Sunday, 30 October 2011

Fairytale and the time of the Enchantment

In a time where people wore fine clothes & still had manners, when children had real childhoods & played with gay abandon, maids were still to be found in the scullery & the nursery & something was stirring in the imaginations of the creative & the open-hearted all across the world. In the space of a few short decades, 1860 to 1895 some truly remarkable people were to make their timely arrival upon the scene. Beatrix Potter was to sketch a dear little rabbit, name him Peter & send him on garden adventures. Mary Cicely Barker was to demonstrate to us so tenderly the beauty of the fairies that inhabit all plants & flowers in this remarkable world of ours.
While her friend Margaret Tarrant was to gift us with some of the sweetest pictures of children, fairies, angels, animals & Jesus that I have ever seen.

 J M Barrie was to imagine a nursery that would touch the heart of every child for decades to come, where fairy beasts were waiting out the window for every naughty child & Tinkerbell was ever ready to carry them off on nightly adventures.
Albert Einstein announced that "imagination was more important than knowledge"...
and our own Katherine Mansfield was beginning to add her troubled voice to the grand writings of the time. I am ashamed to say that I had not read Katherine's works until I was introduced to the first paragraph of her short story "The Garden Party" by dear Stephanie at Millefeuille only a few months back. I'm sure that you'd love it too. Here it is:

"And after all the weather was ideal. They could not have had a more perfect day for a garden-party if they had ordered it. Windless, warm, the sky without a cloud. Only the blue was veiled with a haze of light gold, as it is sometimes in early summer. The gardener had been up since dawn, mowing the lawns and sweeping them, until the grass and the dark flat rosettes where the daisy plants had been seemed to shine. As for the roses, you could not help feeling they understood that roses are the only flowers that impress people at garden-parties; the only flowers that everybody is certain of knowing. Hundreds, yes, literally hundreds, had come out in a single night; the green bushes bowed down as though they had been visited by archangels."

It was in just such a fertile cerebral climate that two young cousins Elsie & Frances were about to enchant the world with the notion that they indeed played with fairies at the bottom of their Cottingley garden & they had taken photos to prove it.

The effervescent, irrepressible child that resides in us all is still secretly enamoured with the possibility that fairies are real & imagination might actually be important, which is why I am sure, that in 1997 a movie was produced entitled "Fairytale a True Story" & a delightful portrayal of all that is sweet & enchanting was gifted to the children of the world.
 These two young girls are just perfect in their roles.
Elsie & Frances carrying the fairy house down to the burn for the fairies.
 You can watch a preview just below.
I do hope that if you haven't seen it & you watch it that you love it just as much as I did!
Below is the 5th & last photo taken of the Cottingley fairies by the girls entitled " Fairies & Their Sun-bath" & is the one that Frances insisted to the end was genuine : ) 
via wikipedia
 Have an enchanted week.


  1. What a lovely post... that fairy house in the film is the house I have been looking for all my life! who wouldn't want to live in it? I must try and borrow this film from a library. Betty

  2. The world of imagination and possibility is so important to everyone. I just wish everyone had the courage to admit it.
    Have lovely week,
    Anne xx

  3. Hello Catherine!
    I have seen that lovely film but I shall watch it again very soon.
    I still haven't retrieved my fairy door or my gnomes from the chimney garden! I must do that today!
    Thank you for another sweet and airy post, my friend.

  4. wowee I love the image of the fairy house, like a hobbit house for girls! I grew up reasonable close to Cottingly, parents there uphold the reality of the fairies like they do father christmas which I like x

  5. When I was 17 and pregnant, I was forever drawing fairies and goblins to decorate the bedroom walls of my daughter-to-be. A couple of weeks after she was born, I woke in the night after having a terrifyingly vivid dream that fairies had come in through the window and spirited my baby away, claiming she was too perfect to be human. I was so scared to go back to sleep! After that I nicknamed her 'faery blessed'.

    That fairy house is indeed awesome btw. Have you read The Secret Life of Nature by Peter Tompkins? I've had it on my book shelf for over a decade. It's an interesting if not somewhat eccentric read. :)

  6. Dear Catherine,

    First things first, I hope you are slowly and surely getting better? My thoughts often turn to you from across the world and I smile when I think about the power of your imagination and creativity.

    I love this post. Fairy tales and enchantment are essential components in my life and of course my children's lives. I 'furiously' create each and every day to spread a little magic and beauty around us. I feel both happy and reassured after reading your words as I know there are others who feel the same. You carefully pick the beauty and magic around you Catherine like others would gather flowers. Part of my thesis research concentrated on seventeenth-century French operas which I adored because they are all about enchantment - le merveilleux.


    Thank you so much for linking to my blog. If you have a moment I have a delicious dilemma I would appreciate you help with... come on by!


So lovely of you to leave a comment. Thank you!! ♥

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