The Swamp Fairy–The Gift of Spring

Friday, March 20, 2015 dawned wet and foggy. Moisture clung to the screens covering the patio. Thick fog distorted the shapes of the trees. Miss Hilda, Silver, and Bronze sat outside sipping hot coffee in the misty morning light. The mocking birds created a riot of noise while the chirps of crickets blended into the symphony of sounds. The dawn sunrise glowed eerily in the gloom.

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It was the first day of spring! At 5:45 P.M. this afternoon, we all would live through the spring equinox, a new moon, and an eclipse, even though we could not see it here in Pensacola, Florida. The stars and planets had all aligned to share some deep secret with the world, and we could feel it in the air. A feeling of apprehension, or expectation descended upon all of us.

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Silver read Miss Hilda’s and her own horoscopes aloud.

Miss Hilda’s horoscope said: Libra Friday, Mar 20, 2015

“Today your imagination is likely to be flying high, Libra, drawing on past images and events that you may have forgotten. You may wonder about the commercial potential of your thoughts. A conversation with a friend who knows this subject could prove enlightening. Write your ideas down and learn as much as you can about your various options over the next few days. You might be surprised!”

Silver’s horoscope said: Aries Friday, Mar 20, 2015

“Today you may feel a little out of sorts, Aries, but your creative energies are likely to flow freely. Inspiration could come from deep within you. You are probably more focused than usual, and therefore can spend considerable time working on a task or project without getting restless. Give free rein to your ideas. They might seem a bit dark and strange at first, but they are important.”

Bronze chuckled at our horoscopes, and said he was off to get a few things from the store. Miss Hilda and Silver continued to talk about the predictions for the day.

“Silver, do you really believe in this horoscope stuff?” asked Miss Hilda.

“Of course, I do,” replied Silver. “How could we not with the ways our lives have changed after meeting the Swamp Fairy?” she asked.

“I suppose that is true,” said Miss Hilda. “She has been in my life for so long that I do not think of her as someone new.”

“Silver, would you walk home with me? I appreciate you letting an old woman spend time with you and Bronze. Since the world did not end, I suppose I should get on home,” laughed Miss Hilda.

“Sure,” said Silver. “I am ready for a walk this morning anyway.”

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Silver and Miss Hilda set off down the road towards her house close to Fairy Swamp. The fog was trying to lift, as it drifted in hazy layers above the ground. Brilliant azaleas in shades of red and fuchsia glared in contrast to the fog.

The women walked quietly, enjoying the comfort of their friendship, words not a necessary part of their communication process. As they approached Fairy Swamp, the most delectable smell of sandalwood and jasmine, orange blossoms and roses filled the air. A pale green light emanated from the center of the swamp, casting an eerie glow in the remnants of the fog.

“I have only smelled this scent, so beautiful and pure when I have been in the presence of the swamp fairies,” said Silver to Miss Hilda. “Have they started their spring celebration before we got here?”

“No, I don’t think so,” said Miss Hilda pointing into the center of the swamp. “Look,” she said, “Fairy fire, everywhere.”

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“Fairy fire?” asked Silver.

“Yes, fairy fire is a plant that is said to grow where the fairies walk. Their tiny feet propagate this beautiful wild flower at the start of spring,” replied Miss Hilda. “My mother used to say that it was good luck if we saw it, like it was a blessing from the fairies.”

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Growing in huge mounds all around Fairy Swamp, we saw the bright, red fairy fire plants backlighted by the morning sun. It was beautiful and peaceful here on the edge of the swamp.

Deep in the heart of the swamp, a rumbling sound could be heard. It was the chanting we had heard many times before in the presence of the swamp fairies. It rumbled inside of us and pulled us towards the center of the swamp where we found the heart stone.  (Play the video as you read…)

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(Image credit: Heart Stone)

The heart stone pulsed and began to glow a deep green color in time with the chanting. Suddenly, right in front of us she stood, the Swamp Fairy. Her long blond hair fluttered in the breeze, while her glittering wings reflected the rays of the sun.

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We could hear the chanting in the background, as the Swamp Fairy gazed at Miss Hilda and me looking deep into our eyes. The Swamp Fairy raised her arms and the three of us were covered in butterflies of every color and size imaginable. Just like before, Miss Hilda and I could sense them and feel them all around us.  The swamp fairies were everywhere.  We felt no fear.  We held each other’s hands and soaked in the glory of the swamp fairies. Their iridescent wings gleamed in the light from the sun, while the fog swirled all around us, holding us close.

Miss Hilda and I felt their unity, their strength in numbers.  We felt like we was part of them and our hearts began to beat in time to the steady drumming of their wings.  We stood there, silently reveling in the unity of the fairies surrounding us.  We felt like we were home.  Both of us closed our eyes and smiled, living in the exact moment together. We were one with the fairies.

As quickly as it all began, the Swamp Fairy released the butterflies, and they immediately flew off into the sky. However, they did not look like butterflies anymore. Instead, they had taken on their true appearances. They were tiny swamp fairies wearing the colors of the spring swamp, clothed in brown, and a brilliant green, the color of new leaves. Wild flowers of every color were twisted in their flowing hair. Golden flecks of light bounced around them like glittering stars in the night.

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Humming birds in luminous colors of scarlet and emerald fluttered in a cloud of color. The birds descended, so that the tiny swamp fairies could climb onto their backs. In an instant, they flew into the sky, scattered to the winds. Miss Hilda and I looked around us and the crimson fairy fire plants were everywhere we looked. We had been blessed by the swamp fairies.

