Enter an enchanted world of fairy animal friends!
Paige the Pony can't wait for the Misty Wood Galashe wants to enter the Prettiest Pony Competition. She just needs to untangle her mane, smooth her coat, and brush out her tail. But when Paige's friends in Misty Wood ask for her help, will she be able to keep herself neat and tidy?
About the Author
Lily Small is the author of the Fairy Animals of Misty Wood series.
Read an Excerpt
It was the most beautiful morning in Misty Wood, and the sun was shining high in the sky. Down in the luscious green meadow, a little silver Petal Pony was leaping about excitedly. It was the day of the Midsummer Pony Gala, the most wonderful fairy-pony show of the year!
Paige the Petal Pony kicked her hooves high in the air and neighed happily. "I can't believe it's finally here," she said to herself, feeling the warm sunlight on her back. "The day of the Pony Gala, at last!" Paige was so excited that she couldn't sit still. She'd been waiting for this special day all summer. She galloped over the grass, her pretty silvery-gray coat a blur in the sunshine.
She raced right around the meadow three times. She could have kept running all morning! But then she heard someone calling her name. "Paige!" came her mom's voice. "Where are you?"
Paige skidded to a halt. "I'm here, Mom!"
Paige's mom trotted over to the middle of the field. "You're up very early, little one," she said, nuzzling Paige hello.
"The Prettiest Pony Competition is tonight," Paige said happily. "It's always my favorite part of the gala, and I finally get to compete this year. So I've got to practice my circles!" Then Paige leaped in the air and set off faster then ever.
Her mom laughed. "You're making my head spin! You know the Prettiest Pony Competition isn't a race, don't you?"
Paige slowed to a trot, huffing and puffing to catch her breath. Well, that was true. She remembered all the beautiful ponies trotting and cantering in circles last year, and leaping over the show jumps. None of them had galloped.
Paige stood still for a moment in the warm breeze, remembering how wonderful last year's gala had been. She was sure this year's would be even better.
"Phew," Paige's mom said, a twinkle in her eye. "I couldn't think straight with you rushing around in circles like that."
Paige trotted over and snuggled up close to her mom. "What's your favorite part of the gala?" she asked.
Her mom looked thoughtful. "I do love the show jumping. Your dad will be one of the judges this year. Long ago, before you were born, he was the champion show jumper!"
"Really?" said Paige, her eyes wide. "Ooh, I wonder if I could be a champion show jumper, too."
She bounded over to a big thistle plant and tried to jump over it. But Paige was only a little Petal Pony, and she didn't quite make it. "Ouch!" she squeaked as the prickles scratched her leg.
Her mom chuckled. "Maybe you can try the show jumps next year, when you're a bit bigger."
"Yes, I will," said Paige, instantly forgetting the scratch on her leg. "But this year, I'm going to try for the Prettiest Petal Pony."
She pranced happily around the meadow, lifting her knees as high as she could. "Look at me! I hope the judges think I'm pretty."
Paige's mom nodded. "The judges will certainly notice a fine trot like that. But ..."
"But what, Mom?" Paige said as she whirled around in a perfect pirouette.
"... the judges will also be looking for the pony with the shiniest coat, the softest mane, the silkiest tail, and the brightest hooves," said her mom with a smile. "Not to mention the kindest heart."
Paige stopped in her tracks and looked down at her pearly hooves. There were grass stains on them from all the galloping.
She shook out her snowy mane. There were quite a few tangles in it. She turned her head to see her coat. It was dusty with grass seeds from where she had stretched out on the ground to sleep last night.
Last of all, Paige swished her tail. It was full of pollen from all the flowers that grew nearby.
Uh-oh. Paige was a mess!
"What shall I do?" she said, worried. "I'm not very shiny or soft or silky or bright at all."
Paige's mom nuzzled the little pony. "You always look pretty to me, Paige. But if you want to look your best for the gala, why don't you trot over to Heather Hill? You could roll in the heather to make your coat shine."
"What a good idea!" Paige said. "And I can do my special job while I'm there."
All the fairy animals in Misty Wood had special jobs. The Petal Ponies' job was to flick their tails over the flowers, wafting their beautiful scent into the air for the other fairy animals to enjoy.
