|Richard Dadd's version of the Fae|
My dad (son of a traveller though his mum settled down before he was born) used to tell me that money belonged to the Little People. He never used the “F” word – they were always the Little People. (Although the story about smashing the bottom of eggshells referred to Piskies. Of course, the real reason you smash eggshells is so they sink when you throw them overboard and they don’t tell enemy subs where the ship is but we always did it to stop the Piskies using them as boats!)
Anyway, money belongs to the Little People – because it’s made of metal. All metals, and in particular iron and copper, belong to Them and are only on loan to humans. We are allowed to use it as long as we follow the rules and say thanks now and again.
Now, I can hear you saying – “Ah, but what about folding money?” Quite. But folding cash is only valuable because of the promise on it. (I promise to pay the Bearer, on demand etc……) That promise says that if you take your piece of paper to the Bank of England they will pay you an equivalent sum in hard currency. (Metal, in other words)
Now anything made of metal actually belonged to the Little People, which is why no-on in our family would dream of giving anyone knives, shears, anything with an edge on it, without demanding payment of one shiny copper coin. I can still hear my dad’s voice when I asked him to let me have one of his craft knives. “You’ll have to pay for it. You can’t HAVE it!” It cost me a penny – and that penny didn’t go into dad’s pocket either – it went into the garden. (A river or stream would have done just as well.)
So, this means that you can’t take money for granted. Whenever you need money you have to work for it. It has to be earned. And a price has to be paid to the Little People for whatever you get. You also can’t give someone an empty purse – it should always have one shiny copper coin in it (at least).
So if you’re short of cash it’s just possible that you didn’t say thanks the last time you had luck with money. Next time you win a tenner on the lottery or make a bit of extra cash on Ebay or find a pound coin in the street, don’t forget to pay the Little People their share. You might find that more turns up if you’re grateful for the first lot!