Do you know the Cottingley fairy photographs? To my mind, one of the fascinating points about them – surprisingly rarely remarked on by critics – is how utterly Vintesse the fairies look. Just take a peek at the darlings. Look at their lovely up-to-date bobs and their perfect Puppenkopf faces. They might have stepped out of any Vintesse fairy-book and almost from a fashion plate of the Province.

Cottingley Fairies

This raises certain questions. Those doubting the pictures really ought (if they were more sensitive to qualitative rather than merely quantitative matters) to suggest that these clearly came from the imagination of Vintesse girls. Would real fairies present themselves in a manner so clearly influenced by human fashion?

My answer is – I think they might. There could be various explanations.

1. In the first place, fairies are not physical creatures. They are not normally visible. When they do take on visible forms, it might well be done with some assistance from the image-sphere of those to whom they are manifesting.

2. Human beings are the central or axial creatures of this world-system. We might well expect more peripheral creatures, who borrow their forms from humanity, to reflect something of the human ways of the time – just as courtly fairies in mediaeval descriptions resemble mediaeval human courts.

3. In historical Vintesse, the Western Islands were in a time of crisis, with the Great Darkness (that eventually eclipsed the culture and became the Pit) still being contested by the Stream of Light, which largely manifested itself in the Art-Neo spirit. Human beings were the main conduit for this spirit, but we need not necessarily assume that they were the only one.

Are there other fairy-friends in Aristasia? And what do they think?