Lady’s Green Mantle
a story in hexameter
This book is dedicated to Ann and Alfred
Under the Hawthorne, the breezes were stirring the
voice of the wind chimes.
Music, that seemed to be speaking was heard, as the children,
Drawn by the tinkling chiming; approached the old story time
“Wait 'til we tell old Miss Prune about how we discovered the
We’ll read the book called: The Lady’s Green Mantle and Sam’s
They didn’t see, as the tiny wise woman appeared just beside
Connie and Carol and Keith didn’t know where she actually
Connie exclaimed, “If there’s anything she doesn’t know or
This new adventure will prove it; but Carol can bring forth
She will be reading the book, and then playing the music to
Carol replied, “it is really the lyre that is playing the
That is an ancient awareness; I only must follow the
Sam’s golden lyre of Faerie has taught me; it’s ancient and
Now it is certainly time to begin,” said Miss Prune, “for
I've been here
Waiting to hear what the mystery is, and indeed I do
Sunset was tingeing the light shadows umber. When Carol had
Three breaths of pure evening air, she began to explain how
“Well, I was in Nana’s studio searching a box of old
Trying to find a particular one we inherited from her
One which had always appeared to be living; and almost in
Shimmering luminous colour… which suddenly shifted
Grandma Johanna had always been, ‘Nana’, since I could
She’d painted places and happenings, real and imagined, in
Only her studio, given to us, has been left as she’d had
All of her rooms have been changed; the whole house has been
None of her specially fashioned décor has been left in the
Nana’s bright studio rooms had been built at some distance,
near pine trees.
Dust was still hovering, clouding the light that shone
through the round window.
Stacks of old albums and pictures still had to be set in the
Hours had gone by since I’d started to hunt at eleven that
Only one painting would do, “The Log Cabin at Midsummer
Thump! As the volumes were placed on the floor. There was
only one crate left.
Finally I spied it; though covered with dust, it was just
what I wanted.
Something about it was special. The cabin, first built by
Back in the times when the family left Wales; was
It was the new home constructed-in seventeen hundred and
Yes, I would use it for my school report on the history of
Thoughtfully, as I turned over the painting, I saw what was
“After I’m gone you’ll discover a secret above the old
Standing in front of the door, try to sing out five tones in
If you discover the sequence, you’ll enter a story of
Turning the picture back over, I noticed a curious
Over the door of the cabin. A small golden lyre was
“Whoever saw such a thing?” I said, “ancient it must be; how
Clambering down the old stairs… “Look at this,” I
exclaimed to my brother,
“Here is a sign or an emblem, a golden-hued lyre o’er the
And it appears on our Nana’s most wonderful work! If it shows
True live phenomena, then it is magic. We must see the
…Yes, we should go there this weekend, for summer’s
approaching, and free time!
Holidays always are full of adventures. Let’s spend a few
While I was speaking, I wondered if Papa’s old cabin was
When he was living we went once to see it. But we were much
It had been years since we’d been there and seen the unique
old log structure.
We asked permission and mother said, “wait ’til the weekend,”
After obtaining the key, we could hardly contain our
Saturday finally came, and we got to go visit the
We had to pack our provisions, for it would take hours of
Through the tall grass we went, tramping. We finally found
the old pathway,
Half over-grown with disuse. We remembered the way Papa
Later we rested beneath an old willow by glistening
Connie and Keith stopped to gather some kindling and make us
Soup was warmed up by midday and soon eaten
with salad and crackers.
Watching the flow of the water, ’twas dappled by sparkling
Brought back adventures of summers gone by when we’d played
by the willows.
I can remember a time, when a milk pod became a light
Gossamer made us a sail, and we sailed our small boats in the
On the clear waters, they glided, and led us down stream to
Stories of Ichabod Mudd in the Round Room and underground
I could still hear a faint echo, a chorus of chortling
Nixies were telling about how the waters had flowed in past
We were much younger in those days: I know, though I hardly
“Oceans were here all about where you children are splashing
We are no more than a trickle compared to the place we will
Connie and I were soon wading, exploring the clumps of green
Visible roots were supporting the muddy green land. The few
Growing on top, interspersed with young trees, made them look
like green sailboats.
