Where did I put that pen? It’s my favorite. It was part of my Dad’s pen set that I inherited when he passed away. It’s silver-colored, and has a slight bend in the middle of it, as though little hands had tried to break it in half once. I use it for everything, and now it’s gone. The first thing I do, of course, is check the fairy altar in the dining room. The Fae love to drag small items in there. (I once found my missing glasses swinging from the chandelier, but that’s a different story.) No luck, just the usual suspects….a ceramic hedgehog dressed as Miss Tiggy-Winkle with an iron in her hand, some German fairies that look like they’ve had a hard life, and a pinecone that has a fairy living in it. And, of course, the tiny bowl of water I place there daily. Next to the bowl of water is an offering dish with half a Mounds bar in it. (Candy is a very fairy thing.) But no sign of the pen.
What catches my eye is a little house sitting on the sideboard that I have recently finished. I lift off the roof, and inside the house itself is a jumble of tiny items! Most look like tiny twigs and sticks on top. This has to be cleaned out — I have a festival in a week and have to get this house ready for sale. Before I reach inside, I put fresh water in the offering bowl and make an announcement softly, but out loud. I must clean out this house, and will be very respectful of the things I find there. I wait a few heartbeats, then I reach inside the house and gently start pulling out little bits of sticks and twigs, bits of cedar, my miniature pliers I won in a craft fair that had disappeared, 9 inches of white string rolled up in a neat ball, the mirror out of a compact I had thrown away about a year ago, and quarter of a dried-up peanut butter sandwich. (?) Sure enough, underneath it all was my Dad’s pen wedged upright, forming a post of sorts, that supported all those twigs. I froze, then my jaw dropped open. I had found a fairy sleeping hollow.
For those of you who don’t know, fairies sleep in different places each night, much like deer. They find a tiny, cozy, safe place that will shield them from human (and cat) eyes. They will use whatever materials they can find to build that shelter. This sleeping hollow has an actual bed made of twigs, a white pillow, and bedcovers made of little bits of animal-print cotton that I had used in a project and stuffed into a drawer years ago. A bit of netting over the head of the bed (mosquito prevention, perhaps?), and a tiny carpet made from a piece of fabric I don’t recognize. I grab my camera and try to get a shot. I know that
the moment I touch this space, it will all turn to dead leaves, which is the fairy way. And I don’t have to worry about dismantling it because the fairy that slept there will never return to the same spot. Yet it gives me such a thrill to see the care and determination with which it was built. I gently remove the last of the twigs and free up my Dad’s pen. As if on cue, the twigs and cedar and string and pliers begin to crumble, until all that is left are a handful of dead, dry leaves in the bottom. I slip the roof back into place, and that’s when the name of the house comes to me…. a “catch-all” for all things fairy.