Though the sun shone brightly, and the songs of birds still filtered through the air, it was the chill in the wind that declared Summer was at an end. Mornings were brisk and the merchant pulled on his jacket while stepping on his porch, ready to start another day.
Standing on the lower porch step, looking out onto the grassy field, was a fairy. Her thinly veined pink wings shimmered in the morning light and the wind was playing with loose strands of her hair. She had first appeared to the merchant many months before – on that very step – when the snow was melting. Before that day he had only heard stories of the fairy folk. Since her arrival the merchant had a swell of luck and a companionship which had been different than others he had known. Looking at her there now he felt a weight in his stomach.
“Tell me merchant, do you feel it?” Spoke the fairy, her voice light and mixing in with the air as it always did.
The man approached her slowly, stuffing his hands into the jackets pockets. A sense of dread slowly washed over him. “Mmhm,” he nodded, looking out at the field. “The weather is changing. Autumn is here. I’m not worried. I’m more prepared this year than ever I was before.”
With a small shake, the fairy’s wings spread out to their fullest. A small jump and suddenly she was already more than a few feet away from the porch and starting upwards to the sky.
“Wait!” The merchant yelled, running after her. The fairy had come and gone many times throughout the warm seasons, but this time her leaving felt different. Permanent. “Where are you going?”
She paused in her ascent, arms spread wide as she turned around to look at him. Sprinkles of magic fanned out from her wings. “Summer is over, Merchant, I cannot stay with you any longer.”
“You can’t leave. What am I to do without you?” The weight in the merchant’s stomach increased and he reached his arms out to the fairy. She had not only brought him luck over the last few months, but he had grown attached to the mystical creature. And now she was leaving.
The fairy came down and the merchant sighed as he felt the warmth of Summer in the hands she placed on his shoulders. He wrapped his arms around her. Though she smiled at him it was sad and looked out of place on that face he had – until now – always seen filled with joy. She spoke softly to him. “I am a child of Spring’s birth, and Summer heat. There is no place for me in the short days of Autumn, or the chilly world of Winter.”
He shook his head, not in disbelief, but because deep down he knew it was true. “Why did you not tell me you were leaving? Were you simply going to leave without saying goodbye?”
The fairy began to pull away, and the merchant strengthened his hold. “I won’t let you go.”
She brushed a hand over his face, and the tips of her fingers ran through his hair. “Goodbye, Merchant. I will always be with you whenever you remember the warmth of the Summer sun upon your face, and the birth of Spring in your heart.”
The merchant loosened his hold and the fairy drifted away from him, once again climbing upwards in the sky. He watched her until he saw her no more, and then he looked longer still at the sky, watching the clouds.
Though he would always remember her, the merchant never saw the fairy again.