When I was a child I was told that the seed of a thistle was a fairy, and if I captured it without harming it while it floated by, I could make a wish upon it.
For the wish to come true I had to let the Thistle Fairy go, blowing it gently back into the wind, and if it flew away then my wish would be granted…
… But if it fell onto the ground, my wish would be dropped by the fairy and get absorbed by the earth as fertiliser. It wouldn’t come true for me, but it would perhaps make the wish of a seed come true, nourishing its growth.
… If it was blown far from me, too far for the eye to see, then the Thistle Fairy was taking it to Wish Granting Headquarters. However, this was quite a perilous and strenuous journey, and a wish is a heavy load for a fairy to carry. Not all fairies make it back to WGHQ.
“The world is not a wish-granting factory.”
― John Green
… If the fairy made it to WGHQ, once offloaded, the wish would pass through the Wish Granting processing system to see if it was viable to be placed before the Wish Granting High Council, who would then decide if they felt like using their magic that day or not to grant a human a wish.
Fairies are whimsical beings… whim being the essence of the being.
… Before it made it to the High Council, it had to pass through a disinfecting process in case it was carrying a virus, was a weapon sent by the Anti-Fairy Faction, or was otherwise defective and infected.
… If it made it through that stringent examination, it would then be vetted to make sure it wasn’t selfish, and if it was selfish did it have beneficial aspects for others. It had to be checked to see if it was harmful to others or liable to hurt the wisher, if it might cause bad karma, interfere with fate, send destiny on an unnecessary detour, and…
“If there’s a single lesson that life teaches us, it’s that wishing doesn’t make it so.”
― Lev Grossman
… many other details which a wisher tends to overlook but which wish granters must investigate.
It’s all well and good for a wisher to be irresponsible, that’s part of the fun and ritual of making wishes, however, wish granters must hold themselves accountable for the consequences of granting wishes. It’s a very stressful job and many fairies have nervous breakdowns – a few of them end up joining the Anti-Fairy Faction due to the trauma they experience taking care of the wishes of humans.
Humans don’t always consider the onus they are placing upon wish granting beings when they make wishes.
“What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?”
― Ralph Ellison
The only reason I’m aware of this side of wishes, the burdens of fairies, know all of this is because… I made it up.
When we make something up we reveal our own story. In everything we say and do our personal experiences shine through, both in light and in dark. Even when we think we are doing something for impersonal reasons, there’s a personal inspiration, intention and motive spurring and sparking us.
So, why did I tell this story?
What I was actually told about thistle seeds was that if I caught one, made a wish, then let it go, my wish would come true. But, of course, most of my wishes didn’t come true.
Or perhaps they did and I didn’t notice.
Wishes are strange creations, and if you’re not specific about them when you make them, which humans often aren’t, you may get what you wished for… but it’s not what you had in mind when you made the wish.
“If you are a dreamer come in
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar
A hoper, a pray-er, a magic-bean-buyer
If you’re a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin
― Shel Silverstein
For instance, take this wish – I wish to live forever. Sounds sound, but you forgot to add – and be youthful forever while living forever. So several hundreds of years later you’re a human prune, a very ancient human prune. Who can’t move, do or say anything except for human prune prunishness. Oops! An oopsie error you can regret forever as you live forever to regret it.
Or take this wish – I wish for a pony. And you get a pony. One day you’re taking a walk and a pony which has escaped its human captors tramples you to death in its flight for freedom and fright of those chasing it… chasing it maybe to stop it from accidentally trampling people, especially little children who love ponies and wish for them. Oops! A regrettable oopsie error you luckily or unluckily won’t live to regret because maybe you’re dead.
Details… details… details… oh, those pesky little things… which sometimes turn into rather large things because we overlooked them and they didn’t like that. That snowflake you ignored which turned into a blizzard.
Speaking of snow… yesterday, on a fine and surprisingly hot Summer’s day in the UK, it snowed… but the snow wasn’t made of particles of frozen water, or magic crystals made of rainbows… it was a different kind of snow, made of thousands of thistle seeds blown by an easterly wind.
As I watched the sky and air around me filled with thistle seed fairies, I was reminded of the tale of wish fulfilling I had been told as a child. I saw a snowstorm of wishes swirling around me, catching on spiderwebs, clustering in the grass, covering the roof of my house… everywhere there were fairies weighted down by human wishes.
So many wishes… I wonder to whom they belong… will they be granted or are they those that will never make it to WGHQ (did a fairy die trying to carry that wish to a place where it would make your human dreams come true), and what are the stories behind those wishes?
The story behind this wish story is… a long and complex one as all human stories and lives and souls are…
“Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
There was a time in my life when I felt as though… I was a wish granting fairy, captured by humans who had so many wishes that they could not decide which one was most important to them. So I stayed trapped in their sticky fingers, their sweaty palms, while they tried to decide what wish I would carry for them to Wish Granting HQ.
I am not a fairy, I am human. But when another human decides you’re a fairy for them it can be hard to disabuse them of that notion. They want you to be an effing fairy because they want their awesome wishes granted, and that is what you’re frigging going to be and do! Stop being a bad fairy to a good human!
I was born to grant a wish… which a human didn’t really think through in detail.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
They knew that having a baby would change their life, this was why they wanted and wished one into being, but the changes they had in mind… weren’t in line with the changes which actually happen when you bring a new human being into your world.
