Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

The Dark Side of Magic

Don't listen to the fairy tales, my children.

Listen, instead, to me. I can teach you about magic, for I learned the lesson the hard way. Of course, I know you won't heed my warnings. You won't listen to my evidence. You won't hear.

You will choose to believe what you want to believe. You will search for magic that can make dreams come true. Just as I did.

I don't blame you. I fell for the fantasy as well. The fairy tales teach us that there is good magic, and bad. We've come to believe that fairies represent the light, with their pixie dust and glowing giggles. A flick of the wrist, a snap of the fingers and everything we wish for appears. These same stories tell us of the dark magic as well--the evil witches who want to destroy our dreams out of greed, or envy, or spite. They give us poisoned apples to extinguish our beauty. Or they curse us to roam the earth alone.

But I know the truth. The fae cannot be defined by our terms. Witches are not good or evil. Magical creatures are neither light nor dark. Human definitions of right or wrong, good or bad, just or unjust, do not apply.

Magical beings come with their own set of morals, which we will never understand.

I fell in love with a magical being. His strength and beauty stunned me. His kindness and love of nature lured me. He could sing a tune more perfect than the birds. His smile filled the room with fairy dust.

I fell in love with him. He fell in love with me. We vowed eternal devotion to each other.

Time passed, and as happens to mortal beings I began to show the decay of time. He still called me beautiful. He still covered me with love. He did not stray or desert me. He still hasn't, in fact.

Yet, I knew the passing of time would bring about our end. My heart broke at the thought of leaving him, of losing him, of not feeling the warmth of his love surrounding me. So I asked for a wish.

"Anything," he said. "I will give you anything."

I asked to be granted more time, before my youth faded away completely. I asked that he grant me many lifetimes to live in the embrace of his love.

"I will do that and love you forever," he said.

He did, but this is where our story shifts. Magical beings don't define love in our terms. Magical beings don't recognize our definitions of freedom, of love, of life. For they can sense the life in everything, and hear the call of mother earth. To them, human emotions and needs are finite; something they cannot understand.

So, for him the gift he gave made sense. He has the capacity to love in ways beyond my understanding. For me, however, it's different.


Although I can still sense his love, I cannot reach out and touch it. Although my time on earth will now extend for hundreds of years, I cannot embrace it. Nobody hears my words except as a whisper in the wind. Nobody holds me in their arms to give or receive comfort. I cannot caress the soft cheek of a child, and can only cradle one in my arms if he chooses to climb me.

I can only share my love by providing a home for small creatures; birds who build nests in my branches and leave at the end of the season; squirrels who hide their cache in my body; chipmunks who burrow under my roots. I can give love by sheltering other lovers as they lie beneath my branches sharing secret caresses and whispered wishes.

Be careful what you wish for, I say. But they only hear my leaves rustle.

Yet, I still feel the love of my fae man. He speaks to me, nurtures me, cares for me when I am damaged in a storm. He tells me I am beautiful and he will love me forever. He loves me as only magical beings can.

I asked him for another wish, to return me to my body so I could feel his touch.

"Your mortal body would have turned to dust long ago," he says. "Isn't my love for you enough?

It's not enough. Learn from me, my children, magic is cruel even when given with love.