Drabble 34 – Unseelie


Scene from a Midsummer Night’s Dream by Edwin Landseer

Remember how last week I felt like the year was closing in on me and I was running out of time? Well, my drabble is late for precisely this reason. I am too busy for the end of the year to happen at all and I can’t wait for 2016 to roll around so I can heave a sigh of relief and tell myself I have an entire year to get my life together.

Anyway: fairies. I’ve never been much for fairy tales, at least not until I got older and discovered that I’d been lied to for the vast majority of my life–fairies are way creepy. I stumbled upon Holly Black’s Tithe as a teenager and discovered that a world where fairies were dark and weird and malevolent was way more interesting to me than one where they danced around on flower buds and sipped dewdrops. Tithe introduced me to classic fairy stories (like, the ones about kelpies and changelings and so on) and somewhere along the way I learned about Bordertown and I’ve been hooked ever since.

And like, sure, the picture I chose for this is of Titania, who seems pretty much as Seelie as you can get, right? But let’s be real: A Midsummer Night’s Dream is all about fairies dicking around with mortals for their own purposes and amusement. The lines are not sharply drawn between Seelie and Unseelie, but I wonder whether we ought to draw them at all.

Anyway, here’s a drabble, and let’s hope nobody curses me for my insolence. Maybe I’ll leave out a bowl of cream just in case.


(Noun: Old English unsǣlig for ill-fated, unhappy, wicked, evil, et cetera)

In Scottish folklore, the darker court of fairies.

A prank committed with a light heart and laughter may wound, and a spiteful word may inspire. Useful as it is to divide the world in two, to paint the world in black and white, night and day, is to ignore the fact that fairies dance by twilight.

Certainly there is darkness in them, in that darkness may obscure the truth. Wild, unpredictable, frightening—we fear what we can’t predict, and the unseelie refuse to follow our whims.

Sometimes a ring of mushrooms is poisonous, and sometimes evil is a only a defense. They all look the same in the dark.


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