One doesn’t often think of fairies traveling – most tales have them inhabiting a particular forest or heath, but in truth many fairies are beset by an abiding wanderlust. That was certainly the case with Verlaine Lalouche, a French fairy and her lovely cousin Marcellin Terrebonne, who made her home in the wild & mysterious New World. They had decided to rendezvous in Switzerland to rest up for an exhaustive European tour and so found themselves in Neufchatel, flitting around fragrant cafes and ancient forests.
In a well-appointed villa in the exact center of one such forest, a doctor’s wife had commandeered her husband’s laboratory and was concocting all manner of unusual potions. Truth be told, she was bored witless. The doctor and his best friend, Monsieur Pernod had decamped to Brussels for extended carousing and she had no idea when they might return and so she decided to brew up a little something with which to entertain herself in the meantime. It was into that something – an intensely green maceration of wormwood, fennel and anise steeped in a bracing alcohol distillation – that Verlaine and Marcellin landed after being blown through an open window by a warm but strong spring zephyr originating high in the Alps. After their initial shock, they both dissolved into giggles and spent some time splashing around in the unusual bath. “It’s done an admirable job tightening up your pores, my dear,” remarked Marcellin, “but I fear we’ve also acquired a subtle green tint!” The damp and tipsy fairies were in no shape to travel and collapsed into their unwitting hostess’s sewing basket for a nap.
The good doctor’s wife had been sampling her concoction most of the evening (“Needs sugar”, she thought) and therefore was less alarmed than one might imagine to find a pair of green fairies yawning in her parlor. By the time her husband and his companion arrived home, she was fairly incoherent and babbling about green butterflies. Upon sampling what she’d been drinking, the doctor deemed it “Absinthe”, which translates roughly to “undrinkable”. Monsieur Pernod was not so sure, and indeed, he bottled his own absinthe recipe, that along with Madame’s Butterfly Absinthe, became the most popular brands in fin de siecle Europe. Having thoroughly enjoyed the evening, Verlaine swiped a bottle and brought it to France. She made a point of showing up whenever anyone ordered some to swipe a sip, thereby fueling many a tale of La Fee Verte, or the Green Fairy, who might appear when one partook of the pale green libation. Marcellin shipped a bottle home to New Orleans, and inspired a besotted Catalan named Cayetano Ferrer to invent the Sazerac, a most potent absinthe cocktail. Should you have the opportunity to indulge in some absinthe yourself, be sure to keep an eye out for Verlaine and Marcellin – they are sure to make your evening entertaining, even if they do decide to soak their tiny feet in your cocktail as the cousins are often wont to do.
This original collage is constructed of hand cut vintage images upon hand painted 5” x 7” x 1/8” canvas board and is accented with a lovely verdigris fairy.
This original artwork and story are copyright Ramona Szczerba 2013. Copyright to this material is in no way transferable with the sale of this item. The buyer is not entitled to any reproduction rights – neither image nor story can be reproduced without my express written permission. Thanks!