When I first saw it, it was not more than a knot in the tree trunk. Then each week it grew and then it took shape and before I knew it there was the figure of a woman emerging from the trunk itself.
It wasn’t unusual around here to find unusual shapes in the trees. Not far away another tree had grown in such a way to give the shape of a woman and some smart Alec had painted a bra and pants on it to accentuate it all.
I didn’t tell anyone about this tree though, I wanted it for myself and I knew if I told anyone it would be defaced in no time.
Then one day the unlikely happened. I came down the path to the tree and noticed the woman siting beneath it. She was there running her fingers through the twigs and tree debris as if in memory of someone she knew lying there at the trees base.
I stopped when she saw me and in a flash she was back where she belonged. I approached and sensed her eyes watching me, hoping that I didn’t believe what I had just seen.
I walked up close and looked into her eyes, they had by now formed into the beautiful grey of the tree’s bark and I knew they were staring at me.
“Don’t touch me,” she said as I got within an inch of her face. “If you do I will be tainted.”
I stepped back. Not sure I had heard right.
With my arms outstretched I said, “I wont touch you.”
I sensed immediately a relief coming from her. So I stood back trying to think of something to say.
“Who are you?” seemed a reasonable request.
‘Jasmine,” she replied. “I’m a Wood Nymph.”
“What’s a Wood Nymph?”
“What you see. I live within the tree, we feed off each other, it’s a very mutually beneficial arrangement.”
“In the night I go off and gather berries, fruits, the bark from other trees and eat them and when I join back onto the tree it takes from me enough to sustain itself and allows me to grow, the bigger I get the more I can provide the tree.”
“So how big might you get?”
“Well I’m pretty much fully grown now.”
“Is that all you do, eat and provide for your host tree?
“No I also perform some good deeds, counsel Wood Nymphs who get above their station, search out food sources for there are a few of us in this neck of the woods.”
“Well I’m not going to tell anyone you are here for fear some might want to damage you.”
“Oh and I can do this too.” And suddenly the Wood Nymph was not there; she had vanished into the tree. “Comes in handy when danger comes a calling.”
“But you didn’t do that when I came round?”
“No, thought you were a little different.”
In the weeks that followed the Wood Nymph and I would meet regularly and sit under the tree and discuss all manner of things. She and I got along very well. One day she said for me to touch her hand and outstretching it we touched and immediately I left a great force surge through my body…
“If I trust you, “ she said, “I can allow you to touch me and not be tainted but I will maybe taint you for now you are locked into my world.”
I looked around and I appeared to be inside the tree with her.
“What do I do now?” I asked.
“There’s nothing to be done.”
I looked at her puzzled.
“You are locked in now.”
It was then I saw the evil in her eye.
“Now to find you a nice home, you just the wooden sort of character I have been looking for.”