We like to tell stories. We tell them to entertain and to teach. We use them to hide lessons and pass on warnings. We use real people, events, and things. We make them up when we find it necessary. I have noticed, however, that once a particular story has been told and retold and passed down to the point where it is considered worthy of the title of a legend that people start to become a little lax about the details. They start to think that it does not matter if they gloss over this bit here or tweak that little bit there. They even come to the misguided conclusion that it is perfectly acceptable to twist things around to make them match up with something that they want to feature in their particular tale.
They think that it does not make any difference. I think that it makes all the difference in the world. They feel that way because they are often operating under the assumption that whatever creature they have chosen for their story was fictional to begin with and therefore open to interpretation. I feel the way that I do because I have firsthand knowledge that (whatever paths of fiction the storytellers over the years may have wandered down) the creatures themselves are real. The average human being may go their entire life without encountering any of them, but those that do are often handicapped (or even placed in danger) by the amount of misinformation that they have imbibed.
I would like to correct that in whatever small way that I can. My name is Hannah, and I am offering up a few pearls of wisdom (safety tips if you will) for navigating your way through the realm of what are commonly termed fantasy creatures.
Never Play Board Games with the Fae
There are several reasons why this piece of advice should be scrupulously followed. In the first place, you need to understand that the Fae are fiercely competitive creatures. They like to play games. They like to goad others into playing games with them. The thing you need to remember is that games are not just games for them. Games are an art form for which they spend the entirety of their rather lengthy lives perfecting the execution of their play. It is a serious business for them. It is not an idle way to pass the time. It is not something that they take lightly.
Being as competitive as they all are, they do whatever they can manage to get away with in order to skew the odds of winning in their favor. They are focused and a bit obsessive -- whatever game is involved is something that they are willing to become quite ruthless over in order to ensure that they win.
This leads to a few behavioral issues of which you should make yourself aware. The Fae cheat. This is not some sort of a bitter comment or overly generalized statement. It is true without exception. They cheat. It is what they do. It is a fundamental part of what they are. There are no exceptions. They may claim otherwise -- do not believe them. Cheating is acceptable for them, and lying is every bit as acceptable. Lying to cover up cheating (or brazening out the cheating in a manner designed to preclude comment on it) is considered a prized skill. They cultivate it, and I promise you that any of the Fae that you may happen across have been practicing for far longer than you have been alive.
The Fae always know the loopholes. This ties in with the cheating. If they are not cheating, then it is because they have found an obscure loophole that allows them to pretend that they are still dealing with everything in an aboveboard manner. They enjoy the pretense. It makes them feel clever, and Fae like to believe that they are the cleverest of what you would consider fantasy creatures.
You should also know that Fae make very sore losers. It ties to the wanting to believe themselves clever. If they use all of the loopholes they can find, cheat with impunity, and still lose despite all of those things, then you are going to have a very cranky Fae on your hands. Cranky Fae are dangerous Fae. Granted all Fae are dangerous, but a Fae that is suffering from the embarrassment of losing is liable to lash out in a particularly nasty manner. If there is any available loophole to be found that they can use to get out of meeting the terms, then they will employ it. There is no such thing as a Fae who pays up gracefully.
The point of this description is that playing games of any kind with the Fae is a very bad idea. The odds are very good that you will be losing. The odds are even better that if you somehow manage to win, then you will not be collecting whatever it was that you were promised during the inducement to play phase of your encounter.
Trust me on this. You may tell me that you have seen and heard stories all of your days about those who have played games with the Fae and won. I have only this to offer you in reply -- fiction is fiction. You would do well to remember that. Even when such tales are based in the truth, you should ask yourself one very important question -- who is doing the story telling? The rare winners may like to share their tales, but those with less successful experiences are hardly likely to make a habit of sharing the details of either their losses or the manner in which they were cheated out of their spoils in the end. You may not think I make any more reliable of a source, but I can assure you that I know exactly what I am talking about.
