Jaxx liked things. New things. Things to play with. Things to dress up in. Things that were colourful or cute or sparkling.
So did her friends.
When there was something new to have, Jaxx asked for it. And if she didn’t whinge too much and she ate most of her dinner most nights, she got it.
She always wanted it straight away but her parents told her that people didn’t get everything they wanted as soon as they wanted it. And Jaxx thought that was silly. They should.
At school, when everyone had to bring something special to tell the class about, Jaxx couldn’t decide what to take. She could take the new bracelet-making set or the robot cat she’d got for being quiet or the lego that she’d needed to make a bigger palace. Her Mum said maybe the bracelet maker because the robot cat might get broken and the palace was too heavy. So that’s what Jaxx took.
Heidi took her pink fairy umbrella and Ruby took her ballet dress. And Joshua Pettigrew took a snail in a box (which Jaxx thought was weird – who cared about a snail in a box?) and Mrs Caternium was interested in them all.
Marita – who wasn’t one of Jaxx’ best friends but was nice – had an ordinary looking doll. But when Marita told the class about it, Jaxx realised that the doll wasn’t ordinary at all.
“Her name is Lucia Aveline and she comes from a magical realm,” said Marita. “My granny told me. In that realm she has special powers that no one else has and when I go to sleep at night, she can take me there in my dreams so that we have adventures. Sometimes we eat lollipops and ice-cream while we sit on the clouds. Sometimes Lucia Aveline calls her flying horse and we go for a ride. Sometimes we visit the Frog King and Lucia Aveline turns our plates of flies into cupcakes so we don’t offend him by not eating. And once, in my dream, all the magical creatures helped us build a rocket and we flew to Jupiter for a picnic.”
Jaxx was amazed. She wanted a Lucia Aveline. She wanted a magic doll and she wanted to eat lollipops on a cloud and she wanted to fly on a horse.
But her mother looked online and said there was no doll called Lucia Aveline so she asked Marita’s Dad and he said that the doll had belonged to Marita’s grandmother when she was a girl and that he didn’t think you could get them anymore.
But Jaxx still wanted it.
Every day she wanted it more.
And not whinging and eating dinner wouldn’t get it for her. So she cried because she wanted it so badly and it wasn’t fair that she couldn’t have it. She needed it. Her stomach ached and she knew it wouldn’t stop until she had a Lucia Aveline.
“Here,” her Dad said, “play with Tinkerbell the unicorn. She can take you for a ride on her back in your dreams.”
“No, she can’t,” said Jaxx. She’s just for playing with. She’s not really magic.”
“Well … “ her Dad looked at her Mum over his shoulder. “That Lucia doll’s not really magic either, Jaxxie. She’s just an old doll. And those are nice stories about her. But she’s not really magic.”
“She is! She is! She’s Lucia Aveline and she’s from a magic realm. You don’t know.”
The next week at school, Marita’s grandmother was the classroom visitor for a day. So Marita had been allowed to bring Lucia Aveline so she could talk about her grandmother and the things they did together.
When morning break was finishing, Jaxx saw the doll sitting in Marita’s locker.
She walked over and picked it up. And before she could properly think about what she was doing, Jaxx had put in in her own bag. In her own locker.
And then the bell rang and it was time for reading groups.
Marita’s grandmother patted the seat beside her. “You sit by me,” she said to Jaxx and smiled. Jaxx’s reading group was the quickest and they’d finished their story in time to pick their own books and do quiet reading.
“What did you choose?” Marita’s grandmother asked, as Jaxx sat back down on her chair. Jaxx held up the book. “Magic Beach,” read Marita’s grandmother and smiled. “You like magic things?”
“Yes,” said Jaxx “a lot”.
“Magic is a special thing,” said Marita’s grandmother. “But it can be like trying to keep a busy kitten on your lap. It’s not up to you. If you’re lucky that it chooses you, you’re lucky. For as long as it stays. But you can’t make it happen. The only sort of magic you can try to bring to you is the magic that is drawn to kindness.”
Jaxx looked confused.
“If you are a kind person – gentle, thoughtful – the best kind of magic can surround you.”
“I’m kind,” Jaxx said. “I pat dogs in the park all the time and I’m gentle and kind.”
“That’s good,” said Marita’s grandmother with a generous smile. “But for this magic to find you, you need to look at the people around you. You need to be gentle and kind with them. As often as you can. Think of what they would like. And what they wouldn’t like. And sometimes do the things that will make them happier or stop them being sad. The person that is like that will feel the best kind of magic.”
“Is magic the best thing in the world?” Jaxx asked.
“Oh yes,” Marita’s grandmother said. “We can find it in so many moments. In surprises. In hugs with the people we love. In …”
“ … riding on a flying horse …”
“Ah, that sort of magic only comes to us in our dreams. In stories. Those are special times. But nothing we do can bring that magic. Sometimes the more we try, the further away it can get. The only magic that we can influence is when we’re awake. That is the magic that can grow and settle and be shared. The magic of seeing what others see. Feeling what they feel. If you think about that and bring kindness to what you do, you will know the strongest magic of all.”
At lunch time, Jaxx helped Mrs Caternium tidy the craft table. That was kind.
She helped one of the little girls climb down from the slide when she was scared. Gentle and kind.
And when she went to her locker and she saw Lucia Aveline in her bag, she stopped and thought.
Of Marita. Marita’s grandmother.
And Jaxx put Lucia Aveline back into Marita’s locker.
When it was time to go home, Marita and her grandmother came up to Jaxx and her mum. Marita was holding Lucia Aveline. “Do you want to go to the park? We’re going and granny says you can come if you want and she’ll tell us both a story about Lucia Aveline. A new adventure.”
Jaxx looked up at her Mum. “Can we, Mum, please?” Her mother thought. “Well …” “Pleease …” “Well, we can do the shopping a bit later.”
“Yesss!” blurted Jaxx, jiggling with excitement.
She looked over at Marita’s granny and caught a warm smile. Then Jaxx turned back to her mother and patted her leg firmly. “Thank you, Mum,” she said nodding. “That’s really very kind of you.”