The Height of Absurdity: The Fairy Mound 8.6
29 August, 2017 by katelaity
‘It’s fortunate that the tales of old seem to offer good guidance so far,’ Tansy said. ‘Yet they are always dismissed as fancies.’
‘I’m sure some are,’ Chambers agreed as we stepped onto the path that twisted away from the brae. ‘The poets have dreams the rest of us can hardly fathom.’
I thought of the tales of the fae I knew and shuddered. ‘What ought we to do if we meet someone on the path? Isn’t it dangerous to talk to the…Gentry?’
‘Often,’ Tansy said with an unhealthy relish. ‘But what about Isobel Gowdie? She visited the Queen of Fairyland frequently and suffered no ill effects.’
‘Unless you consider a conviction for witchcraft an ill effect,’ I muttered.
‘What does True Thomas say?’ Tansy asked Chambers, who tottered along behind us with his nose in a book.
‘Thomas was admonished by his lady not to speak. Perhaps we should refrain from speaking and convey our thoughts through some sort of pantomime.’
It is not my fault that I immediately imagined Chambers transformed into a rather stout Fairy Godmother. I had to hide the smile it provoked for he and Tansy were being very serious about the matter of running into fairies. I must admit that while our location was certainly strange, the likelihood of running into one of those creatures had to be slim. Was it not the Prioress who complained of the monks chasing away all the fairies from the British countryside? Back in the day they might have been there—I don’t doubt that having seen what I have seen—but in the modern world?
‘So we’re agreed?’
I turned round to see that the two of them looked expectantly at me. ‘Agreed?’ There was perhaps a little too much question to my pronunciation. ‘Sorry, what?’
‘If we meet a person who appears, shall we say, to be ethereal, we have decided not to speak unless they demand it but to show all other respect as we can until they do so.’
‘Do you mean we should bow?’ I was not certain that I liked that. Who is a fairy that I ought to bow to him anyway? He might be just a common fairy and we bow to him like royalty? Ha.
My friends did not share my disdain. ‘It would be the wisest thing,’ Tansy scolded. ‘A polite bow one might offer to an equal.’
‘How would I know he’s an equal? He might be a labourer for all I know.’
Tansy raised an eyebrow. ‘And surely an honest worker has every right to consider himself your equal.’
‘In any case,’ Chambers cut in, clearly recognizing that we were not heading in a productive direction, ‘We should be unlikely to run into a labourer as they are doubtless working this time of day and too busy to wander along twisty paths.’
It was unassailable in its logic. We set off again and had not walked far when the strength of our resolve was tested. A figure appeared on the path before us, astride a tall grey charger. ‘Who are you?’ asked the woman of elfin beauty.