Peter LeStrange sat at the bottom of the rectory garden and watched the fairies dancing.
In recent weeks it had been becoming a source of increasing concern to the Priest of the parish of Tilford that where once he had seen only sunlight flashing in the little stream, now he saw fairies buzzing about.
- Not all the time, mind you.
Sometimes he'd be sitting on the garden bench, reading a book, sipping a pink gin (old Mrs Spacek next door produced a deep blood red molasses sweet sloe gin for which he had developed a liking) or just listening to the breeze, and the only thing moving would be the leaves and the water. Sometimes the air would be thick with clouds of little lace-winged bodies, squeaking and chattering to each other.
He had considered the possibility that he might have been going insane. But he only had his hallucination in the one place, and then not more than once every few days; besides, fairies at the bottom of one's garden was an eccentricity that was almost de rigueur for a country parson.. He had just about settled into the belief that he was, indeed, a little eccentric, when his wife asked him how he could remain so calm with elves whizzing around his head.
"They aren't elves dear, they're fairies."
"You can see them?"
"Of course I can see them, this is my hallucination."
"I think I'm real enough."
"But the fairies aren't."
The conversation had deteriorated into abject confusion, and they both decided to head indoors, and to try not to mention it again. Finally it became hard to ignore when the fairies, now visible most of the time, began to construct a city across the three willow trees.
"I'm going to call the council," said his wife.
"What can they do about it?"
"They can send an exterminator."
"Exterminator! They aren't wasps!"
"They're like insects, building their little nests everywhere."
"Their ‘little nests' are two-storey wooden houses six inches high."
"And that's another thing," she continued, "they're cutting up the trees."
"All the same, they're like little people."
"They're a pest, and I'm calling the council." The statement sounded final.
"I don't think they'll be much help," said the reverend, resignedly.
He overheard her on the ‘phone to pest control:
"We don't really know what they are; they've built nests all over the willow trees."
Two men in overalls stood staring at the trees. The short one rubbed his forehead doubtfully:
"Well it's a myth, really, isn't it?"
"I'm not sure they're mythical-"
"Illogical, whatever, I think it's more sort of folk-lore."
"Can't be, stands to reason. The way I see it, your basic insect has three distinguishing features: you've got your single pair of wings, your six legs and your compound eyes."
He stood blinking for a moment.
"What we've got here," continued the short one, "is your single pair of wings, but simple eyes and only four limbs."
"Not to mention what I would define as distinctly mammalian characteristics," agreed the tall one, batting a tiny but perfectly formed naked female body away from his face with the back of his hand.
"Rather grubby, too. And why don't they wear leaves for clothes and bluebells for hats?"
"Wrong time of year for bluebells."
Peter LeStrange came down the garden.
"What do you think, gentlemen?"
"I don't think we're qualified to deal with folklore infestations Reverend."