“If these shadows we have offended,
think but this and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear”
“The place where the fairies danced” was how my great aunt described a quiet spot in the woods she knew. She was in her eighties. I was around six or seven. The fairies supposedly came out after the rain and danced under the green canopies of the may-apple plants. Aunt Sade called this place Gladey Hollow. A huge old Beech tree marked the entrance to Gladey Hollow. As we walked along in the woods, my aunt could name just about every wildflower and bird. She walked with a cane, using it to point out each plant and bird as we walked. I wish now I could remember more of them.
Images I had in my child’s mind of fairies were from the whimsical illustrations depicting flowers as fairies. I searched and searched in Gladey Hollow but never could see the little woodland creatures. Still I believed they were there. If Aunt Sade said they were there, then they were there. Maybe she actually saw them.
Do artists, who paint fairies and other mythical beings, actually see the creatures? How do they come up with these lovely illustrations? Either they have seen the little folk or they have wonderfully vivid imaginations. I’d like to think they have actually seen the fairies flying around in the woods like Tinkerbell. It could be interesting to find out!
Over the years, Aunt Sade led many people on excursions into the woods for picnics and stories about the little folk. One poet/ artist wrote a poem illustrated in an ink wash painting. In the illustration, the artist has made the poem look like it was carved into the old beech tree:
Have you ever watched the fairies
When the rain is done?
Spreading out their little wings
to dry them
in the sun.
Have you ever heard the fairies
All among the limes–
Singing little fairy tunes
to little fairy rimes.
Have you ever seen the fairies
dancing in the air–
And running off behind the stars
To tidy up their hair?
I have. For I’ve been there–
Evidently, this guy saw them.