FAIRIES —Do they exist?— by Nancy McBride
Isle of Iona, Scotland— (1960)
I was meandering down a rocky path between two shoulder-high stonewalls, when I heard a ruckus to my left! A woman had just hung out her laundry, holding up the line with a pole brace to keep the laundry from trailing in the muddy lot. She had just turned to walk into the cottage when, visible to me and apparently the woman, too—Oh, NO!—the pole flipped out and the laundry was dragged through the dirt, below. Let me tell you, there was no wind, and the pole had been secure. I watched in fascination as she whirled around, grabbed her broom and took off around the house, screaming at an apparently very naughty fairy.
Edinburgh, Scotland— (June, 1969, Right after the USA’s man landed on the moon)
We’d just finished a lovely picnic in Holyrood Park, when my husband decided to take a jog. A little boy who’d been playing with our baby (just turned one) asked if he could run with him, and he said no. The little lad was so disappointed. I suggested to him that he race my daughter in a crawling race, instead! He agreed, his folks, nearby, giving me a thumbs-up, thanking me.
A sweet kid, he let my baby win all of their little crawling races. She squealed with delight each time! Then, he whispered to me, “Would you like to see where the fairies live?” “Are you serious? Sure I would!” So, with his parents OK, he took us to a copse nearby, warning me to be very quiet, because if the fairies are awakened (they’re nocturnal, apparently), they get REALLY nasty.
He showed me huge mushrooms. They dance under them at night when the moon is out. The hollows in trees are their homes. It was idyllic, so mossy with filtered light softly streaming through the trees. We were very respectful.
When we got back to our blanket I thanked him saying how lucky he was to have fairies. I told him that in the states we only had tooth fairies! “I guess,” he said, dejected, “but YOU have astronauts!”
On a fishing trip with a Scottish friend, we spent each day tramping through the soggy, peaty land, as we walked to the various streams where we had a space allotted to fish. Our luck wasn’t great, but the weather was glorious.
One day we had about a mile to walk over hill and dale, and we talked as we walked. Suddenly, I went flying forward, mid-sentence, lurched as if shoved, and landed right on my front, uninjured. Startled, my friend was confused. “How’d that happen?” he asked. “Must have been the fairies,” I laughed. I scrambled back up, with his help. We continued. It wasn’t a minute later I went flying forward again. I did not trip. I was clearly shoved. The peat under our feet is spongy and soft, so no injuries. Once up, I scanned the field and then mock-shouted to the fairies, “Hey, you! I have Scots blood, bugger off!” A retired British Army officer who taught survival skills in the deserts of Africa, my friend was not amused, and having witnessed these awkward splats, he could not for the life of him figure out what was happening to me. Strategy, stealth and trigger quick reactions were his specialties. I, on the other hand, found it funny, not threatening. I don’t tend to analyze things. I let it go and trudged on, he scowling with confusion; me loving the breeze in my hair.
The next day we were climbing over a fence, and you need to know, here, I’ve climbed all sorts of fences hundreds of time, so I do know how to climb fences. Half over, suddenly, I was picked up and flipped—more like tossed the opposite way I’d planned—ass over teakettle, and landed smack on my back in the mud on the intended side of the fence, just short of a cliff’s grassy edge. Again, no damage, but I got laughing so hard, I just sat in the mud until I could stand up, still convulsed in giggles.
Again, my friend witnessed it, flummoxed, his protective training impotent! This unexplainable stuff bamboozled him totally. This fairy action was just not rational! Exactly. He had no training to help me “survive” this phenomenon, and not much humor, either, which made me laugh all the more...
To make matters worse, and by now, annoying him no end, on this entire trip, I could not take a picture of rainbows when looking through the camera’s lens. The shutter would only click when I lined it up, then quickly looked away to click it. I chalked it up to my new little friends. Graham was not amused, had enough of this foolishness, and marched my camera into the camera shop to have it checked over.
No problem with the camera. The shopkeeper agreed with me that it must have been the fairies.
Then there were the tattoos.