River Mist Tales: Jack in the Green

Hurry, this way, before the river mist settles upon the dooryard. It may be a while before your path home is revealed.

The seat by the window is most comfortable and there’s tea in the pot, if you haven’t brought a wee dram of your own. And please, ignore the cats, don’t open the window when the crows come calling.

I’ll be working in the darkened alcove across the room if you have any needs or she knocks upon the door.

She doesn’t like to be kept waiting. Enjoy her photographs and her 12-line tales. Though she is a bit loose with the truth and a bit too revealing with magic, as your kind calls it.

Until your next visit, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

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 Jack in the Green

Come, come out of your houses

Come, come out into the green wood

Come, tis time for Jack in the Green

The voices flowed along the cobbled streets, perching upon door steps, tapping on windows, moving above the reach of passersby.

Snuggling in blankets, knees pulled up tight, Sophia sat alone, tucked into the curving window seat of her second floor bedroom.

Disobeying her mother, Sophia had opened the window, allowing the gathering voices entry, as well as the rush of cool May air.

Spring was taking her time coming to the northern woods, but Jack in the Green would lure her, dancing her into the fields and meadows, along the streams, and across the lake, or so the village children had told Sophia.

“And if Jack stops at your house, smiles upon your garden, a small gift must be offered or he will curse your home and all you grow,” said the village children.

Nonsense, Sophia’s father had said when she told him about the celebrations, about the village traditions, about the visiting forest sprite Jack in the Green.

The old ways were of no importance to our modern lives, Sophia was told, and having a cold, she was ordered to stay in bed away from the cool May air and the raucous wanderings of Jack in the Green.

Tall, a walking collection of green leaves resembling a tree often seen on the north side of the village green, Jack was surrounded by dancing children and vibrantly dressed adults brandishing flowering branches of apple and pear, voices rising and falling as the ever growing parade moved closer and closer, finally stopping below Sophia’s high stone-framed window.

Turning a leaf clad, green face skyward, smiling, Jack gathered the braided ribbons tethered to a single silver oak leaf Sophia lowered from her towered perch, allowing a silent exchange of gift and blessing.

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