"Are you coming, too?" Paige asked her mom.
"No, I'll stay here," her mom replied. "Your little sister, Pia, will be waking up any minute. But you'll be fine. Off you go and have some fun."
The two of them rubbed noses to say goodbye, and then Paige set off for Heather Hill.
As she cantered over the meadow, a head bobbed up from the long grass. It was Petey the Pollen Puppy. "Want to have a race?" he barked.
"Sorry, Petey," Paige said, slowing down. "I've got to get ready for the Pony Gala."
"Good luck," Petey said, wagging his tail. "See you there!"
"See you!" Paige flicked her mane and raced on.
As she came to the edge of the wood, Daisy the Dream Deer bounded out of the trees. "Good morning, Paige!" she called in her soft voice. "Did you have sweet dreams last night?"
"Hello, Daisy," Paige called. "I did! I dreamed about the Pony Gala. I'm entering the Prettiest Pony Competition!"
Some other Dream Deer came leaping to join Daisy. "We hope you win," they cried.
"We love the gala!" And they bounded off into the wood again.
Suddenly, there was a rustle by Paige's feet, and she jumped in surprise. A pile of leaves on the ground stirred and two beady eyes peeped up at her.
It was Mia the Moss Mouse. "Hello, Paige," Mia squeaked. "I thought I heard thunder, but it was just your hooves drumming on the ground."
"I'm hurrying to get ready for the Pony Gala," Paige explained. "I'm sorry if I frightened you."
"Ooh, I love the Pony Gala," Mia said, twitching her whiskers. "Good luck!" Paige cantered on through the trees until she came out on the other side of Misty Wood — and there was Heather Hill!
"Mmm," Paige sighed as she breathed in the lovely scent of the purple heather flowers.
She flicked her tail over the flowers a few times, sending the scent into the air for the other fairy animals to enjoy. Then she lay down and rolled over and over on the bouncy bushes.
She rubbed her coat against them, polishing it so it shone like the brightest silver. Then she stood up and gave herself a shake.
She was just about to search for a puddle to check her reflection when she heard a buzzing noise from somewhere above her head.
It was very loud. Paige paused, her ears pricked.
"Pleazzze, pleazzze, can you help uzzz?"
Who could that be? And where was it coming from?
A Sticky Problem
The buzzing noise was getting even louder. "Pleazzze help uzzz, Petal Pony!" Paige craned her silvery neck and looked up. High in a tree, in among the branches, there was a huge swarm of bees, hovering.
Paige came to Heather Hill every day to swish her tail over the flowers, and she often met the bees flying about to gather pollen. But she'd never seen them in a huge swarm like this. They seemed to be very upset about something.
"Hello, bees," she said politely. "Is something wrong?"
"Yezzz!" they buzzed. "Can you help uzzz?"
"Of course," Paige said. "I'm getting ready for the Pony Gala. But I don't mind helping."
One of the bees swooped down to Paige. "Thank you so much! It'zzz our honeycomb. We've been so busy making honey for the fairy animalzzz to eat at the gala tonight —"
"Yum," Paige said. "Honey!"
"— but the honeycomb'zzz stuck inside the hive and we can't lift it out," the bee finished. "Pleazzze help!"
Paige looked up at the tree. There was a beehive hanging from it. "In there?" she said, swishing at the hive with her tail.
"Yezzz," the bee said.
Paige fluttered her wings and flew onto a branch next to the hive. She poked her nose inside. Down at the bottom she could see a big honeycomb, oozing with golden honey. But she couldn't reach it.
Beating her wings gently, Paige poked a hoof inside the hive and tried to ease the honeycomb out. But the honeycomb wouldn't budge.
"It's stuck," she told the bees.
The bees trembled with disappointment. "Oh no," they buzzed. "What a dizzzazzzter!"
"Don't worry," Paige said. "I'll just try a bit harder."
She poked her hoof in again and tried to push the honeycomb a little more. But it still wouldn't shift. Paige fluttered her wings and pushed her hoof against it with all her might.
A moment later, the honeycomb came unstuck with a large PLOP!
"Huzzzah!" buzzed the bees.
