Andrella and the Water Lady

Amidst the dense woods, along the river bank, there was a little cottage in which Andrella, an 8-year-old girl used to live with her mother and her little brother, Edi, who was just three. Though Andrella was just eight years of age, she was a very wise girl. She was beautiful. She had her mother’s eyes, light blue-green in colour and had milky white complexion. She had a little squirrel as her pet. Her mother was not doing well as she had been suffering from asthma for the past 2 months and could not even get out of her bed. So it was Andrella’s responsibility to take care of her brother and the house as well. And because of her mother’s bad health she could make it to school only once or twice a week. But in spite of this, she always stood first in her class. Some of her class-mates were jealous of her intelligence. When she used to tell her mother about all this, her mother always told her to keep up her good behaviour and help others and not be jealous of anyone’s success.

One day, she went to the jungle to pick up some berries with her pet. That day she went a little far away from her house. This part of the jungle was new to her. There she saw a small hut, made up of leaves and dry sticks. The hut was built in a very different manner, which fascinated Andrella and she started approaching the door. As she entered the hut she saw that it was filled with old furniture and some useless things and was covered with cobwebs. There was no one in that hut. As she was about to leave, her eyes caught sight of an old bowl that was placed on a broken chair. She went near it and found that it was filled with some liquid which was pink in colour. As she peeped in that pink water, ripples formed in it and a sound came out of it. It was a soft and gentle voice coming out of that bowl. Andrella got scared and ran towards the door. But the voice called out for her again. Collecting her strength, she went near it. This time she could see a face. It was a beautiful face of a young woman. Andrella was amazed to see this. The name of that water lady was Danielle.

Danielle told Andrella about herself, about how she been trapped in that bowl by a cruel witch who was jealous of Danielle’s beauty and her aura. The witch wanted to be as beautiful as Danielle, but could not be. And because of her jealousy, she cursed Danielle and locked her in that bowl forever, with the help of her magical wand and vanished. Danielle wanted to get back to her original self. So she asked Andrella to help her. Andrella wondered how she could help her for she did not know anything to break the witch’s magic. Danielle pleaded her for help and it was them that Andrella realised that it was dark outside and her mother would be worried about her. But she could not leave the water lady just like that. So she promised that she would be back the next day. As she reached home, her mother asked why she was late. But instead of telling the truth, Andrella made up an excuse. Through the night, she thought of the water lady, of her beautiful face and her gentle voice pleading for help. The next day, at the same time, she left home, with her pet in her basket. She reached the cottage and peeped into the water. Danielle appeared and thanked her for coming back, for no one had ever visited the cottage for so many years and Andrella was her first and last hope. She told Andrella that the only way to rescue her was to get the crystal flower and dip it into the water in the bowl. But the crystal flower was with the witch and she lived far away from there, in a broken house. Danielle told her the way to witch’s place and also told her that the witch would not be around her place in the afternoon as she would go out for hunting at that time of the day.

The next afternoon, Andrella started for the witch’s place. She crossed the river and went through the dense forest. Andrella could see a broken house there. She went closer to it. Through the glass window, she peeped in to check if the witch was there. She could see no one. So she opened the door and went in. There she looked for the crystal flower, searching it in every corner, every shelf. Finally she spotted something which was shining brightly. It was the crystal flower. As she extended her hand to grab it, the witch appeared suddenly. Andrella got scared. The witch looked at her angrily and pushed her to the wall with a great force. Andrella fell down, hurting herself. And now the witch was ready to perform a magical spell on her. As she moved her magical wand, Andrella bowed down and the light from the wand hit the mirror on the wall and returned back to the witch and at that very moment, the witch turned into a stone. Andrella stood up, took the crystal flower from the shelf and made her way to reach the water lady. Danielle was eagerly waiting for her there. When she reached there, she took out the crystal flower from her bag and dipped it into the water. As she did that, a bright light came out of the bowl and the very next moment, a beautiful lady was standing next to her. Danielle was not just a woman, she was a fairy. She had beautiful white wings. Danielle said that she owed her life to Andrella and therefore, asked her to make three wishes. But Andrella could not think of anything. She thought it would not be fair to ask for something she did not deserve. So she didn’t make any wish and said that she would study hard and one day would achieve something big with all her hard work and would fulfil all the dreams that her mother had seen for her. At hearing that, the fairy became extremely happy with Andrella. She waved her magical wand and vanished. Andrella returned back home. As she opened the door, she was amazed. Her mother was no longer ill. She was perfectly fine and was busy cooking food for her family. Andrella closed her eyes and thanked the fairy. Meanwhile, her mother served her the food. She had her food happily and then went to sleep with her mother and her little brother.

Sucheta Sharma