This evening, two little girls, one aged two and one aged three-point-five, ran to the fairy dell (three lilly pillies planted in a cluster). They yelp joyously, and hide under the protective shelter the trees offer.

“The fox is after us!” the three-point-five-year old announces. “Quick, to the fairy dell! We must hide!”

The girls giggle and wait, their little legs bouncing from the excitement the fox has caused.

“Naughty fox!” they yell. “Go away! That silly fox…he’s still there.” More giggles.

“I know,” says the three-year old, “let’s throw these berries at him, maybe he’ll go away.” They litter the path with berries from the lilly pilly, but the fox remains.

“How about you invite him in for tea? He actually looks quite friendly,” I suggest.

“Yes,” they agree. That was a good idea. Together, they make salad and pizza from leaves and twigs and berries, and politely ask the fox to wait outside while the dinner cooks. “OK, fox, you can come in now.” The fox guzzles up his salad and pizza, and is then named Theodore after the chipmunk and given a stroke on the head.

“Oh, he’s actually a really friendly fox,” the three-year old says. The two-year old agrees vigorously, and they squeal as they run home.

Watching these two little people create a little fantasy world was such a privilege. More animals came, and others left. There was no limit to the wonderful things that could happen in the fairy dell. The two girls told each other stories, and giggled until their toes turned purple.

I remember my own imaginary worlds of my childhood, tucked in olive trees, or under lantana branches. Families of bears, fairies and royals filled my days and kept me company under the warm sun. I remember these fantasy worlds better than most of the ‘real’ things that happened.

Children have an incredible capacity for imagination. Their worlds are so fluid and magical. So much can happen. Anyone, anything can come and go. It’s such a beautiful thing, to imagine…to create. I could have sat there my whole life, revelling in the magic these two tiny people were weaving…out of nothing, but berries, twigs and leaves.

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