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A Dress for Mary, by David Hartley
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A Dress for Mary, by David Hartley.

(From the children's illustrated book of the same name.)
The Invites were sent to all good and all small;
The Royals were holding their Annual Ball!
Every fashionable fairy would have to be there,
All dressed in fine clothes and with freshly combed hair.

Each year there's a contest to see who'd the best,
Most spectacular, beautiful, magical dress.
And all of the creatures would gather around,
To see where that marvellous dress had been found.

But Mary the Fairy slumped down in despair,
When she looked in her wardrobe to see what to wear.
Perhaps she could make something new out of old,
With cutting and stitching and ribbons of gold?

As the garments were brought out, they were thrown on the floor.
Every dress that she owned had been seen once before.
They were old; they were tattered – all threadbare and torn;
Soon the wardrobe was empty and she looked all-forlorn.

"I know!" said poor Mary, "I'll look on the 'Net,'
to try and find something they'll never forget."
So all day she browsed, but no dress could be found,
For Mary the Fairy was exceedingly round.

They were either too small or just weren't right,
And far too expensive for only one night.
They couldn't deliver or were all out of stock,
So, Mary, she shouted, "I shall find a frock!"

She looked in the paper the following day,
To see if her dress could be found in this way.
But every advert said 'delivery: one week.'
And Mary decided the outlook was bleak.

As the days quickly passed, she was filled with despair.
For no dress could be found, it was a nightmare!
So she hopped on her rabbit and headed to town,
In the hope that she found her magical gown.

She looked in shop windows and searched market halls,
Every dress shop and store, every counter and stall.
When the day had ended, she sat down for a drink,
She needed a miracle, she needed to think!

Outside the café, stood Wendy the Witch,
Who was dark and attractive and terribly thin.
She looked carefully at Mary, as a smile crossed her face,
And then entered the café at quite a brisk pace.

Wendy approached Mary and pulled up a chair.
Then she asked Mary what she'd do with hair.
"My hair!" screamed Mary, "I've not given it a thought!
I've had no time to wash it and a dress I've not bought!"

"Don't worry," said Wendy, "I have a friend,
Who can sort out your problems, and advice maybe lend?"
"If you come back tomorrow I'll see what she can do,
so smile for me Mary and stop feeling blue."

Mary's mind spun in circles, she slept little that night,
for she knew in the morning it would all be alright.
And tomorrow, of course, was the day of the ball.
She'd look so amazing, maybe dazzle them all.

So first thing next morning she hurried to town,
To try and find Wendy who could find her a gown.
In a side street she found her, it was shady and grey,
Where Wendy was waiting to lead Mary away.

They hurried through alleys and then crossed the park,
And Mary got worried when the woodland grew dark.
Then they came to a clearing all pleasant and green,
Surrounded by trees where they'd never be seen.

"Where's this friend who'll help…" Mary started to say,
Wendy lifted her arms and her hat blew away.
The bushes were spinning around and around,
Then poor little Mary, she fell to the ground.

When she opened her eyes, she gasped with shock.
For there in the clearing now stood a shop!
Mary ran to the window and tried to see in,
But the curtains were drawn and the crack was too thin.

"Knock on the door" cackled Wendy with glee,
"then we'll go inside and see what might be."
So Mary, she knocked and she thumped on the door,
she was very impatient and stamped on the floor.

Then slowly the door opened wide with a creak,
As a pretty young woman then started to speak.
"I'm Nixie the Pixie and you're welcome to see,
If I have what you need, come inside follow me."

So Mary, she followed then stood in surprise,
As a beautiful dress appeared in front of her eyes.
It was silver and blue with green ribbons around,
And a pair of gold shoes that she saw on the ground.

"I must have it!" she shrieked. "It's the dress of my dreams!"
Every button was right; every cut, zip and seam.
"I don't care of the cost! For this dress is just right,
to wear to the Ball on this wonderful night!"

"Let's see if it fits" said Nixie with glee,
"Then we'll talk of a price and how much it will be"
So on went the dress, with her hair held above,
She couldn't believe it, it fit like a glove.

To a strange looking mirror, Wendy beckoned her then,
As Mary turned this way and that way again.
The gown was just perfect in every way.
And it managed to smooth all the bulges away!

She then turned to Nixie, "You've not mentioned the price"
Wendy said, "Mary, now don't you look nice."
"The price!" shouted Mary. "Please tell me the worst.
I don't think I have that much left in my purse."

"It's a bargain", grinned Nixie, "A price especially for you,
and don't you look pretty in silver and blue."
"A more beautiful dress will never be found.
The price...?" pondered Nixie, "well, to you, it's a pound."

"A pound?" replied Mary, "It cannot be true?"
As she fished in her pocket, "Here, you can have two."
"Can you wrap it? I need to head home right away…
and thank you for this, it's been my lucky day."

So off Mary set, Wendy still as her guide,
her heart was just bursting with joy deep inside.
For tonight when she entered the King's Royal Hall,
Everyone would proclaim her, "The Belle of the Ball."

Her rabbit was ordered and turned up on time,
As Mary the Fairy swelled up with pride.
Her dress shone like stardust and glistened like rain,
Her shoes were just perfect, no pinching no pain.

She'd purposely left to be late for the Ball,
So every fairy would look as she entered the hall.
As the footmen stood patiently there by the doors,
She imagined the praise and the gasps and applause.

Slowly she swayed, full of vigour and vim,
Thinking of everyone watching within.
Her dress it was special, it was one of a kind;
The contest was hers she'd leave the others behind.

The big doors were then opened wide to the Hall
And the crowd then fell silent; you could hear a pin fall.
Mary looked at the ceiling and stood atop of the stairs,
Allowing the others to all turn and to stare.

When she lowered her gaze she gasped very loud,
Her eyes scanned the fairies all gathered around.
"This couldn't be true!" she heard herself say,
"This night wasn't supposed to turn out this way."

Every fairy attending the contest that night,
All wore the same dress, shimmering bright in the light.
Silver and blue, with new golden shoes.
This couldn't have happened; how could they all choose…

The same dress as hers, this 'One of a kind'?
It didn't seem real and confused Mary's mind.
Had everyone journeyed deep into the wood?
Were Wendy and Nixie up to no good?

They'd all bought the same garment, the dress of their dreams;
With emerald green ribbons and carefully sewn seams.
Shimmering blue, with silver that flashed…
Everyone's hope for the contest had surely been dashed.

Then into the Hall entered Wendy the Witch,
All eyes turned towards her, eyebrows started to twitch.
In a simple black dress she dazzled them all,
Tonight it was Wendy, who was "The Belle of the Ball."

As she glided around she looked radiant and bright,
With the simplest of gowns she'd won the contest tonight.
For all of the fairies now looked in pain,
Why had they been so shallow? They'd all been so vain.

If only they'd worn something humble instead,
Then they'd not be embarrassed, with cheeks glowing red.
Because of their vanity they'd all tried to hide,
Wendy had made them look foolish and hollow inside.

So if you think that a dress will change your life,
Just think of the fairies and their heartache that night.
If you wear something simple; it might not make you look thin;
But will allow inner beauty to shine from within.

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