Part 1 of this story can be found here.
When the child grew old enough to walk on his own, he began wandering into the dell, much to the chagrin of the man and woman in the thatched hut, who scolded him fiercely each time he returned from these rambles.
They needn’t have worried. The fairy folk who lived in the dell had become devoted to the child, delighted in his visits, and watched over him as often as they could. Their own children kept him company, leading him on merry chases through the ancient trees, catching him caterpillars and tadpoles to play with, and singing him fairy songs until he fell asleep under the swaying boughs to the soft chittering of their voices.
It was a magical sort of childhood for a magical sort of child, though to the fairy folk it seemed as if the man and woman in the thatched hut were determined to keep the boy away from as much magic as possible. They forbade his visits to the dell, chided him for daydreaming when he should be doing chores, and dismissed his stories of the fairy folk as ‘silly lies’.
In time, the child’s visits to the dell grew more and more infrequent. When he did come, he did not seem to hear the voices of his old playmates, did not wish to catch tadpoles, or chase butterflies, but only stayed long enough to fetch wood for the thatched hut’s fire before leaving, a vague sort of frown on his face. How sad it was, the fairy folk whispered, that humans tried so hard to grow-up and leave magic behind; and sadder too, that they so often succeeded.
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