AN: This is what I did for my acting class midterm last fall. We had to use a piece of artwork as inspiration and create a narrative piece to act out. The artwork I chose was "The Forest Keeper" by Mark Whelan (It's kind of a creepy picture if you look it up). I have added some things to make this work better as a traditional story, but if you find the writing not up to par, it's probably partially due to the fact that it was originally meant to be performed. I hope you still enjoy it!
Aislin awoke with a start. The clock read 3:00 A.M. She had no idea why she had woken up, but she had the sudden urge to go out into the forest surrounding her house. Always the adventurous sort, she followed her instincts and crept down the stairs to the front door. She slowly eased it open, mindful of its creak, slipped through the opening, and carefully shut it behind her. Once outside, the cool night air woke Aislin up even further, and the bright full moon lit her path. Her instincts told her to go even deeper into the forest, so she did. She had reached a clearing when the crack of a snapped stick alerted her to another's presence. Aislin spun around, and to her horror, a giant creature easily twenty feet tall stepped out of the trees. Its skin looked rough and weathered like the bark of a tree, and its fingers and toes were knobby like tree branches. Its body was covered in leaves and thorny vines, and its eyes were nearly as big as she was. Before she could turn to run, the creature spoke.
"Come here, child. I wish you no harm," it said, crouching down to be nearer to her level.
She approached him cautiously. "Who are you?"
"I am the Keeper of this forest."
She gasped. "Are you a faery?"
"I am, and I am not the only one in these woods. But we will not be able to stay here much longer."
Aislin furrowed her brow. "Why not?"
"Let me show you. Just place your hands on my head. If you step into my palm, I will lift you up."
The Forest Keeper slowly lowered his open hand to the ground so as not to frighten the young girl. Aislin eyed the enormous hand with trepidation but then resolutely stepped forward and pulled herself up and into the faery's palm.
He carefully lifted her up until she could touch his head.
Aislin wasn't prepared for what happened when she flattened her palms against his knobby forehead.
Images bombarded her.
Swarms of tree-cutting equipment chopping down trees right and left and callously tossing them onto lumber trucks.
Animals of all shapes and sizes fleeing the forest's destruction.
Groups of faeries huddling in the shadows, weeping for the loss of their home.
When the images released her from their hold, Aislin gasped from the raw pain of it and fell back into the Forest Keeper's palm.
"Why would anyone do such a thing?" Aislin asked, her eyes burning with tears.
The Forest Keeper sighed and gently placed Aislin back on the ground. "Greed. They want the money."
"But who is doing it?"
"Your father and his logging company."
Aislin shook her head vigorously. "NO! That can't be! He would have told me about it!"
The Forest Keeper looked at her with sad eyes. "But he did not."
"Can't you do something about it? You're the keeper of the forest!"
He let out another deep sigh. "I am, but as humans no longer believe, I have little power. And when the forest ceases to exist, so too will I."
Aislin choked back a sob. "This can't be! Father can't destroy these woods! I've played in them since I was a toddler!"
The Forest Keeper shook his head sadly. "Hush, Aislin." He held his hand out to her again and spoke in a soft, lilting voice, like the wind rustling through the leaves:
"Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand."
The next morning, Aislin's parents woke to find their daughter gone, and on her pillow, an acorn and a note with a single phrase: "For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand."
AN: The last words spoken by the Forest Keeper are from the poem "The Stolen Child" by W. B Yeats.