FAIRY RING FARM, BY HAYLEY SMITH
The once grand farm house sat back along a long and rutted road, it was very nearly overgrown with the brambles and weeds that surrounded it on all sides. It was special place, as it had always been . The Druid elder’s had come here and cast their spell’s and called to the goddess and their other many spirits who they prayed to in their ceremony’s . They were always drawn to the magic of the lay lines which flowed around the farm lands and the woods surrounding the farm and the valleys and mountains of the beautiful land of Scotland. Before them came the fairies who had once roamed this wide open space, their fairy rings and place’s of magic were filled as they danced and came into this world on the special day’s of each year where the two realms could see each other, and where the mortal’s and immortal’s could cross into each others worlds.
The farm house had started as little more than a wood shack, but over the centuries the people that had been drawn to the area, and the last of great druid people had built this massive and impressive white washed farm house which now stood on the centre meeting point of the lay lines.
The standing stones which had fallen many years ago, were now nothing more than a pile of natural stone slowly being taken back my mother nature, their magical purpose long forgotten. But the fairy rings hidden deep in the farms woods had survived, and still full of the magic which they were once well known for.
The farm always did well, cows flowed with milk, crops grew strong and tall, children were born healthy and lived till a grand old age. The house was well looked after and loved, it was a happy home for the people who lived there over the years. That was until one fateful night when the only child of the house fell in love.
That fateful night
The cupboard door opened, into the darkness of the room, a soft glow from the fire tried to light the room, it’s flickering light cast its glow across the homely furniture, and the sleeping cat on the fireside rug.
Slowly they came out, flitting from one place to the other, up on the shelf, down to the table, knocking items off as they fluttered, each one different, they were domestic fairies, they picked up the things that were no longer needed and they searched till they found what they were hunting for, a broken knitting needle, and other things cast away, no longer needed by the household.
They worked in twos, some times threes, some stacked the wood on the fire, others cleaned the work tops, and others carried flowers to the table and collected the eggs ready for the morning.
It was too late by the time they came face to face with the young girl hiding in the dark corner of the kitchen. She knew they were real and she had waited up nearly all night to catch a glimpse of the little people of her fairy tail books which she loved to read. A single fairy floated to the little girl, he sat on her nose and the fairy dust from his wings made her sneeze, “Hello” she whispered, “ Don’t be afraid I wont hurt you” she said rising her hand to another fairy that had flitted to her side. This was a pretty little thing, she had the reddest hair and the palest skin, and she was in a dress of black feathers, and poppy petals, she sat and watched as they fluttered around her and the room “Oh no don’t go” she cried as they took flight, “Please don’t go, I wont someone to play with” she said a single tear falling down her face, the little boy fairy turned and said something she could not hear to the poppy fairy, to which she just shook her head before she headed back to the cupboard. He floated to her ear and whispered “My name is Hall Tumbleweed what’s your name” he asked and she smiled shyly “I am Grace” and with that he was gone. Grace smiled to herself, she could hear her parents getting ready to start the day, she had been there all night, she turned on the light and put the flowers into the vase and put the kettle on the fire, ready for when Ma and Pa came down, she opened the cupboard and looked in, the good neighbours were no where to be found.
After that night she would sit and wait for the little fairy to return and when they came Hall always came to her and they would sit and talk about many different things, and they would walk in the woods under the moon light as they got to know each other they started to fall in love, and it grew stronger and stronger till they did not want to be parted ever again.
Tonight she waited for Hall to return, she watched as the fairies entered the room, soon Hall flittered into the kitchen and headed to her side, “Come on I want to show you something” he told her as he sat on her young shoulders as she walked they talked as they went. She followed the directions he gave her. They had meet and done this many time before, But tonight was to be a special night, Hall directed Grace to the fairy ring, its mushroom’s outlining the ring and moss had grown only in the centre of the circle.
It was a special night for tonight it was Heflin Elfin. The night where the worlds opened and Grace could cross into fairy land with Hall. He told her of his plan for them, how she could cross over into the fairy realm and become a fairy and they could be together forever. She smiled and agreed to follow him into the ring, so he told her what they must do. They danced together in the fairy ring, As Hall had shown her over the nights they had spent together only this time they entered the ring. “Come with me Grace, you would love the fairy realm, and you would become one of us, we could be together forever” he told her as the realm opened and she could see the beautiful world he had come from, she wanted to follow Hall and become a fairy, but she feared it as well.