The Swamp Fairy placed fairy garlands of wild flowers in our hair. Fireflies danced about us like twinkling lights. Hares and foxes, armadillos and possum, all the animals of the swamp came forth and bowed their heads to us. Spider web lace was dropped on our shoulders. Droplets of dew hung like diamonds off the webs, glinting in the misty sunlight.

As quickly as it had all begun, it ended. Peace and a deep quiet descended on the swamp. The Swamp Fairy was gone.  Miss Hilda and I stood looking at each other with smiles on our faces. It was spring and the Swamp Fairy had blessed us with her magic!

In the distance, the sound of a huge piece of digging equipment could be heard scratching the earth into big piles of dirt. Construction had begun on the edge of Fairy Swamp!

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Silver Threading, The Swamp Fairy Story Keeper

The Swamp Fairy–The Fairy Journal

Miss Hilda and Silver sat in the garden enjoying a glass of iced tea watching the cardinals and the blue birds play in the bird bath. Large fat bees bumbled along in the hot breeze, buzzing, as they flew in circles looking for pollen on flowers that had not fully opened up yet in the warm temperatures. The air was heavy with moisture. Spring had suddenly thrust herself into Pensacola, Florida with the heat of a summer day. It was hot, even sitting in the shade of the newly leafed out trees.

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Silver had her fairy journal with her today. This is where all the fairy stories are written from the memories of the two women. Today, they had compiled a list of everything they knew about the swamp fairies, and added it to the special journal. Between sips of southern style brewed tea, they talked about their last encounter, through the horse-hole. You can read all about that here.

Here is the list that Silver and Miss Hilda compiled into her journal:

1) The Swamp Fairy asked for the help of humans, as Fairy Swamp is endangered, because of the new housing development across the street from their fairy habitat.

2) The Swamp Fairy asked Silver to write about the fairies to bring attention to their plight. She writes about them often on her blog, silverthreading.com.

3) The Swamp Fairy directed us to the center of the swamp near the heart stone where an interesting plant grows called, pink sundew.

4) The Swamp Fairy took the women back into time to when the first Native Americans lived in Pensacola, Florida. They saw how the pink sundew plants steeped into a tea, helped the early Creek Indians stave off the diseases the white man brought to the continent.

5) It is clear that the swamp fairies interacted with and protected humans.

6) The swamp fairies take care of Miss Hilda’s garden. Many of the plants have been growing there since she was a young girl. The plants bloom even in the harsh cold of winter.

7) Miss Hilda’s mother met with the Swamp Fairy on a regular basis. The fairies visit Miss Hilda daily.

8) Silver and Miss Hilda recently contacted Escambia County to see if there was anything they could do to save Fairy Swamp. The county official said that if there were endangered plant species involved they could declare the swamp protected wetlands under the State of Florida.

9) Pink sundew has medicinal properties. Miss Hilda drank tea from the plants as a child and was not sick like the other children in the area. Just like the Swamp Fairy showed them with the Creek Indians.

10) Pink sundew only grows in Fairy Swamp near the heart stone.

“Alright, Miss Hilda,” said Silver. “Is there anything else we should add to the journal?”

“No, Silver. I think you have everything written down. What were you going to show me that you saw in the newspaper?” asked Miss Hilda.

“Tomorrow is the spring equinox, a new moon, and there will be an eclipse,” read Silver out loud. “The U.K. will be plunged into darkness from the eclipse, while we will not even see it here in Florida,” she added. “It will affect people mostly in Northern Europe,” Silver finished.

“What really concerns me is that all three of these events, have in the past, been celebrated as events of significance within various cultures around the world,” Silver continued.

“In fact, some people are saying that these signs are a prediction of bad times ahead. Many people believe the connection between Friday’s eclipse and the end of the world comes partly from the “Blood Moon Prophecy.” That refers to the theory that a tetrad — four consecutive lunar eclipses, with six full moons between them — is a sign that the world is coming to an end,” Silver read from the newspaper. “Of course, you must remember that this is theory from only a few religious leaders,” said Silver.

Miss Hilda stared off into the edge of Fairy Swamp lost in thought. “Well, no matter what happens, these events must be significant to the swamp fairies,” she mused. “Every full moon and new moon seems to affect their magic giving them the ability to communicate with us more and more.” “I wonder what will happen tomorrow?” said Miss Hilda. “Have you heard anything from the Swamp Fairy?”

“Not yet,” said Silver. “In fact, it is time I get home to fix supper for Bronze.” “Miss Hilda, I want you to come to my house tomorrow morning for coffee.” “I will be up by 6:00 a.m. sharp.” “We will all have breakfast together.” Then, we can see what the day will hold for all of us,” said Silver.

“Thanks Silver,” said Miss Hilda laughing. “If the world is going to end, I think I will just come and spend the night at your house, if it is alright with you and Bronze?” she chuckled. “Besides, Bronze makes the best barbecue chicken in Beulah!”

Miss Hilda closed up her house while Silver waited for her. The two women made off down the road heading for Blackberry Ridge. Spring showed her beauty as they walked past Fairy Swamp.

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Thanks for dropping by today.  Stay tuned tomorrow to see what happens in Fairy Swamp.

