The birds are flying south now. When I go for walks in the morning with my dog, their nests are empty and the trees where they used to sit and sing their songs are bare.
I can’t really blame them.
It’s the wood sprites that chase them out, really. They don’t like the cold or the snow, but only I think they would stay if the little sprites didn’t chase them from their nests, scatter red paint over the leaves, and pick the branches bare.
They really are very naughty.
My dog likes to bark at them. I hush him when he does, because the sprites like to come and tie knots in his fur when he’s too mean to them. It isn’t nice at all, but whoever heard of a wood sprite that was nice?
I tell my neighbors about them, but they only laugh and roll their eyes. Crazy old Mary, they say. What will she think of next? Their children laugh at me, and none of them come to my house when I invite them for cookies and apple cider in the fall. They don’t like the stories I tell about the wood sprites, or the little ghosts I catch in my pumpkin patch, or the faeries I find in my garden in the spring. They don’t like me. They think I’m odd.
But I like being odd. I like my faeries, and I like the wood sprites too, although they’re terribly mischievous. I like being able to see things other people aren’t sure of, or know aren’t there. I write stories about them, although I don’t tell people the stories are true, and my books are scattered through every library and bookstore in the country.
But they still won’t come for cookies. I’ll have to feed them to the wood sprites. Maybe then they’ll leave my magpies alone.