The Child That Went With The Fairies

 
9781682042045: The Child That Went With The Fairies

In an isolated area of southern Ireland lives an impoverished widow and her young children. She guards her children well and with good reason, for nearby is a known haunt of the faerie folk. Plants and trees, known for their natural properties to repel evil, grow about her dilapidated cabin. One day, her three youngest children go missing. As the light begins to fade, both mother and her eldest daughter are sure that the little ones have been taken by the faeries. At the coming of night, the two anxious women see the lost children coming down the road, but alas there are but two of them, not three. The children tell that whilst playing by the road that day, a stately carriage came by. Within the carriage sits a beautiful lady. Her voice is 'sweet like a silver bell' and her smile and demeanour 'enchanting'. She bids the youngest boy join her in the carriage and kisses him affectionately. His siblings are envious and wish that it were they who were receiving her attentions. The only thing that disturbs them are the servants, who glare at them maliciously, and the other woman in the carriage; a black woman in exotic dress with angry eyes who appears maliciously amused. The carriage begins to move and the beautiful lady tosses a red apple to the ground before the two children and they pursue it. The apple keeps evading them by disappearing into bushes and holes in the road, but each time one is lost the lady tosses them a new one to follow. Gradually, they are led all the way up to the haunted hill of the faeries. When they reach it, the carriage vanishes, along with their brother who remained in the carriage. In the months to follow, the two youngest children will see their lost brother now and again for an instant, as he peeps into the cabin and then is gone. Sometimes he will beckon them to follow. The mother or the eldest sister never see him again. His appearances become infrequent and at last end altogether. He is assumed lost. One early morning, their mother having left for market at dawn, the youngest daughter wakes to see her long lost brother enter the cabin. He is ragged and pale and looks malnourished, but recognizable. He sits himself by the fire to warm his cold hands. She tries to wake her eldest sister who sleeps beside her. The boy turns to look at her, fearfully. He promptly leaves, never to be seen again. "Fairy doctors" and the local priest are called in, but to no avail; the boy is gone. No headstone or grave marks his passing where his family might grieve or honour him or extend a prayer for his soul. All that is left to remind them of him is the shadow cast by the haunted hill.

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