Fairy Rings & Tree Councils


Ever since the gringa was a little girl, she has loved fairy tales. Stories of magic and elves rate right alongside stories of spaceships and far-and-away star colonies. Of course, whenever the gringa imagined the fairyland setting of a wooded glen with magical sprites and naughty gnomes, the picture in my mind was of emerald green meadows filled with colorful flowers and dark forests with friendly woodland animals. A picturesque image to be found in places like Ireland or jolly aulde England. Never in a kazillion years would the gringa have linked fairy tales with southern Africa or western Australia. Now scientists have gone and turned my childhood fantasy world upside down.

You see, fairy rings have always been a standard feature in tales of deep magic in old forests:

  • “Meraugis de Portlesguez” by Raoul de Houdenc
  • “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare
  • “The Impossible Dowry” (Amyntas) by Thomas Randolph
  • “Nymphidia: The Court of Fairy” by Michael Drayton
  • “History of the Goths” by Olaus Magnus

Even unwritten works, like folklore, preceded great literature with tales of fairy rings:

  • Sorcerers’ rings of France
  • Witches’ rings of Germany
  • Devil’s milk churn rings of the Dutch
  • Remnants of fiery dragon tails of Tyrol
  • Dance rings of elves and fairies of England, Wales, Scandinavia and Ireland
  • Dinner tables of fairies from Scotland

The gringa loves the old tales and fantasies of midnight revelries rising up to the surface of the earth as the magical middle Earth creatures enjoy the moonlight and starlight while humans sleep. I am sorely disappointed that scientists had to go and destroy this little piece of illogical, creative, mental space in my mind by announcing they have solved the mystery of fairy rings. And they even went and renamed the phenomena, calling them “fairy circles”. I suppose scientists prefer a geometric term to a more poetic counterpart. Doggone them all.

South of Angola toward South Africa’s Northwestern Cape province is a vast, barren region of land that is mostly uninhabited. It is dotted with reddish and golden earth circles within the grassland. The fairy circles vary in size from about 7 feet in diameter to almost 50 feet in diameter. This strange geographical feature has been romanticized in literature and local myths. The bushmen of this area claim the fairy circles belong to divine gods and possess magical powers.  Some say they are the footprints of the gods themselves.

Recently, these same types of circles were discovered in Australia’s Pilbara region. Much to the gringa’s dismay, the mystery has now been solved. This year an environmental research group published their official findings of what exactly causes fairy circles. However, if the gringa so chooses, she could put her own spin on their determinations. A fairy circle would no longer be the work of fairies, elves and sprites, but of the living forest itself.

What scientists have concluded is that the fairy circles are definitely not the work of termites or ants. It is more probable that they are the work of plants organizing themselves in certain patterns as they compete for scarce water resources. The gringa sees literary and poetic potential in this theory.

Imagine, if you will, councils of shrubs, trees and flowers getting together and discussing just how much water they need to survive. Envision them arguing their case for who needs shade and who has a root system that is just robbing the entire community and being selfish. I can hear the sound of a gavel-shaped root coming down on the top of  a flat stone, a centuries-old tree declaring, “Hear, hear. It has been determined that the crocuses will relocate to the shade of the old growth elms tree line and the blackberry bushes will separate their thorny selves from the fern bed, moving eastward toward the river.”

Although such a tale lacks the mischievous fun of fairies and nymphs, it would still contain delightful magical potential. So, all is not bad news.

 

Source:  www.mic.com & Wikipedia

Image Credits: www.cnn.com & www.fairyroom.com

 

 

 

Read With The Gringa “The Hunting of the White Stag”


Join the gringa for the final chapter of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, book 2 of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis. But, don’t be sad that it’s ending. The adventure continues with book 3, “The Horse and His Boy”.

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Photo credit: http://www.imgarcade.com

 

Read With The Gringa “What Happened About The Statues”


Join the gringa as we near the end of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by reading chapter 16 of book 2 of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis. In the next to the last chapter first, it’s Aslan to the rescue. Then, Aslan, his allies and the girls join the others in the battle with the witch.

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Photo Credit:  www.omphalosbookreviews.com

 

Read With The Gringa “Deeper Magic From Before The Dawn Of Time”


Join the gringa in reading Chapter 15 of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, Book 2 of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis. Aslan is back!

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Read With The Gringa “The Triumph of the Witch”


Join the gringa in a reading of “The Triumph of the Witch”, Chapter 14 of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, as we near the end of Book 2 of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis. Certainly this is the most dreadful part of the story. Or is it?

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Read With The Gringa “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, Chapt. 13


Join the gringa in a read along of “Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time”, Chapter 13 of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, book 2 of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C. S. Lewis. Aslan and the witch discuss the fate of Edmund.

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Read With The Gringa “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, Chapter 12


Join the gringa in a read-along of “Peter’s First Battle”, Chapter 12 of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, book 2 of the “Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis. Danger and excitement abound for everyone in Narnia!

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