4-Year-Old Creates Fairy Garden During Quarantine, Neighbor Writes Secret Messages Pretending to Be a Fairy for 9 Months

The pandemic has been hard for everyone, and it's reminded us of the value of human relationships. Now more than ever, it's important to find ways to connect with each other. Photographer Kelly Victoria did so in a creative and heartwarming way that is just the story we need for 2020. In a multi-part tale told on Twitter, she shares how she made a connection with a 4-year-old girl named Eliana who felt similarly lonely in quarantine, and how their correspondence—done from afar—helped them both cope with their new realities.

Victoria begins her story by explaining that at the beginning of the pandemic she was going through “some painful personal stuff” and would go on long walks at night. While out, she saw that someone had set up a fairy garden in a tree planter. The note was from Eliana, who said she felt isolated in quarantine and wanted to spread some cheer via the garden. “The next day I wrote a little note to her,” Victoria explains, “pretending to be a fairy named Sapphire that had come to live in the tree because she had set it up so nicely and I left it on the tree that night on my walk and said I would gift her with a magical fairy dice if she did three things for me.” These things were centered around acts of kindness.

Victoria wasn’t sure if Eliana would write back or even find the note. But she did, and Eliana shared how she had extended kindness towards others—such as delivering a birthday cake for her friend. This started a correspondence between the two that included Victoria, acting as Sapphire, giving little gifts to the girl. “Doing this every night gave me purpose in a horribly painful and lonely time. I looked forward to my days again and I started ordering art supplies and little trinkets to leave her.”

At the same time, Victoria was in touch with Eliana’s mom. After about nine months of the Sapphire / Eliana exchange, Eliana's mom told Victoria that they would be moving to a new house farther away. She also mentioned that Eliana was having a hard time with the move, so Victoria told her that she was moving too. “Her mom said it was helping her so much and they really wanted to try to see me somehow before they left.”

After a few days of planning, Victoria and Eliana met. “I left one last note this morning saying I had to move out today and made up a little story that when fairies move houses, they grow to the size of a human just for one day to move all of their belongings. I said I had one more gift for her and would leave it this afternoon and ‘hoped' she wouldn’t catch me.”

Of course, Eliana and her mom “caught” Victoria (dressed as Sapphire) leaving the present. They then spent an hour sitting and talking. “It was incredible,” Victoria recalls, “and one of the most important and impactful afternoons of my life thus far. I hope one day when she’s older she can understand that I truly needed her as much as she needed me these past few months.”

The two plan to still write letters to each other from time to time. “She’s changed me forever and the things her mom has said about how her self-confidence, her kindness towards others, and her creativity have skyrocketed since meeting me make me feel like I made an impact too.”

The touching story went viral on Twitter. Thousands of people have been inspired by it, and the tale even caught Oprah’s attention. “If you're up for it,” the mogul wrote to Victoria, “how about a magical trip to Disney with Eliana, her parents, and a friend when it's safe again? On me. Think y'all need to meet Tinkerbell!”

In a viral Twitter thread, photographer Kelly Victoria detailed a heartwarming story of playing a fairy named Sapphire and the connection she made with a 4-year-old named Eliana.

The story inspired many, including Oprah. She wants to send them on a trip to meet Tinkerbell.

Kelly Victoria: Website | Twitter | Instagram

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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