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Fantasy, Fairies, My Mom, and My Sister

May 27, 2008

Have you heard that fairies (or faeries or fay folk) are alighting in town and country, making their homes in hollows and gardens and tucked away places? It’s true, and they are everywhere. My mom and my sister have many residents in their yards, and have supported them by building houses, installing fences and paths, and planting beautiful gardens to encourage them to stay. I didn’t have any fairies in my yard, so my mom and sister helped me out, and sent a fairy, a castle, and a couple odds and ends to me.

It was quiet this afternoon. We had the requisite barbecue yesterday, children and extraneous friends drifted off on their own agendas, and I had the whole afternoon to myself. I decided it was time for my little adopted fairy to have a home.

First, I put their tower castle on a hill. It reminds me of the towers the monks in Great Britain built to protect themselves for the marauding Vikings.

Once that was done, I added the plants, a pond, a path, and a bee hive! Then I introduced the fairy to her new home.

She looks pretty happy sitting on the side of her pond. If she is still there tomorrow morning when I step out into the back yard, I will know she plans to stay.

The fairy is called Columbine Cornglow
She is a creator of bounty and harvest.
She lives in quiet gardens near water.
She is only seen in the light of a full moon.
She wears pink and green and yellow like columbine flowers. She has butterfly wings the colour of yellow corn.
Get your free fairy name here!

Edmund Dulac

I knew there were fairies when I was a child. There were no fairies at home in the city; they lived in the woods where I spent summers at my grandparents cottage. I built houses for those fairies. First, I would collect the supplies: twigs, bark, acorns, moss, and lichen. I had no idea what lichen was, botanically, but I loved its appearance. My very favorite was called British Soldiers, which evoked all kinds of magical stories for me. I have since learned in Latin it is Cladonia Cristatella; really quite a beautiful name. I’ve also learned that lichen is a symbiosis of two organisms: fungus and algae. That didn’t matter then. What mattered was it made a comely, red and green garden for my fairy houses.

Warwick Goble

First, I would search through the woods near the cottage to find the perfect little nook between the roots of an oak tree. It had to be an oak tree; fairies were particular about that. Then I would use twigs and bark to build a cozy, small cottage. I would lay moss on the floor before adding the roof, so the interior would be comfortable for the fay folk. When the house was complete, I would line a pebbly path with acorns, and cover the ground around the house with a garden of moss and lichen. If I had a found a particularly nice rock on my walk that day, I would add it as a piece of sculpture to the garden.

Arthur Rackman

I checked on the houses when we returned, every weekend. Sometimes, after a storm or a ravaging squirrel, the houses needed repairs. I maintained them all summer. I don’t know where the fairies lived during the winter, when we didn’t go to the cottage. Maybe they hibernated in hollow tree trunks, I wasn’t sure.

John Anster Fitzgerald

13 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2008 4:36 pm

    Aww, I absolutely love your fairy and her new home and all the photo’s you put up!! Does your fairy have a name???

  2. May 27, 2008 8:15 pm

    Oh my goodness; I have been remiss. I did not ask her name, but I was happy to see she was there when I peeked this morning. I will ask her name when I get home, and let you know! Thanks for visiting, deslily. I am anxious to visit your blog this evening.

  3. May 28, 2008 6:17 am

    Oh my gosh, that is gorgeous! I want to make one! You’ve inspired me!

  4. May 28, 2008 7:47 am

    deslily, I asked the wee thing her name tonight, and she said it was Columbine Cornglow. You can get your own fairy name at the site listed!

    Hi Becky, I am so glad you are inspired. It was a lot of fun. My sister has a huge section of her yard for a fairy village, with a stream running through. I will have to get pictures to show.

