We are infested by fairies. Small fuzzy spriggans scurrying through our walls. Slow-witted hobgoblins flapping around on our fire escape. Swarms of tiny brownies nibbling at our fruit. You would think that city life is less alluring to the Fair Folk than country life, but larger numbers of people seem to, instead, create large opportunities for feasting and pranking.
Yes, we are absolutely infested.
Thankfully, modern technology and scholarship being what it is, there are a large number of charms and remedies easily available to the metropolitan matron who finds peaceful coexistence with fairies to be trying. I am one such matron, so I will share with you what I have learned.
Hobgoblins are not unpleasant neighbors, so long as they live outside of your house. They may wake with the sun, greeting it with burbling coos of affection and happiness. The flap of their wings may, on occasion, startle a person a bit, but not badly. The only trouble is that they are scrupulous housekeepers, but less concerned about where the filth of their hearth ends up. If you find hobgoblins roosting on your stoop and emptying their dustpans at the threshold to your home, seal up the cracks of the door. I’ve heard it suggest that a long sock filled with rice is ideal, but quite frankly, duck tape sticks to the door frame better and is easier to find at the hardware store.
Brownies are far more irritating companions, and they’re not willing to make their own home unless it’s inside yours, living off your charity. They’re quiet enough, to be sure, and don’t take anything you’d notice. The trouble is that if even one gets comfortable, others see your home as open and quickly move in. Unchecked, the ranks of the brownies will grow until you can hardly take a breath without endangering a dozen tiny lives. The best thing to discourage brownies is cleanliness—a clean home makes a brownie feel unneeded. Vinegar and soap are the best cleansers. After cleaning well, it is wise to leave the brownies a small dish of mixed vinegar and dish soap as a sign post that they are not needed.
Spriggans are the worst neighbors of the lot, and the most difficult to be rid of. They torment with whispered noises in the night, promising evil things for the inhabitants of the house and steal whatever they can lift. They can be tempted to their deaths by traps baited with bread, but only with difficulty and great risk. Many spriggans are clever enough to avoid traps, and many more are protected by banshees who will be angered by a violent death. As with brownies, strict cleanliness is a good start, but other precautions must often be taken as well. Ringing bells are said to be the most effective, and the boon of modern technology is that the bells can be ultrasonic—irritating to sensitive fae ears, but inaudible to humans. Peppermint oil is a noxious threat to fae noses, but again, harmless to humans.
For every city fairy, there’s some modern fairy charm, but as you might imagine, I am sick of the fight. I miss the unpopulated areas where the Fair Folk hold little sway.