24 KIPLING'S SUSSEX
midsummer day to act a shortened scene or two from the fairy portion of the " Midsummer Night's Dream." ' The theatre lay in a meadow . . . A little mill-stream bent round one corner of it, and in the middle of the bend lay a large old fairy-ring of darkened grass, which was the stage." There are numerous fairy-rings and hag-tracks upon the green slopes of the Downs which will not fail to attract the reader's attention. It is now generally admitted that they originate in the growth of various species of fungi, but the Sussex shepherds believe them to be formed by the feet of dancing fairies, or, as they are locally called, Pharisees, who :
" In their courses make that round In meadows and in marshes found, Of them so call'd the fairy ground, Of which they have the keeping."
Every one who has turned the pages of " Puck of Pook's Hill," will call to mind the fairy versesó verses fluttered with memories and shadowsó which recur hauntingly again and again, like a refrain of an old song :
" Farewell, rewards and fairies, Good housewives now may say,