A Tree Tale
A Faerie Tale, a children's book, meant for parents to read to their wee-ones by the fire in the coldest of Winter or under the shade of the glorious Trees in Spring. Enjoy!
A Tree Tale
A story of some age, that of a long, long, time ago – at least to folk like you and me – has until now, rested upon the Wind, breathed there by the whispers of the Trees. But this tale is not one of the Trees, specifically anyhow, but of an account kept alive by their voices. Yes, yes, ’tis true. Trees have voices. In fact, the breezes aloft come from their breath. Nevertheless, it is time. Time to release a bit of their tidings upon further winds. So listen well Dear Ones; open your minds to what may seem fanciful – even impossible! For the impossible, as Trees say, is but truth hidden in myth yet unknown.
There was a forest once, according to the very deep and very aged roots of many an ancient Tree, in which there resided the most elegant and the most graceful creature that ever there was. The forest was the Kikenburough, and the creature was the light of it. All of the wild therein loved her. Even the Wind adored her, taking oft to twisting in tight curls round her tall form, lifting portions of her thick mane, the color of summer sunsets, here and there out over a pair of delicate yet enormous wings – a testament to a mighty lineage. Yet she was gentle in every way; even as the Upper Current pleaded for her to take flight, she would sit quite softly, beginning the slightest of giggles. Her laughter, of such pure delight, elicited deep peace throughout the Kikenburough, and too, brought forth the leaves of Trees to song. And her eyes, the hue of amber starlight, would cast their genial gaze all about until, at last, the invitation of the mighty Wind could be no more ignored or resisted. Setting her intent to the high skies, she would soar, higher than any other creature could ever hope to reach. Over forests, fields, and rivers she glided, all the while dusting the Earth with flecks of the most glorious and brilliant glitter – like that found more oft upon the Faeries of the lands – and such was the way in which the glitter settled, that there did seem some measure of forest blessings impressed upon the Earth from the Heavens. But not was she Fae . . . but Dragon after all!
Raised by the herd of Lafraum, a Dragon kind well known for their guardianship over the natural nature of things, she gave good any name of Dragon blood. Not an easy task, for after all, Dragons are rather unpredictable creatures. Some are even quite vicious. Others are simply grumpy and rather misunderstood. Then too, there are the lazy Dragons who desire nothing more than to lay upon rocky hilltops and warm themselves under the sun. Ah, Dragons – curious, glorious creatures indeed. But back the Dragon of this story.
As a Laufram, she was noble – her beauty an unexpected intrigue to the herd. Yet for all of this, her name has ne’er been given. Time has forgotten it. Perhaps ’twas drowned in the mystery of the herd’s disappearance. None know what happened and if the Dragoness did know, she would not reveal it, for most of ever after, she did not take to speaking. And so, as the last of the Lauframs, she took to sitting pitifully under a Tree, the Noble Fir Norm, flight seldom taking her, though the Wind continued to ask her hand in it. Low and sad stayed her sweet head.
Many seasons passed as such, the Dragoness’s figure a statue of solitude and grief, until there came one day, one of the first of Spring, a birdsong, excited and shrill, marking itself out above the others. To the raucous said song, she turned her long neck and fixed her gentle gaze.
Within a stand of young Trees, rooted upon the outermost edge of the Forest ramparts and below the bird’s chip-chirping excitement, stood a Woodsman of peculiar nature. Wands of woven willow-reeds held fast to the fellow’s hat comprised of such bright green-yellow color as to be all one might notice were it not for his eyes, the deep green of the Emerald Oak herself. And more, did he appear in one moment very tall and the next very short and in both moments both old and young. Yet odd as he might have appeared, he was wise too, for he stood stone still under the Dragoness’s gaze. Not until she lowered her head did he dare move to take off his hat, kneel upon one knee and bow, poised and purposeful, till his head nearly touched the soil of the Earth.
