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"If You Could See What I Hear..."
"A Faerie Song"
Thy beauty! ah, the eyes that pierce him thro’
Then melt as in a dream;
the voice that sings the mysteries of the blue
And all that Be and Seem!
Thy lovely motions answering to the rhyme
That ancient Nature sings,
That keeps the stars in cadence for all time,
And echoes thro’ all things!
…Thy luring song, above the sensuous roar,
He follows with delight,
Shutting behind him Life’s last gloomy door,
And fares into the Night.
To the Leanan Shee (The Faerie Mistress)
By Thomas Boyd
The captivating song still drew him along the narrow path. Pippin was puzzled. He couldn’t understand the words, yet the melody touched his young heart in a special way. The fact that he wasn’t sure where he was nudged the back of his mind, called to his attention more strongly by Tulip’s occasional rumble of dismay. He patted her head to calm her. “Shh now my lass! We’ll find our way home, I promise. But first--”
A flash of movement up ahead tore his attention away from the piglet and he eagerly started running. Tulip scolded him some more for not listening and he knew she was truly upset with him. He wondered briefly if his mother hadn’t put a bit of herself into her creation. Tulip was actually starting to sound like her! Pippin shook his head at the thought and chuckled before immersing himself once more into the world of the forest calm. He scratched behind Tulip’s knitted ears to soothe her. She grunted with pleasure and grudgingly forgave him. The pair came upon a tree that was split down the middle. Pippin knew lightning probably caused it. He shivered as he peered up into the branches. Thunderstorms were not one of his favorite things. Tulip knew this and whispered comforting words in his ear. He reached up to pat her. “You’re getting dried off at last,” he observed. Tulip haughtily reminded him whose fault it was she’d gone for a swim in the first place. Pippin smiled as he tucked her inside his soggy shirt and climbed up into the middle of the split trunk to have a look.
The moon was rising in the night sky and Pippin realized that his parents were going to be worried. He hadn’t meant for that to happen and he fretted over how much trouble he might be in. He caught sight of the movement again. A blur of pure white darted along the path not very far ahead. A delicate voice whispered his name. He leaped from the tree all other concerns forgotten for the moment and trotted after the specter unafraid.
Tulip however was a different story and squealed out her alarm. The youngster shushed her and patted her head absent-mindedly as he hurried along, his thoughts on the stranger ahead of him. When he turned his attention back to the path the figure had disappeared again. He continued his pursuit, trudging along for some time before pausing to get his bearings. Disappointed, Pippin tugged at his lower lip in consternation. Where had the figure in white gone?
The sky had only darkened all the more when Eglantine looked out the window for what felt like the hundredth time that evening. Where was Pippin? Certainly it was getting late enough to be concerned for a little lad of only ten. Eglantine fretted as she dried her hands on her big apron and headed out the door. Pippin knew he was only allowed to go as far as the bottom of the great meadow by himself. Surely he hadn’t strayed any farther. She knew how distracted her son could get whenever something interesting caught his fancy. Shading her eyes with her hand she scanned the green countryside several times. Pimpernel joined her and Eglantine glanced in her daughter’s direction before turning back to the meadow.
“Nell, have you seen your brother?”
“No Mum, not since the great piggy incident,” she chuckled and then sobered noticing her mother’s worried frown. “Why, what is it? Is something wrong?”
Eglantine sighed. “I don’t think so,” she answered uncertainly, “but he is a bit overdue. Well, you know how it is with that lad. Always losing track of the time.”
Pimpernel nodded. Her mother didn’t usually overreact to Pippin being late. After all, it was a fairly regular occurrence with him. “Does Da know he isn’t home yet?”
“No. I hadn’t felt it necessary to inform him until now.”
Pearl leaned out the door of the smial. “Mum? I need your help!”
“Nell dear, would you mind checking around for him? He needs to be getting himself back here. Tea will be ready very soon.”
“Certainly. And Mum? I’m sure he’s fine. He just lost track of the time, that’s all.” Eglantine nodded before going back inside the kitchen but Nell knew her mother was still anxious for some reason. Nell started off immediately across the meadow to search some of her brother’s favorite hiding places.
The tea was growing cold and still he did not appear. Pimpernel returned from her errand with no word. The lasses tidied up the kitchen while they waited. Paladin gathered some of the farm hands to help them search and together they hunted from one end of the farm to the other. Paladin’s exasperation with his son had now turned into real worry. He called to several of the searchers and gathered them around.
“I think it’s time we got out some of the ponies and search farther away.”
“Aye Pad, I think that’s a sensible idea.” Eglantine nodded. The high pitch of her voice revealed her level of worry. “He’s far too late and he’s obviously wandered much further than we realized.”
No one gave voice to the growing sense of unease as nighttime approached. Something did not feel right.
