In a glade in the forest, there walked a beautiful young girl. She had tears running down her cheeks and you could hear a sound of mourning coming from deep in her heart. She walked to a slender tree and sat in its shade. She held her hands over her eyes and sobbed. Gradually, she stopped and turned her face to the sky. “How will I ever face my friends and family? I must never let them know how this day has ripped my soul away. I have lost the most beautiful man in the world. There will never be anyone else to make me feel like I could fly among the clouds just by looking at him. Today he has married my sister because she is the eldest girl. My father has told me that I will be promised in marriage to Gyffrredd when he returns from the sea. I can never look upon another man for my eyes would fall from my head! It was my sister who wanted Gyffrredd. She told me many times how she would dream of him and I told her that I dreamed of Ashroak the same way. Had my mother been alive she would have ensured that we were married to the men we loved! My father is an old bitter man and wants only what he wants, he cares only for the dowry we can bring to him. Tonight Lillas will sleep with Ashroak and he will bring his love to her and never will he love me. I can not face tomorrow. I will have to smile and wish them well and listen to people tease them about the babies they will have.” She threw her arms up to the sky and called to the moon which was just showing a smiling crescent above. “Oh listen to me my mother moon! Make this day gone! I cannot be who I was before. I don’t want to marry anyone! I will be anyone but me from now on!” She lay down on the grass and cried until the tears ran dry.

“GGGUUURRRRLLLLIIIIIEEEE?” A harsh voice called. Mycinia sat bolt upright, startled. The voice continued more quietly. “What’s the trouble you are having Girlie? You have kept awake all the animals and bugs and mice and spiders that live here. I had two snakes come to my door and beg for me to come and do something for you. We need to talk a little bit.” What looked like a collection of dried leaves and vines, folded itself up and brushed the hood of pine needles away from its face. A nimbus of white wooly hair surrounded a bright pink nose and two green eyes peeking out. “My name is Dawiddych. My home is in these woods and I was a Druid priest for almost a hundred years. They made me retire when I couldn’t climb the trees to get mistletoe. How much mistletoe can they need? I had cut acres and acres of mistletoe over the years and they must have been wasting it if they ran out that fast! Anyway, I made them give me a pension and a place to live and told them I would help out anyone who I saw needed a hand. And you, girlie, sure look like you could use a hand and something to blow your nose in. Here…Try this.” He handed her a clump of dried leaves.

Mycinia automatically reached out and took the leaves and started blotting her nose with them before she realized what she was doing. “EEEEWWW!” She tossed them to the side and wiped her nose on her sleeve. Dawiddych looked at her and raised his cottony eyebrows. “Now that’s what you should be saying when you wipe all that snot on your sleeve. Girlie? Didn’t anyone teach you any manners? Talk to me and tell me why you have been laying here in the glade bawling like a lost calf and keeping everyone but the owls awake, they are awake anyway or you would have heard from them too. C’Mon tell me what’s the big tsurris?”

Mycinia kept staring at Dawiddych and blinking. This didn’t look like anyone or anything she had ever seen before. He spoke in a peculiar way too. She did know about the Druids but she had never seen one that looked even vaguely like this. “My name is Mycinia and today my sister married the man that I will always love. My heart is broken and I am never going to be able to face anyone again. My father arranged marriages for us and he got the husbands backwards. She would never go against father though and my eyes will only see Ashroak for the rest of my life…..which I hope will be very short.”

Dawiddych nodded his head and combed his fingers through the cotton wool beard and mustache. “I should have known that it was something like that. You young girls have nothing else on your mind than finding a pretty husband. My first wife was like that too. I was a lot prettier then but she didn’t see that she was getting older and wrinkled, she only saw me getting like that. I’ll never forget the night I fell asleep and woke up in the morning with hair as black as a crow’s wing! She had made some potion in the night and covered my head with it. Before she woke up, I ran to the lake and took my mistletoe scythe and used it to shave my head. Bald as a bagel I was, and I sneaked back and got into the bed. She woke up and screamed so loud that leaves started falling off the trees!

