Morvah was falling behind her lover – she was heavy with child. They had been walking for hours through the dense forest looking for a suitable site to start their new life. Morvah was very young; she wore her long brown hair in plaits. She was dressed in a gown that dragged through the mud and constantly caught under her feet. The thick mud sucked at her feet and covered her sandals, making it hard to walk without slipping. She had a cloak wrapped round her shoulders; this did not shield her from the elements and her body was hunched over trying to keep herself warm from the heavy rain and constant wind. Her face was pale and raw from the rain and wind; her eyes almost shut.
Her lover Norvik, was a tall, well-built man, borne from years of hard labour. He was much older than her.
“I can’t go on anymore Norvik!” she shouted.
Norvik retraced his steps and went and held her.
“There is not much further to go my love, I am sure there is a stream up there, I can smell the water in the air.”
“There is definitely water in the air, loads of it, will it ever stop raining!”
“There is not far to go, trust me, besides, we need to get as deep as we can into the forest, then there is less chance they will find us.”
They carried on. He walked by her side, with his arm round her trying to help her along. There were many twigs and large pieces of branch that had been blown down, strewn over the forest floor; they had to wade through the thick undergrowth, sometimes in a crouched position to be able to get through. The twisted branches pierced every part of their body and scratched their faces and hands.
Eventually the rain and wind ceased. The sun rose and warmed the forest air. The sun light pierced the thick canopy – droplets of rain sparkled on the ends of leaves.
“The sun is coming out Norvik, it is getting warmer, can we rest a while?”
“Of course my love, let’s sit here,” and he helped her down onto a large tree stump.
“Is there any water left?”
“There’s not much, that’s why we need to find the stream,” and he handed her the remainder of the water.
They both sat and were lost in the beauty of the forest. Everything now came to life: the leaves were a lush green of all different shades and sizes; the birds were singing their many different melodies that cheered the soul; a damp musty smell prevailed.
“This is beautiful, can you hear the birds singing, can we make our home here?” she asked.
“No we need to find the stream, so we can have fresh water, it won’t be far now, I can tell by the contour of the land that we will soon come to it.”
“We are going to be safe Norvik?”
“Yes my love, I promise you we will be safe and our baby will have the whole forest to run around!” He laughed and Morvah forced out a laugh, but she was exhausted, her legs ached terribly from the walking and she also had a chill.
They continued to walk. The sun soothed and warmed their cold and damp bodies. Morvah started to feel better and felt her strength come back. She took courage from the trees. They were huge and their roots went deep into the ground. They had been there for hundreds of years and had lived through the elements and suffered much hardship but they kept standing protecting the forest and protecting her she thought. She had always felt a positive energy around trees – her worries would leave her and drain down deep into the ground like the roots of the tree. She thought back to when she was a little child and being shouted at by her over-bearing father – she had ran into the forest and sat leaning against an old tree and looking up at its thick trunk which seemed to reach for miles into the sky.
She stopped and went and hugged the tree in her path.
“In the name of the divine gods I ask that all bad energy goes down into Mother Earth where it will be turned into love and light.”
She closed her eyes and felt her mind become free of bad thoughts and her body felt light.
“What are you doing, come on we need to keep moving, we need to find the stream before it gets dark!”
“I am blessing this tree and asking for positive energy and good health from the divine tree god.”
“You do talk nonsense sometimes Morvah, will you hurry up we need to the find the stream!”
He raced ahead. He always did that when he was annoyed. The gap widened between them.
“Norvik! Don’t sulk, I hate it when you do that, don’t walk so fast!”
She felt a contraction in her tummy, she stopped very briefly and looked down at her large bump and rubbed it. When she looked up Norvik was nowhere to be seen.
“Norvik! Where are you!”
She decided to stop, she was feeling tired again. She would wait here and rest. Norvik would have to come back for her, she thought. Before long she slipped into a deep sleep. She awoke and she could hear the sound of running water. She pulled herself up and went towards where the sound was coming from. Before long, she had found the source. There was a waterfall and grey slippery rocks that ascended high to the forest roof. The water cascaded over the edge of the rocks where it crashed into the little pool. She cupped her hands and drank from it. The water was so fresh. She patted her face and her head with the water, which felt invigorating. She turned to get back on the path and an old man with a long white beard and dressed in a black cloak was standing in her way.
