|Clarke Fairy Lamp 1880s|
I got to thinking about fairy lamps this morning listening to a very nice piece of music by the French composer Paul Dukas (he wrote the Sorcerer's Apprentice for instance). The piece in mind was "La Péri" or "the fairy".
I found a pretty good synopsis at Wiki (written by a musicologist):
At the end of his days of youth, the Magi having observed that his star had faded, Iskender travels throughout Iran in search of the Flower of Immortality. After three years of looking and wandering,
|Peri in costume|
Later, as the Peri is sleeping, Iskender steals the Flower, careful to avoid making noise so that she does not wake up. Immediately the Flower sparkles brightly in his hands, and when the Peri wakes up, she strikes her hands against each other and lets out a great cry, because without the Flower she cannot enter into the presence of the light of Ormuzd. Upon this realization, Iskender delights at the power he now seemingly has over the Peri.
While in his hand, however, the Flower is transformed by Ormuzd to Iskender’s earthly and material desires. This is a sign to the Peri that possession of the Flower is not intended for Iskender, and so she performs a dance, gradually coming closer and closer until she is able wrest the Flower from him. As the Peri slowly disappears in the light and returns to Paradise, Iskender realizes with calmness that he has been stranded and left to die.
Fairy Lights, La Peri, nightlights, returns to Paradise from the Ends of the Earth...hmmmmm. Tales for grand daughters.