The thunder deepened. It sounded as if the sky people were rearranging their furniture up in the watery clouds—moving table and chairs, snapping out curtains, and rumbling in their deep voices to one another. Rain began to fall, a few streaks at a time, and then more fully. The pinions atop the walls swayed, folding inwards on itself and curling around its pole.
Say, trolling along
Mess with the mind
is never very kind
(but terribly amusing)
Troll in the mud
Deep in the mud
River rolls past
Nonsense and past tense
Last tense and foretense
Floating down senseless
Yes, I scratched his eyes out. How could I not? He was a changeling. You don’t know what that is? Times have sure changed. A changeling is a faerie left in place of a human baby. They have some strange abilities. But other than that, they’re indecipherable from humans. My half brother was just such a one.
He loved her. Ha! He didn’t even know what the word meant. Who knew if he even had any idea what he was. But I knew. I knew. I had worked hard out in the fields with my father all day long, and I was weary. But the moon was in my eyes that night, and I just couldn’t sleep. I heard the whisper of bare feet on our earthen floor. I opened my eye a crack, and there he was an ancient man. He was crippled over, as if riddled with arthritis, but his slanted eyes gleamed as black as ebony. As he laid the babe in his arms in my baby brother’s cradle, he sang.
Stealer of children am I, am I
Guess not my name
Or sorrow you’ll bring
To the descendents you call your own
By the time I’d blinked, he was gone, and my brother with him. I ran out into the night, but it was hopeless. He was gone.
She was beautiful. Teilo did not deserve her–that changeling monster. She had spun gold for hair. The fairest of angels. If ever there was a human close to heaven, it was her. Curse that changeling! He climbed her tower as easily as a spider. Four moons he visited her. That fourth was his last. He’ll never find her again. Not blinded as he is. There is no healing for what I have done to him.
Ever wonder if the fairytale had been different? The prince had a step-family, and they succeeded in keeping Cinderella locked up. Or perhaps she escaped and danced with the prince. Once. But she was no more real to him than a dream. He tried so very hard to convince himself she held his fancy. “I tried to make it real.” It never was.
Then the door opened and that faraway princess entered. And Cinderella’s voice was lost. “Go now,” the prince said to the cinder girl. “You should not be at these revels. They hold no joy for you.”
The princess held out her hand to the prince, beckoning for him to join her and the man on whom’s arm she rested. And he came.
Cinderella ran out into the night. Her glass shoes glistened in the starlight and she followed the river up into the sky. But as she ran, a shoe fell to earth like a streaking star. And that is where our story begins.
When Alice happened upon the feel of the moonlight, she noticed that it was shadowed over its filmy wake with a fanciful tingling of Roses. They were all bobbing and curtsying beautifully, in twas, tris, and glories of every shape.
Here and there, graceful fantasies were faded in attraction to one, beautified above the others, not in a gown, or on a color, but on the thorns of her own stem, gathered for the event.
The moonlight, right above, gallivanted up the air and the peak of the stars, by cascading from the moon, nearly to the vale of the fairies, vast dandified streams, lovely with all the gleams of a glass eye.
If fantasy was real, perhaps I’d feel more alive. Perhaps when fantasy is real, that’s when I feel the most alive.
If I could place a rainbow upon the tongue, what would I taste? If I could breathe it in, what would the scent be? If I could hold it even for a moment in the palm of my hand, what would I feel?
Let my imagination come alive.
A taste as fresh and tangy as strawberries—that is red
The glory of a sunset seeping into your soul—that is orange in amber splendor.
The silky sheen of a buttercup smiling up at you from its nest among the grass, each petal as shiny as glass—that is yellow.
The smell of fresh cut lawn—that is the freshest of greens.
The deep blue of the water between the Orkney Islands, with your face in the brisk, briny wind, anything and everything is possible—Blue.
The deep sound of a cello harmonizing perfectly with the fiddle skirting up the E string. The cello breathes out notes as deep as purple, the fiddle changing hues as it dances around as freely as a fairy.
Rainbows are nearly impossible to catch—but not quite.
I’ve dreamed, often in moonlight.
I sat upon a cold rock by the lakeshore, all by myself. I watched the moonlight dance with the tips of the waves and tumble the pebbles over and over and over and over… I let my thoughts tumble too.
The moonlight was blue, or perhaps silver. In that light, dreams drift.
I drifted out into the center of the lake until I could not see the shore anymore, and I knew I was utterly lost and yet exactly where I was supposed to be. I was in the heart of fantasy, the moonlight turning my hair silver.
I’ve felt the tingling of roses, there’s a rose growing inside of me, and one day it will bloom. That is the Spirit in me, this utter beauty He is creating in my heart.
Once upon a time there was a little fairy man who lost his wings. “Goblin,” they called him, and threw him out among the other wingless fay. But he did not fit among the goblins, for his heart was too pure.
One goblin took pity on him. “See here. This fruit will make you like us. Then you will no longer be an outcast. Here, take some.”
The little man looked at the goblin, but he did not take the fruit. He had seen the way the goblins lived, and he wanted no part in that. Goblins were cruel and greedy, and ugly on the inside and out.
Sensing that the goblin would not like no for an answer, he held his breath and vanished, scurrying up a tree and out of sight. Though he mourned his wings, he learned to live without them. He became clever as he lived among the trees and forest floor, but he never lost his kindness.
One day, he came upon a little woman who could shape shift. She had hair as soft as thistledown and skin as brown as a nut. Whenever he approached, off she would dash in the form of a hare.