“Oh you made me jump! Who are you?” she asked.
“I am expecting you, please come follow me.”
“Where is Norvik, he is my lover.”
“Please come with me, I have food and I will explain everything.”
The old man walked off and Morvah followed. She walked behind the figure in black, cautiously keeping her distance. The old man walked with ease through the thick undergrowth, as though he was guided by some unseen force, she thought to herself. A strong aura surrounded the outline of the man’s shape. A peace prevailed, that she had never felt before. She felt the trees were bending over – their long branches protecting the two like giant arms. In very little time they arrived in a large clearing with an old wooden shack with a straw roof. There was a large pen outside where chickens and pigs roamed. Morvah hesitated.
“Please come inside, I will not hurt you.”
She followed the old man inside. The large solid oak table was covered in food – chicken legs, pork, bread, potatoes and fruits of many different colours that she had not seen before.
“I was expecting you, please help yourself.”
Morvah picked up a chicken leg and began to ravish it, she was very hungry. At the same time, in her other hand, she grabbed a large piece of bread. The old man sat down and observed the girl. After a while when she was full she also sat down opposite the old man.
“Please tell me where Norvik is, I have to find him, he also needs food,” her mouth glistened from the grease.
“I am sorry, there is no one else in this forest. You were alone when I found you.”
“But it is impossible, I have come here with Norvik and then we got separated.”
“Listen to me Morvah, you need to know the truth. Norvik was killed by your family. They banished you.”
“But I walked through the forest with him, I spoke to him!”
“That was me my dear. The only way I could bring you here was for me to transpose myself in place of Norvik. That way you would follow me thinking that it was him.”
Morvah began to cry.
“So Norvik is dead?”
“Yes my dear.”
“Who will look after my child!”
“You will Morvah.”
“But I am very young, I can’t look after a child!”
“Listen to me Morvah and listen carefully. I had a vision that a young girl with baby would come to me and she would learn the magic of the forest and take over when I die, which is not too far away. I am very old and I have not got long left on this earth. I will teach you everything you need to know to survive in this forest and be in tune with the trees and the animals. Learn from them as well, and you will live for a very long time just like the trees and be able to help all those that come here seeking cures for their many ills. Your boy will grow up and he will be strong and healthy. At the age of sixteen you must send him on his way because he has his own destiny.”
And so the old man taught Morvah everything he knew and then he passed away. She remained in the forest with her son.
Like any new mother, she found motherhood very hard, her baby would scream constantly, even though she had just fed him with the milk from her breast. She could not understand why the baby kept crying.
“What is wrong, you can’t still be hungry, I am drained of all milk!”
She heard a voice in her head, “go to the trees,” so she wrapped the baby in a shawl and carried him deep into the forest where the large trees stood. She went and sat down at the base of the tree and rocked her baby in her hands.
“In the name of the divine gods, please take away my baby’s anguish.”
Before long, the baby was asleep – its face smooth and peaceful.
As her baby grew into a boy, the two became an inseparable bond. They were both very happy. They would go for long walks together and bless the trees and seek advice and positive energy from them.
“Mother, where do I come from?” her boy asked one day, his young, innocent face hid a mind that was thirsty for knowledge.
“We come from a proud people that owned much land.”
“Why did you end up in this forest, all on your own?”
“I was sent away, when I became pregnant. Your father was from another country that my people hated, so they killed him.”
The boy’s face was lost in thought.
“Why did they kill him just because he was from another country?”
“Like the trees in the forest, people are all different, but they are all born with the same heart which is good, it is only through fear and ignorance that people become bad.”
Eventually the day came when she had to let her son go. The love was such a strong bond between them that they were never apart. Even when her son was not with her, she could still feel him.
Her son became a great philosopher, and eventually chief advisor to the King of England. One day Morvah spoke to him inside his head and told him he needed to come back home. So he set off and was guided by her to follow the exact path that they both took many, many years ago. When he finally reached the old shack he found her laying on her bed. She looked peaceful with a faint smile fixed on her face – her eyelids gently closed. Her long grey plaited hair lay around her pillow.