I love gardening and even when it’s winter, I pour through seed catalogs and spend countless hours at the local Barnes & Noble trying to figure out ways to make my small plot of land productive and pretty. In the spring, I have a plant and seed swap with my neighbors and friends. In the summer, I nibble my way through the cherry tomatoes, lemon cucumbers and peas that grow in my small garden plot. It feels good to be in and amongst the flowers and plants. My gardens include rocks, a toad house, a butterfly house, hummingbird feeders, birdbaths and a couple of whimsical fairy figurines.
I share my small house and yard with a fat cat and a small dog. My yard is not fenced, so the cat is tethered when she is out. Emma doesn’t mind; she’d rather be tethered then stuck in the house. Chewie, my 14 pound dog, is leashed and the end of the leash is hooked to the belt loop on my jeans. He doesn’t mind either; he’d rather follow me around then be stuck in his kennel.
One particular day, while puttering around in my garden, I noticed the cat straining against her leash to get at something near the shed. Whatever it was, it held her attention. Then she let out a yowl and jerked back away from whatever it was she had been studying. She began to hiss and growl and soon her fur stuck straight out until she looked like a painting done by the schizophrenic painter, Louis Wain.
I stood up, stretched out my back, and wandered over to see what she was so intently staring at. Normally Emma is perfectly content to lie in the sun in the grass or perch on my neighbor’s retainer wall, surveying everything around her. I assumed it was one of the chipmunks that had forced her to leave her lofty domain. The chipmunks in my neighborhood know the cat’s leash limitations and they chatter and taunt her just out of reach. They would be even braver if they knew Emma didn’t have front claws.
When I looked at what the cat was so enthralled over, I thought it was a small ragged and dirty doll lying in the grass. I reached down to pick it up and my hand suddenly felt as if it had been jabbed with a needle. When I looked at my hand, indeed there was a needle protruding from the palm. Attached to the needle was a long dirty thread, and just as I was about to pull it out, it sprung away back to the ground. There was a bead of blood where the needle had just vacated. I calculated in my mind how long it had been since my last tetanus shot.
I looked more cautiously down at the thing on the ground and saw it moving. I was about to pick it up when I noticed another movement just to the right of it. My hand froze, first in caution and second in shock. This wasn’t just a discarded doll, but a tiny human like creature. Actually there were two of them, one of them holding a damned darning needle, poised and ready to strike again. In response to a tiny high-pitched wail, I turned to look at the first one again. In that instant, I knew that what I was seeing would forever change my concept of our logical, over analyzed and over researched world.
I started to cry. I mean, I didn’t sob, but my eyes blurred with tears. I love whimsy and if there could truly be fairies or little people, I would be ecstatic. I don’t know why some of us wish for fantasy or enchantment, but here they were in my backyard by my shed.
My first thought was that I had been in the sun too long and that I was seeing things, but then I reasoned that it was my cat that had seen them first. Regardless, here they were. The little man crouched close to the woman who was lying on her back in the grass. He never took his eyes off of me for a second, yet he assured her by his presence. She keened again and I bent down a little closer, ever cautious and aware of the man’s weapon, not wanting to get my eye poked. She gripped her very swollen belly.
“Pregnant? Was she in labor? Where were they from and what had gotten them in this predicament to be caught out in the open like this?” I wondered. Then Chewie, my dog, ran up and I had to hold him back. I think he would have loved making a snack out of them both. “How do I protect them and how could I get them out of harm’s way and not get stabbed again?”
I had been thinking how Chewie eats first and regrets later, never seeming to weigh the danger of his actions. Yet with lightening speed, I dropped my hat on the little man, picked up the little woman and swooped the hat back up, making sure he couldn’t get out. Obviously I was as thoughtless as my dog, when at that moment I could see the needle being jabbed here and there through the cloth of the hat.
Chewie had no choice but to follow me as I dashed into the house and set them gently down on the kitchen cabinet. If their expressions were at all human, they were very frightened. It was obvious she wouldn’t be able to go anywhere quickly, and the little man appeared to be fierce and brave enough to stay with her. Kudos to him.
The keening began again and it was not long before the tiny baby was born. I had gone to the basement and found a discarded birdcage. I didn’t know what else to do and they needed some kind of protection and shelter. By the time I had cleaned the cage out and grabbed a wash cloth and run back upstairs, there was a tiny pink infant, about the size of a new born gerbil lying in her arms.
These little people aren’t really fairies but I didn’t learn that until later. I had been writing down the events that had occurred and by the time I found out who and what they were, the term Fairy just stuck. So here they are, “The Fairy Journals.”