Okay, so it’s about 8pm and you’ve been stuck in the house/office/classroom/another-indoorsy-place-that-can-be-annoying-after-a-while and you think to yourself, ‘I could really do with a spot of fresh air’.
It being summer and only just dusk you decide to venture down the local nature track. What you may not realise is that this is prime faerie time. Yep. It’s the best time to find the fair folk weaving their magic around the woodland, especially if it’s a full moon.
So what on earth do you do, if you catch a glimpse of a wing or they decide to grace you with a full encounter? Faeries have very particular rules and if you don’t follow them the consequences are not so good…
Here’s a guide of eight rules that our ancestors thought should be obeyed in case you happen to meet any member of the fair folk on your little evening jaunt.
1.) Never accept a Faerie gift.
I know it’s a present and I know it appears free but just DON’T. Because if you do, you owe them one and it’s not whole, ‘Thanks, Oh I’ll buy the next round of drinks at the pub’ kind of owe them. You owe them anything they choose to ask for at any point.
2.) Do not eat Faerie Food or drink Faerie wine.
Even if it’s chocolatey-fudge sponge cake pudding oozing with caramel and it looks sooooooo delicious. It probably will be delicious, so delicious that no human food will ever quite sate your appetite again. Side affects may be madness then death. Also there’s a possibility that you’ll be trapped in the faerie realm.
3) Do not follow the music and step into a fairy ring.
Little circles of toadstools are a no go zone on your hypothetical evening stroll. The little natural wonders were said to hold fairy dances. The music coming from the circle was so exquisite that any passer-by would feel an imminent desire to join the dance. But there’s a bit of a Narniaesque issue with fairy time. An hour in the dance might be a few centuries in human time. Also there are some gruesome folk tales where the human can’t keep up with their immortal companions and they dance until their feet become bloody stumps. So maybe you should avoid fae music unless your’re prepared to possibly give up everything you know and love, including your feet.
4.) Don’t tell the Faerie your full name.
This is the whole name=power thing, if you give them your full name they’ll have a certain amount of control over you. Apparently ‘the reason we have middle names is because the faeries cannot steal a child if they do not know the full name.’* So be proud of your embarrassing middle name and avoid divulging it to any strangers you meet in the woods, no matter how much they insist they won’t laugh.
5.) Be polite, very polite, very very polite.
You’re going to be refusing gifts, food, wine, the best dancing experience ever and you’re not even going to tell the fairy your full name. I mean it’s kinda rude, isn’t it? So you’re going to need to use expert flattery to get yourself outta this one. Also faerie’s were thought to be a little over fond of their reflection** so maybe give them a little compliment on their outfit?
6.) But don’t give them any clothing (unless it’s designer)!
So you’ve commented on how nice their outfit is and they return the favour by remarking on your shiny new scarf ,that you bought from the Bargain basement. In fact you’re tempted to give them your shiny new scarf, thinking it’ll be enough to excuse yourself. But don’t, because Fairies hate cheap clothing and misers. So when they’ve found out about the tatty quality of your scarf expect some mischief in return.
7.) And whatever you do, don’t say Thank-you!
Thank-you is fairy blasphemy. They have went and offered you all of these things, you’ve politely declined or accepted, and then you fall at last tricky hurdle, thank-you. In Faerie speak it means you owe them something in return, you owe them a favour, and who knows what that could be?! Also in some folk tales faeries who had helped a human used to get a bit annoyed with the ‘thanks’ they got in return. To them ‘thanks’ seemed like such a little reward for all the trouble they went to.
8.) Don’t mention you’ve got a new born child at home or you know someone that has.
So you’re looking into the distance, trying to think of an excuse that requires you to leave. Then you remember little Timmy, you suddenly think, ‘oh yeah, I can use babysitting little Timmy as a reason to make my exit.’ But don’t, your ancestors were massively scared of their youngin’s getting swapped for an old fairy. They thought faeries had to take in human babies to replenish their race and that they often nabbed new mothers as well because their milk helped young faeries. So don’t use little Timmy as an excuse or you might be living with a faerie in place of a family member.