“Oh Hall I do love you, But what of Ma and Pa, I can’t leave them” she said a tear sliding down her cheek, “We could come back now and again and you could see them, Grace without you I will die, please come with me” she walked to the tree and thought for a little while.
She turned to the little Fairy who she loved with all her heart, “Ok, I will come with you Hall” she said smiling, “I have to warn you, one you cross over, you cannot return for a whole year and you shall then be a fairy like me” he said fluttering before her face.
So Grace agreed, for she truly loved Hall, and as the sun started to rise, Grace felt herself change, she started to shrink to Hall’s tiny frame. Her once long plane ash blond hair, curled and shone like gold in the morning light, her dress turned to dew dotted bramble leaves with flashes of red and blue, and when she had completely transformed, she had a beautiful set of skylark blue wings, for the first time she felt free and happy. She darted between the tree’s and flower’s, she could see so much more with her fairy eyes.
The old world she had known now felt like it had such life that she had never seen before. She heard the wind whisper and the birds sing high in the sky, the river sang to her, and she glided back to Hall, he was sitting on one of the mushrooms, and when she landed he kissed her with such passion, they linked hands and took flight and the two fluttered through the veil together forever.
The sun shone on the green grass, and the flowers were lifting there faces to the sun.
Awen pushed the car up the steep road, the engine groaned and the temperature needle slowly started to rise. “Come on girl, its not far now” she begged the car which seemed to get slower and slower, she sighed in relief as she reached to the top of the rolling hills.
Steam rose from the bonnet, “Ok then old girl we will stop for a second” she said undoing the lid of her drink and slowly drank the warm liquid which had sat in the hot car for the many miles they had travelled. She wiped the sweat from her brow, and opened the car door and lifted the bonnet, steam bellowed up into the temperate air, she had to let the car cool, she turned around and looked the scenic beauty, rolling hills and grass land and fields of heather, as far as her eye could see. A small river flowed through the valley before her and made it‘s way across the glen, a lone stag stood on the side of the mountain which was etched into the valley, which was surrounded by wooded areas and snow topped mountains which gave the feel of a scene from a painting that should be hung on the wall. How she wished that she could paint and trap this first view of her new home forever.
She felt for the first time in many months happy and relax, after everything that happened with her boyfriend John and that woman, it had hurt so much when she found out about them she looked back over the scene once again in her head.
She had finally followed him, he said he had been going to a business meeting, but when she had followed him her heart in her mouth the whole way, he had driven up to a block of dirty flats, and he had climbed the stairs, she could see him as they were open fronted flats, she watched him walk around and along the flats, he stopped three doors down the row and knocked on the door, out she had come in very little, she was slender and very young, pretty for what she could see. They kissed each other passion blazing through, he rubbed his hands over her breast and she laughed, he followed her into the flat and softly shut the door.
But Awen could see the door had not closed it sat calling to her, come on and see it , you will know the truth, it called to her, so she locked her car and walked slowly towards the flats. Each step hurt her, physically and mentally, she walked slowly and passed onto the floor, then on to the next and then to the floor she wanted. She pushed the door to the open landing, she could hear music coming from the flat door and voices inside.
She looked into the window, they were laying together, making love and kissing each other, she felt herself move forwards she pushed open the flats ajar door and walked in.
She turned into the front room, when he looked up to see her standing there before them, his face dropped and his mouth opened and closed like a fish gasping out of water, the women shouted at her, asking her who the hell she thought she was, walking into someone’s home, the girl looked to John and then Awen and all she said was “Oh my god, she’s your wife isn’t she, she’s your wife” and started to hit him, “ I did not know, I swear” the girl said a sob rising in her voice and tears started to fall down her face.
Awen found herself talking, “No, thank god, I am not his wife but I am his girlfriend” she turned and walked out pain burning deep in her mind and heart, she walked automatically heading to her car, she did not know where she was going.
John started to pull his clothes on and he stumbled and fell as he tried to follow Awen, she opened her car got in and drove, she drove around for a couple of hours, John rang and rang, and Lilly too, but she did not answer she just looked at the phone and cancelled the call, finally at midnight she pulled up to Lilly’s luxury flats and pressed the intercom.
“Hello, who is it” Lilly sleepily asked as she answered the bell.
