'Fiona And The Fairies' | Circle Round 43

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(Sabina Hahn for WBUR)
(Sabina Hahn for WBUR)

When someone does something nice for you… or gives you something you’ve been wanting… what do you say to them?

Ideally... you say “thank you” - right?

When we express gratitude, we can make someone feel good… and appreciated.

But in this episode, we’ll meet some magical creatures who never say “Thank you.” Or “please.” Or “You’re welcome.” That is, until a talented baker teaches them a very sweet lesson.

Our story is called “Fiona and the Fairies.” It’s inspired by a folktale from Scotland… the northernmost country in the United Kingdom.  Voices in this episode include Jon Bell, MaConnia Chesser, Adam Mastroianni, Tracy Lynn Olivera, and Selenis Leyva. Grown-ups, you can see Selenis on AMC’s "Dietland," along with two Netflix shows: "Orange is the New Black," and "Maniac," co-starring Jonah Hill and Emma Stone.  This story was adapted for Circle Round by Rebecca Sheir and edited by Executive Producer, Jessica Alpert.  Original music and sound design by Eric Shimelonis.  Our illustrator is Sabina Hahn.

ADULTS! PRINT THIS so everyone can color while listening. We’re also keeping an album so share your picture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, and tag it with #CircleRound. We'd love to see it! To access all the coloring pages for past episodes click HERE. Our resident artist is Sabina Hahn and you can learn more about her HERE.

Things To Think About After Listening

Over the next day, think about ways you can show gratitude to other people. It might be a simple case of saying “Thank you.” You may want to make someone a thank-you card... or give somebody a thank-you gift. Use your imagination — and your kindness — to help other people in your life feel even more


Musical Spotlight:  Vibraphone

If you’ve heard or seen a xylophone, marimba or glockenspiel, then you already have an idea of what the vibraphone is like.

(Kelly Martin/Wikimedia Commons)
(Kelly Martin/Wikimedia Commons)

As with its mallet-instrument cousins, the vibraphone (a.k.a vibraharp, vibes) is played with mallets: usually one or two in each hand. But here’s how the vibraphone differs: first, it has a damper pedal, like on a piano, and second, it has a motor! Underneath each of its tuned metal bars is a tube that amplifies the sound, and inside each tube is a fan disc. With help from the motor, the fan disc spins and spins, causing the tube to open and close. The opening and closing give the vibraphone a clear, ringing, dreamy “vibrato” effect.

Story Transcript

NARRATOR: If you think about the most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten… then you multiply that deliciousness by one-thousand…well, that’s what it was like to taste a treat… baked by Fiona.

Fiona the baker was famous for her cookies and pies, her muffins and scones… but what made Fiona legendary… were her cakes. People from all over town lined up to order her fluffy, frosted cakes for their birthday parties, weddings, and other celebrations.

If folks could afford to pay full price, Fiona charged them full price. But if they had barely a penny to their name…? She’d give them the cake for free. Their gratitude, she said, was payment enough.

Because not only was Fiona a gifted baker… she was generous… good-hearted… and polite as can be!

Then… there were… the fairies.

The fairies lived in a cave... deep in the forest at the edge of town. And… more than anything... the fairies hungered for a taste of Fiona’s cakes.

FAIRY 1: Oh, fairies! We must find a way to get some of Fiona’s yummy cake!

FAIRY 2: I know! But… how?!?

FAIRY 3: We’ve been trying forever!

FAIRY 4: Every time we show up after a party…

FAIRY 1, 2, 3, 4: ...the cake’s all gone!

NARRATOR: And why was the cake all gone?

Well, you see, two things set these fairies apart from the fairies you might know.

For one… these fairies... had very sensitive ears. So they disliked loud noises. Every time someone threw a party… and Fiona’s cakes were on the menu… the fairies had to wait until the lively music stopped and the chatty guests went home, before they fluttered over to grab some cake.

But by then... there was nothing left! Not even a crumb!

Now… you may be asking… why didn’t the fairies just approach Fiona and politely ask her to bake a cake for them?

Well, that brings us to the second difference between these fairies and the ones you might know.

While Fiona was all about being kind and generous to others, these fairies were all about satisfying themselves. And while Fiona was all about good manners, these fairies never said “please,” or “thank you”... let alone “you’re welcome.”

Now, the fairies had noticed that just before dinner, while Fiona’s husband and baby were playing inside the house, the baker would go for an evening stroll. It helped her brainstorm new flavors for her cakes.

