Queen of Fairies
The late duchess of Gordon taking an airing in her carriage in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands, observed, at some distance from the road, a neat cottage, surrounded by a garden. Her grace pulled the check-string, and desired the servants to go round with the carriage to a place where she desired them to stop, while she crossed the moor to pay the cottage a visit. The duchess happened to wear a green pelisse trimmed with gold lace, and her hat ornamented with gold spangles.
A girl about twelve years old, the only person in the cottage, was spinning at the wheel and singing a merry strain. As soon as her eye caught the figure of the duchess approaching, the green dress, the shining appearance of the hat, on which the sun shown, all so worked on the imagination of the little girl, that she verily believed the Queen of Fairies had come to reveal to her some fearful mystery of fate. In great terror she escaped to a back closet, where, thro’ a small aperture, she could see without being seen.
The supposed Fairy Queen entered, surveyed the apartment with a curious eye, and then seeing the wheel, bethought herself of trying to spin. She gave the wheel several turns, but could not make a tolerable thread, though she twisted up all the carded wool she could find. As some compensation for any injury her awkwardness might have occasioned, her grace tied a crown piece in a handkerchief that lay upon the table, fixed it to a spoke of the wheel and departed.
The girl could not summon courage to venture from her hiding place before her father and sister came in, nor till some time after could they extract from her an explanation of the extraordinary pertubation in which they found her.
Their surprise was scarcely less than hers, when they were informed that somebody, who could be no other than the Queen of the Fairies, for she was all in green and gold, and shining bright as the sun, had come into the house, and seeing nobody there, had fallen to bewitching the wheel, which as sure as fairies, would never go again! “And see,” continued the young enthusiast, pointing to the handkerchief, and the sight of the sterling piece of coin which it contained, soon dispelled from his mind all suspicion as to the terrestrial attributes of the lady who had been honoring his cottage with a visit.
The women of the cottage, however, were of a very different opinion. With them the lady could be no other than the Fairy Queen who must doubtless have come to tell poor Isabel her fortune; the spoiled thread was a sign that the first days of her life would be marked with disappointment and sorrow; and the crown piece tied in a handkerchief to the spoke of the wheel, betokened that she would in the end arrive by honest industry at wealth and comfort. Harmless delusion! It lasted but for a day.
Sunday came, and the appearance of the Queen of Fairies in the same dress at church, as the duchess of the manor, convinced even Isabel that she had been deceived.
The original newspaper, Vol. 1, No. 39, is available for purchase at Steam at Harper’s Ferry. The newspaper is comprised of pages 153-156 of the volume and has several poems and articles.