A Simple Short Story
A dear friend of mine saw a picture yesterday that inspired her to challenge me to writing a story. I’m up for the task. This is for you Carol.
The Misty Faery Portal
by Springwolf © 2014
Once upon a time, a long long time ago, a young woman was lost and walked along a barren path in the middle of a misty forest. She wasn’t lost from her home or village, but from her heart and mind.
Her spirit was broken by struggle and hardship, tragedy and sorrow. She wandered through the woods in search of something, but she did not know what it was. Only knowing that she could never find it. She always returned late each afternoon to her tiny modest shack on the edge of the forest. A simple place that she called her house. A place that was remote and far from everyone and everything.
One night she sat before the fire and tried to stay warm and dry amidst the leaky roof as a storm raged outside. She began to cry and spoke out loud, to whom she did not know.
“Please help me find my way. Help me find the home where I belong. Give me the materials to make beautiful cloths and a garden that can fill my plate at night”. Through her tears and grumbling stomach, she sobbed as the night waned. Finally, falling asleep in the wee hours of the morning, weary and weak from exhaustion.
As the sun cast its warmth inside her damp little shack, she awoke and rose from the hard dirt floor. She dusted herself off and wiped her face with the water that collected in a small copper pot she had found some many moons ago. Then she grabbed her small woven basket and headed out to the woods in hopes of finding some berries to eat for breakfast. With a sigh she entered the pathway to the forest, assuming this day was like all others and there would be no berries to find as usual. She followed the same path she had always walked, never leaving the down trodden ground she knew so well.
When she suddenly came upon a section of the path she had never seen before. A small trail that slopped gently up the hill into the overgrown green forest floor. She looked up the path and thought she saw a bush with red berries. She wondered if they would be safe to eat. She left the trail she had walked every day to this one and traveled up the hillside to an unknown, yet short adventure. She didn’t have to travel far, she thought.
“It should be safe to go the short distance to that berry bush”, she said to herself. But the farther she walked the farther the bush seemed to be.
Finally she stopped slightly out of breath from climbing the small hill. She turned away out of frustration and disappointment, resigned to walking back down the hillside and returning to her usual trail. But the way back was hidden as if the forest had closed behind her as she traveled. The way was blocked by thick shrubs and fallen trees that she knew were not there when she first passed this way. The young woman had no choice but to turn back to the unknown and follow its trail onward and deeper into the forest.
Off in the distance she heard the rumble of thunder as the clouds covered the sky. Darkness began to set in beneath the shade of the forest canopy. The darkness along with the crackle of lightning scared her and she began to shake with fear. Her imagination zoomed to the worst and she thought herself being lost and alone in this horrid place forever. Surely she would die on this trail and never be seen by animal or man again. She was doomed and in danger, oh what was she to do!
She turned a corner in the forest as the path turned along the side of the mountain. There she saw a tree with an open root that would give her a place to hide from the rain. She rushed toward the tree as the drops began to fall. She ran as fast as she could to escape the thunder and flashes of lightning. Just then a bright crackle of lightning exploded nearly right beside her causing her to scream with fear and shut her eyes as she dove to enter the small tree tunnel.
She sat for a moment with her eyes tightly shut, waiting to hear the giant blast of thunder that would rumble and drown out the sheets of pouring rain. For a moment she thought the roaring sky was far away and muffled outside the safety of the tree tunnel. She cautiously opened her eyes and to her amazement she peered into a sunlit valley, filled with flowers and fruit trees. She heard the twitter of beautiful song birds and sparkle of butterflies flapping their wings in the bright sun. There were well-kept gardens and a bustling village of, of…what were they, she thought?!
Behind her she heard the thunder and lightning as the rain fell hard on the other side of the tree. She turned to go back through the tree tunnel, but she could not get beneath its giant root. She placed her hand in front of her and there she felt a wall of mist that stopped her from getting through. With her hand shaking from fear, she turned around to face three tiny creatures, hovering in front of her on delicate butterfly wings.
“Hello Carol, welcome to Tír na nÓg.” said one of the little creatures. “I am Myranda. Please don’t be afraid.”
“Tír na nÓg?” she replied. She had never heard of this place and wondered where she really was.
“Yes Carol” replied another of the flying creatures. “Tír na nÓg is the land of the fae and you have discovered the portal to our village.” he explained. “I am Daniel. You have nothing to fear from us.”
“The portal? You mean the tree tunnel?” she replied. “But I didn’t mean to find it. I was lost and wanted to hide from the storm outside” she added.
“The storm is not outside Carol.” answered the last little creature. “But it is within your own heart and head”.
“You have created the storms that fall upon your modest house. You have created the sadness and sorrow that fill your day. Because you cannot see the beauty that’s around you. Even the beauty beneath the storm clouds and the song of the rain as it falls upon the ground.” explained Myranda.
“What?!” she said with some irritation to her voice.
Just then, a whole group of these fae creatures came to greet Carol and welcome her to Tír na nÓg. They brought baskets of fruit and vegetables, pitchers of cream and berry wine. They brought cakes and cookies, candies and pies and laid them all out before her. Then the creatures seemed to bow and part a path among their gathering as a beautiful member of their clan floated toward Carol. She glowed and sparkled, and seemed to be lit with light from the crown she wore on her head.
“Greetings Carol.” she said with a calm welcoming voice. “I am Niamh daughter of Manannán mac Lir and Queen of Tír na nÓg. We’ve been waiting for your arrival for some time now. Please sit and eat with us.”
“Waiting for me?” replied Carol with surprise? “But who are you and how did you know I was coming here? How do you even know my name?” she asked.
Queen Niamh smiled and began a long tale of the Fae of Tír na nÓg and how they have watched over Carol for many years. They knew of the sorrow in her life, how she was left behind as a young girl, hidden in the fern as her parents were taken prisoner by a band of thieves. They had watched her struggle for food and helped the best they could to provide her with gifts of modest cloths and food when she hungered the most. But there was really little they could do to save her from the plight, because she pushed them away so much and so often. She eventually built a wall that kept them away and they could no longer reach her. That is until…
“We could not help you until you asked for us to come.” Niamh explained. “And last night, you finally called for help and we guided you here. You have created the world around you, in the land of your birth. Your tears are the rain that has fallen upon your tiny hut and chased you into the darkness each night. The more you cried, the stronger the storms became. The more dangerous your path has grown and the darker your heart has hardened. Not even our light could get through and help you as we did when you were a child.”
Carol was enthralled by the words of the Faery Queen, though she did not totally understand them. She did however enjoy the bread and fruit jams. With each bite she seemed to feel more at ease and more relaxed here in this place. She didn’t realize that she had slowly begun to shrink. Getting smaller and smaller with each bite, she was becoming faery size.
By the time she realized what had happened, Carol was as tiny as a Dandelion. She stood up and gasped with surprise and shock. Queen Niamh smiled and took Carol’s hand. “You have allowed the magik of life and love into your heart my child. And that magik has brought you to us. We’re glad you have chosen to come here and share in our land from this day forward.” she said.
“Love is all you needed, to let the light of kindness into your life. It was a hard long lesson you created for yourself. But we’re glad you finally accepted our gifts and became one of us.” Niamh added. “Now come and allow us to welcome you to your new home, where you will have friends and family to care for you. A place that’s dry and warm. A place you can call your home. You can have your garden and fill your plate each night with berries and vegetables, breads and cakes. We even have some honey for you.”
With that Carol smiled and hugged Queen Niamh. She had never felt so blessed. And in that moment, she realized that “things” are not what we seek in life. But the sharing of compassion, love and kindness. Three things she never lacked from that day forward.
© 2014 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.