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Whispers From The Otherworld

Whispers From The Otherland (Talking With Fairies)


By Tony Farnden


Shakespir Edition


Copyright 2016 Tony Farnden



Shakespir Edition, License Notes


Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favourite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.




Table of Contents



Rain River


Do Not Ask

Silver and Gold


Unspoken Words and Unsung Songs

The ‘Plaint

Softly Go

Hidden Within


In Plain Sight

Not Such a Rare Thing

In Dreams



Who Are You?

Discover Other Titles by the Author



I believe these writings are the result of being a writer living on the border to the Otherland.


What is this Otherland?


You may know this already, maybe as a memory from childhood, something from the edge of sleep.


This work is something of a collection of observations, reflections and recollections surrounding old folk tales and beyond. Maybe think of them as musings and conversations with things half forgotten and half remembered. It is, in part, made up of different voices giving their opinions or reacting to events. There will not be a beginning and no end as such but they are linked by the same mysterious land and its inhabitants.


Is it about maybe or maybe not? Something that maybe true or maybe not. But what is ‘true’ is that this is about believing in magic, fantastical places full of fantastic creatures that probably should not be spoken about, places one should not go or, if one cannot refuse the invitation, what the consequences may be should one enter these realms.


Is it about greed putting reason aside and taking a risk at something that may offer more than one already has?


Is it about searching for something better, something more meaningful than wealth? Maybe the search for love or acceptance?


Is it just about the search for excitement no matter what?

Maybe all these things.






????????????? seeing looking ??????????????????

???????? watching viewing picturing ?????????

????? imaging ???????????????????? questioning ??????

???? enquiring ???????????????????????? understanding ?????

???? thinking ?????????????????????????? considering ?????

???? recognising ?????????????????????????? listening ?????

???? eavesdropping ???????????????????????? noticing ?????

???? knowing ?????????????????????? allowing ?????

????????????????????????????????????????? permitting ??????

????????????????????????????????????????? imagining ???????

??????????????????????????????????????? illustrating ????????

?????????????????????????????????????? illuminating ??????????

???????????????????????????????????? attributing ???????????

???????????????????????????????? explaining ???????????????

??????????????????????????? elaborating ??????????????????

????????????????????? elucidating ????????????????????????

???????????????????? alluding ???????????????????????????

??????????????????? eluding ??????????????????????????????

?????????????????? evading ??????????????????????????????

?????????????????? hiding ???????????????????????????????

????????????????? deceiving ???????????????????????????????

????????????????? escaping ???????????????????????????????

????????????????? encompassing ???????????????????????????????

????????????????? enchanting ???????????????????????????????

????????????????? bewitching ???????????????????????????????

????????????????? believing ???????????????????????????????

????????????????? opening ???????????????????????????????

????????????????? closing ???????????????????????????????



????????????????? losing ???????????????????????????????

????????????? leaving subliming ???????????????????????????

???????????? vanishing missing ??????????????????????????

??????????? lessening weakening ?????????????????????????

??????????? diminishing doubting ??????????????????????????

????????????? fading passing ???????????????????????????

????????????????? ending ?????????????????????????????







Rain River

The rain is falling.

The river rises, singing,

ringing over rocks

below my eye line,

filling my ears with old words,

whispering, laughing

as it tumbles down

the hillside where I now find

my home my schoolroom.

I, the student, strain

to listen to what must be

stories and tales sung.

Songs sung by spirits

of the river and its folk

Songs rising, falling,

new to me but old,

so old, and in ancient tongues

but I will know them.


Beneath the cloud cover and drizzle

the grey bones of this land protrude

through grazes and scars.


Or just maybe the green skin

we live on is peeling back

to reveal the roofs and turrets


of the shadowland that lurks beneath.

If I look hard enough and for long enough

maybe I’ll find a way into this land of dreams


through an open window or a crack in a roof.

Or could I slip between the pages of the slate
that form the grey bones of this land?

Do not ask


I cannot tell you

what I know about this place,

what I have been told.


I should not tell you

what treasures I have been shown,

for treasures they are.


I will not tell you

least all melts away, dewlike

with the fae moonlight.




Silver and Gold


No, not for silver

and not for gold

would I forget you


No, not for ruby

and not for pearl

would I reveal you


No, not for opal

nor for sapphire

would I desert you


No, not for money

and not for fame

would I deny you


No, not for a thing

but a word from you

would I walk away




Could I go from here
should I break these silver chains,
if the way is clear?