He did, hereafter, no more move, and although curious, the Dragoness grew weary of his odd company, tucking her head within her great wings. She knew he remained, but she did not look at him. And so, for a day and a night, there the situation rested, the peculiar Woodsman bowing whilst the Dragoness hid beneath her wings.
Upon the Dawn’s waking hours, the Woodsman began to hum. The Dragoness did not move, but listened attentively, peeping an eye open for a look at him. Strange a sight did she behold!
There, where the clover cluttered the Forest ground, the Woodsman tenderly scooped a droplet of dew within the palm of his hand, and the new Dawn’s light, the pinkish-yellow hue of the rising sun, did flit and fly round the dew-drop. The Dragoness, now fully upright and watching everything, blinked wildly as she watched the light streak back to the horizon in whisks and spirals ere stretching out across the land. A joyous laugh drew her attention back to the Woodsman who was skipping in circlets whilst holding a smallish rock high into the air. He halted and eyed the Dragoness knowingly, grinning ear to ear as he did so, and began to stride over to her, singing as he did:
Ah ah! Dear Dragon of time bygone
Let glee fill the land you lie upon
Let Time stand never still
And let Hope always fill
the heart of the Dragoness of Laufraum.
"Dearest Dragon," he chirped, "might you do something for me?"
The Dragoness looked intently, but kindly upon him.
"Might you puff upon this ol’ rock for me? ’Tis a very special rock ye see, and ah Dragon’s breath is just what’t needs."
The Dragoness could not believe what he asked of her. What an odd man and odd request, yet so gentle and sweet was her nature, that she obliged, nodded and puffed.
A spiral of mist arose from the stone, circled around its pink edges and loomed up to the Dragoness’s face as if alive, and more, as if it was staring at her! This she did not like
and so, snorted fiercely, her hackles rising and her talons, at once, coming out of their recesses.
"Ah, your guardian wares suit you," the Woodsman chuckled. "You are indeed a Laufraum. Easy now, dear Dragon. This, as I said afore, is a special rock, and rarely’s such a description given for an object aimed in harm. Look here, closely."
The Dragoness sighed, gathered herself up and cautiously leaned over for a closer look. As she did so, the mist played round her face and tickled her nostrils. Her eyes widened, but this time with more curiosity than fear.
"Whilst cradled," said he, "within the hands of the First, the breath of a clover petal was touched by the Sun’s first rays to form what is called a rock. Oiy, a rock! Now, the puff of a noble Dragon has blessed it! And listen . . . a kiss from the fairest Faerie will finish it!"
Hints of green and violet, whirled round and shadowed in the form of a girl’s grinning face, which kissed warmly the Dragoness, and then reached what might be hands to the sky with a wide-open mouthed smile of great happiness. The Woodsman raised his brow high over his eyes which glinted from seemingly endless depths, and for an instant, he appeared more an Imp than a Woodsman.
"I believe," he whispered, whilst watching the mist spin and swirl, "it’s an Elemental . . . of the Trees. Free spirits of great love thou knows, but ’tis anyone’s guess till the time’s right." And so saying, the Woodsman’s replaced his hat atop his head of frizzled hair. "For now, dearest Dragon," he breathed, holding the rock upon his outstretched palm, "I must go, and a thing of the Earth must stay upon the Earth. Take this and do what ye do best – guard it."
The Dragoness knew nought of what to think or do and found only herself nodding. Her acquiescence led quick to a bow of courtesy from the Woodsman and quicker still were his feet, which skipped him away into the Forest, his voice long trailing in song:
See you in time Dragoness of great breath!
Olly dee olly doe and so, so, so!
Let the Earth in her magic warm your grand heart!
Hold tight to the greens and the song of the lark,
And remember whilst away or with friends who stray,
Always near are the dear, never really apart!
Time passed as it so loves to do. The Forest edge grew out to greet the Noble Fir Norm, now himself, a Grand-daddy Tree. In fact, all the Trees had grown taller, older and wiser, and the songs which they sang had become the songs of old. Also, did a village of two-legged folk grow up nearby. The persons of this village held some pride in holding so close a residence to a Dragon, and too, the reputation gained from it. They knew she hoarded an object, and small as it was there was no matter, for being a Dragon and hoarding their nature, she was happy, and a happy Dragon was a good Dragon. Much was their agreement on the matter.
