“The White Rose of Galloway” A Short Story by Vincent Boccarossa

Photo by Celestine Ngulube on Unsplash
Photo by Celestine Ngulube on Unsplash

The White Rose of Galloway

Buried in the mountains of North Carolina, a seed of knowledge grew into a legend of wisdom.  On the eastern plateau there lived a young girl named Rachel.  She was a magical child with sky blue eyes laced with golden light.  She loved to play in the fields dancing with the butterflies and singing with the crickets.  Rachel lived with her grandmother in a rustic cabin at the edge of the forest.  They had a special bond of love sharing the curious innocence of a child and the gentle understanding of an old woman.

      One afternoon Rachel was skipping through a patch of dandelion when a sudden gust of wind blew through the valley.   She felt a tingling sensation go up her spine and goose pimples covered her body.  Rachel looked toward the sky and discovered three enormous, dark clouds approaching from the south.  She ran to the nearest shelter she could find, a tiny alcove in the side of the mountain protected by a great-grandfather oak tree.  She lay down to rest, and soon after the rain began to fall, gently at first and then in great bursts soaking the ground.  Rachel’s eyes had closed immediately oblivious to the torrential rain showers.  She was in a restful daydream when she first heard them call out to her.

      “Rachel,” they whispered and giggled like children.

      The young girl’s body quivered, but she was sleeping deeply and her eyes did not stir.  She awakened in another reality; a place where dreams are real and the little people play games in the forest.  It was these little people who were calling to the child.  They were dressed in shades of green and brown wearing shaggy beards with eyes that twinkled and round faces radiating a mischievous glow.

      “Rachel, come and play with us,” they tugged on her feet with tiny little hands made rough by tree climbing and earth building.   

Rachel slowly opened her eyes and was alone in the forest.  She was certain that someone had been calling her name.  She sat up and listened.  The stillness of the forest comforted her fears.  Rachel stretched her hands to the ground touching her feet when she heard playful laughter a few yards away.  She straightened up alert, and edged her way toward the sounds.  She picked a path carefully through thick underbrush of flowered berries and small prickles.  Peering through the brush, she discovered a dozen or more little fellows playing leapfrog in a circle.  Rachel watched in delightful surprise when suddenly there was a giggle behind her and then a push that sent her tumbling into the glade.  The little people stopped their play and waited for her reaction.  Tears watered in her eyes as she lay on the ground.  She looked around the circle and saw expressions of curiosity and wonder.  She sat up on her knees and rubbed her hands together.

      “Which one of you pushed me?” she asked with a tone mixed with anger and lightheartedness.  She also wanted to play in their games.

      They looked at her innocently, some shaking their heads, a few looking down, and others smiling gleefully.  Then a little fellow wearing a red cap with a long feather stepped forward.  “We did not mean to frighten you,” he said apologizing for the group.

      “I am not scared,” she retorted.  Then softened her voice and asked, “Was it you I heard calling my name?”

      The little fellow with the red cap and feather smiled warmly.  “Yes, Rachel, it was.  And we have something very special to give you.  But first…” He looked jubilantly around the circle.  “It is time for dance and songs!”

The little people exploded into a joyous celebration laughing and dancing until nightfall.  The sky turned midnight blue with a half moon rising and starlights crisscrossing the open glade.  The little people built a fire higher than the tallest among them.  They created a circle and sang songs to the stars and the moon.  Rachel was completely immersed in the music when the tempo died down and soon there was silence.  All eyes turned toward her.  She raised her voice and began to sing from her heart a melody that her grandmother had sang to her as a small child.  The little people listened as if in a trance.  They began to hum in perfect harmony blending their hearts with Rachel’s song.  The sounds echoed throughout the valleys and reached the farthest ends of the universe.  Shadows from the firelight danced on Rachel’s dress and her small figure swayed with the melody of the song.  The little fellow with the red cap and feather stood up, bowed to her, and led her to the center of the circle.

      “We have waited a long time to share our music and magick with someone from the other side.  You were chosen at birth, and it was written that after your first nine years, we would come to you in the dream and welcome you into our circle.”

