Ah, the Vernal Equinox. A time for gathering round the fairy ring and dancing two by two, drinking the dew from the Lady’s Mantle for eternal youth and beauty, lying in wait to capture a Brownie, or a Pixie, or if you are lucky, enslave a little Gnome.
The nature of the folktales of Ireland and Wales, collected widely throughout the latter part of the 1800’s by the likes of W.B. Yeats and William Wirt Sikes, were not always the “fairy tales” they’ve morphed into today. Like the Grimm brothers, Yeats and Sikes spent time traveling the countryside and writing down what had always been an oral tradition.
These beasties and beings, though not always evil or menacing, are always portrayed with an air of warning about them. The creatures of the Fairy Kingdom are working to trick you but if you get to them first you will have riches untold. The stories also serve as a warning: mainly to children and drunks to mind your manners and stay off the roads late at night.
Check out these collections of Welsh and Irish folklore I’ve curated as part of the Magical Creatures collection for Weiser Books.
The Occult Power of Goats
The Goblins of Electricity
The Malevolent Banshee
The Mermaid’s Prophecy
Merry meet and Happy Spring!
And other weird things I’ve learned just in time for the holidays!
Seriously, though…I was reading A Kidnapped Santa Claus, this fantastic short story written by beloved Oz author L. Frank Baum way back in 1904. It takes place in Laughing Valley–Baum’s alternative to The North Pole–which happens to be surrounded by mountains where there happen to be cave dwelling demons, lurking and sulking and plotting to ruin Christmas. It is like How the Grinch Stole Christmas meets The Nightmare Before Christmas with a dose of The Wizard of Oz!
I was researching Baum to get handle on the many not-Oz books he wrote when I discovered that he was not only prolific, but he also had multiple prolific pseudonyms. Of seven known pen names, three of them were female. Edith Van Dyne wrote an entire series of Aunt Jane books. He also authored under the amazingly common names Laura Bancroff and Suzanne Metcalf. In addition to these feminine non de plumes he wrote under the far more manly names of Captain Hugh Fitzgerald, Floyd Akers, Schuyler Stunton, and John Estes Cooke.
If you’d like to read A Kidnapped Santa Claus, you can get it for free on my publishers website by following this link:
Free Download of A Kidnapped Santa Claus
You will also find there a free download of The Christmas Troll, a collection of creepy Yuletide beasts that lurk in the night around this time of year…and I’ll be discussing this folkloric freakery on Coast to Coast with George Noory, this Friday the 23rd at 10pm PST. More on that later!
Varla on Coast to Coast!