Silver Threading signature

The Swamp Fairy-Through the Horse-Hole

It was March 5th, 12:05 P.M. the night of the Full Worm Moon, and Miss Hilda and I stood at the horse-hole in my backyard shivering, partly from excitement, although the cold north wind had something to do with it also. The white orb radiated a soft glow in the backyard, and we could easily see the tree line outlined before us. What were we doing here? You can read the prelude to the story here.

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Into the horse-hole

The most beautiful aroma began to waft through the air. It was a mixture of sandalwood and jasmine, orange blossoms and roses. I have only smelled this scent, so beautiful and pure when I have been in the presence of the swamp fairies. Miss Hilda and I were enchanted by the moment. We stood there clasping our hands together, excitement coursing through our veins.

Suddenly, right in front of us floated, the Swamp Fairy. She appeared in a swirling fog drifting before our eyes. She had long blond hair and glittering wings.

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“Come,” said the fairy. “It is time for you both to learn the stories that you need to know to understand the reason I have come forward asking for your help. Let us go through the horse hole, which is a gateway portal to another dimension in time where I will guide you and Miss Hilda to understand the true reason we need to save fairy swamp. Go with me now and fulfill your true destinies with the swamp fairies.”

Miss Hilda and I held hands, as the Swamp Fairy encased us in her warmth. It felt like a loving hug, a kind of closeness to the fairy we had not experienced before. We felt lighter than air as we drifted in the cold night wind. A yawning, huge gap of blackness appeared above the fence at the horse-hole, and we were sucked into a star-studded blackness. I felt a vacuum, a feeling of falling backwards, and then suddenly it was over.

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Miss Hilda and I were floating at the edge of a great swamp. The full moon was low in the night sky and cast an eerie pall on the scene before us. Dawn was not far away. I could see trees towering in the shadowy blackness all around us. Hugh great stumps jutted up through the watery depths below. The air was filled with the sounds of frogs croaking, crickets chirping, and mosquitoes hummed in our ears.

“Miss Hilda, are you here?” I asked her. The heat and humidity rose up in the air and made my breathing labored.

“I’m here Silver. Where do you think we are? Do you still see the Swamp Fairy?” she asked me.

“No, I think she left us here, I told her. Miss Hilda, are you still floating?”

“Yes, and it is really strange. I can hear and see all the bugs, although they do not seem to be bothering me. Usually I get eaten alive by mosquitoes,” she chuckled. “I am not even hot and with all this humidity we both should be dripping!”

“I agree. Miss Hilda, look over your shoulder. Do you see that light, not far off in the distance?” I asked her. “It looks like firelight the way it is flickering. I feel like we need to go that way.”

Miss Hilda and I floated, apparition like in the heavy, humid air. As we got closer to the light, it was apparent that it was a fire burning in a pit. Acrid smoke twisted up from the center of the fire. A deep red glow pulsed in the embers.

All around the fire pit were small houses made from river cane lashed together to shape walls. Large palmate leaves almost two feet across were laid in layers forming thatched roofs. The leaves pointed downwards and humidity dripped from the ends of the leaves into carved out yellow gourds surrounding the perimeter of each house. I could hear the gentle plinking noise, as the moisture dripped into the gourds.

Just to the other side of the dwellings were cultivated fields where rows of corn were planted. Tall hemp grasses grew in borders between the fields. Another planting area was further away in the opposite direction, closer to the swamp we had come from. A lone structure stood there, similar to the other building around the fire.

Pink Sundew (Drosera capillaries) plants bathed the area around the lone hut in a rosy glow, which reflected off of the pink blossoms. I knew about these plants because they grew in Fairy Swamp too. Miss Hilda and I had seen them when we found the heart stone last month. They grew where they were sheltered in the warmest part of the swamp.

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(Image credit: Pink Sundew)

Miss Hilda and I floated toward the pink sundew garden. Dawn began to break and streaks of sunlight filtered into the fields and the encampment below us. Miss Hilda and I hovered closer to the edge of the swamp where the foliage was denser. In any event, we did not want to be discovered. Miss Hilda and I spoke in whispers. We were only observers in this tableau.

As the sun rose, we could see about five women with long black hair, dressed only in deerskin wrap around skirts bring wood to add to the large fire pit. They spoke quietly and worked quickly to get the fire glowing again.

Miss Hilda and I heard a baby cry and one of the women came back with a black haired baby suckling at her breast. The woman continued to work balancing the baby in her arms as she brought more kindling for the fire. The women moved about silently preparing the fire. Large pumpkin sized gourds were filled with water and set on stones near the fire. Clouds of mosquitoes drifted through the smoke.

“Miss Hilda, do you see this?” I whispered.

“Yes,” Miss Hilda whispered back to me. “These people look like the Isti, or early Creek Native Americans. They were some of the first native tribes to settle in Pensacola. Many of the native people from what is now Georgia and Alabama came together to form the Poarch Creek tribe in eastern Alabama and northwestern Florida,” she explained. “I think we are seeing these people.”

“It appears that the Swamp Fairy took us back into time to the beginning of human activity in what I expect is Fairy Swamp,” I reasoned.

“I agree with you Silver,” said Miss Hilda. “I wonder what the significance of the lone hut over there with all the pink sundew plants growing around it could be?” she mused.

