Do you believe in Faeries? We do!
Saturday, 16 May 2015 | Admin
As for real faeries well, most people don’t think it very likely that such creatures exist. Because, after all, they’ve never seen one. They might, at best, have a friend who claims to have seen one – but then that friend might well be lying, or be mistaken.
Proving that something does not exist, you see, is a very tricky business. Just because you’ve never before seen something doesn’t prove that it does not exist. Even if no-one has seen something doesn’t prove that it does not exist. It might just be that the something in question is very good at hiding, or that human beings aren’t very good at looking for it.
How would we find out whether faeries are real? Well, by going out and looking for them, of course! But wait – before we do that, we need to first think about where we might look. To do that, we need to consider where faeries have been seen before and how we can find them again.
Previous faery sightings
Around a hundred years ago, in 1917, two cousins took photographs of themselves surrounded by faeries at the bottom of their garden. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote the Sherlock Holmes books, used them to illustrate an article he was writing. He was certainly convinced (though we suspect that Sherlock Holmes himself might have been a bit more sceptical).
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was clearly a very clever man. But very clever men are, on occasion, capable of behaving like blithering idiots – especially when they are convinced that they are right about something. Doyle even showed the pictures to his physicist friend, Sir Oliver Lodge, who told him that the photographs were clearly faked and that some of the faeries looked as though they’d had their hair cut in Paris. (Though what a faery’s haircut should actually look like is a matter which Lodge failed to clarify). But even Lodge’s most fierce objections could not dissuade Doyle and the article went ahead anyway.
Unfortunately for Doyle, Lodge was right. The photographs were faked. In the years since, with special computer wizardry, this has been proven and the two cousins have since admitted to it.
Of course, this doesn’t prove that there aren’t any faeries. After all, if a friend of yours was to tell you that she met David Beckham down at the local supermarket and that David Beckham had started working there on the checkouts because he needed the extra money, you’d probably think that she was lying. But the fact that she was lying wouldn’t prove that David Beckham doesn’t exist. If anything, it would just prove that your friend cannot be trusted where David Beckham and supermarkets are concerned.
And so it proved with faeries – no-one now much believes in them and no-one takes those who do very seriously. That’s what happens when someone tells a pack of lies – everyone becomes very suspicious around the subject in question. A bit like the boy who cried wolf – where a boy told everyone in his village about a wolf attacking, even though there was no wolf, it was for his own amusement and when the wolf finally did come, no-one believed him.
The Power of Imagination
Of course, lying about something and imagining it are quite different things – though explaining exactly what this difference consists of is not always easy. Imagination is fun. It can create entirely new worlds, inhabited by goblins, orcs, dragons, princesses and knights. In these worlds, things can happen which are quite impossible in this one. For example, we can imagine a world where all of the birds are made from cheese and city centres all over England smell strongly of gorgonzola.
By thinking about that sentence, it’s gone from our minds into yours. That’s another useful thing about imagining things – we can use words and pictures to share our imaginings with others. We can even listen to other people’s imaginings and introduce parts of them into our own and create things which no-one has thought of before. Maybe you’ll do the same when we tell you the secret of how to talk to faeries.
The best way to communicate with a faerie, we are reliably informed, is to leave them a message behind a faery door – tiny miniature doors which lead to the world faeries inhabit. Up and down the country, children have found and opened these doors where they then leave messages to the faeries. What questions they might ask, we aren’t sure – and what answers they might receive, we are still less so – but then perhaps we just lack imagination.
Yes, yes, you might be thinking, but does imagining a faery to be real make them so?
This is where things get a bit tricky. What does the word ‘real’ mean, after all? This is a question which adults have been scratching their heads over for a long time – some of them have even got into terrible arguments over it. So don’t feel disheartened if you can’t answer it right away.
What we can say for sure is that imagination is powerful magic. If you imagine something to exist, then doesn’t it come into existence simply by being imagined there? In which case faeries must be real, because they’re in your head right now as well as many other individuals around the world. You’ve just thought them into existence, in your mind, by thinking about them. And thoughts and ideas are real things, aren’t they?
Imagination is so powerful, in fact, that it can be dangerous. After all, if we spent all of our time imagining things, then we would never have to leave the house! And if we did that, we’d never clap eyes on all of the wonderful things in the world – things so strange and amazing and incredibly fantastic that we could never even imagine them if we tried for a thousand years.
Stranger than fiction
In 1798, the Royal Navy had just begun to colonise a strange, faraway island. On that island were a great many unusual creatures, which the British sailors had never before seen before. There were peculiar teddy-bears which could climb trees and dog-like creatures which could jump high in the air and support their entire weight on their massive tails.
Among the strangest of these animals was found on th
e west coast of the island. It looked a lot like a beaver, but it had the head of a duck and the hands and feet of a frog. When news of this animal were sent back to Britain, scientists were flabbergasted. They all agreed that it was undoubtedly a hoax and that the explorers were trying to con them. Like the villagers fooled by the shepherd boy’s stories of wolves, they had already been fooled by stories from Chinese sailors about mermaids. Sufficed to say, they were cautious not to get fooled again!
Drawings of the monster did little to sway them. Even when the animal was sent back to England, stuffed, they inspected the neck for stitching, suspicious of the possibility that some mad taxidermist might have stitched together a lot of different animals in order to trick them.
Would you have thought the same as the scientists of the sixteenth century? Perhaps if we were to tell you the facts like the island in question was called Australia and that the creature was later named a duck-billed platypus, you might find it a little more persuasive. Of course, now we know all about Australia and the platypus. But at the time these animals were just as strange as any fairy you or I might imagine.
Have you ever considered how the first explorer to see an elephant might have felt? Or the first sailor to lay eyes on a big blue whale? What about smaller creatures? What about the first person to look through a microscope and discover that there is life so tiny that our human eyes can’t even see them?
For a long time, no-one had heard of the Hyalinobatrachium Dianae – a sort of frog whose belly is entirely see-through. That is, until just last month when scientists found it in a cave in Costa Rica. Every year, around 15,000 new sorts of animals are discovered. Is it really so impossible that faeries might be among them?
It might be that there aren’t any faeries in the bottom of the garden. But it’s probably a good idea to go and check every now and then, just to be sure. You never know, you might start to imagine faeries and in doing so make them real. You might imagine something else entirely. You might not even need to imagine anything at all – you might discover, at the bottom of the garden – something even more impressive altogether.
Perhaps that was the intention of faeries all along; perhaps it was just your curiosity leading you to places you’d never before explored. Either way, there are no limits to what you might discover there – except, perhaps the limits of your imagination.
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And keep believing!