SPECTATOR COMPETITION No. 144
Report by Joyce Johnson Prizes were offered for a human tale told by a fairy.
"Time upon a once there was a family of Humans who lived at the top of our garden,"
now, alas, held in thrall by TV, relates C. J. Blundell's good fairy, tut listen to R. Kennard Davis's even better fairy :—
From meadow and vale and woodland we gather to crown our Queen, But Humans can watch their crowning with a hundred miles between. Other subjects that cropped up more than once were Drink, Gangsterism, the Atom Bomb and, reassuringly, the Course of True Love. And, housewives, has it ever struck you that household electrical appliances are Unfair to Fairies ? And kitchen work too nervish is For Puck and Mab and Lob, With thermostatic dervishes Forever on the job.
PRIZES (M. C. HODGSON) "Tell me a story, Aunty Mab."
(Smilingly) :"Once upon a timelessness there was a mortal called
Bill, who used to get up at six every morning."
" What is six ' ? "
"Six was the time he used to get up."
" What is time ? "
(E.kp/anatori/y) : "Time isla barrier round the earth. It is very hard
to fly through, I believe. Well, Bill used to get up early to catch a bus which would take him to work, and .... '
"Why a bus ? " (Slightly testily): "It was too far to walk." "Why didn't he fly,? "
(Repentingly indulgent): "Very few mortals have wings, my dear, and
those who do keep them in sheds in fields."
" Why ? "
" Because ... well, one morning Bill caught the bus, and ...."
"What is work ? "
Sententiously): " Work is the mortal's wand—it gets him what he
(P. M.) Only too well aware that I may have humanly erred, from over twenty near-prizewinners I select the following as runners, or fliers, up : Sawdust Asgold, M. G. Godlonton, C. J. Blundell, Frances Collingwood, F. C. Gill, Pibwob, Eric Swainson, M. Wande Gray and M. C. Holden. I should like the crock of gold (or its human equivalent of two and a half sovereigns) to go to M. C. Hodgson, and five silver crowns each to Mustardseed and N. Hodgson. Most regretfully I have to disqualify Oberon's letter sent by Nancy Gunter, because, after all, it is hardly a tale ; but I would invoke a special charm to make the editor print it, please.
(Elaborating): " Work, as Shakcswande says in Midwinter Realities,
'to earthly nothings gives an aim."'
" Oh ! Why ? "
(Sharply): " Why what ? "
"Why do they keep their wings in fields ? "
(Firmly): "Because it's easier to sleep with them off. Now that's the
end of the story, pa shut your wings carefully, my dear, or you'll find sheds built for yours. Goodnight."
He snuggled into swansdown. " Goo'ni't."
(MUgTARDSEED) Elsie and Mary were She-Mortals of the type known as Teenagers. They had not Got Off yet, because they didn't Know Their Onions ; She-Mortals who don't Know Their Onions are as helpless as Fairies who don't Know Their Spells. So, they consulted the magic" Mirror " and, later, the magic" Crystal." Elsie discovered that she was Scorpio and Mary was Gemini, and that there was an enchanted Box in the Land of the Big Folk which gave special magic charms called Carolina Pansy to She-Mortals who sent it special magic coupons and special magic 3s. 6d. P.O.s.
The Carolina Pansy worked its spell the following month, when they Got Off at a Hop (where Mortals go Slow-Quick-Quick-Slow and Back- Side-Together-Turn). And they Daily. Dipped and reduced their Lower Backs and obeyed the advice of the Mortal Aunt (something like a Fairy Godmother) in the "Crystal " about Holding This Boy's Interest (my dear).
Elsie's He-Mortal married her and they lived-happily ever after. But Mary's turned into a Wolf and she had to send the enchanted Box a special magic Stamped Addressed Envelope. To make things worse she had, of course, been born under Gemini
Once upon a time there was a rich Landlord who lived at the House of the Red Lion and who had an only daughter, glamorous Little Red Head, who had learnt the Secret of Beauty by studying the Stars and had many suitors, all wealthy young men, being Layers of Bricks, Loaders of Ships, etc., all except one, who was a scholar and therefore poor. Now the rich Landlord proclaimed that he would marry his daughter to the suitor who won the Crock of Gold by answering the Riddle of the Sphinx of the-Pool. Whereupon the suitors wrapped their heads in thick Towels (a very potent magic) and began to do sums, all except the poor scholar, who ran to his Mathematical Governess and wept on her neck till she gave him her Magic Book, The Theory of Probability, and told him to read it three times and drink nine cups of strong coffee. The poor scholar did so, answered the Riddle, received the Crock of Gold and married Little Red Head, and her father built them a magnificent Villa( which, because it was at the Forest Gate, or for some other reason, they called Littlewoods.
COMMENDED (NANCY GUNTER)
To the Editor, Bluebell Chimes.
Well met by moonlight I I have been greatly interested by the con- troversy crumpling your roseleaves, concerning the existence or otherwise of Humans, and am in a position to assure your readers that, even if there are none of these beings to be found nowadays, there certainly were up to a few centuries ago. I well recall a certain Midsummer Night in a wood near Athens when my wife Titania, myself and several members of our train distinctly saw, and were highly amused by, the antics of a large company of these supposedly mythical creatures during the entire night. I attribute our good fortune in being able to perceive these humans to our not being afflicted with second sight as so many fairies are. As evidence that this is no mere fanciful human-tale I append the signatures of some of our courtiers who shared our unique experience.
did (signed Puck), And I, And I, And I, And I, (Signed) Peaseblossom, Moth, Cobweb, Now to your offices begone Mustard-seed. While I remain your OBERON.