He returned often to the spot where he had seen her. And in time, he began to leave gifts for her. The first was a wreath of daisy chains for her hair. The second, a clutch of salmon berries. And the third, a scroll of birch bark written on in blackberry ink.
But she didn’t like much what he wrote. She stamped her little foot and demanded that he come out and say it to her face.
“I’d rather not, Little Fury,” he called.
This pleased her. “Continue.”
“What else would you call me?”
He blushed. “Pretty.”
She swept back her hair from her face, and two large, pointed ears peeked out. “Oh really? I have large ears.”
He took a step forward. “I have rough hands from tree-climbing.”
“I have a rough tongue.”
He took a few more steps forward, and out into a slanting bit of light. “I have no wings.”
She looked him up and down. “Hmm,” was all she said. And then she shifted shape and bounded off.
Little Fury was very busy in the days that followed. There was spider’s silk to be gathered, rainbows to be garnered, and a bit of moonlight to be teased out of a stream. But at last, her creation was ready.
He was waiting in the same glade she had left him, an array of discarded birch scrolls around him. She held out her creation. “Here.” He turned, and when he saw what she held, he nearly wept.
“Turn around,” she instructed. And he did so. With a bit of blood from her finger, she sealed the wings to his back. “The next person who tries to steal these wings will have to go through me first.”
And then she sat herself down and began to go through all his discarded bits of birch bark. And she liked them very much.
There are wolves tearing at my soul. I am meat. I am food. I am fuel for their hunger.
I look down. My dress is in tatters. I am no longer beautiful. I feel torn at. They shred me with their claws. Lips draw back to show pointed teeth. And those teeth rip through me.
Those silken coats. Those achingly lonely calls to the moon. Those eyes that take in the expanse, yet never hold your gaze.
Ah, that invitation. Come into the wilds and play with us. Let us play in our court, out where the line between sky and ground is grey. Lily, come join us. Come join me, out where I have played.
I do not know how to play like a wolf, and I do not want to learn. I do not want to know what you know of this life among those you call your kin. Those who run with you live with such hollowness.
I did learn, a little at a time. Out where you said I’d be safe. Always there was a little farther. But I didn’t become a wolf. I said no to this, no to that. Yes, to some things. No, to running with your pack.
Come away to where the land is good. To where you are not a slave, or prey. I said.
No. You’d been with your pack longer. I was nothing next to that. You needed to be with them.
And then I wore out, like old rags.
I don’t know you. I don’t know you. Where was this side of you hiding? This lurking creature. You’ve shredded my soul. No more. No more. I am not a wolf, and will not live this way. Away. Away.
Once upon a time there was a man who, when he spoke, poured forth gold and jewels from his mouth. These marvelous things seemed to be of great value, and those who saw praised him for his wealth of words.
Once there was a woman who was drawn to the gold and jewels. But she shied away often. She had seen the curse of gold.
“Trust, trust,” he told her. “I’m different from those others.” The wind swayed in the trees. And he whispered to her. “Trust me, trust me.” A late night message: “It’s important to me. I know what you’ve said, but it’s important to me.”
She examined the gold carefully. She examined the jewels. And she made her choice. Hadn’t he told her how much she meant to him?
She became a ghost.
She couldn’t measure up. She was too difficult. She cost too much. She couldn’t be controlled. She couldn’t be contained. She couldn’t be summoned. She would not bow. She wasn’t enough.
Her image faded. She became as nothing. Her gifts–affection and gentleness–were not precious anymore. They were as common as flowers of the field.
The gold withered and decayed. The jewels turned to ash. The castles in the sky came crashing down. Everything that had been built with the gold and jewels fell apart. The curse of gold had victory yet again.
Once upon a time there was a woman who was a witch. She caused only pain and suffering, and she ruled her world carefully, taking what she wanted and commanding those subject to her.
Once there was a woman who entered the witch’s domain. She had a heart of kindness and courage, and her eyes saw to the soul of everyone she met. It was to her the hurting and broken came, for they knew that with her there was refuge and healing.
The witch did not like the woman, and she did everything she could to drive her away. She belittled her, and repaid honor and kindness with disdain. She called the woman a second choice. She called the woman’s kindness hatred toward herself, thinking that the woman lived the same way she herself did. She cast shadows across the woman’s character.
And to the outside world it would appear that the witch had won. The woman left the witch’s domain. But the shadows of the witch could not stick to the woman. Her beauty was undimmed, and the beauty of her character shone through all the more when everything seemed darkest.
The witch did not win. The great God of the woman’s heart won, though at a great cost. And the unseen evil in the world shuddered and fled.
Once upon a time there was a man who lived in a land of illusion. In that land was a twisted form of the nectar of God. Like all things in this land, it was only an illusion, and it poisoned all those who drank of it.
This man wandered many years in this land, broken, and hurting, and searching. He drank and drank and drank, and was never satisfied. And the nectar made him its slave.
Once upon a time there was an ancient wise woman of the fay. She took his hand for a time and led him on the good path, binding up and healing. She had done this many times before, with many broken people. It was her gift.
In time, like many of the other people she had helped, the man went his own way. The wise woman was very sad, but she left him with these fay words:
“Whatever sin is bound to you, so you will bind it to the one who binds herself to you. It is a terrible burden to bear, and brings only harm and pain. Believe me, I know. Pray to God for spiritual healing, for only His Hand can heal you.
“Seek those of the ancient and wise to keep you and help you. We of the fay kingdom are here to aid you. But not me. My time here in this land of illusion is done. I have completed the task set before me, and I journey onward.”
A blinding light shone, and all was illuminated. “Walk in the light, and leave darkness and death behind you. There is the path ahead.”