My Magic Collar Stud
I expect you want to ask me ‘How do you know they are fairies?’ Well, I’ll tell you. I can sometimes spot fairies and other magic people because I am descended from a fairy called Melusine. She married the Count Raymondin of Lusignan about eight hundred years ago, and they had ten children, all boys. All the kings of England after Henry II are descended from Melusine. King Henry II and his sons Richard I and John had the most awful tempers. And people in their time said it was because they were descended from a fairy. When Henry got angry he used to tear up his bedclothes with his teeth, but he was a jolly good king when he kept his temper. King George and I are both descended from Henry II, but he got the crown and I got the temper. Of course my temper is not quite as bad as King Henry’s. You can’t expect a temper to last seven hundred years with out some of its corners getting rubbed a bit. And the king has a better crown than King Henry had, because since King Henry’s time people have dug up a lot of diamonds and put them in the crown, as you can see if you go to the Tower of London.
By the way, I forgot to tell you that Melusine became a snake from the waist downwards every Saturday. If you want to know more you can read a book about her that my wife wrote.
The last fairy I met lives in Wandsworth, and keeps a magic shop there. In the window of the magic shop you always see a lot of different kinds of things, such as pen-knives and sweets and pails, and capstan bars and scales and weights and ornaments for empty grates, as the poet says. You hardly ever find a fairy keeping shop with only one sort of thing, like a greengrocer’s or a tailor’s or a fishmonger’s. And of course fairies never keep large shops because you can’t trust other people to sell magic things. They sell them to the wrong sorts of people. I mean what earthly use would a pair of seven-league boots be to a bus driver? And yet they’re just what a postman needs. Or think what would happen if someone sold a cloak of darkness or a cap of invisibility to a traffic police - man. He’d be invisible and all the cars and lorries and buses would run over him. Besides no one would see him holding his hand up. But of course a cap of invisibility is awfully useful to a window cleaner because he can clean the windows without stopping any of the light. And it’s very useful to a man in a big tailor’s shop. He just makes himself invisible and moves the dummy ladies and gentlemen in the window about. And then everyone stops them come in and buy new hats and trousers and skirts and waistcoats and things.
My Magic Collar Stud [Stories for kids]
By J.B.S. Haldane; Published by Vigyan Prasar, India
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