So did all live in peace; the Kikenburough becoming a land like no other in the wide world, for the Dragoness took oft to joining the Wind’s invitations to dance, and the confections from her wings covered the land like crystals of snow. ’Twas magical.
That is, until one day when an unusual occurrence marked the last evening hours; fireflies filled the air. They were beautiful, but not known to this region, and the Dragoness although awed by the sight, set to rumbling a low growl from her depths. Taking the rock, no less than a babe in her mind, into her clutches she stood with wings half set to flight looking far and wide for something she knew not what. She watched as the village children laughed in delight, chasing the flickering glows of the fireflies. Ever more now did the Dragoness narrow her eyes and listen beyond their innocence, the constant laughter of wee ones heightening the tension of her guardian nature. Then there it came, such sonance as can barely be described, but perhaps as that of a deep thumping, like a thousand drums in time underwater, pounding away as though the Earth’s heartbeat was not so deep beneath one’s feet and arising!
The villagers of Kikenburough being very naive and innocent in world affairs did not frighten when they heard this nor did they run when what approached was at last beheld. Dragons! At least ten score! Savage Dragons. Fierce Dragons. Creatures who did not smile or take to blowing smoke rings from their nostrils for fun.
To the fore of the clamoring was a particularly rotund firefly, its flashing light bitter bright, and to its harsh glow was the Dragoness’s attention drawn. Closer and closer did the uninvited Dragons march, hissing and spitting fire, leaving swaths of earth burnt and black whilst the Dragoness only stared more and more intently upon the firefly, in grave danger from its light-magic which was overtaking her senses and leaving her spellbound.
"Dragoness!" cried the small voice of a village child.
Now, let it never be said that a child is too small to make a difference in the world, for had it not been for the wee, two-legged villager, the Dragoness would have likely met her doom. But the Trees tell us that indeed ’twas a child who awoke the Dragoness from her trance, and at once and most thankfully, did she leap swiftly to flight and safety. The Dragons upon the ground growled and glared, yet no matter did this make for the Dragoness soared well high and above them, showering the entire entourage with the snowflakes of her Dragon dust.
"What is the meaning of this!" yowled the rotund firefly, whilst brushing off the glitter.
The Dragoness swooped back. Down, down she glided, landing powerfully with a wisp and a thud afore the entire affair. Plenty were the gasps that followed for the Dragoness was a fair and mighty sight to behold. There she stood in all her great height, mane and tail blowing with the Wind, smoke exuding ever so softly from her noble nostrils, horns tilted back as though the sun itself could have rest upon them, and her eyes, how her eyes did gleam with gracious fire. None who witness the course of this tale were not jaw-dropped at the shear power of her presence.
Muttered one, "The common Dragon which can retain such fortitude as this, afore such a fury of terrible odds is one more gifted than all the royal creatures upon the Earth . . . for there is real heart in her."
It seemed that the Dragons saw in her their own proud heritage and a nobleness they themselves thought perhaps lost. Who knows exactly, the Tree Tale recounts only their action brought forth from their respect, and ’tis said that every Dragon upon the grassland that day did lower their long, mighty necks and bow afore her. The Dragoness was astonished; the rotund firelfy was furious. In fact, she did take to stomping about, as does a toddler of an overly-pampered nature.
"I would smite your land, your Forest, your village and all the creatures within would I could myself!"
"None of what you speak of is mine," the Dragoness gurgled, beneath a grotesquely hoarse voice, "but I would defend it all as my very own would you try."
The firefly cackled. "Were you speaking or clearing your throat, Dragon?"
The Dragoness looked round. She was embarrassed. Her large stature seemed suddenly to shrink. Yet upon the hearing of her voice, an arrival of life came forth from the Forest, and this did at once strengthened the Dragoness. Of every kind were they and of what great sight too. Even the White Doe came out of hiding – great the gift.
