A fairy tale within an fairytale. Character from 'From Ask and Embla'
|Ögmundr’s little faeries: the Taming of the Sprits
By the end of his fourth summer, Ögmundr had adopted a flouncing manner, bending his knees so that his curls jumped like faeries tied to his little head, whose jaunty misfortune lead them to screech and furrow their brows in distaste of their luck. “Glorious” they would mutter and cringe so as not to be heard as they dangled upside down by his ears, “we’re charmed onto the head of a boy lunatic.”
The story goes that these faeries flew before the rains, darting around rural villages to witness and laugh at the newborn babes and poke fun at the children in the street. On one fine, sunny day they passed a moss encrusted home typical of the settlements, with its rounded stone walls caving in and a choking homely smog emerging from a chimney on the thatched roof. Passing the open window they witnessed what appeared to be an onion, nestled in a bundle of coarse cloth atop a large straw basket. As they drew closer, fluttering their spindly wings with mischievous energy, they realized- as they had hoped- that the onion was, in fact, a white, blushing and very, very bald baby. They wheeled and danced a jig of joy at another’s misfortune, and swooped merrily to pluck the few wispy strands of hair, which lay like the lazy smoke whispering through the house, catching the sunlight.
The faeries continued their antagonizing frenzy until the babe bawled, despite the coos from his mother, and the humble village was shaken to its muddy flea infested core; such were the screams of this gentle virgin to the world. But the sprits would not cease, and the baby’s little face became red with torment, not with physical pain, but with the sound of laughter above his head fleeting to where he could not follow. Ögmundr reached and balled his plump fists into the cool air, removed from the safety of his mothers’ arms, and grabbed. He felt the fickle ends of the faeries boots, and the delicacy of their wings made of air, and felt in his heart the compassion that would be the driving force of his life.
For you see, faeries are anything but immortal. In truth the world of a faerie can be destroyed by a single drop of water- a teardrop in the rain. Unfortunate flocks of the faerie kind become trapped in the yearly storms that rattle the North, guardians of the oak and reed and flower and elk are captured by the blowing winds and battered by the falling rain, becoming the essence of water itself as it falls in waves towards the ground. Carried with their life force, entangled and struggling, the little creatures tumble towards a fate from which they are unable to escape, smiling with long creased faces and mourning with glowing dark eyes their last passing winter. As the raindrop is suspended in air for the last moments of its existence, then crashes to the bowels of Mother Earth, the faeries’ souls must follow.
And this, children, is why there are no more faries left in our world. Their time came long ago when people sought to take the forests and fields for themselves, leaving these troublesome but delightful creatures to wither and die without shelter in the open expanses of war. There are no more faries left now. Their laughter has long faded from the glen. Except of course the few which young Ögmundr wove by the soles of their shoes onto his new head. Sometimes if you listen very closely you can still hear the tiny voices which echo through the grass. No doubt they will tell you how horrible it is to be tied atop someones head, and that dangling upside down is very uncomfortable indeed.