Sea: Welcome to Saga Kraft. Myths, fairytales, legends. Stories comfort us, inspire us, and heal us. Please join us as we share stories both old and new. More than anything, we are open to the story and it’s unfolding. At times it may be one story told by one person. At times it’s the same story told through three different voices. In the end, we go where the story takes us, and we invite you to follow. 

I’m Sea a writer, artist, and storyteller.

Betsy:  I’m Betsy, a medium and teacher of mystery traditions.

Gabriela:  I’m Gabriella, an artist and practitioner of folk magic. 

Saga Kraft: We are magical fairy godmothers in training. 

Betsy: Our stories today are about elves and elf land. We hope you enjoy them. 

Sea: I will go if it’s okay. 

Once upon a time, there was an elf who wanted to fly and every night he would dream of soaring through the air. One morning, after such a dream, he was brushing his teeth and just out of the corner of his eye, he thought he saw a horrible blackness rotting away at his teeth in the back.

He jumped up and gasped, first choking on then spitting his toothpaste. After rinsing out his mouth and changing his shirt he went to see his grandparent, as one never knows the gender of the elves in his family until one sees him or her, since they change it. Well today he was a grandfather. The elf told him what happened.

“Not to worry,” the grandfather said “it was a waking dream. They happen to the best of us.” 

So the next day the elf had his teeth cleaned and everything was fine. But, a while later, the elf was looking into the mirror again when he thought he saw a king galloping up behind him. To be clear, the king himself was not galloping. The horse he was riding on was. In any event, the elf went running to his neighbor and excitedly told her about it. “What a nice dream!” The neighbor exclaimed, and called to some friends passing by. She told them all about the elves vision of a King coming through town. They laughed and cajoled. Someone brought a cake and they all told tales of the beautiful things they wished would happen, and on the way home, the elf made a game of walking through the fresh hoof prints that led through town, laughing at himself because he actually thought he might see a king .

And one season turned into the next before the elf was fixing his hair, when he saw a golden pen in the mirror. He recognized it as the prize at the elvin poetry contest. He was so excited that he immediately went running to his grandparents’ house. “Grandmother!” He said to the old elf who was feeling feminine, but then stopped. “I hope you are doing well today. I just wanted to thank you for the other day. My teeth are great.”

” That’s wonderful, but did you really come all that way to tell me that?” The old elf asked.

“I just thought it would be nice to see you” the young elf said, as he scurried home to write a few poems, which he immediately entered into the contest.

On the day of the poetry reading the elf stared deeply into the mirror, hoping to see the golden pen, but nothing appeared. He went to the contes ,and, when it was his turn, hesitantly took the stage. He read his poem about flying and falling and flying again. In the end, he probably took first place, but writing poems about flying wasn’t the same as actually doing it.

The next day, the elf looked into the mirror and searched out of the corner of his eye for an image of flight. He tried jumping up, suddenly and erratically twisting in the air, attempting to create a flight like image. When it wasn’t working, he tried flicking his hair back and forth to see if he could create a flying scene with that.

No luck. Finally, in desperation, he drew a picture of flight onto the mirror itself. Then he went into his craft area and began to sew himself a set of wings. He had to make them perfect. Both potentially wind altering, he billowed the fabric in the air to test this ,and beautiful. He drew intricate lacy feathers on the wings.

When he finally had them perfected, he crept into the forest telling no one. There, he climbed up onto a large boulder. He avoided the cliffs as he was not a fool, and gently put them on. He looked like a blow up of a normal bird on a reasonable sized stone, only huge. Thinking of the mirror and psyching himself up into his most bird likes state of mind, he took a flight inducing leap off the rock and plummeted into the soft dirt and leaves below, significantly muddying his beautiful new wings. 

Bitterly, he returned home and began to scream at his mirror. 

“I did everything!” He said.” Everything I could to fly!” 

 but as he was yelling, a bird flew by his window and cast a shadow onto the top of the mirror. Straightening himself up, he smiled and went to work.

The earth took a trip and a half around the sun before he tested passed, and earned his elven pilot license. 

Gabriela: Thank you, Sea. That was absolutely lovely. 

Sea: Thank you. 

Gabriela: I’m very curious about the teeth.

Sea: About the teeth?

Gabriela:  About the teeth. What were the teeth? Or his illusion of the teeth? Something that was a place setting for a different shift in reality for him? I don’t know. It just really struck me, like, the teeth scared me because there’s such an entrance into communication, or into that sort of other worldliness. Or losing something of this world to gain something of another. 

