Legend Of Green Glomairah

Glomairah was born on the first day of spring in a prosperous farming village, and as a young woman she was the apple of the town’s eye. When water needed fetching, she was there with three buckets and a smile. When fruit or seeds needed gathering and sorting, she sang sweetly as she worked, to lift the older women’s spirits.

“Glomairah is the best daughter we could have,” her parents would say with pride. More than a few of the local families, and even the land’s nobles, kept their eye on her as the fondest daughter-in-law they could want.

“Please, dearest, have you met my son?” mothers would ask her often enough. Her village and the two down the road were all small, and Glomairah found it hard to say no.

One young man touched Glomairah’s heart. Japh was quiet, handsome, and kind; he was an unassuming flower in a garden of loud poppies. He would smile when they passed on the street, and at seasonal dances he would ask her hand and tell her a joke as they twirled. Unlike the other boys, he did not write poetry to her—nor did a monk or a bard write for him. He did not present her with cut flowers or sing odes to the sun. However, he did visit her garden late one spring night and offer its sprouting shoots some gentle words under the moon’s soft light. He taught the shoots an ancient hymn that he asked they sing for her.

In time, Glomairah and Japh traded engagement rings, but soon war arrived to the steps of their village, and like the other young men he took up arms and rode off.

“If you can wait,” he said with his hand gently touching her check, “I will be back.”

Alas, months and then winters passed. Some of the boys returned but Japh did not. Meanwhile, new suitors came. Glomairah would smile politely or tell a joke, but refuse them.

“Oh daughter,” her weary mother said one day with worry, “You shall grow lonely.”

“Living is good!” she replied earnestly, as she tended the garden behind her parent’s home. Her heart beat quickest when tending the garden.

“How much water shall I fetch you this morning?” she would ask the peas. “More or less shade today?” she would say as she pulled out a tent to shield the tender spinach from an early summer’s hot sun. Among the villagers, she alone could hear the plants. She knew this, and took their kind murmurs as a blessing and gift of the earth.

One frosty day, seven winters after Japh left, a rough band of hobgoblin mercenaries rode into town. They were cold, hungry, and bloody, having just survived a heavy battle the night before. Their banner indicated they were paid by her country’s coin. Since her family’s homestead was first along the road, the hobgoblins strode in and demanded attention, food, healing, rest, and love.

Glomairah’s parents were old and her brothers were off to work so she did all she could to appease the hobgoblins’ ill tempers, for “only some good comes from hobgoblins, least of all, compassion.”

As she bandaged the hobgoblin chief, he growled, “I wish you as my wife today.”

She said, “I am already engaged, it would not be right.”

He replied sarcastically, “Where is he now? I shall kill him.” Glomairah swallowed her sadness and gave the chief strong wine to appease his appetite.

Nevertheless, to show his displeasure, he said, “You are too sweet for me.” He ordered his men’s horses to trample the garden and break the family’s wares.

Afterward, he demanded, “Aren’t you angry I trampled your garden?” He hoped to make her cry. That is what hobgoblins do.

She replied, “It is not my garden, it is the earth’s. I enjoy its company.”

The chief fumed inside. To save face before his men, he said to her, “I would throw you over my shoulder and carry you to your bed, but I wish you to give yourself freely.” Then he whispered in her ear, as if saying sweet nothings. “It would be a pity if the horses ended up trampling your parents.”

With a heavy heart, Glomairah took the chief up the rickety stairs to her simple bedroom and welcomed him into her arms. She knew that hobgoblins were cruel, but they also kept their word.

When the chief and his mercenaries finally left, she fled the house and trekked though mud and vines to a secret forest pool and its great oak.

“How I have longed to see you,” she cried out as the oak came into view. She ran, and knelt and sobbed over the pool’s still waters, her tears like rain. She lamented, “Surely, I shall never again love life like I have.”

The earth took pity on her and spoke through the great oak, “I have enjoyed your company most immensely, my daughter. Know that you are not alone.”

“Tell me, I beg of you,” she asked. “Does Japh live or lie among the roots?” Hope and fear swirled inside her, that she finally dared to ask this question.

Wind shook the forest as trees spoke to each other across miles. Dusk came. After a time, the great oak spoke. “My daughter, he lies among the roots.”

“Thank you,” she said heavily, “for the truth.” She considered; she could drown herself in the pool and join Japh.

The great oak continued. “His spirit asks me to say, ‘I am willing to wait, if you would still be my bride.’”

“Oh, why wait one more winter?” she asked with tears.

“He says to tell you,” the oak replied, “that more sorrow marches with iron and fire toward your land, and as you have tended your garden, so too you must tend your people.”

From that day forward, Glomairah aided her village, and other helpless villages across the lands, by calling upon all green things of the earth, from stout oaks, to burrs and thistles, and entangling vines. The grass itself rose up against the army that threatened them. Finally after years, war and hatred were utterly repulsed.

Glomairah was now old with white hair. She journeyed again to the pool and its great oak, and in the pool’s waters saw reflected back to her Japh’s gentle face and smile. It was him.

“I have come home,” he said.

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