      Rachel stood transfixed by the little fellow.  The music had gradually ceased and they all waited expectantly for the final blessing and rites of passage.  The little fellow with the red cap and feather reached behind his right ear and as if by magic materialized a large tooth-like crystal with six facets and one perfect point. 

      “This star crystal is our gift to you.  It holds many remarkable healing abilities, which you will learn as you grow into a woman of power.  You are still young, but your spirit is ready to dream with the star crystals.  For the second nine years of your life, we encourage you to keep this crystal under your pillow and dream with us.  You will go on many journeys into galaxies beyond this planet and on pathways deep into the core of Grandmother Earth.  It is a gift from all of us.”  The little fellow gestured to the circle.  “May our hearts always sing as one voice.”

      Rachel took the star crystal into her hand and a great flame leaped from the center of the fire high into the starlit sky.  The little people joined hands and began a song that had been given to them a long time ago.  They had begun to fulfill their part in the ancient prophecies uniting the stars with the earth.  The time of the Great Healing was dawning and they were filled with exuberant joy.  The little people escorted Rachel back to the edge of the forest.  Her eyes had grown heavy and the lids were beginning to close.  The song faded into another dream.

      Rachel awoke to birds chirping noisily as if to say, “Wake up, little sister.”  She wondered how long she had been there.  The rain had ceased and the forest sparkled from droplets not yet dry.  Rachel remembered the dream as if it were real, and then in a sudden panic she began to look around for the star crystal.  She could not find it anywhere and was crestfallen that the dream had deceived her.  She walked home with tears in her eyes.  Her grandmother stood on the front steps.  There was a worried look on her wrinkled face.

      “Where were you my child?”  She immediately noticed Rachel’s somber mood.

      “I fell asleep in the forest during the rain, Grandma,” Rachel answered wiping her eyes.

      Rachel told her grandmother the entire story as they sat down to dinner.  The older woman smiled when Rachel said she awoke to find no star crystal.  “But it seemed so real.  Was it only a dream, Grandma?” Rachel asked in a searching tone.

      Her grandmother cleared the table and led Rachel to the fire.  The old woman’s eyes gleamed and her face glowed in the light of the flames.  “There is a legend in these mountains that most people have forgotten.  When I was about your age I had a similar dream.  It was the little people of the forest who taught me the songs I sang to you as an infant.  You need not cry, my child; your star crystal is safe.  Go to bed now and remember what they told you.”

      Rachel sprang to her feet and gave her grandmother a big hug.  She ran to her bed and slowly put her tiny hand under the pillow.  She reached underneath and there was the star crystal, just like the one in her dream.  She knelt down thanking the God and the Goddess and all the little people for her beautiful gift.  She placed the crystal back under her pillow and lay down to dream.  She rested her eyes with a smile on her face and a song in her heart.

The wind spirits that blow through the mountains of North Carolina are called bolia.  They are channels of energy that sweep through the fields and trees scattering pollen to all directions as seeds of rebirth.  On some days these wind spirits bring the thunder and lightning medicine for the specific healing powers of transformation that are carried in the clouds of Grandfather Sky.

      As Rachel grew into a young woman, her grandmother was growing older and feeble.  Rachel spent all of her free time taking care of her grandmother.  The two women shared many long days together sipping tea, playing cards, telling stories to one another and simply being in the presence of each other’s company.  Rachel’s grandmother was like a storybook with no ending.   She always had another tale to share like a silken thread of knowing from her vast web of experience.  As she accepted her death and drew closer to releasing her life, her gentle strength and loving wisdom were being passed on to Rachel.     

      The autumn leaves had fallen and winter was beckoning in the frigid air.  The candle flame flickered as Rachel dozed off in the rocking chair.  Her grandmother lay awake staring into the dying flame.  She knew it was her last night.  The sun would rise for another day and she would begin her journey to the other side.  The old woman was at peace in her cozy cabin, and the guardians of the gate waited for her patiently.  A deep sadness filled her heart as she looked lovingly at her granddaughter.  In a final effort of will, she waved goodbye and sent the last surge of her life’s energy into Rachel’s dream.  At that very instant the candle flame smoldered into the wax drippings.  All was dark in the cabin.  Dark and quiet and serene.