Sea: I think that you’re right. So, to be honest, this is the first time I am thinking about the teeth, but I absolutely think you’re right. To me, the teeth mean, you know, to sink one’s teeth into something or to be willing to defend and protect. And yeah, I think the teeth were a call for him to show up to something that was calling out to him. 

Betsy: I was struck by him seeing the darkness in the mirror around the teeth, too. And then just seeing that that became a mirror that allowed him to get information or to perceive something. And so, was he seeing that mirror as kind of a magic mirror that gave him direction? 

Sea: Yes, he was, he was seeing it as a magic mirror. And in fact, I had that line in it and I read it differently.

Betsy: The gender changing aspects of the elves too, and that type of fluidity, that could be part of their transformational abilities. 

Sea: Yeah. Strangely on the transformative note, I was so aware that it was not my voice. I was so aware that the voice I was speaking in was so not my own voice. 

Gabriela: Yeah, to me, the whole story, it was so beautifully written and it felt like such a riddle. Like, it felt from beginning to end that this process that the elf was going through and the earning, the yearning to fly, you know, and I caught myself thinking, are elves, supposed to fly? Can they fly? Why does he want to fly? You know, it was so multilayered and I realized that so much lore, and just the nature of elves, is about magic and being able to manifest anything out of nothing. So he was trying to do something that has already been done. Because him yearning for it, if we’re thinking in elf language and magic language, flight has already happened, he was already able to do it.

Sea:  Right. Yeah, I liked that he had to sort of tell the story of it before he could actually begin to encounter it, too. 

Betsy: And also gaining that confidence in seeing that he could enter that contest and win the contest, I think possibly built his confidence into, you know, that step by step of what it takes to actually transform and change. Not only our capabilities, but what we think is really possible too. So, that was a lovely touch.

Sea:  Yeah, both in the story and at least in my life, it feels like the, the middle things are off topic. Like I want this thing and then I’d have to go do these weird things. And then I get that thing I wanted. And it feels like it was a total different journey, but still a necessary one.

Gabriela: I have to say, I secretly appreciate the fact that he had to brush his teeth.

Sea: There just aren’t enough tooth brushing stories, right? 

Gabriela: It certainly brings the magic into our world. And we try to separate our mundane from the non mundane realities, but it is all together. It exists together. So I appreciate that very much. 

Betsy: Well and it helps us to understand more things about elves, that they have some of the similar things that we have in life, that they must deal with. But what else is possible? Flight, apparently. Thank you. 

Sea: Next step?

Betsy:  I’ll do it. My story about the elves is a continuation also of a story about Tess and the goblin cat.

Tess and the goblin cat were settling in together. She was still finding it hard to discover the true name of the cat. She called it a different name every few days. She had received a lot of advice from her relatives about the cat. The first advice was to find out whether it was male or female. The next, was to give it some time to discover its temperament. It’s temperament didn’t change much though. It was devoted to her, suspicious of her mother, and seemed to watch everything with the cynical air.

It wasn’t going to let anyone but Tess touch it. Tess supposed that may have been the result of living with goblins for the first weeks of its life, and tried to make up to the cat for that. 

“Oh cat, I wish the goblin boy hadn’t kicked you so hard.”

 Then there was the problem of its long leggedness, that had necessitated a visit to her great aunt Hulda. Hulda, an aged, bent, crone of a lady, with sharp but faded blue eyes, had laughed one loud “HAHA” when she saw the cat.

” I haven’t seen one of these since I was a child.”

 She touched cat on the head with a gnarled finger, pulling it onto her aprons lap. To Tess’s surprise, the cat went limp, curling in her lap and purring.

“I’ll work on its size and legs” Hulda said, while stroking the cat. “Gudrun is in the kitchen making tea, Gudrun!” She called

 Tess’s relative Gudrun came out of the kitchen, drying her hands on a nearly identical apron. Her hair was in platinum braids. Her eyes a violet blue and her cheeks rosy. Her smile lit up the room.

” Come into the kitchen and have tea and let Hulda do her work.”

 Her accent was Scandinavian and lilting. Tess followed her into the kitchen.

“Sit down and eat” said Gudrun, ” I will join you. Your mother will assist Hulda.”. 

She sat Tess down in the window embrasure seat and the two girls drank tea and ate sublime pastries. Tess could feel herself relaxing and realizing the weeks with Cat had been wonderful. To finally have a familiar, after looking for it for years, but stressful because the cat was not usual in any sort of way.

