Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Tears of the Yunwi Tsunsdi

She was like a half-tamed woods creature -- poked her head out the bushes a little ways and waited. Big blue eyes in a dirty sun-brown face, hair a greasy snarl, and a dress no better than a feed sack with holes in it.

I can do something about that, I thought and I felt in my skirt pocket for my charm.

'Come up here, honey,' I called and she inched out of the bushes and up the steps, her feet a-dragging.

But when she got close, she looked me in the eyes even afore she looked to see what was in my hand and that was when I knew.

'Oh, honey,' I said, feeling as if I might bust out crying, 'they's so many things I have to teach you and likely not much time. But we'll make a beginning with the story of the fairy crosses and how they came to be.'

When I put the little cross in her hand, she studied it close, running her finger up and down over its ridges. Then she looked up and whispered, 'This is from the little things, ain't it?'

Law, they was a catch in my heart at them words.

Fairy crosses or fairy stones are formed from staurolite, a combination of iron, silica, and aluminum that often crystallizes into cross-like shapes. Traditionally carried for luck, fairy crosses are said to protect against witchcraft, disease, and disaster.

Cherokee legend says that the Little People, the Yunwi Tsunsdi - a race of tiny reclusive beings known for their ability to find lost people -- were dancing and drumming and singing at a location near today's Brasstown, NC when a messenger arrived, bringing news of the Crucifixion. The terrible story made the Little People cry and when their tears hit the earth, they turned into the tiny crosses that can still be found in the area today.

The section in italics is a taste from Miss Birdie's book. The fairy crosses in the picture are very small -- about the size of my little fingernail. (No, I didn't find them myself -- they came from the Silver Armadillo in Asheville.)
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