“The Owl Girl” by A. Roz Mar
The forests of the owl are very old and very magical. Few know that they exist. In these forests are great birds like swans, hawks, falcons, and eagles. Of the wee birds are swift winged swallows, finches, chickadees, and shimmering hummingbirds.
But there are also other creatures in these forests...horses. They are majestic and friendly, and some are the bravest of war horses. They are Coursers, Rounceys, Destriers, and Friesians with long fiery manes and swift feet. The Percheron is as strong as the mighty oak tree. Most famous is winged Pegasus. But the rarest horse of all is the one horn or Unihorn. They are who serve kings, queens, knights, and other noble beings.
Birds and beasts help people all the time but humans hardly know this because they do not understand their ways. In these forests live those of noble blood. If thee be a child, a child at heart, or a graced soul then you are the most noble and most welcome of all humans.
There is one particular owl forest that is home to the great one known as Myrddin, also called Merlin in the common tongue. A Merlin is also a special kind of falcon. As a Magus, Myrddin is a fellowman to King Arthur of Britannia and to Charlemagne. Parzival, a Grail Knight and a distant cousin to Arthur, also counsels from the world of the Magi. For those who come through the forests of wisdom, Parzival is a beacon that shines out and beckons us to become noble, good, true, and wise, even to this day….for the journey of man is long and perilous.
When a great King, not an ordinary king, is granted a sword, it is created in the forest of the owl, for it is only the Owl of great Wisdom that can wise such a sword. This is how it happens: The owl first travels throughout the woods in search of the horse with the one horn. He flies over the river to see if it might be partaking of water to drink. If it is not there, he searches the meadows of soft grass where the wind bends the blade and the sun opens the flower. If it is not there then he enters the forest of ancient trees at Myrddinwood.
The owl perches itself on the highest branch of a tree and looks about him far and wide. Then he calls out, “ooh ah ooh,” and listens closely. He hears a low rumble stir. He calls again, “ooh ah ooh,” and the soft rumble of padded hooves gets louder. Through the dark trunks of the trees below he sees one approaching. This one is tall and gallant and wears a star on her chest, for this one is female.
She circles the tree then says, “Sir Owl, you call to me?” Her voice is gentle and wholesome. Her fur is light brown, her mane long and golden and her almond shaped eyes are also golden brown with bits of green like the holly. Most importantly her horn is sparkling white.
“Is it time?” she asks.
“Oh yes,” the owl says sincerely, “a great King awaits my lady.”
“Is he worthy?” she asks.
“Oh yes my lady, he is most gallant and worthy.”
“Is he wise?”
“Oh yes Princess, he has proven to be most noble and wise.”
“And will he be a good King to his people?”
“Oh yes my lady, he follows the code of chivalry and honor.”
“Then I will sacrifice.”
She bends her head, for the horn lies at the top of her head pointing toward the stars. The Owl then swoops down and wraps its great wing around it and at once it becomes a mighty sword of deep magic and power. He then takes it to the Magus who, at the right time, presents it to the King to be. Unihorns are sacred and secret animals. They are not easily found because they must keep the wise power hidden and safe until it is needed.
The Swan is the daughter of Grace, who oversees all in these forests. Grace is she who plants the seeds for all things to grow and come into being and who loves all those in the world who believe in Her. Grace is all embracing and most benevolent and you can see her constellation of stars in the Milky Way, which is also the nest from whence she came into the world.
Swan forsook her home in the starry world to be with us...but that was a very long time ago.
In these great and ancient forests the blessings for the world are given so that human beings may become as noble in thought and deed as the falcon or a King, as courageous and pure of heart as a horse, as devoted, loving, and beautiful as the swan, and as wise and insightful as the owl. When all these noble qualities come together in one, then Grace and the Spirit of the Sun have ennobled a human soul. For all creatures came before elves, gnomes, water sprites, and fire spirits, but it was human souls who came first.
The owl girl was called Patricia and she found herself in this kingdom at Myrrdinwood. The place she had left was not good for children and that is why Owl and a majestic Tigress named Joy brought her here. They protected her and it was the first time since she was very little that she felt safe and at rest.
In this place she could begin to smile again for in this place she could open her heart like a flower and freely sing and dance with joy and no one made fun of her. Here her little heart became bigger and love freely flowed out from her toward all living things in the world. Patricia was loved by her new friends and they thought her good and generous.
