I believe that the most ancient myths are often concealed as fairy tales. I would like to create a story/myth for the distant future- as a sign of hope, and of continuance- to plant a seed that will take root in hearts and minds, and open a way into that place for us.
Once there was a Youth who knew she was a Hero, even though everyone else thought she was a Fool. She tied up her hair, packed a small bag- which she tied to her walking stick- clapped a cap on her head, and called her dog to come with her. She brought with her apples and cheese, a bottle to fill with water from a nearby stream, and her gleaming silver penny-whistle.
It was a beautiful, sunlit dawn, and they began their journey with hearts as light as a summer morning. They traveled through a forest with tall whispering trees, and the sun shot lances of brilliance through the branches, pinging off every dew drop, and making sparkles in the mist of the stream that traveled alongside them.
In the distance they could hear it singing as it plunged over rocks- in a thousand bright high voices, and one great thunderous deep one.
When they came out of the trees, they saw that indeed, the stream did plunge over mossy rocks into a vast green valley far below, to join with a mighty river that traveled through banks laden with iris and sweet flag.
They came to the edge and peered down at the waterfall. The sun made rainbows in the mist, as the water sang about colors and dancing and the spring snows that fed it in the lands beyond the forest. They could see a stony path that led down the the side of the cliff- with cairns of curious rocks piled at switchbacks among the ferns.
The mouth of a cave yawned at them- beckoning- but to reach it, they would have to climb down to the path, and go under the waterfall, where it leaped over ledges and plummeted down the craggy cliff.
Inspired by the view and the sunshine, she sat down, pulled out her whistle, and played a cheery little tune that came to her- just like THAT! She played about the walk through tall trees, her companion who capered beside her, and the stream that showed her the way. She played about the sunshine on dew drops, and unseen stars from the night before. She played about her hopes and dreams, and the magnificent vista before her. She played about the rainbows dancing in the torrent, and the voices in the waters sang along with her. Echoes in the valley below urged birds to rise up and join in, and the sky wheeled with joyous flight, as the music rose and then died away. It was time to go. She put her flute away, and took off her shoes so that her toes could grip the path more firmly. She tied them to her knapsack so that they bounced cheerfully alongside, and began to pick her way down the path. When she came to the first switchback, she thoughtfully added a pebble to the cairn, and admired a jeweled spiderweb draped among the branches of a nearby shrub. Her little dog bounded down the path exuberantly, and despite her calls, did not return. She shrugged her shoulders, and proceeded, refusing to worry. Unopened flowers hid their faces among the gleaming threads- but all their heads were turned to face the place where the sun would soon peek over the cliff and awaken them into opening. A tiny black spider blinked it’s shining eyes at her, and she respectfully said “Good Morning!” and continued on her way. As she turned toward the next loop on the slope ahead, a small brown hummock of grass suddenly stood up, revealing itself to be a man in a shaggy cloak. He shook long brown hair out of a broad-brimmed, mossy hat, and in a moment transformed from an old shabby scarecrow into a young and merry fellow, who winked at her impudently from under brows as curved as the wings of the birds that still surged up from the hollows below. She could not help but notice the band of silver around his forehead, or the fact that his grassy cloak was lined with velvet. His bright blue eyes were startling in his dark face, yet offered no threat. He held out his hand in greeting, bowed slightly, and offered her what appeared to be a stick of polished wood, with a tiny knob on the end. When she took it, she saw that it was carved with many signs, and the end bore an acorn of a coppery hue. She looked up from the pretty item in her hand- and he winked at her once again, made another small bow, and said the only words she would ever hear him say- “May all your wishes come true!” and in that one, limitless moment, faded away before her- from the outer edges inward, leaving only the impression of his laughing wing-browed eyes before vanishing altogether- but the wand remained solidly in her hand.
In thanks, she drew her flute out of her pack, and played a tune full of soaring loops and spirals that echoed the gyres of the birds’ dancing- and as the last reverberations died away, she turned toward the waterfall and the cavern once more, and walked on.
When she came close to the place under the ledge, she paused, trying to see into the yawning darkness under the falling waters. A moment passed, and she was startled to see a graceful white hand extend itself from the darkness, and beckon her foward.
Passing under spray and dangling vines from the edge of the falls, she found herself in a misty hollow that smelled of rain. Her eyes adjusted to the loss of sunlight, and she soon saw that inside the cave, everything glowed with a dim radiance and bore the subtle sheen of moonlight and starlight and half-remembered dreams. A lady was inside, and her dress had the texture of moth wings and new leaves. She was seated on a large smooth boulder, and her pretty bare feet dangled in a pool where tiny blue fish swam. Candles shaped like white flowers floated in the water, their tiny flames making flickering spheres of gold light that reflected on the still surface. The lady was smiling very slightly, and her dark, calm eyes were as deep and still as the pool. A narrow crescent of pearl hung in her shadowy hair, and the air was filled with sibilant whispers, though her lips never moved.
