Tuesday, April 12, 2005
A daffodil and fairie pipe
This is a daffodil from my garden but it also doubles as a smoking pipe for lazy house elfs. I know because I caught one puffing from it the other night.
It was late and everyone was sleeping. And I, being depleted of dreams and exhausted from the hard work of trying to fall to sleep, got myself up to fix a cup of warm milk. And that's when I heard it. The unmistakable crystalline sound of fairie laughter.
Being right tricky myself and compelled by curiosity, I slithered like a thief into a corner of our family room that was cast in blackest shadow. From there I took in a long sip of the pudgy, little fellow with apple cheeks and scraggly, white beard that grew to his knees, witnessing with my own eyes his daffodil foible.
He hopped onto the stone ledge of my fireplace letting his legs swing freely, back and forth, beneath him. From his pocket he pulled out a wire tool that I didn't think looked like much. But with one adroit twist and then jab of his wrist he gutted the stem of my daffodil creating a perfect tube for a pipe. After he removed the stamen with his fingers, much like you or I would clean out the heart of an artichoke, he carelessly threw the flower parts on my floor leaving yellow dust all over an otherwise clean surface.
That was the first mistake that little fool made.
Humming an elfin song, he took from a silk pouch what looked like ordinary tobaccy and firmly packed the steep daffodil cup, lighting his pipe with fire that shot out from his fat, little pointer finger.
But the smoke that rose from the pipe was the color of lilacs blooming in the garden and possessed the quality of light. And with each puff the little fool grew more and more wanton and buffoonish. It became clear to me, being knowledgeable about the ways and customs of the flower people, that this tobacco was anything but ordinary.
That jolly idiot is practicing magic in my house, uninvited, I said to myself. And this when he was supposed to be washing my floors and folding the laundry! Fuming in the corner and stunned by the rude behavior of my fairie intruder, I had it in me to brain him on the spot and teach him a lesson good. But I found myself transfixed by his oddness and littleness, and for reasons unknown to me could not take my eyes off him, nor move to hurt him.
So I watched as the elf puffed away. And with each puff he grew more silly, giggling and snickering all to himslef, celebrating himself in a horrible poem, and dancing a queer jig. Finally, when I surmised that the tobaccy was all smoked away, the daffodil itself began to burn. The fairie smoked the flower from the top of the petals to the end of the green stem until nothing remained but ashes. When the messy, little creep ground the ashes into my hearth rug, I found my ire.
Leaping out from under the cover of darkness I grabbed that round fellow by the ankles and shook him till his tiny teeth rattled inside his head.
"I'll not have you cavorting and what not in my house if you"ll not earn your keep. You'll do well to tithe next time you think to throw yourself a merry little, fiarie party on my hearth."
He turned himself around and looked hard at me, square in the eye. His ice blue eyes turned red and flamed and his teeth became strangely wolf-like. He rattled off something in an ancient language I felt certain was a spell, and a nasty one at that. But I, being a daughter of the first Adam and covered in the blood of the second Adam, was impervious.
"Ha!" My defiant laugh infuriated him and I took pleasure from that fact. Holding him by the back of his pants I opened my back door and threw the bugger out. I watched by moonlight as he ran howling and cursing in Gaelic into the thick of the wood.
I can't stand sloppiness in a fairie, won't tolerate it.
I haven't seen hide nor hare of him since. But sometimes, at twilight, I catch a glimpse of a curious, lilac colored smoke rising above the tree tops in the wood.
By C. C. Kurzeja
2005 All Rights Reserved