Some years back a miniature fairy house appeared in the woods on top of a stump alongside a trail through a park. Being one of the smaller horse trails it isn’t one of the most traveled trails there, but it does get regular use – mainly by pedestrians, but horseback riders use it too. Someone had put quite a bit of effort into carefully crafting the scene, self contained on its own circular platform. The house had a light fixture as the top of the roof and central pole, though it never provided light as it was mounted directly to the base with no power source. A ring of lavender colored petals made up the rest of the roof, while bark formed the sides of the little house. A tiny white picket fence encircled the base, and the yard inside the fence had scenery including a pond, pathway, lawn, and some miniature trees and mushrooms. Unfortunately it never occurred to me to take a picture of it, though I enjoyed seeing it and often slowed down or stopped to look whenever I passed by.
By 2018 when my daughter and her kids came to visit the fairy house had already been there several years. It was still mostly intact though a portion of the little fence had seen better days. Sheri took a few photos, one of which is the earliest picture I have of the fairy house. She did more than just look at it in passing like I always had. Tucked into a hidden nook in the stump she found a little jar with some papers inside. They identified the place as a geocache and had a list where people could put their names and where they were from. Considering she had come from Australia and would be the most distant person on that list she made sure to bring a pen the next time we went to that park so she could add her name. Eventually over the years as the stump rotted a bit the little nook became exposed enough that the jar was easily seen. It stayed around for quite awhile after that. Sometimes people would move it to different places on the stump, but always somewhere near the fairy house. Eventually the little jar vanished forever.
Occasionally people moved the fairy house to other nearby stumps, but it remained in the same area and always came back to its original stump. As time passed the scene around the little fairy house became a bit barren. The house itself fell over a couple times and even off the platform once, but always got returned to its original spot, though eventually it was just pieces of bark rubber banded around the light. Then one day the little house was gone, light fixture and all. It wasn’t laying on the ground nearby as it had been previously when it fell. This time the little purple roof sat in the fairy yard all alone, no longer topping a fairy house.
Since that was obviously an intentional removal it seemed possible that someone might have planned on replacing it since it was in ever-deteriorating condition, but weeks passed and no new fairy house appeared. I missed it being there and started scouting through the woods as I passed along the trails in that park looking for a suitable replacement. Though there are many downed trees, branches, and sawed bits where trees that had fallen across the trail and been removed, there were not any of the right size nor any with a flat end to set upon the platform. I did find one of the right circumference though. This log I tucked into an indent on the edge of the stump. With the purple petal roof on top and the platform set next to it turned so the opening in the little fence sat against the new log like a doorway a new fairy house was born. It stayed that way for quite a long time.
The yard of the fairy house was still a lot more bare than it had originally been. At Christmastime one year when there are a lot of little figurines available in the store for not much money I got a snowy tree and a log pile with some squirrels on it to add a little more interest.
One day not too long after my new additions were added the fairy house was gone. Not the log forming the house itself this time as that remained tucked into the stump, but everything else. The whole entire platform had disappeared along with the little roof – and the squirrel logs and snowy tree. The platform had not been temporarily moved to another stump ever since the fairy house was no longer sitting on the platform. It had not been moved this time either. It was just gone. Perhaps whoever had originally put it there took it home for repairs? I considered that possibility, but it never came back. Missing the fairy house every time I passed by that stump one day I gave it a roof of dead fern leaves (because it was winter and there weren’t any live ones nearby), added some greenery from fallen branches, and stood pine cones around the edges wherever there was a spot to put them like a little fence. It wasn’t much, but it was at least something. Someone else added a tall stick. Most of the pine cones either got knocked completely off the stump or knocked over so they didn’t stay long. Whether that was wind, people, or squirrels I have no clue.