My own mother (who is otherwise as laid back and easygoing of a woman as you may ever hope to encounter) undergoes a strange sort of a transformation whenever the opportunity to participate in the playing of any sort of a game arises. Some might (and they have) even use the term vindictive. She very much wants to win, but she wants even more to ensure that everyone who challenges her loses. That may sound like it should be the same sort of a thing, but it turns out to be something very different in practice.
I still shudder at the memory of the poor, unknowing woman my uncle had brought home with him for her first family dinner when she got suckered into a game of spoons. She never knew what hit her (literally). Fortunately, the first aid kit was readily accessible. We also moved quickly enough that the blood did not stain the tablecloth. She has never played a game with any of us again, and it was two years before she could be coaxed into making a return appearance at Thanksgiving.
My mother thought it was funny and (to this day) cannot be prevailed upon to admit that she did anything out of the ordinary. There is a very good reason for that -- to her that was an ordinary game being played in an ordinary way. It is not that she refuses to see where the issue arose -- it is that she quite literally cannot see why there was an issue. She has labeled that guest (now my aunt on my father’s side) a poor sport and makes semi snide comments about her standoffishness whenever a pack of cards is produced in her presence. My aunt (for her part) always quickly finds an excuse to leave the room whenever the words “play” or “game” are spoken.
I would like you to consider the implications. If my level headed mother with three generations of bloodline diluting still behaves in that sort of a manner over a simple game of cards in which no wagers had been placed, then how much worse would the situation be with a full blooded member of the Fae engaged in a battle in which they have something tangible on the table that they might lose?
Did I mention that the Fae also have an affinity for gambling? It should be a rather easy logical jump to make what with the game playing obsession and all, but it should probably be stated flat out. There will be terms if you find yourself in the midst of a true Fae game. There will be something that will be required of you if you lose, and the Fae do not play for trinkets or small wagers. They like their stakes to be high (and in keeping with their affinity for loopholes and cheating, they like the stakes of their opponent to be higher than their own).
It is a skill of theirs to make it sound as if they are offering something of great value that you will think that you desperately desire to have. It is a bit of a dazzling glamour that they have going (it is a part of the way that they cheat). You need to be clear headed enough to ask yourself questions about what it is that they are really offering. I can guarantee you that it is not actually what you think it is when you first hear the terms. Whether that is because of a twist in their phrasing or the fact that they are overwhelming you with their presence and distracting you at the time, it will not turn out the way that you think that it will. They have lots of practice, and they choose their words very carefully.
I have been dealing with distant relations on my mother’s side all of my life. They like to tell stories every bit as much as humans do. Some of the things that I have heard would curdle your blood to hear. I have one great aunt several times removed who seems more vested in visiting than the others (I suspect it is, in part, because of the enjoyment she receives out of watching me cringe when she tells some of her nastier tales). My earliest memory of her involves being bounced on her knee while she related a story of how she had used a loophole to turn a wager upside down and make a challenger have to pay up to her after he won. I remember telling her (in my very human thinking four year old way) that it was not nice to cheat. She shoved me off her lap onto the floor without any warning and snapped at my mother to do something about my deplorable lack of education.
You may think that you are up to the challenge. I submit to you that there is nothing that any of the Fae can offer you that would come close to covering the risk. If you are ever in the vicinity of a Fae attempting to coax you into a game, then I strongly suggest that you remember what you have learned and walk away.
Vampires Want to Eat You
I would think that this one would go without saying, but that no longer seems to be the case. Thus, I have included it in this collection. The facts are very simple. Please remember that vampires drink blood. Human beings quite conveniently carry a supply of blood around with them in their veins at all times. Logic would dictate that it does not take amazing feats of mental gymnastics to arrive at the conclusion that a vampire is going to view you in much the same manner as a growing teenage boy views the display behind the concession stand at the movies. It makes perfect sense.
Sadly, logic seems to have gotten lost somewhere along the way. I blame popular culture and impressionable tween girls. They sucker you in with tales of the poor, misunderstood vampire who just needs the right person who is special enough to help him away from the dark path while you are still too young to recognize the snow job that you are getting. The story sticks in the back of your head somewhere when you are older and impairs your ability to use good judgment. There is no other reason for an otherwise sensible person to find anything attractive about being considered a walking pantry.
