The Story of Rainbow Betty
Once in a faraway land, a little girl was born with an incredible rainbow of light inside that shone so brightly that her parents named her Rainbow Betty. Betty never knew darkness because as she slept, a soft blue glow surrounded her like a night light. When she was awake, the colors of the rainbow brightened her cheeks and warmed the hearts of those around her.
When Rainbow Betty was five years old, she raced to finish coloring a page so that she could show her grandmother. Proud of her achievement, Rainbow Betty smiled and raised the coloring book. “Look what I’ve done!”
Grandma had been a teacher. It was her job to correct things. This did not meet her standards.
She scowled at the picture. “Look at your older sister’s page. She stayed within the lines. See where you scribbled? And why are your clouds blue?”
Rainbow Betty’s heart sank. Her light dimmed and faded. She knew Grandma was right.
So the next time she made a coloring page, Betty took her time, stayed within the lines, and made sure to only use colors that were found in real life. Rainbow Betty knew her new picture was neater and prettier, but she didn’t show this one to her grandmother. Coloring just didn’t give her the same joy anymore.
One day when Rainbow Betty was seven, she wore her favorite dark blue and pink polka dotted shirt to school with the maroon and yellow flowered pants she loved the best. She felt like a big girl picking out her own clothes and practically skipped all the way to school.
When she arrived, Rita stopped Betty before she reached the classroom. Rita was the popular girl with beautiful curls and cute outfits that everyone liked.
Rita pointed at Rainbow Betty and sneered, “What are you wearing? Your clothes don’t match!” Everyone looked at Betty and laughed. Rainbow Betty cheeks glowed red with humiliation, but she refused to let them see her cry.
When she got home, Betty threw her top and pants into the garbage.
From that day on, she asked her sister or her mother for advice before she got dressed. She learned about matching colors and fabrics so that Rita could never laugh at her again. Once again, Rainbow Betty’s light dimmed.
When Rainbow Betty was 13, her gym class went bowling for the first time. The idea of wearing used shoes and throwing a heavy ball down a lane wasn’t wildly exciting, but since Betty had to do it anyway, she put some effort into doing it well. Her third time throwing the ball, she knocked down all the pins.
Rainbow Betty jumped with excitement and did a little victory dance.
The two girls who shared her lane laughed and imitated her dance. They called it “The Betty.” For the next two weeks, Rainbow tried to escape performances of “The Betty” in the school hallways.
Inside, Betty decided it wasn’t safe to feel or to be honest, and all the dancing stopped. Her face became a mask of politeness.
After that, all the color in Rainbow Betty’s light faded. It became so dim that soon neither she nor anyone else remembered that it was ever there. They even stopped calling her Rainbow Betty and just called her Betty.
Now, Betty blended into the gray world around her and looked like everyone else.
Before Betty would do anything, she consulted others to find out what they thought was the right choice. She never stood out for any reason ever again.
For a career, Betty chose one of the top vocations for women. If she was going to buy a car, she checked Consumer Reports and picked one of their most highly rated cars. When she got married, she said yes to the person that her friends and family liked and looked great on paper. If there was a checklist for contentment, Rainbow Betty’s life was it. So, she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t happy.
On the day of the full moon, Betty went for a walk in the woods and thought about her “perfect” life. The difference between how it felt and how it looked was so overwhelming that she surrendered to her sadness and cried.
A man heard her soft sobs and went over to investigate. Betty saw something out of the corner of her eye and was startled to see a tiny man who was only about a foot tall looking at her! Betty thought she must be going crazy. Nobody could be that small!
The tiny man was surprised, too! He wasn’t used to being seen by humans.
“You can see me?” the shocked man asked.
Realizing her eyes weren’t playing tricks on her, Betty replied, “Of course I can see you! But who are you, and why are you so small?”
“I’m average height for a True Blood! I might ask you why are you crying?” said the little man.
Betty wasn’t sure whether she wanted to share her story with a stranger, but since he was only twelve inches tall, and she must be dreaming, she felt there would be no harm. So, she told him that she had everything. Her life was perfect. She was perfectly miserable, and she didn’t know what to do.
The tiny man said, “I’m Navi. What you need is a diversion! Come to my house for some tea.” Having nothing better to do, Betty accepted.
Navi offered her his hand. Betty held it in her first finger and thumb. The little man gave a tug to his right ear and in the wink of an eye, the scenery changed. An archway appeared. On the other side lay a tiny world and Betty was now just the right size to walk through.
They walked along a path towards the town. Everything was awash with sparkles and color! People all around her glowed with a rainbow of light. Some were mostly blue, some purple, some gold. No two were alike. The lights changed instantly as their moods and thoughts changed. Not only did the color come from inside, they decorated themselves with lots of color outside. Their shoes, hats, shirts, and jackets had patterns. There were paisleys, polka dots, stripes, and flowers everywhere.
