There is a heavy rainstorm outside. Every now and then there is a lightning bolt to see, almost immediately followed by a huge thunder. The wind blows through the branches from the trees and now and then it seems that the tree is going to collapse. Noortje oversees the violence of nature from out her window. Mother sits down next to her in the wide window frame and lovingly strokes her head.
‘What an ugly thunder,’ says Mother.
‘Yes Mom,’ and she glares at her mother.
‘Are you all right sweetheart. You look so sad. I do understand it. Probably that little head of you sits full of questions,’ she takes Noortje on her lap and gives her a big hug.
Noortje snuggles up to her mother and together they peer outside again. Each absorbed in their own thoughts and riddles.
‘Mom,’ Noortje ask. ‘Do you know. All those dreams and nightmares, it frightens me a bit,’ and she looks at her mother questioningly.
‘Baby I understand that. It is also difficult to explain to such a little girl as you. But you know. Actually, you are an incredibly special child.’
Mother grabs Noortjes hands and strokes them lovingly. ‘I wish I could help you, but I can’t.’
Noortje looks at her mother and sees a tear running down her cheek. ‘Don’t cry mom. I don’t want to make you sad,’ and she rubs the tear from her mom’s face.
‘Sorry, I don’t want to cry at all. I must be strong, but …, but …, it will be fine. Look I see the sun is breaking through again, maybe you should just go outside and play.’
Mother presses another kiss on Noortjes cheek and walks to the kitchen.
Meanwhile, Noortje looks sadly through the window and sees the swans with their little ones sitting at the edge of the pond. They are close together to retain the heat. She wants to go to them, but she does not want to go outside. Noortje is a bit sad because she has seen her mommy cry. I wish Daddy were home, she thinks. He would probably know what to do. Mother calls from the kitchen that she has a nice cup of tea ready and Noortje walk to the kitchen.
On the kitchen table is a cup of tea and mommy gives her some delicious biscuits. She is mad about it. She puts the jaw on her cup and every few seconds she drops a drop off tea on her biscuit. Each time that she does that the jaw absorbs the moisture and it soon looks like a hat. She proudly shows it to Mommy. ‘Look, Mom a hat. It’s like a lot of the hat from… .., how do the swans call him again?’ Noortje thinks carefully and then she remembers.
‘Oh yes, they call him the branch man. Sorry, I can’t say that,’ but Mommy looks at her with a smile.
‘Come here. We need to talk. I’m going to tell you something that might startle you,’ says Mommy.
‘Oh, you don’t have to, Mom. I already know you have been a fairy. I heard you talking in the garden, ‘Noortje replies.
Mommy gets up and Noortje thinks she is being reprimanded because she knows she should not be eavesdropping, but Mommy takes her in her arms and hugs her.
‘Darling, you shouldn’t be eavesdropping, you know that, but I’m glad you know now. Come on, let us buy ice cream and we’ll talk on the way.’
Noortje does not understand it, but she does not resist ice cream. At the ice shop, they buy ice cream and together they walk to the park. Noortje enjoys her ice cream and her mom worries about what to tell Noortje. She thinks she is still far too little to carry this load, but on the other hand, she also sees that she is developing at a rapid pace.
‘Mom you have to eat your ice cream, otherwise it softens, or you don’t like it anymore?’
‘Yes, honey,’ and she looks at her daughter with a smile.
When Noortje has finished her ice cream, she creeps up on Mommy.
‘Tell Mom, tell me what it’s like to be a Fairy. Can I also become one, or will the witch try to also take my beauty away?’
Mom looks at her in surprise and asks what she knows.
Noortje tells her about the scary man with his strange hat and that he helped her. ‘The swans call him the branch man.’
For a moment It is silent and Mum sighs. ‘Yes dear, you can’t trust anyone. The witch can change in any shape, except in that of a Fairy.’
Noortje stares ahead and looks at her mom. She is thinking and whit her finger she curls her hair. ‘So, if the witch gets your beauty, is she then a Fairy too?’
‘That’s right, but the worst part is that she remains a witch too,’ mommy answer.
‘But Mom, you say she can change in any shape. So, she can also turn into a beauty. How is that possible?’
‘Yes, she can, but as a Fairy, you have special gifts and that is something she does not get, even if she turns into a beauty. Because she is a witch, that beauty will disappear quickly, so she should never get my beauty, because then she will also have my gift. I can only tell you. Trust no one.’
‘But Mom, and the swans, or the crow and Mellie my best friend?’
‘Baby, the animal’s whit how you can talk to are also enchanted. I think Mellie is just human but be incredibly careful. Always be on your guard.’
Noortje finds it confusing and wants to return home. There she lies down on the sofa and thinks. Still, she has happy that she now knows a bit more and that Mommy has trusted her, even though she knows there must be much more than what Mommy told her.
Outside the sky becomes cloudy and again it starts to rain, and the thunderstorms are back. Suddenly Noortje remembers that she once was in the attic with Dad, but Mommy has forbidden her to go to the attic by herself. Curiously, she looks at the stairs and sneaks upstairs. Mother is busy with dinner in the kitchen, so she will not miss her. Carefully she looks into the darkroom. Every now and then it is illuminated by the light that the thunder produces. She climbs into space with trembling legs and gently closes the hatch. She grabs the flashlight by touch. She knows where Dad left it last time. On her toes, she sneaks through the room and stands by a huge suitcase. She opens it and takes out one item of clothing after another. She has never seen them. Once again, she takes a piece of clothing out of the suitcase but has no idea what it should represent. Then a lightning bolt illuminates the room and she sees that the fabric is invisible. Yet she feels the material and it seems as if there is no end. She shines into the box with her flashlights and then discovers a beautifully decorated book.
‘If I were you, I wouldn’t touch the book,’ she hears behind her.
She looks back and sees the creepy little man in his weird hat.
‘If you touch the book, your hands will burn, ha, ha, ha, ha.’
She looks at the male in astonishment and then looks at the book again.
‘Take it, it’s for you,’ she hears a voice out of the trunk say.
‘Don’t do this, Noortje,’ the man shouts.
Noortje cannot resist the book and she takes it out of the suitcase.
She anxiously awaits what will happen, but nothing will happen.
‘You liar,’ she calls to the male, but he is nowhere to be seen.