They were looking for a miracle cure which would magically make something they saw as bad for them become all the good they felt they deserved without making the kind of effort which that kind of good entails.
They got their wish and then tried to unwish the wish after it was granted because – this is not what they’d wished for!
“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.”
― J.M. Barrie
If you wish to be given flowers – and a potted plant in flowering bloom lands on your head due to someone clumsily knocking it off of a window ledge – your wish has been granted!
Humans sometimes pour their wishes into other humans… and then get mad that their wishes don’t come true. We may expect too much of our human fairies and their ability to grant our wishes.
One wish is heavy enough to carry, and it may be impossible to fly with it to WGHQ even if you’re a real fairy, if you’re a human which another human has decided is a fairy… you can’t frigging fly in the first place (okay, you can technically get in a vehicle which flies, but I don’t think any airlines go to Wish Granting Headquarters – I could be wrong about that, I’m wrong about many things).
And imagine (because I know you can do that kind of magic and don’t really need that kind of magic to do that) what it is like for a human fairy to be unable to grant a wish to a human they know and maybe love… suddenly that wish is ten times heavier, crushing the life out of you as you try to drag it to a place where it will come true for the person whose wish it is… and their wish comig true has now become a desperate wish for you too… a life or death desperate desire.
My mother wanted her fairy baby to fix her relationship with my father. This was really something she needed to sort out herself with him, but she didn’t want to do that because it would have required too much self-examination, and for him to do something similar, then for both of them to join forces for the same cause – both of them were crap at that, and both of them wanted to remain as they were. So, the solution was for someone else to be brought in to make things better. Well, that’s just… peachy!
“I wish I had a thousand words for love, but all that comes to mind is the way you move against me while you sleep and there are no words for that.”
― Brian Andreas
Thing is… even if my father was on the same wish page as my mother about their relationship needing a fix of some sort, my mother knew he did not want it fixed through the vessel of a fairy baby. She knew he didn’t want children – she ignored his wish. She ignored how her wish for a fairy baby would impact the fairy baby’s ability to grant her wish to have everything be fine and dandy between her and my father.
Humans… don’t think through the details of their wishes, and then refuse to accept the consequences of not thinking things through and getting what you wished for however it is granted.
We really don’t like owning our oopsies! But we do like to make others feel bad about not owning theirs… or ours when we shift them onto them and make our oopsies theirs because we don’t want nor wish for them to be ours.
“I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.”
― J.D. Salinger
Although my father, according to my mother, had a heart of darkness about her pregnancy and behaved as though her bump was a knife in his gut… according to his friends he was rather pleased with the being who emerged from my mother’s bump. More pleased that he thought he would be, and he was ready to accept this human (who was definitely not a fairy) into his life. But my mother decided that she could not accept him accepting me… because it wasn’t on her terms. He made the mistake of showing fatherly love to his child… my mother’s father had not loved her (or so she believed and that belief was like poison in her veins… a poison she wanted me to have in my veins too) therefore her child’s father was not allowed to love his child.
Humans are strange… why do we need to complicate things more than they already are?
This happy family… spawned a child who, if it was a fairy more than it was human, felt its humanness more than its fairy-ness.
[If you’re wondering… Yes, I have watched True Blood, in fact I’m catching up on the series now, just started season 6… and yes, it’s an influence in this post]
I have sometimes wished that… I could be as irresponsible about my wishes as my parents were about theirs, make others responsible for making them come true for me, make other carry them for me to some Wish Granting HQ… but I know what happens next, the wisher is forever dependent upon the fairy whom they’ve entrusted with their wish and… that kinda sucks for everyone involved. We all get caught up in each other and…
Being human hurts… it comes with pain from the moment of conception. A sexual interaction is made up of pleasure and pain, even when we’re caught up in the intense pleasure of it when with someone we truly want to be with that intimately… pain is always there, maybe it will make itself known later.
Being human hurts… that pain connects us all, we all know how to suffer on every level of our being. Sometimes that suffering becomes us…
“My wish is that you may be loved to the point of madness.”
― André Breton
And sometimes to escape from the overwhelming burden of suffering we escape into… being something other than human, a fairy, perhaps.
Humans are… creative when it comes to mitigating our pain. We sometimes do that by making wishes and wishing for them to come true. We sometimes see others as the magical beings who will make our wishes come true… and may forget that they’re human, like we are, and prone to all the things to which we are prone. They’re not allowed to be human when we’ve decided that for us they will be a fairy or some other magical being. We expect them to be who we need them to be for us, so when they disappoint out expectations by being human rather than who we want them to be… our disappointment ends up being shouldered not just by us, but by them… sometimes they have to carry it more than we do, because none of us likes to carry that kind of crushing weight.
Better you than me…
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”
― Oscar Wilde
But… even if we give the burden of disappointment to someone else… someone else will gives theirs to us. We can’t escape it… no matter how hard we try to fly from it. It will eventually curb our wings, be too heavy for flight to happen.
And maybe that’s for the best… for humans and fairies alike. Because fairies aren’t the only ones responsible for granting our wishes, if we own our own wishes, maybe we can learn to grant them for ourselves.
Or something like that…
Over to you, humans and fairies and other beings… on days of thistle snow, magic is in the air… a very natural kind of magic…
What do you wish for, and have you thought this wish through in detail or…?
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
― Neil Gaiman