Would I go from here
if I found the door ajar,
no one in my way.

Could I then return
if I were but to whisper
one word in your ear.

Would the hidden way
reveal itself should I find
I can’t stay away.

What would I find there?
Would I find my old world gone,
if I returned home,

and I a stranger,
a stranger in a strange land
ignored by strangers.

And would that be so
when I wish to return here
should the way be clear.

Unspoken Words and Unsung Songs


Dare not speak these words

Dare not whisper these thoughts

Dare not sing these lyrics

Dare not hum these airs

Dare not share these things


Keep your soul still

And your eyes barely open

Watch but never stare

You will see and you will be seen

By those who brought you here


You may stay seated or you may mingle

Either way you will be included

Listen to the laughter and the chatter

What you learn you must never share

Or you will find yourself forever excluded


Dance with the other dancers

Party with the party goers

But do not eat and do not drink

Do not refuse what you are offered

Just forget it on some ledge


Time will do its own thing

And not obey any known laws

While you play here

The guest of these others

These strange and beautiful others


Should you return home

You may find you were never away

Were not missed at all

You may find your deathbed

Waiting for you after many a long year




The ‘Plaint


well fine sir, what do you want from us?

we did you many honours noticing you

bringing you here and dressing you in our finery

breaking bread with you and draining our cellars with you

what want you from us now?


we showered you in gold

perfumed your limbs and caressed your cheeks

allowed your wild kisses and your crass flirtations

and now you want to return home

well, let us show you the way


you want to take all we bestowed upon you

what will you leave in return?

your love and best wishes?

we have need of these?

you have nothing more, you say


we will have something whether you allow it or not

as you shall begone from this land

and then you will find what we have invoiced you for

can you refuse and dispute?

I think not, more than a year has passed.


did you not read the fine print?

did you not heed the stories told you?

do you now begin to comprehend?

well never mind it is late and you must be off

here let me kiss you one more time


there, do not fear and do not cry

you will now sleep and wake near your old home

though it may not be as you remember

what you will find we know not

we are not subject to the tyrant Time.




Softly Go


Softly go I say

and do hold your peace awhile.

I shall tell you why.


See this bag of stones.

Once it was a bag of coins,

bright gold but no more.


Softly go I say

and do not linger while there.

Time is their plaything.


See this face of mine,

now old, all wrinkled and gray,

once so young and gay.


Softly go I say,

reveal not a single thing

to secure your gifts.


See this broken wretch,

he was one who knew not this

and has now lost all.




Hidden Within


The half remembered song that hides itself deeper as each word is retrieved. The act of remembering reignites the spell it contains, driving it back into the darkness and leaving no more than a memory of a memory.


Just a memory
of a memory, a song,
a fleeting feeling.

Something on the edge
of sleep’s precipice. A song,
maybe that is it.

Something that calls you,
in a dream or not, a song
stirring up the dust.

Motes dance together,
swaying gently to a song
heard so long ago.

The dust that must fall
as words die away. A song,
maybe one forgot,

maybe one that’s lost.
A song among songs. A song
that craves to be sung.

A song forbidden,
one hidden from us. A song
that reveals some truth.

A song once all heard
now mute but aching. A song
silenced but still there.

An echo ringing
in our dreams, waiting. A song
rising from the depths.

A song just grasped at
then torn from our hands. A song
that takes itself back

into the abyss,
far beyond waking. A song
full of old magic.

A spell song weaving
its own enchantment. A song
melting away, dew,

morning dew at dawn,
faint mist under foot. A song
of enlightenment

lost to both singer
and hearer as sang. A song
lost, found, lost again.




Crimbil (Interview with a Changeling)


When did it take place?


The exchange?


Yes, the exchange. When did it take place?


Not on one occasion, if that is possible. It was more a gradual replacement. A little bit at a time, something small each time. Something that would not be missed. Something that would not be remarked.


Something not noticed even by the me that inhabited this body. A gradual erosion of who “I” was then and growth of the who “I “ was going to be.


A shift in potential. Maybe a loss, maybe a gain. I could not have said back then.


Yes, we see, but when?


The first time was by water, a pond there the child stood in its smart coat, the one with the velvet collar. The one that came down to the knees and flared slightly out, as they did back then.


