Summer is a special, spellbinding time …..full of endless possibilities. On starry, balmy summer evenings one can almost touch the magic in the air ……so lay back and let the gentle, rose-scented breeze transport you to another time …….a time of enchantment …………
THE MAGICAL POOL
Gather round, children, oh and you curious adults; for fairy-tales are not just for the young. They are for the open-minded, the romantics, the dreamers among us…………The young at heart and the free of spirit.
So, are you seated comfortably ? Then we will begin, in the time-honoured way ……………………
Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived an Elf named Lyari. He was a hardworking, loyal Elf and the Elven King, Aulauther, decided to reward his endeavours by appointing him as Guardian of a magical pool.
This pool bubbled up out of the ground as a spring in the middle of a beautiful glade at the edge of a small village. The spring water flowed gently outwards, forming the deep, mysterious mere.
The glade was an beguiling place, surrounded by willow trees and sweet briar roses. Slender rowan trees, that trembled in the slightest of breezes; honeysuckle, clambering over laurel bushes……… the heavy scent hanging in the air.
Foxgloves , wild hyacinth and delicate harebells grew all around the shimmering pool. Bloated frogs hopped in the damper areas of grass and tiny sticklebacks darted to and fro in the clear, sparkling water.
Lyari took his task very seriously.
He tended the pool and kept it clear of any weed that threatened to starve the waters of oxygen and he ensured that the animals and plants were safe and well cared for.
The glade was well known in the land and people came from far and wide to throw their pennies into the crystal water and make a wish. It was rumoured that the pool was bewitched……..that it would grant wishes. No-one knew for certain, but they were willing to take a chance and so they came and tossed their hopes and dreams into the depths and closed their eyes and wished………….
Lyari watched them from his hiding place and smiled his Elvish smile ……….but as for granting wishes, that was his secret ………… and he went about his work and beamed at all the hopes that floated in the enchanted air.
One day, Lyari was working by the pool, when a cloaked figure wandered into the glade. He watched from behind a clump of bull-rushes, as the figure knelt down beside the water and removed the hood of the enveloping garment.
Long auburn locks tumbled out and fell around the shoulders of a beautiful girl; the most lovely human Lyari had ever seen. The maiden then removed her cloak and the Elf gasped in wonder at her perfection. Surely she must be a faerie, no mere mortal could be so exquisite.
But mortal she was and her lovely brow was wrinkled in distress……….. her green eyes brimmed with tears and her heart was sad. She tossed a coin into the pool and the gentle splash startled a nearby rabbit, who ran, in haste towards a transfixed Lyari, almost colliding with him in its eagerness to reach the safety of longer grass.
The girl sat beside the water for some time and, fascinated, the Elf tinkered about, trying to complete his tasks, but completely distracted by her beauty. Then, as suddenly as she had appeared, she rose and was gone and Lyari felt, for the first time in his life, empty and alone.
To his delight, she returned, day after day and each time Lyari fell more in love with her.
He crept closer, camouflaged by the lush growth of the plants and he listened to her whispered wishes. And thus discovered why she was so sad.
Her one true love had gone off to seek his fortune, so they could be married, but a long year had passed and Mairwen, for that was her name, feared that he would never return. She thought that something evil must have taken place and he may be lost forever, so she resolved to come to this spot every day and toss coin after coin into the pool, in the hope that the Guardian would grant her dearest wish and return her beloved Cadfael to her arms.
Well, dear ones, this state of affairs went on for some time.
Day after day, week after week, Mairwen came to the glade and Lyari began to neglect his duties as he sat and gazed upon her beauteous countenance. He delighted in her presence, especially when she sang love songs, her soft voice trilling and echoing around the clearing and the woodland creatures looked up from their grazing and listened to the lilting tunes.
Lyari forgot about the weed on the pool, forgot the weekly dosing with Elvish dust; the magical potion that made the waters sparkle and fill the glade with a million crystals. Mairwen had taken his heart hostage and he was in no hurry to have it returned.
The neglect of the enchanted pool came to the notice of King Aulauther and he was greatly displeased. He chaired an emergency meeting of the Sylvan management committee and the hapless Lyari was summoned to appear.
Now, the King was very fond of this Elf and so he treated him gently…… tried to understand the problem and pointed out the pitfalls of loving a mortal. But Lyari was adamant and would not be moved and so the King said that Lyari would have to think of a solution……. resolve the problem, one way or another. And, as a special dispensation, gave him permission to use any magic at his disposal as long as the glade and the pool were restored to their former glory.
Lyari flew home, full of excitement …. he could use any spell ….oh yes !!
He could bewitch the lovely Mairwen and make her his.
She could stay with him forever…….. help him tend the glade, never leave him. Oh, they would be so happy !
Mairwen was sitting by the pool when he returned and he was startled to see how thin she had become. Her hair lacked its lustre and her beautiful eyes were clouded and dark-ringed.
He had not realised that she was slowly slipping away from life……. dying of a broken heart.
Lyari paused and looked at her and he was torn. He could cast his spell and make her love him…… forget Cadfael.
What should he do, what spell should he use ?
He took the velvet pouch from his silken belt and tipped out a handful of Elvish dust, then, closing his eyes, he stood behind the forlorn figure and sprinkled the dust into the air.
Mairwen woke up, as from a deep slumber and there, standing beside her, was the muscular outline of a man. She shaded her eyes from the bright rays of the sun and a face swam into focus. It was her Cadfael, he had returned, his pockets full of gold. The handsome youth bent and lifted her into his arms and they embraced happily.
Lyari watched from behind a toadstool, as the colour returned to Mairwen’s cheeks, her hair shone in the sunlight and her eyes sparkled with joy. He had realised that his love transcended his desires, he loved her so much that her happiness was all he sought. He loved her enough to let her go.
Mairwen and Cadfael walked, arm in arm, out of the glade, but just before she reached the path to the road, she turned and looked at the magical place that had granted her wish. She was sure that she saw an Elvish figure gazing after them, but looked again and it was gone.
” Goodbye ….. and thank you !” she whispered, and blew a kiss.
The kiss flew on the gentle breeze, flitting hither and thither, through trees and grass and sweet-smelling flowers, until it reached Lyari, who caught it and touched it to his lips.
Then he dropped it into the cloudy pool…………. Ripples radiated out and the waters became clear once again and the sunlight sparkled and the glade was filled with a million crystals.
I wrote this some time ago for my grand-children …..I hope you enjoyed this little piece of summer silliness.