The Maiden of the Woodland
From sun and rain and fertile earth
Spring pastures bright and green,
Vales and forests of unvalued worth
Where magic dwells unseen.
The wonders of the woodland
Bud and blade and bloom command
Nature's sacred ground.
'Midst mighty Oak and Hazel wise
There dwelt a lady fair
Starlight sparkled in her eyes
And flowers wreathed her hair.
Her raiment was of purest white,
Her hair like sunlight gold;
No creature born of day or night
Was fairer to behold.
And yet a shadow held her heart,
A curse of darkest hue;
She lived her life in world apart
From that which humans knew,
Through nature fair and hallowed
She wandered, unperceived,
A fair form wreathed in shadows
And eternally she grieved.
She was born a noble-child,
Bright as a Litha day.
Bonny, blithe and full of mirth,
She pulled all hearts her way.
But a Goddess borne of Chaos
Grew jealous of the child;
She could not stand the loveliness
Of one so fair and mild.
And so she sent her ravens
To alight around the bed
Of this fair, unblemished maiden
And laid a curse upon her head.
The maiden lay in moonlight
And thought she glimpsed a shadow-
A bird flitted across her sight
And she suddenly felt hollow.
She went up to the windowsill
And watched the birds depart;
The sight gave her a sudden chill
And stabbed into her heart.
She understood her eternal doom
When she looked into the mirror –
She saw the reflection of the room
But not a trace of Her.
No one, then, could see her-
She was forever changed.
Eons passed, the castle fell –
But ever she remained.
The curse of that cruel goddess
Was she'd be forever fair
But she'd always be in darkness
And always feel despair.
But if ever love should find her
The curse would then be broken –
Darkness could not bind her
If those three words were spoken.
But no one could ever see her!
That was the vital part;
If no one could perceive her face
They could not find her heart.
And so she wandered, day and night,
Through woodland green and hallowed
Mulling over her eternal blight
With her heart heavy with shadows.
One day it was a hunter came
He was both bright and cunning
His hounds were quick upon the scent
And speedily came running.
They came upon the maiden
Asleep beneath a tree
Curled amongst the mighty roots
In sleep she was carefree.
The hounds were surely baffled,
For nothing could be seen
But they knew they smelled the sleeping maid
'Midst nature bright and green.
The hunter came upon them
And would have called his hounds
When he heard the maiden breathing
So closely to the ground.
And so he knelt beside her
And gently touched her face
And thought he'd felt no fairer
Or ever sensed such grace.
The maiden woke to the caress
And looked into the hunter's eyes
They were not focused on her
And she saw that he was blind.
"Have my hounds harmed you?"
He asked her in dismay
The maiden could not answer –
He took her breath away.
The hunter, too, was captured
His heart leapt with a feeling
He knew he was enraptured
His soul was sent a-reeling.
"How is it that I love you?"
He asked her, filled with awe
The maiden gasped to hear those words
That she'd never heard before.
The cruel goddess let out a shriek
Those words had at last been spoken
Her magic now was growing weak
And the curse was finally broken.
The maiden wept when she saw her face
Reflected in the river
Bonny, blithe, and full of grace
Life had returned to her.
And so she took the hunter's hand
And returned unto his home
She was the fairest in the land
And no longer dwelt alone.
In time it was she bore a son
Who became a handsome man
And he soon learned what the goddess had done
To his beloved Mam.
And so he took his father's sword
And blessed it in the lake
Where once a fairer goddess dwelled
All for his mother's sake.
He tracked the unkind goddess
And slew her ravens vile
Through realms wreathed in great darkness
O'er oceans cruel and wild
Until at last he found her
Who'd ripped his mother's life apart
He struck her with the blessed sword
Straight through her jealous heart.
The goddess gave an anguished scream
And suddenly disappeared
The world was filled with light again
And nothing need be feared.
The young man returned unto his home
And delighted was to say
That the one who'd cursed his mother's life
Had forever gone away.
That was the last adventure,
They endured no further test
And lived happily ever after
And found time, at last, to rest.