From Barbara Leonie Picard’s The Faun and the Woodcutter’s Daughter.
Riding through his lands the morning of midsummer’s day, young Count Alaric came upon a dazed young lady wandering in the early-morning dew.
He was more distressed than she at her lack of memory, and took her home. While he could not discover who she was, he found her lovely, and she was willing, so they married and were happy together.
The Lady had no skills, neither for entertainment, nor of industry, but as she was the wife of a count, with servants to care for her, and seemed to need no amusing, it made no difference.
Count Alaric loved her greatly, but while she seemed fond of him, part of her mind always seemed to be somewhere else, and once Count Alaric observed her dancing strangely to music only she could hear.
Count Alaric took her hands in his, “Tell me, Catherine,” he said, “tell me the truth, are you happy with me?”
She smiled and laughed and kissed him. “Of course I am happy with you,” she said.
But his heart was heavy, even as he took her in his arms, for he saw still the look in her eyes, as though she thought of something else.
Later, near again to Midsummer’s Day and returning early from a three-day trip, Count Alaric hurried, desiring to see her on the anniversary of their first meeting.
Approaching a great meadow near his castle, his horse’s hooves making no noise in the thick grass, he saw a group of 20 or 30 figures dancing in the moonlight and realized it was the fairies celebrating Midsummer’s Eve.*
Then he realized that one of the figures was not dancing in green but in crimson and gold, and he recognized his Lady Catherine.
Afraid the fairy folk had bewitched her and would carry her off with them, he drove his horse toward them at a gallop, but their nearness suddenly spooked the animal and it bolted from the clearing and back the way it had come.
It was three miles before Count Alaric regained control and forced its head toward home.
The Lady Catherine was in her bed when he went to find her, and she was happy we was home early. But she was also tired, though she denied having been anywhere in the night.
She was in earnest and guileless, and Count Alaric already believed her, full of relief, when he turned and saw the crimson gown draped over a chair.
Its skirt was heavy with dew.
I hope to finish this tale tonight or tomorrow morning.
*There are several different images of the fairies. I hope you understand by now that the fairies of this story were not the “little people” of pixie dust and wings, but the haunting type, barely distinguishable from humans.