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The Fairy Ring

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In the L I love you with all my heart. I want to be a dad. It’s less important to me how it happens than that it does happen. I love you. You want my baby. We do what we have to do.” —o— In the L&D Suite Joy started thrashing around after an intense contraction. “God, that was awful. Where’s the crone?” The nurse sat down next to Joy. “Who? Is that your husband? We’ve sent out a page for him.” “No. He’s Andy. Where is the crone? She’s supposed to be here!” —o— A dark room, shortly after the New Year Joy waited in the root cellar for the witch to appear. The walls were covered by tapestries and the ceiling was covered by bundles of herbs drying. There was a single small table in the center of the room with two chairs. The wise-woman appeared in the room suddenly. Joy had been alone. Now she and the crone were in the room together. The crone asked her to sit at the table. On the table was a quartz crystal nearly half a meter long mounted on a rosewood plinth. It was flanked by three crystal spheres: one of amethyst, one of citrine and one of a black mineral Joy could not identify. The wise-woman asked, “What can I do for you?” Joy was silent. At last she spoke, as tears spilled down her cheeks, “I want a baby. The doctors say —“ The wise-woman spat on bursa escort the dirt floor. “Doctors. What do doctors know of such things? This is why you are here, no?” “— I can’t have a baby without —“ “I ask again: what do doctors know of such things? If you want a baby, you can have a baby. You must listen to my instructions, though.” “I can have a baby?” “Of course. You are a woman, of course you can have a baby. But you must do as I tell you,” said the wise-woman again. “I’ll do anything,” said Joy. “Don’t do anything, just do as I tell you, Joy.” “Of course. What must I do?” “Listen carefully to my next words. Heed them.” Joy began to speak, but the wise-woman hushed her. “Listen, don’t speak.” The wise-woman closed her eyes and began swaying in her chair. Soon after she began to chant slowly. Deep in the forest a faerie ring Surrounding a pine by sky god fork’d,Is dressed in fabric own’d by a saint, The saint of midwinter’s night. In the spring, when night equals day To this faerie ring you must go And there consume the circle’s fruit, With your husband eat the fruit of the ring. Sky clad beneath Selene’s tender light Find yourself in his embrace. Take into your warmth and love His seed to nurture and grow.But flee you must, lest the bursa escort bayan faerie folk Whose fruit you stole should steal in turn Your babe, and in its place A changeling leave. As she chanted, Joy took her words down verbatim. After completing her song, the wise-woman swayed a while longer, and ceased and opened her eyes. She looked at Joy, and asked, “Did you hear me?” “Yes. I don’t understand but I noted what you said.” Joy offered the notebook to the woman. “People have no memory today,” the wise-woman commented. She read the verse. “It seems clear to me. Do you know what a faerie ring is?” “No.” “It is a ring of mushrooms. I know this ring: it surrounds a lightning-struck pine. It is a mixture of fly agaric and penny bun mushrooms. Fly agaric has a red cap: the line about the saint refers to Saint Nicholas.” She got up and went to a shelf and returned with some dried mushrooms. “You can see the red color on the caps. They are mildly poisonous. “At the spring equinox you and your husband are to have relations in the center of the ring after eating the fly agaric. Afterwards, you must leave. If you don’t, the faeries may steal your baby and leave one of theirs in its place.” She handed Joy the mushrooms. “Reconstitute these escort bursa in water, and chop them finely.” “You said they are poisonous!’ “Mildly poisonous. You would have to eat a dozen or so to harm yourself. Many cultures around the world use these to converse with the Gods.” —o—  If March came in like a lion that year, it was an old and decrepit lion. The nights were fairly warm. The night before the equinox, Joy told Andy she wanted to go on a dinner picnic and escape the city for a while. It had been a rough month: the fertility specialist harvested twenty-four eggs from her the previous week. Andy rearranged his schedule the next morning so he could leave early to take Joy up to the mountains to relax. He made reservations for the night at a nearby bed-and-breakfast. It was a two hour drive to the National Forest. When they reached their usual spot, Joy asked Andy to drive on further, to the Ryder-Haggard camp area. Andy drove on. When they arrived at the campground and unloaded their dinner and a blanket, Joy pointed out the pine tree across the meadow. It stood at the edge of the forest, its trunk split by a lightning strike. “Look at that, Andy!” she said. “You want to eat over there?” Andy asked. “I think it would be fun. We always do picnic tables. Let’s be wild.” “Sure thing.” Andy hauled the picnic basket across the meadow and spread the blanket. While he spread the blanket under the tree, Joy walked around the area. She saw a slightly raised, roughly circular ring surrounding the tree.

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