One evening, the fairies hid in the tall, soft grass outside Fiona’s house. The moment the baker stepped out her front door, the fairies darted toward her, the moonlight glinting off their rapidly-beating wings.

FIONA: (dodging/swatting what she thinks are fireflies) My goodness! I’ve never seen so many fireflies out at this hour! They’re so thick, I can hardly see! (starting to fall asleep/yawning) Maybe I should turn around... and go... back... home…

NARRATOR: But before she could say another word, Fiona crumpled down on the tall, soft grass… and fell asleep.

You see, as the fairies flitted around the baker’s face, they sprinkled fern seed in her eyes; fern seed is a magical ingredient that makes people instantly drop into a deep slumber.

FAIRY 1: Alright, fairies!

FAIRY 2: She’s out.

FAIRY 3: Let’s get her!

FAIRY 4: One, two, three…

FAIRY 1, 2, 3, 4: ...LIFT!!!

NARRATOR: The fairies grabbed on to Fiona’s dress and apron, hoisted her into the air, and flew her to their cave deep within the forest. When Fiona woke up, she glanced around with confusion.

FIONA: (waking up, disoriented) Where am I?!?

NARRATOR: The fairies smiled.

FAIRY 1: Why, you’re in fairyland, of course!

FIONA: (confused) Fairyland!?! How did I get here?

FAIRY 2 We brought you!

FAIRY 3: ...For a very particular reason.

FAIRY 4: You see, Fiona…

FAIRY 1, 2, 3, 4: We want your cakes!

FIONA: My cakes?!?

FAIRY 1: Yes!

FAIRY 2: We’ve been drooling over your cakes for a long time now!

FAIRY 3: But we’ve never tasted a crumb.

FAIRY 4: They’re always devoured too quickly!

FAIRY 1: So... we’re ordering you to stay with us in fairyland...

FAIRY 2: ...and bake us cakes…

FAIRY 1, 2, 3, 4: ...forever!

NARRATOR: Fiona looked from fairy to fairy.

FIONA: Okay, so, let me get this straight. You’re asking me to stay here… and bake cakes for you... forever. Is that right?

FAIRY 3: No!

FAIRY 4: We’re not asking you…

FAIRY 1, 2, 3, 4: ...We’re telling you!

NARRATOR: Now, remember: Fiona always appreciated good manners in others.
That included people… and fairies.

But clearly, here in fairyland, no good manners were to be found.

And Fiona was determined to change that.

After spending her entire life baking up treats and sweets, Fiona realized that now…?

It was time to cook up... a plan.

What would you do if you were Fiona?

We’ll find out what happens… after a quick break.


NARRATOR: Welcome back to Circle Round. I’m Rebecca Sheir. Today our story is called “Fiona and the Fairies.”

When we left off, Fiona the baker had been whisked away by the fairies. The fairies were ordering her to stay in fairyland, and bake cakes for them... forever!

But Fiona had a husband back home… and a baby… and a wonderful life! She didn’t want to leave all that behind. And besides, Fiona was big on kindness, generosity, and good manners.

And the fairies didn’t have any.

So… she decided to teach them all... a lesson.

FIONA: (hatching a plan) Listen, fairies. I’m tickled to hear how much you’ve been wanting to taste my cakes! And I will bake for you. But first… I’ll need a few things.

FAIRY 1: Like what?

FIONA: Well, for starters, I’ll need a mixing bowl. And a spoon. Please.

NARRATOR: One of the fairies zipped out of the room and returned with a golden bowl and spoon. But the bowl was the size of a walnut… and the spoon was no longer than a blade of grass!

FIONA: Thank you! But I’m afraid I’ll need something bigger. Could you go back to my house… into my kitchen… and fetch me the biggest mixing bowl and spoon you can find? And while you’re there, gather flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and every other ingredient you’d fancy in a cake. Please.

NARRATOR: So the fairies whizzed back to Fiona’s house, and returned with everything she'd requested.

FIONA: Thank you! I have more than enough to bake the most scrumptious cake ever. Or, do I…?

NARRATOR: The fairies were puzzled.

FAIRY 2: What do you mean, Fiona?

FIONA: Well… now that I think of it… I can’t ever seem to measure my ingredients without my cat lying beside me. His purring is so soothing; it helps me measure everything slowly and carefully. Could you go back to my house and bring me my cat? Please?

NARRATOR: So the fairies zoomed back to Fiona’s house, and returned with the cat... who immediately curled up by Fiona’s feet and began to purr.

FIONA: Thank you! Now I can get to work. Or, can I…?

NARRATOR: The fairies were baffled.

