Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Woodsman's Son

The pixie landed this time on his nose. He couldn’t slap at it like the others. Annoyed and scowling he swatted it away. The lad had come down to the river banks to cool off. The mountain stream swept through his quiet valley here and the snow melt of the river cooled the banks during the hot days.

The lad had been chopping wood with his father all day. The trees had been felled generations ago by the giant up in the mountains. A great pile of firs and pines had been left stacked indiscriminately next to a great clearing. The trees had been abandoned during the lad’s grandfather’s life and were well dried and would do well for furniture and building. The clearing was large enough for a small giant mansion. The lad had been awestruck at the enormity when his father, the woodcutter, put him to work.

The day had been long and grueling. Once the woodcutter and his son had filled the cart and cut enough to fill the cart again tomorrow the woodcutter and his son had set off for home. Mother had sent him down to the river bank to cool off and clean up. Wading out into the crisp water had shocked his senses into numbness and the lad had dipped quickly into the water wetting his hair but not scrubbing as his mother had requested. Getting quickly out of the water the lad laid on the grass along the river bank and allowed the sun and the light breeze to dry him.
“I must’ve dozed off.” Thought the lad as the first pixie alighted on his knee cap and gently, but annoyingly woke him. He slapped at his knee yet kept his eyes shut as the sun was high and bright and he did not want to get up yet.

The pixie flitted away and a small laughter reached the lad’s ears. In fact it sounded as if there were many laughters. The pixies were in fact sitting here and there all along the riverbank on flowers and old wooden stumps. When their wings were not beating it was hard to see them. The young man sat up upon swatting the pixie from his nose. Pixies flew close to his face and smiled into his eyes. He smiled back. It’s hard not to smile when pixies smile at you.

As the pixies suspended themselves in mid-air in front of the lad they started to chatter among themselves. They danced in mid-air then lighted onto the lad’s hair and onto his shoulders. It was confusing to the lad and pestering. He swatted at the pixies to get them out of his hair and off of his shoulders. The pixies thought this great fun and flitted about the young man – sometimes dancing, always laughing and more full of energy than any human has ever had.

The lad, though annoyed, was pleased to have been found by the pixies. Everyone knows they will pick away your worries and your pains and the young man had been feeling both. The pixies made him smile and though he couldn’t understand what they said he knew they like him. He liked them too; as long as they didn’t land on him.

The pixies seemed to know this. They swirled and danced and laughed together but not in unison. As he sat on the banks of the cold clear river the pixies entertained themselves to his delight. As they danced near his feet one pixie then another lighted on the tips of his toes making the lad laugh too. He was no longer annoyed. He enjoyed their light touch even if it tickled. And his toes felt newly clean, light and full of energy.

The pixies entertained themselves with their dancing and fluttering around the lad, occasionally landing on his knees or his shoulders or his fingertips or elbows. The lad grew happier and felt cleaner and lighter than ever before in his short life. The pixies landed on his ears and again in his hair and the lad finally had to stand up for all the playful swatting he was doing to manage the pixies.

Feeling wonderful, the lad decided to go home. He left the river bank walking back to the road between villages to start on his way back into the forest and home.

The lad saw the sky was bluer; he felt the wind even though it was so very light. The trees smelled more pine-y and the pine needles crunched louder under his feet. Everything felt clearer, more alive than before. Along the road came a pretty cart with a smart horse and driver. It was a cart with three children riding in the back among fresh hay, swinging their legs as the cart road past the lad. One boy jumped off the cart and walked back to the Woodcutter's Son on the road as if they were long lost friends. And well they may have been. They started up a conversation in no time about the river and the road, leading on to other subjects as good friends will do.

The driver of the cart stopped for some time to allow the boy and his new found friend time to catch up.

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