It’s a long weekend in Bavaria. May first, the communist holiday (=Labor Day), fell on a Friday. May first is also Lady Day, a feast of the Virgin Mary that, as far as I know, is strictly a popular fertility holiday having nothing to do with the liturgical year.

On my tour of errands in the center of town, I walked under a medieval passageway (between the post office and the delicatessen)–and came upon a woman about sixty, who was dressed in well-worn traditional Bavarian dress, with the long skirt, apron and bodice–and a crown of flowers. A luxuriant crown of flowers, all around her head. The original Queen of the May. She was seated, singing, and playing an instrument I had never seen before, a very large lute with double strings.

It was almost scary.

I wanted to go back and look, but I’m too polite, and besides, one shouldn’t stare at fairies.