This past weekend, the girls and I attended a fish fry at our new church. After we had eaten*, I sat around and talked to adults about people I don't know, because I'm still working on it. The girls ran off and played with other kids.
Brynna found a little boy about her age and they seemed completely entranced in what they were doing. They were both crouched on the ground, heads together by the back steps of the church, deep in conversation. No one else ventured too near them and I didn't want to interrupt whatever was fascinating them.
When the boy left, Brynna wandered over to see what I was doing. By that time, I had noticed Maren making over a newborn and decided that I should intervene before she decided to pick him up and change his diaper. After I had warned her to keep her distance and respect the baby's personal space, I got pulled into a discussion on heredity and hair.
I broke away and asked Brynna what she was up to, as she stood watching me.
"I wanted to show you these," she said.
What she held up were carefully constructed garments made of blades of grass, tree leaves and weeds. They were held together by clover stems and tiny blooms from something yellow.
"They're beautiful," I told her. "What are they?" Some kids are offended if you ask them what something they've made is. Brynna is opposite. She wants to tell you, to explain in great detail.
"They're fairy clothes," she responded. "Did you know that fairies used to be this tall," she asked holding her hands about a foot apart, "but now they are only this tall?" Her hands were now only a few inches apart.
"They just started growing that way. Because of the people."
"Oh, evolution. Sort of the opposite of human evolution. We've gotten taller."
"Yeah. They can live other places now. Like inside flower buds. It makes them harder to find."
"Oh, yeah? Where do they live in the winter, when there aren't many flower buds?"
"Oh, they migrate?"
"The males do. The females live under porches and decks and inside Christmas decorations."
For the next hour, as we got Maren, gathered our things, bid our farewells, and drove home, Brynna regaled me with the complicated and perfect set of rules governing fairy life. Everything from keeping and hunting animals to cooking habits were discussed. (By the way, you should know that fairies are vegetarian, but they hunt and raise animals for their skins (which are sometimes used for clothing) and to feed to their carnivorous pets like owls.) Every question I asked received an answer.
Fairies are born without wings and begin to grow them at the beginning of puberty. They sleep by folding them around them like a blanket, except for fairy children who sleep however they like. Female fairies do most of the work, but males travel a lot. Some fairy families have psychic members who see the future and prepare their families. Fairies don't like to cook, but do for company and special occasions.
I can't begin to describe how wonderful it all was. As someone who has spent a lot of time reading fantasy of one stripe or another, I am always fascinated by the world building, the governing rules, the particular set of myths a creator uses. Seeing Brynna build a world in a couple of hours was truly amazing and oh so fun. I hope she builds a million more.
*Well, after I had eaten and the girls had very politely failed to take anything but baked beans, tomatoes and cookies.