The glow of moonlight filtered through the dense undergrowth and Pippin stopped to admire the great flowing canopies overhead. He loved trees and climbing them was a favorite pastime. The siren call drifted gently to his ears and the young hobbit smiled broadly in anticipation as he hurried deeper into the woods. Riding inside his shirt once more Tulip pouted and held her tongue.
Exhausted, Pippin finally sought a place of shelter. “I’ll just have a rest and perhaps a little nap.” He thought ruefully of the dinner he was missing and the growling in his stomach seemed to scold him like Tulip had. Climbing up into the low split of an oak tree he lay back and folded his arms across his chest. The thought of being afraid never occurred to him. He contemplated his circumstances as he drifted off to sleep.
The tiny figure was even more diminutive in stature than the young hobbit. She approached the slumbering lad on feet lighter than air and watched Pippin curiously as he slept. Her gossamer gown shimmered in the half-light as she lifted from the earth and drifted above him. The spirit song ebbed and flowed all around them as if carried on the stream that flowed gently through the woodland.
Pippin shifted restlessly in his sleep once and the being touched him lightly on the forehead immediately soothing him.
She descended and began to dance around the tree. A ring of white growth sprang from the damp earth beneath her feet and gradually surrounded the oak, trailing from wherever her feet had touched the ground. The notes of an otherworldly song rose along with the mists on the night air. The child’s voice was as pure as the clear running stream on the woodland floor.
Pippin slept deeply in his makeshift bed his rest undisturbed. After a time the child vanished from sight somewhere into the depths of the circle created with her dancing. A last lighthearted chuckle drifted over the clear air. The night grew still at last. The only sounds were the faint snores wafting from a small hobbit lad and a knitted piglet.
The sun was still a mere promise of golden rays on the horizon when she appeared again. She crouched on a limb above the slumbering pair smiling impishly, and then tickled Pippin’s feet to wake him. He sat up with a start, disoriented, unsure of his whereabouts. His memory gradually returned as he stirred and rubbed his sleepy eyes. His visitor disappeared from sight. She hovered nearby, hidden under an ethereal cloak observing his every move. She placed both hands to her mouth and giggled.
Pippin’s head shot up in surprise. He darted a look around and saw nothing but the trees and the occasional squirrel scurrying up and down the trunks of the large oaks. Tilting his head to one side he listened closely. His keen ears discerned nothing. Pippin chewed thoughtfully on his lower lip before scooting off of his low perch in the split of the tree and dropping easily to the ground. He stretched his arms to the sky with a great yawn seemingly unconcerned he had just spent the night alone in the forest. Remembering Tulip he patted the front of his shirt and chuckled when she squeaked in annoyance.
“Ah lass, I know, you’re not an early riser!” Tulip retorted that she was cranky without her morning tea and what was he going to do about it?
“That’s a very good question my friend.” He patted his rumbling tummy and frowned. “Let’s be off and find some berries, maybe even a few mushrooms,” he suggested and Tulip heartily agreed. Pippin spun around to get his bearings and noticed he stood inside a ring of some sort of growth surrounding the oak. He bent to examine it and his face lit up in disbelief. “Mushrooms!” he crowed and plucked up several of them. He held them to the light for inspection. They were the most beautiful mushrooms he’d ever seen in his life. They fairly gleamed in his fingers as if beckoning him to consume them. He eyed them curiously for just a moment before eagerly popping them into his mouth. “This wasn’t here last night, I’m certain of that,” he told Tulip while he selected more of the delicacies. As his pockets bulged with the bounty Tulip inquired if he planned on eating them all himself?
“Oh! I’m very sorry my lass. How thoughtless of me.” Pippin pulled the piggy from his shirt and held a mushroom in front of her pink button snout. Tulip drew back and scolded him soundly.
“Oh dear, all right I’ll wash it first.” Pippin headed for the stream, one hand filled with mushrooms and the other clutching the knitted piggy. He wondered again if his mother hadn’t somehow cunningly placed her voice into his piglet or at least given Tulip some lessons on how to make a lad heed her instructions.
“Come then, we’ll get a drink too.” He bent to the water’s edge, careful to keep a firm hold of her this time. When he’d drunk his fill he rocked back on his heels and gazed around. A flicker in the clear stream caught his eye and he stared in amazement at the face of what appeared to be a small child much like himself, right down to the curly cinnamon hair, sharp nose, and pointed ears. His eyes widened and he gasped when she suddenly disappeared.
“What!” Pippin leaped to his feet and whirled in a circle. “What was that Tulip?” His heart pounded, not with fear but excitement. Tulip told him she hadn’t seen a thing and reminded him about the tea. Pippin did not reply. Instead he ran along the trail keeping a sharp eye out for the odd lass he was certain he’d seen. He had no idea he was now the pursued rather than the pursuer.
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