14 October 2004

A terrible tale of fairy ale

Did i ever mention fairy ale? Well, you should know from the start that fairy homebrew - more commonly known as Moonshine - is the strongest beer in the world.

Made from dandelion pollen and enhanced with bumblebee honey, Moonshine could knock out a three-armed giant at twenty paces. But we didn't always know it was so potent. In fact, back in the old days, when the fairies were still perfecting the art , it was almost drinkable. Well, very drinkable, and in all honesty it still is, but the side effects were such that... oh I can't let you know that just yet!

It was nearly forty years ago, and there was a small inn called The Curly Cat, which was a peculiar establishment, full of travellers and salesmen. It was also a friendly place however, due in no small part to the kindness of the landlord.

One night he was sweeping the yard, and there on the floor was a glowing, groaning and very tubby little fairy. He was rolling back and forth clutching his belly, hiccuping and burping aloud. The fairy was of course drunk. He was hopelessly sozzled to the point that he couldn't stand or even fly.

The landlord picked up the little fairy and took him indoors to recuperate. He sat him upright on a pillow, and provided a bite to eat and a thimble full of water. Despite the odd belch, the fairy didn't utter a word, so the landlord went to bed happily, leaving the fairy to his own devices.

In the morning the fairy had vanished, and the landlord thought nothing more of it. He was particularly used to people in that condition, so accepted it as part of his job and got back to work.

A day passed and early the next morning, just as the sun was rising, the landlord heard a knock at the door. When he opened it, there was no-one there, just a large barrel and a note pinned to the top.

"Thankyou for your kindness. Please rest assured that I have given up the Moonshine for life. Enjoy this barrel with your customers, as it was my first and last brew and I have a strange attachment to it.

Thankyou once again,
Bubblepop the fairy".

What a kind gesture, thought the landlord and took the barrel inside.

At this point I'd like to say that the story I'm recounting is in fact that of Lucy Ragwort's, the barmaid at The Curly Cat. I shall explain more later, but I would like to thank her wonderful memory for remembering all the finer details.

So then, the landlord posted a large notice on the door:

And sure as sure can be, that night the inn was so packed you couldn't move – let alone sit down. Everyone wanted a taste of the the magical Moonshine. But, of course, things didn't go quite as planned.

At the first glass, people just smiled and cheered, admittedly not terribly unusual, but after the second glass, things started to go a little odd.

Everyone started to glow slightly. Blushing faces became radiant and beaming, and people started to feel much lighter. Now this could be claimed to be the usual effects of intoxication, but after the third glass, well people really were feeling light headed. In fact they were hovering about three inches from the ground.

Oddly, this didn't seem to happen to everyone. Those who didn't float started to sink until they were weighed down to the floor like anchors. Very peculiar indeed.

And then some foolish person got in the fourth and final round. The problem of lack of seating was no longer an issue. The ceiling was now home to most, and unfortunately those who didn't float were so stuck to the floor that all they could do was groan and wish that they'd never turned up. However, everyone was glowing nicely, so candles weren't necessary.

At this point everyone was told to leave, but such was the state of affairs that the landlord and barmaid had to tie ropes to each and every person on the ceiling and walk them home. Ay least the journey home was lit up for them. Apparently, only three people escaped and floated into the clouds, but it was said that after a few hours they drifted down slowly. They didn't have a clue where they were, but eventually they got home. The landlord left the rest of the people groaning on the floor. They'd be alright in the morning, he thought, taking past experiences into account.

Now I must own up: I was one of those rogue floaters. Yes, I was at the inn that night - and who would want to keep that marvellous night a secret? - but the whole experience was wiped from my memory by the worst headache I'd ever experienced. This was made slightly worse by me having to spend the wee hours in a field of lesser-spotted duck-faced trundlewhoops, but they took one smell of me and made a hasty retreat, so no damage was inflicted.

So beware of tubby little fairies and their Moonshine: as lovely as it is, you never know where you might end up.