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March 2006

March 2006: Celtic Fey

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    On Celtic Fairy Stuff
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  • Fiction: Lorenzo's Law
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  • Lorenzo's Law
    by Chella Reaves

    An excerpt from The Faerie Encyclopedia of Momentous Events

    If there is one thing the children of Faerie Dublin know, it's to never take your pot of gold with you to a rainbow viewing party. [1] But if there are two things they know, the second is Lorenzo's Law - or, to never, ever take a musician as your mortal lover. [2]

    Despite there being several notable incidents involving musicians or singers taken as the 'mortal lovers' of a fae and the relationship turning sour, the law might never have been enacted without one particular case. The Lorenzo of 'Lorenzo's Law' was a leprechaun from Dublin in the prime of his powers in 1850, when the events (often referred to as 'The Mary Incident') were set in motion. Records report he was handsome, tall for a leprechaun, and in possession of a rather significant pot of gold for his age. [3]

    For her part, Mary (human surname unknown [4]), is described in early journal entries (written by fae who knew her during the period when she was accepted by Faerie Dublin) as 'lovely' and 'hard-working.' Records report she was an Irish girl working as a maid at one of the finer mortal dwellings of Dublin when Lorenzo came across her and was impressed by her singing voice.

    The noted biographer Pollywogg [5] was one of the first fae to meet Mary when she was brought to Faerie Dublin, and had begun writing Mary's biography before her popularity took a plunge. The following is an excerpt from his notes: '...and when she worked (which was most of the day) she sang. Mary sang while helping the cook with breakfast; Mary sang while washing the linens; Mary sang while cleaning the Mistress's bedroom, and Mary sang the children to sleep at night. With all the practice she had at it, is it any wonder she became so very good at it? What was a wonder was that no one seemed to notice - not the Master, not the Mistress, not the children, not the other servants and not even Mary knew she was talented.'

    According to writings of the time, Lorenzo was 'appalled' that no one appreciated Mary's talent and resolved to woo her into accepting passage to Faerie Dublin, which, it is said, he facilitated by the use of glamour magic. Mary accepted the invitation and was brought into the Faerie Kingdom of Dublin. [6] Like any female mortal lover, Mary was fed a fae-sized wafer to shrink her body to a proper size and clothed in gossamer and moonbeams. [7] Mary was then showered with compliments and song requests from Lorenzo and his friends. [8]

    Soon, Mary was considered all the rage. All Lorenzo was expected to do was clothe and house his mortal songbird. Otherwise, Mary was tended to by way of being invited to faerie parties and being feasted and gifted at them in return for her entertaining the party by singing. Before long, Lorenzo and Mary were gracing the fetes of over a dozen fae hosts and hostesses a week.

    A few months into their partnership [9], Mary took it into her head that she wanted to be paid in faerie gold for her talent. Lorenzo, being a leprechaun and thus an entrepreneur at heart, agreed to the idea and built a vast opera house under what, at the time, was a money-lender's office, which he felt would be good luck. And, from all accounts, for awhile, Lorenzo was correct: The fae of Dublin (including royalty) flocked to hear Mary sing. But with her success, Mary's demands increased.

    Eventually, Mary's popularity waned as she refused to learn any elvish songs, instead sticking to her repertoire of a dozen or so mortal songs, most of which were children's songs. Audiences stopped coming to the opera house, which quickly caused Lorenzo to go bankrupt and prevented him from meeting Mary's demands. Soon after his bankruptcy, Lorenzo released Mary to the mortal world again in her original size.

    By all rights, that should have been the end of Mary's story. [10] Unfortunately for fae-kind, it wasn’t. A few months after being released back into the mortal world, Mary finally learned a new song. At some point between when she arrived in Mortal Dublin and March of 1854, Mary evidently told her story to a songwriter. The songwriter [11] created a song that fully and properly identified how a mortal could arrive at Faerie Dublin--and leave without aging.

    Alarmed, the Faerie King of Dublin [12] immediately called a Council of War. The Council quickly set up a perimeter around Mortal Dublin, causing anyone who heard the song to forget it as they left the city limits--preventing the song from spreading throughout Ireland and the rest of the world. Unfortunately, they could not do the same within the city, or else the faeries working to prevent the song from getting out would forget what they were looking for--leaving an opportunity for the song's sheet music to be found later and the song revived. [13] Though the Council could prevent the song from leaving Dublin, it took them three more months to construct a way to eradicate it from within Mortal Dublin itself.