      Rachel awoke in a dreamscape of blue sky and fluffy, white clouds.  She felt a sudden pain in her chest and knew intuitively that her grandmother had crossed over during the night.  She reached toward the heavens and sang goodbye to her grandmother’s spirit.  Just as she finished the song, a magnificent white horse with strong, elegant wings approached her in the clouds.  Rachel stood in awe at the sight of such beauty and tremendous power.  She noticed someone riding on the back of the horse.  It was the little fellow with the red cap and feather!  Rachel felt the pain subside at the sight of her dream friend coming to visit her.  She opened her arms and welcomed his arrival. 

      “Rachel, hello!  Remember me!” the little fellow exclaimed with joy waving his arm in greeting.

      “Of course I remember you, although it has been a long time,” she hugged the little fellow as he helped her climb on top of the horse.

      The little fellow smiled knowingly.  “Well, it really hasn’t been that long.”  He paused for a moment as Rachel gave him a quizzical expression.  “There is no time in the dream.”  His voice faded into the clouds as the magical white horse took flight swooping the air around them.

      Rachel held on tight as the wind swept through her body and refreshed her mind. They spiraled down and landed in a desert region with flowering cacti and clumps of mesquite scattered all around.  The sun was descending behind a mountain chain to the west and there was a light breeze ushering in an evening chill.  The horse slowed to a walk and the little fellow bounced to the ground.

      “Where are we?” asked Rachel unsure of her surroundings.

      “Do not be afraid.  We are on sacred land.  Elixir and I have brought you here to meet someone very special,” the little fellow reassured her.

      Rachel began to relax and patted the horse.  “So you are Elixir.  What a perfect name for a winged horse.  It sounds like celestial magic.  And what is your name?” she asked the little fellow while still stroking the mane of Elixir.

      “I am called Bartulo,” he grinned and flashed a gold tooth that had remained hidden until just then.  “You have grown into a beautiful young woman, but in the dreamtime your little girl still comes to visit us with her star crystal in hand.  Do you remember the many times that we have danced and sang together?”

      Rachel blushed.  She felt ashamed and confused.  “Do you mean that I have been dreaming with the little people and not remembering?”

      Bartulo nodded yes.  “That happens quite often, but don’t worry, you always remember the most important times.  See, like right now.  There is much to awaken in our memory, and it is through our life experiences that we each learn to embody this wisdom as truth.” 

      His eyes shined with a brilliant light as he took Rachel’s hand and led her to a cliff facing.  “We must now begin our climb and leave our traveling companion.”  He gestured to Elixir who flexed his wings and stood up on his two back legs.  Elixir then leaped into the air as Rachel waved goodbye hoping she would see him again.

      Rachel and Bartulo began to ascend the rock face climbing along a path that had been carefully etched into the side of the mountain.  They came to an opening in the cliff wall and Bartulo disappeared inside.  He poked his head back out urging Rachel to follow him.  She approached the dark opening apprehensively and then slipped into the hole.  After her eyes had adjusted to the darkness, she realized they were walking down a narrow corridor of mountain stone.  The passageway led to a small den where a Native woman sat upon a blanket colored in earth tones.  On a low table to her right there was a small statue of a bear standing erect with his paw touching the claws of a golden hawk in flight.  The women’s aura emanated a healing light and she welcomed her guests with an open heart offering them a seat.  Bartulo and Rachel edged their way closer and sat down in front of her.  She greeted Bartulo in a foreign tongue and smiled mysteriously at Rachel.    Bartulo whispered into Rachel’s ear, “She is known as Bear Hawk Woman.”

      Bear Hawk Woman burned sage with cedar and tobacco honoring the ancestors.  She then began a soft chant that increased in tempo and pitch climaxing in a high shrill that echoed for several moments.  Rachel sat very still and Bartulo held his small body erect with his full attention on the powerful woman.  Opening her eyes, Bear Hawk Woman reached under the blanket uncovering a magnificent star crystal cluster.  She placed the crystal in her lap and focused her gaze upon Rachel.

