Tomorrow is Fauna’s 8th birthday and what does she ask for? A Will-o’-the-Wisp. I had no idea what this creature was until she got out her Spiderwick book and shared it with me. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about a will-o’-the-wisp:
The will-o’-the-wisp, sometimes will-o’-wisp or ignis fatuus Latin, from ignis (“fire”) + fatuus (“foolish”), plural ignes fatui) refers to the ghostly lights sometimes seen at night or twilight over bogs, swamps, or marshes. It looks like a flickering lamp, and is sometimes said to recede if approached. Much folklore surrounds the phenomenon.
The will-o’-the-wisp can be found in numerous folk tales around the United Kingdom, and is often a malicious character in the stories. Wirt Sikes in his book British Goblins mentions a Welsh tale about a will-o’-the-wisp (Pwca). A peasant travelling home at dusk spots a bright light travelling along ahead of him. Looking closer, he sees that the light is a lantern held by a “dusky little figure”, which he follows for several miles. All of a sudden he finds himself standing on the edge of a vast chasm with a roaring torrent of water rushing below him. At that precise moment the lantern-carrier leaps across the gap, lifts the light high over its head, lets out a malicious laugh and blows out the light, leaving the poor peasant a long way from home, standing in pitch darkness at the edge of a precipice. This is a fairly common cautionary tale concerning the phenomenon; however, the Ignis Fatuus was not always considered dangerous. There are some tales told about the will-o’-the-wisp being guardians of treasure, much like the Irish leprechaun leading those brave enough to follow them to sure riches. Other stories tell of travellers getting lost in the woodland and coming upon a will-o’-the-wisp, and depending on how they treated the will-o’-the-wisp, the spirit would either get them lost further in the woods or guide them out. To read more folklore go here.
Now I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a sewing machine person….just plain intimidated by it; I knew it was time to learn how to use that thing and stop being scared of a silly machine. So I spent some time with my mom today learning how to assemble and sew up this gal. However, the Wisp had to have a lot of hand stitching on it too, that’s just my style! So this is what I have done so far:
Do you notice that those are her eyes on the top of the columns on her head? I need to tack down the columns a little better and sew eyelashes on one eye. I also need to add some whimsy to the wings; that’s the cream felt behind her. So I better go finish her and get off the computer……..