Greenthorn of the Briar
By: Samantha Jayasuriya

And he danced, leaning this way and that with the children running after him.

And he laughed, filling the air with chuckles and giggles as the adults' tears flowed down their faces.

And he jiggled, wobbling, bouncing weaving between toddlers and babies who crawled out of his way.

Greenthorn of the Briar had been summoned by the village to lift the air of gloom and doom which had plagued them in recent months.

The wise women had called him from his resting place deep in the gray tangled wood.

They called him for days sending messages tied to kestrels who soared into the sky.

They tied notes to squirrels' tails who scampered into the trees seeking him out.

The adder was the first to spot him as she snaked her way from her grassy spot to quiet gloom and called him softly.

"They need you, the children, the adults, the babies and the toddlers. They need you to reconnect with themselves and with each other.

Unlike us, they are paralyzed by fear, unable to overcome the challenges of this traumatic time."

So, he came, Greenthorn of the Briar, with his company of sprites, elves, pixies, and nymphs.

Pouring like a welcome cup of cool crystal water on a hot and sticky day.

They danced, leaping this way and that with the children running after.

They laughed, filling the air with chuckles and giggles.

They jiggled and wobbled as they filled their cup with mirth and glee letting it bubble up inside and out.

Euphoria bound the villagers in silky invisible threads, pulling them together in a wild dance. Greenthorn of the briar bestowed blessings of joy on the gathering.

Satiated and satisfied, the villagers took to their beds, smiling and sleeping.

Greenthorn retreated to his tangle. Returned and waited.

The wise women nodded their heads, closed their books, locked their doors.

"It is done. Enough!"

Greenthorn listened to the words of the wise woman floating on the breeze to his briar, tangled with thorns.

"Enough?"Came the question. "Not enough for me."

An hour before dayspring, Greenthorn slid out of his lair.

Quietly and softly, he went back to collect his fee.

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