Elizabeth Jane Corbett

writing her way home

I believe in Fairies

I believe in fairies. I am sure you do too. Ever since my mother explained to me that the terrifying roll of thunder was merely the fairies having a party, I have found it a convenient explanation for a range of peculiar happenings.

Tylwyth Teg is the Welsh term for fairies. They are a diminutive race, resembling humans, who ride miniature horses, and are often accompanied by small white dogs (I think Biskit is probably a fairy dog). In Wales the fairies can live side by side with households, in a sort of unseen Harry Potter style world. The Welsh Fairy Book, by Jenkyn Thomas documents their existence. He tells the story of Gutto Bach of Llangybi, who disappeared from home, and one day, two years later, re-appeared. Little Gutto wasn’t a day older than when he disappeared, however, because he had been playing with the fairies.

Ianto Llywelyn of Llanfihangel on the other hand, was a friend of the fairies. He used to keep his fire burning all night long. He also left a vessel of water and bread with its accompaniments on the table, taking care, to remove everything made of iron before going to bed. For you must know, iron acts as a deterrent to fairies. This is where the old custom of hanging a horseshoe above the door comes from because if you offend the fairies, they can become rather a nuisance.

Such was the case with Morgan Rhys and his family from Ystrad Fellte in Breconshire. They heard all manner of noises in the cowhouse. Yet, when they went to the cowhouse to investigate, they found nothing. When they eventually returned to the house, they found everything upset in the kitchen. Night after night, their crockery was broken and their cows were milked dry. Their horses ridden until their wind was broken.

Now as you may know, I am writing a novel. It is an emigrant story set in 1841. One of my main characters is Welsh (which is how I discovered this interesting stuff about fairies). I have very little about fairies in the book (just in case you are being bored witless) but I am developing a breakthrough historical theory. I would like to suggest that it was not only humans who came across the sea from Britain. The Tylwyth Teg came too.

There is a historical precedent. Morgan Rhys’ family were so desperate to escape the fairies they packed up their belongings and proceeded to move temporarily (for it was the custom of the fairies to quit an establishment that passes from old into new hands), only to find that the fairies had packed up their belongings and moved with them to Ystrad Towy.

It seems to me that the fairies came with the first emigrants from Britain and have been coming ever since. Indeed, I suspect a whole family might have emigrated alongside my family in 1968. Now before you object, I will ask you one simple question. Where do your odd socks disappear to? Are you with me? Ok here is another thought. Why can you never find a ball point pen or a tennis balls when you need it? As you can see, I have s strong case. It must be the fairies.

Our household have forever been plagued by fairies (I am not sure what we have done to offend them). When the children were little it was spoons that went missing. I know that is peculiar, because spoons are made of metal, but I suspect that during the evolutionary process, some fairies have become immune to it (the tooth fairy is a prime example). Anyway, I was forever missing spoons. Occasionally I would find one in the sandpit (which is how I first came to suspect the fairies), but mostly they just disappeared.

The sandpit is now long gone from our garden. It has been replaced by MSN, iPods and P Plates. I thought the fairies had gone too. But I was wrong. I have lately begun to suspect they are still with us. How else do I explain the recent and mysterious disappearance of the forks in my cutlery drawer?

The truth about the missing forks has dawned upon me slowly. At first, it was simply a fork here and a fork there. With the rapid rotation of cutlery and crockery in and out of the dishwasher, and the very haphazard habits if those rostered on dishes duty, it was easy to miss the decline in numbers until last week … When I realised there were no longer enough forks to have dinner with.

Andrew was in America at the time, so we only needed four forks. But no matter where we searched – the dishwasher, the various cutlery drawers, Seth’s bedroom (very scary) Priya’s bedroom (even worse) – they were nowhere to be found. We had to face the cold hard truth. We had twenty knives, forty spoons (including soup spoons and teaspoons) and three forks. It had to be the fairies. There is not other explanation for it. I am wracking my brains to work out how I have offended them.

I may never know the reason for this attack on my cutlery drawer. But the answer is simple. I must placate the fairies. It is vital for the continued well being of my forty spoons. I will convince Andrew of the value of running the heater all night (never mind the gas bill). I will watch what I say from now on(word watch fairies); I will write nice things about the fairies on my blog (blog watch fairies); I will practice random acts of kindness (benevolence fairies), I will not nibble and eat badly (Doctor Tickle’s diet watch fairies); I will be firm with Biskit (Alpha dog training fairies) and of course I must leave food and drink for them like Ianto Llywelyn of Llanfihangel did.

There is only one problem I can see with this plan. It is the cockroaches. Melbourne is in the throws of a nasty roach plague. This is not the fault of the fairies (or my housekeeping). It is because of global warming. As the earth warms, our Melbourne cockroaches are growing bigger and uglier. It is a kind of King Kong or Honey I blew up the Kid situation. To reach my carefully placed snacks the fairies will have to mount an assault, more gruelling and devastating than the ANZAC campaign at Gallipoli. I don’t know how they are going to deal with it. I will have to consult the Welsh Fairy Book to see if there is a precedent.

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1 Comment

  1. Carine

    It would certainly explain why I can never find my keys when I’m in a hurry…

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