[image description: A cute little Asian girl in a red shirt, white sandals, and blue jeans sits in the white crescent of a (paper?) moon. Flying about her on string – a perfect 5-pointed star: behind her – countless real stars and nebulae lie lightyears away. Text reads, “188, Sasithorn Chao Fa, the small god of Wistfulness”]
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To be wistful is to be filled with vague longing and melancholy, to want for something that may or may not be measurable and may or may not even be real. It is the feeling of a small child sitting in a dandelion meadow, staring upward at a sky full of unattainable stars. It is the feeling of wondering why Peter Pan never came for you, why the wardrobe was always only ever a wardrobe and never a portal to a wintery woodland full of wonders, why the unicorn never appeared. It is a feeling of loss when nothing has been lost, and it can color days and nights, sweet as sugar, bitter as a candied lime.
And where the feeling of wistfulness is there, the small god of wistfulness is never far away.
They have yet to be seen with perfect clarity, being more a corner-of-the-eye god, a I-think-I-saw-them god. We try to address the divine as they wish to be addressed within this chronicle, not wishing to invoke the wrath of even the most minor of deities, but we don’t know how the small god of wistfulness wishes to be known, whether they are male or female or both or neither or something ineffable and grand which they have never made known to any. Even River, who is normally the expert on proper pronouns, could only shrug when asked. So if we give offense here, we apologize. Please believe we meant no harm.
It is entirely possible the small god of wistfulness will never once be more clearly seen than by the artist who painted their official iconography, for clarity would transform wistfulness into something else. Longing, perhaps, or aversion, or something even harder to define. But this we know for sure. We wish we could see them. We long, in a vague and indefinable way, for their presence. And thus do we know they walk among us, and always will, wistful and wanting.
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Join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many small deities who manage our modern world: