In January of 2012, I was struck one morning by an insistent urge to write a story, a proper childish fairy story about magic and such. I used to lose myself in such world’s quite often as a child and remembered in that moment how nice it had felt.
So I sat down, with a notepad and pen and I just started to write, like I had as a child. I just started and happily allowed what flowed through my hand. Writing for the joy of it, like dancing or running, just for the joy of the sensation. A story pouring through me.
Just as suddenly as I had begun, I was finished. I felt great, it was like arriving home after a wonderful walk in the woods. I closed the notepad, got up and had some breakfast with my man.
Three years later I happened upon this notebook, in a small suitcase stuffed with other similar notebooks (molesskine, A4, squared paper! buff/black paperback is the fave). I had spontaneously begun the job of reading through three years of notebooks, to pan for the gold of the souls journey I had been on during that time.
I came across this story and read it back for the first time since writing it. What a revelation. I entered a world that was new to me, and a story I had not yet known, but one that I had in fact lived in the intervening years. The story I had written with such casual delight three years ago, now read back to me as a profound allegory for a transformative period of my life which had followed from the time of writing.
Today, I feel this story is complete, this chapter, I am no longer in it and it is no longer my life. It is no longer my story, it is a universal one I feel. I wanted to let it free into the world. Free from the notebook and the dusty suitcase, to find those who seek it or those that it seeks.
I know that stories find us, rather than the other way around, This one found me, and now our work together is done. I invite you to meet this little friend of mine and see how you get along!
The foxy queen in the picture is my beautiful and talented little sister Eloise White – I made this digital portrait of her for her birthday, now I realise she is the image of my woodland queen! I’m hoping she will animate this for me one day…
WAKING THE WOODLAND QUEEN
There once was a very little girl. She had delicate white hands that quivered when she spoke and big pale eyes. Her hair was pale golden and smooth like glass. She liked to walk in the wild edges of the garden, just out of sight, but was afraid to go beyond the edges into the dark tangly thorn bushes.
When the sun we as high and nobody was home she would lie in the very middle of the grass and feel the earth spinning round beneath her. One day she was lying with her eyes shut tight, when she felt a velvety soft,warm sensation on her cheek. She opened her eyes and gasped. Oh!
A great stag stood looking down at her, all russet and rippling with soft,dark eyes and majestic felted horns.
“Come with me to the woods, if you like” he seemed to say, “I’m king of the woodland and you will be safe with me.”
The very little girl’s hands quivered with excitement. All manner of thoughts running round in her head made her feel so dizzy and confused, she was frozen to the spot.
“OK, I see you are too frightened” said the stag, turning his regal back to her, and walking loftily back to the dark, tangly woodland, disappearing from view.
The very little girl felt so sad and alone as the stag disappeared from view. Why oh why was she so shaky and stuck? In her confusion and distress, she cried and fell asleep.
When she awoke she felt a warm,soft sensation like being cradled in a rosebud, and warm heavy air around her, dense with a heady aroma. She slowly opened her eyes to see a golden light all around her, soft and gently pulsing. She looked down where she lay and – ha! – it was a rosebud that cradled her so tenderly.
A fragrant breeze lifter her hair.
Just then a low rumble approached and she felt the rosebud quiver as her own hands had done. Again before here as the soft, velvet muzzle of the stag – but so big that he filled almost all of the sky!
“It seems I am a very,very,very little girl” she thought to herself, with some alarm and a great deal of wonder.
The stag spoke in a clear, low voice.
“I knew you would come, you wanted to so badly that you dreamed yourself into a fairy noon and entered the woods on a sunbeam.”
The very, very, very little girl was perplexed. Fairy noon? Sunbeam? Can it be a dream? She glanced around her and saw -in the shimmering golden haze – ten, twenty, thirty or more little rosebuds, and in each a very very very little girl was stretching and awakening. Lacy silver wings gently warming in the afternoon’s golden sun. A fairy noon.
“But why am I here?” She wondered aloud, perplexed. “Why so small?”
The stag simply stared into her and said:
“Just remember three things. A fairy noon can last as long as you let it. Sunbeams are made of love. Rose petals fall and thorns draw blood.”
With that he gracefully turned his head and walked away into the deep tangle of the woods. The little girl’s pale, golden head felt fuzzy and muddled, the deep scent of the rosebud calling her back to its softly swaying centre. She felt the warm sun on her cheeks and her eyelids grew heavy again.