Hero felt that this was a good time and place to fill her water bottle, and she asked, with words and with signs, if she might do so. The lady inclined her head in agreement, and beckoned her to approach. She reached up into the moist air, and a beautiful rock-crystal goblet appeared in her hand. She offered it to Hero, with a smile, and a sweet voice rang through the air saying “May you have your heart’s desire!” Hero was filled with wonder, and accepted the goblet. She knelt by the pool, to fill it, and tasted the cool water. It was sweet and delicious- and she took out her bottle and filled that also. She stood and turned to give back the lovely goblet- but the lady had vanished! All else was unchanged. When she faced the falling waters, she saw a pair of shining eyes gazing back at her from among the mingled hanging vines and shimmering torrent- but just as quickly as she saw them, gossamer lids closed over them with a butterfly-wing swiftness, and they vanished- leaving only the rainbow refractions of sunlight just beginning to peek through the falling curtain. Whispers spun in the air around her, and her skin tingled with a thousand promises. She picked up her pack, and put away her goblet with her wand. When her hand touched her flute, she knew she should give her thanks with silence- and let it rest where it was. The cavern echoed its farewell in a surge of rushing winds and then spoke no more. She left an apple on the ledge where the lady had been, shouldered her pack, and moved on.
As she passed beyond the silver curtain, and moved the last hanging vine out of the way, she was struck with how the passing of time had changed the view before her. It was full morning now, and the sun had chased all the mists and chill from the valley. Buds that had nodded their sleepy heads were now open and smiling. The air buzzed with bees collecting the sweetness from their willing cups. Hero licked her lips with an appreciation of the refreshment she had enjoyed, and followed the sloping path toward a stand of skeletal trees- wind-twisted and pale among the riotous greenery and dark rocks. A hawk sat motionless in the topmost branches, surveying the wind-swept distance- and watched her approach. Hero had a moment of concern for her small dog, hoping it was not mistaken for a tasty morsel by larger relatives of the sharp-eyed predator in the tree. There had been no sounds of distress in the valley- so again, she decided not to worry, and walked on. As she drew closer to the bare trees, she was startled to see the hawk suddenly spread it’s wings and dive out of sight. While she was gazing at the place where it disappeared, her bare foot slipped on some wet mud, and she nearly tumbled down the rocky escarpment, and was saved by rolling up against a mossy outcropping of rounded rock. Her sudden landing caused her apples to roll out of her pack, and one plummeted over the edge of the trail and was lost. A little shocked, but unhurt, she checked the rest of her treasures to make sure they were unharmed.
All was well. She collected her remaining apples, and decided to rest for a moment, and eat one. Just as she was biting into it’s crisp flesh, she heard a footstep, and looked up.
To her amazement, she saw another Lady standing there…but this Lady was different. She was wearing a beautiful red cloak covered with bright embroidered flowers, and her yellow hair cascaded down her shoulders in a spill of riotous curls. She carried a basket of fruit over one arm, and as she came closer to Hero, she grinned warmly, and offered her hand. Hero reached up to press the proffered hand for a courteous greeting, but found her own hand clasped in a firm grip that pulled her up to her feet. She allowed the Lady to lead her to a place in the grass by the side of the path where they both sat down, and the Lady spread a picnic before them on a cloth as checkered and cheerful as a farm-wife’s apron. From nowhere, the Lady produced a brimming pitcher of of milk, but there was no cup. Hero remembered the goblet in her pack, and drew it out to receive the offered refreshment. Calm contentment spread through her as she drank. She added her apples and cheese to the repast spread out on the cloth, and the Lady nodded her approval as she measured her with eyes as bright and silvery grey as newly minted coins. It seemed that no matter how much they ate, there was always more. The
Lady ate heartily too, and not a word passed between them. Hero could not help but notice the ripe curve of her pregnancy, peeking through the opening of her cloak- the gaily printed fabric of her dress did little to hide it under it’s folds. This in no way hindered her movements, or her generosity as she filled a plate again and again, and urged the delicious viands on Hero, with gestures that seemed to say “You need to build up your strength for this journey you’re on.”
When Hero could eat and drink no more, the Lady wrapped the remaining food in a cloth napkin, swept the crumbs off the plate that Hero had been using, and handed her the bulging package. Hero accepted the bundle with good grace, and stowed it quickly in her pack, noting that her apples and cheese supplies had increased rather than diminished, and were in the company of mushroom pie and good brown bread. She turned to hand back the earthenware plate, but the Lady was nowhere to be seen. The cloth was still there, and as she looked down at the plate in her hands, which now was empty, she saw the simple star design incised into its unglazed ocher yellow surface. She shrugged and stowed the plate handily underneath the other items in her pack, thinking that it would serve this purpose again- and as she was rearranging her increasing cargo to fit more handily in the available space, she heard a voice both hearty and merry say “May you always find what you need.”
She quickly looked around, but there was no one around.