I couldn’t find anything like the original petal roof, but fashioned a new one with a plastic vine and flower from the dollar store. Adding a miniature ceramic bench from the local thrift store put a bit of color into its yard, which without the platform consisted of moss and stump top. Apparently I wasn’t the only one missing the fairy house because it wasn’t long before a little clump of red ceramic mushrooms appeared near the tiny bench. Soon after someone added a trinket to the house log giving the appearance of a window. Later a heart necklace showed up hanging on the side of the big stump. I added a fairy door and bridge to make it look more like a fairy house and populated the yard with a tiny turtle and a few itty-bitty frogs.
One day I noticed a painted rock on top of a post on a trail on the other side of the park. It sat there for about a week, then was gone. About a week or two later that very same rock showed up at the fairy house.
It’s fun always nice to walk by and see when anyone has added something new. Walking by with my husband one day I mentioned a dragon in a cave-like opening at the bottom of the stump would be a good addition so he ordered one on his phone before we even finished the walk.
This fairy house was not as fancy as the original and never would be, but it was fun to add things and to see what other people add too. It turned onto a community effort. The regulars who go by there definitely enjoyed the return of the fairy house, and their part in decorating it. It still brought smiles to the faces of any visitors walking by too, at least anyone who likes coming across anything whimsical in the woods.
Eventually the dragon vanished. Apparently some people think they can just take whatever they want even though they have no right to abscond with anything they didn’t put there. People leave things for everyone who passes by to enjoy, not as free additions to somebody else’s private collection. It is possible people searching for the geocache think things are there for the taking, but also possible people just want the things for themselves or there’s one person who doesn’t like whimsy in the woods that takes it all away.
One day the fairy house had new neighbors. A gnome village appeared on a nearby stump. A lot of people missed the original fairy house and bring new things to the area for everyone else to enjoy. It’s a continuous work in progress. I found a bigger and more roof-shaped flower to replace the small one in the middle of the vine roof. Not as good as the roof the original fairy house had, but better than it was.
Unfortunately not everyone brings things to the fairy house. Some people take them away. The turtle and painted rock vanished together one day.
Several weeks later one of the three frogs vanished, and a new painted rock appeared, followed closely by another painted rock.
Sadly one day the replacement fairy house vanished, along with all the gnomes not attached to the village platform. Unlike the grinch in the story, rather than returning it, this real life grinch did further damage to the stump and threw the log that had made the base for the house into the nearby woods, then it left the area. Someone found it somewhere eventually and put it back, but the ledge it once sat on at the side of the stump was one of the things damaged when it was first taken so it doesn’t sit up so high now.
Not to be discouraged, other people added a few things, one of which looks suspiciously like the light that was the infrastructure of the original fairy house. It’s an ongoing everchanging display by those determined not to let one grinch ruin things for everyone else. After the small things stayed for some length of time it was time to try a new fairy house. The third rendition is much smaller, but came with a fairy and her yard furnishings as well as a number of small creatures.
Eventually some of those items began to go missing, starting with the painted rocks and moving on to small things like mushrooms and a bunny. It’s unknown whether this is the work of the whimsy hating grinch, or of people looking for the geocache who think items are there for the taking – nothing had vanished for several months until a welcome to the fairy house sign which said additions are welcome, subtractions are not disappeared.
Shortly after things started going missing many new neighbors to the fairy house appeared scattered around the immediate area.
After all those years of the original fairy house sitting in that spot, it’s now become constantly in flux with some people bringing things and others taking them away. It’s always fun to see what’s new, and sad to see what’s gone.
The dolls didn’t last long, unlike the gnome village which is still there, minus the last gnome. Currently there is nothing but a ladybug left on the original stump, but the orange fairy house pictured above is still there along with a purple one hanging from a tree. Hopefully the new fairy houses and anything else people bring will stay for a long time.
The things in the woods are kind of like the people you meet in life. Some just pass through your life briefly while others stay around a long time. Some are like the very trees of the forest. It seems like they have always been there and always will be, but nothing is forever and sometimes windstorms knock down trees.
Copyright My Cruise Stories 2021
Very interesting and well-written. It is sad that some people take pleasure in destroying what other people create.