    First, a grand elven wizard [14] procured a copy of the lyrics to the song and changed them so that even the most determined mortal could not catch a glimpse of Faerie Dublin using the lyrics as a guide. The wizard then applied this change to any written or printed copy of the lyrics. The second prong of the attack came the very night of their first success, when Mary was to give a concert --featuring the original song-- to a group of wealthy Dubliners. If she had performed well, it was very likely that she would have made a career for herself as a vocal artist. Unfortunately for her, she had drawn the ire of not just one fae, but nearly all the fae of Faerie Dublin. [15] Her performance was littered with embarrassing mistakes and accidents. By the end of her act, there was not a mortal there who thought she had any talent worth speaking of, and all left with an extreme distaste for that song in particular. Finally, the War Council set a geas upon anyone in in the city who remembered the song's original lyrics to leave the city limits the next day. The geas was supposed to lift itself the moment the mortals were affected by the forgetting spell, but some Dubliners left the city and never returned. [16]

    Within four months after it began, the scare was over, prompting strong laws on bringing mortals into the limits of Faerie Dublin ever again. Lorenzo eventually remade his fortune off of his opera house by forming and managing a banshee singing group; [17] Mary (and her songwriter) faded quickly into mortal obscurity; many in the War Council went on to successful careers in politics, and the song 'The Road to Faerie Dublin' was completely erased from mortal memories. [18]

    Lorenzo's Law went into effect in 1855 in Faerie Dublin and is a standard law within most European Faerie kingdoms. [19]

    Footnotes

    [1] Gold should, after all, be kept in a bank or properly invested in the Goblin Market. But all trite warnings come with an origin. In medieval times, a few fae (mostly leprechauns) were caught with their gold at one of these viewings (apparently they were exchanging rare coins). The Irish, of course, have never forgotten this incident and now most of the mortal Western world think pots of gold are found at the ends of rainbows.

    [2] Teaching Lorenzo's Law became mandatory in all public and private faerie intermediate schools January 2nd, 1902.

    [3] Some claim his fortune came from an inheritance while others speculate it came from a more commendable mischief-making. Considering many attempts have been made post-humorously to paint this Lorenzo as a saint, most reject the theory that he earned most of his gold from less savory avenues.

    [4] Most humans tend to be known by two names just as fae are. However, instead of the proper arrangement of a secret name of power and a social name, they have a given name (generally used like our social names) and a 'surname', or family name. Some humans have something called a 'middle name' which seems to be a way for parents to appease or flatter other family members.

    [5] Pollywogg [1757 - 1915] is famous for his biographies of Gregorie, the first clurichaun faerie king; Woolwrap, the popular actor; and Yarr, the selkie pirate.

    [6] Population in 1850: 7, 462, plus a few.

    [7] Faerie folklorists argue constantly over why mortals expect it - but the currently popular theory points the finger at a drunken clurichaun singing a nonsense song that a mortal overheard and spread around.

    [8] Reportedly, things got off to a poor start when Mary didn't know 'The Drunken Dublin Army'--a song which, at the time, was considered the national anthem of the Faerie Kingdom of Dublin. She was said to recover from this faux pas by singing an unnamed mortal ballad.

    [9] Surprisingly few claims have ever been made about Mary and Lorenzo ever being actual lovers, despite Mary being called his 'mortal lover.'

    [10] Unlike previous incidents where musician or singing mortals were taken as 'lovers' and the relationship went south, the situation couldn't be resolved by a rapid aging effect mortals experienced upon leaving the Faerie Realms (leading to nearly a 100% fatality rate). In this case, the Mortal Rights Act of 1811 was in effect, which had lead to a standard method for negating the rapid aging effect being developed and Mary never experienced the effects.

    [11] The songwriter was never properly identified. Some claim his name was 'Tom' and others say it was 'Sean.' Whichever it was, he was talented. Many claims are made to whether or not he ever wrote any other songs, and musical historians usually have their pet theories, including that 'he' was Mary herself.

    [12] Then King Applewood the Fruity [1599 - 1900].

    [13] In fact, some claim that exactly that did happen, seeing as there was a proven gap of nearly eleven months between when Mary returned to Mortal Dublin and when the War Council was constructed. This hypothesized mistake is hotly denied by the government.

    [14] Oddly enough, the wizard never wanted to be named as 'the' wizard. Which meant, of course, everyone noted it was Wicket the Old [1429 -1862], but regulations state that books can only note this fact in footnotes.

    [15] A few fae staunchly supported Mary--but seeing as most of these supporters later formed a fan club for slugs, it was perhaps not at all an influential group.

    [16] Records show beyond doubt that the geas was created as a first group-project from the Fae University, class of 1854. While the government has never made a firm statement on the issue, it seems clear that the spell was improperly set and any Dubliner who had even a touch of wanderlust was inspired to 'keep going' and see the world. A faerie historian claims to have traced most of these wanderers to varying parts of the United States of America.

    [17] This group is the still fondly remembered 'Bean Sidhe Trio,' who wrote and popularized the lilting ballad, 'Outside My Family’s Window.'

    [18] Ironically enough, it became--and remains--a popular favorite in the Faerie Realm with both original and substituted lyrics.

    [19] The End.

    Written and illustrated by Chella Reaves.

    Chella Reaves is an artist and writer.
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