“Lilly I’m sorry,… it’s late.. Can I…” the tears blocked her words, the door buzzed and Lilly ran down the stairs to Awen when she opened the door, “Come on, come on everything will work itself out, it will be alright” Lilly said kissing her face and hugging her. “I understand, don’t worry, we will sort it out” Lilly had said when she felt the time was right. They had talked until the sun rose in the sky, and at seven in the morning they feel asleep, Even though Awen tossed and turned the scene replaying over and over again in her mind, and in her sleep she cried out and sobbed, and Lilly watched her friend unhappy sleep. It was when she woke up she knew she must get away from London, and John and the pictures of him in her head with that girl, she could not stand the memories that flowed around her head, the place they first meet, and where they had there first kiss, and where they made love under the old bridge in Richmond park, the sun had been setting and the flowers where in full bloom, the stag’s rutting for there mates, love seemed thick in the air, she could not think of that, it was over no matter how much it hurt, she could not and would not go back.
London held so many memory’s for her, she had to move on and find a new life, her new start.
So this was why she had driven hundreds of miles and why she was sitting on the bank of the road with her car slowly cooling down, Why could it not be easy for her just this once?. After a hour of her sitting on the side of the lonely and far reaching road as she waited for the car to cool, after she had put in the water which she had collected from the gentle stream, which had followed along the edge road.
As she was putting the bonnet down an old battered van came up the hill. It smoked and coughed its way up to the side of her car. “Everything ok miss” said the voice inside the van, “yes I am fine” she smiled “she over heated for a little while” said Awen as she turned to the driver of the van.
A smiling face with ice blue eyes looked back to her,. His long black hair fighting to be released from its bonds “ Could you tell me how far from Amadale I am please” she asked the driver who had stopped to help her. “ Well you are a couple of miles out, I ’m going just over the other side of Amadale you can follow me to the turn off if you wont” he said revving his engine, “where are you going in Amadale?” he asked, “I am looking at a farm house its called Fairy ring farm” she said looking at the house details as she spoke. “Well I am going to fairy woods that’s just down the road from the farm just follow me and I will show you the way to the farms road” he said and started off down the road.
Awen pushed her car into gear and followed the young man in his battered smoking van. she shut her windows because smoke from the van was filling her car and making her eye‘s water and burned her throat. She followed him over the rolling hills up and down the beautiful valleys which surround them on each side. Rolling of green and gold hills and flower covered glens spread as far as she could see the heather growing on the hill sides and the side of the road. It was almost breath taking and she could not wait to see the farm and the wildness that surrounded it.
Wild birds and animals made there home on the grass lands and high hills and she longed to stop and take a walk in the ever growing wildness that opened before her eye’s. After about twenty miles the van pulled to the side of a little lane which they were making their slow way along. The van driver got out and pointed to a tiny road to the left of the van. “Well if you follow down the road there for about two miles then you take the river road and keep going about a mile on from there look for a little overgrown road and the drive that’s the farms drive be careful the signs very over grown and hard to see Ma and Pa don’t use the drive as they don’t have a car” he said and started to walk away back to his van which spluttered into life after he got in. “Hey, thank you, I would have never found it with out you, what’s your name” she said as he slowly closed his door, “Tom that’s me and your welcome I am backwards and forwards around these parts” and with that he put the van into gear and drove off.
Awen drove the car into the lane and followed Tom’s directions. She followed over the water which crossed the road with a little water ford the water splashed up the side of her car and covered the window and she turned on the wipers to clear her view. The car made its slowly up the hill and Tom the van driver was right as she nearly drove right past the sign and the over grown drive which lead to the farm house.
She pulled the car up the drive and the bramble scraped and squealed along the cars sides and she shuddered as it squealed its protest, she turned around the bend and the large stone farm house stood in a group of massively impressive trees. The path was cleared from the brambles which protected the drive with there nasty thorns and the windows of the white washed farm house were wide open to the fresh air. An old battered and overgrown car sat rusting in the drive long forgotten and unloved by its owner. A little path lead the eye across the field to the road below the farm to a small gate which swung on it‘s hinges and seemed to wave to Awen as its welcome.
