Flower Fairies-E.S. Rodhe

The fairy that disappeared
I think the fairies we all love most are the flower 
fairies, the fairies who play about in the scent of the 
thyme and in and out of the foxgloves, swing themselves 
in the bluebells and ring the exquisite little bells of the 
wood-sorrel to summon Oberon and Titania's court to 
their midnight revels. The pixies use the tulip flowers as 
cradles, and there is a charming West Country tale of an 
old woman who grew tulips in her cottage garden and 
never allowed them to be gathered because of the 
pixies. They could be heard at night singing their babies 
to sleep, and these tulips lasted longer than any others and 
their scent was sweeter than the scent of roses. When the 
old woman died, the tulips were dug up and the garden 
left desolate, but the pixies tended her grave and in 
spring time planted it with wild flowers. And what of the 
fairies' sea gardens ? The little rocks which they plant so 
lovingly with tiny seaweeds, anemones and coralline, and 
the green ' Mermaid's lace ' we see in pools ? What of 
St. Brandan's Fairy Isle, which on summer evenings on 
our western shores we behold bathed in the golden 
splendour of the sunset ? And we all know the little fairy 
gardens, the tiny patches of greensward starred with 
minute sea-pinks in the sheltered pockets of our rocky 
coasts. It is easy to believe the old tales of the fairy 
music heard at night, the hundreds of little lights moving 
about and the sweet perfume wafted far out to sea from 
the small people's gardens. In our own gardens do we 
not, every summer morning, see the fairies' handiwork — 
the long hanging bridges and palaces we call cobwebs, 
and which are amongst the loveliest and least earthly of 
earthly things ? And who but the fairies deck the flowers 
and leaves with dewdrops ? 

' The light fairies danced upon the flowers 
Hanging on every leaf an orient pearl, 
Which struck together with the silken wind 
Of their loose mantles made a silver chime.' 

But alas ! the little people themselves we do not see. 

'Methinks we walk in Dreams in Fairyland.' 

There are many roads leading to Fairyland, and at first 
the way seems as simple as the little people themselves, but 
how soon mists arise and we find ourselves in a pathless 
waste, for as Spenser told us long ago : 
 None that breatheth living aire does know 
Where is that happy land of Faerie.'