      “Like this crystal, you also come from the stars.  You are a seed for healing, and over the next nine years of your life, you will be helping many people with your gifts.  Your home in the mountains will become an oasis for those who are drawn to you for healing and inspiration.”

      Bear Hawk Woman placed Rachel’s hands over the star crystal cluster.  She took her left hand and placed it over Rachel’s hands while putting her right hand on the young woman’s forehead in a gesture of blessing.  “Your healing work will penetrate deep into the womb of the Earth, and the transformation that you will experience after this cycle of learning will open the door to your enlightenment.  Always follow the path of your heart because the spirit that flows through you responds to your intentions in this way.  Now go in love and know that I will be near you always.  ”

      The first reflections of light radiated through the cabin window.  Rachel opened her eyes slowly welcoming the morning sunshine with a yawn.  The images from her dream experience left a warm and secure feeling in her heart.  Like an infant to a mother’s breast, Rachel rocked herself awake peering into the ashes of yesterday’s fire.  A yellow rose had replaced her grandmother’s body, which had always been her favorite color.  Rachel did not question the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the body for she was beginning to understand the magick of spirit and the powers of the dream.  For a brief moment she felt the presence of her grandmother in the cabin. Like her flurry of activity in the early morning to “get things in order.”  She often had the cabin cleaned, tea brewing, and breakfast on the table before Rachel had washed the sleepy stuff from her eyes.  “You sleep so sound, my little Rachel, like a cub next to a lion’s heart.”  The words echoed in the cabin as a solitary teardrop fell into the ashes of the fire.  Rachel sighed and began to get things in order.

      The waterfalls on “la montana rodonda del fuego” (the round mountain of fire) were sacred places of power for spiritual cleansing and physical healing.  These falling streams of water are natural prisms that reflect double and triple rainbows of natural splendor.  The little people love to dance through the rainbows and play hide and seek in the waterfalls.  They have come from hobbits and tree holes from all around the world to help manifest the sacred dream of the star crystals.

      In the valley below Rachel’s cabin there was a small village known as Galloway. 

It was here that Rachel journeyed once a week to obtain provisions for her simple lifestyle.  On one of her trips to the village, Mr. Koochbeck, the owner of the general store, had contracted a terrible coughing cold that made his whole face swell like a blister ready to burst.  He sniveled and sneezed as he helped Rachel gather her purchases.  Rachel felt sorry for the older man and offered to fix him a special blend of herbs to ease his discomfort.  By the end of the week, Mr. Koochbeck was breathing clear and feeling stronger than he could ever remember. He was once again in his cheerful mood waiting on customers and telling them about his miraculous recovery. 

      Rachel’s healing ways spread throughout the village, and soon she was swarmed with visitors.  She helped people cure themselves, blessing each person with a star crystal and using the sacred herbs for various purposes.  These herbs were grown down by the river and cultivated by the little people.  It was in this area that Rachel spent many hours:  gathering herbs, washing clothes, relaxing under a tree, and allowing the river to open the peace within herself so she could feel its tranquility.

      One afternoon a traveling minstrel made his way into the village.  He was a handsome young man with golden hair and tall, slender features.  He had been on the road for several months and within minutes of his arrival he took deathly ill.  The people of the village immediately brought him to Rachel. 

      The love relationship between the minstrel and Rachel was christened on the day she took him down to the waterfalls for a special healing.  He had regained enough of his strength to make the journey to the falls.  This sacred place was protected and preserved by the little people.  Rachel walked the minstrel through a double rainbow and into the cleansing spray of the waterfall.  His body was rejuvenated, his mind cleared of worrisome thoughts, and his spirit fully awakened.  He rejoiced by taking Rachel into his arms as tears of thanksgiving rolled down his cheeks.  He hugged and kissed her, and she responded oblivious to the outside world.  The two lovers consecrated their bond and cuddled near the falls until early the next morning.

