(Photograph ‘Naughty Pixies’ courtesy of Susan Cole)
Being a fairy is hard work. Humans think we flit around all day, doing as we please. It’s assumed we have a great life, dancing on the greensward and playing tinkly music on our tiny lyres and violins. Who wouldn’t want to drink some magical brew from an acorn cup and wear an upturned flower as a sun hat? How delightful to be perched upon a crimson-headed toadstool while making a daisy chain to adorn a slender neck. So breathtaking, those gossamer wings shimmering in the sunlight with all the colours of the rainbow. Oh, for such a life full of beauty and idleness!
We’ve seen the humans at their faerie festivals, capering about in their fairy wings and tutus. They loll upon the grass all day, listening to folk music and drinking cider. They have a mania for green hair and the colour pink, and someone needs to tell them they don’t suit pointed ears. Their gauzy, plastic wings are a hideous affectation—those clodhoppers have as much chance of getting airborne in those things as a baby elephant would have by holding a balloon in its trunk.
Humans want all the show without the substance, all the privileges without the responsibility. The reality of a fairy’s life is nothing like they imagine.
Being a fairy is hard work. There are so many obligations to fulfil. When one badger family intrudes upon the territory of another, trouble would ensue were not the fairies there to act as mediators. And how would the trees grow tall if we weren’t there to encourage them? They would sicken and die without our care.
The energies in the crystals and stones will fade unless we keep recharging them. The streams will grow sluggish and stagnant without our intervention. There are berries to polish and bluebells to dust, and the woodland floor must be swept with a besom to initiate the recycling process. Spores must be wafted towards suitable hosts because even dead trees are repositories for life. The newborn must be guarded night and day, those tender saplings struggling in the shadows of their towering parents. Squirrels need guidance to find enough nuts for the winter. Birds need help weaving nests from twigs.
Now, on top of our age-old duties, we have to contend with drifts of litter blowing over the meadows, plastic bags choking the waterways, and drinks cans collecting in the underwood. Carelessly discarded cigarette ends must be stamped out and broken glass buried where it can do no harm. All this extra work we must do to safeguard the woodland creatures under our care before we can even think about dancing on the greensward and making daisy chains.
Wouldn’t it be funny if we fairies held human festivals and behaved like they do!
We would clump around in heavy boots, trampling on the delicate plants. We’d pull up rare flowers and take them home to die. We’d scare and hurt the shy woodland animals with our noise, fire and guns. We’d wear drab clothes and yell in harsh voices and leave heaps of litter behind us when we lurched home, drunk and stuffed with junk food. And we’d wish we could always be human so we could do whatever we wanted every single day, treat the natural world as our own exclusive playground, and let someone else clean up our mess.
We envy the humans their free time but abhor the way they spend it, while humans think being a fairy is fun. They wish they could always be fairies so they could do whatever they wanted every single day. They think being a fairy is easy, that we lead a carefree existence. Humans haven’t got a clue.
Being a fairy is hard work.
© Carol Browne