This post marks the beginning of the A to Z Challenge! In case you missed it, I’m doing a theme that I like to call A Bestiary of Mythological Creatures (and People). If you’d like to know more about the theme, you can read the post I wrote about it. Otherwise, let’s move on to…
Black Annis the Blue-faced Hag
I’ve had a long-term infatuation with Annis. Her name is one I’ve used instead of my own at times. She was also the inspiration for the creepy woman in my short story Glow. When I first read about her in Brian Froud’s Good Faeries, Bad Faeries, I was instantly enamored:
This highly dangerous fae hag grabs children through open windows and takes them back to her lair to devour them. When horrid Black Annis is hungry, her howls can be heard for miles.
I can relate, because I also don’t handle hunger very well. But that’s not really part of her charm. No, it was the whole stealing-children-through-windows-to-eat-them gig that I liked. I don’t condone such behavior, mind you. It’s not what she does that I was drawn to, rather the feeling that it engenders.
For me, fairy tales speak of a time when night was actually dark, and the things that bumped in that darkness were to be feared. They speak of superstition, of whispers around fires and horseshoes hanging over doorways. They speak of magic and nature and the blending of our world with that of another. Fairy tales are reminiscent of a time when man lived closer to nature and, in his limited comprehension of the world around him, created stories as a means to better understand and to survive. They make me think that maybe there was a time when magical creatures like Annis were truly thought to be true, and if enough people believed it, then maybe they really were.
Somehow Annis managed to encapsulate all that just from the brief block of text quoted above. She remains my inner alter ego, and keeps a part of me believing in magic and in fairy tales, and allows me to wonder what might be lurking in the darkness.
Source: Froud, Brian, Good Faeries, Bad Faeries, Simon and Schuster, 1998