A Halloween Fairytale

Most of you here know about fairies. You have chased, cursed, and laughed with them.

As much as we like those little flighty friends, many are unaware of the true story of Halloween. And like any story worth telling, it is a fairytale.

Among the many races of fairies are Nimlets, ranchers really. As with all fairies, they defy description, but to give you an idea: think of a grasshopper walking upright in patchwork robes, taller than a sprite, but shorter than a gnome, and with sturdy antennae to track their herds.

You probably have not had the pleasure of meeting a Nimlet, because they are usually homebodies tending to their Gurt herds. Wispy little things, the Gurts are very important to fairy folk who rent out herds for different purposes. Male Gurts give humans goose bumps and willies. Wherever a member of fairy hierarchy is resting for the night, for example a cool cave, moonlit forest, or large field on a still night, you can be sure there is a hired Nimlet ready to drive a herd into approaching humans turning them around and keeping the employer undisturbed. Female Gurts are usually employed in the daytime, because their effect on humans is the skips and giggles. Herds of female Gurts are driven into small children to entice them to come play with and entertain fairy villages.

Another curious fact about Gurts is that they are terribly attracted to orange light, and during the harvest moon of October, they blow up into the skies in droves to mate. The Nimlets could not stop this peculiar behavior if they tried. There are simply to many Gurts, and their desire is strong.

So come October, there is collective Nimlet sigh as they watch their beloved livelihood rush up into the night sky. They spend the rest of October fretting and worrying about their airy beasts and hoping for a safe return and a quick Halloween.

Halloween is the great gathering time for Nimlets and the end of breeding season for their Gurts. Once the Gurts finally float back down to the ground, they have been so turned around, jostled, mixed-up, and generally befuzzled by the fun, they have no idea how to get home. Even at the best of times, Gurt are directionally challenged. Hence, there is the need for excellent ranching Nimlets, but as talented as Nimlets are at herding, the gathering is such a chaotic time, that they solicit some help from some old friends.

Centuries ago, when humans still had excellent relations with fairies, a pact was struck. At the end of October, humans lit jack-o-lanterns and orange tinted lanterns to entice the Gurts to their doorstep. In these good ol’ days, when the Nimlets came around to collect them by the bunches, the humans would linger on their porches to gossip with the local Gurt ranchers and offer them sugary treats to help the Nimlets on their long night of Gurt gathering. Of course, if you are human, having swarms of Gurts of both sexes on your doorstep most of the night is not going to be without some effect. Nimlets noticed with much amusement, that in homes where mostly males had gathered, humans were bathed in a frightful but fun air, making them identify with scary figures out of legends. After many years, they even began dressing up as spirits and delighted in ghost stories. In other areas, where females were prevalent, the humans took the identities of more comical characters or childhood heroes and played silly games.

Of course after the Great Domain Disunion in 1852, when most human-fairy relations were severed for good, this age-old tradition was altered. Children, of course, have always had great fairy relations, so for the last century and a half, it has been up to them to help the Nimlets in the gathering.

Adults still put out the jack-o-lanterns, or even better, cover their porches in orange holiday lights, attracting the Gurt swarms. And out of centuries bred habit, they are easily persuaded to hand out candy to passing children dressed in scary and silly costumes. But, crouched in each child’s sack, plastic pumpkin, or pillowcase is an agile and eager Nimlet friend of the child. While the human adults are distracted by the children, candy giving, and costume judging, the Nimlets quickly hop out, round up the confused and exhausted Gurts and return into hiding for the next doorstep. Munching on a few candies along the way, of course.

In time, the different natures of human and fairy strike a wedge in the relationship. The child gets older and begins to mistake fairies for dreams, and Nimlets move on to smaller children when one believes oneself too old to trick-or-treat. It’s fine with the fairies, but it is the humans that miss out. However, on Halloween Night, if adults decorate with orange lights or jack-o-lanterns and give candy to children, then they are unwittingly helping their local fairy folk and even more surprising, fulfilling their end of a long ago agreement between old friends.

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