FAIRY 3: What do you mean, Fiona?

FIONA: Well… now that I think of it… I can’t ever seem to mix the ingredients without my dog sleeping beside me. I circle my spoon one time around the bowl every time he snores. Could you go back to my house and bring me my dog? Please?

NARRATOR: So the fairies darted back to Fiona’s house, and returned with the dog… who promptly plopped down beside the cat, and began to snore.

FIONA: Thank you! Now I can get started on this cake. Or, can I…?

NARRATOR: The fairies were perplexed. And growing impatient.

FAIRY 4: (puzzled, growing impatient) What do you mean, Fiona?

FIONA: Well… now that I think of it… my family has no idea where I am! I can’t measure or mix my ingredients properly if I think they’re worried about me! Could you go back to my house and bring me my husband and baby? Please?

NARRATOR: So the fairies flitted back to Fiona’s house, and returned with her husband and baby, who were very happy to see her.

FIONA: Thank you! Now, at last, I can do some baking. Or, can I…?

NARRATOR: By now, the fairies were more mystified than ever. And more impatient!

FAIRY 1: (more puzzled, more impatient than before) What do you mean, Fiona?

FIONA: Well… now that I think of it… it’s past dinner time! My baby must be hungry. I prepared a pot of stew earlier today. It’s sitting on the stove. Could you go back to my house and bring me that pot? And a spoon? Please?

NARRATOR: So the fairies flew back to Fiona’s house, and returned with the pot of stew, and a spoon.

FIONA: Thank you! Now I’ll just hand these over to my baby, and I’ll get baking!

NARRATOR: But... you know how babies are: everything seems like a toy. So, no sooner had Fiona handed her baby the pot and spoon, then the child… began banging them together! Like a drum!

Now, remember: these fairies detested loud noises. Immediately, they started flying round and round in a frenzy, their teeny hands clamped tightly over their tiny ears.

FAIRY 1, 2, 3, 4: (sounds of distress)

NARRATOR: Fiona had seen this coming. And… just as she had planned… the noise got considerably worse.

The baby’s banging startled the cat and dog. The animals jolted awake, and were soon racing around the room… the cat howling and yowling… and the dog barking and growling!

The fairies squeezed their eyes shut and shook their heads.

FAIRY 1: This is unbearable!

FAIRY 2: This is intolerable!

FAIRY 3: Fiona, we beg you...

FAIRY 4: Can you stop this racket?!?

FAIRY 1, 2, 3, 4: ...PLEEEEEASE???!!!????

FIONA: Ah! You said the magic word!

NARRATOR: Quick as a wink, Fiona scooped some stew into her baby’s mouth. The child smiled with pleasure. He stopped his banging, dipped his spoon into the pot, and began gobbling down bite after bite of peas, potatoes and carrots.

As soon as the baby settled down…. the cat and dog did, too.

Suddenly… the room… was... silent.

The fairies stopped flying round and round, and sank to the floor… exhausted.

FAIRY 4: (exhausted) (sigh) Thank you, Fiona.

FAIRY 1: (exhausted) Thank you so much!

FAIRY 2: (exhausted) We are so, so grateful.

FAIRY 3: (exhausted) Truly!

NARRATOR: Fiona smiled.

FIONA: You’re very welcome, fairies. And thank you!

NARRATOR: The fairies cocked their tired heads.

FAIRY 4: (confused) “Thank you”...

FAIRY 1: (confused) ...for what?

NARRATOR: Fiona laughed.

FIONA: For finally showing some decent manners, of course! All this time, I’ve been waiting for a little “please,” and “thank you.” And now that I’ve gotten both? Well... now I will bake you your cake.

NARRATOR: And... she did.

After the cake had cooled, the fairies gobbled it up with glee. It was every bit as delectable as they thought it would be.

From then on, Fiona baked the fairies a new cake each and every week. Mind you, she did it from her own home; she and the fairies agreed it would be easier that way.

Every Sunday, Fiona would load up a platter with a fluffy, frosted cake and leave it at the edge of the forest. And every Monday, she’d come back and find her platter… sprinkled with gold coins.

It was the fairies’ way of saying... ‘Thank you.’

Because Fiona had given the fairies more than food. She’d given them food for thought, and taught the important lesson that when you’re kind to others… and you show your appreciation… well…?

It can be truly sweet, indeed.

Headshot of Rebecca Sheir

Rebecca Sheir Host, Circle Round
Rebecca Sheir is the host "Circle Round," WBUR's kids storytelling podcast.



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