Each of us sailed our own island imagining we were
Connie became quite intent upon sailing her island of
Keith had to pull her ashore ’midst much splashing and
We had been planning to reach the old cabin while it was
still light out.
On through the forest, we trod the beloved brown pathway . .
. in rhythm.
First through the elm trees, a clearing, on through the dark
peace of the cedars,
Uphill we found a faint trail which soon led to the back of
Facing a beautiful sunset, the pond of the bullfrogs was
“Now we will know for ourselves,” said I, “whether that lyre
is true magic.”
Looking above the old doorway, we searched for the sign on
Nothing was visible, not ’til the sunset had shone its last
Then something flashed and we saw the old lyre; it was etched
o’er the doorway.
Suddenly it had begun to reflect the same light that was
In the last sunrays. A little compartment was outlined in
Brilliantly shining. It was the same emblem, an old-fashioned
It was exactly the same as the painting discovered last
“If you discover the sequence, you’ll enter a story of
There was some magic at work here; good forces were helping
Hour after hour without pause, we then sang different lines
of our music.
Five tones, repeated in various sequences - rhythmical
“Maybe its simple,” said Keith. “The old scale with five
That was the truth; as we hummed, the compartment above swung
“Carol can climb on my shoulders and see if there’s anything
Balancing then on Keith’s shoulders I felt an old volume
Carefully dusting it off, I espied a slight sparkle float by
Suddenly spritely words sounded; we looked up in startled
“Patient Umph waits to do good at your doorstep,” spoke up a
You are the children descended from Sam; you’ve discovered
We had heard stories of ‘Umph’ ever since we’d been very
Nana was always expecting that Umph would return to be
Back when Johanna Rose Davis came over from Wales,
Umph was with her.
For generations, the sparkling ‘Tri-Umph’ had been known as a
We were amazed: I climbed down, handing Connie the volume
we’d found there.
“This is the treasure, Miss Prune, it is bound and embossed
in fine leather.
Nana so hoped we’d discover this book that she sent Umph to
Now to continue the story; - we’d entered the story of
“What does it say?” exclaimed Connie. “Now let’s go inside.”
Then I read it.
White like the starshine glowed Umph so we didn’t have need
of the lantern.
Rustic, the cabin and musty, the air, as we opened the
It is entitled, The Lady’s-Green-Mantle and Sam’s Golden
Seventeen hundred and ninety – I’ll bet that Johanna Rose
The Lady’s-Green-Mantle and Sam’s Golden
Strange were the words that Johanna Rose heard as she turned
in her slumber.
Tones were resounding, re-echoed in dream waves revealing a
“See in the early morn, how elementals have gathered fresh
There they are --, clothed in the leaves of a plant known as
Lady’s Green Mantle.
Take a good look at that plant, which is named ‘Alchemilla
You must discover the place it is growing and gather the
Found in the middle of each of its leaflets; that water’s the
When your new child has been born, have him christened with
At the first dawning on Midsummer morning: That way he’ll be
To understand in the world of the fairies. For freedom’s
sake, help him!
Destiny challenges him to discover his path and relate
Thus spoke the angel in dream waves. Johanna, asleep, sighed
Chimes in the hallway were
ringing. Johanna awoke to their rhythm.
“My what an odd dream I had,
about one of the herbs in the garden.
Yes, ’twas the one where one
dew drop attracted the eye as it glimmered
On every leaf. I think there is
a sylph-light which kindles inside it.
There did appear elementals in
green, cloaked in leaves; they were working.
Gathering dewdrops, which
glistened in each of the leaves as they neared them.
Oh, it is Lady’s Green Mantle,
and tea can be made from its foliage.
Now I remember, its called
‘Alchemilla vulgaris,’ in herblore.
Often I’ve heard it’s a good
tea to drink when expecting a baby.
There was a strange kind of
message: to christen the babe with its dewdrops
…“Be not perturbed if your son
disappears, for he has a long journey.
Cruel it may seem at first, but
in time understanding will follow.
Know this for times will be
coming to challenge your own strength of willing.”