“Pink sundew does have some medicinal values. In fact, I started researching the plants that grow in Fairy Swamp when I was trying to find out what that fetterbush was. If I remember correctly, pink sundew leaves contain an enzyme digesting protein and can act as an antibiotic. Native American people used the plants that grew around them for food and medicine all the time,” I reasoned.

“That makes sense,” said Miss Hilda. “They are growing hemp too, and their houses look like they used it to bind the river canes together. I bet those huts are sturdy.”

Suddenly, the figure of an old grey haired woman dressed in deer hides came out of the lone hut. She threw both hands in the air, looked skyward, and began a keening cry. All activity ceased within the encampment. I did not even hear a bird chirping, or the croaking of a frog. The women stopped cooking at the fire and bowed their heads.

Unexpectedly, butterflies of every color, size, and type covered the old woman and the other women, the lone hut, and the pink sundew plants. Everywhere I looked around the swamp and the Native American campsite, the trees were covered with these glorious butterflies, fluttering, as if they breathed the life-blood of the swamp itself into the people they covered.

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Just as quickly as they came, the butterflies were gone. For the second time that night, the most beautiful aroma began to waft through the air. It was a mixture of sandalwood and jasmine, orange blossoms and roses. I knew we were all in the presence of the Swamp Fairy.

She hovered in the air, close to the old Native American woman. She did not look exactly like our Swamp Fairy, but a close version of her. The old woman bowed her head and spoke in her language to the fairy. The Swamp Fairy bowed her head and spoke to the old woman in that peculiar way she had, where I could understand her words in my head.

The Swamp Fairy told the old woman the pink sundew plants that grew in proliferation around the lone hut were spectacular. She then instructed the old woman that men with skin, as white as the moon, would soon come to the swamp. When this happened, she told them to start cooking the plants and drinking the tea that came from them. This would keep them safe from the white skin sickness they brought with them. She also told the old woman to continue growing and nurturing the plants. If they moved, they were to take the plants with them and grow them in their other location.

I gaped with my mouth hanging open at this exchange between the Swamp Fairy and the old Native American woman.

Miss Hilda, the Swamp Fairy is telling the old woman to use the plants as medicine against the diseases the white man will bring to the native people,” I told her.

“I remember now,” said Miss Hilda grabbing my arm excitedly. My mother used to make a tea using pink sundew leaves. I was never sick with the flu, or even a cold, as the other children were when I was young. The pink sundew tea kept me healthy,” she remembered.

Abruptly, a mammoth black orb appeared before us. Miss Hilda and I grabbed each other’s hands and hung on for dear life. In no time at all, we were sucked back through time and exploded out of the horse-hole falling onto the cold grass. We were back!

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Silver arrives home through the horse hole

Thanks for visiting me today.  I enjoyed sharing my adventures with you all!  Until next time,

Silver Threading signature

Save Fairy Swamp!

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I would sure like to be lying on the beach today… if it was warm that is.  Our warm temperatures turned quite cold as another cold front swept through our area today.  I am worn out!  We are now at the last of the painting with only the living room and dining room left to finish.  Exhaustion has set in and I must get some other things done around the house.  You know like shopping, laundry, etc.  I had two days worth of emails to go through and have finally made it through them all.  I need to take a nap before my wild night begins.

Tonight is the March full moon and Miss Hilda and I are going to meet the Swamp Fairy.  Last time we met she said, “There are stories that you both need to know first in order to understand the reason I have come forward asking for your help. Silver Threading the horse hole on your property where the fairy ring appears is a gateway portal to another dimension in time where I will guide you and Miss Hilda to understand the true reason we need to save fairy swamp. I will come to you on the full moon of each of your months to teach you and guide you to fulfill your true destinies with the swamp fairies.”  You can read the story here.

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The Horse-hole

The Swamp Fairy wants us to help protect the swamp from the building that is taking place all around Fairy Swamp, destroying the fairies natural habitat and the plants they need to survive. The Swamp Fairy said, “There is a delicate balance between fairy swamp and the reality of the humans that must be preserved, or we both shall cease to exist as you see us today.”

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Fairy Swamp is just the other side of this property where all the building is taking place!

Stay tuned… things are about to get interesting!

Silver Threading signature

The Swamp Fairy – Emergence from the Chrysalis 2/14/15

Continued from The Swamp Fairy – Deciphering the Code

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(Image credit: Heart Stone)

…The heart stone was right where Miss Hilda had said it would be, encircled by the pink blooming fetterbush. I could hear words whispered to me, in a voice I knew to belong to the Swamp Fairy. She said,

“Pause and look due north –

as the heart stone reads your soul,

change is uncertain.”

A peaceful calm came over me. I felt like the Swamp Fairy was there reading my thoughts, and feeling my feelings as I stood there. I looked over at Miss Hilda and a look of pure rapture shone on her face. Tears slipped down her weathered cheeks. We grabbed each other’s hands, not for comfort, but as if we were sharing something strange and wonderful and needed each other’s touch to make it complete.

Huge Live Oak trees surrounded the area. Some of the trees were almost hollow and we could look up inside of them. Tiny cocoons hung from the interior tree branches.

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(Image credit: Cocoons)

What we saw next, was astounding! The tiny brown leaf covered chrysalises were shaking and moving. A loud humming began and reverberated through the swamp. As the humming increased, it sounded like a chanting chorus of Buddhist Monks, deep in mindful contemplation. (You can hear the sound here – play it through the rest of the story):

The most beautiful aroma began to waft through the air. It was a mixture of sandalwood and jasmine, orange blossoms and roses. I have only smelled this scent, so beautiful and pure when I have been in the presence of the swamp fairies. Miss Hilda and I were enthralled. We stood there clasping our hands together, wrapped in the spectacle of the moment.

