“Fine. I give in. What do you want me to do? I need to get out of here and the sooner I get done, the better. Tell me, Robin Goodfellow, what quest will I go on, and what lesson must I learn?”
Puck leans back, once again sitting on his breeze.
“That’s better. Now listen and hear my words.
The first item you seek is one for the birds.
A feather, specifically, one of color unknown.
But it’s not in sky, or trees. It’s under a stone.
And over a river. And next to the earth.
Bring it to me, and show me your worth.”
“That’s it. I have to bring you a feather? It’s no finding a planet in the universe, but what’s the catch?”
“There is none this time. Except the lesson you must learn.
It will all become clear. I hope the moral you don’t spurn.”
I am really starting to hate rhymes.
“Fine. I believe you said it’s near a river? Mind pointing me in the right direction?”
The master of the forest stands up and whips the wind around him. Leaves and dirt take shape at his sides. They form arrows pointing in either direction.
“Well, to be fair, you didn’t say
which river was more your way.
I’m afraid I’ve no more time.
I must go, enjoy the last rhyme!”
He opens his hands and slams them together causing a large splash of wind to envelope his body. And like that, he disappears. The little jerk just left me here. His two arrows pointing me towards the rivers are still here though. So helpful…
“Why can I not catch a break?!” I cry out, my voice echoing through the trees.
I can’t say I feel completely better, but there’s something cathartic about yelling and cursing at nothing.
Time to pick a path. Left or right? Towards the right is the path he had me traveling down for his first test. But he’s a trickster so it might have been to throw me off. Or maybe he knew I would think that.
Moment of truth. God, I wish I had a coin. Maybe if I start down one of the ways, I can get some kind of clue if it’s right or not.
“Ya mind, moving, buddy?”
What the hell? Where is that voice coming from? I turn around trying to find the source. There’s no one here. Maybe it’s invisible? I ask myself a lot of questions.
“I said move it buddy!!”
It’s coming from the downward direction. It’s a tiny little man, isn’t it?
I look down and try to find the small person. Bingo.
“Sorry. Can I help you?” I ask.
The source of the voice looked to be a miniscule figure made of wood. He had a beard made of grass. And a head that went up into a point with a single leaf.
“Yes you can. You can get off my tree!”
“I’m terribly sorry. My mistake.” I take off from the branch and float next to it. “So this is your tree? The whole thing?”
He looks up at me, his face incredulous.
“Yeah, the whole thing. Don’t ya see my name on it?”
“Well to be perfectly honest, no…”
“Why does everyone insist on calling me that?”
“-I don’t care what your problem is, and I don’t care why you’re so interested in me. Just leave me alone and float on somewhere else.”
Well, I obviously can’t let that slide.
“Well, you might start caring. My new problem is you. And I have a way to take care of that. Just point me in the direction of the river.”
“Those arrows left by Master Puck should show you the way out. Now get out of here.”
“But I need to find a specific river.
He sighs and looks at me with the angriest look on his face.
“Fine. Which river?”
“Um… the one with the feather?”
“Oh you’re a funny one, jack. Now, like I said. Get out of here.”
“But I need help! Your Master Puck has me trying to find some special feather around here. He said it was by a river. Ringing any bells?”
The strange little man gives me such a dirty look, it felt like he was cursing at me with no words.
“Look, buddy. I ain’t getting involved in none of the games Goodfellow is playing with you. Ya got a 50/50 chance of finding whatever river you’re searching for. I suggest you take it. NOW GET LOST!”
This is not going as I planned. I had hoped if I annoyed him enough, I could get him to tell me just to get rid of me. But I’m not sure where to go from here.
“What part of ‘Get outta here’ are you not getting, bub?” The wooden man has turned his attention back to me. I suppose I should go ahead and leave.
Or, and hear me out here, I can go for stupid.
I barely think it, and my hand shoots out and snatches the small man from the branch. He squirms against my grip, but he’s no match for my giant proportioned strength.
“Let go of me, you filthy mort! Put me down!”
His cries annoy me, but I can’t do much about it. He feels so fragile, and I think if I try to cover his mouth, I’ll accidentally break him.
And yet, he feels a bit denser than I expected. If he is made from wood, I would think it’s something closer to an ebony wood, as opposed to the apple wood kind of look he sports.
“I need a guide through this forest. You’re the only one around. So too bad for you.” It was mean, but I really couldn’t care. I need to get out of here now.
“You want to put me down, right now.” His voice became much more focused.
As threatening as it was, I maintain my grip.
But something is wrong. He doesn’t feel right in my hand. He feels like he’s… gaining weight? He’s heavier. The squirming in my hand has shifted. He was no longer moving like he was trying to escape, but rather something was moving around him.
And he was so heavy now! I reach out with my other hand to help hold him. That’s when I realize what’s happening. I couldn’t hold him anymore. I throw him back onto the branch, hoping to reverse the process, but it’s no use.
He has vines and branches growing out and wrapping around him. He lands and continues growing. All the added layers have made him immense. He’s bigger than me.
His body no longer resembles the small gnome before. He is now a rather rotund, humanoid figure. His face was a grotesque mess of vines and wood that I’m sure was meant to look like a human face with a beard, but instead, reminded me of the horrifying visage of an eldritch creature. His eyes were what scared me the most. The growth around it left sunken holes in his head where his eyes should be, a vain attempt to replicate a human.
“I warned you.” The booming deep voice sounded nothing like the little man. He was now a monster. And I pissed him off.
“I am no normal waldgeist. I’m a leshy.”
And with that, he waved his hands at me, vines shooting out of his arm and flying right toward me.