He holds a fishing net and watches the water intently. Like in a photograph, yet not in a photograph.

There in the water are faces, they watch closely and chatter to each other. Their mouths do not move but the words still come.


What did they say?


Who is this child? Is it boy or is it girl?

What matter, look to its hair.

Oh such pretty hair, like white gold

We should like our own to have such hair

Here, child, take this gift, this knowledge for your hair

See how good it feels and it gets only better
when you share it with your friends.

Do you accept our offer?

Oh, you do. Do not tell anyone,
they do not need to know

And so the exchange was made and fair hair was swapped for brown. one hair at a time so no one once remarked except his brother who envied the blonde hair and was glad to see it gone. It was also the time when I began to form. Began to wake up

And next?

Next was after my father had died. I was still the pretty child. No, rather he was a pretty child. The he I now am. The beautiful child left without counsel, without a wary protector.

It was the day his mother went to visit the grave taking his brother and little sister but leaving him at home with his grandfather looking after him.


Why were you left behind?


I, the hybrid “I”, was a nervous creature, so frightened of the shadows, prone to scream and hide. Oh it would not do to have a child make a scene. “A child should be seen and not heard!”


What then?


They, the owners of the whispering faces, started to whisper in his head while the old man worked in the garden.


Find a quiet place and play with us

Dance with us as we dance

Oh how graceful he is

We should like our own to have such grace

Here take this gift, this knowledge, for your movements

See how good it feels and it gets only better
when you share it with your friends.


Do you accept our offer?

Oh, you do. Do not tell anyone
they do not need to know


Did they visit you again?


Twice more. Shall I tell you what passed? Yes?


These visits were near our home as well. That is strange. I’d not noticed it before. It was all about and even inside where we lived.


Anyway, the next was on the edge of the waste ground, behind where we lived. The pits we called it. The once wide Thames meadow land, where the exhausted gravel pits had been filled in long ago. Where nature and her kin had begun to return. Sadly for a brief moment as now there is more housing and nature is again pushed aside.


We, brothers and friends, found a water tank thrown out from some loft following a freezing winter of burst pipes.


“Let’s turn it upside down and bang on it with sticks. It is like a big drum, like at the Lord Mayor’s Show, like in Sandi of the River, you know at Christmas.”


“Get inside now, before we lower it to the ground and we will bang on top. Tell us how loud it sounds”


I, the broken child, did as requested sitting cross legged in the darkness, broached by lances of light. It was not scary in any way.


Outside the children danced and drummed.


Inside tiny figures also danced. Many little figures, as dark as night, wheeled around each other. And again the voices came.


See he sees us, such pretty blue eyes

Such keen eyes that see what they should not see

We should like our own to have such eyes

Shall we trade for them?

Yes, let’s have them if we can get them cheap


Here, child, take this fine gift
This ability to see what is small for your eyes
And do not bother with what is beyond
What should not be in your ken

See how good it is see what is right there in front of you
And it gets only better as you grow
When you share what you can see with your friends


Do you accept our offer?

Oh, you do. You shall not tell anyone

Not one word of this trade
They do not need to know
And you should you try
We will see to it that you forget
So cannot tell


The exchange was made and blue eyes were swapped for murky grey one ray at a time so no one once remarked. That is except for his friends, my friends, who realised he could no longer see clearly what lay beyond his arms reach. Without knowing it they helped him as he grew, protected him but could not tell him what they did as the enchantment spread far, pointing out far things and whispering to him what was being written on the blackboard in class. I in turn would tell them what tiny things played upon their fingertips and chirped upon the ends of their noses.


Teachers did not notice other than to begin think this broken child was no longer very bright. This broken child could no longer read even when it read very well what they wanted from the book held in its hands, held close to its eyes.


About this time when I began to be more in control, to understand where I was. To understand how hard this life was and how terrifying was the thing that followed it. With that the spell began to weaken and thoughts began to form words which asked to be spoken.


That was when the ‘uncle’ arrived. No, rather what the uncle was revealed itself. We had an uncle who lived in the North and who would visit at Christmas and in the summer. I could never understand the why’s and wherefores, but visit he did.


He took me aside one day and looking into my eyes said:


“You cannot tell, you know.

Not even me.
Just like I cannot tell you how it is with me.