Awen got out of the car and walked to the green tatty front door its paint peeling from the wood. She could see that the front door had not been used for a long while so she looked around and found a well used little path which lead round the back of the farm. She followed the path a little like Dorothy in the wizard of oz and almost giggled the song to herself as she made her way round the back. She came across a small white picket fence painted white which enclosed a herb and vegetable garden the path took her through the gate and further round the back of the large farm house, massive vegetables made way to herbs and then to flowers as she looked at the ground as she walked to the back of the premises. She came to the back door it was in a little better condition them that of it’s sister front door. A large brass knocker smiled a crocked smile to the person who would reach out to the handle, its face surrounded by brass leaves and berries its once shining face now dull and lustreless. “Hello anyone home” Awen called through the open door and she heard shuffling and movement from within the house. She knocked on the door again unable to use the grotesque knocker which she wondered whether it would bite the hand which reached out to it. “Yes, yes hold your socks for a second” came a voice from deep inside.
Awen stepped back, the heat outside was becoming unbearable as the sun shone hard down on her and she could feel herself starting to sweat in the mid day sun. “Hello there you must be Miss Bend” came a voice from behind her. Stood a little back from her was a old woman who had walked up the path which lead to the woods at the back of the farm. Her pinafore smudged with berry juice and in her hands a basket full to over flowing with different fruits stood a little frail old woman. The old lady brushed the stray strands from her face and smiled to Awen as she made her way up the garden path. She held out her hands to welcome Awen and they smiled to each other as they shock hands. Awen wondered why she never heard the old woman as she came into the garden. “what you doing out here, its so hot” said the old women “Come in lass, come in” she pushed open the door, “I did knock but I was told to wait” said Awen blushing not wonting to get who ever was inside in any trouble. “Why that old cantankerous git making you wait outside“ she huffed as she headed in the open door. Cool air flowed across the room and Awen’s skin. Awen looked around the hallway which was covered in old wallpaper that Awen mad a mental note would need replacing. “Well I’m Ma Palling, and this old goat is Pa palling, you sit yourself down and have a glass of fresh lemonade” she said as they entered the kitchen which lead off from the hall, it was a bright and clean friendly room and Awen liked the large black range that stood on the back wall. Ma opened the fridge door and took out a jug of cloudy home made lemonade, and opened the small battered freezer and reached in for some ice. Awen sat at the table and looked around the room. She looked out of the window to the large garden and found herself endangering what it would be like to live in this massive white washed rose covered farm house. Awen looked to the old man who sat in the chair by the empty grated fire place she smiled and sipped her drink. “What you wont” said a thin old man with a thick blanket across his legs and a newspaper laid on the chair arm. “Now Pa I told you this nice young lady was coming to look at the farm today” she said refilling Awen’s glass of lemonade she filled with ice and the sweet lemonade. The old man grunted and shuffled in his seat. “My farm not for sale” he said lapping at the lemonade which was placed in front of him by his wife his eye‘s glaring at Awen. “Now Pa don’t you start none, you know we cant managed any more, time for us to move on” she said smiling to Awen and hinting they should head out into the heat again. Awen was happy to be moved from the glare of the thin and bitter little man. When they had walked through the front door Pa stopped and turned to Awen smiling as she did. “I am sorry Miss Bend” she smiled sadly “Pa had a stroke a year ago and he wont like to move. His family has been born here for three generations and Pa wants to pass on here like his father did“ she smiled at Awen hoping she understood and would except her apology . “But I cant cope you see to much for just me and I cant afford to get help in. I am not as young as I once was” she smiled sadly.
Awen smiled back to ma and nodded her understanding to the small lady before her and the two started to walk from the house. Ma showed her around the grounds of the farm. Old building where falling down around the whole farm and there was a lot of work needed. She followed Ma to the old stable block and to the hay barn. “used to have a couple of horses years ago when the farm was fully working to pull the plow and such, when I was a girl I would ride them from the fields to home.” she smiled as she told Awen of her life as a young girl. “I lived just down the road at fairy cottage, its gone now but I would help out Pa‘s mother when it was jam making time, that’s how I met Pa“ she said as she floated off into the world she once knew. “I would love to have a horse, I rode when I was younger, but when my parents died I moved to London to live with my aunt I had to give it up“ Awen told Ma feeling as if she could tell her everything that had broken her heart. “well I would go to the gypsies in the wood, they always have a horse or two to sell, good beast too“ Ma told her as they made there was to the edge of the field “what you see belongs to the house, the woods over there to the river there and down to the road, half field over road belongs to the farms as well, once good grazed land, but had to get rid of the sheep last year” she said as she pointed out the farms many boundaries. It was a large place and beautiful in the wildness which surrounded the land and the farm. Rolling fields and a mist of mountains hiding in the back of the view as far as the eye could see. It almost took her breath away and brought a tear of wonder to her eye‘s. She felt she had come home everything felt right and she had felt such comfort in the farm it called to her and told her she was welcome and she was safe. Awen heard Ma talking and she turned her mind back to Ma. “the agent told me it would be better to sell them off bit by bit, but it would brake my heart to do it and Pa would never stand for it” she said wrapping her hand into Awen’s arm as they walked to the vegetable garden and the orchard. “just over the hedge there are the standing stones, not so standing now that time has taken it’s toll, this was once a very special place of the druids, now and again they come and we make a nice little money for them camping and so on” Ma told Awen and when she could see that the idea worried Awen she added. “they are no bother, and they do bits around the farm for free” she said, but Awen was still unsure she wonted others on her farm. She was already felt it was her farm, her home.