My what a thought! Is it mine?
It might come from that dream, I was dreaming
“If the new child is a girl,
thought Johanna, I shall have no worry.”
For in the dream the new child
is a son, who is destined to wander.
Eight months before her own husband had died in a mining
Dangerous was his life’s work in the mines, and his fate was
Trapped in a cave-in! ’Twas almost too much for Johanna
Now if she lost the new child, t’would indeed be a difficult
“Must he get lost to discover
his path, that is strangely unsettling
Dreams do not always come true.
Now I hope this one just was a nightmare.”
Soon this new child shall be welcomed to birth: may he learn
It proved to be that the child was a boy after all. He was
Nothing seemed wrong and she didn’t believe there would be
Nevertheless did Johanna have Samuel baptized with
Gathered in crystalline vessels - from leaves of the
Every time that she left the babe’s cradle, a neighbor
watched o’er him.
Sam was good natured and loved to be brought out to be in the
Looking around at the world, he saw all of the beings of
Happy he was. All seemed safe. Then one day they went out to
She took the baby along for it was a fine day in the
Having discovered a tree full of apples, she reached up to
Such a good apple, delicious. Why does it taste so
“I’ll try another”, she said, as she reached up to pluck off
the next one.
While she was eating, the deed was accomplished, and Sammy
Somehow he must have crawled off, in the blink of an eye, he
“Where is my child?” In an instant she knew it had happened -
No explanation was given that made any sense to the
Strange disappearances still could occur, on the borders of
Folks in the village despaired, for it seemed there was no
way to find Sam.
Hope never left the poor mother, for she had her dream to
“Be not perturbed if your son
disappears for he has a long journey.”
She soon decided to make a herb garden and learn about
So, through the years she became a good herbalist, helping
Remedies from the dried roots, leaves and blossoms were
Daily she prayed that Sam be protected from harm on his
Sammy had passed through a portal near Realms of the
No one could see it but him, it was conjured to catch his
Music was made to enchant him, indeed in a trice he had
Many years passed. Sam grew up to be twelve. He knew not his
Thought he looked just like the fairies - was treated with
They knew that Sam would ensure their survival; his music
would heal them.
He became strong but alone; for the Fairies kept all of their
Music was his sole companion. The watery brooks became
Bees that were humming changed into melodious patterns and
Reeds he could play, then the lyre; that he found in a box
green and golden.
Somehow the fairies had known, he’d interpret the music of
Much is revealed in their world, for they serve
That is, the ones who are linked with good forces in man and
Gnomes and undines, spritely sylphs and brave salamanders are
Kindling the seedlings and strengthening roots, bearing
leaves for fresh flowers,
Ripening fruits are only a few of the deeds they take part
Others, resentful of unthankful humans cause unforetold
They then lose forces for they lose their link to regenerate
Recompense for the lost fairies consisted in hearing Sam’s
They didn’t care an Iota, if humans would miss their
It gave them energy to carry on with the tasks that were
Dancing was on in the meadows and Midsummer dreams were
Sam liked to see all the fairies rejoicing but something was
He went to wander aloft: ’til upon a high hill he was
Playing the sun as it rose, a red ball rising upwards in
It was that morning, Tri-Umph elemental first made his
After a while, Sam was dozing. He woke to hear voices of
Those of the good who would heal mankind’s ills if he only
would let them.
New ones, he’d never encountered. They spoke of a boy-child
Who learned to play on the golden-hued lyre - to interpret
Could that be I? Sammy thought; he became wide awake, and he
“He does not know,” said the one, “that he’s human and
baptized with dewdrops.
He would be able to leave anytime that he wanted, and
Finally into his birthright - to play the true stories of
Using his own golden lyre; so that people could hear and have
Now he could do a free deed, could return to the world that
he came from.