“What do you suppose she’s doing to it?” Tess asked Gudrun.

“She’s concealing its appearance so it can pass for normal.” Gudrun said matter of factly. “Shape-shifting is a gift.”

” Oh, I’d love to watch that.”

” She won’t let you. Your presence would pull the cat’s awareness to you. Best to let them do their work in peace. Drink, eat,” She said with Icelandic persistence ” then I will tell you a story. Hulda says I’m to practice my storytelling with you.”

 “I’d love that!” Tess was fascinated by her older cousin. 

“Good, would you rather hear about the trolls of stickies, or Hildr the queen of the elves?”

 “Hildr, please.” 

“All right. A long time ago in a part of Iceland, that was part pasture and part mountains, lived an unmarried farmer named Lars. He had quite a few workers to help with the farm, and they were all cared for by a young woman named Hildr, who was quiet, fastidious and hardworking. She kept to herself and worked from dawn long into the evening. 

Though a prosperous farm, Lars had a hard time keeping herdsman for his sheep because, for the past years, on each Christmas morning, his herdsman would be found dead in his bed, having died in the night. The farmer and other workers would spend Christmas Eve at the local church as was the custom. The herdsman would not attend because gathering the sheep took so much time in the early dark of the afternoon that the herdsman would have to stay at the house. Hildr also refrained from going to the church. She had to make the food for Christmas day dinner, when everyone returned.

 For a time, the farmer tried to manage without a herdsman, losing sheep and income, but at least not losing any more human lives. The herdsmen had all died without a mark on them, so no suspicion fell on anyone at the farm. It was a troubling situation and a dark blot on the farm.

Then a day came when a man came knocking, asking for the job of herdsman. He was strong, bold, somewhat handsome, and quite full of self-confidence. The farmer didn’t want to hire him and told him why. The man said he wasn’t afraid, and he needed the job and a place to live. The man added that fear of what might happen wouldn’t interfere with him doing his job and he would take good care of the sheep. Reluctantly, the farmer hired him, which was an answer to the man’s urgent prayer and need, for he had skills, but nowhere to live and needed the work. He was a hard worker that everyone came to like, and the farm began to feel almost like normal.

Then the days before Christmas came. The farmer told the man he could come to church with them and let the sheep fend for themselves in the night. The man declined, saying he wasn’t afraid and would do his job. The party of workers and the farmer left in the daylight hours to get to the church for the all night Christmas Eve vigil. The farmer left with a heavy heart fearing, the worst.

 Hildr, finishing her preparations for tomorrow’s dinner, fed the man his supper, who went right to bed afterwards. The man was tired, but he knew he could only sleep lightly as he remembered what had happened to all those other herdsman who had been as desperate as he for work. He resolved to stay awake, but found a strange drowsiness coming over him. Fighting this worrying sleepiness, he resolved to stay awake.

He was half dozing when he heard the door to his room open and quiet steps coming towards his bed, he saw through the dark of the room that it was Hildr. Her small warm hand touched his face, inserting something into his mouth, which he instinctively knew was a magic bridle. With the bridal attached, he was powerless to resist as Hildr dragged him from the bed to the front door and out into the snowy night. She climbed onto his back and, twitching the rein, she caused him to rise into the air and rode him through the dark winter night under the stars, under the snow, until they came to a high mountain which had a yawning cavernous opening.

She dismounted, tied the reins to the rock, and leaped into the opening. The herdsman tried to move, not wanting to stay tied out in the cold of the night. He couldn’t move at all , until he finally struggled three from the bridle. When he leaped into the cavern opening following Hildr, he found himself falling, falling, falling into another world, and eventually landing in a landscape unlike the snowy one he had left behind. Green meadows with flowers were all around him. 

He saw Hildr moving swiftly in a direction and he followed as fast as he could. He knew now she was not an ordinary mortal and, for protection, he pulled a magic star stone from his pouch given to him by his grandmother long ago. The stone kept him invisible and he followed Hildr until he could see a lovely building in the distance with a great crowd of people waiting in front. Hildr made her way there, straight into the arms of a man who seemed to be the king of this place. Two small children were there with him. Hildr, her face glowing, smiling with happiness, scooped up the children, holding them close to her heart.

