The Jones family liked to have tea on Sunday afternoons, and on this particular Sunday it happened that one of them dropped a teacup, and as the teacup hit the floor and shattered, all the fairies who lived inside the other teacups came swarming out of the cupboard waving their arms and shouting “STOP FUCKING DOING THAT!” at the top of their tiny voices. “Aw,” said the Joneses, “How cute!” They clustered around the fairies and began taking pictures with their cellphones. The fairies ran around in circles, chittering profanities too high pitched for human hearing. “Look!” enthused the eldest Jones sister. “Look, everybody! They’re dancing!”
The Joneses were in more danger than they ever could have imagined, because it is possible for fairies to get so angry that they spontaneously combust, and the resulting fires do not go out until the original wrong has been addressed to their satisfaction. Perhaps the Joneses were simply unfamiliar with the many examples of fourteenth century Chinese woodblock prints depicting contrite monarchs casting entire sets of gaiwans into angry emerald flames. In any case, had they known better, they might have gone out of their way to calm the fairies down, perhaps by leaving some scones or lemon bars out near the cupboard with a few flowers garnishing the edges of the plate. Fairies are worth having on your side, after all. They will keep all your fine china dusted with their delicate wings, and if you can persuade them that drinking tea out of their houses is in fact a perfectly normal thing to do, they will sometimes rearrange the tea leaves in the bottom after you are finished, rewriting your fortune into something kinder and gentler. It’s worth learning how to make really good lemon bars just for that.