I confess that I have never encountered a vampire personally. This is, therefore, the only piece of advice that I shall be offering you that does not come from my own, personal firsthand observation. There is a very good reason that I have no personal tale to share in this venue -- I do not go looking for vampires. That seems to me the only reasonable course of action to take. I do not much care for things that see me as a source of food.
I do not go looking for vampires for the same reason that I do not keep a giant snake capable of crushing me in my sleep as a pet. I am not big on putting myself in mortal peril either (it is a sense of self-preservation thing from which I happen to suffer). It is the same reason that I see no purpose in jumping out of a perfectly functional airplane to send myself plummeting toward the ground with only a scrap of fabric between myself and certain death. Other people may enjoy those sorts of activities. They are not my cup of tea. This is why vampires and I will never be willingly in each other’s presence.
I have seen the romance novels and the movies. I know the preconceptions from which many of you are building your personal fantasy images. Allow me to deconstruct those for you. You are not so very special that the tortured nonliving will abandon all hope of ever feeding again in order to placate you and bask in your presence for the rest of your days. You just are not. Do not feel badly about that. No one is.
Likewise, let us not have any sort of romantic delusions about being kept as some sort of sustainable grocery store that will be treasured, coddled, and made the center of some immortal universe. That is not romance, my dears. That is what it is like to be kept as some farm family’s bottle calf or orphaned lamb that the children hand feed and pat on the head. It may seem like a rather nice life on the surface, but such things always come to an end. When the family gets hungry, well, I trust you know how the rest of that story goes.
You may be convenient. You may be patted on the head and called pretty names. The vampire in question may even be vaguely amused by and fond of you. None of that changes the fact that there is a pecking order to all life forms on this planet. As far as a vampire is concerned, you are a source of food first, last, and always. They will not hesitate to eat you. They will kill you if that becomes the most expedient route by which they can do so. Do not attempt to romanticize it or make it anything other than what it is.
You may recall some time ago there was a person who made a lot of noise about the majesty and the wonder of bears and set out to live among them. Do you remember what happened next? That’s right -- exactly what anyone with a modicum of sense could have told you was likely to happen eventually. I would suggest that you keep that thought firmly in your head the next time that you are tempted by the popular culture view of vampires. It is always good to keep some perspective on the larger picture of the thing.
Also, please refrain from beginning a social media campaign accusing me of maligning the poor creatures. I will point out that in the previously mentioned incident no rational person went around in the aftermath blaming the bears. They did what bears do. It was the humans involved that exercised poor decision making skills and paid the price for it. Likewise, I am not issuing an indictment against vampires. I am merely pointing out the facts of what vampires do. It is up to the humans involved to exercise their decision making skills appropriately. You have all the facts. I suggest you use them.
Werewolves Are Not for Watching
Werewolves are not in and of themselves a fantasy creature. They are, rather, a human being who happens to have been infected by a fantasy disease. Much like dealings with the Fae -- encounters with fantasy diseases do not generally end well for humans. It is not a pleasant condition to have (although the same could be said for most illnesses). The plight of a werewolf is compounded by their inability to go to anyone for help. An average human doctor would not believe them (and would not be able to offer any meaningful assistance in any case).
Their only hope of being reliably walked through the early stages is to come under the care of a mentor who has already sufficiently mastered the basics. Given the memory issues involved with the infection, there are high odds that the person who passed the infection on does not realize that they have done so. This complicates matters greatly and often leaves the newly infected at loose ends not realizing what it is that has happened to them until it is too late. Those are sad stories.
Many older werewolves throughout the years have made attempts at completing registries and tracking in an attempt to better control the situation, but that path is fraught with difficulties. There are many pitfalls involved in such an endeavor and many werewolves resent the loss of personal privacy that such attempts taken to their logical conclusion entail.
