Princess Rosie ran quickly over the grass, jumping and trying to land on Joey Owl's shadow. It was their special game of tag. When Joey Owl was "It," he would swoop down and dip his wing, lightly brushing his feathers on Princess Rosie's head. When Princess Rosie was "It," she would jump on his shadow.
Princess Rosie loved this game and had gotten very good at it, learning to duck at the very last second so that Joey Owl would miss her head and go flying on by!
Queen Mommy knew they could play this game for hours as she stood with a cup of coffee, watching out the palace door.
Suddenly, Queen Mommy gasped as her daughter, looking up at the sky to find Joey Owl while she ran very fast, tripped on the edge of a flower bed and landed face down in the daisies.
Joey Owl dipped his wings and swooped back to make sure his friend was okay, and almost fell out of the sky, so surprised was he at what happened next.
Princess Rosie did not actually land on the ground. She ended up lying on the daisies, and not in a squashed-them-flat sort of way, but in a way that looked like the flowers were all holding Princess Rosie up, like she was lying on an actual bed of flowers!
Princess Rosie realized after a moment that nothing hurt, no boo-boos, and that all of Queen Mommy's flowers were in perfect condition.
There was sparkly powder all over Princess Rosie from head to toe, and at that moment she floated in mid-air with Joey Owl swooping over, under, and all around her making sure she was okay, as he was a knight sworn to protect his princess, after all. But he was also trying to figure out how she could hover in the air like that!
Within seconds Princess Rosie figured out how to swoop and tilt her arms to steer (she'd been watching Joey Owl and her seagull friends for years, after all), and soon she was swirling and twirling and loop-de-looping like a pro.
Queen Mommy watched in awe as her daughter flitted around like a beautiful little fairy.
Fairy, Queen Mommy thought about it, and wondered. She sat her coffee on the table and went out the door and over to the flower bed.
Sure enough, on the very center flower sat an itty bitty tiny fairy, giggling at Princess Rosie's sky-bound antics.
Queen Mommy smiled and sat down in the grass beside the flower bed and very softly cleared her throat to let the little fairy, who was facing the other way, know that she had company.
Even though Queen Mommy had tried not to startle her, the little fairy gasped and turned so quickly she fell right off the flower with a little poof of fairy dust when she landed on her little fairy butt.
"Don't be scared," Queen Mommy said, as the little fairy peeked out at her from between daisy petals. "I won't hurt you. Were any of your little fairy friends hurt when Princess Rosie fell into your flowers?"
The little fairy fluttered her wings, rose up above the flower bed, then settled herself on a daisy a little closer to Queen Mommy. "You don't have to shout, Your Majesty, I'm right beside you."
Queen Mommy remembered then about big people voices and teeny tiny fairy ears. Softly she said, "I'm sorry, I forgot."
The fairy smiled, "We're all fine. I saw Princess Rosie running around and waved my wand just in time as she started to fall," the little fairy explained.
Queen Mommy turned her attention to Princess Rosie and Joey Owl and laughed softly at their swooping and looping.
"Will Princess Rosie always be able to fly from now on?" Queen Mommy asked.
"The fairy dust will blow off of her little by little and she'll fly lower and lower until her feet finally touch down. And once she takes her bath tonight it will be all gone."
Queen Mommy nodded. "But she sure is having fun now!"
Princess Rosie landed on a branch of the apple tree and snapped off an apple for her and one for Queen Mommy. She swooped over to her mother and dropped the beautiful red apple into Queen Mommy's hand, then returned to the tree where Joey Owl waited for her with his own apple firmly clenched in his talons. They ate their fruit, happily munching, and Princess Rosie giggled watching Joey Owl try to bite his apple standing on one foot.
As soon as she and Joey Owl had polished off their apples, they dropped the cores in the compost pile at the far end of the orchard, and zoomed through the air, racing back to the palace yard near the fairy flower bed.
"Watch me Joey Owl! I'm going to fly straight up and say hi to Mr. Sun, face to face!" Princess Rosie sang out, and flew higher and higher.
"You'll get sunburn on your nose!" shouted Joey Owl, but Princess Rosie was already way too high and far away to hear. Princesses being able to fly could be inconvenient, thought Joey Owl.