One of the leaf chrysalises appeared larger than the others, and Miss Hilda and I watched it burst open. Suddenly, right in front of us she stood, the Swamp Fairy. She appeared in a swirling fog drifting before my eyes. She had long blond hair and glittering wings. I could still hear the chanting in the background, as she gazed at Miss Hilda and me looking deep into our eyes.

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The rest of the chrysalis trembled and began to burst open. Butterflies of every color, size, and type clung to the trees, waiting for their wings to dry in the afternoon sun streaming into the slough.

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Everywhere I looked around the swamp, the trees were covered with these glorious butterflies, fluttering, as if they breathed the life-blood of the swamp itself.

Miss Hilda gasped, and tugged at my hand. Pointing she said, “Silver, look at the heart stone!”

The heart stone pulsed and began to glow a deep blue color in time with the chanting. The Swamp Fairy raised her arms and the three of us were covered in the butterflies. I could sense them and feel them all around me.  The swamp fairies were everywhere.  I felt no fear.  Their iridescent wings gleamed in the light from the afternoon sun.

Miss Hilda and I felt their unity, their strength in numbers.  We felt like we was part of them and our hearts began to beat in time to the steady drumming of their wings.  We stood there, silently reveling in the unity of the fairies surrounding us.  We felt like we were home.  Both of us closed our eyes and smiled, living in the exact moment together.

Miss Hilda and I seemed to awaken from a long sleep as we opened our eyes. The butterflies were flying all around us. The sun caught their colors flashing in the stagnant pools of water not far from where we stood. The birds were silent now, witnessing the rebirth of the fairies.

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(Image credit: Butterflies in Flight)

The Swamp Fairy released the butterflies, and they immediately flew off into the sky. However, they did not look like butterflies anymore. Instead, they had taken on their true appearance. They were tiny swamp fairies still wearing the colors of the winter swamp, clothed in brown, and grey, and tan leaves and twigs twisted around them for warmth. They blended into the scenery perfectly.

The heart stone slowly stopped glowing and pulsing. The Swamp Fairy turned and spoke to Miss Hilda and me saying,

“Silver Threading, and Hilda McFarland, you have just witnessed the beginning of a new breed of swamp fairies born here in Fairy Swamp. Help us to protect the swamp from the building that is taking place all around us, destroying our natural habitat and the plants we need to survive. There is a delicate balance between my fairy swamp kingdom and the reality of the humans that must be preserved, or we both shall cease to exist as you see us today.”

Miss Hilda and I both nodded our heads in agreement, accepting that something must be done to help these delicate creatures. I spoke first telling the Swamp Fairy that we would help her preserve the swamp, the best we could. Miss Hilda wholeheartedly agreed.

The Swamp Fairy replied, “There are stories that you both need to know first in order to understand the reason I have come forward asking for your help. Silver Threading the horse hole on your property where the fairy ring appears is a gateway portal to another dimension in time where I will guide you and Miss Hilda to understand the true reason we need to save fairy swamp. I will come to you on the full moon of each of your months to teach you and guide you to fulfill your true destinies with the swamp fairies.”

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In our hearts, Miss Hilda and I both knew that we were in this business with the Swamp Fairy and her fairy kingdom to the very end. The Swamp Fairy knew it too. She read our acceptance from what we held inside our hearts. In an instant, she was gone on the wind, like the butterflies before her.

Thanks for reading the continuing story of the swamp fairies. I’m glad you stopped by and I look forward to seeing you again,

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Silver Threading, The Fairy Story Keeper

The Swamp Fairy – Deciphering the Code

I sat at the kitchen table this morning drinking coffee and still puzzling over the crazy fairy code that the Swamp Fairy sent to Miss Hilda and me last month. You can read about that here. I tried everything I could think of to figure out that code. I just had no luck. I was stuck!

A few days ago, I decided to look up a friend from my old Air Force days to see if he could help me. Chuck worked with computers, and if anyone could figure out a code, he could. I sat, impatiently drinking coffee, waiting for his answer to my email.

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It was cold this morning. I could see the horses in the field eating grass. Puffs of steam rose from their mouths with each pull at the grass. Sugar and Spice were anxious to go out back and bark at the horses. I was anxious too. This fairy code had really driven me crazy. I impatiently let the dogs out of the screened patio at the back of our house.

By the time I came back inside from letting the dogs out, Chuck had emailed me back. He said the code was something out of the ordinary. It had been a tough one to break.

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Apparently, Chuck had to load ancient fairy texts from Europe into the computer database in order for the words to make sense. It seemed the Swamp Fairy had an interesting lineage.

The fairies used words and symbols from Gaelic, and even some symbols from the Druids. Some of the letters looked Egyptian. We figured out that we could add a letter in English here and there, and suddenly it started to make sense. By manipulating the symbols and their meanings, the following words in English began to appear:

Fairy Message 1 translated

Chuck was a great person and, because of our friendship, he did not ask any questions of me that I could not answer truthfully. He knew I was working on research for my book and left it right there. Thank goodness. I had no idea how I would explain swamp fairies to rational, science loving Chuck.

