I’ve just been reminded of a story from when I was around 10-11.
I used to walk home from my junior school through a wood (it was longer but meant I didn’t have to walk on the road). There was a brook which disappeared into a rudimentary brick-built tunnel mainly torn up by tree roots of an old elm tree.
So, on good days I would sit there for awhile, dropping things into the brook to watch them disappear into the darkness of this tunnel. It felt like a very special and secret place and although I was a very talkative kid it was my time for silence.
One day, I was playing with a friend from my village and we went to take some topsoil in a wheelbarrow to her Nan who lived near the wood. I’d never met her before (although I had seen her around). My friend introduced me and the Nan replied “Oh you’re the little boy who plays with the faeries up by the elm tree“.
Now at the time I assumed she meant “I was away with the faeries” a local saying that meant in your own world. I was surprised because I always thought I’d been alone and unwatched so the fact my friend’s Nan had clearly seen me was a bit embarrassing.
However, a few years later my friend told us that her Nan kept a journal about her time with the faeries in the wood. I now like to think that my playing by that brook wasn’t alone but was overwatched by others and in turn they talked to my friends Nan about me.
Needless to say, as a teen I always made sure not to get up to anything in that wood that could get back to my friends Nan!