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It seemed strange, but since I had been born at an early age, it was miraculous that I was already more than six years old, although people often said I was old for my age. I never knew what that meant. It was even more strange that I was seeing these Bluebell Girls sitting on a chair in the bathroom in their wide flowing, blue dresses and large bluebell bonnets.

“Mum, no, no, be careful. Don’t sit there. You will sit on the Bluebell Girls.”

“Oh, the Bluebell Girls are here again, are they? Does that mean it is going to be a sunny day?”

“Oh yes. They always appear when the sun is going to shine.”

They were also my friends, often sharing my days and listening to my concerns.

Not that my mother understood or took any real notice other than to spare me the indignity of questioning my mental state. I was a young child, and anything was possible with young children and excusable in certain circumstances and situations beyond the reason of grownups. Besides, the Bluebell Girls normally lived in the high elm trees in the garden and seldom ventured indoors, preferring to be in their natural environment, with nature. So, Mum could be forgiven for not expecting to see them in the bathroom, but I wish she would show them a little more respect. They understood, of course, knowing full well the attitude of grownups and their arrogant dismissal of anything like a nature spirit.

“But it is going to rain later.”

“Oh, why do you say that?”

“Because I saw the water sprites this morning in the garden. They will bring the rain. That is what they told me. Cafusha saw them too and he went racing over to them, wagging his tail and barking.”

The water sprites were different, another thing altogether. Slightly smaller than the Bluebell Girls they only came into the garden when a storm was expected or when rain essence was needed for the trees and plants. I always knew when they were about because I would notice the rain essence showing against the black surface of the garden shed, never wet, only falling like rain. This was most needful for the plants and vegetation and would feed everything. The essence was also in rain which was why tap water was never as nutritious as water from the water butt, but Mum would never believe me when I explained it to her.

“Oh, you and your imagination,” she would say. Of course, a child could never teach a mother anything, or so she thought, especially one who had survived the cold indifference of a Mankind’s World for only a whole six years.

“Yes, I have seen your rain essence when you showed me, but is it that important?”

“But it is not wet, is it? What does that tell you? It is the Water Sprites that bring this rain essence, and it is full of energy, vital for the garden.”

The water sprites were a little more mischievous than the Bluebell Girls, although they were very committed to their responsibilities of inducing rain when it was needed. So, they were a cheeky necessity, like their rain, an uncomfortable essential but a blessing and I loved them. Considered to be the most common type of faerie, sprites were always known to live in the deep woods, behind the elm trees. Well, this is where I always saw them. Some would live high in the branches, but others preferred to hide in the grass at the foot of the hedges and at the edge of the woods.

One morning I heard them singing soft songs as they lured the clouds into the sky and blew fierce winds to call upon the thunder and rain. Invisible to many, especially grownups, but I always saw them and heard their siren calls. They were my friends, and they knew that.

The water sprites were essentially responsible for all forms of water, elemental guardians of nature’s energies. This was why they would often spend time around rivers and streams, testing and maintaining the purity of the water, only to return to the woods at night to rest. In spite of my mother’s insistent disbelief, I would still tease her with what I knew.

“I also saw the water sprites down by the stream this morning.”

“Why do you believe in this silly nonsense?” asked Mum.

“It is not nonsense! The water sprites are needed. All life needs water to exist, and these nature spirits are here for a reason, like all creatures. They are part of the balance of nature.”

But she did not believe me, and I was wasting my breath, not that that mattered because I had plenty to spare. Adults can be so narrow minded and fixed in their lack of appreciation of anything that does not fit their regular pattern of life like newspapers, milk delivery and horse racing.

“Water sprites can breathe under water. Did you know that, Mum?”

She was washing my hair and I thought perhaps the importance of water for this activity might inspire some interest.

“So, you say, child.”

Mum always called me ‘child’ when she wanted to show me, she was a grownup and therefore knew better, but was it my fault she could never see these things? Quite plain in my view there was no question of their existence, only some people’s blind ability to see.

“Well, I have seen them do this when the dog gets too near and sniffs them. They will dive into the stream and disappear. They are not too keen on dogs. Dogs are as unpredictable as they are, themselves.”

“Well, I have never seen one,” said Mum.

“That does not mean they are not real. I have never seen a kangaroo, but I know they exist somewhere.”

“What are they for, these sprites you talk of? What purpose do they have?”

“They look after all forms of water,” I said patiently. “I see them, but I never interfere with them, just leave them be. I am sure they would never speak to me again if I ventured too close.”

“Oh, they speak to you, do they?”

“Yes , and they explain both the purpose of essence and of rain and how important they are to plants and trees. They told me that water contains a memory and that it is an essential commodity of nature.”

“Memory? Whatever next?”

“It is true. All life has a memory. That is why when you bend a stick or a branch enough it will stay in that position, like metal does.”

“I wish our dog would remember to do what he is told. This all sounds as mystical as your faeries!”

“Ah, but listen, Mum. If rain did not have a memory, how would it induce the energy into the earth as it does? How would it flow and give of its essence if it did not have a memory?”

“Are they dangerous, your sprites? It seems to me you are learning a lot of silly nonsense.”

“No, of course not, unless I hurt them, and I would never do that. They are my friends, and they tell me such a lot about nature.”

“Such as?”

“They tell me the rain must only come when it is necessary, because the plants need to appreciate it, just as we should, us people. When the ground is dry, and the plants are thirsty that is when they truly appreciate the rain when it is delivered. Then the water sprites dance and play in the rain, thrilled by what joy, sustenance and life it brings. They love to see the rivers flow with energy. It makes them feel lively and invigorated.”

“My, that’s a big word, ‘invigorated’. Mm, what else do they tell you?”

“That Man is cruel to nature and ignores the Natural Law. Rain is an essential commodity of the Natural Law and like all nature’s energies it must be respected, otherwise it will destroy.” “That sounds a little frightening? Why do they want to put fear into your small mind?”

“Perhaps, so that I tell you and other people, to put these thoughts into people’s minds to help them understand what is happening in the World. Mankind must start to listen to nature.”

“I see. Well, let’s dry your hair before it becomes unmanageable, like your garden water sprites, although I don’t believe they exist.”

“Some people can’t see them because they don’t look.”

Mum suddenly looked out the window.

“You were right. It’s beginning to rain now.”

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