Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 11.21.08
Stanstead, Quebec


Oh my darling, oh my darling...

STANSTEAD, QC | I do believe in the Citrus Fairy. I do! I do! Wait. Let me start that again, from the beginning:

I pack my youngest daughter's lunch every morning. At the end of the school day, I check the lunchbox to see what's been eaten, what's salvageable, and what's unrecognizable. About two weeks ago, a clementine appeared in Abby's lunchbox. The only thing is, I didn't put it there.

"Abby, where'd this clementine come from?" I asked.

"You put it there," she told me firmly.

"No, I didn't."

"Yes, you did."

"Abby, I think I'd know if I put a clementine in your lunch." (As I said this, I tried to recall whether I'd made lunch before or after my first cup of coffee. It's also fair to state that I've been known to put yogurt in the cupboard and Bag Balm in the fridge. A word of advice: apply neither liberally to the affected area.)

Her mother must have done it, I told myself, and left it at that.

Then, the next day, another clementine. The day after, two clementines.

I quizzed Deb. "No." I quizzed the siblings. "Huh?"

It was time to grill Abby.

"Abby, who do you have lunch with?"

"My class."

"I know but who do you sit with?"

"Kayla and Kyla."

"Do they put clementines in your lunchbox?"


"You're sure? They don't go, 'Abby, look! Scooby-Doo!' and pop them into your bag when you're not looking?"

"No, Kayla's a good girl."

"What about Kyla?"


Hmmm, indeed. I sent her off the next day with advice to maintain constant lunchbox vigilance -- Homemeal Security. For my part, I confronted Kyla's mother, trying not to sound too crazy.

"Does Kyla take clementines to school?"


"Do they come home?"


I then explained the potential conspiracy/paranormal occurrence.

"Kyla loves clementines," her mother said. "She'll eat two or three at a sitting."


I remained perplexed. I advised Abby to keep an eye on Kyla (and, for good measure, Kayla) and, if necessary to confront them, using the many interrogation tactics I had taught her. ("I won't be mad, just very, very disappointed.")

There was a lull of a few days. And then another clementine!

Clearly, there was only one explanation. The legend of the Citrus Fairy was true.

As everyone knows, the Citrus Fairy brings fruit to vitamin C-deficient boys and girls across the world. Unlike the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus, there is more than one Citrus Fairy, mainly due to load capacity; some children need so much vitamin C that only a grapefruit will do. Grapefruit big, fairy tiny. They're magic, not on steroids.

References to the Citrus Fairy go back to the 1800s when malnourished sailors would occasionally see them aboard ship. "Cor, she's curvy!" they'd say, from which we get the word "scurvy."

In the modern age, Citrus Fairies inhabit rarely inspected corners of elementary schools, such as the lost-and-found or behind the deep fat fryer.

Just as the Tooth Fairy exchanges money for teeth, the Citrus Fairy exchanges fruit for gum under desks and lunch tables. Gross, yes, but there are worse things under desks, so count your blessings.

What do the fairies do with the gum? I once read that the Tooth Fairy transforms teeth into piano keys. So Citrus Fairies and gum? One word: Nike.

I know there's not a lot of logic to fairies and magical clementines but sometimes you have to go with your gut, especially when dealing with seven-year-olds easily distracted by Scooby-Doo.

Granted, it would really be magic if I could get her to eat one of the damn things.