Where do fairies come from?

People don’t know where fairies come from and I suppose I am no different, although for a moment I thought I knew.
The stories of the fair folk are many and always varied. There are stories about children’s laughter dancing itself to life. Lovely little creatures spring from piles of flower petals. Other, more tricky beauties appear in piles of composted plants (I’ll be honest, I’m an avid gardener for just this reason). Then there are some silly people who think fairies aren’t made at all.
I suspect that last notion is not true though. As to the rest, I couldn’t say. When I finally met a fairy (and I suppose you won’t believe me) I was not in my garden. You see, I have a fairy in my house. Now before I lose you entirely, hear me out. I didn’t believe it at first either.
She arrived in my home one day, a total stranger. The electricity was flickering because of a thunderstorm. I was sitting by the fireplace and I had no piles of flower petals. There were no children in my house to laugh. I was enjoying the warmth and dim light while I thought about literature (Beatrice has a lovely line in Much Ado About Nothing regarding stars that dance, but I can’t recall it now). The lightning flashed, the lights flicked out, and then sitting on my hearth was a tiny little creature with the form of a human, but none of the size. She had large blue eyes, a bulbous head, and pointed ears. It startled me, of course. Even frightened.
I jumped up and took a step back, which frightened the poor fairy. Can you imagine how big I looked to her? She was barely the size of my foot! I ran to the kitchen, not trusting my eyes. Perhaps I had sat near the fire too long. A little water should set me right.
I drank my water and had a long discussion with my reason. What had just happened? What would happen next? Did she mean me harm? Why had she come to me? What did she need? As my questions spiralled the drain with my dish soap, I heard a low song coming from the next room.
It was kind of sad, but somehow still full of hope. It moved me. I still can’t tell you why. Perhaps it was a lie, some fairy magic meant to trap unsuspecting people. Maybe it was the truth.
All I know is that I could not hide from her. I went to the hearth and scooped her up off of the bricks. I didn’t care anymore what happened to me. (This recklessness suggests that it must have been some magic after all. Why else would a logical woman like me have no regard for her well-being?)
When I scooped her into my arms, something wonderful and strange happened.
Nothing at all.
She laid her head against my shoulder and fell asleep. I held her for a while. The hope and sadness of her song resonated in me. She could not help but sing even when she slept. We spent the morning like that.
My favourite part of the day was when her arms and legs sprouted into vines. She wrapped around my arms and waist, clutching me like a bit of moss on a tree. It was a strange sensation, and more than a little cumbersome. But it felt so nice to be held.
That day passed too soon. If I could do it all over again, I would worry less and enjoy it more. I kept thinking about what would happen next. How would I feed her? What do fairies even eat? She ate nothing, but she still grew.
In fact, that made me finally stop worrying. She was growing. She was getting big. And I didn’t know if it was a good thing.
The vines of her arms and legs retreated into her shoulders and hips. They moved under her skin and across her back, swelling beneath the skin. She wasn’t holding on anymore. I held her tight so she wouldn’t fall out of my arms onto the floor. I stood in front of a mirror with this lovely fairy in my arms and watched a terrifying bulge grow on her back. Her song grew under the weight.
I remember tears rolling down my face because I couldn’t do anything to stop the lump that grew on her little shoulders. She curled into the hollow of my neck. Her legs hung down from my arms. Still she sang.
I was terrified of what would come next. I couldn’t think of anything else to do, so I sang with her. Our voices swelled and intermingled. We raised our voices while the thunder crashed outside and the lump on her shoulders grew and grew.
She cried out in pain and it is a sound I will remember for thousands of years after I die. Then, all at once, the lump on her shoulder burst open, blooming into a glorious pair of wings larger than the whole of her body. I marvelled at the brilliant tones of crystal blue, rosy pink, and cool black designs intricately woven onto her. She was so lovely to look at, I could not help but cry.
She uncurled herself from around me and no longer hid her face in my neck. Before I was ready, she floated backward out of my arms, lifted by the wings that had hurt so badly to sprout. I looked up at her with tears still rolling down my cheeks. All that time spent worrying about what happens next and I finally knew. The spell broke; it had done its job. I could see that she would be okay. I feared for myself again. I didn’t know how I would do without her.
She reached down and put a hand on my cheek, drying my tears. I placed my hand on hers and looked up at her deep blue eyes. They were stronger, fierce. There was no fear in them anymore, and barely a hint of fragility.
Then she smiled at me. “Thank you,” she said. “I’ll never forget this.”
I nodded and did my best to pause my tears so she could fly away. I held the door for her, but hoped she might stay a little longer and wait out the storm. But wings that are well made can fly in rain and thunder. In a flash as quick as she came, she was gone.
She visits me sometimes. We’ll sit on the patio together and sing happy silly songs. Sometimes I see cuts and bruises on her and I wonder where she’s been, or if she needs me. Other times she leaves flowers on my table. I gave her a key a long time ago.

I still don’t know where fairies come from, but, I confess, I sit by the fire thinking of Shakespeare more often than I used to. 

If you want to keep reading you can check out some of my other short stories in this series:

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