  5. May 28, 2008 8:57 pm

    dearest qugrainne,

    how can you not love a family that is so concerned by the lack of faeries in your garden that they send you a ‘fairy starter kit’ ??

    as a child, i hunted and searched for faeries – i even owned a book that identified them. but i was a bit afraid of them. i knew faeries could be quite mischievous and cause messes and such that i would be blamed for ….. i decided to concentrate my explorations on UFO’s. go ahead – laugh. But I lived in the country, in an upstairs room, with a large picture window….i would watch stars and planets and planes …… and silently pray to see just one alien ship … i didn’t want it to land in our field. i just wanted to see one fly by.

    btw: I’m a HUGE fan of Edmund Dulac’s illustrations – I especially love the ones he did for ‘The Snow Queen’ …..

    let me know if your sweet columbine faerie stayed …..


  6. May 28, 2008 9:06 pm

    UFO’s! Just a little funny. I am sure they are out there, somewhere. My daughter believes in ghosts and is always looking for them. To each his own fantasy.
    I wasn’t afraid of fairies. The only thing I was afraid of when I was little was grasshoppers. Still not too fond of them.
    And yes, sweet little Columbine was still there this morning. We had quite a wind yesterday; the fountain in the pond blew over, but Columbine was fine, dipping her feet in her pond.
    Dulac is wonderful. I think I will use one of his fairies for the label on my violet jelly!! (Do you think I could find glass canning jars anywhere!!??)

  7. May 29, 2008 11:25 am

    Okay – laugh all you want – i was a kid during all that UFO speculation / conspiracy stuff ….though I have to admit, I am laughing about it as I type …..I also wanted to be a witch – but the good kind of one, not the bad kind ….. i think dearest qugrainne that all my fantasies included magical ways to escape my home life, which at the time was not the best …..

    which is why i love BOOKS!! books always allowed me to escape and run away – for a day or two – then race on to the next book. I once told a group of parents at a parent/teacher conference that books literally have saved my life (this was s conference on the importance of literacy…)

    Oh an Edumund faery on the violet jelly jars would be STUNNING!!! Well, i living in the deep ummmm ‘south’ (nothing west of mississippi is truly south to me) I can still find cannning jars during the summer months at the local grocery stores. But i have to ask around to locate them. Another try: a sort of old fashioned hardware store. My mother used to collect the jelly jars that we used and those of friends – glass ones with their lids. Then she’d boil them and re-use, and we’d have this beautiful collection of unusual shapes and sizes filled with yummy jams and jellies ………

    i have to admit – this jelly making business makes me break down into a fit of giggles every time! Boy do I need to giggle more often …

    I hope Beaton and Garcia took quite good care you this evening……

    hugs back

  8. May 30, 2008 5:55 am

    I absolutely loved this post. Beautifully written and full of detail, enhanced by such great illustrations. Thank you! I took the fairy quiz. Here’s what I found out. My fairy is called Moth Snowwand. “She is a cleansing force and a peace-bringer. She lives close to crystal caverns and stalagtite grottos. She is only seen when the seer holds a four-leafed clover. She collects crystals to wear on her dresses. She has delicate pale blue wings like a cicada.” Hmmm.

  9. May 30, 2008 6:11 am

    Thanks, TJ. You made my day, as usual.
    Wow: you have a very interesing alter-ego! Hmmmmm; four-leafed clover? Any Irish in your background? Maybe the crystals she collects are your wine glasses… I can certainly see you as a cleansing force and a peace-bringer.
    The squirrels were in Columbine’s garden today, and knocked her into her pond. Beasts!

  10. June 1, 2008 7:23 pm

    What a delightful post! I do hope your fairy is still in residence. I love the paintings of both Edmund Dulac and Arthur Rackham but the other artists are new to me and I will have to go now and look them up.

  11. June 1, 2008 7:54 pm

    Wee Columbine is still in residence, though the jealous squirrels knock her in the pond regularly. Yes, fairy art is enchanting, isn’t it?
    It is nice to hear from you.

  12. July 25, 2009 10:13 am

    These images came from Art Passions/ Artsy Craftsy. You are welcome to use our images but we’d really appreciate a link back. Thanks!

    Unfortunately, I am not sure I found these at your site; I can’t remember – but people are certainly welcome to click back through your name on this comment. You have lots of lovely prints for sale there.

  13. August 2, 2009 8:34 am

    Thank you for this kind post on fairies and fairy illustrations. The original images may be found here:

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