Poor little Sally Davies! A day that could have been just another pleasant and eventful one of the numerous summer days had been turned into a distaster. The torment was even worse because it came unexpected- nothing had indicated that she would be reaved from the high mallows which she used to speak to and taken to the noisy, hustling and bustling railway station in White Sands, where masses of people kept bellowing, running and bumping into one another.

Sally was quite a special girl of seven- the mousiest one that had ever lived in Avonlea. She loved solitude. Sometimes she would even be called stuck- up, for she preferred the company of trees and flowers to that of those saucy, rambunctious girls from neighborhood. She just felt they had nothing in common… and violets made perfectly good listeners.

She could have predicted that, though. After all, her parents left her at home alone, with her older brother only. And Matt would just love to do anything to distress her. Matt was despicable.

This opinion was the only thing that somehow linked Sally with the rest of Avonlea's folks. Matthew Davies was twenty one and thought to be the most snappish and conceited lad in the country. What is more, he was still living with his parents; or, his father and stepmother to be accurate. Despite having no intention of getting married and chastening at least a little bit, he had a manner of importuning every pretty girl in his proximity. He was also considered to be, crudely, a pitiable eyesore.

"Stop wobbling, you crybaby. How on earth do you intend to go to school in September if you're such a cowder?" he said then, nudging her with his elbow. She felt her chin trembling, so she turned her head away. He knew how to give it to her. School was due in one week only and she hated the very thought of it.

"Leave the little one alone," said a low voice in a tranquil, but firm way. "Have you forgotten how we loathed school?"

Sally managed to conquer the obtrusive tears that were urging her eyes and even smiled a little bit under her breath.

She liked Jack Wright much more than Matt. She could never understand why they ever became friends, as Jack was the utter opposite of her obnoxious brother. He was quiet, calm and good- natured, but there was something about him that made people- especially girls- realize the inner strength of him. And he was a pleasure to watch, indeed. However, the one flaw about him stated him in Avonlea's hierarchy not that much higher than Matthew. Jack was still living with his parents, as well, and had no intention of changing that state of things.

The three were at the platform, waiting for Jack's distant cousin who was to be staying with the Wrights for the whole of the following year. They had spent there two good quarters already and there was still no sign of the proper newcomer.

"We must have skipped her," said Matthew in an impatient voice. "The train is empty. Do you at least know what she looks like?"

Jack frowned a little bit.

"Not really. I haven't seen her for four years. The only thing that I remember is that she had brown hair."

Matt rolled his narrow, somewhat addle eyes.

Sally was not interested in their conversation whatsoever. She was busy contemplating how pleasant the platform actually came to look when the crowds disappeared. It was surrounded with verdancy- as if lush clumps of lilac were embracing it. She was familiar with everything and everyone around...

Or actually, not everyone. Sally took a deep breath when her sight stopped at an unknown figure in a long white dress, sitting calmly on a little wooden bench.

"Why," Matt put his hand on Jack's shoulder to stop him from turning away and going home. "Who's that girl?"

Jack narrowed his blue eyes, looking in the distance.

"Since there's no one else here and she's got a suitcase with her, I'm guessing she must be the one. But I remember her hair being a great deal fairer."

He set his face towards the stranger.

"Let's go. Come on, Sally," he encouraged with a smile. "Don't be scared."

As they were approaching her, Sally could discern more and more of the girl's looks. And so could Matthew. He suddenly stopped and squeezed Jack's arm to withhold him again.

"If this is the girl you're to live with for the next year…" he mighty thumped Jack's back. "Then, Jack Wright, you are one lucky man!"

She kept gazing at the wild cherry tree. She was absolutely sure that it was the one that her mother had once intended to sleep on, in case no one appeared to pick her up from the station.

Nan knew all the old stories connected with Avonlea by heart and she loved this one in particular. As a little girl she used to dream about sleeping on a blossoming cherry tree. Of course now, in the last week of August, it was not in bloom but… She wasn't Anne Shirley's daughter in vain. She had imagination, didn't she?

She had always loved Avonlea. Not as much as Glen St. Mary, naturally, but almost. And now she was to spend a year there, teaching in the local school. She could never have imagined a better place to start her grown-up, independent life. She had inherited so much of her parents that somehow she knew she would fit in. Places which Anne Shirley had filled with love would now surely give it back to her namesake.

She wasn't staying at Green Gables, which would seem the most natural thing to do. The house was simply brimful. Nan didn't mind it, though. Living under Aunt Diana's roof sounded just as wonderful.

Nan could not escape a little discrepancy in her feelings. She missed home terribly, of course she did- but she felt her yearning was not big enough to make her loyal to Ingleside. On the other hand, she just couldn't help being excited about what the year had in store for her. How could she not be? She had always wanted to follow her mother's footsteps and teach. Even though it was her father's decision that she and Di would wait one year before going to Redmond, she was more than eager to obey.

