Because every little kid believes in them, right? I’m not talking about the Tooth Fairy. Not sure I ever believed in her. I didn’t want to be associated with fairies that caused pain. Why go through the agony of a lost tooth and all that blood to be visited by a fairy? No, I wanted happy, sprite-like fairies who just flitted around without demanding parts of your body in return for a few pennies. And I wish I could remember the place, but when I was a kid, we went to some big “Fairy and Pixie Park” (I’m sure THAT wasn’t the name) where they had little doors painted into trees that said things like “Shh… do not disturb. Fairies sleeping.” And because we were good little kids we would never DREAM of trying to open those doors and bother those fairies who seemed to always need serious naps.
But I guess the first fairies that come to mind are the Cottingley fairies. Remember those two little girls in England in the 1900s who had even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believing there were fairies in the bottom of their garden? Not only did these girls have great imaginations, they had mad science, arts and crafts skills, too.
My final fairy missives are:
1. Fairy Bread – a unique Australian institution I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) of taking bread, cutting it into triangles, slathering it with butter and then dousing it with hundreds and thousands – which I believe is called sprinkles in America. They are ROUND dots though in Australia, NOT long little stick-like things. Eh voila! Fairy Bread! Great for parties when you’re in primary school, unless you were poor Simon Lenthen whose birthday inevitably fell on Passover (no bread) and let me just say, Fairy Matzah has not caught on.
2. Fairy cakes! Another wonderful invention. Little cupcakes with “wings” sprinkled with hundreds and thousands. Here’s a pic of a fairy cake. Delish!
And my final anecdote on fairies comes from a story in the Sydney Morning Herald years ago in the “Column 8” (a front page column devoted to odd stories). This one went something like this: A little boy went to the local library and asked for a book on fairies. The librarian directed him to some books with images like this one below:
The librarian was a bit embarrassed. In Australia one derogatory term for gay men is to be called a “fairy.” The librarian whispered that she didn’t think there were any books on those types of fairies. The little boy was so exasperated he said, “But there HAVE to be! You know, the fairies, that go on the harbour!” He meant these:
The librarian breathed a sigh of relief and directed him to a whole slew of books on Sydney Harbour ferries. She probably could have used a drink from Kylie Minogue’s absinthe fairy in Moulin Rouge!