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Fairy Rock

There have been hints all day:

  • a rustling behind a fern frond
  • a trail of glitter across a rock
  • a tiny acorn cap filled with tiny berries

But it isn’t until the “Glooming”, that the magical world of fairies on Rum Rock comes alive. For now we can see flickering fairy light coming from tiny fairy dwellings. In the gathering, swirling, inky darkness, we can hear fairy music, which is hard to describe. It sounds a bit like tiny silver wind chimes. But most impressive are the glowing golden orbs that float on the wind.

For those of you unfamiliar with fairy life, the Glooming is the fairies’ favorite time of day. It is that magical time, between sunset and full darkness. No wonder fairies love late June and early July, in the Thousand Islands. At this time of year, the sun sets around ten minutes till nine, but the last light seeps from the sky and darkness settles in around 9:35. In the interim is “The Glooming”, almost 50 minutes of that mystical, transitional time between night and day. The Glooming is when fairies are waking up from their day of sleep and preparing for night time festivities.

I’ve always loved fairies; as a child, I was certain fairies lived in the shady, fern-filled area behind the garage. In the spring, lilies-of-the-valley and violets bloomed amongst the ferns. When my eldest granddaughter was about three, she became enchanted with fairies after watching the movie, Hook, a continuation of the Peter Pan saga. She loved Tinkerbelle. About the same time, I arrived on Rum Rock in the springtime, for the first time, and the blooming of the lilies-of-the-valley and violets, amongst the ferns, revived my fairy fascination.

During those early years with Alison, we spent lots of time playing fairy, either inside the cottage, with pirate ships and a fairy tree house, or outside the cottage amongst the rocks and ferns. We had a favorite spot where we would construct fairy houses. On Alison’s eighth birthday, I wrote a book for her titled, “What I Know About Fairies”. It was a one of a kind, handmade book printed on dark brown paper and hand gilded in sparkly gold ink.

I did a lot of fairy research to write the book. I learned that fairies live anywhere. There are even fairies that live in towns and cities. There is an entire group of fairies devoted to living in old bookstores. As a former children’s librarian…I was fascinated with the idea of book fairies. But mostly, fairies love nature. Fairies love quiet spots and are particularly partial to islands, as this allows them the privacy and seclusion they crave. I looked around Rum Rock…perhaps we should rename it Fairy Rock.

Alison will turn sixteen this summer. Her interest in fairies has long since waned. Her thoughts now focus on obtaining her driver’s license, her friends, Pokémon Go (which is a game of catching fairies) and looking ahead to college. I miss our frolics into fairy world, but as luck would have it…I have two more potential fairy lovers arriving on Rum Rock this month, my younger two granddaughters, who are four and two. Looking forward to fairy teas, fairy house building and many more fairy tales.

Oh, did I mention that grand-parenting on Grenell Island is the very best thing in the world?

Shhhh! Below are fairy magic secrets for grandparents and parents only.

For those of you parenting or grand-parenting on Grenell or other magical islands here are some ideas for making fairy magic.


Fairy Houses:

If you want to make your own, there is plenty of information online or, I’d recommend the book, “Fairy House: How to Make Amazing Fairy Furniture, Miniatures and More from Natural Materials” by Debbie Schramer. There are also lots of pre-made Fairy Houses out there. I love fairy houses made by “The Fiddlehead Village”; most have a place to put a tea candle. I use flickering battery operated tea candles.

Fairy Music:

Actual tiny wind chimes or tiny bells. I hang strings of tiny bells in trees, on either side of the fairy garden.

Floating Fairy Orbs:

Originally, I planned on making glow in the dark bubbles from a recipe I found online, But it seemed like a lot of work and I’d have to recruit someone to be off in the distance blowing the bubbles to keep the illusion. So, I decided to suspend glow-in-the-dark bouncy balls from the trees with fishing line.   Here is the link:


In the morning, I open the doors to the fairy dwellings and sprinkle a trail of glitter leading from the door.

You will need lots of glitter!


My favorites fairy books are:

  • Any book by Mary Cicely Barker
  • The old versions or new “Fairyopolis” books featuring Barker’s artwork
  • “Fairies from A to Z” by Adrienne Keith
  • “Fairies: Celebrations from Season to Season” also by Adrienne Keith


By Lynn E. McElfresh


Lynn McElfresh is a regular contributor to “TI Life,” writing stories dealing with her favorite Grenell Island and island life. This marks number 94. You can see all of here. (We celebrated her #80 in !) Lynn helps us move pianos, fix the plumbing and often finds books, places and people to review… Lynn’s articlesJuly, 2015

[Editor’s Note:  Lynn, your knowledge is a bit suspicious…  I think if we dig a little deeper, we will find that you have a couple of wings hidden close by, as you continue to delight this editor and so many River readers, month after month – it must be fairy magic!

  • August cover photo.JPG

    August cover photo.JPG


Posted in: Places, Nature, People
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Nancy Bond
Comment by: Nancy Bond
Left at: 10:21 AM Monday, August 15, 2016
Thank you so much for this enchanting story. I have been in a real slump lately with my writing. First , computer problems, then eyesight problems and then just feeling sorry for myself, but now I feel like trying again.:-).
there are parts of this old farm that are a natural habitat for fairies. Our generations tend to run together in this family, and the next one is ready for those walks back in the woods where the elves and fairies live. Thank you
Michael Laprade
Comment by: Michael Laprade
Left at: 10:01 PM Monday, August 15, 2016
WOW! And I thought we were the only ones who had fairies on our island!! Who knew!!!. Ours can be seen here:
Lynn McElfresh
Comment by: Lynn McElfresh
Left at: 8:47 PM Thursday, August 18, 2016

Writer to writer I understand all about slumps. So glad the fairies could help!
Lynn McElfresh
Comment by: Lynn McElfresh
Left at: 8:48 PM Thursday, August 18, 2016

Your fairies are adorable! Now that the word is out, I think more fairies will be spreading their magic through our already magical islands!