The continuation of my little story - written on 8th September 1997. It's a lot longer than I thought it was... What have I gotten myself into??
So, the last of the faeries - four there were, old, wise and mighty in the ancient lore of magick: Grimkin, the most ancient of all, who was old before the arrival of the new forest and of man; Elmheal, who would converse with the trees for news beyond the city, until time and sorrow wore him out; Bayswife, the wise matriarch whose smile - oft seen - would cause the grass to grow as if sunshine and rain were unnecessary; and Palmbark, whose sad grey eyes made the trees weep, and whose youthful golden hair caused the birds to sing to her beauty - came together to discuss this: man's "love".
Now other faeries lived still in man's park, but these - sadly too numerous to name, although the once-great Leafblade and Thistlemaid were amongst them - were beyond the reach of the other faeries. Many had begun to partake of the leaf that did intoxicate them into incapacity, and some had given
their spirits over to beasts that did but sit in the trees, and ate not but of that leaf.
Others had become one with the water, or with the earth, or with their beloved trees and flowers.
So, four there were only, and these came together, and to the others Bayswife spoke:
"Many years have I dwelt in theis, our forest that is now called a "park" by man, and never before have I heard this thing called "love" uttered. Know ye what it is?"
Grimkin: "I have seen that which you describe: the intertwining of hands, and the touching of lips and the touching of face and hair, and have also wondered at it. This must be love."
Elmheal: "I have heard the word at times, uttered by man unto man, and have seen both a feeling of truth and of untruth in the hearts of those who say it. I have tried to fathom its meaning, and yet cannot see what it means, for I cannot comprehend the mind of man. They are not as trees are: simple, proud, unchanging.
"Betimes I have seen love spoken by a couple unto a child, betimes unto another of a different gender. Betimes speak they of love to one at one time and to another at a time distant by less than a moon.
"A strange, fickle thing is man, and a strange, fickle thing is his love."
All nodded at Elmheal's wide words, and naught was said for a long time, before Palmbark, in a voice as sweet as the song of a brook, spoke:
"I would like to know this "love", fickle or no, for it seems to be the secret of man's contentment. Perchance we, too, can be joyful once more, if love were found for the faeries."
And so it was decided that Palmbark would be sent into man's stoneglass forest to seek out the thing man called "love".
And we shall return another day...