Now, I still needed to figure out what the code meant. I threw on my coat and some gloves. I told Bronze that I would be back in awhile. I was off to see Miss Hilda.

The north wind practically blew me to Miss Hilda’s house behind Fairy Swamp it was so strong. This was strange weather for Pensacola, Florida in February. Usually it is not so cold. In no time at all, Miss Hilda greeted me at the door and had tea ready for us. We sat down and I immediately launched into my struggles of the past few weeks deciphering the fairy code.

After hearing of my success figuring out what the code words were, Miss Hilda had a giant smile on her face. Her eyes disappeared into the wrinkles around her eyes as she smiled.

“Silver, I have an idea about what these words mean. If you look from my house into Fairy Swamp due north, there is a heart shaped stone that sits in a dry part of the swamp. Growing in a thicket around the stone are some bushes called fetterbush. They are in bloom now since it is the beginning of spring. The flowers look like tiny pink fairy slippers.”

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Miss Hilda continued, “This is the only time of year you can see the heart stone because the bushes are so thick with leaves after the flowers bloom that it hides the stone. I found the stone years ago when I was a child. My mother and I were walking along the edges of the swamp looking for the fairies. It was spring. I remember seeing the heart stone surrounded by pink fetterbush. I almost tripped over it, as it was so well hidden. My mother used to say that I was her heart, and the heart stone was there for me to remember how much she loved me,” said Miss Hilda.

“I remember the stone was covered with lichen and moss because it sat beneath the bushes and received little to no light,” explained Miss Hilda. “The stone makes me think about my mother,” she reminisced.

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(Image credit: Heart Stone)

“What do you think the heart stone represents to the fairies, Miss Hilda?” I asked her. I was puzzled as to how this rock could be so important that the Swamp Fairy had to send us a message about it. I shook my head, trying to figure out what it could mean.

“I think it represents the heart of the swamp,” replied Miss Hilda. “That would make sense because it is almost in the middle of the swamp.”

“Miss Hilda, I know it is cold out, but could we go look at this rock and get a feel for the area?” I asked her.

“Sure Silver. I have an extra pair of boots in the shed you can use. It is muddy from the rains last week. We can make it safely this time of year. No snakes, or boggy spots to worry about,” answered Miss Hilda.

We bundled up in our coats and walked over to the shed to retrieve the extra pair of boots I needed to traverse the swamp. Miss Hilda’s garden was still as beautiful as it was the last time I had visited. It seemed even in hibernation the swamp fairies magic was strong enough to take care of her plants.

The wind swirled dead leaves at our feet as we walked along the edge of the marshy land. The ground was muddy and thick clumps stuck to our boots as we walked toward the center of the swamp. The naked trees reflected in the pools of water shimmering from the rays of the afternoon sun.

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Just ahead of us, I could see a thick clump of bushes with tiny pink blooms rustling in the wind. We had found the center of the swamp and the heart stone.

Both of us stood there looking at our surroundings. Overhead, birds called from the trees. In the watery recesses of the swamp, frogs croaked. The air was cold, but in the interior of the swamp, it seemed warmer, more protected. Miss Hilda and I stood shoulder to shoulder, enjoying the beauty, soaking it in.

The heart stone was right where Miss Hilda had said it would be, encircled by the pink blooming fetterbush. I could hear words whispered to me, in a voice I knew to belong to the Swamp Fairy. She said,

“Pause and look due north –

as the heart stone reads your soul,

change is uncertain.”

A peaceful calm came over me. I felt like the Swamp Fairy was there reading my thoughts, and feeling my feelings as I stood there. I looked over at Miss Hilda and a look of pure rapture shone on her face. Tears slipped down her weathered cheeks. We grabbed each other’s hands, not for comfort, but as if we were sharing something strange and wonderful and needed each other’s touch to make it complete.

Huge Live Oak trees surrounded the area. Some of the trees were almost hollow and we could look up inside of them. Tiny cocoons hung from the interior tree branches.

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(Image credit: Cocoons)

What we saw next, was astounding!

Thanks for stopping by today.  Come back tomorrow to see what happens in Fairy Swamp.

Silver Threading, the Fairy Story Keepericonstorykeeper

The Swamp Fairy– “New Moon Madness”

The weather had turned exceedingly cold since the beginning of the new year.  Cold, cold mornings made it difficult for me to walk the two miles to visit with Miss Hilda.  Today, dawned clear and much warmer than it had been in a long time.  I waited until the sun had yawned and stretched its way into the sky before starting out from Blackberry Ridge.  It was January 20th and the New moon would be heralded in with a visit from the Swamp Fairy.  I just felt it in my bones.

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Miss Hilda and I sat at her kitchen table, drinking hibiscus tea, while we discussed the dreams the Swamp Fairy had sent my way since the new year had dawned.  The descriptions of the swamp fairy homes delighted Miss Hilda.  She smiled and clapped her hands at my descriptions.  (Click here to go back and re-read the story, “Fairy Houses,” to backtrack in the story.)

“Silver,” said Miss Hilda.  “I have to show you something.  Come out into my backyard.”

Intrigued, I followed Miss Hilda through the back door of her house into a beautiful garden resplendent with herbs, cabbages, and various types of spring blooming flowers.  Daffodils, crocus, and tiny white snow-drops lined the path leading to a bird bath and bird feeder.  Cardinals and blue jays vied in the trees for a chance to be first in line at the feeder.  Tiny golden kingfishers splashed in the bird bath and seemed undisturbed by our visit.  I stood there, looking about at the magnificence of her backyard.