"Firefly, why are you and your friends here?"
"Firefly? Firefly! I am a Faerie!"
"Oh, I see," said the Dragoness, gazing patiently upon the small creature who began to shake off the Dragon dust and unfold a pair of wings of a glowing and rising light. What now stood afore the Dragoness could not be denied – ’twas indeed a Faerie.
"I am Princess Blathershedd of the East Coast Winds, fairest of all Faeries."
Upon hearing these words, the Dragoness did raise a brow.
"I command you to hand over your magic. I have heard of it. Magic is not for Dragons." "Magic? I hold no magic, Faerie."
"Princess Blathershedd if you please."
The Dragoness was silent. The Faerie was very angry.
"No one can have more than me," the Faerie howled. "Ever! Especially a Dragon," and so snorting the latter utterance, the Faerie’s face did contort and wince as one in pain. "Give me your magic now!"
"Then, the wrath – "
"What?" the Faerie Princess questioned. "You would simply hand it over with a please?"
"Yesss – to the fairest of Faeries that is."
"You think me fair?"
"No, not especially."
"Then why would – "
"Because," the Dragoness whispered with a sigh, trying much to retain a clearness in the rasp which was her voice, "I believe you might be the fairest of Faeries if you weren’t so awful. The sight of your actions has blinded me to any of the sight of your beauty. So I can not now trust myself to make such a judgement as to beauty, nor should I ever, but trust more in your bold proclamation. Since you believe you are, then that is more important than if you are or are not. Simply said I’d say."
The Faerie Princess did not understand a word of it, and her mouth fell slowly open, her face once again contorting in on itself, wrinkling in determined expression, whilst her lips
puckered until at last her words were expelled. "Dragon jibberish!"
The Dragoness chortled deep within her chest, snuffling and sighing as she did reveal the Woodsman’s rock within her great paw. The Faerie Princess hesitated.
"This is your magic?"
"Yes, so I suppose it is."
The Faerie stared for a moment; then with selfish suddenness, snatched the rock away from its tender cradle, kissed it and laughing loudly held it up for all to see. The attendance bowed afore her, and at this, the Faerie Princess did smile. However, her smile fell away as a tickle flit across her hand, and this so startled her that she did at once drop the rock. Yet to her surprise, the rock never hit the ground. Rather did a green, leafy girl dart around, hither and thither, giggling and hugging everything and everyone in sight with great, wide, sparkling, green eyes! The Faerie Princess shrieked, and to her did the newly born Tree Sprite, an Elemental of the Earth, tip-toe curiously.
"Yeesss," she whispered, staring intently into the folds of the Faerie Princess’s deep, brown eyes. Then, did the Tree Sprite turn her vernal gaze towards the Dragoness and smile saying softly, "Lovvve." Thereafter the Elemental was away, a path of flowering greens left in her wake till she became such a part of the Forest as to not be distinguished apart from it.
Little to the history of what happened to the Faerie Princess after this is given. Although a few Tree songs relay a tale of a Faerie Princess, upon the upper Eastern Shore Winds, who took to the planting of more Trees than any other in the history of Faerie Princesses.
But to the Dragoness? Well, she went back to her dear Tree, the Noble Fir Norm, and it is told by the Trees of the Kikenborough, that the peculiar Woodsman returned a day and a night later upon the new Dawn’s light.
Said he, "Mighty Dragon, Lady of the Kikenburough, Heiress of Laufraum . . . Guardian of the Tree Sprite, well done. Well done indeed. Care to join this ole Woodsman for a walk?"
The villagers never again saw the Dragoness, and as so much of the Past, she has fallen the way of myth. Yet the Trees know otherwise, and more songs on her account could there be sung. However, as the villagers would say, "When the tail is the last thing one sees of a Dragon, then there’s a bit of good!" And that, is this tale.
At least, Dear Ones, for now . . .