How Fairy Dance Park Came to Be
Fairy Dance Park is an oasis of green, a hundred and sixty acres of
tranquility in the midst of an otherwise bustling concrete and asphalt
city. Most of it is a more or less conventional city park, with
picnic areas and tennis courts and tree-shaded walkways along with the
usual access roads and parking lots.
But the corner with the hill is different. It's fenced off from
the rest of the park, although the fence isn't all that hard to climb
over. Unlike the rest of the park it has no roads or
trails. It's old-growth forest, not neatly manicured lawn grass.
A sign on the fence proclaims the hill to be Fairy Dance Mountain, and
quotes a local folk song:
If you climb their hill by moonlight they'll invite you to
A magic night of merriment and song.
But they will never warn you as the joyous hours advance
That it's many many years until the dawn.
That corner is fenced off and left to grow wild because the family that
left their farm to the city for a park specified it in their
will. That much of the story is public record. But there's
more that the locals may tell you once they get to know you, if you
seem willing to believe.
The farm had been in the family since pioneer days, handed down from
father or mother to son or daughter for generations. The names
changed with each daughter's marriage, but it was the same family
And this family believed in Fairies. The lore was handed down,
usually from mother or grandmother to daughter or granddaughter.
There were Fairies living on the hill in the back corner of the farm,
and they were friends of the family.
They weren't the kind of friends you'd get into the habit of dropping
in on every evening to chat. They kept pretty much to themselves,
and expected their friends to respect their privacy. But as long
as you respected them and left them small gifts on certain holidays
that most mortals have forgotten about, they would bring you good
Thus the farm prospered. True, the family had to do their share
of the work, plowing and planting and weeding and harvesting, but as
long as they were diligent their efforts were well rewarded.
There was another part to the bargain as well: While the family
had the use of most of the farm, the corner with the hill belonged to
the Fairies. Family members did not go there, except when
invited, or to leave gifts or messages.
It was said that sometimes, on moonlit nights, you could hear music and
song coming from atop the Fairies' hill. But you were warned not
to climb the hill to see who or what was singing.
There were tales of trespassers who ignored the warnings and went up
the hill to crash the party. Sometimes they came back
disappointed, convinced the whole thing was nothing but a fairy
story. But sometimes they didn't come back, or they came back
decades later, convinced that they had only spent a single night on the
Most of these happenings were the kinds of things that other
storytellers have spoken of as happening on other Fairy hills
elsewhere, so it is difficult to sort out any facts in this
matter. But the one thing the locals all swear to is what
happened to the final generation of the farm family, and why the area
is now a city park.
Jeff Spenser, the only child of Marie and Blake Spenser, had no
interest in farming or Fairies. He was more interested in science
fiction. He preferred mad scientists to wicked witches,
flame-belching rocket ships to fire-breathing dragons. After he
finished high school he studied computers in college, then went to
Silicon Valley to seek his fortune. There he met and married
She shared his interest in science fiction, but not his disinterest in
things magical. When they came back now and then to visit his
parents on the farm she would listen in rapt fascination to Mom's tales
of the Fair Folk while he would read a book or talk of other things
Meanwhile the future of the farm was looking rather bleak. Jeff
had no interest in taking over the farm. The nearby town was
showing signs of growing into a fair-sized city, and developers were
starting to approach them about buying the land. Mom and Dad had
enough savings to live out their lives in relative comfort without
selling, but Jeff seemed likely to sell once he inherited the place.
In due course Jeff and Elizabeth had a son, Ed. From an early age
he showed signs of sharing Elizabeth's interest in both science fiction
and fantasy. And he enjoyed their visits to the farm, where
Grandma would tell him all about the Fairies on the hill out back while
Grandpa and Dad talked of other things.
Then tragedy struck. Ed started to sicken. They took him to
the best doctors Silicon Valley had to offer. The doctors
diagnosed a rare genetic mutation, but could do nothing but watch it
slowly get worse and worse. They were confident that medical
science would find a cure eventually, but it would be many years too
late for Ed.
Jeff and Elizabeth decided to make another visit to the farm while Ed
was still healthy enough to enjoy it.
This time Grandma had another tale of the Fairies.
During the Vietnam War era a number of young men had come to the farm,
seeking to climb Fairy Dance Mountain to escape the draft. Those
who were simply looking for a way to avoid getting shot at would come
back down the hill in the morning, feeling rather sheepish for having
believed such fairy tales. But many of those who truly felt the
war was wrong didn't come back at all.
It's unclear who got the idea first, Grandma or Elizabeth or Ed.
But all three agreed that it was Ed's best hope. Jeff was much
harder to convince, but eventually gave in, lured by images of the
science-fiction future he had long dreamed of.
The weeks leading up to the next Full Moon were busy ones, with Jeff
and Elizabeth putting their affairs in order while Grandma and Grandpa
changed their wills.
Then on the night of the Full Moon Jeff and Elizabeth and Ed climbed
the hill out back where the Fairies were having their
celebration. They have not been seen since.
The police back in Silicon Valley suspected foul play, but when the
local sheriff came around and talked to Grandma and Grandpa he could
find no grounds to make a case. Besides, he also believed in
When Grandma and Grandpa eventually passed on, their estate sold part
of the farm to the developers for enough money to set up a fund to
maintain the rest of it as a park forever.
So that is how Fairy Dance Park got its name, and why the corner with
the hill is fenced off as a wildlife preserve, and why the fence isn't
as secure as it might otherwise be. And that may also be why the
city has prospered and its children have done well in school and there
has been little crime in its streets.
And it is also why many of those in high places in the town will, once
they get to know you and feel comfortable telling you secrets, will
admit that they do believe in Fairies.
-- Tom Digby
Written 22:37 Fri October 15 2004
Edited 15:14 Sat November 6 2004
Edited 21:04 Sat November 6 2004
HTML version 22:47 Sat November 6 2004
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