Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Toadstools, Brownies, Elves and Sprites

Toadstool

Do you believe in fairies? When I was growing up in England, I was a Brownie.  I was in the Leprechaun pack and I went to Brownies every Thursday evening for a night of legends, fun and tactical games.  I loved Brownies in England and it was one of the things I missed the most when I moved to South Africa.  We had Brownies in South Africa but it wasn’t fun at all.

What I loved the most about Brownies was the folklore about woodlands, forests, brown owls, toadstools, fairies, elves, sprites and pixies.  I wouldn’t be able to tell you if I knew they were just stories; then again, when I think about it now, that feeling of magic, wonder and intrigue returns so I am not sure I don’t believe in them now!

It is the same feeling I get when I read “The Stolen Child” by W. B. Yeats.  I can feel the glamour at the edge of my vision as the veil between fantasy and reality begins to lift.

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand

I still get more than a little giddy when I see fairy rings or even just plain old toadstools.  I took the photo above during our trip to Scotland last summer.

Over the past four years that I have spent in England, I have had the fortune to travel around Great Britain and learn more about the history of this land.  I’ve been hooked on modern fantasies such as Harry Potter, Robin Hood, Doctor Who and Merlin while learning more about legendary and historical figures such as Boudica, King Arthur and Robin of Sherwood.  This country has such a rich and fascinating history of folklore and storytelling and it spans back thousands of years.  My favourite part of all of that has to be the legends of the magical creatures of the woodlands and forests.

This little magical interlude was brought to you courtesy of The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa.  I interviewed Julie in February after reading her first novel The Iron King and I am trying to finish The Iron Daughter in order to review it by the release date on Friday.  The books are about the dark and sinister worlds of fey, fairies and the Seelie and Unseelie creatures and I’m enjoying this second novel much more than the first.

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10 comments

  1. I'm a big fan of King Arthur, Robin Hood, and such, but as a kid I was always afraid of fairies, leprechauns, gnomes, and such. And truthfully, I still think those garden gnomes are creepy.

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  2. I have heard very little about fairies.. and I am perhaps one of the few who have never seen or read Harry Potter, hehe:-)
    Hope you have great days over there and I wish you a blessed Easter!

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  3. I don't remember Brownies being quite such fun because I would have loved all that folklore. I was a Pixie. :) I must look up Julie Kagawa's books - I think they might just appeal to me.

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  4. Yay Emm..this post was totally me...beautiful photo..magical!...yay I too love coming across fairy rings...awesome! Great post...awesome read! yes yes i believe ha ha..as if you didnt already know !
    Later kindred
    Victoria~

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  5. Your childhood sounded enchanting. I'm sure those memories bring a smile back to your face.

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  6. I always used to look out for fairies, pixies and other mystical creatures when I was young. I love fantasy books. I'm rereading The Weirdstone of Brisingamen at the moment. I remember once going to sleep in a fairy circle hoping to wake up somewhere else!

    I'm still interested in magical places these days. I love to visit standing stones, ruins and caves :-)

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  7. what a lovely story!
    how exciting you were a brownie girl. i think i'm still searching for fairies.
    i love all that kind of stories and mystical things.

    have a nice weekend,

    betty xx

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  8. Are Robin Hood and Robin of Sherwood the same person?

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  9. Yes, moved to England and the tales here are unique with character and interesting.

    My best is Merlin :)

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  10. @ li: Aaaah, poor garden gnomes! They are so precious!

    @ Spiderdama: I love Harry Potter! I imagine there must be magical creatures in Norwegian folklore too!

    @ Sheila: They are all available on Amazon for less than a fiver!

    @ Kiki: Ha! We are definitely kindred spirits!

    @ AVCr8teur: It was indeed enchanting. :)

    @ John: Oh definitely, caves, forests and (strangely enough) deserts seems to me to be highly magical places, even if the magic is only in my imagination.

    @ Betty: well, I hope we never stop searching for magic!

    @ Sixmats: Yes, they are. I think I made an error really because he was known as Robin of Locksley, then he became Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest, a bandit.

    @ De Voc: I ♥ Merlin too, especially the BBC series!

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