The Old Lady of the Tree

Mother had taken me to a green field, with the scent of lavender. I went to play near the forest. It was dark and foreboding as I gazed at the trees and a small path that led between them, beneath the green leaves where the light dimmed as if a roof has been created from the arching branches. The earth was dark green as if night had come. I turned to go back, but I was utterly lost. I searched for what seemed like hours but with no success.

As the day drew on, I became hungry and by chance noticed some berries and mushrooms. I had been taught by mother to tell the difference between the ones I could consume as I searched for some water and came to a small stream. As the water hit the rocks, a foam of white bubbles rose to the surface, in a mist of wet cool rain as I knelt down and drank. I felt exhilarated yet afraid that I would never find my home. I heard a bird in the midst of two very old trees as I walked toward the sound. It was a humming bird. It’s rapid movement spoke to me as if to direct me to the path where I lost my way. It beckoned me forward as if it knew my plight. Onward, through the trees that led to an opening with a small cottage with small round windows. I knocked on the door and it sprang open. I walked in.

The fireplace was ablaze and the fresh scent of burning wood filled the room. An old woman who sat in a rocking chair in front of the fire, turned towards me and said, “Hello, have you lost your way?” Yes, I replied. “What is your name?”, she asked. Llwaxanna, I replied. “What a pretty name. You are Llwaxanna Goochie Von Bogg-Stuppor?” Yes. How did you know? “The humming bird told me”, said the old lady. Can you help me find my way back to mother? “No, but I can help you find it yourself”. How? I asked. “Just follow the Hummingbirds call and it will guide you well. Here is a red coat to keep you warm and a basket of bread and cakes to hold you, when your need is great. Always remember, you are not alone and don’t be frightened by any of the sounds of the night. The wood holds many secrets. There are things in the forest you cannot see. Just follow the call of the hummingbird and you will find your way home.” I heard the humm of the bird and followed it, then the sound of my name.

Mother was calling me as if in the distance, then I felt a gentle shake and woke up to her smiling face. “Where”, she asked, “did you get this red coat and basket of bread?” “From an old women sitting in a rocking chair in a house, in the middle of the forest.”, I replied. “You have seen the old Lady of the Tree, haven’t you Llwaxanna?” she asked with a faint smile. “Yes, She told me how to find my way back. Who was she? I asked. “It was you my child”, she replied.

So wrote Contessa Llwaxanna Loveless Von Bralispth. This was the very first entry of what would become her book of Collected Memories, Letters, And Essays . She writes “The day I found the Old Lady of the Tree, I never feared getting lost again”.