I was having my usual open day, to show the collection of artefacts, trinkets etc that my great grandfather Charles De Grue had collected or had been given (or in some cases had just accidently fallen into his bag) during his many years of adventuring. You may not have heard of the “Black Crane” – as was the case in the day, many of the more wealthy adventurers could manage fantastic voyages and explorations and yet pass their findings onto other fellows to claim the glory (they would of course take a percentage of the wealth). It may be that they made a key suggestion, or provided assistance, but then, as now, for some the opportunity to remain in the shadows was far more preferable. In my great grandfather’s case it meant that he could continue his connections with all manner of people – sometimes, he was heard to remark, the deal has to be made with the Devil to give the Angels their day in the sun.
Anyway, the house was open, and visitors would come and “ooh” over something. Fortunately I have been able to catalogue and detail all the items that he had on show – and luckily he also kept fantastic notes so that I could provide some information to the guests about each item. To be fair and level, there are some occasions when even I find it a little far fetched to believe the notes that I have made. A delightful young lady was looking around the items, studiously avoiding all the animals that were stuffed and presented (I also find them strangely disturbing – their eyes seem to bore into my soul) when suddenly she pointed at one item and asked, “What is that?”
I followed her gaze to a small green cage – and remembered writing the notes on that very item.
“It’s a Fairy Sanctuary” I replied.
“But it’s a cage” she replied, “And why would it have a lock on the outside of the door?”
I carefully unhooked the cage and placed it on the table. I bade the little girl to sit down and I sat opposite. A small crowd gathered to listen as I explained the story.
Back the more adventurous days, The Black Crane would sail to many strange lands aboard the Beagle – yes the very one, he lost it in a card game to Darwin – and on one such adventure landed in a peculiar land somewhere along the equator. It was peculiar because although the ground was bleached white sand, there was the most incredible foliage providing a humid setting. The one thing that stood out about this island, compared to the others in the neighbourhood, was that looking at the trees they would seem to shimmer and dance – but as they approached the trees they would suddenly become still. As they backed off again, the tree bark would come to life once more, fluttering, dancing and shimmering. A couple of the crew mates said that they saw many hundreds of butterflies dancing in the dappled shade, but there was no sign of any butterflies when they approached. However, what the Black Crane noticed was the small amounts of glittering powder at the base of each tree. He carefully picked some up and sniffed.
What he said in his notes was that he suddenly felt very sleepy and sat down next to one of the trees and closed his eyes. It only seemed like a moment, but when he reopened his eyes it had gone from a high sun to a very low one, and he was disoriented to recognise immediately if it was morning or night. But what he did notice was a small creature perched on his leg. Scarcely bigger than his thumb, it was poking him with a small stick. He quickly closed his eyes, and slowly opened them again – to see that the creature had moved up his chest and was staring straight into his eye – that stick ready to poke at the eyeball! Fortunately, The Black Crane’s reflexes were remarkably quick and he was able to close the eyelid before any damage befell him. He also managed to sweep his hand quickly and pin the creature with his thumb. He heard the squeak.
When he opened his eyes again, he saw the creature squirming under his thumb and as quietly as he could he said he would let it go provided it didn’t poke the stick in his eye. After a little more squirming, the creature agreed. As he released the creature, it flew up and raised its stick – my great-grandfather raised his thumb and the creature settled once more on his chest. The creature said it’s name was “Tynk”, named after the sound of a dewdrop falling on a leaf.
After a while, my grandfather realised that he could actually speak and listen to the fairy and that they shared a common tongue – although the language was an old one and not unsimilar to a Persian language. My great-grandfather listened and between them they spoke and learned more about the island and the world beyond. Tynk wanted to see the world, experience what lay beyond the waters that surrounded the island. My great grandfather was reluctant to take such a beautiful creature from this place and was about to get up, when Tynk reached into a bag and sprinkled some sparkling dust under his nose. Instantly, he felt sleepy again and unable to move.
When he re-awoke, there were several of these creatures standing on him – the one next to Tynk looked much, much older and my great-grandfather thought he might be the elder of the creatures – a fact that he discovered was true, this elder, Orboran, provided my great-grandfather with a history of the “Fa-Rie” – Orboran described his age as being more than 100,000 moon cycles. They talked and De Grue discovered that Tynk was the more devious and clever of the Fa-Rie being a juvenile female – Orboran noted that as the females get older they get more subtle in their ways and the males often find themselves doing the chores they had never said that they would do – and that Tynk had formed a bond with De Grue through the sharing of the dust. She had decided to go with De Grue and that as her father he wanted to make sure that De Grue would look after her – if he didn’t take her with him she would suffer from a broken heart that would not be mended.
My great grandfather said that he would return to this spot in two days and returned to his ship. His curiosity of the world was one thing, and knew that he would create extensive notes on this creature, but something in the back of his mind also wanted to preserve this place as he found it – and that meant leaving everything behind. Interestingly, for someone who was not adverse to killing and displaying found creatures, he could not bring himself to do this with Tynk – and then he saw the empty bird cage hanging in his quarters.
He brought cage back – and Orboran looked in horror at it. De Grue replied that this wasn’t a cage to trap Tynk, but was in fact a refuge that she could rest in – the door would never be locked unless Tynk herself demanded it. He suggested that they prepare the sanctuary for her travels.
So that’s Tynk’s refuge. As you can see, the door is open as he promised it would be. You can see the little jars where Tynk stored her Fa-Rie dust – I’ve had a look and they did seem empty to me, but I did feel a little tired when I looked. What happened to Tynk? I’ve no idea – the many notebooks and journals don’t seem to have any further notes on this. I do know that De Grue would often return to the island as his journals say that he did, but when I’ve tried to cross-reference them with his many ship’s journals those pages have always been torn out – as if it’s a secret that he never wanted anyone to discover.