A perfect day after two days of rain. That too served a purpose because all around had been turning dry. It’s an early summer day and the air is very still. Even the bird song, usually loud and clear at this time of day is muted. I have just now let out my four legged companion, my dog, Duchess. She took care of her morning dailies and found a place in the rays of the sun She is content as she curls into a ball on the ground.
As I watch her for a moment, my thought is, how comfortable and happy she seems lying there in the sun. It’s so pleasant out I almost feel like lying there myself. However, I decide to pass up that idea. I think Instead, I’ll take a walk. My walking stick is handy just inside the door. Off I go heading down the road. About a quarter mile along I turn off onto an old logging road.
Sometime ago it was blocked off to vehicles, but it is fine for walkers, at least, for half a mile or so. That suits me fine. The quietness lulls me into sort of reverie. From it I am suddenly awakened by a loud and crashing sound.
Startled, to say the least, I look ahead and hardly fifty yards away, a big buck deer is making tracks to leave me standing there. My heart was a’pounding with the suddenness of it all. Now I have seen deer close up and never turned a hair but this one was a noisy beast, and came crashing through the trees. Truth be told, he was probably was more frightened than I.
Settling down, I walked on further into the woods. The road is rough. Cutters had been through there and had not left it as they should. Slash from the downed trees was left just anywhere. I made a mental note to talk to those in fault. Now I have been around a while. When young, I saw horses pull the loads. The wood roads crews made and used were not torn up as machinery does so now. Slash was left in piles. The road that they made was clear. If you were to walk one of those roads today. Where modern machines have never been, even though trees have grown there, one could see the paths men and horses traveled and left
without signs of ruin.
At the beginning of this walk I had intentions of just a walk along the road. I never thought to walk the old woods roads but I am glad I did. The part of the road I have written of actually belongs to me. It runs across the back end of my property. When the cutters were working on another person’s land adjacent to mine they asked permission to cut a road across mine because of a large brook that flowed through. I allowed it, but after seeing the havoc they wreaked, I am sorry I gave them the permission. to do so. That is water over the dam tho. Speaking of water, there are many brooks running down the mountain behind me. They all merge into a bigger brook that runs parallel to this property. There is sort of a gorge there. I really have not investigated that part of my land. I shall another day.
I think it is about time for me to start home. I have to climb up a fairly steep bank and through some pretty dense woods to get to my home. That part of the woods is where the little people live. That part of my walk will have to wait for an early morning start.
Another day, another early morn. I awake with a start. It’s as if someone or something wakened me and said it’s time to arise. Rays of the early morning sun are streaming through my most eastern window.’Tis then I realize, I promised myself that I would walk my woods again to try to find life that I once before had seen and thought so mysterious. Little people that I learned were called, the ‘Nether Folk’. I recall how enthralled I was to see them and meet the fellow, much bigger than the Nether folk who seemed to be their leader, or, was he their protector? Later, I learned he was a leprechaun. I did not know that such existed in our country. Am I going to learn more?
It amazes me how much these woods have grown since my being here last. The trees seem taller and thicker. Of course I should realize that it has been a long time and life, even in the woods does not become stagnant.
I do not hear or see any signs of life, other than the sounds of small animals such as squirrels and the like. I walk very quietly, I am hoping to maybe, see a deer, perhaps frightened and on the run. I look around to try to get my bearings because want I to reach the most likely place to see what I am looking for. It would be perhaps a clearing, sheltered by real heavy growth.
At a sound behind me, I turn and find to my amazement, the leprechaun I spoke of following me.
He was dressed in colorful clothes with an odd hat. I was, as you might think, dumbfounded. Speaking to me in sort of a sing song voice, he asked why I was walking through that are. Deciding on the truth, I explained what I had heard about little folk and their living in the woods. Are you talking about the’ Nether Folk? I guess I am, I answered. I do not know of them. I own these woods and wanted to find out who was residing here, and, all about them. He told me that they are afraid of people. Hearing that, I said they have nothing to fear about me. I will take you to them and tell them that you are a land owner and wish to be friends with the. You must promise never to hurt them .in any way and to respect their wishes. I will, I said.
He told me then, if you ever do, there will be a curse on you.