They made there way back to the house, Awen felt the cool air as she entered the house, “well this is the house, there has been a house here since the roman times, not this one of cause , but there has always been a dwelling here, always been someone here, she opened the door to the stairs, think you should start up here I think” said the old women.
“You go up lass, I cant get up there no more, its needs a good clean and you will wont to decorate it, but not much else wrong with it” she said pressing her hand on Awen’s back, “Up you go lass, my old hips wont let me” she said as Awen made her way up the winding staircase. Pictures and photo lined the dark and dirty wall. And she stopped to look at each one. Each was a different fairy and each had different dress made form leaves and petals. The photo’s where of mushroom rings and other mossy glens and waterfalls, sparking lakes and wood area’s. Awen smiled and made her way up stairs.
Awen slowly climbed the steep stairs and entered the upstairs landing, it was bright as it had a window at the end of the hallway that let the rays of light into the hallway. There where five solid doors for her to open and Awen mad her way down the hall to the furthest door. It was on the left and it opened to a large old fashioned bathroom. It had a fancy foot enamel bath which sat in the centre of the floor it’s dripping brass shower left a green mark In the bottom of the bath from the consent dripping shower head. The toilet was to the left and sink to the right. A large cupboard filled the rest of the room. The floor was covered with black and white floor tiles. Dust covered the room and the windows needed a good clean and she looked out to the fields and a wonderful view.
Smiling she walked around the bathroom. Thinking of the things she could put here and there. She went back over to the dusty window and looked out over the fields, it was a lovely view, from where she stood she could see a large mound of stones over the back to the field, moss covered them, and she made a mental note to check it out when she moved in to the farm, she turned around and closed the door and headed to the next. Opening the door she found a small box room, great for a writing room she thought to herself and again a view to die for, I will never get writers block here with these views, she told herself. It had been a long time since she had written ever since she had found out that John had cheated. No she would not put those thought here. She looked around the small room and noted the items in the room.
The room was furnished with a small bed frame and side table furnishes the room, an old sliver framed photo of a young girl smiling, she was sitting in the meadow by the river, her long blond hair cascaded down her back, her smile sweet and gentle, she had kinds eye’s. The wardrobe stood grandly in the corner, Awen opened the door and the clothes smelt musty and the smell of moth balls filled her nose. She closed the door and turned around as she did she ran her hand over the home made quilt which lay on the single bed. The toys sat on the bed and looked into space, a sorry looking teddy bear had fallin over and looked sad so she picked him up and helped him join the other toys once again. Awen wondered who this young girl was and what had happened to her. Had she left this lovely place?
She turned and walked to the next room, inside here stood a big double black iron bedstead. It had a beautiful set made up of cupboards and a mirrored dresser with a grand wardrobe. The room had tatty wall paper and dust covered every surface it had it’s touched every where like a blanket. She opened the other doors to find boxes and bits of the Pallings life. Each labelled and stored in the room,. Curtains and old bits of future cluttered the room along with boxes of books and other item’s stored for many years. She closed the last door behind her and smiled to herself as she made her way to the end of the hallway. Looking out of the window she formed her new life in the farm house. She planned the colours of the walls and the carpets which would go well with the walls.
She made her way down stairs to the kitchen, she followed the smell of fresh baking cake, she looked at the pictures of the farm in the downstairs hallway. It had changed little since the painting. The only difference was that over the years the camera had taken