(In human language this reads –
A Very Important Mission : Button Nose)
Buttons, the Woodland Elf, is on a special treasure hunt- so far he has found a small round, speckled, moss green stone under the Magick Old Man Oak and Wild Bear Garlic.
Buttons woke up late the next morning. It was already daylight. Confused at first, he did not recognise his surroundings. As sleep left his body, he started to recall the events of the day before. What an adventure he had had! He felt bright and fresh. Breakfast was over in a jiffy for he was anxious to start looking for the next item on his list. However, before he left the Elf Traveller’s Hut, he made sure it was as neat and tidy as when he had arrived. He could not replace the food. It seemed that would take care of itself if his experience to date were anything to go by.
Stretching his limbs, Buttons took a few moments to sit and think about all the things that had happened to him on the first day of his Very Important Mission. In his rucksack he had the softly glowing, tingly green rock and a bunch of Wild Bear Garlic. He had made friends with Lullula the woodlark. And escaped by the skin of his teeth from the Grumpy Old Bear. Buttons was well pleased with himself. He looked forward to what today would bring.
Taking out his list of instructions he read the third one again –
Crystal droplets sweet and pure from rapids flowing free and fast
From the midst ‘tween the boulders shall ye dip and taste
afore ye fill the Magick Flask
Buttons recalled seeing the winding blue ribbon of a stream below him as he flew on the back of the woodlark. He had noticed that they descended to land not far from it yesterday. Trusting that he was being guided by Forces beyond his ken, he set forth. It was as good a place as any to start. He could do with a wash as well, he thought. And a long, cool drink.
The day was fresh and sunny. Buttons hummed happily as he strode along. It was not long before he heard the sound of flowing water. Eager to see it, he broke into a run. Panting from the exertion, Buttons nearly fell into the stream before he noticed he was right on the edge of a deep drop. Before him spread a scene of utter beauty. The stream was girded on either side by a steep embankment. On his side was a deep drop straight down. Across the way huge moss covered boulders filled the slope all the way to the stream. From there they formed a natural bridge that crossed the stream to the side on which Buttons stood. Gazing at the scenery in front of him, he had no doubt he was in the right place. With mounting excitement he inspected the embankment to see if he could find a safe way down.
“Treacherous it be to go that way.” Startled, he looked around to see who was speaking. Try as he might, he could not find the source of the voice. “Looking for me he is. P’raps look up, not down,” the haughty voice suggested. With that, Buttons turned his head up and looked straight into the large orange eyes of an Owl sitting on the branch of a tall Cypress tree. It was looking straight at him. “Aah, spotted me he has, the young one.” Buttons was a little scared. He had heard stories of owls hunting at night for small creatures. Wondering if he were to become a tasty morsel for this owl, he cleared his throat nervously and asked the Owl why it was treacherous to go down this embankment. He wasn’t sure if the Owl had heard his questions as it just sat there staring at him unblinkingly for a very long time. Buttons shifted from foot to foot wondering what to do. Taking slow, deep breaths of air filled with the scent of the cypress helped to ground and soothe him while he waited.
“Nervous he is. Thinks eat him I will. Hmmph! Too small he be for me. Hoot, hoot!” Before Buttons could think of a suitable response the Owl continued with his soliloquy. “On a Very Important Mission is he, this little one. Magick to be found. Cross the stream he must. Stop mid stream to fill the Magick Flask. Quickly flows the stream. Wash him away it will. Help he needs. Waited for him I have. Fly him there I will to dip and taste, then fill the flask.” With that the Owl swooped down and landed next to Buttons who was still trying to understand what he had just heard. Impatienty the Owl instructed him to take the Magick Flask out of his rucksack and hold it in his hand. As soon as that was done, Buttons found himself in the grip of the Owl’s talons. With a yelp, he was airborn. No sooner than he could blink Buttons found himself plonked unceremoniously onto a boulder in the middle of the stream. The Owl sat next to him unblinkingly watching him to see what he would do. Buttons tried to find a safe foothold so he could scoop some water into his hand to ‘dip and taste’. It was no good. He couldn’t reach without falling into the fast flowing stream. Having watched his futile efforts for a while, the Owl gripped Buttons in his talons and flapped his wings so he was hovering just above the water. Next thing Buttons knew he was plunged head first into the stream. Coughing and spluttering, he was jerked back out again. “Dip and taste did you?” asked the Owl. Unable to speak, Buttons just nodded his head. “Hmph! Fill the Magick Flask ye must.” With that the Owl picked him up again and repeated the same manouvre. This time Buttons was prepared and filled the Magick Flask as soon as he was plunged under water. The Owl flew to the opposite embankment with Buttons firmly gripped in his talons and set him down on the ground. “Helped I have. Sleep now I must.” With those words the Owl flew off. Buttons could see him settle back on to the same branch on which he had first seen him.
Still dazed with what had just happened Buttons sat for a while. He hadn’t even had time to thank the Owl for his help. Not that he had had time to ask either. Or to explain what he needed help with. It had all just happened. As if by Magick. Shrugging his shoulders, Buttons waved to the Owl and called out a thank you even though he seemed to be fast asleep with his head firmly tucked under his wing. Gathering his things together, Buttons stood up. He was off to forage for some lunch. As he left the stream behind him, he thought he could hear a faint “Hoot, hoot!”
You are invited to join Buttons on his Very Important Mission each Wednesday.
© Raili Tanska
Images – Pixabay