When love cannot flow freely, a human being cannot grow and live, they cannot become, for becoming is endless unto the end of time.
Like all ancient forests they abound in great adventures. This was the beginning of Patricia’s adventures, when she was befriended by Owl. At first his feathers were white, the color of trust and goodness, but soon changed to the enchanting owl colors of shimmering gold and brown and blue-black. She lived here for many years until the Wise deemed it time she return to the family kingdom she was born in, at least for a little while…but that is later in the story not at the beginning.
The first time she met Myrddin the Magus was an adventure well worth the telling. He is a great Master you see. There are many great masters in the world who stand behind us like guardian angels ready to teach those who are willing to know...but Myrddin is the only one who seeks you first.
It was a warm and sunny day in the ancient forest where there was much ado with activity. Birds chirped, bees buzzed, and other creatures made all manner of peculiar noises that were sweet to the ear.
There was a sparkling brook gurgling beneath willow trees that grew along a bank. A copse of birch trees with graceful white trunks and branches grew nearby. They had several small door holes where chipmunks, squirrels, woodland fairies, and very small owls lived.
Patricia was kneeling on a rock that was covered with emerald green moss scooping up a handful of water to drink when suddenly she felt a ‘tap tap’ on her head. Startled, she looked up at the willow tree and thought that perhaps an acorn had fallen on her head. But then, acorns grow on oak trees and there were no such trees in this part of the greenwood.
“Hmm, perhaps it was a bird,” she said aloud.
“There, you, you there,” said a voice.
“Yes, you, might you have the good manners to look at me when I speak?”
“I would be honored to do so if I could see you,” she replied.
“Oh bother, have I not appeared,” the voice sighed.
And just like that, a tall gentleman stood before her.
If ever she wished to see something marvelous, here it was. His robes were purple and white with tinkling little lights that appeared and disappeared at will. She heard tiny voices in bits of song and laughter because in fact the lights were really woodland fairies.
“I do apologize and forgive you for not seeing me,” he said.
“I thank you sir. And was it you that tapped my head?” asked Patricia.
“Was it...why of course it was me!” he said raising his eyebrows.
He held up a long walking stick made of smooth dark wood and at the knobby end was perched a crystal globe that changed colors depending on the old fellow’s mood. Patricia rubbed the small lump on her head made by his walking stick.
“My name is Patricia.”
“Well I know your name child. And I am here to tell you it is time for you to walk with me. It is not everyone who receives a call from me you know.”
“Did you tell me your name?” she inquired.
“Yes...at least I think so.” He looked down his nose at her and cleared his throat. He had deep blue eyes that beheld the starry dome of the night sky.
“It is Myrddin...like the bird.”
“Merlin,” she repeated. “No, no, no. It is Myrddin. You pronounce it like Myrrthin...for I came down through the ancient land of Wales you know.”
“You don’t say.”
“I do say, indeed I say it, and proudly too,” he grumbled. Taking one last sip of water from the brook she quickly joined him.
“It is a long journey you know. Are you certain you wish to take it? Can you endure it Patricia?” he asked curiously.
For a long time Patricia had been waiting for this moment to prove herself and now it was finally here.
“Yes, I am ready,” she assured Myrddin.
“Very well then,” he summed her up and smiled. “Yes, I dare say you are. Let us walk together.” And with that they took the path that led further along the embankment beside the brook.
As they trekked along the pathway the ground began to move faster than their feet, it was like walking on a water wheel. The day turned into starry night and then turned to day again as they continued along until they finally stopped.
Before them, amidst forests and fields, stood the Timeless Castle, for in the time it had taken to arrive there, Patricia had quite grown into a young woman. Across a short bridge, the castle gates began to open.
“If you enter here you will gain the strength you need to face the hardships ahead,” said Myrddin. Patricia accepted this without question. “Always remember my dear girl that our greatest foe is the one of our own making.”
He swirled his walking stick and a sword held within a silver sheath appeared and hung at her side. She approached the bridge that led to the open gate.
As she entered, a horse with a shiny red chestnut coat met her. It snorted and turned around in the other direction, its reins dragging on the ground. She took hold of the reins and mounted the steed, then the call of an owl sounded and the horse moved forward. She turned back to see Myrddin holding up a hand in farewell and a whisper came to her ear as if he were right beside her.
