The Fairy of the Dell (cont.)
(see previous page for audio)Then the queen cast the book and wand into the fire, and immediately the vale was rent by a thundering noise, and numbers of devils came from everywhere and encircled the outer ring, but they could not pass the ring. Then the fairies began walking round and round, singing their song.
When they had finished the song, they heard a loud screech from the devils that frightened all the fairies except the queen. She was unmoved and, going to the fire, stirred the ashes with her wand and saw that the book and wand were burnt, and then she walked thrice round the outer ring by herself, when she turned to the devils, and said: "I command you to be gone from our earthly home, get to your own abode. I take the power of casting you all from here. Begone! begone! begone!"
And all the devils flew up, and there was a mighty clap as of thunder, and the earth trembled, and the sky became overcast, and all the devils burst, and the sky cleared again.
After this, the queen put three fairies by the old witch's side, and they constantly dipped their wands in the sacred spring and touched her head, and she was sorely troubled and converted.
"Bring the mirror," said the queen.
And the fairies brought the mirror and laid it in the middle circle, and they all walked round three times, chanting again the song beginning, "At the hour of one."
When they had done this the queen stood still, and said: "Stand and watch to see what you can see."
And as she looked she said:
"The mirror shines unto me
That the witch we can see
Has three devils inside of she."
Immediately the witch had a fit, and the three fairies had a hard job to keep the three devils quiet; indeed, they could not do so, and the queen had to go herself with her wand, for fear the devils should burst the witch asunder, and she said, "Come out three evil spirits, out of thee."
And they came gnashing their teeth, and would have killed all the fairies, but the queen said: "Begone, begone, begone! you evil spirits, to the place of your abode," and suddenly the sky turned bright as fire, for the evil spirits were trying their spleen against the fairies, but the queen said, "Collect, collect, collect, into one fierce ball," and the fiery sky collected into one ball of fire more dazzling than the sun, so that none could look at it except the queen, who wore a black silk mask to protect her eyes. Suddenly the ball burst with a terrific noise, and the earth trembled.
"Enter into your abode, and never come down to our abode on earth any more," said the queen.
And the witch was herself again, and she and the queen fairy were immediately great friends. The witch, when she came out of the ring, dropped on her knee and asked the queen if she might call her the Lady of the Dell, and how she could serve her.
"We will see about that," said the queen.
"Well, how do you live?" asked the woman who had been a witch.
"Well, I'll tell you," said the queen. "We go at midnight and milk the cows, and we keep the milk, and it never grows less so long as we leave some in the bottom of the vessel; we must not use it all. After milking the cow, we rub the cow's purse and bless it, and she gives double the amount of milk."
"Well, how do you get corn?"
"Well, we were at the mill playing one day, and the miller came in and saw us, and spoke kindly to us, and offered us some flour. 'We never take nothing for nothing,' I said, so I blessed the bin: so in a few minutes the bin was full to the brim with flour, and I said to the miller, 'Now don't you empty the bin, but always leave a peck in it, and for twelve months, no matter how much you use the bin, it will always be full in the morning.'
"Now I have told you this much, and I will tell further, 'You must love your neighbour, you must love all mankind.' Now here is a purse of gold, go and buy what you want, eggs, bacon, cheese, and get a flagon of wine and use these things freely, giving freely to the aged poor, and if you never finish these things, there will always be as much the next morning as you started with. And I shall make a salve for you, and you must use the water from the sacred well. That will be as a medicine, and people shall come from far and wide to be cured by you, and you shall be loved by all, and you shall be known to the poorest of the poor as Madame Dorothy."
And the woman did as she was told, and she became renowned for her medical skill, especially in childbirth, for her salve eased the pains, and her waters brought milk. By-and-by, she got known all over the island, and rich people came to her from afar, and she always made the rich pay, and the poor were treated free.
Madame Dorothy used to see the queen fairy at times, and one day she asked her, "Shall we meet again?"
"We cannot tell," said the queen, "but I will give you a ring — let me place it on your finger —it is a magic ring worked by fairies. Whenever you seek to know of me, make a ring of your own, and walk round three times, and rub the ring; if it turns bright, I am alive, but if you see blood I am dead."
"But how can that be? You are much younger than I am."
"Oh, no! We fairies look young to the day of our death; we live to a great age, but die naturally of old age, for we never have any ailments, but still our power fades. Men fade in the flesh and power, but we fade only in power. I am over seventy now."
"But you look to be thirty."
"Well, we will shake hands and part, for I must go elsewhere; as I have no king, I do not stop in one place."
And they shook hands and parted.