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“Miss Hilda, who takes care of this garden for you?” I asked her.  I was stunned by the beauty that enfolded all around me.  I truly felt like I was in a place of peace, and a sense of well-being flooded my senses.  It was January!  How could all of this beauty be present in the coldest month of the year, I wondered?

It took a few moments for Miss Hilda to answer me, and she did so slowly, carefully pronouncing each word.  “The Swamp Fairies take care of this garden,” she said, smiling with glee.

I was speechless!  “The fairies come into your garden and tend all the plants?” I asked her.  How could this be?

Miss Hilda laughed, as wrinkles swallowed her eyes into tiny slits of mirth.  “Isn’t it wonderful?” she said.  “It just started again recently, ever since the beginning of the year.  I have not seen you, so this is the first I could tell you about it Silver,” said Miss Hilda.

“It happened before?” I asked her.  “When was that?”

“Long ago, when I was a little girl,” said Miss Hilda, staring off into the distance of the swamp next to her house.  “The last time the fairies took care of my garden this early in the year was when I was a girl.  My mother told me about the swamp fairies then.  Everything I know of the fairies was told to me by my mother.  They used to visit her all the time.  I remember sitting here in this garden with my mother watching the birds and feeling such contentment,” she remembered.

“The fairies were not around much after my mother died,” said Miss Hilda filling in some blanks to questions I wanted to ask.  “Even though, my garden always looked lovely, just not as beautiful as when this house belonged to my mother and father.  Until now, that is,” said Miss Hilda.

“I have one more thing to show you Silver,” whispered Miss Hilda.

“Look, over there by the edge of the road,” said Miss Hilda, pointing to a strange puddle of water.

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The puddle looked to be about 3 feet wide and 4 feet long.  Mysterious curls of smoke, or maybe even steam played upon the surface of the water.  Shapes moved and intersected with each other, twisting and roiling within the haze of the puddle.  Miss Hilda and I watched, holding our breath, not knowing what to expect next.

“Watch closely now Silver,” said Miss Hilda.  “There, now look!”

Before my eyes, mystifying shapes began to float on the surface of the water.

1st fairy message

“What do you think it means Silver?” asked Miss Hilda.  “You can read and write.  I have no idea what it says.  Is it is a fairy language?” cried Miss Hilda, who was working herself up into a tizzy.

“When did this first appear?” I asked her.  “It is not written in English.  It looks more like symbols of some kind,” I told Miss Hilda.

Miss Hilda paused, thinking to herself.  “I first saw it this morning, after you called and said you were coming for tea.”  “I think it is a message from the Swamp Fairy,” cried Miss Hilda, excited by the prospect.  “See, the fairy knows you would be here today and she left you a message.”

“Miss Hilda, why didn’t she just cast another dream my way,” I questioned.  “Why send us a message in a strange language?”

“I think it is because they are hibernating through the coldest part of the year,” said Miss Hilda.  “You know, they curl up in those big, heavy Live Oak tree leaves, while the spiders weave a light web around them to wrap them tightly. Then, the spiders help to hang the fairies from the insides of the tree trunks until the middle of February.  Mother used to tell me that fairy magic was strong during hibernation because they were in a dream state themselves.  They had the ability to do many wonderful things for us, even when they were asleep.  Usually, on St. Valentines Day the fairies burst forth from their hibernating cocoons, insuring that spring would follow soon after them,” finished Miss Hilda.

“So, instead of sending me a dream, this time she sent us a message?” I asked Miss Hilda.

“I think so,” she said.  “How will we figure out what it means?” asked Miss Hilda.

I pondered this question for a few minutes.  I took out my cell phone and took a picture of the puddle with the message gently floating on the surface of the water.  That way I could go home and start working out the fairy language.

There had to be a key, or a way to decipher the strange markings.  I knew a few things about puzzles.  The letter “e,” was one of the most used letters in the English alphabet.  If I could find enough of the same symbols and substitute our alphabet, I should be able to figure out what the message said.

The question was, why would the Swamp Fairy send us a message written in some sort of fairy code or language?  It had to be New Moon Madness!

Miss Hilda and I shook our heads and went back into the house, so I could gather my things to head on back home to figure out this new piece of information.  Now, I needed to solve a fairy code.  How do I get myself into these things, I wondered?

Thank you for stopping by to hear about my exciting morning with Miss Hilda.  I look forward to seeing you all again,

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Silver Threading, The Fairy Story Keeper

The Swamp Fairy–“Fairy Houses”

After the Winter Solstice celebration, life seemed to settle down through the end of the year. That was fine by me. I had plenty to ponder and wonder about concerning the events that transpired with the Swamp Fairy the end of 2014.  Now we were at the beginning of a new year. In my mind, I have been going over just what I knew about the Swamp Fairy. There were certain things I knew about her and the fairy realm, and I wanted to make sure I understood all there was to know so far.

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The Swamp Fairy

For instance, in my original research I found out that it was good luck to see a swamp fairy.  They turn color too, depending on the season, for their own protection, which makes good sense for survival. In addition, they have special powers. I witnessed some of the Swamp Fairies’ powers through the powerful dreams that I have been having, which seem to include visions she sends to me in a telepathic form of communication. That does not even begin to include the images that the Swamp Fairy shares with me whenever we meet. Yes, I have had an exciting time of it.

