In a modest little house up on Brandon Hill there lived a brother and a sister, dearly devoted to each other. In their youth, their mother had died, followed by their father, and then the two siblings had been sent to live with a great-uncle of theirs, who was sober only one out of seven days in a week, and sometimes not even that. It were these overcome ordeals that shaped the sibling’s close bond, and they had never married.

They had owned a nice farm during their early adulthood, but as the years wore on, the sister’s health almost completely failed her, so they had sold their property and moved onto the house on Brandon hill, seeking medical care.

Their doctor was a skinny, short- tempered man who was especially angry with his patient (though it was hardly HER fault), for he was unable to identify what exactly was ailing her, and left, after demanding one hundred dollars for his brief visit. The trained nurse stayed behind, and said to the brother of the sick old woman;

“Seek the Good Fairy who dwells in the Wood beyond our town. She can help you.”

And so, the brother went.

The Wood was a splendid and rather gloomy place, there were many big, forbidding trees that cast dark shadows, and the ground was covered in a thick, deep green and almost black layer of moss. The old man wandered around for so long that he began to wonder if the trained nurse had lied to him, and it was then that he decided to turn around and try to go home. But no! What about his sister? How could he go home without a cure for her? He couldn’t. After this decision was reached, the brother walked on, and soon after that he stumbled upon a cave. “This”, he thought to himself, “must be the Good Fairy’s home.”

And it was.

The cave appeared to be quite dark on the outside, but once the old man stepped into it, he was surprised to find it was all lit up with a silvery sort of light, and he followed it to the heart of the cave. It was here he met the Good Fairy. The silver aura around her was so bright that the old man couldn’t see her; he could only make out her slim silhouette and long waves of hair rippling from her head.

“Please,” the old man began. “Good Fairy, I need your help.”

“Many have come to me, seeking my help.” The Good Fairy’s voice was light and airy. “What is it your wish?”

“It is my sister,” the brother began. “She is fatally ill, and no doctor can help her, they do not know how. Can you-”

-“Make her better?” The Good Fairy guessed. “And why do you want her to live?”

“She- she is my sister. She is all I have. And why should I let anyone I love die without trying to save them first?”

The Good Fairy spoke again, her voice as smooth as silk. ” I see. Well, then, I will warn you, I can only grant you one wish for free. It is the rule. What is your wish, specifically?”

The old man stepped closer to the Good Fairy, eagerly. “Please, tell me what is wrong with my sister, how to heal her. Make her better! -Please.”

“That is more than one wish, and as I cannot personally heal your sister without breaking the rules I made with Fate, eons ago, then I will grant you your first wish, and only that.”

“What do you mean, talking about breaking the rules? What fate-” began the old man, but suddenly stopped. The fairy was growing brighter so that he had to close his eyes, and he turned around so that he would not be blinded.

All at once, the bright glow in the cave dimmed greatly, and he turned around to see a stunningly beautiful woman with long flowing black hair and a soft silver glow around her. “Her heart,” announced the fairy. “Her heart is not working properly. She will not live much longer- unless something is done.” She paused here, as though emphasizing something. “You must leave now, if you are to see her again, alive.”

“That is it?” The brother was angry, and his face showed it. “I walked three hundred miles so that you could tell me in the vaguest way possible what was wrong with my sister and that I should GO? You didn’t even tell me how to help her!”

“Oh, but that is where you are wrong…” The Good Fairy was fading. All the man could clearly see was her white face and her dark eyes, but even that was disappearing now. “Read between the lines…” And she was gone.

It was a very bitter and hardened old man who returned to the house on Brandon hill, where his sister lay in her bed, dying. The brother bent down and lay his head on her chest, listening to her heart. He heard a sluggish, liquid, bum-bum, bum-bum, and it was gradually decreasing in speed. The old man held his hand over his own heart now and felt the strong pulse inside of him. It was then that he realized what had to be done. He hurried and grabbed his coat. Time was, indeed, running out.

Two days later, the sister woke up in her bed, feeling very strange and sore, but she was awake. She noticed a pale blue envelope on the night table her brother had made for her, and feebly reached over to pick it up. Her name was written across the front, in her brother’s scraggly penmanship.

“Dear sister,” ran the letter. “If you are reading this, then you lived through your surgery, and you will live at least another ten, maybe twenty years. You were supposed to dead as of right now, but that didn’t happen, and if you read on, you will see why. I loved you too much to let you die, dear sister, but your heart was failing you, so I gave you mine. It had to be done, but do not be sad. We will see each other again one day. Until then, enjoy what life has to offer you, and if you ever need a favor, seek a cave in the Wood! I have a certain friend there who may be of assistance to you.

Until we meet again! -Your brother. ”