Mysterious Happenings in the Ancient Wood
by: Montana Rogers
On a cold winter’s night near the outskirts of the Ancient wood, a wandering dark
figure could be seen. As she paced back and forth along the edge of the forest under the
moon light you could see sighs of white mist escaping her nose and mouth. You could
hear the crunch of her heavy boots in the newly fallen snow that covered the frozen
ground. She paused in her nervous steps and turned in a circle, scanning the fields that
she had just crossed and the woods that she would now journey into.
The cloaked girl wanted to be sure she hadn’t been followed. As the girl turned
back to the forest, her two delicate hands glowing white in the night, reached up and
pulled her deep blue hood back, letting it fall to her shoulders. Her wavy silky smooth
red-brown hair flowed down her back, and on top of her head was placed a circlet of pure
silver, a crown. On the front of the crown, like a teardrop, a precious blue sapphire hung
down to rest lightly on her forehead. She clasped her hands in front of her as if to pray.
Her startlingly blue eyes pierced the night to find the stars above. The soft words could
be heard through she barely moved her lips.
“Spirit of the night and of the day, please grant me safe passage through
these woods. Let me achieve my purpose this night. And return me safely home.”
With that, the girl took a deep breath and stepped into the woods. She
stopped just inside the forest listening. She could hear a far off owl, a howling wolf, and
the occasional snap of a tiered, old, snow covered branch accompanied by the muffled
thump of the falling pile of snow. She pulled her cloak tight about her to keep warm and
commenced walking again. She hadn’t taken more than three steps when she stopped.
The forest had become unearthly silent, so quiet she thought, perhaps, she had gone deaf.
But then with no warning at all the forest was alive with sound again except this time she
didn’t hear the noises of nightly predators or strained branches giving way, she hear a
swishing, whispering melody as though the trees were blowing in the wind. The girl
looked up at the trees; they were as still and as unforgiving as the castle’s stonewalls.
She swiveled her head and listened even harder. Then she started to pick out words and
phrases in the eerie hum of noise.
“The girl, she has it. Get it back! Get it back!”
The chorus of menacing whispers continued. And as the girl searched for
the source of the sound, she began to panic. Her heart beat faster and her mouth went
dry, she could see something or some things at the edge of her vision, twirling and
leaping among the trees. She froze. What were they? Not any animal she heard
described. Something human, she decided, because she was certain that they were the
“She has it, she has it! Please girly, give it back. Yes, Yes! Back to us.
We don’t want to hurt you mortal princess.” The many voices called.
The princess let out a little scream and started to run. She darted between
trees and pounded through the snow. Her cloak billowed out behind her like a dark blue
river. She ran and she ran and still she thought she could hear the whispering, the threats.
She didn’t want to stop running, but she was tiring. Then she tripped. Looking up from
the ground, she saw that she was in a clearing, brightly lit by the moon. She got to her
feet and brushed as much snow as she could off of her front but still she remained colder
then she had been before. She couldn’t hear anymore whispering. It had completely
stopped. She took a deep calming breath.
“Good evening, mortal.”
The princess felt an icy chill run down her back. She tensed.
“There is no need to fear us, we will not hurt you.” A low, warm voice
spoke from behind her. The princess hesitated only for a moment before turning to the
trust inspiring voice. In front of her stood three beautiful beings - one, a man, stood a
little in front of two others, a man and a woman. Each was finely dressed in blues and
silvers and whites matching the winter’s night and each one wore a crown. The one in
the middle spoke again; she knew, by his voice, it has he who had spoken only a few
“We are so glad that you have come. Please forgive the others, the ones you first
heard, they didn’t mean to scare you, they were just so overjoyed to see that you have
brought it back to us.” The man paused searching the princesses face, “You have come to
return it, have you not?”
“Yes,” replied the princess. “I have come to return to you the cloak.” With that
she reached up to the silver clasp at her throat and unclipped it. She swung it from her
shoulders and held it out. The woman stepped forward and gently took the cloak from the
“Thank you, mortal. We thought that we would never see the cloak again, that it
would be story to tell to our children, lost forever, a mystery never solved. We feared that
we would have to remain hidden for the rest of our days, only appearing at night.” Her
voice was like a flute and softly played to the princess’s ears. The woman stepped back
into her place.
