At twilight, the Romantics are in the ruins of the old castle, in their open-air camp, around a campfire. Some are standing, others sitting or lying on the grass, and Schlegel wanders around them like a planet. You might say they are in an outdoor version of Mrs. Schopenhauer’s salon. Wieland has just told them about his fleeting encounter with his liberator, whom he identifies with a fairy.
“A fairy?!”, Caroline Walsolz exclaims incredulously. “That’s silly! Fairies don’t exist!
“Of course they do exist!”, Adele Schopenhauer jumps, “Don’t they, mom?”
Johanna agrees with her daughter and explains that fairies, like goblins, sylphs, undines and other similar creatures, are the spirits of Nature, but not everyone has the ability to see them.
“Nonsense!”, Mrs. Walsolz exclaims, “I have very good eyesight and I have never seen any of those creatures you mention. I bet they are a Brothers Grimm’s invention.”
“And what about all the people who claim to have seen them, Wieland among them?”, Adele insists.
“I bet they are also a Grimms’ invention. They have a great inventiveness.”
“I’m not an invention!”, Wieland explodes. But Tieck chooses to adopt an academic tone: “I am afraid, Mrs. Walsolz, that you give excessive power to the Brothers Grimm. The Grimms just collect from folklore those stories that talk about these elusive beings. In fact, most cultural traditions speak of Elemental Beings … “
Dorothea supports him: “Our own European culture has believed in them until recently. Until the industrial society broke the bond that united the human being with Nature. “
Wieland takes the opportunity to ask Dorothea what is wrong with her husband who does not stop walking up and down.
“Oh, it’s not a nice subject for him. At the Gymnasium they called him the gnome because he was short, had pointed ears and lived under a mushroom.”
“Well (Johanna addresses Wieland to settle the issue), be that as it may, we must thank you, Wieland, for sharing your experience with us. Another academic of your prestige would have been silent for fear of being taken for a nut. “
“I do take him for a nut!”, intervenes Caroline Walsolz. But Johanna continues: “And while we’re at it, Wieland, we also have something to tell you. Last night, when we played hide-and-seek and you were counting, we discovered a spotless and fully furnished room. Due to the commotion caused by the ghost, we forgot to tell you about it.”
Wieland is incredulous about it: “It can’t be. The castle is abandoned and half-ruined. You must have suffered a hallucination because of the storm.
“I didn’t know that storms caused collective hallucinations.”, Johanna ironically remarks.
“Well, if that don’t beat all!” Adele bursts out addressing Wieland: “So, we must believe in your fairy and your ghost, but you refuse to believe in our inhabited room?!”
“By the way (Tieck says), didn’t we have a date with the ghost tonight?”
Dorothea gets up and starts walking: “I’m going to sleep. I’m tired.”
Adele follows her to the women’s tent: “Me too. there’ll be time tomorrow.”
“Good night everyone!” The men extinguish the fire willing also to go to sleep.
Dorothea deviates from her path to kiss her husband goodnight: “Are you okay, honey?”. And suddenly he explodes: “The mushroom thing is a lie, Dorothea! I never lived under a mushroom! Never! You have to believe me!”