“What he must do is believe the good sylph ‘Alchemilla’ and
Through the stone portal at midday.” On hearing this
Sammy decided to do it; for long, he had wanted to
Feelings that there was a boundary, imposed upon him from the
Unhappy fairies who wanted to be entertained by
Still would be able to hear him interpreting movement in
Promising he would remember the fairies in his
Sammy was sure they would feel his compassion reviving their
Mustering courage, to cross o’er the Portal he thought of his
Power of healing for humans. But all didn’t go as
Long had he been with the fairies. Although he could run
through the portal,
He could not tell any secrets, nor how the lost fairies had
Fearing that Sammy would tell humans too much relating to
One of the Fairies Iota, had set a bad spell of
Just in case one day, he found his way back he would not be a
Sam had forgotten the lyre in his hurry to run through the
Umph elemental had gone. He’d remained with the golden-hued
Then Sam forgot where he’d come from. He managed to find a
Even a spring he could drink from, but he was not used to
Lost on a hill in a woodland, and weak; there was no one to
Somehow he knew that his pathway led over the mountains and
He became weaker and weaker, ’til finally he fainted from
That day, a wise woman found him, asleep and half dead in the
She somehow carried him home, to her cottage and gave him
Living quite close to the borders of Faerie, the wise woman
Heard of strange happenings and had a lot of unusual
After a week he felt better. She made him drink tea, sweet
It was the Lady’s-Green-Mantle, and strengthened his muscles
She tried to get him to speak and to tell of his strange
Mute he was, he could say nothing. He often heard marvelous
But where it came from, he knew not... Recovered he was in a
Soon he must go on his way - which direction - he had no
Clothing was given him, strength he had gathered. He knew he
Taking an arrow, he turned to the sunrise and loaded his
Into the air went his arrow, flew eastward to meet the red
Now he’d discover his pathway. His life was a question to
Thanking the wise woman, who understood he had reasons for
Sam took provisions. He now had a compass, he’d travel
Three months he’d journeyed, when he met the blacksmiths; and
it was late summer.
Autumn would soon bring cold winds; he’d have shelter and
food with the blacksmiths,
Over the winter; he helped feed their fire, and they taught
him to hammer.
Slowly he found he could form the hot iron and learned to
For the first time he had friends. He met Michael and Henry
He couldn’t speak, but was friendly and easy to work with.
They kept him.
In the small village they treated him kindly. He was a good
Glad to be liked, growing stronger he worked with the iron
When he was offered a chance to begin as apprentice with
Hammering, rhythmically hammering; seasons went by
Working became second nature to him. He’d forgotten his
He sometimes wondered if something was missing but couldn’t
One summer evening a bard came a-playing the lyre, singing
Sam realized that he wanted to do just exactly the same
Full of attention, entranced with the music, he listened with
He couldn’t speak, couldn’t sing, or remember his life with
Something he felt was familiar and sad; but he couldn’t
After the humdrum of hammers, the song words were all that he
He was determined to play on the lyre. He took leave of the
Yet he could not find the bard, for he’d gone. No one knew
where he’d traveled.
Some of the folks thought that Sam would get lost in the
wildwood and perish.
Shaking their heads, they went back to their work, though
they knew they would miss him.
He had discovered his lifepath. But where was the bard and
Shooting the arrow again, at first Sam couldn’t find where it
I am a fool, was his thought. Now I’ve lost my good arrow for
Hidden it was, in a tree hollowed out; he was able to find
When he spied something that glittered, he slowly approached
the old tree trunk.
Sam could discern a small crystal and consonants etched in
“Keep to the track, to find Umph,” was engraved… What a
strange thing, he puzzled.
He had forgotten ‘Tri-Umph’ and that midsummer morning in
Taking the crystal which gave off blue light, Sam continued
I was still eager to read on all night but the lantern had
We all came back to our senses, regretfully closing the
“Wait,” exclaimed Connie to me. “I believe this is Tri-Umph.
He’s with us!”
“Umph, at your service, I’m always the same,” said he, facing
“You must be centuries old,” replied Connie. “At least,” said
One day I’ll tell you my story: the reason I came here to
“Umph, we are grateful to you for preserving the treasure. He
“Midnight has come,” said Keith. “Shall we sleep for
the few hours ’til sunrise?
Such an amazing account should be savoured and thought about
None of the family histories says anything so
How could it be? Perhaps nobody else would believe such a
Maybe we had to find out by ourselves. We are something like
They had brought tea in a thermos. And blackberries
picked in the woodlands,
Crackers left-over from lunch. So at midnight
they ate a late supper.