Know this!
What you think is true is true.
Do not ask me how I know,
know that I can see it.

Know that you are watched
but more importantly
you are listened to
and will be for all your life.


If you tell even this,
even the little I have said
you will ruin us both.
We would lose the brief spark allowed.

Do you understand?

Nod, do not speak.

Let it only be me at risk.

Good. Now go.”


When I look back I am not sure if this really took place. My brother and my sister could not remember our uncle from the north having stayed with us that summer. When I looked to my mother for help she shook her head uncertainly and rubbed her temples. I am inclined to think that it was them, the rarely seen ones, tricking me into silence.


The years passed and I grew into this makeshift body of mine. There were many changes around me, school for one and the loss of supporting friends. The problem with my eyes was finally identified and stupid became somewhat bright again with the help of spectacles. Loneliness became the norm, not fitting in and not being bothered. If I tried I failed. If I waited and was just there, things would happen around me and sometimes I would be pulled in, drawn in. If I kept quiet those around would start to like me. If they started to expect things from me then I would drift away. I did not know what they wanted and if I tried I would be wrong. If they showed me by example, by what they did to me, for me, it would be fine for awhile. Just for awhile before the life seemed to be slowly sucked away and all would need to drag themselves away to recover. It seems so long ago that I cared for anyone, even myself.


When that uncle died a few years back the final ties, the promises, began to loosen, to untie, and I now find myself not responsible for anyone else’s future security. I find myself here before you speaking freely.


Thank you, we will retire now and consider what you have told us and what must be done. Just wait here, some one will be along soon.




In Plain Sight (Acrostic)



There are many tales
how we ordinary folk
enjoy their notice.


For we have little
and we have but fleeting lives,
incomplete they think,


ripe for the plucking,
only good for dance and fun,
not to love for long


even if we please.

So beware of temptation.
Keep this warning close:


never stray, wander
off your path not one small step
whatever tempts you.


Use any excuse,
say you are unwell, unwashed,
walk away fast, run.


Even if you want
lingering will be fatal.
Lust will take you off.



Not Such A Rare Thing


She watched him go by

A shadow in the moonlight.

Her heart said why not.


She told her heart, “soft,

Why do you cloud my judgement

With such hopeless stuff”


“Ask him why he walks

This way by night when in bed

Asleep he should be


“Whisper in his ear,

read the answer in his eyes

‘fore he knows who asks”


“No, my heart, we wait

Patience may still answer all

With no risk to me.


“Observe, he now stops,

Pushes back his hood and looks

All about. He speaks.


“What is it he says?”

She approaches him, hidden

In shadow and mist.


“Mother, are you here

Beneath the cool moonlit pool

Where you threw yourself


“All those years ago.

I knew you only by song

Vaguely remembered


“As I fell asleep

When naught but a tiny child

Lying in my cot.”


Memories burst forth

From the depths of the her past,

A book’s pages wind turned,


Moments old flash by

Things shoved away in sorrow

And righteous anger


Forgotten feelings

From a book of memories

So long locked away


She stepped back and gasped,

Veiled no more from mortal eyes.

“My son, is it you?


“What is it brings you

Here after so many years

To me your mother?”


“My father is dead

A dour man now freed from grief,

from regret and pain.


“I come to find you

To pass on his last wishes.

He loved you deeply,


“Loved another not

From the day he struck your face

In blind frustration


“Til his last breath drawn.

“Go find her, my son”, he gasped,

“Ask her forgiveness


“Then peace I will have.”

This I now have done for him.

What do I do now?”


She thought, “I came here

Looking for a mortal love

Not some long lost child


“Or so I did think

But an old well spring now flows

Once more, full of tears.”


“Come with me my child

To your home which lies close by

Beneath the water.


“Walk with me freely

But a few steps from this place

Of death and of shame


“To a place flowing

with life, with joy and with song,

Filled with your fair kin.


“Come home with me, child,

there to dance and play with us

Til the end of time.”


“I will come with you

As I have no joy left me

Here in this drear place.


“I will come with you

To dance, to laugh and to sing

Til the end of time.”



(I thought this was going to be a love poem / story and in many ways it still is but not as I imagined/envisioned – she is the man’s fae mother who deserted her mortal family after a dispute involving some violence on her husband’s side, sadly something not unknown in folk tales and real life.)




