Fragrant Plants in Legend, Myth and Folklore-THE TULIP FAIRIES. by Charles John Tibbits

THE TULIP FAIRIES. by Charles John Tibbits

Near a pixy field in the neighbourhood of Dart-
moor, there lived, on a time, an old woman who
possessed a cottage and a very pretty garden, wherein
she cultivated a most beautiful bed of tulips. The
pixies, it is traditionally averred, so delighted in
this spot that they would carry their elfin babes
thither, and sing them to rest. Often, at the dead
hour of the night, a sweet lullaby was heard, and
strains of the most melodious music would float in
the air, that seemed to owe their origin to no other
musicians than the beautiful tulips themselves, and
whilst these delicate flowers waved their heads to
the evening breeze, it sometimes seemed as if they
were marking time to their own singing. As soon
as the elfin babes were lulled asleep by such melodies,
the pixies would return to the neighbouring field,
and there commence dancing, making those rings on
the green which showed, even to mortal eyes, what
sort of gambols had occupied them during the night
season.

At the first dawn of light the watchful pixies
once more sought the tulips, and, though still
invisible they could be heard kissing and caressing
their babies. The tulips, thus favoured by a race
of genii, retained their beauty much longer than any
other flowers in the garden, whilst, though contrary
to their nature, as the pixies breathed over them,
they became as fragrant as roses, and so delighted
at all was the old woman who kept the garden that
she never suffered a single tulip to be plucked from
its stem.

At length, however, she died, and the heir who
succeeded her destroyed the enchanted flowers, and
converted the spot into a parsley-bed, a circumstance
which so disappointed and offended the pixies, that
they caused all the parsley to wither away, and,
indeed, for many years nothing would grow in the
beds of the whole garden. These sprites, however,
though eager in resenting an injury, were, like most
warm spirits, equally capable of returning a benefit,
and if they destroyed the product of the good old
woman's garden when it had fallen into unworthy
hands, they tended the bed that wrapped her clay
with affectionate solicitude. They were heard
lamenting and singing sweet dirges around her
grave ; nor did they neglect to pay this mournful
tribute to her memory every night before the moon
was at the full, for then their high solemnity of
dancing, singing, and rejoicing took place to hail
the queen of the night on completing her circle in
the heavens. No human hand ever tended the grave

of the poor old woman who had nurtured the tulip
bed for the delight of these elfin creatures ; but no
rank weed was ever seen to grow upon it. The sod
was ever green, and the prettiest flowers would
spring up without sowing or planting, and so they
continued to do until it was supposed the mortal
body was reduced to its original dust.