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Book Review: On Fairy Hill by Ruskin Bond

On Fairy Hill by Ruskin Bond is a short story, quite similar to Gulliver’s Lilliput. The story is about a mysterious hill top named Fairy Hill or Pari Tibba in Mussoorie. Rumours have that on this hill resides little people like fairies.

The narrator of the story is a struggling writer who lives in a small cottage at the edge of an oak forest. At night, he often watches out for green twinkling lights. He is inquisitive to know about those lights. There is no motorable road to reach Fairy Hill, thus the lights there cannot be by humans, like lanterns or lamps on bullock carts. One summer day, he scrambles up the hill. By the time, he reaches there he is dead tired. Removing his clothes, he sleeps under the trees.

After an hour or so, when he wakes up, he finds a strange sensation in his limbs. He is nonplussed to see a very small woman or girl, hardly two inches tall, seated on his chest. She has a buttercup in her hands with that she is tingling his flesh. Soon many Lilliput type people are upon him – massaging and relaxing his body. He loses himself in a strange feeling, mix of sleep and drowsiness.

When he wakes up next, he finds dark clouds gathering overhead. The little people are gone. But the fragrance of honeysuckle still lingers in the air. With the little people, gone are his clothes too. He doesn’t find the clothes anywhere. He searches for the people as well, but to no avail. Probably, they are gone to their world or gone under the rocks and earth.

Soon, it starts raining and takes hiding under a rock. In the dark, he goes back to his cottage without clothes. In the morning he wakes up feverish. He remains shrouded in fever for a week.

At night, from the window, he looks out for those lights on Fairy Hill, but he finds none. However, one morning he finds the same little folk coming to his window and they are coming through a rainbow, it works as a bridge for them. He is glad to see them back and longs to go back with them and wants to feel the same, like that summer day.

In the story the narrator admits that his life as a writer isn’t going great. His wife leaves him for better salary and life in Bombay. For human beings settled and routine things become boring, thus following his encounter with those little people, he longs for a miraculous change in his life. The moral of the story is that no one likes boring, straight life. Getting acquainted with fairies is indeed a dreamy proposition.

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