Yawning the children spread sleeping bags out on the floor of
Bidding Tri-Umph a good night, Connie then fell asleep in the
Soon she was dreaming with Umph glowing brightly above the
Both Keith and I went outside where we greeted the bullfrogs
“Who would have thought such a story could really have
happened?” I puzzled.
“Umph is the proof,” answered Keith, as we looked at the moon
in the heavens.
We soon returned to sleep soundly, delighted with our new
Sunshine poured into the cabin. The wood burning stove had
Smoking a bit, it caught fire while Carol prepared us hot
Later we toasted some bread and devoured cheese and apples
Peppermint tea we had made from a plant growing in the old
During the day, Umph appeared like a sparkle - the air became
Washing the cups, we were eager to turn to the story of
Gathered again ’round the table, we opened the book and
“On through the night, Sammy wandered, illumined by light
from the crystal.
Spiral, the path that he followed, he marched in a rhythm
Higher he climbed, ’til he saw the sun rise from a
high point midst treetops.
As he looked down he heard water; ’twas gurgling afresh
from a streamlet.
There in the middle he saw a strange sight, a white staff
stood in mid stream.
Wooden it was, and a-top, the forked tip, he espied: his
All of us then stopped and
stared straight at Umph, a light sparkle who
“Umph, How’d you get there?”
asked Connie. But I kept on reading the volume.
We’d never had anything quite
like this happen, nothing so thrilling.
“And, in a flash, Sam remembered his time as a boy
midst the fairies.
Umph had sat there on his knee, as he played on his lyre. For
When the red ball of the sun had arisen that Midsummer
Umph had appeared, as no more than a twinkle in pearly white
Now Umph belonged with the lyre. And Sam knew he’d continue
He’d find the way to the lyre and never would lose it
He had discovered his work, he would play from the music of
Thankful, he nodded and smiled: Now I’ve found you, my good
And we will journey, together, he thought, though no word did
Umph understood and rejoiced: “Now this staff is your own.
I’ve been waiting.
Seeking we’ll go on your path. Take the staff from midstream
and we’ll travel.”
Onward they marched through the day, ’til the seacliffs were
visible to them.
High up above, Sam could see what appeared like a cave or a
My, I would like to be up there - the pathway’s so steep, I
can’t climb it.
--Now in the daylight as usual, Sam could see Umph as a
Evening light gave him glow. He was easy to see until
As they arrived at the base of the cliff, the red sun was
How can I climb to such heights, was his question, while
gazing up puzzled.
“You have a staff that can root. When you’re thinking: Staff,
root, it roots firmly.
When you are thinking: Staff, loosen, then presto ’twill
loosen. It’s bound to!
All you must do is to place it up higher, while thinking:
‘Staff root now.’
Following Umph’s good advice, Sam could climb up the
seacliff like nothing.
Then came the brambles. At last he had managed to cross to
“What is this here? I think it is a temple. Just look
at the pillars!”
Suddenly Sam glimpsed a figure that vanished as he
tried to follow.
It led him down a dark tunnel, emerging in shadowy
Starlight was twinkling about him. It must have been night
There was a bridge, swinging over a chasm. Must he go across
Umph chanted brightly, “To march o’er the bridge to the end
will take courage...”
Sam marched right over: A room carved in marble - the
middle, a window-
Round as could be, opened into a scene, like a seascape with
But it appeared to be real, and the bard, with a lyre on a
Beckoned to Sam. “Come aboard.” He embarked on a trip he’d
It was the bard in the shimmering pool, and they sailed to a
Sam had discovered the Wonder Tale Temple of yore, made for
They were approaching a land of past ages, a
Kingdom of Krienols,
Ancient ones who helped preserve and keep secrets of special
Working along with the spirits of nature they planted the
Now the whole Kingdom lamented their King, who was mute and
Sam could soon see the small islands, and as the bard sang
him the legend,
It was enacted in his seeing mind, just as if he were with
Strange were the rhythms that first met his ears, ’til he
entered into them:
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