Friday, March 21, 2014

OXENBLOOD’S CYCLOPEDIUM OF AUSTRALIA, 1931


 Fairies [or Faeries]
It is now certain amongst all scientific men that fairies do in fact exist, and indeed can cast magic amongst even the poorest of us, as long as we are thrifty. The ancient dark races of Australia were well aware of the faerie, and indeed carved a tree – still in existence in Melbourne’s Fitzroy Gardens – in honour of these little mites.
            These faeries are not the sylvan fops of the British specie but a hardier, more virile race which dandle on the thicket with gusto. They were first noted by Cook’s botanist, Banks, in 1769; he wrote: ‘Many of the local sprites welcomed us at Cape Dreary, and danced about on Midshipman Easy’s table where some of the crew made play to capture them under goblets. Yet they were always too sparky.’ Since that time, sightings of faeries have been made as far north as Cape York and as far south as Heugenot, though many subspecies once noted as prolific have been seen to have become dispersed, and perhaps completely extinct, in the Dulwich Hill area.
            The Hon. Willam Pilt, Deacon of Murrumbidgee, writes: ‘There are many of species of faerie in the Murrumbidgee area, including the large, bumbling Hobnob variety and the petite, hirsute Ragtail type. All are dressed in the most delightful silken outfits with small pointed hats. Many an evening, wandering upon the famous Murrumbidgee moors, I have startled a Hobnob and even once a Hobtail cavorting with a Wignob, out amongst the blackboys and ferns on the big plateau rock that overlooks Wooramai Gully.’
            Deacon Pilt continues: ‘My esteemed colleague Deacon Blue, of Ramsay, Qld. and I have long enjoyed correspondence on the sightings of faeries we have made in our respective dioceses, although he insists, bless his soul, that the plural form is actually dioci. Deacon Blue actually caught a common Wigtail dressed in a downy green anorak but, when he tried to press her in a book to send her to me, she turned him into stone.
            ‘This has limited our ability to communicate further on the subject.’

See also: Anoraks; Banks, Joseph and Banking System; Murrumbidgee; Ramsay, Qld; Sparkiness.

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