“You’re welcome,” said the princess and then boldly she asked, “Why is the cloak
so important, what has it to do with you?”
The three beings exchanged a few meaningful glances before the third being, the
other man, spoke.
“We will tell you of the cloak’s secret if you first tell us how you came to possess
it and what made you return it. Do you accept this arrangement?”
“Then,” said the man in the middle, “Proceed, for we are most interested to hear
So the princess told her story.
“About a month ago my father, the king of this land, had just returned home from
an extended hunting expedition. I was so happy to see him, and then even happier for he
said that he had brought me a gift. At these words he presented me with that cloak saying
he had found it in a clearing in the woods and had immediately thought of me. I loved the
cloak, it is beautiful and warm and happens to be my favorite color but that night I had a
dream. In my dram I was in a clearing in a wood, much like this one, and a voice was
calling to me saying, ‘This is where I belong. Return me to my place, to my people, the
race that I willingly serve. They have need of me and you do not, I do not belong to you,
bring me home.’ In the morning I thought the dream strange and yet just a dream. So, I
paid no attention but every night after that I had a dream of that description. I didn’t think
much of them until the night before last when the voice in my dream became even more
persistent and agitated. It told me to bring it back; it gave me directions, and told me that
a great king and his sister and brother would receive it. ‘Bring me to the Ancient Wood,
across the moat and through the fields. Return me, return me to my king.’ And in that
dream I saw the source of the voice; it was my new cloak that spoke to me. I do not know
how it spoke to me but in the morning I vowed, to the cloak, that I would return it. And
that is how the cloak came into my possession. That is how I came to return it.”
A few moments were lost forever to silence. Then the king spoke.
“An interesting tale you have recounted to us. Many thanks for returning the
cloak. Your father was somewhat foolish to take what was not his but we forgive him. It
was partly our fault for leaving the cloak unattended for however short a period of time it
The princess waited for the king to continue, to tell her why the cloak was so
important to them but the man next to the king began to speak.
“The Cloak of the Woods is a magical thing, clever and powerful, kind and
misleading. It keeps us safe, hides us, our children, our homes, our ways of life, our very
existence. It cloaks the world we inhabit here in the Ancient Wood; it hides it from the
prying eyes of mortals. As long as the cloak resides in the wood, we cannot be seen by
anyone, unless we willingly show ourselves. If the cloak is lost or stolen away from here,
we are visible to the naked eye. Condemning us to live only at night, when most of the
world sleeps. Why would it be bad if we were seen? Well, what would happen if you and
all the other mortals knew that a supposed mythical, magical race dwelled in the forests
of this land, or any land?” he finished.
The princess was silent, awestruck by the man’s speech, and then –
“Who are you? What race do you speak of?” the princess asked excitedly.
“We thank you again and ask that you be wise in choosing who you tell about the
secret of the Cloak of the Wood and the mysteries of the Ancient Wood itself,” the
woman spoke, ignoring the princess’s question.
“Now,” said the King, “it is time for you to be on your way, go safely.”
The princess was in no way ready to leave.
“But who are you?” she implored, to no avail. The King only smiled, gesturing
for his companions to make room for the mortal princess to pass by.
The princess knew that she was being dismissed. She knew that none of them
would answer her question and so she held her chin high, nodded at the King and his
company, and started her return journey. As she walked by the King and his two
companions, she felt a warm, summer-like breeze envelop her – drying her cold, damp
clothes like magic. The woman nodded to her and the princess smiled back. Then she was
out of the clearing and in the darkness of the woods. As she walked through the trees she
could hear the hooting of an owl, the baying of a wolf, and the swoosh of snow falling
from a high placed branch. As she trudged through the snow she remained warm and her
clothes remained dry for the entire journey home.
The princess started to see moonlight shining through the trees, announcing the
edge of the Ancient Wood and as she crossed the threshold of the forest, one single
thought was on her mind. She, Asia, mortal daughter of King Alex, had just encountered
the Faerie King.