He was that merry wanderer of the night, the despoiler of milk and beer, the prankster, the goblin, the puck…and she could not take her eyes off of him as he cavorted in front of her, boasting of his deeds, swelling with pride at his misdeeds, and his being falsely obedient to his king. The fae watched and listened, and sunk her fingers into the flowery beds and ate their nettles, and lapped up the nectar. They were as delicious as he.
Her gaze never left the hobgoblin while the King and Queen of the Fae, Oberon and Titania, hissed and danced around each other. Her Queen called for her attention, but it was the first time she could not truly obey. Robin Goodfellow-for that was the puck’s true name- leered and cajoled, goaded and swayed, all the time following his liege while mocking those around him. While sometimes mocking his king, behind his back.
Peaseblossom, fairy and attendant to the Queen of Fairy Land, was pleased as much as she was afraid. Oberon could be foul and full of wrath, and a fight between the two factions were not at all what she was feeling at the moment. To fight the Puck, yes, but not in the way the King and Queen of fairies fought. Not with anger and petty jealousies, but…a tumble through these woods? Aye, that was a fight to think of.
What? Tatania was whisking them all away? NO! No…yes, she must obey. She loved Tatania with all of her being. She was goddess, nymph, perfect divine, and it was Peaseblossom’s duty to obey, to serve, to give her all. So, she left in the train of fairies, attending to their Queen in her vexation.
She found the bower of eglantine and musk-roses where Tatania rested, and cleaned it of the stray leaves and wild life that snuggled down in her bed. Singing her to sleep with her brethren, Peaseblossom sent a fairy kiss over her Queen’s head, set a guard to watch o’er her, and off she went into the night, in search of her good fellow.
Finding Robin with Oberon, Peaseblossom winced and made herself smaller than small. She saw the king take something from Puck’s hand, saw him smile with evil intent, and then was he gone. Robin’s malevolence was apparent, but it gave her no heed as she intercepted his flight.
“Wherefore doth thou go, master. I would ask for some time with thee.”
Puck had a witticism on the tip of his tongue, but held it when he looked in her eyes. “Your wish, M’lady, is mine. Whither away?”
O! O, what a night.
The exquisite pencil drawing is by a very talented young woman Portia Burton. It has been a pleasure making her acquaintance on FaceBook, as she is truly a lovely soul. This story is dedicated to her, as much forthe use of the drawing as for her love of Shakespeare and her intelligence, humor and grace. If you’d like to contact her for art commissions, her email is:
*AUTHORS NOTE: I was SO immersed in directing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” this summer that when I came across Portia’s art, the two seemed to fit so well. I already knew she loved the play, and most (if not all) things Shakespeare, and AMND IS my favorite of all his comedies. When writing this, I forgot: not everyone is so in love with the play.
For those not in the know: this is set in Act Two, Scene One and part of Act Two, Scene Two through the eyes of one of the fairies. Peaseblossom is the first of the four fairies named in the play, the others being Cobweb, Mustardseed, and Moth (or Mote, depending on who publishes), and since she was named first, I chose that to be our fairy who meets Puck (or Robin Goodfellow, which is the character’s real name; a Puck is it’s own mystical thing; he’s also mentioned in a variety of ways, goblin, hobgoblin, etc.) and sets up the conflict of the play between the King and the Queen of Fairy Land, the magical forest in which they dwell. In the play, Shakespeare does nothing more than say: enter A fairy...
I hope this helps in the enjoyment. Maybe it’ll stir you to read &/or see the play. If so, let me know. I enjoyed this trip into seeing the same story through a different point of view.