Fairy House Gateway #1116 - The House in the Story Wood
Dimensions: 14 in high x 16 in wide x 10 in d
This magical Fairy House Gateway can be seen at:
Gallery price: Contact Gallery or Fairy Woodland for more information.
Wood: Scotch broom, Woodland Springs, Yaquina Bay, OR and Mountain Mahogany, Siskiyous Mountains, OR
Stone: "Rainbow" river tumbled stones, Montana
Sand: Mystical Blend *
The Story the Fairies tell about The House in the Story Wood:
“Got it!” Celia called triumphantly as she crawled out from under the Huckleberry thicket, carefully cradling her growling prize.
Nita rushed to her side, a sturdy spider silk bag lined with the softest dandelion down in her hands. “What do think? Is it done?”
“I wouldn’t have been able to catch it if it weren’t basically finished,” Celia explained to her protégé. “Let’s get it in the bag and bring it inside. The House will add any final touches our new catch needs to be complete.”
Nita peeled open the top of the bag and bowed her head to whisper the dream spell that would soothe their quarry and keep it from thrashing around, perhaps losing parts of itself. The spell finished, she held the bag under Celia’s hands and the newly captured creature was lowered in like a fragile egg. The fluttering captive quieted immediately as Nita deftly closed the top and the two huntresses glided past the guardian trees to The House. Another whispered spell opened the front door and the Fairies slipped inside, closing the door firmly behind them. They laid the bag in the incubator basket on the central alter and, breathing a sigh of relief, flitted off to the kitchen to put the kettle on for tea. Now The House would work its magic.
There wasn’t always a House in the Story Wood. Long ago, stories born here would climb trees, hide in hollows or thickets, and romp through the forest, changing shape at will. Characters were lost or abandoned, story lines tangled, images and metaphors jumbled and left hanging on every Hawthorne spike. Fairy Bards came to The Story Wood in search of new tales but, no matter how carefully they stalked their quarry, the stories often unraveled or broke into shards at the first touch of a Bard’s hand.
Although a captured fragment could still serve as inspiration, so many details and deeper meanings were lost that the Chief Bard determined to find a solution. He gathered advisors from the Shape Shifter clan and brought them together with Bards who had a gift for structure and form. They placed wood, stone, sand and mortar and built a house in the middle of The Story Wood. They wove spells and sang songs to bring The House to life and imbue it with its purpose: to weave the threads of a “ripe” story into a contained fabric that could unravel only when set free by a Bard. Once the Bard learned the tale and entered it into the archives, the story could be returned to the Story Wood, the central thread pulled, and the story could be allowed to unravel and reform in any way it wished but the library of Tales of the Faerie Realm would be forever richer, having captured a new story in its shining moment.
Once The House was built and the spells set, the Chief Bard noticed a flaw in his design. Although a story might occasionally stumble through the front door or, out of curiosity, come to investigate, most stories studiously avoided the structure. There would have to be a way to detect when a wild story was “ripe” and ready for picking, a way to capture it, and a means to transport it to The House for it to work its magic.
A rare job posting was sent to all the clans of Faerie and, although there were lots of applicants, the choice was obvious: The Mushroom Fairies! Fairies responsible for tending and harvesting mushrooms had all the qualifications. They watched over a mysterious, hidden network of branching mycelium threads until, at a moment of perfect temperature and moisture conditions, a prized mushroom popped up. They needed sharp eyes to spot their prey, often hidden under duff, and had to intuit the right moment to harvest, catching the fungus in its prime before it became home to bugs and microorganisms that would recycle it to the forest floor. They also required gentle hands so as not to bruise the treasures they found when they picked them.
It was an inspired choice. A group of expert Mushroom Clan Fairies moved into the House in the Story Wood and adapted their skills to stalking and capturing stories, the Chief Bard made a few adjustments in the spells for The House, and within a few seasons, Bards were so busy with new tales to write that every festival in Faerie was rich with original, enchanted stories.
Celia was the fifth generation of Mushroom Clan Fairies to live in The House; Nita was the sixth. After catching and hearing hundreds of tales, their favorite was still the many versions of the creation of The House in the Story Wood and how the Mushroom Clan Fairies came to live there. It’s true, of course, that no story is every really finished; that all tales love to be embellished and changed. But it’s also true that most stories reach a moment that is “just right;” a point where further changes could make it different but not necessarily better. If you find a story that seems just about ripe, leave it with The House. Let it be woven into a story for the Bards to sing and wander back into the wilds of The Story Wood in search of the next tale. Leaving your story in The House’s incubator basket will free you to wander the enchanted forest again. Who knows what delightful tale you may find hanging from a Fairythorne just down the path.