Butterflies, Forest Sprites

I believe that the greatest pleasure in life is a good nap. That, and sunsets. Oh, and blackberries too. I’d eat blackberries for breakfast and lunch and dinner if I could, but they’re so hard to find these days… The other sprites in the forest love blackberries almost as much as I do, so the blackberry bushes are always bare – if a sprite finds a blackberry, he takes it. A sprite will never share his blackberries, ever. Which is annoying. I don’t share my blackberries either though. Why would I?

But see, that’s why naps are so nice! Naps aren’t like blackberries. Not a bit. I can take a nap whenever I want. And I can take as many as I want! I took eight naps in a day once. I promise I did, I’m not making it up. Ah, I remember it was a lovely day, that day I took eight naps. I remember it being warm. Really warm. Maybe that’s why I slept so much.

Oregon doesn’t usually get that warm. Oregon is chilly for the most part, even during the summer sometimes. A few winters ago, I got so fed up with the wind and the sleet that I thought about moving. I considered California – I have a friend who lives in the Sequoias that I could stay with. He always talks about how nice the weather is. I admit, I would enjoy nice weather for a change.

But I’ve decided that I don’t want to move. For one, I’m lazy. And, two, if I moved I’d have to leave my friends – and we’ve been together for hundreds and hundreds of years. There’s no way I could leave them. So that’s why I decided not to move in the end. I guess I can tolerate the cold – it’s much less painful than leaving.

And there’s another very important perk about living deep in the forest – no humans anywhere! None at all! It’s just us Sprites here in the forest. (Well, and the birds and the butterflies, and the pinworms.) I haven’t seen a human being in several decades! I’m so glad. Human beings are awful things. Awful is a good word for them. And smelly. They smell absolutely terrible. And they make such a mess of things. Oh, and they complain a lot too – and about such useless stuff.

One time a tiny human sprung up on me and tried to put me in a jar! I still have nightmares about it actually… I was playing with a pinworm when the ground suddenly became very dark. A shadow! I expected to see a large boar or some other fat animal, but when I turned, I was face to face with a tiny human. When the tiny human saw me, it grinned a malicious grin. I remember being frozen in terror, I couldn’t move. And then the tiny human bent down and I noticed that it held a small glass jar in its hand. Luckily, Francis – one of the other Sprites – came to my rescue. Francis threw an acorn at the tiny human’s head. The tiny human blinked a few times in shock and then began to cry. Humans make such ugly sounds when they cry. And they’re so dumb too! It just sat there and cried and cried and Frances and I threw some more acorns at its head and then we left it there.

I’ve seen a few humans pass by since then, but only a few. Maybe one every 15 years or so. Imagine living in the Sequoias… Apparently humans love the Sequoias because the Sequoias are so tall and humans are fascinated by things that are taller than them. I don’t think I could bear having to tolerate the human smell everyday. And if I had to listen to them jabber on about nonsensical things all day long I’d go insane, I really would. Just imagining it makes me cringe!

Wait… You’re not a human, are you?

 

Suggested Reading: Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

I assume that the vast majority of individuals who have endured high school English literature will know a bit about the author-poet “Louisa May Alcott” – if I asked someone to name a novel of hers, most people would at least be able to recall either Little Women or Jo’s Boys, or maybe both. But I doubt anyone would name Flower Fables.

I stumbled upon Flower Fables – which happens to be Alcott’s first published work – this past summer as I was scouring my parents’ book shelf in search of a new book to read for the week. The title, printed in golden lettering, is etched into the book’s navy blue spine, and it was the flicker of the gold that first caught my eye. I retrieved the book from the shelf – it looked nearly new. Its binding was untouched, its pages smelled of freshly printed ink. I opened to the first page and was shocked to find Louisa May Alcott’s name printed beneath the title. Encouraged by a familiar name, I turned to the next page, and was greeted with the following poem:

“Pondering shadows, colors, clouds

Grass-buds, and caterpillar shrouds

Boughs on which the wild bees settle,

Tints that spot the violet’s petal.”

  • Emerson’s Wood-Notes

The rhythmic, melodic charm of that opening poem was enough to reel me in. I flipped to the Table of Contents, which included a list of nine intriguing titles, like “The Frost King: or, The Power of Love,” and “Eva’s Visit to Fairy-Land.” After reading the titles, I felt like I’d discovered something special, like a dandelion in a field, its seeds untouched, waiting to be graced with the breath of a wish.

Flower Fables is organized into short stories, which all take place within a fictitious, yet elaborately imagined, magic kingdom. The land is inhabited by a wide variety of mythical creatures, from fairies to elves to wintery spirits. The stories often revolve around the fairies in particular – due to their soft-spoken, endearing, and selfless hearts, the fairies are given the task of restoring morality and order to neighboring lands corrupted by leaders whose hearts have been tainted by power. Although each story tends to focus on the same theme and shares similar plot lines, it’s the invitation to indulge in an otherworldly realm that makes Flower Fables a worthy read. 

“The morning sun looked softly down upon the broad green earth, which like a mighty altar was sending up clouds of perfume from its breast, while flowers danced gayly in the summer wind, and birds sang their morning hymn among the cool green leaves.” – from “Eva’s Visit to Fairy-Land.” 

The book’s melodic, detailed descriptions of breathtaking, polished landscapes evoke a sense of something truly enchanting, as if the pages have been caressed by the tiny hands of winged things with golden dust in their hair. The descriptions paint vibrant, lucid images of the kingdom that weave the fictitious land into reality. The intricacy of the pictures Alcott creates coaxes the reader to wonder if perhaps a magical realm does actually exist somewhere beyond the reach of human exploration. 

Anyone who enjoys fairytales, or simply a refreshing taste of 19th century prosaic writing, should give Flower Fables a try.