A new day breaks on the water and the trees and the animals and all of the plant life. A deer perks its ears. A twig snaps just a few feet away. The deer, in an unusual show of curiosity, saunters over to investigate the noise that has disturbed his morning bath. He cautiously approaches the source of the noise but finds nothing. Another twig breaks where he was just standing. There is a rustle of leaves and the whisper of voices. The deer turns to see a flash of red duck beneath a fallen branch. There is another glimpse of color, this time blue and then gold. The curious deer investigates the severed branch. He is not left unsatisfied in his search. Slowly a group of small figures march out from behind the branch, willing, surrendering. The deer is confused. He has never seen such things but they are strangely familiar. They are obviously not of the human persuasion, but they seem to have a human form accented by wings. Then it dawns on him, he has heard legends of such strange and unnatural creatures. Why they are sprites! Upon this realization, the deer moves closer to inspect the minute creatures. As the deer draws closer to the newfound species, they let out a small cry in unison. The deer moves back a step, giving the sprites time to calm down and then takes another tentative step forward. This time they are more receptive. The nymphs approach the deer ever so cautiously, inspecting him closely. The deer raises no objections as the creatures thoroughly examine him. The deer struggles to maintain a sense of calm around his newfound species. Then the sprites do the most unnatural thing, they speak! The deer is frightened at first for the sounds are strange to his ears, but the fear gives way to further curiosity. Although he does not know what they are saying, he knows the words are intended for him. He must find a way to understand what they utter. There is only one woodland creature who understands all the languages of the forest; the wise owl. The deer indicates to the sprites that they are to follow him, and so begins the trek to the owls' cove. All of the creatures make a strange and unusual caravan as they struggle over the terrain of fallen limbs and narrow creeks. As they passed over the woodland the sun moved its zenith in the sky. The creatures mutually agreed to repose on some nearby slabs of stone for a brief interval. After the short rest, they continued on to the Owls. As they made their way, the sun slowly passed over the sky until it was barely visible through the trees. As night drew near, the creatures found their way into the owl cove. The deer inquired as to the whereabouts of Mother and Father Owl and was directed to a petrified oak stump in the center of the cove. He approached the Owls with respect. He went before them and asked to understand what the sprites were saying to him. The Owls asked the sprites to approach; as they did the creatures erupted into wild chatter. The deer moved away in fright but the Owls understood the language of the creatures. After an extended conservation, the Owls explained to the confused deer that the sprites wished to join the League of Woodland Creatures. It was the law of the forest that all creatures who wished to join the League had to appeal to Mother and Father Owl. The deer nodded in understanding and the sprites were granted admittance into the League. From that day forward, the sprites lived harmoniously with the deer, his family, and all of the woodland creatures.
White Mountains, New Hampshire
March 2, 2009