The whole crowd swept in through the gates of the building and made their way to the banqueting hall where a vast feast was laid out. The festivities, which had nothing to do with Christmas, commenced, with music and speeches of welcome, when Hildr entered, now dressed in silks and golden jewels. This great welcome was for Hildr, ,their queen, able to be home for this one night only.

She sat on the high seat with her husband and presided over the feast. Everyone was happy to see her except one. This one sat like a dark toad in the corner glaring at her. The banquet continued merrily. The herdsman, invisible thanks to his magic stone, stayed hidden under the table in front of the high seat. He was trying to take in everything at once, determined to survive this night and not knowing where danger lay. Though longing to taste the food and drink, he held back. At one point, the two children growing tired, began to fret, and Hildr took off her rings and bangles and let the smaller child play with their golden jingling beauty.

One ring fell to the floor and the herdsman quickly scooped it up into his pouch. The children and the servants looked for it, but to no avail. The herdsman remained undetected. Hours passed this way, and then suddenly Hildr hugged her family, said goodbye to the throngs of people and swiftly left the home.

The herdsman hurried out, passing her as she was saying her goodbyes. Just before she’d change back into her ordinary clothes, he was able to hurry across the meadows and up the sides of the cavern with the help of his magic ring and thus was waiting, bridle on, when Hildr came. She mounted him, riding him back to the farm, where Hildr placed him back in bed, removing the bridle and retiring to her own chamber.

 The man slept. The next morning, the farmer came home, expecting the herdsmen to be dead. He was amazed to find the man still sleeping, still breathing and praise god for his deliverance. At length, the man woke and the farmer asked him if anything untoward had happened. 

The herdsman said ” Well, I had a strange dream.”

 And he told the farmer what had happened with Hildr, and the people that he now knew where elves. All of the residents of the farmstead were gathered around this sitting, including Hildr. 

At the end of his story Hildr said hotly, “I declare you a liar. I will only believe you if you can prove it as true.”

 The man, not in the least fearful of her, picked up his pouch from the pile of discarded clothes and pulled out the golden ring.

” I pick this ring up from the floor when your child dropped it at the banquet, don’t you recognize it, Queen Hilder?”

” It is my ring. Thank you. You have broken the spell put on me by my husband’s horrid mother. May you prosper all the days of your life. You have released me from the awful yoke of murder, which was the only way that I could spend one day a year with my husband and children. I was cursed that only by murder could I return one night per year to see my husband, I would have to use the magic bridle to get home, and the bridle journey would kill the man. This was my fate laid on me until I should have the murders pinned on me and die at the hands of mortals or until some gallant man would follow me into elf land and be able to prove my elven origins and family. I have lived under this awful curse, and though I rode the men, it was not truly me who killed them, but the curse. You have broken it for me through your courageous actions. And now I am free. I am so longing to return to my family. And herdsman, from now on you shall prosper in all ways.” With that Hilder vanished , to the astonishment of all who gathered there .

 In the spring, the herdsman left the farm and, using the ring, bought his own farm where his family prospers. To this day Hildr’s blessing continues. The magic stone passes its way down through the family.”

” Oh, Gudrun!”. That was wonderful and sad, and wonderful!” Cried Tess. “That is what cat will be called. Hildr, the queen.” 

Just then, Hulda called them into the room to see the cat and its transformation.

” Oh,” said Tess “I don’t see anything different.”

“Good. You have true vision then. Your mother doesn’t. Gudrun?”

” I see a much smaller cat without the strange markings. Still has a rascal glint in the eye though.”

” Here” said Hulda, fishing in her apron pocket. She pulled out a stone with a hole in it. Look through this, Tess, and you’ll see what others see Tess took the stone and looking through the hole, saw a large-ish cat with appropriately sized legs and an unusual undercoat of black with longer dark gray outer coat. She was beautiful, but indeed had a glint in her eye. She. Suddenly Tess felt sure that the cat was female. 

“Yes, this is your Hildr.” Said her mother, smiling somewhat wryly.

. Hildr stood, appearing much shorter now and shook herself. Her coat rippling from head to tail, as she tried to shake off the transformation.

” You’ll do.” Said Hulda, handing her to Tess. 

Sea: Thank you. That was fabulous. I especially loved that she was shaking off the transformation because that’s always how I feel when something new happens. And at the same time. It was such a powerful thing to begin with that she wanted to shake off. So I thought it was just beautiful. 

Betsy: Thank you. 

