“Morning Freya, happy birthday!” Freya’s eyes snapped open. Mum, Dad and little Lucas (who still looked very sleepy) beamed down at her. Dad carried a pile of brightly wrapped parcels and cards, Lucas held his comfort blanket tightly.
“Thanks,” Freya sat up in bed and stretched as Dad placed the mound of parcels on the duvet.
It wasn’t long before her bed was covered in shredded paper, books, games, DVD’s and new clothes. Finally, Freya opened a small package wrapped in brown paper that had come all the way from her Grandmother, or Nonna as she usually called her, in Italy. Freya gasped in delight as she peeled away layers of tissue paper to reveal a silver chain with a unicorn pendant hanging from it.
“Oh, isn’t it lovely,” Freya smiled as she tried to put the necklace on straight away.
“It is darling. Here let me help you,” Mum said, learning over to fasten the clasp around Freya’s neck.
“Now then, how about you sort this lot out and I’ll go and get some breakfast on,” Dad suggested.
“Good idea. I’ll go and help Lucas get dressed and pack a bag for him to take to Granny’s,” Mum said, scooping Lucas out of the pile of wrapping paper.
By half past nine they were in the car and on the way. Lucas had fully woken up and was giggling madly as Freya played a game of peek-a-boo with him. Once Lucas was happily settled with Gran it was off it pick up Amy.
Amy was waiting by the front door when they arrived and bounded over to them as soon as Dad stopped the car.
Both girls chatted excitedly in the back seat all the way.
“What shall we go and see first? Oh I know the penguins, they’re so funny,” Amy laughed.
“What about the giraffe’s?” Freya suggested, “I heard on the news the other day they’d had a baby.”
“Don’t worry girls; I’m sure we’ll have time to see all the animals,” Dad said. “We’re nearly there now, look out for the signs.”
Both girls pressed their noses to the window and peered out expectantly.
In Stardust Land Emerald, and all her friends, waited expectantly too.
The May Dance was due to start shortly and the elf dancers made last minute adjustments to their costumes. Emerald stood silently on her own, she liked to soak up the atmosphere before the celebration began. The unicorn smiled as she watched, Elvina, try to tame her hair.
“Oh these flowers won’t stay in my hair,” Elvina wailed, as she frantically tried to push the sweet smelling lily of the valley back into her wild red hair.
“Here let me help you,” her friend, Eldora said, reaching into her pocket for some more hair grips.
The girl's were dressed in lemon coloured dresses. They wore silver slippers on their feet and multi coloured strands of ribbon floated from their wrists.
The boys looked very smart in their knee length green shorts and lemon shirts that matched the girl’s dresses. They wore black shoes with silver buckles, and instead of ribbons, they carried willow sticks covered in bells that jingled every time they moved.
“Morven has just arrived in the meadow,” Sky, the pink tree sprite, fluttered around Emerald's head like a piece of falling cherry blossom.
Morven is the oldest elf in The Enchanted Wood. He is so old even he lost count of his birthdays years ago! All eyes were on the elf as he picked his way across the meadow towards his carved wooden seat. Morven adjusted the crown of flowers that rested like magic on his bald head. As he sat down carefully, taking care not to trip on his long beard that reached all the way to his toes, Emerald felt her flank twitch with anticipation.
A hush fell over the meadow as Emerald, and the other eleven unicorns, took their places to form a dancing circle. Their long manes shimmered like golden waterfalls down their necks and the birthstone jewels in their horns had been polished till they shone. Little slivers of colour danced on the ground around them as they tossed their heads.
Morven looked to the skies, the sun was high. It was time. The old elf stood, turned towards the Mystical Lake, where the band of water sprites sat on lily pads, their reed flutes and wooden fiddles at the ready. As Morven raised his hand above his head, not even a bird chirruped or a frog croaked. Morven swept his hand down and the band sprang into life. Dancers emerged from the trees to cheers and claps from the watching crowd of elves and woodland creatures.
The sound of music, bells and laughter filled the wood as the dancers wove their way in and out the circle of unicorns. As the dance finally slowed, Emerald, the May Birthstone Unicorn, was led into the centre of the circle. The elves danced while the tree sprites fluttered around clipping wild flowers and blossom into Emerald’s mane. Emerald stood proudly in the centre, her heart fluttering as much as the tiny tree sprites around her. At the end of the dance she gave a bow; May was her month and today she felt very special.