Paige pushed her hoof a little more against the honeycomb, trying to ease it through the hole. With a sudden squelch, the honeycomb shot out into the air.
Paige was so surprised that she let go. She fell off the branch and tumbled onto a heather bush.
Before she had time to blink, the huge honeycomb came whizzing after her.
Slurp! It landed on her back and smashed into pieces.
"Oh no," Paige cried as the honey trickled down her sides. "It's broken!"
"Doezzzn't matter," the bees buzzed. "There's loadzzz of lovely honey inside the pieces. There'll be lots and lots for the fairy animalzzz to eat. Thank you!"
The bees flew over and lifted the pieces of honeycomb from Paige's back.
"You've been so kind," they buzzed. "Now it'zzz eazzzy for uzzz to carry. See you at the gala, Paige!"
And they flew off toward Misty Wood, each bee carrying a chunk of honeycomb.
"Good-bye, bees," Paige said, relieved she'd been able to help.
Then the little Petal Pony looked around at her coat. A moment ago it had been so beautifully shiny. Now it was covered in sticky trails of honey.
She licked her shoulders, enjoying the yummy taste of the honey. She tried to lick her back and her sides, too, but she couldn't reach.
Then she tried rolling in the heather again, but instead of making her coat nice and shiny, all the twigs and leaves on the ground got stuck to the honey!
What a mess I am, Paige thought sadly, looking at her sticky, twiggy coat. How can I clean up in time for the gala?
She hung her head, and her snowy mane fluttered over her eyes in the sunshine.
Then Paige had a brighter thought. If my mane looks really soft, maybe the judges won't notice my sticky coat!
She trotted off into the forest again, her little ears pricked. All she had to do was find somebody who could comb out her mane for her and make it look really beautiful. Then she'd be ready for the Prettiest Pony Competition!
Paige hadn't gone very far into the wood when a black-and-white-striped face popped out from behind a tree. It was a young Bark Badger.
Just the fairy animal I need to help me with my mane, Paige thought. She trotted over and gave a friendly flick of her head.
"Hello there," she said politely. "Could you help me get ready for the gala? I'm entering the Prettiest Pony competition and I need to look shiny and soft and silky and bright. You've got such long claws — they'd be perfect for combing my mane."
The Bark Badger shook her head. "I'm sorry," she sniffled. "I can't." She looked very unhappy. A tear welled up and slid down her furry cheek.
"What's wrong?" Paige said softly. "My name's Paige, by the way."
"I'm Bessie," the badger said, wiping the tear away. "And I'm a very bad Bark Badger."
"You don't look bad to me," Paige said, shaking her head. "You look very kind."
The little badger sighed. "It's my mom's birthday today, and I haven't gotten her a present. I want to give her one, but I can't think what to make! She'll be so disappointed."
"Hmm," Paige said thoughtfully. "That is a pickle."
She remembered the lovely present that her mom and dad had given her for her last birthday. They knew apples were Paige's favorite treat, so they'd made a great big hay-and-apple cake.
"Bessie, does your mom have a favorite thing?" Paige asked. "Something she really likes?"
Bessie wrinkled her nose, deep in thought. "Yes, she does," she said after a moment. "Mom loves leaves. Silver leaves and golden leaves, and yellowy-greeny ones, too. Oh, and red ones, of course. Especially red ones. Red is her favorite color."
Paige gave a little skip. "Perfect!" she said. "I've got a brilliant idea, Bessie. Let's make a basket for your mom and fill it with the brightest, prettiest leaves we can find. What do you think?"
Bessie clapped her paws. "That would be the best present!"
"You collect some twigs to make the basket," Paige said. "You'll be really good at that, because you're a Bark Badger. And I'll hunt for the prettiest leaves I can find."
"You're so kind," Bessie said. "Thank you!" She trundled off to find the twigs.
Paige flicked her wings and fluttered to the treetops, where masses of leaves whispered in the breeze.
This should be easy, she thought. There must be millions of leaves up here.
But because it was summer, most of the leaves were green. Paige had to fly a long way before she found a tree with silver leaves like shining coins.
She gathered lots of them and tucked them safely into her tail. Then she spotted a tall tree with yellowy-greeny leaves that looked like feathers. She collected lots of those, too.