      For Rachel it had been like a dream that had suddenly come alive.  She had been nursing the minstrel back to health for nearly a month.  She had been praying for his spirit and doing all in her power to restore him.  She had stroked his wavy blonde hair and had fallen in love gradually, unknowingly, always hoping for something yet unable to trust the feelings in her heart.  As she lay next to him by the waterfalls, his body purring like a cheetah at rest, she began to hum one of the songs taught to her by the little people.  She gently closed her eyes and received a vision.  It was a ceremony in the woods…

      The minstrel was dressed in a rainbow of colors and she in pure white.  The ceremony was bonding them as soul mates by the blessings of the Grandfathers and through the power of the Grandmothers.  The minstrel placed a white rose in Rachel’s heart and Rachel in turn placed a red rose in his heart.  The little people sang a song that echoed throughout the entire forest as Rachel and the minstrel danced to celebrate their love for each other.  In this way they would be soul mates forever.

      During the winter months that followed the minstrel and Rachel enjoyed the simple comforts of the tiny cabin.  They were discovering more of themselves through their relationship with each other.  It was a time of loving introspection as they each developed a more keen awareness of the true spiritual nature of things.  They were learning how to listen with patience respecting each other’s viewpoints.  They did not always agree, but that was okay too. 

      One evening Rachel was telling the minstrel about her grandmother.  “She taught me the basics about living in balance with everything around me.  For her healing was a way of life.  When she died I felt something awaken inside of me.  It was a feeling mixed with sadness and joy.”  Rachel paused for a moment focusing into the fire.  “It was a deeper sense of knowing and an acceptance that everything is perfect just as it is.”

      Rachel looked up and smiled at the minstrel.  In that moment he listened as a little boy with all of his trust and innocence.  She gazed into his clear water eyes and said, “It is a feeling of compassion, pure and simple.  Grandmother planted those seeds in my heart as a giveaway to me before she died.”

      The minstrel remained quiet and still.  He allowed Rachel the time to sit with her thoughts before responding.  “I see life as a ceremony of dance and song.  Each day is like a renewal for me.  The potential for the impossible is within every moment.  And the love and respect we have for ourselves is the love we can then to give to others.  Like a tree that grows bearing fruit and giving shade and stability, each of us has a sacred dream to awaken.”

The springtime thaw is like the breath of Gaia rebirthing new life.  She transforms the dead of winter into green buds, green grass, and the energy of her emerald heart offers healing to those who are open to receive it. 

      Rachel found herself treating the common ailments that often get stirred up after a long winter, and the minstrel started to take frequent trips into the village where he taught the children songs, told stories, and turned the village square into an open dance.  The people of the village gossiped about a wedding between Rachel and the minstrel, but unfortunately it was not meant to be. 

      As the days of spring tumbled into the first week of summer, the minstrel began to grow unsettled.  It had been almost a full year since he had wandered into the village of Galloway and he was anxious to go back on the road.  He wrestled with his feelings for many days and took long walks in the forests attempting to quiet his restless spirit.    

      Rachel had felt the change in the minstrel too.  She knew her love for him was strong and their bond sacred, but she would not say a word to keep him there.  She struggled with the desire in her heart to have him forever and to never let him go, but she knew this was foolishness.   She continued to practice her healing work and went about the activities of her day.  She had fallen in love with a minstrel and everyone knows that a minstrel must travel the world sharing his songs.

      Finally the day had arrived.  There were no formal goodbyes between the two lovers, only one last kiss and a hug that lasted a lifetime.  The minstrel walked down from the mountain cabin in full song proclaiming his love for Rachel and the people of Galloway.  The melody he sang became a popular folksong for miles around and the words are shared below…

He came to Galloway
on one fine summer day
And over the hill
he fell deathly ill
And dreamed his death be near...
He awoke in comfort's bed
sweetgrass upon his head
And opened his eyes
in delightful surprise
Sweet Rachel, no dream to fear...
Many days she nursed him well
her magick a healer's spell
And together alone
he slept in her home
And dreamed this love be real...
His body once renewed
his sang his voice so true
And from the start
she opened her heart
And dreamed their love be real...
A year ago he came
to sing dear Galloway
And love be mine
another time
The dream is love to heal.