The plus side of these things is that any functional werewolves that you may encounter going about the majority of their days in their natural human form have already reached a point where they have their condition managed and well in hand. It is, after all, a very precisely timed illness which lends itself to appropriate mitigation of spread by anyone who understands what they are dealing with and can manage a basic amount of planning and time management. This means that your average werewolf who has gotten beyond the initial perils can live their life much like a diabetic. They know what to avoid and when to avoid it. They take appropriate precautions as necessary, and they know their own warning signs and what to do about them if they happen to arise. There is no reason to be overly paranoid. There is also no reason to be careless.
I do not make a habit of sharing glasses with friends who are suffering from a case of mono. Why? It is because that would be a silly, unnecessary risk to take. This is the same reason that we avoid werewolves at the full moon. It is an unnecessary risk to take, so we do not take it. Just think how awful your friend would feel if something untoward occurred when he or she was not in control of themselves? Think about them if you do not have enough sense to avoid the danger yourself.
I would also strongly advise that you refrain from prying. You may notice a friend who always seems to be unavailable at certain points on the calendar. You may notice habits and practices that cause you to put two and two together and make four. I would keep my conjectures to myself. Do you enjoy it when acquaintances become overly nosey about your personal schedules and state of health? Use some discretion. Do not go making accusations (because that is how it will sound no matter how carefully you work on your phrasing) or demanding answers. You may view this as intriguing and want to sate your curiosity. They have to live with it as a lifelong medical condition. No one wants to be looked at as if they should be behind the glass at a zoo.
If your friend wants to confide in you, then he or she will. If said friend does not, then you need to remember that your friend does not owe you any explanations. This can be very difficult. I know that from personal experience. You want to be able to help. The best help you can offer is to not push. Your friend already has to go through the experience of a complete and utter loss of all control once every lunar month. Do not compound that by wresting further control away from him or her. My friend (who took eight years before he fessed up to me) says that the nicest thing you can do with your suspicions is keep quiet about them and refrain from pulling out the good silver when you know that your friend is coming over for dinner.
Leave Nessie Alone
Words of wisdom about the Loch Ness Monster do not actually belong here (being that she is, in fact, not a fantasy creature). There has, however, been so much speculation about her and her origins over the years that everyone else sort of considers her an honorary member of the club. (When I say everyone, I mean everyone except the Fae proper because they are snobs.) It comes down to the same sort of misinformed tale spinning that leads people to thinking that vampires are harmless or that it might be entertaining to watch a werewolf transform. People see something and gossip about it without troubling themselves too much with what the truth may or may not be. You have an almost entirely inaccurate legend on your hands before you know it.
I can honestly say that Nessie has never done anything to encourage the things that are said about her. (The Fae are liable to perpetuate the idea that you might actually be able to hold your own in a game as long as it will encourage you to play, and vampires are all for anything that makes it easier for them to track down their next meal.). Nessie just goes along living her life and minding her own business. The hubbub that surrounds her can be entirely laid at the feet of the people who spend their time trying to stir up the stories.
Let us set the record straight. I am sure you have very often heard that the Loch Ness Monster is secreted away in Scotland just waiting for the lucky individual to manage to snap the next grainy photograph or equally poor quality cell phone video to become an internet sensation. This is simply not true. What you would refer to as the Loch Ness Monster does, in fact, live in Loch Ness. She (actually they if you want to get down to brass tacks about it) is not a monster. She is also not spending her time contemplating the local (and visitor) human population and teasing them with glimpses of herself so that they can be further motivated to stalk her. That part is all nonsense.
Something does live in Loch Ness. As a matter of fact, a whole lot of somethings of a variety of species live in Loch Ness. The creature commonly referred to as Nessie is actually a clan of water dwelling creatures that have made those depths their home for far longer than people have bothered to notice them. The clan matriarch is getting up in years and has grown rather large over the course of them. There are times when she needs to stretch out and likes to let a little warmth from the sun soak in and limber her up a little. Her mother and grandmother did it before her and whichever of her offspring takes over after her will likely do the same. There is really nothing mysterious or fantastical about it.