But another friend, a chubby little cloud heard, and scooted across the sky much faster than usual and drifted in front of Princess Rosie, blocking her way to Mr. Sun.
"Little Cloud, please move out of my way. I'm going to pay a royal visit to Mr. Sun!" Princess Rosie said politely, but firmly, she was Princess Rosie of Rosieland after all.
"Princess Rosie, I am but a humble little Cotton Candy Cloud, but I must tell you that Mr. Sun never receives visitors face to face," Little Cloud said.
"But Mr. Sun is so bright and cheerful, I'm sure he would be happy if I visited him," Princess Rosie said.
"Mr. Sun prefers his friends to wave from on the ground on Earth, Princess Rosie, because he is so fiercely hot if you get up close to him you would end up crispier than a potato chip!"
Princess Rosie thought about what it would be like to be a potato chip, floating in the sky. Shecky the Seagull and his buddies would probably gobble her up before she was halfway to the ground! They'd gobble up just about anything—just like her little brother, Prince Joseph, whose current record was 8 meatballs and a plateful of spaghetti!
Princess Rosie looked at Little Cloud and nodded, convinced but bummed out. She took a big breath, then sighed.
"Mr. Sun must be very lonely so high up there all by himself," she said. "Nobody can even really look at him."
Little Cloud floated in one place and Princess Rosie snuggled into him like a giant marshmallow.
"No, Princess Rosie, that's not how Mr. Sun feels at all! He has to stay very hot and bright so that flowers, vegetables, trees and people can be alive and grow. Being a giant star in a solar system is the most important job ever!" Little Cloud said. "And whenever Mr. Sun shines, he knows that all his friends on Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Venus, Uranus, and Neptune are happy to see him as they smile and play! He knows that most people don't play outside until he shows up. So you see, he knows people love him and want him around." Little Cloud explained.
Princess Rosie smiled and nodded. "I never thought about it that way. Whenever someone comes outside, Mr. Sun is all around so he's there with everybody all at once!" Princess Rosie said, a sunshine-bright smile on her face.
"That's right," said Little Cloud. "That's why he shines so bright—because he is full of all the love everybody on earth feels for him and it makes him shine!"
Princess Rosie squirmed out of the squishy side of the cloud and floated in front of him. "I should go back and play with Joey Owl now. Want to play tag with us?" Princess Rosie invited.
"Thank you, Princess Rosie, that sounds like a lot of fun, but I have to be floating along now. They need some rain for their tomato plants in Delaware. But another day I may drift by and say hello," Little Cloud said, then slowly drifted away, across the sky.
"Bye-Bye Little Cloud," Princess Rosie sang out and blew him a kiss.
"Bye-Bye Princess Rosie!" Little Cloud sang back and scooted along going south toward Delaware. Princess Rosie wondered how long it would take him to get to Poppop and Mimi's house. Probably hours and hours as slow as he was moving, she thought.
She came in for a landing near Queen Mommy and Joey Owl, and danced over to them, spinning and twirling and squealing with excitement. "I made a new friend! Little Cloud!" Princess Rosie jumped up and down, telling Queen Mommy and Joey Owl all about Little Cloud and all that he taught her about Mr. Sun.
Joey Owl nodded. "He's a smart little cloud, he knows his sunshine lessons very well."
"And now, so do I," said Princess Rosie as she followed Queen Mommy to the palace door. She'd worked up quite a thirst flitting around in the sky today.
"Thank you, Teeny Fairy for letting me fly!" she called out to her sparkly little winged friend.
Teeny Fairy waved to Princess Rosie and Joey Owl then fluttered her wings and disappeared into the flower bed out of sight.
Just before going inside for juice and cookies, Princess Rosie turned toward Mr. Sun. "Thank you for shining, Mr. Sun! I love you!" she said, and blew Mr. Sun a kiss…
…Which landed on Mr. Sun's very hot cheek and popped like a little firecracker, making him laugh. And that meant, of course that this day would be just that much more bright and cheerful, thanks to the friendship between Princess Rosie and Mr. Sun.