"One of them could be a writer… Or, a poet… No, a writer. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be old and have a bookshelf with just one… alright, maybe two books dedicated to me?"

Nan had a reputation for her daydreams, and she fell into one on the platform. Whenever she thought of her future pupils, she just couldn't help imagining what they might become.

"I would surely like at least one scientist… One could become a politician… But then, power corrupts people. And no doctors- poor little ones would wear themselves out to shadows."

The parade of celebrities made her skip numerous glances that were literally fired at her. Although surely aware of her own good looks, she certainly did not know how beautiful she looked, with her dark hair in a slight disorder and dreamy look in her eyes. She had no way of knowing how familiar and homely her beauty seemed to Avonlea's inhabitants due to the obvious and indeed striking similarity between her and her father. She did not hear the question that Avonlea's inhabitants kept asking themselves and one another.

"Who's that girl?"

Nan eventually came back to reality. Though her imagination and blithe nature didn't let her get bored at any time or place, not even a railway station, she felt subconsciously that quite a lot of time had passed.

"It seems that I'll fulfill the dream of sleeping on the tree anyway" thought she, and laughed her usual, carefree laugh; a laugh that definitely was not quiet enough for someone sitting alone on a bench at a railway station.

And at that moment she suddenly realized- much to her own surprise- that she was not alone anymore. She didn't pay much attention to the young men who had approached her, though- she was smiling warmly at the little girl skulking behind them.

Sally suddenly found herself exhilarated. Jack's cousin was sitting next to him on the front of the chaise, but she kept looking back over her shoulder and smiling likeably. She did not say a word, though, as if she knew that Sally should rather be the one to start the conversation. But Sally did not want that. She preferred sitting still and quiet and just looking at Miss Blythe. She had never met anyone like her before.

Miss Blythe was not high; as a matter of fact, she was rather short for a woman of seventeen, but she had a shapely, slender figure. And she was beautiful, very beautiful- with the kind of beauty that could overawe. But Miss Blythe also happened to be very similar to a naiad that Sally had once seen- in her imagination, of course.

She would have loved to tell Miss Blythe about it- something was telling her she would have enjoyed the compliment- but… she just couldn't. There was something about Miss Blythe's bearing… About the way she held her head, so high… And this certain something made Sally abate.

Instead, she had to listen to Matt's mindless prattle. He kept bothering Miss Blythe all the time and for Sally it was a torture. She felt ashamed… Ashamed more than ever, especially when she caught glimpses of Miss Blythe's eyes. Even Jack's face turned red when he called Avonlea "a backwater place where nothing ever happens."

"Why, mister Davies," said Miss Blythe, and her voice sounded a little sharp. "I see your point. But isn't it just the most precious, little backwater town?" She turned around and winked at Sally, gracefully leaning her head sideway. The girl looked at her playful smile, surprised to see her so impish. "What do you think, Sally?"

Sally was only capable of uttering a pathetic little stutter. When Matt miffed scornfully, she felt her eyes fill with tears.

But Miss Blythe certainly did not want her to cry. She looked around with apparent delight. Eventually her eyes stopped on the rose garden of Mrs. Sloane.

"And I'm fairly sure there are a lot of fairies around here."

Sally jumped a little bit and spoke before her apprehensiveness could stop her.

"Oh, yes! There are tons of them!"

Miss Blythe started laughing, but Sally didn't feel offended at all. Somehow she just knew Miss Blythe was not laughing in the wrong way.

"Well, if there are tons, then your gardens must be really abundant in them. I mean, one single fairy does not weight much… or does it, mister Davies?" she suddenly adressed Matt, who had been casting his eyes from his sister to the newcomer with disbelief painted on his face with zesty colors.

Thus far tight- lipped Jack laughed quietly and withheld the two horses. Sally didn't realize they had reached their house already. She saw her parents' chaise in the yard, but she didn't jump off their break and dash to the house, as she would normally do. She wanted to spend as much time with Miss Blythe as possible.

"I'm going to teach you how many fairies build up a tone", the latter said now, gently squeezing Sally's hand.

The girl goggled.

"Teach me?"

"Yes, I believe you're big enough to go to school, right? I'll meet you there soon, honey."

Sally jumped off the chaise, feeling her exhilaration grow by leaps and bounds. Miss Blythe was a teacher! If there was anything that could turn her mood around and make her enjoy the day… it had just happened!

Miss Blythe and Jack laid their heads back down to greet her father, who had just come over. He lifted Sally, kissed her chubby cheek and paid the departing break an amazed look.

"Who's that girl?" asked he.