My friend, Miss Hilda, who was the proclaimed swamp fairy expert in Pensacola, Florida, shared these facts with me:

“The swamp fairies live in the trunk of a tree 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 just could be the home of a swamp fairy.

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 cannot find food in winter. Sometimes swamp fairies can be mistaken for a brown leaf in autumn. 

In the summer, the fairies look like a fancy multicolored dragonfly and if caught by an eagle, an owl, or a fox they could perish.  However, when the animals discover 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.

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 humans, 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.”

Hilda McFarland

Miss Hilda

Miss Hilda had been seeing the fairies since she was a little girl, she told me. She always helped them with the availability of fresh water and fresh fruits and vegetables, which she placed in her backyard for them to retrieve. I believe the fairies felt comfortable with her and appreciated her benevolence toward them. Miss Hilda always took care to make sure there were no strange wild animals lurking about her yard that could cause harm to them.

Living behind Fairy Swamp has had some real advantages for Miss Hilda. Her gardens were spectacular, as if the fairies themselves tended to her flowers and trees. Birds of every variety and color flashed in the trees in Miss Hilda’s garden. She was truly blessed by the beauty of her small sanctuary.

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I had wondered why the fairies contacted me to write their stories when they had Miss Hilda taking care of them from the start. It was then that Miss Hilda revealed to me that she could not write because she had come from Germany many years ago and never went to school here in America.  So, Miss Hilda and I formed an alliance when it came to the Swamp Fairy.  She and I were a team.  Without her, I could never decipher the dreams and experiences I have.

On top of all that, I still was having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that the swamp fairy had chosen me long ago to write their stories. How long ago, I wondered. We had moved back to Florida in April of 2013 after many years living out west. How could this all be?

I went to sleep last night with all these thoughts muddled in my brain. It was a warm, humid night and I tossed and turned. Near dawn, I awoke with the sheet twisted around my waist and my blankets in a bundle.

I had another dream!

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I was in the swamp again. The humidity dripped from the leaves of the trees and drifted in a foggy grey mist throughout the slough. I felt the coolness of dusk settle like a mantle around my shoulders. I shivered, and looked around trying to get my bearings. The moist air was hard to breathe in it was so heavy.

I heard a pleasant humming sound and recognized the presence of the swamp fairies. As I peered into the darkness of the gloom, I saw tiny blinking lights moving all around the swamp. It was then I realized that lightening bugs clustered near the bases of the trees. The tall Live Oak trees had hollow areas at the base of the trunks, and I could see a glow coming from inside each tree.

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Image credit: Fairy Tree Entrances

I knew I was seeing fairy swamp from long ago, because the swamp was much larger than it was now, denser and thicker. As the humming grew louder, I could see some of the fairies sitting on large oak leaves that were drifting on top of the water that covered the majority of the swamp. They drifted toward the hollow openings in the tree trunks.  The leaves looked like little boats bobbing in the dark water.

I looked inside some of the tree holes and could see vines intertwined in the hollow of the tree trucks. Fairies were flying around the vines landing on the leaves as if they were miniature ladders. The fairies were more of a green color this time, so I knew that I was seeing a scene in spring. The lightening bugs seemed to be the fairy lights that lit their way into the trees.

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Image Credit: Fairy Houses by Deviant Art

At the top of the trees were more fairy light lightening bugs that milled about, some even landing on the leaves to rest, their tiny lights blinking on and off shedding light on the fairy realm far below. Brilliant dragonflies in the colors of precious jewels drifted about in the gentle breeze blowing through the swamp.

The dankness of the mire beneath my feet had an earthy decayed smell to it. I could hear tiny splashes in the water as the fairies disembarked from the Live Oak leaves and drifted upwards into the trees. Fruits and berries were hauled up those vines one by one.  It must be the end of the day for the fairies, I thought.

From what I was seeing, Fairy Swamp was a thriving community. There were some fairies that were tee-tiny, and others that were much larger. They seemed to be everywhere.  I could not tell their ages because all of them looked young, the only difference being in their height. All the female fairies appeared to wear leaves and branches woven into their hair. The same went for their clothing. Leaves of many shades of green adorned their tiny bodies. Tiny vines encircled their waists, while some fairies had tiny blue bells in their hair. The men wore tiny brown or green caps that looked like they came from the tops of the acorns from the Live Oak trees. They had miniature beards and rosy cheeks.  They too, were dressed in leaves.

I was breathless watching the community of fairies interact within their homes in the swamp. Everyone was busy, much like bees tending to a hive. I felt that peaceful sense of belonging whenever I was in their presence. The fairies never seemed to notice me, which made me think that I was gazing into the past undetected by their current lives.  In other words, the Swamp Fairy was giving me one of her visions.

As the sun set behind the swamp, the twinkling fairy lights grew brighter and then slowly began to wink out. The end of the day was near for the fairy realm. It seemed even lightening bugs needed sleep. I yawned, stretched, and smelled the fragrance of lavender, patchouli, and sandalwood. I knew the Swamp Fairy was near.

“Good night Silver,” she whispered in my ear.

The next thing I knew, I was back in my bed, and Bronze was telling me it was time to get up.

Thanks for letting me share my stories of the Swamp Fairy.  I look forward to seeing you all again!

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Silver Threading, The Fairy Story Keeper

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.

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(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