It was shortly after the departure of the minstrel that tragedy struck the people of the village.  A strange disease had swept through the summer like a wet wind of mosquitoes sucking the blood of its prey.  Rachel spent all hours of her day caring for the people.  There were so many who were sick and all needed attention at the same time.  It soon became exhausting for Rachel, but she worked diligently until the disease subsided late in the summer.  It had left a scar of deaths and many more bedridden.  Rachel too had contracted the disease and instantly her twenty-four year old body began to deteriorate with the fatal sickness. 

      By the end of the first year Rachel’s body showed signs of minor paralysis and she had aged twice her age.  After the second year her body had become even frailer, her hair turning gray and wrinkles creasing her face.  Although she was bedridden, Rachel maintained a cheerful attitude and was always willing to give her compassionate love with a gentle touch.  Those who came to visit were at first saddened by her condition, but their spirits were soon put at ease.  Rachel expressed true courage and radiated the strength of the human spirit.  Yet still no cure had been found and it was inevitable that Rachel would eventually die.

      One morning Rachel called over to Yolanda, an older woman of the village who had helped during the epidemic.  She had been taking care of Rachel over the past two years.  “I’d like to go down to the river,” Rachel’s voice was extremely weak.

      Yolanda was not surprised.  She knew how Rachel loved the river.  She decided it would do no harm for her to feel the breeze across her body and hear the sounds of the flowing waters.  Yolanda asked the two teenage boys who lived just up the road to help carry Rachel through the woods and down to the banks.  They were happy to be of assistance leaving their half finished chores for a swim in the cool waters.  It was early autumn and Rachel was in pleasant spirits.  With the star crystal clutched in her left hand, the boys carried her toward the river.  She enjoyed the green foliage of the woods, alive and refreshing, awakening her senses.  By the time they had reached the banks, Rachel was immersed in a childhood memory when as a little girl playing hide and seek with the little people among the shadows of the forest.  She looked spiritually serene in her sickness. 

      As the boys went off to swim and Yolanda settled down to knit, Rachel opened her eyes to see a circle of ravens high above.  She followed their circular movements like a meditation.  Her consciousness shifted into a dream-like trance flying above her body and joining the ravens in flight as a raven too!  Far below, Yolanda and the boys were unaware of the raven magick that she had naturally discovered.

      Rachel’s journey as a raven took her back to the forest glade where she had first experienced the little people.  One by one the ravens landed in the glade creating a circle around a large fire. Rachel knew that it was the beginning of yet another dance.  As the last raven landed, Rachel recognized familiar faces smiling and joking around.  But even more startling was that her body was no longer old and sick.  She was a young girl again, healthy and vibrant.  The little people began to sing around the fire expressing their gratitude for this glorious reunion.  Captivated by the magick of her vision, Rachel was allowing the reality of her situation in the physical world to slip away.  She felt an inner conflict as her body lay dying on one side, while rejuvenated in her youth in this wonderful dreamscape.  There was a swirl of images twirling in her mind as the music subsided.

      Bartulo stepped forward.  “Rachel, the time has come for you to make a choice.  You have known what it is to play as a little girl, to love as a young lady, and to heal as a woman of power.  Now your body is dying, and when you return from this dream, you will have but a night and a day to live.”

      Rachel had a sad and confused look on her face.  She did not know what to do or how to respond.  Bartulo felt her discomfort.

      “You have no reason to fear death.  It is a doorway for more lifetimes of experience.  Yet we have come to offer you another doorway.”  He gestured to the circle of little people.  “Through the magick of the star crystals and with the love in our hearts, we have the ability to transform your sick body into how you see yourself at this moment.  This transformation will give you new life as a child of the forest helping to heal Grandmother Earth of all her sickness.  We will be waiting for you at the waterfalls if you choose to accept our healing.”

