This lone hawthorn bush grows in a field near our house. Although it looks like a fairy tree its
survival owes more to chance than superstition. I have a notion that it may be all that survives
from a hedgerow that divided two fields or was piece of wood used for a fence which took
root. I never heard my parents, who were not generally superstitious people, say it was
a fairy bush.
My father was a great storyteller, bringing the Irish legends of Oisin, the Children of Lir and Cuchulainn to life.
As he told stories of the Tuatha Dé Danann, Tir na nOg (the Land of Youth) and the Great Cattle
Raid of Cooley, it seemed to me then that he believed in these mythical tales. I believed him too when
he recalled hearing the banshee crying one night before a neighbour died. That part of Irish culture which
once sat comfortably alongside religious devotion, is now gone.
The fog, which covered the land from dawn to dusk today, gave the hawthorn a somewhat
mystical appearance which made me think of fairy bushes, of how farmers were afraid
to cut them least the 'little people' who lived underneath them should seek their revenge.
Although I'm not at all superstitious I don't see any reason why this bush should be cut.