From the Witch’s Bedtable



From then on it was as though she lived to music.  To music she followed him barefoot, climbed a sycamore tree to look into a magpie’s nest, made love in the rain.  Once, they came to a wide-rattling burn, with a green lawn on the further bank.  He leaped across, and held out his hand for her to catch hold of.  It was too wide a leap for her and she took to her wings.  It was the first time in her life she had flown, and the sensation delighted her.  She rose in another flight, curling and twirling for the pleasure and mastery of it, as a fiddler plays a cadenza.  She soared higher and higher, looking down on the figure at the burnside, small as  beetle and the centre of the wide world.  He beckoned her down; she dropped like a hawk and they rolled together on the grass.  He made little of her flying, even less of her queenship, nothing at all of her immense seniority.  Love was in the present:  in the sharp  taste of the rowan berries he plucked for her, in the winter night when a gale got up and whipped them to the shelter of a farm where he kindled a fire and roasted turnips on a stick, in their midnight mushrooming, in the long summer evenings when they lay on their backs too happy to move or speak, in their March-hare curveting and cuffing.  For love-gifts, he gave her acorns, birds’ eggs, a rose gall because it is called the fairies’ pincushion, a yellow snail shell.

~ Kingdoms of Elfin by Sylvia Townsend Warner

3 responses to “From the Witch’s Bedtable

  1. Link doesn’t work. Thank you.



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