We human beings get so caught up in things at times that we miss the obvious. Just because we try to insist that something must have gone extinct because we need it to have because we are all attached to timelines that we posit but cannot prove does not make it so. Just ask the fishermen who caught the coelacanth in 1938. (Well, I don’t think that you can actually ask them, but you know what I mean.)
She may come to the surface of Loch Ness from time to time, but she mostly keeps herself to herself and tries to keep her clan far away from gawkers and an interfering public. You would not much appreciate someone trying to sneak up on and snap photos of you while you were soaking up sunshine in your backyard, would you? Nessie would, likewise, prefer to be left alone. I am sure that you understand.
Refrain from Picking Pixies Up
There is a very practical reason for this. Pixies bite. This should not come as a surprise to you. What does any wild creature do if you unceremoniously pluck it from its habitat and hold it up for your inspection? They bite you of course. You should have known better than to go around scooping up strange creatures in the first place. I do not want to hear any complaints or gushing about how cute they look, how you were curious, or how taken by surprise you were that you actually spotted one. Do try to exercise a bit of common sense.
Think of it this way -- do you really want to have to explain where this infected spot on your hand or arm came from to the people at the doctor’s office? Trust me when I tell you that the chances of something nasty being in that bite are very high. They may pay careful attention to a meticulous preservation of their little green outfits, but practitioners of oral hygiene the pixies are not. Have you ever seen the things that a pixie is willing to eat? It is not pretty. I shudder to think of the variety of bacteria that is multiplying in their little petri dish mouths. They, naturally, being what they are remain unbothered by a slew of germs that would bring a full grown human quite messily to his knees (or a hospital bed).
Wound care and cleaning is all well and good, but by the time that your average human has recovered from the shock that the cute little, pointed ear critter had equally pointed teeth to match, the damage has already been done.
My aforementioned great aunt (several times removed) once dodged around the expected terms of a wager by filling the man’s house with an entire enclave of pixies, and I am still not certain that a small outbreak of mad cow disease that happened shortly thereafter was not directly tied to that fact. She, of course, will not tell me one way or the other. She just smiles so that her own slightly pointed teeth show and tells me that some stories are not meant for half-breed ears.
Even if you do manage to avoid being bitten, you will still have an upset pixie in close proximity. Pixies (in addition to the natural response of trying to bite what they view as an attacker) are very bad tempered. They do not like to be meddled with -- who can blame them? They are not inclined to take things calmly, and they have very good aim. Perturbed pixies like to throw things. Actually, they like to throw things all of the time. The difference is that upset pixies throw things at people instead of just randomly around the room. They rarely miss, and an irate pixie can launch a multitude of items at you in a very short period of time. It does not matter how good you are at ducking and dodging. The sheer amount of items heading in your direction is going to be overwhelming.
Luckily for you, pixies have a relatively short attention span. They will move on soon. They will probably not take a chance on getting close enough to be picked up again in order to bite you (unless they are having a particularly bad day). Your best bet (if you have ignored my advice and angered one) is to cover your head the best you can and wait them out. Post pixie encounter concussions are not uncommon (although people are usually smart enough to not mention that at the emergency room).
All of this can be avoided by keeping your hands to yourself.
Messing with Mermaids is Not a Good Idea
I am just going to have to fess up to this right up front. There is really no way to sugar coat what I am about to impart without undermining my point. Mermaids are not very bright. There -- I have said it. I am really not trying to be insulting, but facts are facts. This particular fact is very important for you to understand before you entertain any ideas of going off to frolic in the sea. It is not that they do not know all that they need to know about their own natural environment (and I am sure that they are capable of having wonderful, deeply thought out conversations among themselves). The trouble is that they are not very adaptive. They have a very slow learning curve, and they do not catch on to the cause and effect of things outside the scope of their normal experiences very well.
