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Ole Old-As-The-Hills (A Yule Story)
Article ID: 15930
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 854
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Author: Merideth Allyn
Posted: January 22nd. 2016
Times Viewed: 2,589
Once upon a time when the truth was a lie and lies were all truth, this late December day was frigid. And, after a long, hard rain that froze everything to a glistening wonderland, eight inches of snow came, with more to follow if the heavy, hovering clouds meant anything. There had been a huge barn raising this past summer and tomorrow’s Yule festivities were to be held there. Their village was one of the more populated ones, but Goddess only knew if the village men could dig out enough of the paths and roads to still hold the celebrations.
“Oh, bother!” said Langolei while gently brushing her copper-with-fire long locks. She was eighteen with sea-mist green eyes, an adult in every way, but still felt like pouting and stomping her foot. She wanted to see no one but the Prince, whom she had secretly been in love with since age three when he came through their burgh. Not much older than she then, he had a golden aura surrounding him that touched her soul.
Alone in their cottage, for she was an only child, her parents had pulled their boots on and wrapped in their warmest cloaks with staffs in hand and trudged in the snow and ice to the barn to check on and feed the animals. Their barn was no barn like the one the gathering would be in tomorrow night, for their barn was small and the other very large with a black star on its upper steeple, unmistakable the Pennsylvania Dutch origins. This was new to these country folk, who gossiped about it for a while and then, later, copied.
Usually, checking the animals in the evening was Langolei’s chore but not tonight for her parents would not think of her catching cold and missing Bobby Joe MacLaughlin, a Lord’s son, at tomorrow’s dance. Bobby Joe, as the villagers fondly called him appalling his parents who gave him the proper name of Robert Joseph MacLaughlin, the Third, was unerringly besotted with Langolei, the most beautiful young woman in all the burghs. He wanted to propose tomorrow, and he did not mind that he might be disowned. But, alas and sigh, Langolei was not in love with him. This he knew but thought his wealth and station might persuade her, for what woman isn’t interested in jewels and kingdoms? He really did believe that when his parents saw her they would be rightly persuaded to love her as he did, for her character was as flawless as her beauty.
While Langolei was thinking and sighing over her parent’s wishes, a knock came at the door. She almost didn’t hear it for her reverie was deep, but then it came louder and more insistent which startled her to her feet and to the door almost simultaneously. When she arrived and opened it, there was a small figure hunched over and dressed from cloak top to cloak bottom in black. When Langolei politely asked this strange sight how it could be helped, she also looked toward the barn hoping her parents were coming as this visit felt strange. As she asked the question, the woman looked up and Langolei saw that this was an ancient, wrinkled and wizened old, old woman who whined, “It’s not what you can do for me, it’s what I can do for you and you can, also, do for me for you are Witch born and dance with the faeries.” As Langolei knew no one discerned her abilities except her parents and her grandmother, as mother and grandmother were witches, the old woman’s knowledge was unwelcome. Langolei did not invite this person in regardless the white snow filled the creases in this ancient’s black cloak. But the old hag burst in anyway.
“If you will but take me to the Yule faeries, I can help make that pimple-faced and dense Bobby Joe MacLaughlin disappear to make room for the Prince you want in your life and not just in your dreams. You know there will be no Yule festivities on the morrow, for even all the village men together cannot clean this winter downpour in one day. And, your Prince will not come. I have heard he is betrothed to another anyway. He cares for her not as you love not Bobby Joe. Oh, but if he could see you all grown up, you would dazzle him with your brightness and charm and make him forget his promise to his parents about the slated marriage. I can make that happen if you just do as I ask and take me to your winter faeries.” the old woman growled.
Langolei, taken aback and frightened, although she knew her powers were strong, looked again for her parents, for it seemed a very long time they were gone. The old Witch, noting the look, said, ”Your parents won’t be available for awhile, my dear, she mewled, as I hexed a cow and now he suffers from the palsy and trembles and jerks something awful. They are tending him. All I ask of you is that you take me to these frost faeries, and your wish for the Prince is granted. Could that be so wicked?” Astonished at the repeated request, Langolei told the old, wrinkled and wizened and now noted evil Witch to leave her abode as quickly as she had appeared. She would never betray the good fey by telling where they lived, danced and held their golden rituals. “I am an honorable Witch, and I practice the good path. The faeries want no evil in their midst so absolutely no, I won’t tell you. Not for all the princes in the world.”
“Foolish girl! Magic is neither good nor bad, and I choose to use the bad or the good to my ends. Look at me! Do you think any consequence could bother me at my age? I’m offering you the Prince for one tiny task. You will be with the faeries at their Yule Sabbat tomorrow after the Yule festivities that will not be. You will dance and sing sadly without your Prince if you heed me not! Don’t you think someone as old as I am and near death should have one more round with the fae folk?”
Sorely afraid now at the Evil Witch’s proximity, Langolei dashed around the Witch and out the cottage into the icy cold with only her cloak and boots as she had grabbed these in a dash from peg and floor. Langolei struggled six yards from the cottage in the deep ice and snow, when suddenly her mind was twisted in all directions. She knew what the old Witch was up to. She was attempting to confuse Langolei into leading the ancient Witch straight to the Yule faeries, but Langolei stopped and willed herself still. The evil Witch was right. Langolei’s powers were great, more powerful than her mother’s and grandmother’s, so Langolei chose to astral project herself to the great oak tree’s huge and gnarled roots where the Yule faeries lived in their Underhills. Others were out with Jack Frost merrily building towers and palaces of crystal ice and snow and sprinkling the leaves with sparkling gemstone faery dust.
The old Witch snarling, with one tooth hanging long over her lower lip, was a cursed sight to see and a powerful looking one, but try as she might she could not pierce Langolei’s sacred Circle. Langolei would wait within it until the Trooping Faeries, who moments ago were psychically promised to her, came to free her from this evil. The faeries communicated to her that Ole Old-As-The-Hills Witch, for she was in her hundredth plus years, had forever ventured to cajole someone with magical powers to take her to the winter fae just prior to and all during the Yuletide season. Ole Old-As-The-Hills believed she could find the fae and grab one to do her bidding during Yule as the trees were bare giving her a clearer view, and all the faeries were out in number throwing miniature snowballs giving her an even greater chance of snatching one.
Soon, Langolei heard the Trooping Faeries coming en masse. The ugly and older-than-all the-moons-and-stars Witch jerked her head up as she heard the hundreds of faeries marching toward her. She would have turned tail and run if it had not been for the master of the season, Jack Frost. Jack, hearing of the incident, flew to the Trooping Fae to lend his wand and turned Ole Old-As-The-Hills into a block of ice and cast her unceremoniously to the North Pole’s most northern corner never to bother anyone again…especially the Good People.
And, as the early morning of Yule struck clear as quartz, and the village men grabbed their tools to try to free the roadways and paths from the icy snow, they walked out their doors to a happy surprise. The Trooping Faeries had worked all night until dawn troop-tramping the main roads and paths to clear them for this night’s beckoning of the sun to swallow the night.
And, as you might imagine, or hope to imagine, the Prince was mired in the snow and ice not cleared and so had to go the route of Langolei’s village. And, of course, he went to the Yuletide celebration and feast and took one look at the lovely Langolei and knew their marriage at Bealtaine would be presided over by the gods and goddesses and the good Yule fae and all the Otherworldly creatures of all the seasons.
And what of Robert Joseph MacLaughlin, the Third? Langolei used her powers of misdirection to direct Robert to a woman he could love and his parents approve.
And, both couples lived happily ever after.
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