      Bartulo’s gold tooth flashed as he smiled and waved his hand.  The circle began to twirl and in a lightning jolt Rachel was once again in her physical body.  The boys were carrying her back to the cabin with Yolanda in the lead.  Rachel smiled at the strength of these two young brothers.  She felt like a queen being escorted by her two favorite knights back to the castle. 

      As Yolanda turned a corner on the path, Rachel stopped the boys and told them quietly, “I want you both to come back tomorrow at the same time as you did today.  We have a special journey to make, just the three of us.”  The older brother responded positively ignoring the younger boy’s look of distress.  Rachel sighed in relief and closed her eyes in satisfaction.

      The next morning Yolanda was preparing to go to the village for their weekly supplies.  She looked at Rachel sleeping on the bed and began to question leaving her alone.  She felt that the trip to the river had weakened Rachel making her condition worse than ever before.  But when Rachel opened her eyes and smiled at Yolanda, it was as if she had read her mind.  She quietly told her to go to the village and not to worry.  Yolanda sighed as she packed the last of her bundle and left. 

      The little cabin became instantly surrounded in stillness.  Rachel lay breathing very slowly.  She was in no hurry to take her last breath.  She anticipated the journey to the waterfall and waited patiently reflecting on the movements of her life.  

      The boys knocked gently on the door, which opened creaking on the rusty hinges.  “Miss Rachel?  Miss Rachel we’ve come like you asked us.” 

      They approached the bed and saw Rachel with her eyes closed.  They were frightened by the thought of her long awaited death and backed away for a moment.  Then Rachel opened her eyes, and they swallowed the air with a lump in their throats relieved that she was alive.

      “My two knights have come to escort me to the falls.”  The two brothers looked at each other and smiled proud. 

      The older boy spoke up.  “The waterfalls?  Is that where we are going?”

      Rachel’s eyes sparkled and then she answered, “Yes, it is.  We have a two hour journey, so let us begin.”

      The younger boy had remained silent and was hesitant about going on the journey.  His brother reassured him that everything would be okay.  Then Rachel placed a hand on the younger boy and thanked him for having the courage to be here.  He blushed and without any more resistance he helped his brother place Rachel on the makeshift stretcher they had used the day before. 

      The morning sun was almost at noon and beads of sweat began to show on the two boys’ bodies.  They made no complaints and carried Rachel with great care and honor.  The waterfall could be heard in the near distance giving the boys renewed energy as their muscles began to tire.  As they approached the falling waters, Rachel sat up and pointed to a place among a grove of birch trees.  The boys laid her down and waited as Rachel took a deep breath before speaking.

      “There is a legend in these mountains that tells a story of the little people who work the magick of the Earth singing songs to the stars and playing games in the forest.  Do you boys know about this legend?”

      The older boy responded quickly.  “Our father says that’s all just a bunch of superstitious folklore.  I’m not sure what to think, but I know I’ve never seen any little people.”  He looked around and shrugged.

      The younger boy was quiet.  As Rachel focused her gaze upon him, he squirmed and avoided her eyes by looking at the ground.  He finally spoke up in a shy voice.  “When I was younger I had dreams with the little people, but I was too ashamed to tell anyone about them.  I thought everyone would laugh at me, so I kept them a secret.”

      The older brother looked surprised as Rachel extended her hand to the younger one.  She smiled warmly expanding her love into his heart;  “I too have had dreams with the little people.”

      “You have?” the younger boy relaxed and sat down next to Rachel.  The older brother was listening, but remained standing as if to keep guard.

      “Yes,” she continued.  “And today my brave knights, you too will be blessed by their healing ways.  It is because of the little people that we have made this journey.  As you both know, I am dying, and they have offered me the opportunity for a new life.”

      The younger brother felt water in his eyes as a rush of energy tingled through his body.  The older boy stood tense waiting for something to happen.  Rachel began to hum softly blending her voice with the sounds of the forest and the falling waters.  The sky was clear and through the rays of the sun Rachel felt his presence. 

      She gestured to the boys.  “Look into the shadow of the sun.  We have a visitor.”