“Sunbeams are made of love…” She remembered the stags words. How lovely it felt here, bathed in love, the fizzy hum of fairy wings rising all around.
She slept again, and waking briefly into a dream she was aware of sliding a nd spinning slowly downwards, like on a velvety soft helter shelter. A buzzing of voices, tinkling like little bells, chimed around her. Rainbows like sunlight crystal retractions glanced across her eyes as she swooped and swirled.
When she awoke she became aware of a gentle tugging on her golden locks. Gazing sleepily around her she saw with astonishment two reddish gold fox cubs softly pawing at her hair, which was strewn with tiny blue forget-me-nots and scented with pungent lavender.
She was draped in a whisper-thin blue silken gown and lying on a bed of Rose petals. The cubs were like little puppies, much smaller than she. “I must be my right size again” she thought, “only a little bit little”.
She sat up and looked around her, absentmindedly scooping the cubs into her lap. She was resting at the edge of a great wood. As she turned around to see what lay on her other side, she jumped with surprise to see a full grown fox standing close by her. The cubs wriggled free from her grasp and ran to their mother.
“So you are awake, dear Queen” said the fox with her dark eyes and twitching tail.
“I am your Queen?” She darted back. “Who made it so?” A strange and unfamiliar timbre and tone reverberated in her ribcage as she spoke. Her spine was straight as a spear and her hands quivered not even a little.
“Yes you certainly are” nodded the fox, slowly and steadily, gazing at her “and my Queen, you made it so”
“What of the fairy noon?” She wondered to herself.
“It lasts as long as you let it” echoed the fox. “Now. My Queen, we have much to attend to. The woodland realm depends upon your leadership and guile, for we are entering a new phase of the moon, and the twilight times are long and deep.”
The regal queen tossed her golden locks and stepped forward, chin out, eyes ahead, hands quivering imperceptibly (if at all). She knew not where she must go, but she knew that it was ahead of her, and not behind, that her duties lay.
In that moment a shadow flitted across the emerald moss carpet of the glade, and she felt again the presence of the stag. She knew that he was near, but that this was her time, her test. And he was watching.
At the edge of the clearing was there was an old wooden signpost. A white arrow indicating a dark and tangled tunnel into the woods. She looked closely to see the words: “Your Majesty… Your Fate” carved and weather-worn in the white wood.
The slightest shiver ran through her and the tiny hairs on the nape of her neck tickled and tingled. The fox glanced up at her and pressed ever so slightly closer to her cool, bare leg. Nudging, comforting.
The Queen took a deep, slow breath. “And so we go” she declared to her deepest self, and set off into the dark tangly tunnel.
After really rather a time of twisting and turning, almost tumbling down the windy woodland tunnel,the Queen heard a distant fanfare… Of tulips and daffodils, Mother. Nature’s brass band… carried to her elfin ears on the wind.
The deeper into the narrow darkness she journeyed, the brighter, lighter and more expansive the way ahead appeared to her – even as she felt the tangly tendrils of the tunnel closing around her.
Just at the point where she could barely lift her leg through the dense surrounds, a sort of pop and a whizzzzz…..
… The tunnel and the tangles and all that had surrounded her fizzled and faded like Sherbert on the tongue. A radiant peachy white light and an exquisitely silky, soft scented air filled All of Everything.
Again those brassy harmonies sounded, but muted,softer – like a bumblebee bothering a Buttercup on a lazy summer breeze. And she could feel it…the fuzzing and buzzing… Melting in the very middle of her chest like a cough sweet – warm and syrupy soothing…
Then clear as day, the stag walked right up to her.
The Queen pulled herself up straight before his majestic presence – instantly realising her self was all but straight, her form now ever so drifty and spacious. Her tumbling locks tumbled on and on into forever.
She gathered her glow in the direction of the stag and then she noticed, lain across his back, a very little girl. Not moving, barely there.
The stag looked at her with deep bronze eyes full of intensity.”will you take her?” He seemed to say.
The Queen of All Everything, in the ether of a peachy dawn, reached out with all of her Self, and scooped up her Form like a precious doll.
“This very little girl,” she thought. “This very littlest of girls.”
“She is the acorn and I am the oak. She is my root and my fruit. Let us be One.”
As I guide through the glade. As I stumble in the bushes. As I quiver and shake by river and lake…
As I am. I am All.
I am great, I am small.
I am the queen, I am the stag.
I am the blades of grass beneath my back. I am the heat of the sun on my cheek.
I am the part and the wholes. The heart and the hand.
The light and the endless night.