The Swamp Fairy–Dreams

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.

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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:

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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.

Miss Hilda's house

(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.

Hilda McFarland

(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.

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Silver Threading – The Fairy Story Keeper

The Swamp Fairy–Meeting Hilda McFarland

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I awoke this morning to a dull, grey day.  It was no matter, because today I was to meet with Hilda McFarland to find out more about the swamp fairy I saw yesterday morning on my walk.  (If you don’t remember what happened you can click here to refresh your memory). I snuggled down into my warm comforter, smiling in anticipation of what the day ahead could bring.

Excited for the day to begin, I leapt out of my warm bed and headed to the kitchen for some coffee.  Not that I needed it with my two dogs, Sugar and Spice, jumping at my heels begging to be walked.  I poured a quick cup of steaming coffee, sipping as I got myself and the dogs ready for our walk.  Overnight, the temperature had changed again. Yesterday was warm and humid, today a brisk north wind was blowing adding a chill to the air.  Coffee would warm me up.

Morning Coffee

After harnesses and leashes were fastened I shrugged into my warm jacket and off we headed for our walk.  The dogs tried to get ahead of me, so I had to hurry through the door.

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Sugar and Spice loved our morning walks.  I had to be careful where I walked them now that we had fairies around.  I was in a hurry to get back so that I could get to Hilda McFarland’s place behind the swamp.  I had to find out more about that swamp fairy.  Feeling obsessive, I hurried the dogs back home and hustled them inside.

Ten minutes later I was on my way to Hilda’s house.  The wind had come up and was blowing and tearing at the brown leaves  swirling in the street in little eddies.  I snuggled deeper into my jacket and took the road behind Blackberry Ridge towards the swamp.

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I passed by the woods where I saw that tiny brown swamp fairy yesterday.  I peered into the darkness of the bushes hoping to see another glimpse of her, but I saw nothing.  I looked around for another five minutes and then hurried on down the road to Hilda’s house.

Hilda McFarland had lived in these parts of Pensacola, Florida since she was a little girl.  She had been born in Germany and came here at the age of three. Pensacola was her home now.  Hilda’s husband, Ian McFarland had died years ago in a farm accident.  Since then, Hilda had lived in her tiny house behind the swamp.  She used to work in the Beulah Elementary School cafeteria but had retired last year.  Now, Hilda spent her time tending her house and garden.

Hilda McFarland

(Image credit: Hilda McFarland)

I met Hilda on one of my morning walks last year.  She was a kind friendly woman.  She called out to me as I walked by her house inviting me in for coffee or tea.  I never had the time to visit before.  Today was an exception.  Hilda was Pensacola’s resident expert on swamp fairies.

I arrived at her house and promptly knocked on her door calling out, “Hilda, are you home?”  “It’s me, Silver Threading, we met last year, do you remember?”

“Why, Silver.”  “I am so glad you stopped by.”  “Come in and have some coffee,” said Hilda holding the door open for me.  “Is everything alright?”  “You look like you are on a mission,” said Hilda, laughing.

“I guess I am Hilda,” I told her.  “I have some questions to ask you about swamp fairies.”

Hilda placed a hot cup of coffee on the table in front of me and we both sat down.  It was quiet in her little kitchen.  I sipped my coffee waiting for her to speak.

Hilda sipped her coffee looking at me the whole time over her cup.  She smoothed her hair in place and patted her shirt, as if she was uncomfortable with my question.

“Silver, when did you see a swamp fairy?” Hilda was looking intently at me now.

“Yesterday, I saw her Hilda,” I told her.  I showed her the picture of the swamp fairy in the bushes.

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“Yep, that is surely a swamp fairy,” Hilda said, looking hard at the photo.  “You know you are special if you can see the tiny fairies,” Hilda said.  I nodded in agreement, even though I really didn’t understand how I was special.

Hilda got up from the table and came back with a photo that she laid on the table.  “Silver, is this what you saw,” she asked?

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(Image credit: The Swamp Fairy)

“Yes,” I told Hilda.

“She was just twirling and twisting in the branches of that bush,” I told Hilda excitedly.

“I could smell the most lovely fragrance as the fog curled around the tops of the trees,” I told her.  “I could not understand the smell because the early frost we had last week killed all the wild flowers, so I have no idea where the smell came from.”  “Isn’t that weird, Hilda,” I asked her?  “She hummed Hilda,” I said. “I could hear her humming!”

Hilda nodded and sat back in her chair and began to tell me the story of the swamp fairy.

“The swamp fairies  live in the trunk of trees or in hollow trees high up because of the water that accumulates in the swamps. Sometimes you can see the swamp fairy houses in nature.  If you see a tiny opening leading into a hole in a tree, or a little hidden pathway into the hollow of a tree trunk that could be a swamp fairy home.

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Swamp fairies eat berries, swamp cabbages, and fruits in the autumn to fill their pantry for the harsh winter in the swamp.  Swamp fairies take care of the little animals in the swamp.  They help them if they are hurt or if they can’t find food in winter. Sometimes swamp fairies can be mistaken for a brown leaf in autumn.  

In the summer they look like a fancy multicolored dragonfly and can be caught by an eagle, an owl or a fox.  However, when the animals discover that what they caught is really a  swamp fairy and not a dragonfly or a leaf,  they let the swamp fairy go and apologize for any harm they may  have caused.

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Swamp fairies live as long as 300 years.  When a male swamp fairy marries, he does it for love, something that only happens once in a lifetime.  The female swamp fairy chooses the male swamp fairy.  They have families and live quite lives in the swamp.

If a swamp fairy reveals themselves to a human, it is because the human is open to the possibilities of life and not afraid to believe in magic.  It also means they might need your help.”

I sat there drinking my coffee and thinking about what Hilda told me about the fairies.

Hilda patted my hand and said, “Silver, you will do fine, just be yourself.”  “Wait for them to make contact again,” Hilda added.  “They always do…”

I thanked Hilda for her time and started my long walk home.

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Thanks for stopping by to hear more about the swamp fairies,

Silver Threading