As he sailed through the waters all day long. He wondered how much further he had to go before he crossed the whole swap. Whoever put it here, put here for a purpose, he thought, but why here? Bedrich was hoping to reach land soon as he felt his belly grumble. He took out a biscuit from his bindle and began to eat. “I wonder what lives here?” he said to no one.
“Well, we do,” spoke out a female voice.
“Who said that?” said Bedrich.
The voice giggled, “I did.”
“Who goes there?” Bedrich looked around but saw no one. “I can hear you but can’t see you. Are you frightened?”
“Of a brownie. Why, you don’t scare us.”
“Well then, come out?”
A Psychai flew before him. A Psychai is butterfly nymph who are often confused with pixies or fairies. She had the body a human female. During the day their wings display a beautiful array of colors and by night their colors glow, supposedly to mesmerize the onlookers. They were friendly and social creatures but they also lived in the most wretched places. Nobody knows why.
“Why, it’s only you,” Bedrich chuckles.
“You’ve looked like you’ve traveled a long way,” she said.
“I have,” Bedrich says.
“Would you like to join us for super?”
“I certainly would.”
“Follow me,” she flew away rather quickly, but Bedrich was able to keep up. She leads him a few miles further when he comes to a stop at a beautiful place not in the trees but on the ground. A village built of little wooden huts made from branches and other plant materials. The huts are nestled together among the trees, surrounded by Spanish moss, camouflaging with the rest of the swamp. They like to live near water not high up in the trees as one would think. A long rows of ramps connected to one hut to another, some of these huts were even three floors high.
“This is where we live,” she says. “You can leave your boat here. It won’t float away.”
“It is lovely indeed,” Bedrich takes his bindle on a stick over his shoulder and begins to walk toward the village. She takes him to a hut where other Psychai have gathered for a feast. Bedrich gladly sits among them and fills his belly with all the delicious foods before him. His favorites are the cakes of different flavors and kinds. He was happy the Psychai’s had the same appetite as he did especially for sweets of any kind. After the feast, Bedrich becomes talkative with the butterfly nymphs.
“Maybe some one can tell me what happened to this part of the woods,” Bedrich says. “I don’t recall a swamp ever being here.”
“Oh, we don’t know ourselves,” one nymph said. “We came upon it when we were chased out of our home.”
“Who chased you out of your home?” Bedrich said.
“It was a beast, a hybrid of some kind. They use to abound many, many years ago.”
“They called it a crocotta, I’ve heard.”
“Vicious creatures they were.”
“One crept up into our home while we slept. We woke up in time before it killed us all.”
“A crocotta?” Bedrich was in awe. “My cousin, Leos saw one pass by his home. He lives in the Black Forest, west from here.”
“This one wasn’t alone. He walked with a hunter!”
“So we came here, to get away from it. The swamp was already here.”
“We didn’t know where else to go.”
That night the Psychai invited Bedrich to stay over the night which Bedrich gladly accepted.
to be continued…..