It was easy to see who was who because everyone looked so unique in every way. Some were loud and moved very fast. Some were moody and dark. Some laughed a lot and wiggled when they walked. There were people with big, tall hair, and some with high, pointy shoes.
Delighting in the spectacle of it all, Betty turned to Navi and beamed, “What is this place?”
Navi explained that here in the Land of True, no one could lie. Each person’s true inner nature was reflected in their outer nature. So, when someone was happy, they’d appear energetic, colorful, healthy, and young. If someone was not happy, they would look dark and low. And if they were angry, mean, or sad for a long period, they would start to become drab and the light inside would get very dim.
Navi continued, “Even though you don’t live in the Land of True, I can see you have a bit of True Blood in you, so the same is true of you. If you are brave enough to let your truth shine, you will become as bright and beautiful as the people here.”
Betty pondered his words for a moment and all she had seen. Finally, she said, “My eyes tell me that what you say of the True Bloods is real, but I don’t have this ability. Look at me! I am not colorful like you. I’m gray.”
Navi thought for a moment then said, “And what about when you were little? What then? Were you still colorless?”
Betty had forgotten that she used to be called Rainbow Betty. It seemed like such a lifetime ago. Then she remembered seeing herself in pictures glowing with color just like the True Bloods. With that memory, the sadness of being laughed at returned as well.
Just then, Betty began to glow a dark blue color.
The little man exclaimed, “See! I knew it!”
Betty saw it too. It scared her. “No! No! No! I can’t live in a land of gray with all my colors on display. I would become a target. It’s too dangerous.”
Betty’s rainbow of colors were flashing wildly in reds, blues, blacks, and with streaks of silver. This display of light attracted some True Bloods who were standing nearby. Although they were accustomed to seeing fireworks and spontaneous showers of light, there was something interesting about Rainbow Betty’s that drew them to her.
Hearing about Rainbow Betty’s plight, one of the passersby said to Navi, “Is there any way she can stay here?”
Navi looked at Rainbow Betty and asked, “Would you want to stay here?”
Rainbow Betty wasn’t sure. She knew she wasn’t happy at home, but her life was perfect there. She knew all the rules and stayed within the lines.
Being in a new place would mean learning all new rules, and maybe she couldn’t handle that. Maybe she would fail.
Seeing her hesitation, the friendly stranger said, “I have a guesthouse nearby. You are welcome to visit and see how you like it. That way you can take your time deciding. This is too big a decision to rush.”
Rainbow Betty was overcome with the warmth, acceptance and welcome from the True Bloods. She liked that nobody had corrected or judged her yet. She liked how beautiful and true everyone was. It made her feel safe.
Still, it really was too important to be hasty, so she said to the stranger, “Yes, thank you. I will stay with you.”
That night, for the first time in a long time, Rainbow Betty went to sleep with the long forgotten blue haze illuminating the room again.
At first Rainbow Betty stayed hidden because she didn’t want to expose her true feelings to others. She peered through the curtains and watched others as they went by. It didn’t take long for her to realize that most people had flashes of anger and hurt, but they all have brilliant, warm moments of love and happiness, too.
In the days that passed, Rainbow Betty recalled how her younger happy self brought joy to others by just being with them. She hadn’t felt that sensation in so long that she’d forgotten it was possible.
The more she felt the cheer of other people’s light, the more she wanted to give that back. She adored the many unique ways that everyone appeared. The True Bloods didn’t judge, criticize, or ask her to be different. There were no conditions or barriers to their approval. Betty finally felt like she belonged.
But on the morning of the next full moon, something shifted. Betty knew inside that it was time to go back. As much as she loved it here, as much as she fit in, she missed her family and friends. And as nice as this new place was, it just wasn’t home.
So, Betty thanked her new friends for their hospitality, love, and welcome, and asked Navi to show her the way back.
When they reached the archway, Navi tugged on his right ear and Betty could see the same woods that brought her here once again. She gave Navi a hug goodbye and crossed the threshold, bringing her light and size back into the world with her.
This is an original fairy tale written by Laura Giles. Fairy tales are stories with magical content that are meant entertain and educate. They are useful teaching tools because the language puts us into a receptive state where the teachings can enter into our unconscious and help us to cope.
Some questions to help you find your message from this story
Why did Rainbow Betty lose her light?Why did Rainbow Betty gain by staying in the Land of True? Who are you most like in this story?Why do you suppose Rainbow Betty decided it was time to return home?Most fairy tales have many interpretations. Share yours in the comments.