12 April, 2016 by katelaity
I blinked at him. ‘You mean there is something of reasonable logic behind this working of apparent magic?’ I could feel relief flood me. It had not occurred to me until then how much my picture of the world had drifted off kilter since crawling through that wretched hole and finding myself in a strange little world like Alice in her adventures.
‘I hope so!’ The Captain bellowed with laughter. ‘That is to say I haven’t yet but there must be something, eh? In the meantime, I have been exploring these caverns and found much to plumb the depths of possibility here.’
‘You didn’t build these caverns? But they seem quite elaborate.’ I put a hand up to the smooth wall which may have been dug by human hands or by faerie but certainly had been made some time ago, for the surfaces were slick and worn as well as slightly damp.
‘I have made moderations—mostly adding the crystals at regular intervals so that I might see where I am going.’
I studied a large green crystal that was placed between two larger stones. It emitted a faint and somehow sickly glow—or perhaps I must admit to some creative interpretation there, for I found it difficult not to think with some distaste of the idea that it could be of some supernatural origin. ‘So they illuminate—or do they merely reflect existing light?’ The latter seemed much more satisfying to my logical mind.
‘Now that would be telling,’ the Captain said with a guffaw and a wink at Tansy. I found I was growing rather tired of the old gentleman and wondered if my friend might consider leaving this strange place and return to the healthy air above. Tansy however seemed to be yet fascinated with this subterranean world. She walked around poking at things with her parasol, asking questions about every little thing.
‘Are the walls mostly limestone here?’
I had the horrible image of spending the rest of my life down in that wretched sickly green hole. The noise as the Captain readied his little trolley on the track was unbearable and I was on the verge of asking him how one exited this lair when around the curve from the darkness came a very small man. I suppose I could be forgiven finding it my heart just then to consider the possibility that faeries were indeed real for there was something very odd about this little fellow. I found it hard to put my finger on it at first but then I realised that it was in fact the sickly green glow emanating from him.
Perhaps it was just the crystals, I comforted myself. However glancing down at my own skin, though I saw how the reflected light upon my own flesh made it appear most unattractive in hue, it did not in fat look anywhere near as green as this little man.
And it wasn’t just the tone of his skin—his clothing, too, had both a grass-like shade. It put me in mind of medieval romances where the knight would face horrible wonders like a man half-a-giant tall who rode into the castle all in green on a green horse with a horrible challenge to Arthur’s men. I can’t recall the name of the story, but I do remember the green knight. And here he was in miniature form.
Well, perhaps I had been too hasty in that regard: this was no chivalrous warrior. In fact he looked rather like the miners I had seen in the newspaper illustrations—apart from being so green and so small. Of course I had never been to Cornwall and I have heard that the Welsh are indeed much smaller than Englishmen, so it is entirely possible that folks around here grew much smaller due to the wind and water, I suppose. But surely not green! One might live as close to the earth as the Royal Horticulturists and still not be green…