‘You carry the sword of Truth, Courage, and Freedom, use it wisely.’
And with that she entered the castle grounds letting the red horse lead the way. Before she knew it they were in the highest tower of the Castle. There before her was a long narrow box made of what looked like pearl stone. She dismounted and reached out a hand to touch it and found that it was indeed pearl stone and it glowed with a pure white iridescence. A design of silver filigree in swirls and spirals adorned the closed lid and in the center was a golden pearl of such beauty the like of which she could never have imagined. Instinctively she reached out and touched it, and with that the lid opened.
She could not believe her eyes of what she saw inside. It was a sleeping young woman, at least she hoped she was sleeping, but she couldn’t be sure. She was very beautiful and then she could see that she was gently breathing. She had fair skin, red lips, and rich dark hair.
Something caught her eye and she looked up to see that the owl had landed on the ledge of a narrow window above the box. He snuggled his wings about him and watched her. She then noticed a mirror that hung on the wall just below where the owl sat perched.
And in that moment she could see her own reflection as the young woman she had become while walking beside Myrddin. She thought it strangely familiar then in an instant she realized that the reflection of the face in the mirror was the same as the girl sleeping in the pearl box and immediately the lid closed of its own power. Puzzled and feeling a little sad about what had happened, Patricia got back on the horse and within minutes they were outside and through the Castle gate that closed behind them. Vines of the white and red roses which grew to either side of the gate began to quickly grow and before she knew it the gate was completely sealed over with thorny branches.
In her heart she felt lost and alone and thus began to cry. The horse neighed and started for the forest and she stopped weeping. The owl joined them flying hither and thither from tree to tree.
“It must be a riddle,” she said aloud. “I am to discover the answer to the riddle, but what can it mean?” And then she remembered the sword. Pulling it out from its sheath, it glowed with beauty and strength for it was made of the same stuff as the pearl box. It came to her that she must find the way forward herself. Instinctively she understood that it was not so much a state of sleep that she saw on the girl’s face as she lay there in the pearl box, but a vision of Peace and that it was not the end but a beginning.
Peace itself is a whole new world that will one day come to be when people find the courage within themselves to live it.
The words of Myrddin resounded in her soul, ‘Our greatest foe is the one of our own making.’ Whatever reason had brought her to the sacred forests of the Owl, its creatures, and its magic, it was time to pick up the threads of her family life.
The horse turned its head and looked into her eyes with love and devotion and the owl ‘hoo’ed.’ They would be with her always. These were the gifts from Myrddin; a horse, an owl, and a sword. They were hers when she was willing to learn and change through facing the hardships and trials that would come to meet her life.
For challenges are found only in the world of people.
Like a challenge, Myrddin had asked if she could ‘endure.’ Patricia knew she must one day return and by her own efforts find, once again, the way to the tower in the Castle. She was shown a new awakening that lay slumbering in her soul. Through powers earned only through the thorny path of experience she would find her way back.
When she awoke the full moon, with the starry dome of the night sky behind it, was shining through the open window of her tiny attic room. She heard the call of an owl, and the wind whispering through the trees sounded like the unsheathing of a sword. She could feel her heart beating strongly like that of a galloping horse. She was ready.
The owl girl was no longer a little child but also had not yet become a young woman. The house she was growing up in was like the others on her street but behind and next to hers was a forest with a brook. That was where she liked to go. Her mother and father worked all the time and she was often looked after by her grandmother. When her grandmother could not look after her, fifteen year old Georgina did and more so in the summer. She was bossier than ever and it made the summer feel ever so long.
Autumn was drawing near and she was dreading its arrival. She sat against her favorite oak tree that grew near the meandering brook, and recalled the last school year in second grade when she was eight.
Two girls who she knew to be the best of friends one day invited her to play after school. They were taller than she and looked smart and confident. They liked to dress alike and were generally good students. Mary which was her family name, and who was really the owl girl Patricia, got excited because for once she felt special because she had been picked to be a friend to these popular girls.
They invited her to one of the girls’ house which was two blocks away. It was a grand day because she was so looking forward to playing with her new friends. There were so many children in her own family that she sometimes had the feeling that she didn’t exist. Her big sister was two years older and her little sister was only one year younger. And then there were three brothers and she often felt lost.
Mary followed the two best friends into the girl’s bedroom where there was a dollhouse.
