Wednesday, April 8, 2009


This sing-song magic word of fairy lore echoes the tradition of ritually-chanted angelic names. The word is meant to be said three times while one lies flat on the ground. For those who are kind to animals but uncertain of the syllables, a long chain of glowworms will spell out this word as if “it were in gold letters upon the earth.” The effect of the word is a revelation of glamour—the unveiling of an enchanted woodland. As Edward H. Knatchbull-Hugessen describes it Tales at Tea-Time (1872),
The word had scarcely passed his lips for the third time before an occurrence took place which filled him with astonishment. A veil seemed to have been suddenly withdrawn from his face, and the whole scene before him had marvelously changed. Immediately before his eyes, within a few yards of the spot where he had lain down, appeared a forest, full of magnificent trees spreading out their branches towards the skies, heavy with luxuriant foliage. . . . Amid their branches a myriad birds poured forth the sweetest and most entrancing melody.