Gabriela: Thank you, Betsy. I was very enchanted by both stories. I have now even fallen more deeply in love with Tess and her goblin cat named Hildr. And the elven queen! I am not familiar with that story at all. So I was delighted to hear it. And. And the layers of revealing of what was the true story. Every time I would form an idea of what was happening and who was…you know, always looking for the bad guy in the story, or, you know… somebody did it, who did it? Why there always has to be a price for this kind of a thing. And then at the end that she was unbound by a ring. Often people are bound by a ring, but she was unbound by one. And how that full circle coming back to herself, was her liberation that would then liberate the herdsman from any misfortune for all generations to come. I thought it was beautiful and powerful and really a feel good story at the end. 

Betsy: Thank you. And I was also struck by the fact that he had the magic stone that could make him invisible. And it does make one wonder what’s his parentage or what’s his story that he was fully equipped with that, as well as the confidence to use it.

Gabriela: Exactly.


Sea: the ability to stay awake. All the others were lulled into sleep. Like, he had something to begin with internally.

Betsy:  And even to know what it was. Immediately to know that it was a magic bridle. So he was conversant with some lore of some sort too, which is a great point. It’s like the more conversant with the lore of the other worlds that we are, the more prepared we are to meet some of the strangest circumstances of life, I guess. 

Gabriela: And the more likely we are to survive. In this case, we think that walking into some of these worlds or exploring them, the key is to gain something. Sometimes the gaining is living through it. 

Sea: Right. 

Gabriela: And not being taken over. 

Sea: And it was so beautifully written. It was just really beautiful to listen to I’d want to listen to it again and again. 

Gabriela: And I love the setting. I love the setting for the land where Tess was. And her family coming together and her being in the arms of magic, and understanding of the other worlds. Yet as she’s still learning about them, she’s being tested. So it was just beautifully written and so lovely. Thank you. 

Betsy: Thank you. I love getting to know tests in a deeper way, too. And the sense of how magic is transmitted in that family is a sense of something that we’re all going to find out about. Find more out about as time goes on. So I’m also looking at that.

Sea: I look forward to that as well. Well, I guess I love Tess, and I do love exploring her family more, very beautiful. 

Gabriela: It feels like Tess and her family will have much to teach us in the coming months. I’m glad you two found each other, Betsy.

Betsy: I’m looking forward to your story. 

Gabriela: Well, thank you very much. I’m excited about this story. It’s maybe part one of many, many others. We shall see. It is about the shining ones. The dream came on the first dark moon after Lena’s 13th birthday. Haunting, disturbing, and strangely familiar. She dreamed of a house which was ordinary enough at first, except for how every room seemed to run into the next and the next and the next and every doorway leading deeper into the belly of the house, the deeper rooms becoming less furnished, less inviting. The floor changing from finished to bare from bare to dirt. The final room, a small dark space with no windows, quiet, far away from everything bright, seemed to be deep under ground. 

“I don’t want to be here. Take me out of here.” Lena would find herself thinking, and she would wake up or rather shift into another dream.

This one felt much more dangerous, but better somehow. At first, everything is completely dark, but she knows she’s surrounded by trees. The sound of whispering leaves high above. The smell of cool damp earth all around. Unable to see, Lena feels drawn to pick a direction and start walking. She makes her way through the branches as they brush against her skin. Some tearing her thin nightgown, maybe even scraping the flush below, but she keeps going. She trusts the pull of a force that seems to be beckoning to her like a sweet hum in the distance. After some time the trees sing out and she comes to a clearing. Fewer trees reveal a moonless, but not starless sky. At the end of the clearing appears to be a mound.

She walks towards it because she sees a figure there. A figure that seems to be glowing with a strange light. She can see that it’s a boy or a young man, slender and tall. His face is half turned, so she can see his profile very clearly, though strange how clearly she can see him with no light around. He turns even more to face her and he smiles. He is as beautiful as he is strange. Other worldly. Even his clothing is of an impossible color to name, with the branch like patterns, shimmering like serpents. The symbols, the patterns are deeply intoxicating to Lena’s senses, and she cannot look away. They seem to move and change upon her looking at them.

She notices that the boy motions toward her hand, which suddenly begins to tingle. She looks at her hand and arm and sees how pale it looks in the darkness. Then she realizes that her arm and her entire body are not just pale, but luminescent. The same branch like symbols begin to appear in her own form in her own body. She looks back at the boy who seems both thrilled and surprised at this phenomena. She takes a few steps towards him as he reaches for her. Suddenly she feels a sharp needle like poke at the back of her arm and another face, those shrouded leans into her line of vision. She cannot see the features except for the eyes that shimmer like black mirrors burning with a horrible silver fire.

