Many people believe that the stars are far away, full of otherworldly elements. Well, true, true—very true. But there are a select few, such as myself, who actually live in the stars.
How is this possible? Well, it's not always easy, living so far away from where human eyes can see us, and when they need us most, but we manage. Our daily work includes watching the earth, and listening to the prayers of those living below us, because we are the only ones who can grant them.
I am called a fairy. One who has blue hair, and lives in the largest star on the eastern side of the world, overlooking the quaint country of Italy. Each night, I sit, and wait, listening to the wishes of those who look up to my star home. And, if I know what benefits may come about because of the wish, I leave my home to appear on Earth. It's quite good to leave the star, because I can stretch my wings and fly for a time. That's one wish that I wish I could grant—to see a human being fly on their own wings. Such happiness is what us star-fairies live for.
There's no greater joy to a star-fairy than the laughter of children. And believe you me, there is lots of that in the little town I look after. From the thousands of years I have watched humans, I know there is one thing that makes laughter ring out the loudest, and that is from the love of a plaything. Geppetto, the toymaker of the town, is the centerpiece for the laughter. Therefore, although it is beyond fairy protocol, I like to visit his home to be sure he is doing just fine. He doesn't know of course, that I exist, much less that I visit from time to time. But I prefer to take it upon myself to see that his creations will do good for the village children.
It has been several years since I have actually done Geppetto a service. Several years since he has made a personal wish to me. And that night, I remember, will always stick out to me in the thousands of wishes I have made reality.
Geppetto had completed the work on his masterpiece—a little wooden puppet he called Pinocchio. Truly, I had to agree that it was a fine piece of work. It was a puppet that had the workings of a true little boy—a round face with rosy cheeks, bright innocent eyes, floppy black hair, and a sweet smile that made him glow with childlike joy, in spite of the fact that he wasn't alive. Yet.
I could see the care that went into that puppet, so I was less than surprised when Geppetto made the request on my star to have Pinocchio brought to life as a real boy. Of course, I was obliged to make his wish come true, but I could read Geppetto's heart. He knew he would be a good loving father, but both he and Pinocchio would need to know what it meant to be a family. Especially Pinocchio.
And so, I appeared in Geppetto's workshop that same night, using my fairy magic to give Pinocchio the gift of life. I took great joy in watching the wooden boy come alive, remarking all the new things that he could do—walk, talk, move around. But I still had to explain to him why he had come to life, and that there was a whole other purpose to Geppetto's wish being granted, besides just gaining a live boy. Pinocchio would have to earn his transformation from a wooden boy to flesh and blood and bone.
But that's not to say I wasn't going to help Pinocchio in his journey to becoming truly real. That's why I appointed a stray cricket—by the name of Jiminy—to help Pinocchio's decisions between right and wrong.
And that was the start of a long journey. I watched from my star the whole time, folded comfortably inside, as Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket ventured out together. Somehow, it put a smile on my face watching everything, seeing the little wooden boy growing as he was. But there were times where I couldn't help but roll my eyes in my head, wishing to myself that Pinocchio could do better. That's when I had to appear on Earth and help him.
Nonetheless, I couldn't be more proud when I materialized in Geppetto's house that final time. The poor toymaker was crying onto his quilt, beside the still form of Pinocchio. Tears were shed by all in the room, but I didn't feel sad. I just smiled as I held my wand over Pinocchio, and, congratulating him for all that he had been through, made him into a real boy. I listened to the merrymaking that came afterwards, as I went back home to my star, leaving behind some spare bits of magic to give Jiminy his reward—a golden badge that made him Pinocchio's official conscience.
Since then, I haven't come inside to wish them well, or to say hello. That was one part of my immortal life as a fairy, and so I had to move on to other wishes of other good-hearted people. Still, it is not at all like I couldn't keep my eye on them on my own.
Because I felt so inclined to watch a band of good people, I decided to take a whole new approach to interacting with them, without giving away who I was to other townsfolk.
When the night ended, and I was no longer required to listen to the wishes of others, I returned to Earth. Except this time, I was a young girl with hair the color of caramel, in a white dress that made me appear much like the other women in the village. I altered my skin so that it didn't glow blue, and my wings became nothing more than little pink marks on my back. I left my eyes the same starlight blue, and kept my wand tucked in my dress, in case I ever needed it, though I didn't plan to perform many feats with my fairy magic. I could leave that for when I could grant another wish.
For a time, it felt wonderfully strange to be walking amongst the humans in the village—any village, truly. I wasn't used to staying in a single earthly spot for so long a time, much less not listening to wishes. It actually took me some time to not think about pulling out my wand to help those around me—after all, it was my job, and something that I had been doing for thousands of years. But that was when I began to feel lonely, because I wasn't doing anything quite as productive as I hoped. Geppetto and Pinocchio weren't always around for me to run into them, so I started to feel as though my time on Earth was being wasted.
Nonetheless, I was still grateful that I could watch the village children from a closer angle. I sat down on a bench in the village square, seeing them run and play together. Oftentimes, the boys chased each other in the streets, bouncing little balls on the cobblestones, and the girls hugged their dolls to their chests as they held pretend tea parties in the shade under a tree. Their laughter was what helped me stay on earth during the day, because I could breathe more easily knowing that there was such happiness in the village. As I mentioned, star-fairies live to hear such sounds every day.
It is summer during this time, so I can't sit in the hot sun all the hours. Therefore, I raise myself from the bench, and begin to walk around the town. I can hear everything—the peddlers calling their wares, the children laughing in the street, and the wagons rattling past. I walk with a light, delicate step, as though I actually am a young child, curious about this village and their ways of life. I am an alien in this place, but I'm not about to fall short of the chance to explore. I very much welcome the chance to meet new friends.
I breathe several long breaths of fresh air, tasting the lingering salt from the sea not very far off. Until then, I had forgotten there was a sea nearby, and wonder if there are lots of people down there. Perhaps, once I was done in the village, I would go down to the shore, and…
"Get out of the way!"
Those two voices bombard me at once, and I don't know which to answer first. Out of one eye, I see a large wagon, pulled by a single black horse. And out of the other, I notice a young man with floppy black hair running towards me, reaching out his arm.
I realize it instantly—I was going to be punctured by a coming wagon…unless I moved quickly.
And in that instant, I'm yanked aside, just before the wagon thunders past on the road. I fall backwards onto the curb by the side of the road, but I am soon pulled back up by a pair of strong arms.
"You're not hurt, are you?" a voice asks.
I look up into the face of my rescuer. It's the young man who had called out to me before, with the curly black hair, and bright blue eyes. He has a kind, youthful face, perhaps about eighteen in human years, looking upon me with concern.
"Y-yes," I say at last. "Yes, I am all right."
The man smiles, releasing me from his arms. "Oh, good. Right then, I'm sorry, I've got to get back home. So long, miss." Then, he starts off down the street, swinging a sac over his shoulder.
"No, no, wait!" I call out to him, catching up to him quickly. He turns to me, his eyes curious. "Yeah?" he says.
"I only wanted to thank you," I say. "Had you not caught me, I suppose I could have gotten seriously hurt."
"No trouble," says the young man. "It does me good to do the right thing, you know."
"Yes, I suppose," I say, folding my arms behind my back.
The man puts down his sac, and bows his head politely. "I'm Pinocchio," he says. "What's your name?"
I take a breath, but it comes out as a gasp. For one thing, this is him—Pinocchio has grown up, into a kind, tall youth that I had barely recognized as the little wooden puppet from years past. And another…
…I don't have a name.