Bessie's present will be amazing, she thought. But I must find some golden leaves, too.
Down below, there was a clump of bushes with tiny leaves like drops of gold. Paige swooped down and picked as many as she could to add to her collection.
Then she remembered that Bessie's mom's favorite color was red. And Paige hadn't found any red leaves at all.
But then she spotted a beautiful crimson leaf hanging right in the middle of the bushes. "That's it!" Paige said aloud. "Perfect!"
She squeezed through the bushes, ignoring the twigs as they tugged at her mane. She pushed on through the prickly branches until she had caught the red leaf in her teeth. Then she tried to turn back.
But she couldn't move. Her mane was tangled and twisted in the sharp twigs!
"Uh-oh," she said. "Help! I'm stuck!" After a moment, she heard someone padding over to the bushes.
"Hello, Paige. Look what I've made!" Bessie came hurrying up, carrying a little basket. "Oh, what are you doing in there?"
"I'm stuck," Paige said, embarrassed. She couldn't turn her head, or the twigs would pull on her mane. "I've gotten tangled up in this bush and I can't move at all!"
"Don't panic," Bessie said. "I'll have you free in a minute." She grabbed the bush and snapped off the twigs until Paige was free.
"Phew!" Paige said, shaking herself out. "Thank you, Bessie. Oh — and these are for your mom." She swished her tail, and the bright leaves fell in a pile.
"They're lovely," Bessie said, jumping up and down, clapping her paws together. "You're so clever, Paige."
Bessie put the leaves in her basket. First the greeny-yellow ones, then the ones like silver coins, then the golden ones — and finally the red leaf, right on top.
"What a beautiful basket you've made," said Paige admiringly. "And the leaves are so bright! Your mom will love her present."
"Thank you so much, Paige," Bessie said, giving her new friend a hug. "Good luck at the Pony Gala."
Bessie looked delighted as she hurried off to give the birthday gift to her mom.
Feeling happy herself, Paige called goodbye to Bessie and set off along a narrow path through the forest. It made her feel good, helping other fairy animals.
But as Paige trotted along, she felt something scratching against her neck. The broken-off twigs were still tangled up in her mane. Oh no, she thought. My mane looks even worse now!
Paige was feeling very worried. How could she enter the Prettiest Pony Competition when she was such a mess? She didn't want everyone to laugh at her.
Down by the path, a little white flower was growing. It looked like a bright star against the dark soil. Paige stopped to look at it.
"Wait a minute!" she said to herself. "I'm really good at collecting things. Why don't I find lots of pretty flowers and make myself a garland? I can hang it around my neck and then no one will notice my tangled mane."
Feeling pleased, Paige twirled her wings and darted off toward Honeydew Meadow. That was where the best flowers grew!
Help, We're Lost!
Paige flitted through the trees. She had to hurry. It was a long way to Honeydew Meadow, and it would take her ages to weave a garland.
Soon her shimmering fairy wings began to feel tired. I'd better trot for a while, she thought.
She drifted down toward a green path that wound its way through the tree trunks. As her hooves touched the ground, she heard a funny squeaking noise.
Paige pricked her ears and kept very still. The noise was coming from deep in the forest.
It sounds like someone crying, the little pony thought. I'd better go and see if I can help. She stepped off the path toward the sound.
Paige had never been right in the Heart of Misty Wood before. It was shady and cool here, and the trees grew close together. The ground was muddy and her hooves sank deep into the puddles. But someone was in trouble, and she had to help them.
"Who's there?" she called softly.
"It's us," a tiny voice mewed. "We're lost!"
Paige hurried toward the voice. There, right in the middle of the forest, she saw a Bud Bunny and a Cobweb Kitten, huddled together on top of a log.
Excerpted from "Paige the Pony"
Copyright © 2015 Houthouse Fiction Ltd..
Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter One Midsummer Morning,
Chapter Two A Sticky Problem,
Chapter Three Birthday Blues,
Chapter Four Help, We're Lost!,
Chapter Five Hunting for Hazelnuts,
Chapter Six A Very Special Prize,
Other Fairy Animals Books,
About the Author,
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