“You are not supposed to be here. Wake up child, wake up.” A deep sharp voice says.

 And she does, drenched in sweat and panting relieved that it was just a dream, for the shrouded figure was terrifying, but also intrigued and exhilarated by the world she just witnessed. And the boy. And something else. Something should kind of quite remember like a secret she’s not supposed to know. She falls back asleep right away. A deep dreamless sleep. 

“He dreamt of the girl again.” Enora The elder said, as she entered the Queen’s quarters.

 The queen didn’t seem surprised. “It’s the first dark moon after his 13th birthday and a suspicious night for certain. The dreams will soon pass.”

“I don’t think so, lady. The girl saw him this time. This time she was here at the mound.”

 “But that’s impossible.” The Queens features sharpened at this news. “I withdrew all memories of us from her blood and from her mind, just as I promised it was no small matter and I still grieve about it.” She added 

“Do not worry. I will cast a forgetting on her once again. A more powerful one this time, so she doesn’t remember this nigh.”, The elder said.

” You have a drop of her blood, I presume” the queen asked carefully

 Enora reached into her cloak, revealing a Juniper branch with a bright red berry like droplet on the end.

” The girl moved rather fast through the wood. It was a small scratch.” She smiled coyly, her long tongue slowly licking the leaves and the blood, savoring it knowingly.” I warn you, my queen, her blood is strong. She will not be easily dismayed. It could be a matter of time until she truly finds us, but I will do my best.”

” Whatever you have to do. She must not dream of us again.”

“And if she does my queen?”

” If she does, I will speak to the alpha high council. But until then do what you have to.”

 The queen turned away to look into the fire that lit up her chambers. She didn’t want the elder to see the intensity of her concern about what just happened. And she certainly didn’t want anybody to know about the secret agreement she made with Ilka, the old woman who swore to protect the child and keep her from seeking. This could mean only one thing. The old woman had died and the child was alone. This changed everything. She no longer cared what oath she would have to break to retrieve the girl. 

Every night since that dream Lena longed to find herself in the dark world again. She longed to see the strange boy at the mound. His almond shaped eyes and soft smile followed her like a shadow.

She knew something else happened in the dream, something she was not supposed to remember. When she tried to think about it and would get close to it, every fiber of her being would stir and tingle. Almost as if she could summon the dream. But every time she got that close to remembering, a cloudiness would enter her mind thick as fog, and the memory would retreat even deeper, causing her to feel sick with confusion.

Few things brought her joy these days, not since granny passed last fall, and now it was fall again. Just around that time. Even though granny was old, and Lena knew she wouldn’t live forever, and her unusual illness cost her great suffering in its later days, and she was in a much better place, she missed her dearly.

She felt so alone. Her grandmother, Ilka, was the only person she ever felt safe with. And the only person that truly understood or loved her, made her feel like she belonged in this world. The two of them, she and her granny, were different from the rest of the family, which was at best ordinary. 

Granny was a dreamer, a storyteller. She raised Lena since her father left her when she was just a baby. She was told that he was driven away by madness and heartbreak when Lena was born and nobody knew where he was. But the sadness in granny’s eyes made Lena believe that the old woman knew something terrible, which she didn’t want to share with her granddaughter.

She knew that her son and Lena’s father was dead. They didn’t talk about him much, for the topic brought such a dark sorrow for granny. The rest of the family, her grandfather, uncle, and aunt seem to carry a deep dislike for him and didn’t want to discuss them hardly ever. Lena never knew her mother or who she was, and even less was spoken of her. She was told that her mother was not from here and after giving birth to Lena, she disappeared. Probably went back to where she came from, and though her father searched for her she was gone, and he shortly after that lost his mind. At least that was the story Lena was allowed to know.

Since she was a baby, she and granny were together. Dreaming, telling stories. Granny came from Northern Europe and knew so much about beautiful worlds. Magic dwarves, beasts, talking trees, and the shiny ones, as well as many other creatures that her people believed in. She would share these stories with the rest of the family, but in truth, nobody was interested. This suited them both just fine. They could explore these old, magical worlds together. 

Now, living with her aunt in a small, humble room near the attic, Lena would close her eyes and remember the soft, soothing voice of Granny telling her stories, weaving them into Lena’s memories, like a spider with blanket, a blanket that snuggled around her before she would drift into sleep.