I played dumb and said ‘ What’s the matter with you screaming Mimi?’ She ran away and I never saw her again. My hair grew back but it was more silver than black by then. I think the way she screamed probably made some of it turn white. My next wife was a little more tolerant. She stayed with me a long time and if she had been paying attention that dragon wouldn’t have caught her so easy. My third wife was a cutie. Her father and mother owed me money for some spells I did for them so to settle the debt they gave her to me.” Dawiddych proceeded to tell Mycinia about his wives and how they treated him and how he always let them have their way..

Mycinia had stopped sobbing and her face was returning to its normal state. She was still trying to figure out what Dawiddych was talking about with all his talk of wife #16. Suddenly she realized what had happened! She had fallen asleep and this was a dream or more possibly a nightmare. She laid back against the tree and listened to his voice drone on and on and on.

“But, enough about me…..What’s your name again?” She turned and looked at this creature from her dream, “I am Mycinia. Today my heart was broken and my soul was killed.” He nodded, “Right, right, You told me about that. So listen girlie, I think I can help you out a little bit. If I can help you find a way to never have to see your family or watch your sister and whatsisname again, but you could live in a place as peaceful as this glade here and enjoy the seasons and the sun and the rain, whadddoya think? Good deal or what?” Mycinia blinked back some new tears and answered, “All I want to see is the sky that is the same color as Ashroak’s eyes and the sun that is the color of his hair. That is what I desire!”

“We are gonna take care of that right now! Stand up against the tree and raise your arms up.” She did and as she stood she noticed small figures walking and some flying into the glade. “Dawiddych? Do you see them too? What are they?” Dawiddych looked around the glade which was filling with tiny perfectly formed people, some had wings and flitted about like butterflies. “Them? That’s the fairies and the wood sprites who come to give me a hand. They like to see who is coming in to their world. Now you be quiet and lean against that tree. I gotta do some talking here and you won’t know what I’m saying because it’s no language that you know. OK? You ready there?”

Mycinia leaned against the tree and smiled. This was a really pleasant dream! She didn’t know that she would ever feel this peaceful again. Maybe tomorrow wouldn’t be as awful as she feared. Who knows? Maybe her sister would run away with Gyffrredd when he came home. That would leave Ashroak all alone and she would comfort him. She could hear her dream creature chanting words that meant nothing to her. Still, this was a good feeling she was having. There was some hope left after all her crying and sobbing. She felt stronger now. Reaching her arms even higher she realized that the fairies were flying to her arms and sitting on them. The wood sprites were sitting in a circle around her and singing in words that sounded like bells. The moon shone on all of them and gave them all a silvery outline. How wonderful this was!

Dawiddych stood there catching his breath. “Oy! I forgot how much wind that takes. I think maybe I gotta cut back on this sort of thing. Yo! Wood sprites! Fairies! Let’s get a move on. We got a new Hamadryad tonight and I think she’s gonna work out pretty good. She makes a nice Maple tree and those little red buds look so nice on her! Spring is here and we can start having the barbeques like we did last couple years.” He waved at the tree. “So long girlie, you’ll enjoy your life now and as long as the tree lives, so will you. Just keep a look out for some guys with axes, and remember to bend with the wind!”

Mycinia stands with her arms raised and feeling the breezes whiffle through her branches. The moon paints her silver and in the morning she sees Ashroak’s eyes reflected in the sky and his golden hair in the rays of the sun. Sometimes she laughs with the delight of this life and when that happens, the birds fly away from the sound. They’ll return later, they always do.


© By Swampetta (SWAMPETTA@aol.com)

© Art by Swampetta (SWAMPETTA@aol.com)




Watch these pages for more stories and art by Swampetta.
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Teddy Bear

Forsythia

Oh! To Be In April

Legend Of The Lost

Games Of Love

Thoughts Of Eagles

Meandering

I Walk In Tulips


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