The musk scented smell of blood reeked from the willows near my favorite swimming pond, down near the eastern woods. The smell was so in discordance with the beauty of the place, full of shade, and flowers. I often imagined that a coven of water nymphs lived there. Now, the sweet cloying smell of a wounded animal knotted my stomach and closed my throat.
Gagging I searched through the thickets and found a mound of old mouldering tangerine skins. These were kind of disgusting, but didn’t explain that particular odor. Then a strange sight met my eyes! An albatross lay wounded, dying with an arrow in its wing. I couldn’t have been more surprised had I met up with a Polaris missile in my backyard, this pool was so far from where any albatross should be.
It’s eyes seemed to be two mendicants begging for surcease from pain. But I, who loved Coleridge’s “Ancient Mariner”, could not bring myself to kill the poor bird, so I picked it up carefully and ran as fast as I could to the old woman of the woods.
The old woman lived all alone and some said she was a witch, but I knew that she had a special knack for healing wounded animals. Her cabin was hidden by a knot of thickets; birds, bees and small animals made their home there, they knew they were safe near this strange human.
She opened her door before I even knocked and grabbed the bird. She laid it on her kitchen table and instructed me to get her fresh water from the well and certain herbs from her small garden, as she made strange sing-song noises from her ancient throat. An hour later, the bird was free from the arrow, bandaged and placed on the old woman’s bed.
A shimmering light seemed to emanate from the bird. Slowly, the light became so bright that I had to put my hands up to shade them from the glare. Suddenly, a beautiful maiden lay on the bed where the old woman had put the albatross. She opened her eyes, violet and smiling with gratitude.
“Meet the Lady of the South,” said the old woman “The queen of the southern winds.”
Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Wordle # 5