per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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faerie tale
brigid
evcelt
This is based on a dream I had this morning, although I expanded it considerably:



Necessity

The farmer stood weeping over his daughter, heedless of the blood on his sandals. He caught two of his silent tears on his fingers, then closed her unseeing eyes with them. "How did this happen?" His voice was husky and scarce above a whisper, but it carried like a ringing demand to the edge of the flickering circle of bonfire light.

The story was soon told. She'd been chosen as the Harvest Maid for the Last Reaping, to do mock combat with the Straw Lord, who stood for the cold months to come. It was a rite given to the farmers in this valley back in the age of stories, when they came to this place and dealt with the Landfolk who watched over field and stream, wood and byre, and the turn of seasons.

As in all things with the Folk, it was hedged about with rules and prohibitions. The Harvest Maid must do this and wear that and speak so. And she must challenge the Straw Lord with her scythe but lay it down and take his sword from him and slay him with that. And this was a hard thing, for there were thorns wound about the Straw Lord's hands, and more about the hilt of the sword; and it was dangerous too, for the magics in him allowed him to move, albeit slowly, and strike at her with the sword- which was blunt but could still wound.

The farmer's daughter was cunning, and knew more than most of the magics of deception and illusion. Although her hands were browned and toughened by harvest work, she didn't wish to go to the dance with scratches on them or on her face, much less a bruise or cut from the sword. So she cast a confusion on the place, so that it would look as if she had seized the sword when she had actually kept her scythe. The priest felt the working, but too late. She used the scythe for the Last Reaping, and the Straw Lord toppled over onto her, and she was impaled on the sword.

Now the farmer straightened up and looked to the priest. He spoke in the same soft but undeniable voice. "Why?"

"She broke the rules, and..."

The farmer held up his hand. "I know of the rules. I know of the prohibitions. Why do we have them? Why are we not told the consequences of breaking them?"

"That is not for simple..." the priest began importantly, then stopped, for the farmer's hand had become a fist. He gulped, licked his lips, and thought for a moment. Then his shoulders slumped. "I don't know. We just do it, because we need their help and protection. They never told us the reasons."

"They will," replied the farmer. He bent to his daughter's body again, straightened her limbs, smoothed her hair. Then he laid his hands over the terrible wound until they were covered in blood before standing again. "See to her," he said to the priest, and their was only now a pleading tone to his voice. The other man nodded, and the farmer walked out into the night without another word.

He walked under the stars in a perfect moonless night, the faintest hint of frost to come on the breeze. It could of felt like mockery, but he was too numb- and too focused on his task. His path took him out through the cemetery, past his wife's mound, but he didn't stop; there would be time to sit and weep the story to her later, before a second mound was heaped by its side.
Then he was climbing the hill, and the Landfolk's fort loomed above him. He was alone here- the next day and night would see a torchlit procession up here, songs sung and offerings made. But now, there was only himself, with the starlight and the soft chill wind.

He knelt, laid his blood-covered hands on the turf of the fort and whispered "Why?" There was no answer, just the normal night noises of air and small things, and he repeated himself, louder this time. Nothing. He threw back his head and bellowed it. "WHY?"
All sound stopped, and the stars seemed to dim. He hastily cast his eyes down once more. A thread of mist pooled around his knees, and he shivered, then trembled further at the voice that answered him.

"Why? What do you mean?" it asked gently, and there seemed to be everything from bird-song to fire-crackle in its sounds.

"Why the rules? Why not tell us? Why not give us something, other than 'just because'?"

"You would not understand."

"Why can't you at least try?"

The voice became stern, and the farmer shook. "That is enough of that."

He took several deep breaths, and willed himself to calm, remembering the blood on his hands and what had happened that night. "There are," he said, "consequences to everything, you know. Even the actions you take- or choose not to."

Laughter, now. "What could you possibly threaten us with? If you break more rules, more ill will come. That is the consequence that should worry you."

"It isn't against the rules to leave."

"What?"

"I have the largest farm in the valley, and many look to me as leader. I'm not the only one who feels as I do. There are other lands than this, and perhaps the Ones who watch over them are more reasonable than you. What will you do without us?" There was a silence, and the farmer feared he had gone too far.

And then, a sigh. "That would be... unfortunate. We do need you as you need us."

"Then treat us that way! Tell us more!"

"Very well. You and your people will be taught what happens when the rules are broken."

"And the reason for the rules themselves?"

"It is not that easy. We need our secrets, as well. And for you to know too many of them would change you too much, in a way that would not be good for either of us."

"But there are riddles, and rhymes, and puzzles; songs and ballads and ways of telling that only the cleverest can figure out. Most will just be content with repeating them. You don't need to tell all, just some."

"There is truth to what you say. And more songs will be good for us as well. It will be done, farmer."

"I'm glad. You won't regret it."

"Time will tell. Just do not forget to speak the names of your newborns here on the full moon after they are born." There was laughter in the voice again. "I am sure you will hear a song to tell you why, before then."

"Child? I'm a widower... what do you mean?" But there was no reply, just night air and night sounds. He walked back down the hill with some small satisfaction to balance against his grief.

***

It's said that a distant cousin of his wife (a widow herself) heard the news of his daughter's death and made the journey all the way from overmountain to see him. She was moved, or so she thought, by compassion, but she stayed for long after the farmer's grief was faded. They were married at the Spring festival, and some months later spoke the name of their newborn child at the fort, humming a song as they walked up and down the hill.

I don't know... what do you think?

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Very wise, I think.

Part of the Consciousnes of the Spirits that I seem to sense is that They are growing as We are growing and both of Our Understandings of Things are evolving. We are as much a mystery to Them as They to Us.

I think that is part and parcel with the New Age that seems to be dawning: an increased awareness of this relationship and an increased awareness of the needs of the Others.

I think both We and They are learning from each other, and now, more than ever, All are becoming aware of that.

There seems to have been a long time when Spirit and Matter were seperate concerns. But I think Both are beginning to approach the limits of that attitude, so it's time to reach out and give a little bit on Both sides.

ladytamma says I am unseelie, so I can neither confirm nor deny... well, anything

I am intrigued and would certainly like to learn more. It seems that even while there is aquiesence by the Folk, there was a threat as well.

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