holly could think about were the amazing adventures she’d had on Pony Island – a secret world full of fairy ponies, hidden inside the oak tree at the bottom of her great-aunt’s garden. Tomorrow, Holly would be going home and leaving Great-Aunt May’s house, and Pony Island, behind her. She had already said goodbye to her best friend, Puck, the fairy pony, but she couldn’t help wishing she could see him again, just one last time.
She climbed into bed, listening to the tap-tapping of branches against her window. But as she lay there, the tapping grew louder, and more insistent.
That’s strange, Holly thought. Perhaps the wind is getting stronger? But when she sat up and looked, she saw a little bird fluttering outside the window, its delicate wings shimmering in the moonlight. Holly knew instantly that it must have come from Pony Island. She tiptoed across the rug-strewn floor and gently opened the window. The bird flew inside and dropped a tiny piece of paper onto her pillow, then swooped out again, disappearing into the night.
Intrigued, Holly bent down to unfurl the paper, which was curled into a miniature scroll. At first, the paper seemed blank, but as she breathed on it, a message appeared in glimmering writing.
Holly gasped in surprise. Puck had never sent her a message before. He must be in trouble! she thought.
She slipped out of her room, down the stairs and out of the back door. Then she moved swiftly across the moonlit garden until she stood beneath the great oak tree, her heart pounding in her chest. There, she whispered the words of the spell:
“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.”
As soon as she had finished, Holly slipped her hand into her pocket and pulled out the little bag of magic dust the Pony Queen had given her on her first visit to Pony Island. As she sprinkled it over herself, she felt a tingling in her toes that spread up through her body, and golden sparkles began to dance before her eyes. There was a rush of wind and the next thing Holly knew, she was fairy-sized – small enough to enter the secret tunnel at the bottom of the oak tree. Without pausing for a moment, Holly set off at a run down the passage, following the trail of sparkling light, wanting to reach Puck as quickly as she could.
He was waiting for her at the end of the tunnel, standing knee-deep in the wild flower meadow that marked the beginning of Pony Island.
“Are you alright?” Holly asked breathlessly. Puck looked the same – his mane and tail were a burnished brown, and his glossy coat gleamed in the summer sun – but his expression was filled with worry.
Puck shook his head, his butterfly wings fluttering nervously. “Something awful is happening on Pony Island,” he said. “Some of the fairy ponies are losing their magic.”
“Oh no, Puck!” Holly cried. “That’s terrible.”
“They can’t cast spells or even fly,” Puck went on. “It all began yesterday, and it seems to be spreading. More and more fairy ponies are saying they’ve lost their powers, and no one is sure what’s causing it.”
“What about the Pony Queen and the Spell-Keepers?” asked Holly, thinking of the most powerful and magical ponies on the island. “Do they still have their magic? Can they help?”
“My mum’s lost her powers too,” said Puck, a tremor in his voice.
“Poor Bluebell,” said Holly, stroking Puck’s mane. Puck’s mother was one of the Spell-Keepers, and Holly couldn’t imagine her not being able to fly.
“The Pony Queen’s called an urgent meeting. All the Spell-Keepers are at the palace now. They think it might be some kind of illness.”
“I’ll do anything I can to help,” said Holly. “Where shall we start?”
Puck looked determined. “First I want to fly to the Magic Pony Pools in case they can help stop me from losing my powers. All the ponies go there – even the Pony Queen visits once a day for the Royal Bath Time. The pools are a place of healing and well-being, and bathing boosts our powers. Then we could speak to any fairy ponies who have lost their magic, and see if we can find some sort of pattern. What do you think?”
“It’s a good plan,” Holly agreed. “Let’s go.” She leaped onto Puck’s back and he took off.
As they flew, Holly glanced around her at the wild flowers in the meadows and the gently waving branches of the wooded glades they passed over. Everywhere seemed oddly deserted, and Holly wondered if the fairy ponies were keeping to their homes in fear.
“We’re nearly there,” said Puck, swooping a little lower through the sky. Holly looked down to see the blue, still waters of the Pony Pools.
“Usually the pools are full of Fairy Ponies, playing and bathing,” said Puck, as he landed on the soft, grassy ground. “It’s strange to see them so empty.”
Holly slid off Puck’s back and he splashed into the water, until his coat was flecked with spray, shining droplets of water clinging to his mane and tail. “The Magic Pony Pools have amazing healing powers,” said Puck. “I always feel better after bathing here, and if there is an illness on the Island, this should help protect me.”
After a last canter through the sparkling shallows, Puck came out again, shaking the water from his mane. “I’m ready!” he said, grinning.
“Where shall we go first?” asked Holly, climbing onto his back once more.
“There are some huts further along the Singing River,” Puck replied. “I heard my mum say some of the ponies there have lost their powers. Let’s go and talk to them.”
He started forward, beating his wings quickly as he spoke, ready to take to the skies. But his hoofs stayed firmly planted on the ground.
“I don’t understand…” Puck began. He beat his wings again and reared up on his hind legs. But still nothing happened.
He moved forward a third time, leaping as hard as he could to try and launch himself into the air, only to land with a heavy thud.
“Oh no!” he gasped. “I can’t believe it…I can’t fly. I’ve lost my magic powers too!”
Pony Island is in danger. The fairy ponies are losing their magic and the Pony Queen's powers are under threat. Can Holly and Puck uncover the mystery of the missing magic before it's too late? 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.