Faërie Logic


Tony Kelly wrote of the lure of faërie logic leading off the straight path with a half step to Faery. He proposed that between ‘is’ and ‘is not’ the half-step could be represented by ’nim’ and ’not him’, as follows:

The truth is in the dance. 

The truth is nim in the dance.

 The truth is not in the dance.

The truth is not nim in the dance. 

  Let’s think about the Realm of Faery, a faery ring, and enchantment.  Does Faery exist?  Should we answer “Yes!” or “No!” or  “Nim!” or “Not nim!”?  The answer “yes” is neither respectable nowadays nor correct.  To answer “no” is respectable, but it isn’t correct.  Here’s a story:

Once, there was a man travelling alone over Greenberrow Heath in the evening when, just as twilight was falling, he heard the sound of strange wild music and suddenly saw in a grassy hollow a group of beautiful women of the faery kind dancing in a ring before him.  He was so captivated by the music and the graceful steps of the dancers that he threw all caution to the wind and entered the ring and danced there with them.  He soon found the pace took all the agility he could muster, and his legs began to ache and he felt tired but, try as he might, he couldn’t break out of the dance.  Round and round he went like a whirlwind and he danced the whole night through till the break of day when, at last, the faery troupe vanished and he fell from exhaustion in the grass where his friends found his body next day, and his shoes quite worn through.  And when at last he awoke and was able to speak to them he said it was as if he couldn’t find the way out of the dance.
“And how is that?” they asked him.    “It was my big feet,” he said, “and I couldn’t find the right step.  The rhythm was in it; it was going nim, nim’t, nim, nim’t, nim, nim’t’ all the time, and I couldn’t get it into my head to think is, isn’t, is, isn’t, is, isn’t” at all.  I wanted a half-step, and I couldn’t for the life of me find it.”

From the Archive of The Pagan Movement


  1. ‘nim, nim’t, nim, nim’t, nim, nim’t’ – the story of my life!

  2. Charlotte Hussey says:

    Many dances are based on the transfer of weight from right to left. Even walking involves the same weight transfer. For example a simple step called step-point involves stepping down on the right and then pointing your toe on the left. Then you step down on the left and reverse everything. So dancing and walking is very there and not there to begin with. Taken to a fine art, this clips of the Ivory Coast Shuffle, shows how by rapidly alternating weight, the dancer seems to float, as if not of this world. Perhaps the faeries floated in a similar fashion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHYk0nnXsak

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