“You could dance,” she said, to the small fairy under the oak leaf, in the moonlight with silver streaks in your hair. “Or, you could walk the edges of the shadows and dare the night to catch you. Come along, no time to weep, we must begin the revel, and you must put away your sorrow. Tonight you will learn to laugh away the sadness and find joy for tomorrow. Come, out from there. You are not a child any longer, live you will, live you must, and the mortal man you have loved, will, in time, become less and less of a memory. Come, dance, it will lift your heart from its depths of unhappiness.”
In a swirl of moonlit silver the queenly figure danced away to a tune only heard in the fairy ring, deep in a forest glen. The pipes and drum were played swiftly in a crescendo to match the flying notes of the violins. The small glen was awash with swaying and prancing minute figures, who, in sudden joy, would unfurl wings of shimmering gold and float far off the ground , spreading an incandescent light all about the trees.
One, however, sat alone under the oak leaf near her home tree, knees locked in her arms, head down, weeping. She had just arrived from the outer world of humans, a world where, for many of the human years, she had lived the illusion of being one of them. A time, when against all advice from her fellow fairies, she loved a man. And, as these things often do, he aged, grew tired, and finally, despite all her magic, died. She grieved there among the leaves, and saw no joy in the morrow. The small fairy felt so odd being back to her given size after all those years away. She didn’t feel free, she felt small and insignificant. Sitting alone, the near shadows creeping ever closer, the soft silver of her hair hid her face and the deep green eyes so common among her kind. Her magic aura kept skipping around her, first purple, then green, then a bright, glowing gold, but she took no notice. She wanted to be alone. Alone, so she could suffer and no one would tell her nay.
In time, the fairies tired and flew away to homes and beds among the trees. The music stopped and the musicians fell asleep under the nearest toadstool or flower, content that they would be safe in the magic around them. As the stars faded one by one and the sun began to turn the deep night into dawn, the fairy stirred from her place and stood to face the ever brightening east. One loan piper watched and began to play a soft, somber melody. In a clear, sweet tone, the music reached into the heart of the sad little fairy and she began to dance. She danced for the long years she and her man would be apart, for a fairy lives nearly forever. She danced for the sorrow she felt, and she danced for solace from pain. Around the fairy circle she danced, twirling and leaping in an every increasing frenzy. Then, when it seemed she must take flight to survive, she dropped to the soft green grass, and slept.
The piper, alone in the magic of the small fairy, stared at her in awe. For never had he felt such power, such magic, from within the circle. As the fairy slept, the sun rose higher, creeping across the glen, ever closer to her. Its warmth sent rays of comfort to her heart and mind as she slept the cleansing sleep. One stood watch, the piper, and in time he placed a leaf over her for protection and added warmth. All the day long, as shadow chased the sun, he watched and tended the needs of the powerful, yet sad, little fairy.
As all things do, the day came to an end. One by one the revel makers came back to dance under the full moon, only to stop when they saw the gentle fairy asleep in the midst of their circle. They came one by one, quiet and in reverence, for the piper told all in the silent fairy language – from mind to mind – what she had done. They stood, waiting for the magic to begin again, so that they could, too, partake. Slowly she stretched her arms and legs, rolling on to her back. A yawn later she was standing before them in all her silver glory. She smiled, and the crowd of fairies gasped at the beauty of her face. Then in a voice, soft, sweet, and warm as honey, she told them of her dream.
“I danced, alone in a garden circle, filled with the aroma of roses and lemons. I danced alone, in the magic of moonlight, with a piper only to urge me on. I danced, in joy, in sorrow, and in pain. I danced for love, for suffering, for solace. I danced, to complete my circle and to end from whence I began. Alone, I tread the world of mankind. Alone, I tread the circle. In my dream, my true love came, not the passion of youth. I took his hand, felt his magic, and knew eternal love. In my dream, I am whole, in my dream I am true, in my dream I am magic. And now I wake, surrounded by love. I know that I am home.
I will miss the man of my youth, I will love him always. But here, among the fairy ken, I will find a magical joining.”
All the males surged forward, hoping she would hand-fast them, for her beauty and magic shown about her. But, she turned and walked to the edge of the shadows, and took the piper’s hand. “This male,” said she, “will fill my life with gentle compassion and love. I, in return, shall be his muse, and magical music there shall always be.” She bowed to the queenly figure, who bowed in return, and walked away through the trees. Now and then, when the wind is right, and the moon is softly full, wanderers will hear a sweet melody played upon a pipe. In their hearts a yearning will grow to turn to the one they love, to hold them and tell them so. It is, of course, the small fairy and her piper, leading hearts to hearts still yet, for they will live nearly until forever.
26, November, 1998