Remember you are not ordinary. You shine, my sweet child, and someday your light will find your way home. She would say this often and more words after that, but it was in the old world tongue, which Shalina didn’t fully understand, but she felt the words taking shape above her head and arching softly around her.I’ll far Dee sear, land of a tear. 

No dreams came at all for a month. Lena’s nights were filled with a deep, silent sleep. The next dark moon finally brought another dream. She dreamed that her bedroom was filled with a soft, glowing light, like moonlight. The lights seem to flow out of the open window, like a long gown trailing behind when Lena’s eyes adjusted to the strange light.

She saw that indeed, this brightness was a gown. A most exquisite gown with the same patterns she saw in the clothing of the boy from the woods at the mound. Her eyes slowly moving up, admiring the gown that seemed to move in waves like a living being. When she reached the top, she couldn’t keep her eyes open for the brightness was so strong. Through blinking she saw a pair of beautiful almond shaped eyes looking back at her. Above the eyes looking at her, an antler like crown hovered in soft shapes, the tips reaching and passing the low hanging ceiling of her room. 

“What am I seeing?” Lena thought “How is this possible? This is no dream. I am not dreaming.” She whispered deeply terrified her body beginning to tingle and shine, the branch like patterns glowing underneath. 

She heard words, almost song like, in a tongue that was very much like her granny’s tongue, but somehow she could understand them. 

“You can see me, you can see me. And if you can see me, you can find me, go back to sleep child. I trust you will know the way.” The queen said, as she approached Lena’s bed and tucked a gift under her pillow.

The next day, Lena would find the most beautiful comb. In the comb patterns, just like the ones she’s found in dream from last night and the dark moon before, which she remembered fully again. Branches and serpents engraved with other worldly precision like a gateway or a map to another world.

” I’ll far, she wispered, tears running down her face. The shining ones. I will find you.”

 And indeed she will. The next dark moon will come soon enough. 

Betsy: Whoa. I love that. 

Gabriela: Thank you. 

Betsy: I love the queen, and Lena, and Ilka for doing her work. What she thought was best. Did you have a sense of what happened to the father of Lena? 

Gabriela: I think it’s true that he fell in love with somebody who wasn’t supposed to and they could not be together. Or he couldn’t really meet her fully and didn’t uphold his side of the bargain or his promise, and lost himself and took his own life. How it happened, I don’t know. How the life taking happened, whether he just drank himself away or …it’s unclear, but he certainly wanted to meet oblivion in one form or another.

Betsy: I just wondered because the stories of, um, meeting people from elf lands or the fae world can trigger, I guess, people into such a longing, but such an incapability of being either in their world or their own world after that.

Gabriela: Yes. That certainly fits into that. And sadly, that is what happened to him. 

Sea: I was totally obsessed with the shifting patterns, that was so familiar to my soul. It was crazy. It was crazy, like, everything in me went, right. I remember that. But of course from nowhere I can point to, but it was really calling me. It was so alive for me. It was beautiful. The whole thing was beautiful. Again! Just beautifully written. And such a lovely adventure. And like, I want to hear more. So both of them might, both of yours, I feel like, yay more! 

Betsy: i have the sense that we might know more about your elf as time goes by too. But I also loved the map that Lena received in the comb, and that experience that she has of losing someone who’s so important to her. And yet now we have a sense that a whole different kind of life and a whole different tribe is possibly opening up for her. 

Sea: I loved that it was a comb too, because that’s such an Aphrodite power symbol that we don’t relate to power anymore. But I think we should, there is something beautiful and powerful in the comb.

Betsy: I, yeah, Aphrodite or the mermaids or, well, it’s the strands. It’s the hair. It’s the combing through destinies and combing out possible pathways that she has to leave behind. And I think it is the Queens comb that she receives. It’s not just any comb. And with that is the connection to thoughts and memories and the map even more.

Gabriela: I’m intrigued because I feel like what’s here today is just one aspect of it. And there’s so much more revealed. And who’s the boy? Who is she? I feel like it’s clear somewhat who she is, but not entirely. So I’m glad you like the story and I’m happy to… it will… there will be more. I’m pretty sure there will be more. More revealed as time goes on, as more dark moons appear.

