With that the vision ended; then the King
took Trefor’s hands, and danced with all his might,
till Trefor knew not if he were in flight
or whirling in a furious fairy fling.
The glade began to vanish, while the world
spun dizzily before poor Trefor’s eyes;
he wondered at the swiftly changing skies,
as all the year to come was fast unfurled.
The King cried out in song as round they raged,
confirming unto Trefor what his brain
refused to comprehend; it seemed insane -
for each in turn the seasons four were staged.
The Forest King:
“Now dance my dance, and see my song,
and northward ever go;
you now will see these children four
in lives they’ll never know.
And while I dance us round and round,
the year will wear away;
the troubles that you feared to face
shall pass in just one day!”
~ The Child of Autumn ~
“The little boy, he had a lovely smile;
how could his lord have done him any hurt?
And yet he left him buried in the dirt,
that he should have his ease a little while.
A whisp’ring wind that blows beneath the trees
throws shoals of leaves in patterns through the air,
and shows a little boy is playing there,
who takes no care for cuts, or grazing knees.
When all is gathered in, begins the fall;
the lifeless leaves fill hollow, dell, and ditch,
kaleidoscope of colours deep and rich
that marks the end of brightness for us all.
The woodland creatures all prepare for night;
the sleepers make their beds, and make their plans;
the call to slumber sounds throughout their clans,
and birds begin their long and arduous flight.
At length we rest, and always we enjoy
the fruits of this autumnal little boy.”
And so the autumn ended, misty grey;
the King began to dance the year away.
~ The Child of Winter ~
“This maid, she was the fairest of the fair;
her purity was lovelier than gold.
Her lord, with heart more cruel than winter’s cold,
destroyed her life, without the slightest care.
In truth the winter need not bring regret;
she rings the realm around with blessed sleep,
refreshing soil beneath the snow so deep,
that next year our demands again be met.
Great beauty flows from sister Winter’s hand -
the cunning work of frost, and lakes of ice;
the one who sees her loveliness thinks twice
before he’d ask that she release the land.
The prettiness of snow, in purest white,
reveals in her a comeliness so pure
that men fall spellbound under her allure,
and watch her shine beneath the moon at night.
How can you say this maiden’s role is death –
she makes the world of men to catch its breath!”
Thus passed the winter into darkest night;
the Forest King scarce paused his furious flight.
~ The Child of Spring ~
“You mortal men so easily ignore
the joy that comes from children such as this;
the little girl who heals you with her kiss,
and knows no greater joy than daddy's lore.
This frail delightful child of tender age,
surrounded by a host of lovely things,
presages all that sister Summer brings,
releasing bounteous life from winter’s cage.
Around her elfin merriment the flowers
spring forth to greet her feet that dance with glee,
her steps like tiny wavelets on the sea,
the sight of which makes seconds out of hours.
The loveliness of seasons yet to pass
is held within her joyous little heart;
in simple things exultant from the start,
alive in every blade of greenest grass.
Inside the slender form she lives within,
she holds the power that makes all things begin!”
Sir Trefor held on tightly to the king;
the months of Spring passed quick as he could sing.
~ The Child of Summer ~
“This maid, once warm and tenderest of heart,
who now rules summer’s sun in mother’s stead,
was tossed aside, and then was left for dead
in order that her lord’s misrule could start.
Ah, summer! would that you were blest as this
sweet maiden walking gently ‘mongst the trees,
or through the fields of corn above her knees,
in deep enchanted joy, and matchless bliss.
Fulfilment comes to those who wait through rains;
their happy harvest hymns of shining sun
shall come when all their arduous work is done,
and then will they rejoice in leafy lanes.
When men remember her, they think of love,
her beauty shining out for all to see,
the power to bless the world at her decree,
and on her bounty, resting like a dove.
This is the one whom all of us await,
and fear, in case her blessing come too late.”
With this, the Forest King let Trefor go;
and vanished where, the boy could never know.