In Dreams



In dreams the dead can talk.

They may tell you things you did not know.

In dreams they may appear to lie or tell you some untruth.

They may tell you something not about themselves,

something that is yet to happen.

In dreams they say it is all about you

and the things you fear most.


In dreams your friends may transform,

shape shift into lovers you did not expect.

They may want to kiss and caress you against your wishes.

In dreams they may wheedle or tempt you with some untruth,

something you think you do not want.

In dreams they say it is all about you

and the things you secretly desire.


In dreams the dreamers may dream

a dream from which they may dream themselves awake.

The dreamers finds they must journey onwards

to escape some other land full of strange folk.

This life may be but a dream the dreamer has not dreamed.

The dreamers maybe dreaming things

their own dreamers may desire from them.







we are all

on a journey from

womb to tomb.


doubt at all.

Even if you ne’er

stray away


your front door

you ride a dragon

world flying


and on through

space and time and ‘branes,

ne’er pausing


No matter

where it did begin,

no matter


journey’s end.

Have fun while it lasts,

as that is



(Branes – the membranes of the multiverse, the layers of life)







when you have little

life can be long and so cold

then broken when old


if you have true love

life can seem so full of light

then be cropped short


why say no when asked

to join the fair in their dance

their merry laughter


why cover your ears

and turn back from such promise

when life is so dark


take up their offer

and grasp their hands and follow

them into the earth


go into their world

do not miss those left behind

for they are long gone


make their home your own

and you will become like them

a creature of light




Who are you?




They do not steal
They make what they see as fair exchange:
Labor for food and drink
Blessing for cleanliness
Child for child
though worth for worth maybe an issue


They are generous with silver and gold
as they are children of the earth and water.
Beware these gifts will become rocks
if you reveal their origin outside your family


They are trustworthy,
brutal but trustworthy


They never lie
They reveal just enough truth as suits their purpose


To question them is to risk wrath


They love beauty in all things
and want to share with them

They never forgive trespass
as they would never intentionally commit offense


They are vengeful on those individuals who wrong them

They do not suffer fools and do not bother to correct misunderstandings


They live forever bar misfortune


They do not believe in an afterlife as it cannot be proved


They are few and cherish all life

They honour the living and remember their words as if heard but a moment ago


They are pitiless


They are without fear

Should they fail they would never recover


They are godlike, warlike and are unchanging from one big bang to the next



Or are you human?


Some do steal
and they do not feel the need to recompense unless under duress:


They are all about denial when detected
and full of curses when punished


They are miserly with silver and gold
as they are children of fire and air
Beware this wealth as it will be but a stone around your neck
should you value it above love and truth


They cannot be trusted


They may never lie but then they just may
They reveal just enough truth to be believed


To question them is to risk wrath


They despise beauty in others
or want to possess them


They can be forgiving in all things
as they have been there ourselves


Many are vengeful and may never forgive even down the generations
and have no truck in innocence, fairness or love


They love fools and delight in taking advantage of misunderstandings


They have but fleeting lives


They believe in an afterlife as it cannot be disproved


They are many and will despoil all life given time


They honor the dead in ways that suit them,
reinterpreting their teachings as fits their needs
for good or for bad
for gain or for gift


They are pitiful


They are fearful but can transcend fear


They fail often but keep trying


They rise and fall,
they become more compassionate with time
before the brutal hordes send them back into the dark
but a candle still flickers somewhere
and they slowly but slowly recover
and become godlike once more


Are they more than brief candles in the wind?


We may never know






Thank you for reading my book. If you enjoyed it, won’t you please take a moment to leave me a review at your favorite retailer?







Discover other titles by Tony Farnden


Dragon Love

Views From A Hill


Whispers From The Otherworld

The Otherworld is where the Fae exist. These are the Fae of folk tales. They are include many forms of fairy ranging from beautiful human looking beings to less than pretty changelings. This collection is a contemplation on meetings between us and them based on what is told in old tales. It consists of short stories and poems from a number of different stand points. Included are a few of poems on the meaning of magic and of dreams. It may not always be clear who is speaking on first read but stick at it and maybe things will become as you go.

  • ISBN: 9781310438646
  • Author: Tony Farnden
  • Published: 2016-05-19 20:35:08
  • Words: 4488
Whispers From The Otherworld Whispers From The Otherworld