Betsy: And with the comb, you know, just referencing the comb again, the fact that there was a binding on Lena, not to know who she is or not to remember. Not to be able to hear, and how so often in old lore, the bindings for women would be in hair. And so to have that come to undo those bindings, to clear her mind and her perceptions. Especially the Queens comb, that’s very lovely.

Gabriela:  I didn’t even think of. That’s brilliant. And yes, very true. Very, very true. And what bindings is the queen under? That’s another thing that I’m wondering about. Like, I feel like everybody in formation is in some sort of a holding pattern and a, an a guest or except possibly the boy was maybe the wildfire that ignites everything.

Betsy: Can’t wait to hear more. 

Sea: Hey too. 

Betsy: I loved how grandparents played a part in all of our stories as well. 

Sea: They did. I feel like mine needs a different voice, so that it fits me, but I, uh, I also loved that they were all serial. That apparently the elves would like to talk more to all of us. We’ve got some elven things awaiting.

Gabriela: I love how the elves show up in different cultures and how they are a mirror world or another world that’s connected to our own. And they can interact with us. I like the elements of normalcy around it, and I like the elements of danger around it, because that is very much our life in present day. It’s it’s beautiful. It’s mundane. It’s sometimes dangerous. That there are these beings that understand that and have their own sense of danger or things. They might fear if we connect in a way that’s not ideal, that’s intriguing to me. I want to know what would be the appropriate way. I want to heal whatever pathways that may have been interrupted or corrupted.

Sea: I do too. I have also been really thinking a lot just in my own world about how we can have commitments that are sustainable. I feel like so much can go wrong when we make commitments that are simply outside of our own power. And yet if we use that as an excuse, then we’re no longer making the commitments that we need to make to create a better interactive holistic world. So how do we know… how do we know? How do we make the right kind of commitments? Commitments that are sustainable over the long term. That take into account the fact that the world is flexible and fluid and especially right now is just flowing. And especially since we’re going to be talking about thin places in our next story.

Betsy: What our stories have referenced, whether it was the mirror or the cavern place, or the mound, are some of those thin places where different realities interface and people can reach through. 

Gabriela: It’s quite lovely how we have started with the elves and where we’re going, and yes, those places are now available for exploration. And maybe they’ll take us to more thin places .And we’re heading into the thin time. Pretty close here. 

Betsy: We are.

Sea:  This is my favorite time of year. 

Gabriela: Mine too.

Betsy:  I like the dark of winter as well, but this is the beginning of that. So yeah. 

I’m really grateful for the magic and all of our stories today and for a sense of hope and remembering of that magic and of sacredness. Being able to see past the illusion that we are bound by something or someone. 

Sea: I love that we each have a magical item. To Tess it is a cat. But I love that we each have, you know, the thing that has magic. 

Betsy: And I love that we had a chance to have a glimpse of beings like the elves. Beings from other realities. And getting to know them as not wholly other, but similar enough to us to be able to comprehend them and to understand some of their life and their motivations as well. They have different abilities and different faculties, but they are people too. 

Gabriela: I went to know more about them. 

Sea: Me too. 

Betsy: And I loved the images. You had your mound of the light and the shiny ones, and the way that light infiltrated into the dreams. And in the Icelandic stories of the elves, they often live in those Rocky places. The Hills, the rocks, the mountains. And when humans would have interface with them, would have an experience with them, they would often perceive a luminosity shining from within those rocky or stony places. And that would be the beginning of their experience, would be that light. 

Gabriela: It gives me shivers.

Betsy:  Light and flight. And how many of us have been fliers in our dreams? How beautiful for your elf Sea, to be able to work their way to actually experiencing that flight. 

The irony 

Sea: is I don’t like flight at all. I’m terrified of flying on a plane. I will become unconscious the second I walk onto a plane. And I never have had a dream of flying. I don’t want to do it. 

Betsy: Yeah. Well, then it’s so true, what you’re saying. That this was not your voice then, that was speaking this story. Well, I’m going to take that image of the shining ones into the week ahead of me. Just, think about, now that the dark has fallen here, and we’ll continue for some months- to come to think about those symbols and the light and who might be waiting on a mound. If we were brave enough to go there, whether in our dreams or in reality.

Sea: I will be thinking of the gateways, the rocks and the mountains.

Gabriela: I’ll be thinking of unbinding and unwinding and unraveling. Even the unseen things that I may not be aware of that are keeping me from taking that next step and to, to meet the shining ones, or to meet myself in a different way.

Sea: And special thanks to the fantastic Zoë Magik for her phenomenal editing skills.

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