This leads to one very important problem for any human being that interacts with them in any way, shape, or form. They do not understand that you (as a human) cannot breathe under water. Are you seeing why this is a problem? This is complicated by the fact that mermaids as a whole are rather fascinated by humans. They are curious, and they generally have no qualms about coming up to one that they have been studying for a bit to try to find out more. This is where the real trouble begins because, you see, mermaids are natural huggers.
It is just one of those things. We say hello and introduce ourselves; mermaids wrap their arms around you and squeeze. It is a cultural thing for them -- rather like a fussy old grandmother who can never manage to understand that no one particularly enjoys having their cheeks pinched into a chapped state. Further, you cannot reason with a hugging mermaid. They are very certain that a good, solid hug is the appropriate step to be taken at the start of any new acquaintance.
In centuries of oral tradition, they have never once made the connection between their enthusiastic greetings of the humans that have come to visit them and those same humans nearly immediate demise. Since the humans they encounter most often have been the victims of shipwrecks, they tend to operate under the assumption that the poor things must have suffered some sort of an injury during the trauma. They pat themselves on the back (metaphorically speaking) for having offered the comfort of an affectionate embrace to the dying. They are, in fact, a little bit self-righteous on the subject.
You will not be the one to convince them otherwise. Besides, how is it that you think you would begin to go about convincing them what with the inability that you have to speak underwater while you struggle to stay conscious due to your ever dwindling air supply? You do not have a good answer for that, do you? Therefore, you should always consider mermaids as something that is potentially hazardous to your health.
Do not, however, make the mistake of confusing mermaids with siren. They are not the same thing at all no matter what you may have heard from various sources to the contrary. There are, in fact, many similarities between the two, but there is one very important difference that overrides them all. That difference is intention. Mermaids and sirens do not consider human beings in the same light. Mermaids are trying to indulge their curiosity and even trying, in their own way, to be friendly. Mermaids are not trying to harm you. They have no intention of inflicting damage. They do not want to kill you. They are inept and lack the ability to deduce information from their observations, but they are not malicious. The same cannot be said for sirens. Sirens want you to die. That is the entire purpose of their musical displays -- to lure you to your demise. They have no other purpose and no other interest in you than seeing whether or not they can draw you in over any thought of personal safety or self-preservation instinct that you may have. They are a bit like the Fae in that -- they just want to win.
If you should happen to notice a mermaid in your vicinity, then you should do your best to avoid contact. I do understand that they make lovely subjects for sketching, but you should avoid the temptation to move closer. If you happen to spend a great deal of time cavorting in the oceans, then your chances of an encounter are obviously greater. If that is the case, then I suggest that you consider that there are a great many other things (things with lots of teeth) that lurk in the ocean that are liable to want to eat you. I would worry about ways to avoid them (and whether the copious amounts of sea bathing are actually worth it) first.
Banishing Banshees Does Not Work
I repeat that banishing banshees does not work. It simply does not. You can try all you like, but it will be a waste of both time and resources. You will be engaging in a battle that you cannot win. Further, you will be engaging in a battle in which you would gain nothing even if you did manage to succeed.
The first thing which you need to understand is that banshees are harbingers. This means that they do not actually cause anything to happen. They just report on what they think is about to be. Think of them like you do your local weatherman. He (or she) does not actually make it rain, snow, or drop sleet on your head. The weatherman just tells you how likely it is that such events will occur in the near future.
Banshees are the same way. They do not cause an unfortunate incident to befall yourself or your family. They just let you know that they think it likely that such an incident is about to occur. It just so happens that banshees go about this “letting you know” in a particularly annoying manner. Some would even term it creepy. It really is not their fault that they do not have a mastery of the language of the persons with whom they are attempting to communicate.
Banshees wail. That is their natural language, and they are not about to change that simply because we find them difficult to understand. In point of fact, they cannot change their method any more than you can change the fact that you are a native speaker of whatever language it may happen to be that you are.
