The Dew Fairies, the Gum Babies and the Old Woman
There once were some exceedingly beautiful Fairies, who, every morning, bathed in the Dew inside the flowers, which were shaped like cups, and after their baths went to the other flowers and sipped the fresh, clear Dew from their petals.
Now an Old Woman, who rode round the sky on a broomstick, was very jealous of these Fairies, for she was very ugly. The Fairies began to be afraid of her, so one day they thought they would spring up the very biggest Gum Tree, and tell the Gum Babies, and hide up there with them.
The Gum Babies were very wise, and they were sorry to think the beautiful Fairies had to hide themselves. Now they knew the Old Woman also, and knew, too, that she could be very beautiful if she would only go the right way about it. You see they wanted to see everyone happy.
So they told the Fairies to keep still, and that they would call out to the Old Woman as she rode by; this they did, and they said to her, “Oh, Old Woman! You have only made yourself old and ugly, because you have not been kind to people, and because you have just sat hard on that broomstick, finding fault with others. You have beautiful eyes, if you will only make them smile, and beautiful hair, if you will only shake it loose into lovely waves, like the Fairies do theirs. Go home and do these things in front of a mirror, and then, when you see how lovely you are, you will want to put on your prettiest dresses, which you have not yet worn, and you will chop the broomstick up to light the fire, and you will feel so happy you will want to go out and make other people happy.”
The Old Woman could hardly believe her ears; but she went home and did all that they had told her to do, and she found that everything the Gum Babies had told her was quite true. Then putting on her loveliest dress, she rushed off to Fairyland to tell the Fairies all about the good things that had befallen her, and she danced in the centre of the ring, all young and beautiful, and they were so happy that they danced round her in a Fairy-Ring, and the Fairies asked her to live with them, and they were all happy ever after, while the Gum Babies looked down on them and smiled.
Moral. — Always think and say and do the most beautiful thoughts and words and deeds, and you will be radiantly beautiful yourself, and will cause other people to do and be the same, because it will be God’s Beauty within you.
Eva Oakley, Real Australian Fairy Stories, Melbourne: Austral Printing & Publishing Company, , pp. 5-6
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]