Library Brownies

In our small town library live two brownies. Their names are Tabitha and Josh. They are very shy, so rarely, if ever, are they seen. They love books and love to care for them. I am told that most, if not all libraries and bookstores – especially used bookstores – have at least two faerie folk in residence. These are mostly brownies, but are sometimes brees, occasionally gnomes and, even more rarely, elves.

By way of thanks to the faerie folk, all they ask is that you respect the libraries and bookstores. Do not misfile or mistreat the books. Be kind to the library and bookstore staff. The faerie folk also ask that if you should ever see them in a library or bookstore, please do not make a big deal of it. Just a cheery wave or a quiet hello is all the faeries ask.

Bird Wisdom

While we watched birds eating at the bird feeder, Malcolm, a small faerie man, told me, “We must learn to walk upon our Mother Earth in the stillness of our spirit.”

He paused, reflectively watching the birds.  “We must walk gently upon her as birds leaving their tracks in the snow.  The tracks are there for a brief time until they melt away, leaving no sign of their passage.  Learn to still your spirit so that even the birds trust to eat seed out of your hands.  Then you will walk gently upon Mother Earth, doing her no harm and living in peace with Creation all around you.  That is how our Mum and Da Creator meant for us to live.”

Then Malcolm became a bird and flew away.

Anna’s Hope

“In the beginning, when Creation was young, humans, faeries, animals, trees and rocks, we all spoke the same language,” said the fair-haired faerie woman named Anna, her mist gray eyes gazing back into the past. “There were a lot less misunderstandings back then.”

She paused, gathering her thoughts. Looking directly at me, she continued, “It was when we drifted apart, when we became for the first time ‘us and them people,’ when we shattered from one folk into many different tribes – that is when the misunderstandings began. They were at first small misunderstandings, which suddenly grew into terrible wars. It has been the same ever since, except the wars have become more terrible, with more innocent lives lost than ever before.”

She paused, wiping tears from her eyes. “If only we could learn how to speak to one another again, perhaps to understand one another again. Then maybe we could become one people again – humans, faeries, animals, trees and stones. Then war would exist no more.”

She smiled, and with a wave, disappeared into the hedge.

The Return of the Ancient Forest

On a sunny afternoon as the wind whispered through the leaves, my dog and I visited the stream down the hill from our house.  I fell into a trance as I watched the water flow over the rocks in the bed of the stream, while my dog tried to chomp on every gnat and mosquito in mid-air.

Feeling as though I was being watched, I looked up from my water gazing to find two gnomes standing on the bank across the stream.  After friendly greetings were exchanged, the female gnome with long braided blonde hair and bright green eyes told me her name was Wendy.  The male gnome with dark hair and a beard was Ted.  “Like the bear,” he added.

Wendy and Ted told me they lived on top of the hill where, a few years ago, a developer built some houses.  I had the impression that the developer built his houses very near, if not on top of, their home.  I asked Wendy and Ted, “Did it not make you angry when the developer did that?”

“Angry?  Yes, at first,” Ted replied.  “But now we only feel sad.  Not for us, but for you and others who mourn the loss of the forest.”

 

Wendy, smiling sadly, added, “We are doing fine.  We just pulled our home deeper into the Faerie lands.  It is you and your neighbors who must suffer the loss of so many trees.”

“When Wendy and I first settled here so many years ago, this,” Ted gestured to the hill behind him, “was all old growth forest.  The only humans we saw occasionally were the native folk, which you know today as the Cherokee, and they respected the forest.”

Wendy added, “Remember, Ted, there were also more of the native faerie folk.  The Yunwi Tsunsdi were all around at that time.”

Ted nodded, “I remember, Wendy.  These woods were full of those good folk.”

Wendy, in a soft wistful voice, almost a whisper, added, “And we lived in peace.  We, the Yunwi Tsunsdi, and the Cherokee had no trouble with one another.  We lived in harmony with each other and the land.”

Ted frowned, “Then the white settlers came and sent the Cherokee away on the long march, far away from their homes.”

“What about the Yunwi Tsunsdi?” I  asked.

Wendy had tears in her eyes.  “Many of the Yunwi Tsunsdi went with the Cherokee on their long march far away, for the Yunwi Tsunsdi see themselves as protectors of the Cherokee people.  Many others of the Yunwi Tsunsdi could not bear to  see their Cherokee Children treated so badly, and they retreated deeper into the forest, where they still remain to this day.”

Ted, looking about, remarked, “This hill sure has changed since we’ve lived here, has it not, Wendy?”  Wendy nodded.  “The white settlers cut down all the forest.  Later, a group of settlers planted apple trees.”

“The apple trees were nice,” added Wendy.

“Yes, dear, the apple grove was nice, but they did not take care of it.  Then they cut down the grove!” Ted declared, shaking his head.  Looking me in the eye, he added, “Wendy and I have seen many changes on this hill, and we will see a few more changes before the old growth forest returns.”  Maintaining his eye contact with me, Ted continued, “And the ancient trees will be back one day, and Wendy and I will still be here to welcome them and the Cherokee people back home.”

With that, Wendy and Ted bade me and my dog a good day and vanished into the hill.

 

The Vegetable Garden

“A new vegetable garden should not be planted with such grumbling and complaining,” sternly advised the small faerie man sitting cross legged on our front porch table.  “The new plants should be reassured when they are being set in the soil that you have picked out the best plot in the garden for them to be planted.  New plants should be planted with songs and poetry, not grumbling and complaining.”

“I guess we did do a bit of grumbling and complaining,” I remarked, thinking uncomfortably about my wife’s and my vegetable planting a few days earlier.

He nodded, “And it did not boost the new plants’ confidence one little bit when you mentioned how last year’s garden died a dismal death in that very spot.”

“We didn’t say that,” I protested feebly.

“You might as well have,” quipped the faerie man.  “But do not worry.  I and the others have been talking to them, telling them they will be okay.”

“Thank you and the other faeries for reassuring our plants.”

“No problem,” the faerie man smiled, “but do not be surprised if, during the night, some of your wee plants pull themselves out of your garden and sneak over and plant themselves in ours.”  Laughing, he suddenly vanished from the table.

 

 

A Faerie Morning

Even before the sun rises from his rumpled early morning bed, the faerie folk have already begun their day.  Small faerie women and men gather around and within the small stone circle below our house.  Drinking from their steaming cups of morning brew, they socialize and speak of their plans for the day with their neighbors.

In the trees above, the birds face the dawn and greet the slowly rising sun with song.  This magic of the morning timidly taps at the bedroom windows of the houses nearby.  Inside their beds, humans grasp fitfully at the tattered remnants of their dreams, dreading the sun’s approach and the rude awakening squawk of their alarm clocks.

Brigid’s Mantle

Upon Faerie Hill’s green grass, tiny sheep graze.  Newborn lambs stay close to their mothers.  All are watched over by Brownie shepherds holding crooked staffs in their hands. On St. Brigid’s Feast Day – also known as Imbolc, the Celtic festival of lactating ewes – there will be plenty of milk for all.

Crows caw, the cold wind blows, but beneath the tattered remnants of winter, Brigid’s green mantle unfolds with the promise of spring.