It was the afternoon of the hallowed Summer Solstice and Niamh of the Golden Hair was feeling the itch to do mischief. Since arriving at the Fairy Court of Queen Titania and King Oberon three weeks ago, she had played the role of the good little fairy to perfection, but was now feeling ready to burst. As she whirled around the sunny glade flitting from shadow to shadow, she heard a rustling and a muttering and felt the low vibration of magic being conjured into existence nearby. Craning her ears to listen, she was delighted to hear the lilting voice of Puck, Oberon’s merry servant, and fluttered up into the wafting branches of a large willow to observe.
Puck was alone for once, and engrossed in gathering pansies whilst chanting a mysterious magical incantation. From the sounds of the ancient words, Niamh sensed it was a frolicsome kind of spell. In fact, it felt like exactly the kind of rascally spell she had been just dying to create since her arrival. Young Niamh had so far been too timid to approach the King’s serf, despite suspecting a kindred crafty spirit the moment she had first set eyes on him crouching at the foot of his Master’s throne.
This was her chance at last! Floating soundlessly down from her hiding place, she alighted on a fern, fluttering her gossamer wings as seductively as she could. Here in the woods, far from the pomp and protocol of Fairy Court etiquette, Niamh felt bold enough to overcome her shyness. “What’s that cunning spell you’re weaving – I recognize some of those words? It sounds like you’re conjuring up some fun. Can I help?”
Puck glanced up from his work, flipped head over heels in a backward somersault scattering his pansies, and stared through his bandy legs at Niamh who was peeping back at him from under long golden eyelashes. “Well if it isn’t Titania’s pretty protégée! Pray tell me, what might you know about which kind of magic I’m creating?”
“Just enough to tell that’s a morsel of mischievous magic you’re making; I’ve been secretly studying an ancient book of spells I found in my Aunt’s trunk.” she whispered demurely. “I do hope you can teach me more”
After extricating his head from between his legs, Puck perched on a log, cocking his head on one side and stroking his pointy beard. His nose twitched and the flicker of an impish grin crept up from the corners of his mouth to his twinkling eyes. “Hmmm - with these pansies, Oberon has commanded that I create a love potion to smear upon your Mistress’s eyelids. If you’re with me, then maybe you and I could create a little havoc later tonight. But first, you would have to prove you really do want to learn my craft. So……? Do you?”
Niamh clapped her hands in glee and giggled. If all she had to do was prove how mischievous she could be, it was already a done-deal.
So that is how it was that, with Puck’s prompting, the head of whom could possibly be described as the worst-ever human actor (and who just happened to be named Bottom) was swiftly transformed into the head of an ass. What most people don’t know however, is that it was actually Fairy Niamh of the Golden Hair who cast that spell in order to earn the admiration of her idol, Puck.
With the playful pair working together, it was simple to ensure that Bottom was the first to pass in front of the Fairy Queen as she awoke from her slumber in the shady clearing. Under the influence of Puck’s love-potion, Titania promptly fell madly in love with the bewitched actor. The famous fiasco which was to follow later that night would mark the start of their secret partnership of tomfoolery and a romance which would last for countless Solstices to come. What fun the two little devils had, spreading Puck’s love-juice around and then maneuvering so many young lovers into the wrong place at the wrong time.
The truth behind the countless impish antics of these two has remained a closely guarded secret of Fairy Folk-lore to this day, so please do me the favour of keeping this little snippet to yourselves. With this year’s Summer Solstice fast approaching, the witching hour shall shortly be upon us. Who knows what magical mischief Niamh and Puck’s descendants may conjure up in memory of their beloved fun-loving ancestors, should the truth be leaked into the world of humans?