WIP – Ockleberrie’s to the Rescue
Woodland sprite’s helping forest animals.
Excerpt – Comments welcomed – yes really!
Woodland folk, such as the sprites Crispin and Tansy Ockleberrie, kept their distance when it came to humans. To encounter one; in the most part; led to an unfavorable outcome. Within their forest home, concealed by a magical shroud, they assisted each and every animal, which needed healing or help. Their knowledge had been passed from one generation to the next through stories of the goddess, Vila, who was lost in time but remembered in legend as having a profound knowledge of herbal healing. Vila had taught the woodland folk, of her time, how to make powerful potions and the skill of healing. When Vila disappeared it was the elders who wrote down as much as they could remember. A book was then given to each clan before they scattered to all points of the compass thus carrying on Vila’s work. Clans of sprites inhabited forests throughout the land some were only a few members strong, while others were much larger depending on the size of the forest they lived in. There were also special travelling clans, who roamed the lands between the forests, assisting wherever they could. Birds were used as messengers as well as transport from and to these travelling bands, enabling the closest to reach an injured or sick animal quickly.
It was always a matter of great excitement when a travelling clan stopped at a forest home. Their tales of faraway lands and the variety of animals they encountered had many a sprite fighting sleep to hear them all. Stories were a precious commodity and shared with reverence at the feasting times with the younger generations so they would know the exploits of their elders. It was also a time for the healers to relay any new potions or cures they had discovered throughout the year. Detailed notes were made and demonstrations given so the knowledge was passed on and kept safe.
The feast gatherings were not just for healing knowledge though there was also music, dancing and plenty of delicious food as well. Each clan would bring food with them to share, which ensured there was plenty to eat. However, the best thing was what the travelling clans brought with them. Strange objects they found beside roadways and paths. Some were hard and shiny others were thin and delicate while others were soft and pliable. Many were kept as trophies but others would be traded for woven cloth or preserved food. There was always a rush to meet the travelers in the hope of being the first to trade. To successfully obtain a treasure from a traveler was hailed as a significant triumph and the objects were displayed in sprite homes in pride of place. When visitors came these objects were shown and discussed, everyone giving their own idea as to what it could be use for.
Another excerpt – this is part of a chapter about Stump the Woodpecker -
As the sun dropped below the horizon Stump settled himself in a hollow, tucked his head under one wing and was soon fast asleep. He dreamt of the ant mound, which became a mountain in his dream imagination. He awoke to rumbling sounds from his tummy. I shall feast today. After flexing his wings and shaking his body, Stump took off toward the ant nest looking forward to a full belly.
“Where are you going in such a hurry, Stump? It’s a bit early for you isn’t it?”
Stump groaned at Pryce’s voice.
“Oh, hello, Pryce, I’m just hungry that’s all.”
Stump knew he could not go to the giant mound with Pryce in tow so aimed toward his old mound. The two woodpeckers flew side by side their bright red backs flashing as their wings flapped. When Stump began to descend Pryce followed him down.
“Not many here, is there, Stump?”
“No not many, I’ll have to try and find another mound soon.”
“Well, I think I can find a better nest than this, I’ll see you later, Stump.”
To make sure Pryce had flown far enough away, Stump stayed behind licking up the occasional ant. After some time he cautiously looked around to make sure he was alone. He flew upward and landed on the side of a birch tree gripping tightly and listening. Satisfied Pryce was gone he flew using gentle flaps in and out of the tree trunks. He made a wide arc around so it wasn’t obvious which direction he was headed then settled again to listen. There was a distant drumming to the east and a squawk to the south. Staying high above the forest canopy Stump made his way to the rock face flying over the river gleaming in the morning sun. He turned and saw the mighty yew trees ahead of him. Gliding down he landed perfectly a couple of hops away from the nest. The ants were as industrious as usual. Two parallel lines were moving up and down the trees gnarly bark. The first tongue full of ants made their way up to his beak and Stump swallowed happily.
He was feeling nicely full when he heard the flap of wings. Hoping his find would not be discovered he hid in the shadow of the yew tree and peeked around the side waiting to see who it was. It was a woodpecker but luckily not Pryce. This lovely female was slender and had a real glint in her eyes. She daintily licked up a few ants and looked out toward to valley. Stump was smitten. He watched unable to move for fear of scaring her away. How would he introduce himself?
Comments are always welcome…