Three days before Samhain, and my insomnia was growing worse every night, for a Blue Moon was getting fuller and fuller. Even the air felt super charged.
After hearing coyotes screech and howl last night, I decided to take a walk on the wooded path behind our house. This path (I later found out from an archeologist studying stone ruins in the area) was actually a corridor used by Native Americans and early Maine settlers to get down to a river stocked with salmon. I picked up some acorns idly and rattled them in my palm as I walked.
I don't know what I'd been looking for; my mind was on other things, but I got the shock of my life when straight in front of me, I spied a Wee Thing in a tangle of downed wood.
For at least three years now I'd been observing a rath of Wee Folk in and around our woods, but after all the books I could get my hands on, I knew exactly what this sidhe was and I was instantly chilled.
When the Witch Hare appears on a full moon and before the Veil thins between Their world and Ours, she is stronger, and more powerful than either the Sentinel or the Huntress in the rath. She is a shapeshifter, a pet of the witch, a devotee to the Snow Queen and can be either a rabbit or even an astral projection between matter and spirit. In any case, upon seeing her I began to shake, for I knew she could force me down to the fort to live for thousands of years, imprisoned.
I kept a careful distance and set down the acorns as a gift. I said: "I know you are both spirit and shadow. I know you can do me harm, so I wish to leave you alone. And tonight, I will lay some cake and wine in by the fire pit by our home for your rath."
A slight breeze ruffled her skirt fashioned from cattail fluff, but she made no move.
At last she turned around and descended back into that dark tangle of downed branches and disappeared.
I love making Wee Folk fairy dresses. I love making tiny shadowboxes. Like cookies in cream, I combined them both. This is The Witch Hare, a fragile dress made from dried grass and cattail fluff perched in a shadowbox on a bed of dark green moss with two sprouting mushrooms. Watch.
Here she is.
The Hare Witching Hour.
Behind The Curtain. Had to learn how to learn miniature wiring.
Here is the Witch Hare in her natural element.
After another nor'easter blew through, piling up two feet of snow everywhere in Maine, there were pockets of arctic blue in the snowbanks when I happened upon this one, hiding.
I had a closer look and confirmed that indeed, I'd found a wee Witch Hare, tucked amongst the banks.
Click here to see the story of the one I'd found last spring. This one, made from dried grass bodice and a gone-to-seed cattail skirt is adorned with dried field flowers. She is one of the "Others" and I suddenly grew cold as the snow. She did not care for me looking down at her and so I walked away.
In the moonlight in the field, the old woman thought she'd seen a hare popping up and down, its long ears a tell tale giveaway and she loaded her rifle and shot at it. The scream that followed made her blood run cold and she put down the rifle to look for it. When she got to the exact spot where she'd shot it, nothing was in the matted grass but a few spots of blood. Behind her a tiny voice said, "Ye'll be sorra now." What she thought was a hare, was one of the Others in a soft gown of cattail she'd mistaken for fur and old woman knew she'd done something very, very wrong.
Story inspired by The Witch Hare in The Book of Fairy and Folk Tales of Ireland (W.B. Yeats, reprinted 2004)
Tonic of the Woods
the inspiration behind the creations
Photos, stories and concept ©Kay Stephens
Look up the story behind a fairy dress by clicking on the name below