“That is so pretty!” she exclaimed. She knelt down and picked up a little doll that was lying on the floor outside the dollhouse.
The two best friends sat on the bed and watched her. She had expected that they were as glad to be with her as she was to be with them, but they didn’t say a word and just continued to stare. Mary thought that since she was now their friend that she could be herself and be happy and join in their play. And still they just stared. Then they started to whisper secrets to one another in their ears alone. They would whisper then turn and look at her and giggle. She waited to see if they were only fooling but they just stared at her and didn’t say anything. Mary was embarrassed and felt ashamed but didn’t know why. Finally she put the little doll back where she found it and made ready to go.
As she made for the door to leave the room, they stood up tall in front of her and giggled and whispered some more. She never returned, she was never asked back, and they never noticed her again at school. So Mary was now too shy to try and make friends with anyone again. And that was why, as school was drawing near, she dreaded going back. She squeezed her eyes shut and wished with all her heart to see Myrddin again. Then her heart began to beat strongly like the gallop of a horse and it seemed to soothe her sadness.
Birds sang out and the sunshine danced on the water.
‘Can you endure?’ whispered in her ear.
“I will,” she said aloud, “I must!”
She wished that the moment would never pass and she could remain by the oak tree forever. Those girls were not the only ones who could be cruel, there were others who teased and could also hurt her feelings. There was one in particular who had hurt her body and when she tried to tell no one believed her so she gave up trying. Then she heard Georgina calling and with a sigh she went home.
As the dreaded first day of school started, when she had turned nine years old and would begin third grade, it brought an unexpected surprise. The surprise was her new teacher Mr. Trailstar.
He was very tall and thin and that October when the class read the story about Ichabod Crane in the Tale of Sleepy Hollow, it seemed to exactly describe her teacher and she felt enchanted. He was so very polite and never raised his voice at the class, not even once. He was nothing like her big brother, who was even older than her big sister and teased Mary all the time.
The red and golden leaves of Autumn began to fall as she walked to school. Shadows played beneath the trees and shrubs and for the first time Mary looked forward to attending school. And it was all because of her new teacher. It was as if she had only just awoken to the world even though she had already been in it for nine years.
Mr. Trailstar let exploration and discovery be his guides and he trusted the children. And he always wanted to know what they thought too. It gave her hope that at last what she had brought from the kingdom of the Owl might be here in the world too. The teacher helped her discover that wisdom was there within or behind living things, not the things themselves, but what was hidden in them. And from that day forward wisdom, which is like Grace, never left her no matter how cruel or common the world could sometimes be.
Over time Mary came to understand that without the bad things that happen in the world we cannot learn to be wise. Nature was wise but she guessed that it would take people a long time to know it.
As she grew into a young woman, when she had finally left home, she found that she was sometimes unclear about things and it made her feel doubtful. But then a most curious thing began to happen. She began to dream dreams in a different way. Owl would appear or Myrddin or she would dream herself into the great and ancient forest of Myrddinwood. And she was no longer afraid but became ever more curious about the world and herself in it.
As the years went by she felt loved even in the hardest of times because she discovered that the world of Myrddinwood and the daily world of living were truly never apart, and that it all depended on her. She now preferred to be called Patricia and she made it so. She began to help others and in the end opened a little school for curious children.
When she became a lady the owl came more often and then one day she awoke to find her devoted horse waiting for her. She strode onto the saddle and as they made their way through the forests of wisdom magic, she found herself once again in front of the same castle gates that she had once entered so very many years ago.
When she had last seen the castle, the gates had closed and were completely sealed over with the thorny branches of the rose bush. But now the thorns were no longer there and the red and white roses grew once again to either side of the castle gates.
As Patricia sat on her horse and waited before the open gateway she heard the soft canter of another horse and from out of the woods her Spirit appeared. He was a handsome and gallant knight, and wore the same colors as she, and without a word they held hands and entered the gateway and the two became one.
Myrddin gazed after them, then up at the starry night, and as he waved his walking stick the gates gently closed. He was feeling content that things had happened as they were meant to but also a little sadness tugged at his great heart, for he would miss her.
He walked down the rode and struck up a song, and the little fairy lights noisily twinkled amongst his purple robes, and the owl flew overhead following, and the moon shown down like a bridge of starlight and lighted up the world.
Copyright 2015 The Owl Girl
Blue Pearl Arts