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Every week Parajunkee proposes an interesting question-here is this weeks question
Q. In light of the Summer Solstice. Also known as Midsummer...let's talk about fairies. What is your favorite fairy tale or story that revolves around the fae?
This is a question I am well prepared by my reading of short stories based on Irish fairy stories during Irish Short Story Week I.
The story is short and beautifully told and you can read it if you want in just a few minutes so I will not say much of the plot. The story is very Gothic, very atmospheric and very scary. A mysterious carriage, more beautiful than anyone has ever seen, is passing through the village. When young Billie comes out to see it, a beautiful women beckons him into the carriage with an apple. As the children look into the carriage the shadows a horribly ugly woman with face that would scare the devil sitting next to the beautiful woman. Billy gets in the carriage. His mother is driven to great despair as she fears Billie is lost forever. Once and a while he seems to appear at the door to her hut, her other children say they have seen him briefly in the village. Then he disappears for years. One day the mother returns and sees him in her house for sure. He is dressed in the worst rags, is filthy dirty, and looks starved. As the mother rushes to him, he disappears never to be seen again. I think this story is in part about how parents tried to cope with the starvation of their children in the great Irish famines of the 19th century in which millions died.