It’s an unbroken region that we never touch — thousands of acres forested in trees that are many centuries old. Though we enter it from time to time when walking the Estate, we neither harvest anything from it save mushrooms and what Tamsin, our hedgewitch deems needed, nor do we hunt there.
But some of us do take long walks there, at least those of us mortals that the Fey like, as we’re convinced that they protect this Wildwood. And that is how I came to be out there on a late Autumn day when it was warm enough for the long hike out there and back. (How long it takes always is different.) I was dressed in my favourite Mackinaw jacket and my sturdy boots, had a packed lunch, and my fiddle.
I found a fallen tree in the sun, rosined up my bow, and started playing tunes I’d selected as the caller for the next contradance with the Céim Bríomhar band from Dublin way. Then I noticed someone watching me.
He was at first glance normal: a skinny being whose skin looked rough from being in the sun too long. Closer up it was apparent that he was not ‘tall human as his skin was really very small overlapping leaves, something so dark green that they looked almost black, and his hair was tangled dreadlocks, like moss more than anything else.
He said nothing ‘tall to me, just made a fiddle and bow appear from behind him — a living instrument. I started playing. He cocked his head, then started to play the tune I was playing and we played ’til sun was no more…