The Children Asking


By Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan

“If we meet Fairies, tell us what to do!”

“Be clean and handsome, think but what is true;
behave in courteous fashion, show respect –
lest Their great powers should find some defect
in you, that They might feel the need to curse –
lay at Their feet an offering of furze
in yellow bloom or, failing that, a spray
of shell-pink rosebuds or sweet-scented may
and, hoping for the best, pronounce your wish.

Look you! Be careful if you hear a swish,
As of an owl’s wings; or the blind bat’s cry,
you had much better turn around and fly –
but should a radiance in your sight appear,
be sure that some Good Fairy must be near.

Pray God you may not covet foolish things…
And never try to touch Their shining wings.”