A Fortunate Landing
In the manner of such stories, young Niek Klass did not drown when the Bruynvisch was swept far to the north and then swamped. As the ship was broken into pieces, sinking, several of the crew members clung to various pieces of debris. Neik had managed to clamber onto a large sea chest, and found himself far enough out of the water to dry somewhat.
* * *
Neik lifted his head cautiously to look around. It had been half an hour since he had seen Lars, the first mate of the Bruynvisch succumb to the chill water of the ocean, and finally tumble off the narrow piece of the forecastle deck that he had clung to. Unlike the massive chest that the boy rode atop, the deck section had barely floated above the water, and had been constantly washed over by the waves. Neik's chest, on the other hand, kept him much higher, and for the most part drier. The occasion spray of salty spume was easily shed by the oilskins that he and the crew normally wore. Neik wasn't warm, by any means, but he wasn't freezing. Yet.
Yet, decided Neik, was the important word. He wasn't too cold, but he wasn't too warm either, and he was starting to get hungry. The young lad knew that he didn't eat, eventually his resistance to the cold spray would diminish. But still, Neik refused to give up. Something would happen to save him... he just knew it.
* * *
Our story would have ended here, except that Niek managed something unusual… something incredible. He believed hard enough that something would save him. That he would reach safety. And… he did.
Remember the part when I described the Fairy world as being immediately adjacent to our own Earth, inseparable yet always separate to any but the Fairies? Separate, that is, except near the poles, North and South. The Bruynvisch was very far north when it foundered. So far, in fact, that the barrier between this world and that was very thin indeed.
You see, the key to passing through the barrier between Neverland and the Earth was to believe. While Niek wasn’t specifically believing that he could pass from one world to the next, he was believing that something would somehow save him very hard indeed. And his belief was enough to nudge him, and his makeshift life raft, though the barrier from the frigid waters the Arctic Ocean on Earth to the Northern Ocean of Neverland.
One would think that being lost at sea in one ocean is very much like being lost at sea in any other ocean. But there is a large difference between the Arctic and the Northern. The Northern Ocean is considerably warmer. Not warm by any means (about 45 degrees Farenheit), but warmer.
* * *
Neik wondered if he was starting to get chilled. If anything, the water felt warmer, although it was hard to tell. Although it was summer, the sun had still not set, although it was hanging low over the horizon. He must be very close to the north pole. It was surprising that there wasn't ice floating in the water. The ocean had become still, the wavelets mere ripples instead of yard high rollers. Nothing disturbed the calm of the surface... or did it?
A dark shape was approaching from the direction of the sun. Neik strained to see against the glare of the setting sun, but could only tell that it was not a boat. He couldn't think of anything that was not a boat that would be helpful, but there was nothing that he could do.
In a few minutes, the shape had closed to within a hundred feet, and young Klass could see that it was a whale. A very large whale. Neik observed this with interest, since his shipmates had told him that whales were not necessarily a bad thing... although some of the smaller whales had teeth, and would take a fisherman's catch, if not the fisherman himself, were he to fall in the water. This whale appeared to be of a larger type, so less likely to be interested in the boy as a snack.
It might not be interested in eating me, thought Neik as the whale headed straight for the sea chest on which he rode, but it might be curious, and knock him off the chest, and even drown him.
Abruptly, the whale surfaced, only feet from Neik, waves from the massive form rocking the chest. Neik found himself face to eye with the whale. The eyeball of the massive beast was larger than his head! A massive rumble shook the water and air. Was the whale trying to talk to him?
"Joorome asks if you are floating out here on purpose, or if you needed to get to land." a high pitch voice spoke from the other direction. Neik turned his head, startled to hear anyone speaking.
"Who said that?" he didn't see anyone. "Am I going daft?"
"It's me, Amella. I'm over here." the voice came again, from a slightly different direction than Neik had been looking. "As far as you being daft... I wouldn't know about that."
Shifting his body around on the rocking chest, Neik was finally able to see who was addressing him. It was... a very small person. With wings. Hovering a few feet away, over the water. "Who.... what are you?"
Amella tittered. "I'm a water fairy, silly! My name is Amella. And that is my friend Joorome. And he wants to know if you are adrift, or here on purpose."
Neik rubbed his eyes. Amella appeared to be about six inches tall, and hovering using fluttering, butterfly like wings. Her features were that of a pretty girl, and she appeared to be clothed in sea weed. "Er... Pleased to meet you, Miss Amella. Yes, I am here by misfortune. My ship sank, and I think that I am the only one left alive."
Joorome blasted spray out of his vent hole, and grumbled another moan. "Jerome hasn't heard of any ship sinking around here for a while, but he says he would be happy to take you to land, if you want." Amella piped brightly.
Neik glanced from the fairy to the whale. It stared back placidly with its huge eye. "Um... That would be very helpful, I would say. That is, if he could do it without drowning me."
Another burbling grunt. "Oh, you've made him laugh." interpreted Amalla. "Why would he do that? It would defeat the purpose of helping you. If he wanted you to drown, he could have just left you here. Its entirely too far to land for you to slim, and there are no boats around." Another moan. "Yes, and the water is very cold for people like you."
Neik considered this. "Well, yes then, thank you." He wondered was the whale would be able to do that would help.
As if in answer, the whale sank back under the water, and in a few moments Neik felt the sea chest rise up out of the water. In moments, he found himself feet higher out of the water, the chest centered on the vast expanse of the whales back. As they surged forward through the water, the Fairy alighted on the chest next to Neik.
"Well, you can sit up now, if you like." she instructed. "You're not likely to upset your box with it sitting on Joorome's back. It will take a while to reach where we're going."
"Where are we headed?" asked Neik. "Norway? Iceland?" He looked ahead, as if to see one of those lands. But it seemed that they were headed north, and he knew of no land in that direction.
"Joorome says the land is called Evela by the people who live there." replied Amalla.
"Evala? Is that where you come from?"
"Of course not silly!" the fairy giggled. "Fairies come from Neverland. That is oh so much father, and in the other direction!" she waved of toward the south east. "You're lucky that Joorome and I happened by. Any other whale would have ignored you. I'm the only fairy who comes this far out." she drew herself upright, proudly placing her little hand over her heart. "I am a scout! The best there is!"
He didn't know what to say to this. "Thank you then, Miss Amalla. I appreciate the courtesy. My name is Neik Klass."
The tiny girl dimpled. "Nice to meet you, Neik Klass. I would offer you something to eat, but I only have a few dewdrop cakes, and they wouldn't take care of your appetite, I am sure." she glanced in the direction they were going. "And I'm sure that you'll be able to get something on Evala. Joorome seemed pretty certain of it."
Neik glanced in that direction. A low shadow had appeared on the horizon. It grew quickly at the whale's speed through the water. The land appeared to be a dark, forested land, with a rocky beach. Finally, a hundred yards from the shore, their forward motion stopped, and Joorome sank beneath them, leaving the chest rocking in the swell.
"That's as far as Joorome can take you." said Amella. "He can't go in the shallow water. But he says the current should take you in to the beach in a little while., so you won't have to get in the water much." Fluttering her little wings, the fairy flew in the direction of the whale, who had surfaced fifty feet to seaward. "Good luck Neik Klass!" With a glimmer, she was gone.