Thou, queen, art the fairest in the land;
but o'er the hills, in the shade
a beauty lays to bed,
she's lovelier by far - so take her head.
This story concerns a breathtaking young man who dreamed of the love of a beautiful girl in his village. One night he made a special cake from a recipe he learned from his grandmother, and he waited in the dark for a faerie to come and take it.
The door opened; a dark tall faerie came in. He said to the faerie, “Not for you,” but his arrogance failed him; he shouldn’t have spoken to her. So he sat and waited a little longer. The door opened again; a loathly hag stepped in. The hag reached out her hand for the cake, but the young man slapped her hand away and said with anger, “Not for you.” His wrath got the better of him; he shouldn’t have touched her. So he sat and waited a little longer, and the door opened; a lady of unearthly beauty and grace stepped in, and he could say nothing, so stunned was he.
And the lady said, “For me,” and took his cake.
She stayed with him after that, this lady. She granted his wishes but somehow they were always twisted. He wished for money, and soon he married an ugly old woman, in the hopes that she would die and leave him nothing. The old woman proved healthier than he could imagine and was cruel and mean. The youth turned to his Fae lady again and wished the old woman dead.
True to her word, the Fae lady brought the plague to the town and the old woman died – so too did the young man’s sweetheart. He gained the mean old woman’s riches – but his love was dead – and so he wished himself dead and fell into a deep slumber.
He awoke in his coffin, buried six feet under, and as he began to beat upon the wood in his face, he heard a sweet, melodic voice say, “For me.” If anyone were to dig up his coffin, they would find nothing but dried leaves and stones.
This is the way of the Fairest. They take what and whom they will take, and they will have their fun first. They are to be loved and admired and they have right to treat that love how they will. The few who try to rise above that pettiness are something to be admired. They won their beauty very fairly.
Their flight from through the Hedge was the hardest to accomplish. The world they were a part of was hedonistic and very, very enchanting. It was a beautiful world filled to the brim with pain that was sweet and cruelty that was pleasant. They were surrounded by creatures thousands of times lovelier than anything on Earth. They had to focus all of their being on remembering what it was to be plain and to walk among the ordinary.
So, those who do leave are those with enough sense of self to abandon ecstasy, to love themselves and practice poetic justice. Theirs is a lesson in Pride and Wrath. Their dreams are filled with hellish beauty. Radiant blossoms become drenched in blood. Hair from a lover’s face becomes strands of barbed wire slicing their smiles away. And when they wake they don’t quite know if their screaming in anger or bliss.