The Green Nymph

The nymph returns. I see her bare, dirt-smeared feet as she flits away. Her eyes peer at me through the bushes. They are wild, fiery eyes. My work calls, but I think to catch her, moving slowly, tentatively. She runs, howling with laughter, her lanky form slipping through some crack in the fence.

She never stays away long. I sense her as I manhandle the beast out of the shed. With effort I put it in motion, and it roars, emitting a wretched stench of fuel and fire. The nymph is near, watching curiously. I lead the beast forward. It trembles, coughing and sputtering, as I direct it through the too-long, too-thick grass. It gets to work. Row after row I wrestle the beast forward. Slowly she emerges from her hiding. She is childlike, with long legs, a faded, too-short skirt, a too-loose top. She sits on her haunches beside a pile of green clipping belched out by the beast. She takes it in her hands, pulls it apart, manipulates it like putty.

Then she rubs it into her hair, laughs deliriously, and sprints away.

The beast is thirsty and so am I. I provide for both, myself first, and when I return, a mound has appeared in my lawn, a lumpy, wriggling pile of cut grass. It squirms as with a thousand invisible bugs. Then from it appears her face, green-streaked, hair and grass plastered across her cheeks and forehead. She stares expectantly at me and I cautiously crouch down and extend my hand toward this strange creature.

She bursts from her cocoon, armed, flinging balls of grass at me, pelting me in the face, dancing and twirling as she rushes around me and away.

I brush myself off and finish my work, looking over my shoulder for the green sprite, combing fingers through my hair to dislodge the grass. Eventually the beast ends its feasting and I lead it home. There is the sprite, grinning. She takes me by the hand. It is some spell, some witchcraft, and I am led away without protest.

The mound has grown. She throws me in. It is hot and damp and she jumps on top of me. I throw her off and break free, spitting grass. She pelts me as before and she jumps onto my leg to slow my step. I cast her away into the deep green pit, but she emerges, empowered. She leaps onto my back. I stumble backward, into her abode, where it rains grass and time is changed. We emerge in mantles of verdant greenery.

It is then I capture her by a spell of my own, a command of few words, held back for this occasion. I lift her up and take her into my own house. I present her to the mistress there who labors over the stove. She looks over the child.

“Yes, she will do, I think, after a bath. Scrub her well. She must be made presentable.”

So came the green nymph into our home, and so she shall come again, until the world turns and summer ends.

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