Exerpt from the children’s magical nature novel, Because Of The Red Fox. Note: the characters of the novel often converse and post their unique points of view in the FoxTales blog, here on this website.
Scene: Abracadabra House – a pointy cabin in an otherworld forest, home to Elinn, the mom of Shell (the main character in the tale).
Crowded into the kitchen area of the cabin, the three cousins — Shell, Santa (Samantha), and Annie — discuss the Green with Shell’s mom, Elinn, and with a grandfatherly giant of a man, Bert. Bert, along with his Green Knight self, is an aspect of the the face made of leaves that is the mythic Green Man.
“That mist is a barrier,” said Elinn. “But the Green itself is the life force, nature’s intelligence, particularly that of the plants.”
“Plants think?” Santa sounded incredulous.
“Of course they do,” said Annie. “And they talk. They talk to me all the time.”
“Just like the teapots do,” Shell said helpfully. “And the dolls.”
“They have a very different intelligence than us,” Bert said. “I’m speaking now as a human, not as a mythic being. Now, as my Green Knight and Gamesmaster selves, I’d say that my intelligence is very similar to that of plant nature. A force moves through us—”
“The Green,” Shell said, trying to be specific.
Bert nodded. “A force and fire that is as inevitable and inscrutable and as purposeful as the moon or the sun or the wind.”
“Huh.” Shell recalled the scrap of poetry that had scuttled by in the greenwood art gallery. “‘Ic eom leg …’” She couldn’t remember the rest.
”’Ic eom legbysig, lace mid winde,/ bewunden mid wuldre, wedre gesomnad‘ … I am an active flame, at play with the wind/ wrapped with glory, storm gathered” and so on, in the very old speech. It’s just a bit of Old English,” Bert said. “A riddle and a poem. And an understanding: that everything in the universe has its own unique way of being, its code about who or what it is in all of space and time and beyond.”
“I still don’t understand,” Shell said. “You’re the Green Knight.”
With a hint of a grin, Bert nodded.
“You tried to kill Leaves and me. You killed the tree.”
Bert turned his sky-blue eyes toward Shell.
“You’re supposed to be the protector of the forest,” Shell continued. “And here you sit as a—a family friend, and yet you’re also this … rampaging green ghoul!”
Sadness swept across Bert’s face. “Shell,” he said. “You don’t remember, do you. Not anything.”
His words enraged her. “What am I supposed to remember? Why you’re both a nice neighbor to my mom and some monstrous lunatic to me? I’m trying to understand!”
“Shell!” Elinn said sharply.
Bert sighed with a smile. “It’s all right, Elinn. We all have confused emotions about who and what I am in relation to your family. You know that very well. And yes,” he faced Shell, “in every aspect of myself, I am the protector of the forest.”
Shell clenched her fists. “What does that mean—that I’m a danger to the forest?”
“Oh, never mind, Shell,” Santa scowled. “It’s just a mystery—two things that are true at the same time …”
–from Because Of The Red Fox by Jane Valencia