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Friday, November 19, 2010


Dad talked about elves and fairies as if they were behind the nearest tree, with a superstitious tension in his shoulders as he explained the ways and laws of their parallel world. "Always treat them with respect" was his most frequent advice. "They don't trust humans" was another of his facts. The main thing I took away from his stories was that elves and fairies could be sneaky and vicious no matter how beautiful they might seem. Walking through a fairy ring of mushrooms could mean death or permanent enslavement in their world.

I laid back and watched dragonflies dancing among the tall grasses and flowers, against the backdrop of blue skies and fluffy clouds, and knew the dragonflies were fairies in disguise. It's always best to be careful. I didn't fear Santa marking down my mistakes on his famous list. I knew the tag marked "from Santa" was in Mom's handwriting. I wasn't stupid. Santa was a myth. Fairies were real. I could feel them in the sparkling grasses next to the water. Listening. They are the spies of the alternate world.

I put my foot inside the fairy ring. Nothing happened. With one foot firmly planted on the outside, I put some weight on the foot inside the ring. Nothing happened again. That night I looked out my bedroom window and wondered if I could see the lights of the fairies' dance, and could almost hear their council deciding whether or not to punish me for daring to question their sovereignty.

The next day I ran through the fairy ring. I figured if I went fast, my feet wouldn't destroy their invisible houses. I nervously watched from my bedroom window to see whether or not they would come to punish me. Nothing happened. The fairies accepted me. I didn't push the boundaries again. I wasn't trying to hurt them, just test my own bravery. I passed.

Some of my all-time favorite books are the series of Faeries and other magical creatures by Brian Froud and Alan Lee.


  1. It was great reading your blog post. I was told about those stories too and they bring back memories. It is a very sweet illustration.

  2. I like this post. I don't like that you stepped into their little circle. You got lucky! I am still waiting for your story(book) on the elves and fairies. I loved when Matt and I made a fairy garden. Remember in the 70's it seemed like everyone was drawing mushrooms :) Your illo's are nice and they make me happy!

  3. Great post Linda! Beautiful illustrations!

  4. Fun stuff, Linda! You certainly "captured" a beautiful fairy- Is she resting or planning revenge? ;o)

  5. Thanks everyone!

    @Michelle, I liked painting the mushroom, but didn't want you to feel like I was stepping on your toes. I can see why you enjoy them. I was thinking that my fairy was pretending innocence but watching everything going on :)

    @Mary Lou, I think people liked drawing mushrooms back then because so many people were DOING them. Of course I'm only going on the stories other people have told me. I think the fairy garden is more fun!

  6. Very descriptive and imaginative. Always love your prose and illustrations Linda. With some Irish ancestry in the family, I used to hear the stories about faeries, leprechauns, banshees and sheenymen as a kid, and beyond.
    I have the book you mention. It's super. A quote from it: " Lovers,poets, artists,writers,sculptors,musicians,and the like....acknowledge a debt to an unidentifiable, invisible, capricious, sensitive, delicate,elusive and powerful force which is called "inspiration" or "muse" and is generally irresistable when present. It is no coincidence that these are the chief characteristics of faeries."
    Post more, we love it all.

    Patrick Demers

  7. You were very brave to test the fairies Linda...I think as a child I could not have been so..it's amazing how powerful some folk law can be. Is it just coincidence that your rather confident fairy looks rather like you......?hmmmm?!? Great picture and post, I so enjoy your take on the IF themes.
    Jane x

  8. Heisann!

    What a nice story about the fairies and the dragonfly, this I like to copy and paste on my blog... is that OK for you?
    Your illustration is so delicate and brilliant.
    Have a nice week, Linda ;:OD)

  9. Aw thanks Pat! Great quote too. That book came out a couple years after my dad died, and it reminded me of sitting by the edge of the pond listening to his stories. Good art in it too.

  10. Thanks!

    @Jane, I did notice that my fairy wanted to look like me. I wasn't sure why, but I decided to let it be. Maybe I was confessing some sneaky qualities of my own?

    @Vilt, I tried to respond on your blog, but the translation wasn't working with me. Thanks for asking to post my fairy. Go ahead. I feel very flattered!

  11. Hey Linda! Hey thanks for stopping by! My wife is a big Fairy fan. Her favorite is Brian Froud too. I’m going to show her your post when she gets home from school. (she like mushrooms too! And yours ROCKS! Your fairy is a lovely self portrait.

  12. Thanks Jack! It's not really a self portrait, she just wanted to look like me. I've heard fairies can be shape shifters :)

  13. Your fairy is light and lovely, great work!

  14. Fairies are the GOOD kind of sneaky. I didn't even think of them with this topic, but when I was a kid, I was sure the woods near my house was FILLED with fairies, but I was always too slow to see them.

  15. You've got to look for fairies out of the corner of your eye :)