Protective Fairies and Other Myths
It really disturbs me that people see Fairies as nice little things. Oh, I don’t hate all fairies, just most of them. Some of the small fae changed allegiance a few years ago. I’m still wary of them, but I don’t hate them. They do have this propensity to copulate in public places. But since most of them disguise themselves as other things it’s not all that scandalous.
So a bit of peace exists between Pixie and fairy, just not much of it. And the idea that fairies are kind little things sent to protect human fools, the lost and the demented it just offensive. The idea is old. It’s a bit of fairy propaganda that took hold back in the days of yore and persists. For instance Henry Fielding’s sister Sara wrote an obnoxious book entitled The Governess, or The Little Female Academy sometime in 1749. It was a very popular book in its day, and it drew notice at the Troll’s Table Coffee House. The writing wasn’t all that bad; what it said about fairies was just obnoxious.
I was at my favorite table reading it and for once ignoring the riffraff that gathered on the docks outside. I’d made it to page [insert number] when Malinda, the Troll’s daughter pulled plopped her considerable bulk down on an opposite chair.
“Bloody rainy out today, in’it?”
I looked up, nodded. “Yes,” I said. I knew it would be fruitless to return to my book. Malinda (which is short for Malus Lindias the Red Troll’s Daughter) always started her conversations with some remark about the weather. It usually meant she wanted something. So I fixed my eyes on her and waited.
She said nothing.
“Yes,” I repeated unnecessarily. “It’ll storm tonight.”
I let that observation hang between us, hoping it would prompt her to move forward. It didn’t.
“Another port of Hot Chocolate would be nice,” I said. “Would you like to share it with me? My treat?”
“Hairy!” she shouted. (And no that’s not a misspelling for Harry. She really did mean Hairy. I don’t suppose you’ve ever met a troll. They aren’t exactly the dull witted sub human things of the Brothers Grim or a certain novel about a fictious magician’s college, but they aren’t svelt, well trimmed creatures either. So you can imagine that the server who bore the name was fuzzier then normal.) “Hairy, another pot of chocolate for the Pixie and if it’s weak I’ll kick your butt into the Thames! ... and a mug for me!”
“Yes’m” Hairy said.
“Now, what’s this all about?” I asked sweetly. Pixies can be sweet. Honest we can be.
“What do you know about Lem?”
I raised my rather attractive eyebrows. Lem is a fairy. All fairies have doubtful characters.
“He’s a fairy,” I said. “He’d just as soon have you for dinner as date you, if that’s what you’re asking.”
She nodded. “Oh, I know about fairy habits. But he’s reformed. Turned over a new leaf. He’s really very helpful. Kind to dogs and humans. ... Besides he’s (mind you the phrase “he’s hot” wasn’t in general use in the mid 18th Century, but that’s what she meant by) got a scintillating personality.”
“Attend me, Troll,” I said firmly. Even seated she was nearly twice my four foot height. Looking her in the eye put a crick in my neck, so I motioned her toward me. If she leaned down, it would be easier to communicate. “Fairies seldom change. They’re the spawn of demons and snakes. They’re unfaithful creatures, malevolent ... smelly.”
“He doesn’t smell bad to me.” She said that with a straight face, and I was polite enough to not ask her when she last bathed. I also didn’t say that fairies smelled like a snake-den gone wrong.
“Listen, Malinda, Fairies don’t change. They pretend. They want something when they pretend. The don’t help humans. They eat them; they make them pets; sex slaves; enslave them. But they don’t help them or anyone else unless they want something. .... What does Lem want?”
“Probably the same thing I do,” Malinda said. “Besides, if he tries anything, I’d wring his sweet neck.”
I believed that. Fairies of the type Lem was are on the tall side, about seven feet tall on average. Next to Malinda he was short.
“Listen, Malinda, you take care with this. They’re all expert propagandists. Take this book.” I held it up. “Have you read it?”
She raised her eyebrows, then squinted.