Lead on, I said, I agree with all you ask. The leprechaun told me to be silent, that he would approach the nether folk to see if they would be willing to take me into their circle. He was not fearful of them but respected their privacy. He was back in a few minutes and taking my hand led me into a large clearing. How could I have missed it? The clearing had the appearances of always having been in the same spot.
I was astounded by the number of little folk sitting there and all looking so solemn. Their looks gave me the impression that I was really not welcome.
My new friend, the leprechaun started to speak to them. The language he spoke was totally foreign to me. In answer there was a buzz of odd sounding voices does not quite cover the description of what I want to say. It was more like a squeaky buzz, then growing to a almost a roar. There was an angry sound to it.
The leprechaun did not seem to be bothered by it. At the same time, the countenances of the little folk seemed change to that of pleasure and welcome. Amazing!
I should mention the mode and color of dress of the little folk and their size. They wore little suits of odd shapes in all colors of a rainbow, shoes that looked like pointed slippers and hats to match in color. Here, in my woods it was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. The ground was soft and mossy, their work I believe. Tall trees surrounded the area, so majestic. I was spellbound by the beauty of it all. Everything was symmetrical, yet, so natural, I’m dazed.
Suddenly, softly, music comes to my ears. As I look around most of the nether folk have an instrument in their hands, instruments such as I have never seen before. The music is soft, beautiful in sound. One by one, little folk move into the center of the clearing and begin to dance, so gracefully, smiling, laughing, having so much fun.
There is a little fellow, I hadn’t noticed him before. An elder, I assume. He is bearded. Now that I see him, I wonder how I missed him. He is just a bit taller than the others and is surrounded by some others in an Animated talk. As I watch, he breaks away and heads Directly to where I sit. He speaks to me in words I understand. He has invited me to join in all the fun. His voice is so musical, I am enthralled. I ask about The nether folk, he says, we can talk about it later. Then I join the dancers.
It’s getting late and I must go. My dog Dutchess, awaits So, I leave and swear to return another day.
I am back on yet another day to look around. The nether folk have captured my full attention. I cannot stay away. That they have come here to grace This land with their presence has me all aglow. As I Approach the area where I last saw them, I am wary. Have they left to perhaps find a spot more to their Liking? Oh no! I think to myself, that cannot be. Then, I hear a murmur of soft music. My heart leaps with joy. They have not gone away. I feel a shiver, someone Is watching me. I look about and standing almost at my Side is the ‘elder’ of yesterday. He speaks out to say, Yesterday, you asked about my people here. All is not Just as you see it. They are my charge. You see, I am Older than you think as you look upon me.
Over two hundred years ago, I rescued a young boy of Ilk you are watching here. In those days there was a practice that was to be carried out forever. If one saved another from death, the savior Was bound to the one he saved and his family forever. I know what you are thinking. Should it not be the other way around? That is, that the saved be bound to His savior. Strange custom, you say, but you must Understand how I feel about it. These nether people are My children, each and every one. I love and protect them as such. They look upon me as, ‘The Old One’. They don’t know how old I am. I am bound to them forever, so it will go- -Infinite.
I look around to ask a question of ‘The Elder’. He has Disappeared. The music and dancing continues as I sit, lost in thought, I fall asleep. When I awake, there is no one there. Was it all a dream? The ground is all soft and mossy and clear. Here and there tiny bits of color, float In the air, as I head for home and my dog, Duchess.
My Woods, My Life, My People
‘Tis strange, I feel as though I’ve lived here two hundred years or more. These lands of mine are ever changing. Yet, to me, they remain the same. I roam this bit of heaven- -that is what it is to me. from one corner to the next. In every tree and in every little brook I cross, there is a memory. I see as in a dream, folks from other places, other lands. They have come to share with us our bounties and they sure are welcome. They do not come empty handed. It’s the charm of other countries that they bring.
I’ve been thinking as I rove about, what a pleasure it might be if I can find the little people once again. The Nether Folk have been quiet and been seldom seen. Just as every little time goes by, I’m asked to join them in their fun. O’ what a party it could be. The little folk are colorful but now wait and see, when the colors of other places are mixed with those of the little folk, the party will go on loud and clear. The color will be dazzling, the song will be trumpeting through the air. The little folk will start the dancing and my feet will do so too. The trees will shake and do a rhumba and the brooks will do their rippling and flow throughout the land. The winds will sing a serenade to the people of the world, through the woods will be happiness as never known before.
