How the Fairies Were Born
(from “Aradia, Gospel of the Witches”, by Charles G. Leland)
All things were made by Diana, the great spirits of the stars, men in their time and place, the giants which were of old, and the dwarfs who dwell in the rocks, and once a month worship her with cakes.
There was once a young man who was poor, with out parents, yet was he good.
One night he sat in a lonely place, yet it was very beautiful, and there he saw a thousand little fairies, shining white, dancing in the light of the full moon. “Gladly would I be like you, O fairies!” said the youth, “free from care, needing no food. But what are ye?”
“We are moon-rays, the children of Diana,” replied one:–
“We are children of the Moon;
We are born of shining light;
When the Moon shoots forth a ray,
Then it takes a fairy’s form.
“And thou art one of us because thou wert born when the Moon, our mother Diana, was full; yes, our brother, kin to us, belonging to our band.
“And if thou art hungry and poor… and wilt have money in thy pocket, then think upon the Moon, on Diana, unto who thou wert born; then repeat these words:–
‘Luna mia, bella Luna!
Più di una altra stella;
Tu sei sempre bella!
Portatemi la buona fortuna!’
‘Moon, Moon, beautiful Moon!
Fairer far than any star;
Moon, O Moon, if it may be,
Bring good fortune unto me!’
“And then, if thou has money in thy pocket, thou wilt have it doubled.
“For the children who are born in a full moon are sons or daughters of the Moon, especially when they are born of a Sunday when there is a high tide.
‘Alta marea, luna piena, sai,
Grande uomo sicuro tu sarei.’
‘Full moon, high sea,
Great man shalt thou be!’
Then the young man, who had only a paolo in his purse, touched it, saying:–
“Luna mia, bella Luna,
Mia sempre bella Luna!”
“Moon, Moon, beautiful Moon,
Ever be my lovely Moon!”
And so the young man, wishing to make money, bought and sold and made money, which he doubled every month.
But it came to pass that after a time, during one month he could sell nothing, so made nothing. So by night he said to the Moon–
“Luna mia, Luna bella!
Che io amo più di altra stella!
Dimmi perche e fatato
Che io gnente (niente) ho guadagnato?”
“Moon, O Moon, whom I by far
Love beyond another star,
Tell me why it was ordained
That I this month have nothing gained?”
Then there appeared to him a little shining elf, who said:–
“Tu non devi aspettare
Altro che l’aiutare,
Quando fai ben lavorare.”
“Money will not come to thee,
Nor any help or aid can’st see,
Unless you work industriously.”
Io non daro mai denaro
Ma l’aiuto, mio caro!”
“Money I ne’er give, ’tis clear,
Only help to thee, my dear!”
Then the youth understood that the Moon, like God and Fortune, does the most for those who do the most for themselves.
“Come l’appetito viene mangiando,
E viene il guadagno lavorando e risparmiando.”
“As appetite comes by eating and craving,
Profit results from labour and saving.”
To be born in a full moon means to have an enlightened mind, and a high tide signifies an exalted intellect and full of thought. It is not enough to have a fine boat of Fortune.
“Bisogna anche lavorare
Per farla bene andare.”
“You must also bravely row,
If you wish the bark to go.”
“Ben faremmo e ben diremmo,
Mal va la barca senza remo.”
“Do your best, or talk, but more
To row the boat you’ll need an oar.”
And, as it is said–
“La fortuna a chi dà
A chi toglie cosi sta,
Qualche volta agli oziosi
Ma il più ai laboriosi.”
“Fortune gives and Fortune takes,
And to man a fortune makes,
Sometimes to those who labour shirk,
But oftener to those who work.”