Ever since last Saturday, December 6th, when the Full Cold Moon appeared along with the Swamp Fairy finally making contact with me (you can read about that here and find all the stories on my menu), I have been having strange dreams. Vivid images of Fairy Swamp that I cannot explain.
That night, which now seems so long ago, The Swamp Fairy said to me,
“I will come to you in your dreams when my magic is the strongest. I will tell you the tales that need to be told. Do not be afraid to dream, for your slumber will be the most refreshing after my visits. Write the words and share this magic with the rest of the world.”
My dreams have been so confusing that I was having a hard time trying to figure out what the Swamp Fairy was trying to tell me. I decided the only thing I could do was to visit with Miss Hilda, Pensacola, Florida’s swamp fairy expert to see if she could help me figure out the images I kept seeing in my dreams. The words spoken by the Swamp Fairy that night kept whirling around in my head. Over and over, I could hear her say:
“Silver Threading, I have come to you because I need your help. Our tiny fairy civilization at what you call ‘Fairy Swamp’ is in danger. There is a new human housing area being built right next to my fairy swamp domain on your walking road. Humans have encroached upon us to such an extent that all of the fairies have left and moved on to other swamps. Only I have remained to tend the animals in the nearby fields. I am old now, at least 297 years and I do not have much time left. I need you to hear my stories and pass them on to the humans, so they will learn to respect the earth and protect the animals. Will you help me?”
“You were chosen long ago in a different time and place, Silver Threading. It was your destiny to come here at this moment in time to accept the title of ‘Story Keeper.’ You will write our fairy stories so they will be preserved forever.”
I understood my job as the Fairy Story Keeper was to write the stories of the fairies so they would be preserved forever, because Fairy Swamp is endangered. Most of the images I see in my dreams are of Fairy Swamp. Here are some of the pictures:
I started out walking late this morning as I took the road behind Blackberry Ridge which lead me to Miss Hilda’s house. When I walked past Fairy Swamp I was shocked to see how dry the land was. Since the major spring rain storm this April had dumped 26 inches of rain on us at one time, we have had minimal amounts of rainfall this summer and autumn, if any at all. It did not take a scientist to recognize that Fairy Swamp was in trouble. I could see it first hand myself.
Miss Hilda’s house was just the other side of the swamp. It was a pleasant walk with light breezes and the warm sun shinning down upon me. Miss Hilda’s house was tiny and old-fashioned. I could see the white paint was faded. The roof needed to be redone. A few faded shingles looked loose and flapped in the wind. A small curl of smoke rose from the single chimney in the roof. I bet Miss Hilda has the stove lit since it is December, I thought to myself.
(Image credit: Miss Hilda’s house)
She met me at the door with a smile on her face. “Come in Silver,” said Miss Hilda. “I have tea all ready for us so that we can figure out this swamp fairy business together.” The old wood stove in Miss Hilda’s kitchen spun off welcome heat into the room.
I loved my visits to Miss Hilda. When she smiled her eyes disappeared in the wrinkles around her eyes and her white hair always glistened. No matter what, you always felt comfortable with Miss Hilda. In some ways, she seemed fairy-like herself. She had a habit of flitting around her kitchen that seemed like she floated. When she walked it was so quiet I thought she must have slippers on beneath her long dress. Her shawl had sparkles woven into the yarn which caught the light from the sun shining in from her kitchen window.
Miss Hilda and I sat down at her table and drank our tea. I began to tell Miss Hilda about the jumbled images in my dreams.
(Image credit: Hilda McFarland)
“Miss Hilda,” I said. “ I have been having these dreams ever since last weekend when the Swamp Fairy finally made contact with me.” “I can’t figure out what all the images in my head are about and how I am going to write the fairy stories from that.” “I also want to know why the Swamp Fairy did not contact you to write her stories,” I asked Miss Hilda.
Miss Hilda looked at me with those twinkling blue eyes and said, “Silver, she did not contact me to write those stories because, well because, I can’t read or write!”
I was dumbfounded. It never occurred to me that Miss Hilda could not read or write. I thought for sure she had gone to school here in Pensacola, when she was a little girl. She retired from the Beulah Elementary School Cafeteria as a cook. How did she manage all that I wondered?
“I was born in Germany,” said Miss Hilda. “When my parents brought me to Pensacola long ago, I could not speak English, so I did not go to school.” “It took me many years to learn to speak English.” “My husband, Mr. McFarland taught me most of what I know now, rest his soul,” said Miss Hilda.
“Now Silver, don’t fuss about me,” said Miss Hilda. “Tell me more about the images of Fairy Swamp that you see in your head.”
Miss Hilda made another pot of tea for us, and I began to tell her about the dreams.
“The dreams are really strange, Miss Hilda.” “I always see the swamp as it looks right now, dry from lack of rain and with all the leaves gone from the trees,” I told her. “The images pop into my dreams and are unrelated to what I was dreaming about to begin with.” “I can be dreaming about my lovely grand-children and suddenly, there is an image of a Swamp Fairy Tree right before my eyes,” I said. “There is no rhyme or reason to the dreams.”
“Hmmm,” said Miss Hilda, deep in thought. “I know the fairies like to tell you things in their own time, Silver.” “Did the Swamp Fairy tell you her name yet,” asked Miss Hilda.
“Why no, she never told me her name,” I stammered, wondering why I had not thought to ask her that question.
“Silver, here is what I know about the Swamp Fairy,” began Miss Hilda. “You have to be patient.” “They tell you what they want you to know, when they want you to know it.” “The Swamp Fairy will probably appear during the full moon or during the new moon, because her fairy strength is strongest then.” “It takes a lot of fairy magic to tell you these stories and show you these images.” “You should start a dream journal where you write down what you see,” said Miss Hilda.
“I am sure you are right Miss Hilda,” I said. “I will just have to be patient and wait for the Swamp Fairy to tell me more.” “Your idea about the dream journal is excellent,” I told her. “Maybe I can piece the descriptions together and figure out what the stories mean.”
“Thanks for all your help,” I told Miss Hilda as I gathered up my jacket preparing to leave. I gave Miss Hilda a hug and began the long walk back home to Blackberry Ridge, not any wiser about the Swamp Fairy than I had been to begin with.
Silver Threading – The Fairy Story Keeper