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My three regular readers know that I have a shrine in my back yard that is dedicated to all the bored gods whose names and identities have been lost in the mists of time. Sort of a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, except not a tomb, because deities are immortal.
Showing the utmost respect, I have made this shrine fairy/faerie-worthy by placing all sorts of wonderful pretty stuff in it: sea glass, iridescent marbles, crystals, Marcellus shale, sea shells ... rocks from places I've been. In the middle of last week, I found a bag of beautiful minerals at the thrift store. They're now on the Shrine of the Mists.
My shrine sits under an ancient pear tree that bears inedible fruit. Well, I should say that it's inedible to humans. Hornets flock to it. The squirrels seem to like it too, and I have a suspicion the possums and raccoons aren't picky either.
Saturday evening I looked out at my shrine, and I saw wings moving on it. Black wings, beating back and forth contentedly. When I went out with my ritual candle, I found a swallowtail butterfly feeding on a pear that had fallen into the shrine. Careful not to disturb the butterfly, I set down my candle (mindful also of the happy hornets that wouldn't be happy if I stepped on them).
When I put the candle on the altar stone, I noticed a single wing lying on the stone. It was beautiful. Looked like this.
I said to the butterfly, "You'd better be careful. A faerie has lost its wing and will probably be back for it."
Then, as a prank, I went back into the house and called The Spare. "Spare!" I shouted. "There's a faerie on the shrine!"
She came downstairs. I pointed to the black object at the edge of the shrine. It wasn't moving.
Spare (oozing teenage disbelief) started down the back porch steps. Slowly. Just as she hit the bottom step, the butterfly moved its wings one beat. And Spare jumped a mile! Then she went to investigate, came back inside with teenage disbelief firmly established, and coolly informed me that it was a swallowtail butterfly.
Yes. There was a butterfly sipping a pear on my shrine Saturday afternoon. It was a butterfly. But what happened to the wing on the altar stone? When I went back outside Sunday, the wing was gone! It couldn't have blown away -- the shrine is bowl-shaped with walls.
It's gone. The faerie wing is gone.
Personally I do not need evidence from my five senses to have the faerie faith. If you do, there you have it. This was a wing right out of Arthur Rackham, and it disappeared overnight.
The moral of this sermon is simple indeed. Faeries exist, and you had better show them respect.