      It was Elixir traveling from the stars to the earth.  His body was a radiant white and his wings magnificent and powerful like the first time she had seen him.  He descended gracefully and landed near the falls on the other side of the river.  The boys stood motionless staring in disbelief. 

      Rachel felt their uneasiness and said, “There is nothing to fear.  The dream is opening and the magick has begun.”

      The boys remained silent as the sight of Elixir commanded their full attention.  The little people began to appear from behind trees and from a small opening in the cliff near the falls. They were everywhere at once laughing and dancing with one another.  The mood of the two boys shifted, and soon they were playing leapfrog head first into the water with their new friends.  Four little people came over to Rachel and carried her to the falls.  Bartulo waited for them at the base of the cliff with another little fellow who had a long gray beard and who was holding a staff in his right hand.  They laid Rachel near the waterfall as a double rainbow shined through the mist. Bartulo spoke first.

      “This is Komolo.  He is our grandfather and the greatest healer among us.  He has been teaching us the magick of the star crystals, and we have been living in harmony with the worlds of Grandmother Earth for a very long time.  Many things have changed over the years, and the people on this planet are once again on the edge of self-destruction.  We hope to do our part in the Great Healing that is taking place right now.  But I have said more than enough.”  He bowed to Komolo who radiated a white light from his eyes and a rainbow of colors from his heart.  Rachel felt the colors exploding like a prism in her frail and sick body.

      “I am a presence of Love, as are you.  We are all one family united by the bond of Love.  Awaken your true nature and renew your body.  You are a child of the universe.  You are a daughter of the divine source.  You are Light, and you are Love.”   

      As Komolo said these words, Rachel felt the transformation begin.   Two little people helped her up and guided her under the waterfall.  Everyone had gathered around, including the two brothers, waiting for Rachel to come back through the water.  She appeared almost translucent, her body completely rejuvenated as a nine-year-old girl, but with the wisdom of an elder shining from her eyes.  She smiled the joy that was in her heart and shared the Love of her soul to all creation. 

      Bartulo led her to Elixir.  “There is one more person you must go visit.  You will not be gone long.  We will be waiting for you to join us around the fire.”

      Elixir welcomed Rachel with a nod of the head as she stroked his mane.  She was so happy to be with him again.  She looked at Bartulo and motioned to the boys.

      “Oh, don’t worry about them.  They will wake up from a short nap by the falls and remember the journey as if it were a dream.  There will be a star crystal for each of them as a gift for their service.  They have been initiated in a different way, and it will take a few years before they begin the Great Work that is ahead of them.  We have much to teach them through the dream, just as we once did with you.”

      “And what of Yolanda?”  Rachel was concerned about the older woman discovering the little cabin empty on her return from the village.

      Bartulo answered her.  “There will be a white rose where your body once lay, and we will visit her in the dream to explain all that has occurred.  There will be a legend written about you Rachel, and you will be remembered as the white rose of Galloway.  The song of your healing ways will echo through the valleys and villages, and those who listen will feel your loving presence always.”

      Elixir leaped into the sky and spiraled toward the stars.  Rachel was filled with joy as they approached a bright light shining up ahead.  The rays created a pathway through the black void space.  Rachel’s heartbeat accelerated when she saw a woman standing with open arms.  It was her grandmother dressed in golden robes with a yellow rose floating in the center of her heart. 

      She embraced Rachel with all her love.  “I am so proud of you!  You have reached the doorway to your enlightenment.  Your heart has been fully opened and you have embodied the healing light of the stars.  Return to the earth with my blessing, and know that we will always be connected through the magick of the dream.”

      Rachel had tears in her eyes as Elixir flew in a wide circle and began the journey back to earth.  There was a fire leaping into the night sky as Elixir and Rachel neared the forest glade.  The little people were dancing in full song welcoming Rachel into their family.  She opened her heart singing harmony and danced into the center of the circle.  Bartulo joined hands with her and they spiraled together lifting off the ground for a brief moment.  Rachel had come home to Grandmother Earth and the Great Healing was just beginning.


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