My advice to you if you find yourself the focus of a banshee that has decided that it needs to give you a warning is to find yourself some good quality earplugs and wait it out. I realize that that sounds dreadfully dull and practical instead of some harrowing list of macabre tasks to complete to make the banshee go away, but there you have it. The wailing will eventually stop. Banshees stay until they feel that they have adequately delivered their news. Then, they leave you alone until the next time they find it necessary to make a pronouncement.
I can assure you (from personal experience) that the earplugs do work. It will not block out the sound completely (they do get rather loud once they get going), but it will do a sufficient job that you should be able to sleep provided that you are adequately tired (which is pretty much a given by the time you reach the point that you have resorted to the earplugs).
What, you ask, about the warning that they are conveying to you? What can you do about that? This is a trickier proposition. Remember what I said about banshees being the messenger and not the cause? Whether the banshee wails the night away, disappears, or never comes at all does not change whatever it is that they thought was coming -- much like it matters not to the weather whether or not there are any weathermen around to make their forecasts.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret -- there is no such thing as fate. Our lives are a complicated string of decisions that unfurl out in front of us. It unravels out in a line that can loop or curve or stretch out straight. It can cross paths with other strings and even knot up into a tangle that looks impossible to undo. There is nowhere that it has to go. There are times when it looks like it is going in a certain direction. There are times when it appears to be on a collision course with something or someone. These possibilities are what banshees see and respond to when they are dishing out their warnings.
Time and our choices (and the choices of everyone else) change the patterns of the likely paths and, at times, turn them around altogether. Banshees cannot predict people’s choices. Therefore, their warnings of likely things are no more accurate than banking on rain when the weatherman tells you that there is a 70 percent chance. Things happen. Things change. People make choices. Banshees can end up being wrong just like the weatherman can fail to accurately predict what will happen tomorrow.
The important thing to remember is that just because a message has been delivered does not mean that the message itself has to be correct. You might attempt to put yourself on your guard, strive to be extra careful, or one of those other things that people in the stories that you hear at your grandmother’s knee try to do, but that may not be your wisest course of action. How long would you continue to do so? What extremes would you be willing to go to in your attempt to ward off a nebulous threat that you cannot even specify? Do you want to live like that?
That is not even considering that there is such a thing as a self-fulfilling prophecy. I will not dwell on that subject in detail here, but you should know that both history and legend are full of people who made so many decisions in an attempt to ward of something that they had been told was “fated” to happen that they themselves were the ones who caused whatever it was to occur. That is not (by the way) some sort of proof of fate as some would have you believe. It is really further proof of the fact that our choices are extremely important.
It is this confusion about fate and a misunderstanding of the cause and effect spectrum that leads people to think that attempting to get rid of the banshee herself is some sort of goal to work toward that will result in the warning being moot. As previously stated, you need to understand the difference between the messenger and the message.
First, you will have little to no luck trying to influence a banshee to leave you alone. They have no interest in what you think about them choosing to show up in your life. It is not actually about you. It is about their belief that they are called to broadcast what they see. They do not care if their information is unwanted -- let alone whether or not someone appreciates the form of the delivery. They convey it for their personal satisfaction.
Someone may try to tell you that they have some secret to removing the banshee and therefore whatever ill luck is being forecast -- that should be your first clue that whoever it is is trying to sell you something and has no idea what he or she is talking about. Anyone with a functional knowledge of banshees understands the messenger/message dichotomy. You are going to end up paying (what will likely be an outrageous fee) for someone to stand around and pretend to do something until the banshee leaves of her own accord along the same timeline that she would have done without any form of intercession at all.
Save your money. Or, better yet, spend it on the previously mentioned ear protection. You can always find a use for that later. Be practical about it above all. You are a human being. Life is fraught with risks. You should know that already even without a banshee around to wail it at you in the night.
There are, of course, large numbers of fantasy creatures that I have not touched on in this guide. It was not intended to be exhaustive. The above are the creatures most trifled with by modern fiction and likeliest to be encountered by human beings (still rare, but likeliest). It is my sincere hope that the advice offered in this guide proves to be helpful to those who read it and that many unnecessary and unpleasant situations may be avoided.