I’ve only had head lice once. I think I caught them on a group walking holiday in Wales.
One afternoon towards the end of the week, I chaperoned a lovely little 8 year old called Annie. Her mum, too tired, or busy, or divorce-damaged, or desperate to wash her hair, pressganged me into taking Annie with me on a four hour guided ramble in the rugged North Wales mountains, around the stunning Cadar Idris, throne of Uther. A folkloric landscape of the poet, the madman, the dead man who are said to gather on the Idris summit in the dawn’s pale gloom. A mythic and magical and harsh place of legend.
It could have been an arduous trek, but I had the delightful company of Annie to smooth the day along. Annie loved fairies, Annie saw fairies everywhere, “look, fairy doors” she would say stopping at almost every tree stump, every cleft in the tangled woodland tree roots. Annie paused at every Oak, Ash and Thorn, paid homage to every bee, butterfly and dragonfly we saw “Look! Fairies” she would say.
And at the end of the long day she granted me fairies of my own. In a gesture of blessing She drew her fingers across her cherubic dark curls, she placed her hands onto the crown of my head and dipped our heads together until our foreheads touched, we paused and stared into each others eyes. “now you have fairies too” She said.
Later, around the campfire, Annie tucked up safe in her sleeping bag, I chatted with Annie’s Mum. I said “She’s a one for the fairies”
Mum laughed, ” yes, it’s fairies this and fairies that, she sees them everywhere, ‘look fairies’ she says, all the time. Even when I’m using the headlice shampoo, she’s like ‘Mummy, Look! Fairies’ and I say yes honey, wash them down the plughole”