Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hidden People

Collecting my daughter one day from Kindergarten (posh name for nursery in the UK, the first year of school in USA) when she was three, her teacher expressed concern that she was unfocussed. She said she was in a world of her own and when prompted by the teacher to hurry and get ready for lunch she responded ‘You know Mrs A, there are no fairies in our house.’
I could not hide my shock and surprise. ‘That is terrible,’ I said.
Encouraged by this the teacher went on ‘Yes, all the other children had changed from their PE kits and were ready and she just sat there.’
‘No… It is terrible that she thinks there are no fairies in our house’. The teacher gave me one of those looks that said ‘ah – that explains everything I need to know about your daughter’.
The next day, my daughter came home to find a fairy door on her skirting board and a little bottle of fairy dust. She took to sending little messages to the fairies. Sometimes they would reward her efforts with sprinkling of glitter. She liked this, particularly as her father disapproves of glitter and the fairies were very liberal with their sprinkling.
Five years on she still has the fairy door. She was concerned that when we moved to the states the fairies would not find the door. They did. Occasionally the fairies still do something mischievous in her room. Sometimes they seem to do something, somehow without my knowledge. Clearly these fairies come in handy when my daughter creates her own glitter fest!
When we first came to the states the neighbours’ children were inquisitive about my daughter in the same way they were about me. She had a lot of wannabe friends. She didn’t notice but I saw their snickers when she talked about her three fairies that come through the fairy door. I wondered if my thinking should have been more in line with her kindergarten teacher when she was three. Maybe I should have sat her on the naughty step and told her to get a grip on reality.
Contemplating this on the loo (as you do!) and flicking through Time Magazine (March 7th 2011) I found a surprising figure:  According to a 2007 Gallop poll 75% of Americans believe in Angels compared to only 1/3 of Brits . 50% of Americans believe they have their own guardian angel. 80% think miracles occur. I was shocked to find that 92% of American’s believe in a god, including one in five that proclaim to be atheist (Yep! They must be that stupid! Only in America could you get atheists believing in a spiritual being!!!)
Perhaps more surprising is that one in five Americans say they’ve heard God speak to them, one-quarter say they have witnessed miraculous healings, 16% say they’ve received one and 8% say they pray in tongues. I guess I was sat in the right place contemplating this!
Thinking that maybe the children locally were the strange ones for snickering at my daughter, given that I am clearly living in the land of make-believe, I was convinced that most Americans must believe in faries too. This is what I found:
Fairy lore is thought to exist in almost every culture and is most prevalent in Europe and the British Isles. It spread to America during the colonization period and is still strong in the Appalachians, Ozarks, and other remote mountainous regions.
Those Appalachian mountains in North Carolina are clearly different in many ways which deserve a dedicated blog all of their own (I’m working on it!) I typed ‘fairies in Appalachian mountains’ in all innocence into Google and realized the error of my ways when it came up with an ‘anal sex’ video site. I was too afraid to type in ‘fairies and Ozarks’! I did find an ‘Elf school’ in Iceland that teaches about ‘Hidden people’. How cool is that? Americans are really big on where you went to university. I would love to be able to say ‘Oh I studied ‘hidden people’ including gnomes, trolls and fairies at the Icelandic Elf School. Beats a Mickey Mouse Degree from the State University of Hicksville! According to Magnus who runs Elf School only 4% of Americans believe in fairies. They accept wings made of feathers but not fairy wings.
So, should I have sat my three year old daughter down, reprimanded her for being unfocussed and told her firmly that fairies aren’t in anyone’s house? The American Kids wouldn’t have been able to mock her but I would have deprived her of all the magic and glitter that still sparkles for her now. Should I sit America down and tell them that most of what they believe in only occurs in rational sane people when they are pissed or on drugs? – speaking metaphorically in tongues of course. If America were to wake up from their religious delusions, if they were deprived of the religious glitter that is sprinkled liberally about the nation what would they become? Karl Marx says religion is the opium of the masses. America is one hell of a poppy field! I wonder what the flower fairy for poppies looks like?


  1. I'm a Christian and found this profoundly funny. LOVE IT!! It is true though on so many counts. I love that you encouraged your daughters imagination!!

  2. I'm so glad you were not offended. I guess it could be taken as offensive but I dont mind what people believe in - what I have difficulty with in America is what I perceive as a lack of substance in those beliefs as a nation!

  3. I am glad you let my grandaughter believe in her fairies.It is part of a childs growing up . How can anything that gave her and us so much pleasure be wrong.I found it funny and could say a lot more but i will keep them thoughts to myself but then the fairies may tell you any way

  4. Debbie Ashman said:
    Tell your daughter...i have a ring of mushrooms in my garden where the faries live...they come out every night and sprinkle fairy dust on the flowers to make them grow.
    she can see it when you come home xxx

  5. As LACE said, great for your daughters imagination, then, now and for how ever long it lasts! I'm sure in many years to come her own daughter(s) will have the same experience.

    Poppy flower fairies, high and p1ssed...

  6. I do I do I do believe in fairies. Deb.Sxxxx