Sometimes, In the Forest

And sometimes in the Forest you find a fairy and sometimes, seldom, so very, very rarely, one is slow enough to catch and so you catch it and eat it, all crunchy and sticky and thinly sweet like nectar, and never enough to satisfy and not enough substance to really nourish, but still a seldom treat in the forest.

And they go well with the Mushrooms that sometimes you find, off in the far ends of Winter after some rain and tucked away in the deeper gloom where the trees grow thick and not much light reaches the ground so almost nothing grows but what takes hold on the crumbling and dusty mouldering and falling apart logs that litter the floor of the forest. And then if you’re lucky you find one – sometimes one of the red ones and sometimes one of the brown ones all yellow and spongey beneath – and they are very good along with the thin and stringy sweetness if you’re so very lucky enough to find and catch a slow fairy in time – and sometimes it’s one of the orange ones, though they so quickly grow a green and bitter slime in the centre of their caps after the rains when they catch some little bit of water in the upturned cone they make. And even when you get them in time and they don’t have any slime in their middle, I don’t much like their flavour, though other people love them very much. And so when I find the orange ones I bring them back to give to some other people who do like them, and never bother eating them myself, not even with forest fairies, so quick and airy and crunchy sweet.

And it’s not so easy, catching a forest fairy, for you must always, always catch them in time. And time does not bend so easy or willing so twisting up a snare takes a great deal of patience. And I am afraid that many people, I’d go so far as to say most, have no idea what patience, real patience is and they foul up the making of a snare (if they even have the longanimity to learn that such a thing can even be done) and the snare snaps back and all your bending and twisting gets undone as the time springs back into the shape it wants to be. And even that springiness is precisely the thing, precisely the property that makes time so very, very suitable for making a snare for catching forest fairies and nothing else will do for that job, not being quick enough to catch them at their play as they flit beneath the undergrowth in the dank and dark secrets of the forest. And so you have always to catch them in time and nothing else will do.

And it is, I confess, a lot of work just to catch something so very lacking in substance, even though they are so thinly sweet and rare enough that they’re a seldom treat, all crunchy and melty on the tongue and also good with cheese.