My mum taught me to respect the forest and beware of all its occupants, even the ones you cannot see. The forest ghosts and goblins she called them and of course there were the fairies. The creatures fiercely protected their home and all in it. That was why my mum would hunt for plants only certain times of the day so as not to disturb any of them. And she would avoid the forest when it was the witches’ time. That was when witches gathered to celebrate their Sabbats.
Witches had power or so my mum would say. They knew the rhythm and life of the forest and because they honored the forest, the forest was generous to the witches. Being young and in awe and also curious of my mum’s tales of witches, ghost, goblins and fairies, I thought to go see for myself. I was eight years when I sneaked off one night; a night I shall never forget.
I made my way through the forest, familiar with the various trails since I had traveled them frequently with mum. At first excitement had me in its grip, but the deeper into the forest I traveled, the darker it seemed to get, even with the full moon shining brilliantly in the night sky.
I stopped suddenly when I heard the flurry of wings and that is when I saw it… a fairy. My heart pounded in my chest as I followed the glowing, plump little creature, her head wreath of dainty white flowers sitting askew. I kept as quiet as possible not wanting to be discovered.
It wasn’t long before I spotted a shimmering light and the fairy flew straight for it while I approached slowly and hunched down so as not to be seen. I positioned myself behind a clump of bushes and peered out around the side.
My breath caught and I stared in awe at the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. I could not tell if her hair was blond or red though it sparkled like a fire’s glow. She was tall and slim and dressed in a gown of white gossamer that hugged her slender body. Her feet were bare and she hovered a few inches off the ground. Her hands were raised in supplication to the moon that bathed her in a glorious light. All around her it appeared as if candle flames flickered, until I realized the lights were flitting fairies.
I almost gasped but caught myself when a few hobgoblins wobbled out of the dark and plopped their plumps little bodies down in a circle around her. They were so ugly that they were actually cute but then perhaps it was the way they smiled with adoration at the floating witch that made them appear friendly.
I realized then that the creatures of the forest were being drawn to her, paying homage to her and she in turn was casting a protection spell over them and their home. I watched mesmerized by the lovely scene until…
The witch suddenly turned in my direction, pointed straight at me and said, “Go meet your fate, young one.”
Fear gripped my entire body and for a moment I could not move and then suddenly I got up and ran as if the devil was chasing me. Her words echoed in my mind and I could not chase them away. They seemed to grow louder the faster I ran.
Go meet your fate. Go meet your fate. Go meet your fate.
I wanted to get home, crawl into my bed and bury myself beneath the blanket and never again visit the forest during the witches’ time.
The edge of the forest drew nearer and soon, very soon I would be free. I’d reach the moors and beyond was my home. My heart beat as fast as my legs ran and with a few more steps I’d be…
I slammed into something hard, and steel bands wrapped quickly around me. It took a moment for the shock to subside and for me to realize that powerful arms had hold of me. I looked up fearful of what I would see.
It was Cavan Sinclare, the eldest son of the laird Tavish Sinclare, and a handsome one to be sure. He was tall, broad and a brave warrior for seven and ten years. I could do nothing but stare at him and then the witch’s words rang in my head.
Go meet your fate.
I gasped, slipped out of his arms and ran once again as if the devil was on my heels. But it didn’t matter for the witch had been right. Cavan Sinclare had been my fate and I thank the heavens everyday for bringing us together.
So be careful of the forest on All Hallows Eve for you may find a witch who predicts your fate.