“I suppose not,” I said. “Listen to this ...” I read to her:
Loretta had prevailed on her Royal Mistress to take with her a few little Necessaries, besides a small Picture of the King, and some of her Jewels, which the Queen contrived to conceal under her Night-clothes, in the midst of that Hair they were used to adorn, when her beloved Husband delighted to see it displayed in flowing Ringlets round her snowy Neck. This Lady, during the Life of her fond Husband, was by his tender Care kept from every Inclemency of the Air, and preserved from every Inconvenience that it was possible for human Nature to suffer. What then must be her Condition now! When thro' by Paths and thorny Ways, she was obliged to fly with all possible Speed, to escape the Fury of her cruel Pursuers : For she too well knew the merciless Temper of her Enemies, to hope that they would not pursue her with the utmost Diligence, especially as she was accompanied by the young Princess Hebe; whose Life was the principal Cause of their Disquiet, and whose Destruction they chiefly aimed at.
The honest Peasant, who carried the Princess Hebe in his Arms, followed the Queen's painful Steps; and seeing the Day begin to break, he begged her, if possible, to hasten on to a Wood which was not far off; where it was likely she might find a Place of Safety. But the afflicted Queen at the Sight of the opening Mora (which once used to £11 her Mind with rising Joy) burst into a Flood of Tears, and, quite overcome with Grief and Fatigue, cast herself on the Ground, crying out in the most affecting Manner, * The End of my Misfortunes is at hand.—.My weary Limbs will no longer « support me. — My Spirits sail me—In the Grave * alone must I seek for Shelter.' The poor Princess, seeing her Mother in Tears, cast her .little Arms about her Neck, and wept also, though she knew not why.
Whilst she was in this deplorable Condition, turning: round her Head, she saw behind her a little Girl, my older in Appearance than the Princess Hebe; who with an amiable and tranquil Countenance, begged her to rise and follow her, and she would lead her where she might refresh and repose herself.
The Queen was surprised at the Manner of speaking of this little Child, as she took her to be; but soon thought it was some kind Fairy sent to protect her; andwas very ready to submit herself ta her Guidance and Protection.
The little Fairy (for such indeed was the seeming. Child, who had thus accosted them) ordered the Peasant to return back, and said that she would take care of the Queen, and her young Daughter; and he, knowing her ta be the good Fairy Sybella, very readily obeyed.
Sybella then striking the Ground three time with a little Wand, there suddenly rose up before them a neat plain Car, and a Pair of Milk-white Horses; and placing the Queen with the Princess Hebe in her Lap by her Side, she drove with excessive Swiftness full Westward for Eight Hours ; when (just as the Sun began to have Power enough to make the Queen almost faint with the Heat, and her former Fatigue) they arrived at the Side of a shady Wood; upon entering of which, the Fairy made her Horses slacken their Speed ; and, having traveled about a Mile and a half, thro' Rows of Elms and Beech Trees, they came to a. thick Grove of Firs, into which there seemed to-be no Entrance. For there was not any Opening to a Path, and the Underwood,, consisting chiefly of Rose-bushes, White-thorn, Eglantine, and other flowering Shrubs, was so thick, that it appeared impossible to force her way through them. But alighting out of the Car (which immediately disappeared) the Fairy (bidding the Queen follow her) pushed her Way thro' a large Bush of Jessamine, whose tender Branches gave Way for their Passage, and then closed again, so as to leave no Traces of an Entrance into this charming Grove.
I stopped with that, looking up at Malinda expectantly. Any hope of her grasping this on her own was going to prove vain, but I’ve always felt compelled to give her the benefit of the doubt.
“Fairies don’t have wands,” she said. “That’s a bit of foolishness.”
That, at least, was progress.
“No,” I said, “and they don’t help people. Pixies do. Fairies don’t. Fairies are malignant.”
Malinda looked shocked. “You mean this isn’t a true story?”
“Malinda ... NO, it’s not at all true. Think about it. If you were a normal human ... (that was a bit indelicate of me, and I paused hoping she wouldn’t notice or that she wouldn’t throw the table against the wall.) ... and if you were lost would you expect help for a sweet little fairy?”
She thought about that ... long and hard, it seemed to me. Finally, she shook her head. “Any fairy would want the Queens jewels, maybe her body, and the child would be desert.”
“Exactly,” I said. Miss Fielding has written an entertaining book. But there is not a word of truth in it.
It’s pixies that are helpful to those of your sort. Never ever trust a fairy.