Legend of the Fairy Stone

fairy stone 3

Growing up, I thought everyone had a fairy stone. My mother kept hers in the box that held her most treasured jewelry. She’d take it out from time-to-time and lay the cross-shaped stone in my hand. It was cool and brown, lightly polished with a metal loop on top but otherwise imperfect, raw, like it had just been pulled from the ground.

“This cross wasn’t made by man,” Mother would tell me.

Every time, I was amazed. I’d studied rocks in school. I’d pulled them from countless river beds. I’d never seen stones like this, but she said that there were many of them and that they were created by heartbroken fairies.

Many years ago, the fairies were happy, she’d explain. They lived in the woods not far away and were dancing when a stranger came. He’d traveled the world, and he stopped to tell them about the things he’d seen–great pyramids, rivers as wide as seas, and the saddest death ever.

A man who said he was the son of God had spent his life healing people and spreading love. “Jesus,” I’d whisper. Mother would say, “Yes, Jesus,” and continue. The stranger told the fairies that some men were afraid of Jesus and threatened by him, so they captured him and nailed his hands and feet to a cross. They whipped him, starved him, and let him die.

The fairies had never heard anything so sad. They began to weep and when their magic tears splashed against the earth, they suddenly crystallized and were frozen forever in the shapes of little crosses.

Fairy Stone State Park. Photo provided by “hsarik” on Flickr.

I’d squeeze the rock in my hand, certain that it was an ancient fairy tear and wonder if I could find a fairy stone of my own. I searched every stand of trees in our suburban neighborhood and kept my eyes to the ground whenever we were in the woods. I never found one, but maybe I just wasn’t looking in the right place.

This Wednesday, June 6, Fairy Stone State Park in southwest Virginia will host a fairy stone hunt and a necklace making workshop. The park, named after the famous keepsakes found within its borders, is one of a kind. Stones form like crosses in other places, but they are only found in abundance at this one park, and, of course, nowhere else has built such a endearing story around the stones.

Geologically speaking, the stones are staurolite, a combination of silica, iron and aluminum. According to the Virginia State Parks website, staurolite crystallizes at 60 or 90 degree angles, creating the stone’s cross-like structure. The mineral, which is only found in rocks that have been subjected to great heat and pressure, was formed during the rise of the Appalachian Mountains.

As a grown up, I think the truth behind the stones is nearly as enthralling as the myth. What about you? Did you hear the legend of the fairy stones when you were little? Do you have a fairy stone of your own? Have you ever visited the park?

It would be great to hear about your experiences with these enchanting little rocks.

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  • Sharon

    I live in Fannin County Georgia. I have an extensive collection. I need only go out in my yard to find them. They are also known as Cherokee Tears, relating to the removal of the Indians from these parts when gold was discovered. The Trail of Tears..All for greed.

  • Barbie

    Sharon from Fannin county Georgia…im from Fannin too… is love to have a couple of these for my grandbabies…would you consider selling a couple of yours?

  • Sharon

    Hey Barbie, I sure would =)
    I work at Pete’s restaurant, do you know it? I will be working tonight after 3

  • Karen Locklear

    Hey Sharon,
    We live in Michigan. My husband is 100% native American. 1/2 Cherokee 1/2 tuscarora. He is 64 now. We often talk of The Trail of Tears and it would be wonderful if I could buy a Cherokee tear from you to gift to him.
    Karen khummingbird1@gmail.com

  • Lori Allison

    As a child in Martinsville Va., I visited Fairy Stone Park often. At one time we had several of the stones but
    through years of moves all but a couple have been lost. Still, I have wonderful memories of time spent camping and boating with my family there, and of course, searching for Fairy Stones.

  • Tammy

    Parent toke me on family camping trip in 1980. Didn’t belive the fairy story. But after seeing the cross stones I would like to be live the fairy story fitting. I told my children of the fairy story ever Easter.

  • Jacqueline Johnson

    I would love to have one. I love faeries and I love Jesus! Can I please buy one Sharon? I live in Hawaii, Please let me know how to contact you. I am a wedding planner and my website is: http://www.sweethawaiiwedding.com My phone number is there.

  • Peggy McMurry

    I am from Martinsville /Bassett Va now I live in Chatt Tn . If you goggle fairystones you can purchase online .I found someone from Hixson Tn that sells them.love my Fairystones.

  • Lisa Wilder

    Fairy stones are so special to my heart I only have one and I hold it every night..I close my eyes and feel the stone and it seems like it tells me a story..I believe everyone should have one and never let the story die always tell the children about the story and even buy one of line for them…the trail of tears my favorite story…love and light to all

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