Hi there! Please enjoy this short story – I was going for a more traditional version of fairy tales in which ‘Fairies’ are ancient, dark, and creepy, rather than their more modern interpretation as cute flowery things at the end of the garden. I hope you enjoy!
They say the Fae live in these woods. They mutter it in dark corners of seedy bars, told ‘hush now!’ by the landlady in a flippant tone with an edge of fear written in the corners of her eyes. They laugh, and say, ‘all the stories are true’.
You took your flute to the edge of the woods,
Knowing you could do what no one could
They say they the Fae live in these woods. They tell it to the children when they ask to go out to play, with a fierceness in their tone unheard of before, ‘don’t you go near those woods now!’; a frightened child agrees. A boisterous one is never seen again, ‘the Fae took him’; there is no comfort here.
You took the flute to your lips and played
The kind of melody you knew they craved.
They say the Fae live in these woods. They said it when the miller’s daughter disappeared; they say ‘gone with the fairies’ in the way it truly means, a curse, not a dream; a nightmare. ‘It’s always the pretty ones’, the landlady mumbles across the bar, ‘they like them best’.
A melody sweet and dark and clear;
A tune the townspeople know to fear
They say the Fae live in these woods. They lock their doors at night and hold their loved one’s tight on Hallow’s Eve, offerings left on doorsteps that in the morning disappear. ‘You better leave a gift,’ they say, ‘or instead the Fae’ll take you away’; it’s true. The miller had no gift to give.
And one by one the trees move clear,
And you take the path that now appears.
They say the Fae live in these woods. They say they lure you in with gifts, and when you think you’re safe they twist the paths round in circles until you’re trapped, lost and alone. ‘And then they come for you’, the old one tells the children, ‘and make you dance forever’. They are scared; their parents take them home, but don’t tell them not to be afraid.
And even with every step you take,
You never let the music fade.
They say the Fae live in these woods. They say they love the pretty ones the most, but ‘it’s music that they really crave’. Friends laugh when the tale is mentioned of the music that kept the Fae at bay; ‘it’s a myth, darlin’. A Fairy story’; he leans in closer, ‘Don’t you know the music just makes them worse?’
You walk to the beat of the tune you play,
Deeper into the land of Fae.
You know that you will get your chance
Once you get to the fairy dance.
They say the Fae live in these woods. They are not wrong.
And through the trees, you do spy
An opening to the open sky;
And in the clearing, to the tune
The Fae do dance and move and swoon.
They say the Fae live in these woods. They say they trap you in the dance, moving until your feet bleed, enchanting you through the pain until you never know yourself again; they say that if you join the dance, ‘you’re gone. Forever.’
And amongst the Fair Folk you can see
With the Fae Queen dances she.
They say the Fae live in these woods. They say they take the beautiful, the fair, and corrupt it with their ancient poisons, their wicked ways; ‘the Fae can’t lie’ a child says, ‘ah, my dear, they are well practised otherwise, in the art of deceit’.
You know that if you stop the tune
Then to Fae magic you will swoon;
Knowing that this is your only chance
You start on your journey through the dance.
They say the Fae live in these woods. They say they are beautiful; drunks tell of sightings down open paths of figures glowing with unearthly light; the next night, they’re gone, and never seen again. They say the Fae have a thousand glamours, but ‘in their true forms their grotesque. Hideous. A reflection of their poisoned souls’.
Firmly you do grasp her hand,
And lead her from the fairy band.
And all the while you still play
The tune that’ll let you get away.
They say the Fae live in these woods. They say their anger knows no bounds. They say their vengeance can last forever. ‘Whatever you do,’ they all say, ‘never do anything to anger the Fae’.
And with the music playing clear
The path before you does appear.
You resist the urge to look behind
Knowing how they’ll twist your mind.
And back through the woods you walk in hand
Far away from the fairy band;
And you play your flute, until at last
Above your head are only stars.
They say the Fae live in these woods. They say they took the miller’s daughter, but the bard, he brought her back. They say she’s never been the same. They say to their children, ‘stay away!’, hissed under their breath yet not caring if they’re overheard.
You have walked with the Fae, they say,
And when they see you they turn away
They say the Fae live in these woods. They’re not wrong.
You have been to the Faery land;
You have heard the Faery band.
You have been to the Faery dance,
And you know that if they get the chance,
You know if you don’t shut the windows tight,
You’ll hear the music through the night;
And one by one the steps you’ll take
And dance and dance until you break;
For you have been to the land of Fae;
And they’ll never let you get away.
So you sleep with your flute beside your bed,
And ethereal music in your head.
They say the Fae live in these woods.