Down in the dell beyond Ashwood Forest, in a teeny tiny birchbark cottage lived Puk and Pat. They were known far and wide as the Apple Pixie brothers because they loved everything about apples. They loved growing the trees, picking the apples, baking apple tarts, and making apple stars to decorate their house.
What they did not love, or even like a smidgeon, was old grumpy Farmer John. He watched his apple trees like a hawk during harvest time. He did not like to share his apples, not one little bit.
One night Puk and Pat tiptoed to Farmer John's orchard hoping to pick an apple or two, when sure enough, they saw the old farmer under a tree watching for apple robbers! Puk and Pat did not think of themselves as apple robbers, only friends of the Apple Trees. Oh dear, what were they to do?
As they pondered, Farmer John got up to stretch his legs. He was tired from staying up all night guarding his apples. He took a few steps, but in the dark of night he did not see a stone sticking up on the path, and he tripped and fell. He started rolling and rolling and rolling down the hill by the orchard.
'OH! EEK! NO! OUCH!, HELP!' he called out, for surely he had hurt himself. Puk and Pat, being kind pixies, ran as fast as they could to be of service.
It was hard to see where the farmer landed in the dark, so they followed his calls for help. Puk found him first and said, 'Farmer John, we heard your calls and are here to help!' Pat ran up too and added, 'yes, indeed, tell us what you need!'
Farmer John looked at them through his teary eyes and the dark of night and roared, 'oh no! you are the apple robbers!' He then started to wave his arms up and down and all around shouting at them. But he could not stand up because he had badly hurt his ankle when he fell down the hill.
Puk and Pat took a few steps back, thinking of running away. But they looked at each other and said, 'dear Farmer John, we are here only to help you. No one will hear your calls, or see you down at the bottom of the hill. You need us and might want to try to be thankful we are here!'
The old grumpy farmer then saw clearly how much he needed their help and realized how very cranky he had been with them. 'Now, now little Pixies, please don't leave me here alone. I see now how unfriendly I was and I do thank you for being willing to help me. My ankle is hurting so much I don't think I can walk.'
Puk and Pat knew just what to do. Farmer John was much bigger than they were, and they remembered seeing an old blue wheelbarrow by the apple trees. They ran to get it. 'We will be right back', they called over their shoulders. Between the two of them, they managed to push the wheelbarrow down the hill to Farmer John.
The little Pixies pushed and heaved, heaved and pushed to help Farmer John get into the wheelbarrow, then carefully propped up his sore ankle. It was not so hard for the Pixies to push the wheelbarrow with the farmer on it down the lower path below the orchard. All the way to Farmer John's farm house Puk and Pat sang, and after a while Farmer John joined in.
By the time they reached the farm house they were all good friends and laughing! Farmer John's wife came out and saw quite a sight! She helped her husband into the house and sat him in a chair. 'I will make a cup of tea for all of you and bring an ice pack for your ankle, John.'
Farmer John looked at Puk and Pat. 'I thank you with all my heart for helping me. I have been too greedy worrying about my apples. From this day on I will harvest the apples from the lower part of the trees, and leave the top-most apples for you dear Pixie friends.
Puk and Pat smiled. They knew the apples at the top of the trees were kissed by the sun and were the sweetest on the tree!
They all had tea and cake together and when the Pixies said good bye and started down the path, Puk said, 'what a wonderful surprise tonight was.' They they laughed and ran all the way home. Tomorrow they would pick apples!