The noonday sun shone warmly down upon her, and bees buzzed in nearby flowers that nodded their sleepy heads in the heat of midday. The sweet smells conspired with her full stomach and the milk she had drunk, and drowsiness stole over her. She placed her pack on the cloth behind her, pushed her shoes out of the way, and laid her head upon it, placed her cap over her eyes, and was soon asleep.
A shadow looming over her caused a sudden chill to awaken her. When she opened her sleepy eyes, at first she thought it was night- but then remembered to push the cap from her face, and saw a tall, broad shadow standing over her. In alarm, she quickly sat up, disturbing some crumbs and scavenging ants- and brushed them away. The figure did not move, but came into focus as she woke up more fully, and she saw that it was a man with a craggy face, clad in garments of leather and chain maille. His faraway gaze was gentle, though his expression was fierce- and his helm was by his side, revealing dark hair with iron grey streaks flowing back from his temples. A sheathed sword hung from an ornate belt at his hips, and his booted feet were planted firmly in the stony soil of the path. He gazed across the valley with a thoughtful expression, and then turned to look at her. His beaky nose robbed him of a certain beauty, and yet his face was handsome in it’s power and dignity. Hero was reminded of tales about kings of old, and battles lost and won- but there was no sense of danger here. His manner expressed pride and power, yet she felt his presence was protective, and assuring. He pointed a gauntleted hand at the valley floor- no longer very far below, and she craned her neck to follow the gesture. In the near distance, she could see her little dog, capering alongside the river- tossing a hank of dried grasses in the air, and then running to catch it again. She looked back at the tall warrior-king, and suddenly noticed the golden crown almost hidden in his thick brown hair. His gaze was keen and measured her with a certain kindness, as he assessed her condition and alertness. He held out his hand and pulled her to her feet, much as the Lady had done. With quick firm movements he directed her to tidy herself, and helped her adjust her gear so that it sat more securely. He directed her to take up the cloth that the lady had left, and she folded it around the contents so they would not clatter together with her movements when she continued on her way. He surveyed the path ahead, and wordlessly pointed out sharp rocks, muddly patches, and the tracks of a predator in the soft dirt.
He turned, and with signs made it clear that the view confused the eye- about distance, about snags and dangers in her path, about ease of travel and rough places to avoid. He pointed out a stretch where falling rocks could tumble down as she passed, and an alternative loop at a safer distance. He frowned at her bare feet, and shook his head in disapproval. She quickly untied her shoes from the side of her pack, and put them on. He made her understand that as soon as she was safely by the river, that she should wash her feet and clean her shoes, then put them back on, once she had dried them again on the grass. He pointed to the western sky, where the sun was slowly heading, and she realized that it was late afternoon, and she would have to hurry. Mountains beckoned from the far side of the valley, and a tiny light shone briefly from a peak, and then was gone.
She bowed in respect and thanks, half expecting the man to vanish- but he remained visible, and caught her arm to stop her. With great ceremony, he undid his swordbelt, and slid it’s shining buckles to make it fit her slenderer girth. He removed the sword and gestured for her to kneel. With a pounding heart, but without fear, she knelt in the dried grasses beside the path. He touched each of her shoulders briefly with the bright blade, and then proffered its handle for her to grip. It was unexpectedly light and supple in her hand, and she admired it’s gleaming length before sheathing it.
He placed a hand upon either of her shoulders in benediction, and then helped her back up.
He smiled, showing strong white teeth, and said “May you always discern the truth,” and then turned her toward the path and gave her a gentle push. She pressed one of her crisp golden apples upon him, which he accepted with good grace and a quick smile- and then took to her journey once more. At the next switchback, turned to gaze back at his watching figure- now seated- a statuesque figure that could have been carved from the rocks, except for the gleams of his crown and his armour.
He raised a hand in farewell, and then crossed one leg over the other, and returned to surveying the distance. A hawk wheeled above, then followed the river northward.
Hero navigated the path successfully, avoiding the rockfalls and came to the river. She cleaned her feet and her shoes as she’d been directed to do- and as she was drying herself on the soft grasses, her dog came bounding up, delightedly barking his greeting.
She knew she was far from completing her journey- even though the sun was approaching the horizon. In fact, the journey had just begun.
She strode toward the future, with her dog beside her, looking for a likely place to camp for the night.
She looked forward to seeing the moon and stars again. The world was full of the promise of adventure, and new possibilities!
Here’s the link to the Tarot Blog Hop List:
Here’s the link to the Tarot Blog Hop Group Page on Facebook:
The blog before mine in the blog hop list is:
Chloe McCracken http://innerwhisperscouk.blogspot.com/2013/09/mabon-blog-hop-mythical-things.html
The blog after mine in the list is:
Joanne Sprott http://cosmicwhisperstarot.com/2013/09/22/mabon-tarot-blog-hop-star-stories/
Please be sure to check out the posts by these excellent writers.