Tuesday 8 May 2018

Susan McFee's Fairy Boots

Susan McFee's Fairy Boots Object Post 8

Susan McFee lost a wonderful part of her life when she was fifteen. That’s when her beloved grandfather, Harry McFee, died in his cottage over there. He was ready to go, as he told Susan, having outlived his wife by several years. With Harry went Susan’s chance to spend time over there in the fay homeland. Before he died, Harry, a pixie cobbler, made Susan a pair of blue leather boots. They fitted perfectly, and Susan wore them every chance she could. Harry told her these boots were her first gift from over there.

“I won’t be here forever. I’m nearly ninety.”
“You’re a fairy.”
“Fairies don’t live forever any more than humans do. Best you live in your own world, but that doesn’t mean you should forget this one.”
“I never will.”
“You won’t,” he agreed. “It has gifts for you, my sky-maid. At least three, I think.”
“How do you know?”
“I don’t. I just feel it. There will be at least three great gifts for you…and maybe more.”

Susan was still wearing her boots when she was twenty. They hadn’t worn out, and they never pinched her toes. She wore them on her epic three-day walk through the Tasmanian bush, following the compass in her head to the momentous meeting with Si, her forever love, her new name, which was Skye, and her second gift. She wore her boots on her wedding day, and again on her honeymoon, dancing down to the waterfall pool where she and Si swam with the waterfolk and she received her third gift.
She was still wearing them in her fifties, when she walked Pen Swan to her wedding with Duffy Inkersoll, and in 2018 when she and Si danced at their daughter’s wedding (Honey refused to marry until her son was born and she could fit a wedding dress.)
Skye McFee is a happy person. Maybe she has regrets, that she she didn’t have a strong relationship with her parents or with her mother’s family, growing up. These days she is closer to her only daughter. Having a child of her own has given Honey a broader perspective. Skye wore her boots to Ashby’s double baptism, once at St Botolph’s gateway church and once at the fall pool over there. She fully expects to go on wearing them for the rest of her life. What will happen to them after that? Skye hasn’t decided. She might give them to Honey or to someone else. She won’t take them to her grave, because that would be a great waste of good fay leather and waste is something Skye can’t abide. Besides, she won’t need them once she’s dead.

“Where will you go, Grandad?” she asked, as he lay in his hut looking up at the embroidered panel she’d made on that one long visit. It was golden lace, overlaying a brilliant sky.
“Who knows, sky-maid? Off to your granny I hope and trust.” He’d given a last smile and closed his eyes. Fay rarely got ill, but they wore out, just the same as humans. Harry McFee was ninety and a bit.


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. She runs  Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)
The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. 2017 is well behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of February 18th 2018 I STILL hadn't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books to come, and I'm certainly showcasing those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, places and objects. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far!

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