All good things must end. This day is done and gone. The party is over for the day. Maybe we will do it again tomorrow Wake up! Wake up! I hear a call and then, I am awake; ‘Tis dreaming I was away out in the woods. I shake my head to get the cob webs out but still my head rings with the sound of music and wild laughter. Can it be that I am still asleep and dreaming? All the noise seems to come closer and louder still. I put my feet on the floor; at least I think that I do. There comes a knock on my door, and then it opens real wide. There standing inside- -O’ how can it be? There is my Friend the big Leprechuan that brought me to the little folk that live in my woods. Get up! Get up, he says to me. We have some traveling to do. We’ve no time to waste. I’m up and I’m dressed and ready to go, though I be in a quandary, I am not sure where I am. There is no time for breakfast, says the leprechaun to me. Today we must go away far in the woods where the Nether Folk are waiting with their all friends. Those are the ones from other countries you know. Today is one for a big celebration. What it is for, I have no clue.
If this is a dream, I am enjoying it fine, though I would like to awaken to see where I am. This part of the woods are so strange to me but I can hear talking of all the small animals to each other and me. The deer are in hiding and the bear can’t be seen. Still, when we party I know that they are there. Now, wouldn’t you like them to join in the fun? I would and get to know them and see where they go when they want to be quiet and maybe to sleep. Do they have two apartments as some humans do? Is one just for the winter in which they sleep through?
I still don’t know if I am asleep or awake, but I’m having fun, never-the-less. I think I will lie down in this Soft mossy bed and take a rest for just a short little while. I do, and fall asleep in the wink of an eye. That sleep, I don’t know how long it did last. When I woke, it was so quiet and dark. As I looked around there was naught to be seen, except trees and their shadow from the light of the moon. Another might say it’s eerie and scary. Not I. It’s so calm-like and peaceful to me. Then far out in the woods I hear the beat of a drum and other instruments sounding soft but so clear. The little folk were partying under the stars. I get up and hurry toward the sound. Before I know it, they are all around. I’m there with the Nether Folk, but still alone. I think of some friends who might like to be here.
Suddenly a thought comes to me. I. have a young friend Jackson, by name. He loves all animals but I don’t think he’s met, people like mine who live in the woods.
Some day he will visit and he and I will walk in my woods. He may not see them the very first time but he will come back, I am sure. Jackson can name and draw pictures of all of the animals that live in the woods. I am sure he can do it better than me.
Now I hope that the little folk have not gone away as this is the first time I’ve been with them at night. Now, I be sure that there are some that think maybe that I am a bit short in the head. Be that as it may, I’m having fun, and, just perhaps, if they will admit it, they are too.
My story’s not finished. There be more to tell but, I’ll take a rest now, ‘til the bell tolls My story’s not finished. There be more to tell but, I’ll take a rest now. I find that I am too excited and worked up. The noise of the celebration is seeping into my very bones. I want to dance and play with the nether folk and their friends, those who came from other places.
They are a fun loving group and are just as colorful as the little people . The little people as I sometimes call the nether folk belong to these woods. They have made friends quickly with he visitors from other places in the world. By doing so, they have a place in my woods and my heart. The music goes on. It is a pleasant mixture of two worlds coming together in a wonderland. It is made of trees, plants of every kind. It is beautiful and peaceful to watch the many mountain streams cascading down to join with a very large brook at the bottom.
Just over the other side of the brook and up a steep rise Is where the celebration is continuing to rage. The music is raucous and beautiful at the same time. The folks add to the beauty because of their dress which is all the colors and styles of the world. I sigh, knowing that the celebration is about to come to an end. The nether folk and those from other places mill about hugging one another and saying their goodbyes. They will meet together another day.
I too am sad to see it all end. I know however that there will be another day.
Where will the little people sleep tonight?
I think I know the answer.and mull it over in my mind a I too, head for home.
Copyright © 2010 Charles E. Frost
May 23, 2010