Books are a uniquely portable magic. ~ Stephen King

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

For the Love of Chocolate: A Fairy Tale

I’m a wood fairy.

People always seem to think we forest folk should have names that reflect our woodsy home, but that’s just silliness. The truth is that we name our young using the same guidelines human people use when naming theirs. We have family names, names reminiscent of our homelands, names that reflect things we love and names we “just think sound good”. Sure, I have friends named Buttercup and Breeze, but their parents have a tremendous and particular fondness for the wild mushrooms, if you know what I mean. The mushroom children in our world are like the flower children in the world of human people. They’re cool, and usually very sweet, but they don’t speak for all of us. They’re not the norm. Come to think of it, there is no norm. And I guess that’s pretty cool.

Me? My name is Joyce. I was ostensibly named after the human poet James Joyce, because my parents – heck, my whole clan – are a bookish sort. My mother confessed to me once, though, that I was really named after the poet Joyce Kilmer – you know – the human woman who wrote Trees. So maybe, in a roundabout way, I have a woodsy name after all.

I live in a tree with my parents, my younger sister Maya (I told you my parents liked human poetry, right?) and my baby brother Billy. You’ve got it. Billy as in William. As in Shakespeare. Maybe Billy will be their poet. Maya and I have both been – rather a disappointment in that particular arena. We both like to read, for sure, but neither of us are poets or even particularly interested in poetry. It just doesn’t move us. Our parents don’t push it. They know different folks are moved by different things. They’re cool with that. That being said, I don’t think they’d be particularly disappointed if Billy followed in their footsteps.

Our tree is located in a forest far from the beaten path. A lot of other forest folk live nearby – other fairies, elves, imps, and of course, the usual forest animals. There are four distinct seasons where we live. My friends and I love watching the changing of the seasons. We compete to be the first to see the first signs of the next season – the first flowers of spring, the first fireflies of summer, the first leaf to change color in the fall, the first snowflake of winter. Of course human children look forward to the same things. The difference is that we can sit on the flower petals and have tea parties. We fly and play tag with the fireflies. We use the fallen leaves like sleds to slide through the forest after a good rain. We tumble to the ground with the snowflakes.

Yep. Four seasons of fun for the fairy folk in our forest. Hey! Alliteration! That’s a poetic device, right? Maybe my parents have cause for hope. Probably not, though.

We get another first, however, living in the forest as we do. I look forward to this one more than all the others combined. I’m talking, of course, about the first human hikers of the season.

The first hiker usually arrives sometime after the first spring flowers, but before the first firefly has been spotted. Now I’m sorry to tell you this, but some of my friends like to play tricks on the hikers. That’s usually the realm of the imps and the elves and the naughtier of the fairies. They’ll push roots up to trip the hikers, causing their arms to flail as they try to regain their balance. They’ll fly around the hikers’ heads, making little noises that cause the hikers to stop and look around, then shake their heads, sometimes exclaiming right out loud that their imaginations are playing tricks on them. Unless my friend Imagination was in on the joke (He’s an elf who actually lives in a mushroom. So. Yeah.) they’re totally wrong.

It’s mean, but usually harmless. Elves and imps tend to love tricks, but they don’t want to really harm anyone. Once, when a human hiker actually did fall, they healed him with magic and then erased his memory of the whole ordeal. So even though I’m not big on messing with the hikers myself, I usually don’t protest too strenuously. No harm, no foul.

I like everything about the hikers. I like the way we hear them before we see them, breaking sticks and crunching leaves with their enormous boots. The animals, of course, do this too. But with the hikers, it’s different. Perhaps it’s because their weight is distributed over two legs rather than four, I don’t know. When we see them, it always surprises us how BIG they are. Sure, some of the animals are even bigger, but humans look so much like us. It’s unnerving and exciting to see modified versions of ourselves, but so large.

I love the voices of the human hikers.

I love that they sweat. None of the forest folk sweat, perspire, or even glow (though we have been known to sparkle on occasion), so we’re intrigued by it. We live pretty far back into the woods, so by the time hikers make it to us, they are almost inevitably sweating.

We find it delightful.

But the BEST part about human hikers is their food. Sometimes they will stop to rest and have a drink and perhaps a snack. Quite often this results in crumbs falling to the forest floor. Keep in mind that forest folk are quite wee – these crumbs are a veritable feast for us. We’ve had bits of peanut butter sandwiches, whole raisins, granola crumbles and – oh bliss! Oh rapture unforeseen! – chocolate.

If I ever WOULD write poetry, it would almost surely be an ode to chocolate. We have tried to use fairy magic to come up with some sort of facsimile, but our success has been limited at best. There is no woodland substitution for chocolate.

My love of chocolate, actually, provided the impetus for the biggest adventure of my life.

1 comment:

  1. How very clever and unique! I so enjoyed reading this chocolate covered tale!