If his entrance into that world was dramatic, the happenings thereafter could have been justified.
It wasn’t like that. He was just happened upon, lying there with his big eyes, leaves mingled with his coiled black hair.
Don’t go into the buttercup woods. Those that venture there never return!
“What is it?”
The baby was poked all over his body.
“Don’t know. Never seen anything like it before.”
“Should we tell?”
“Lilia, are you crazy? Often we have been told never to…”
“Come to the Buttercup Woods.” Lilia finished the sentence. “But still, we cannot leave it here.”
“Oh. Yes. I forgot.”
“But how will we move it? We are but the size of one of his fingers!”
“Rodo, ever heard of ‘many hands make light work’?” Lilia said exasperated.
And thus began the dramatic rescue of the human baby.
Fairies, elves and gnomes were begged, bribed and threatened to help Lilia Lighthead and Rodo to get the boy out of Buttercup Woods. A hundred and twenty five of them sneaked into the forest behind Lilia and her friend Rodo, and a hundred and twenty five returned to Fayville unharmed. That included the baby.
Rodo. Stupid, silly, brave Rodo.
All Lilia found after was his hat. Even the bell was missing from it.
There was no time for crying and mourning the brave fairy.
‘It’ was quite demanding. Noisy, messy, enormous, and always hungry, the villagers moaned. Can’t we put it back?
Time stood still as all chipped in to care for the human. Oh yes, they eventually found out that ‘it’ was a human.
What will we do with it? Pia
It is going to destroy us all one day! Nura
My back is breaking! How much can such a thing eat? Lazy Liki.
“Oh do shut up!” Lilia has had enough. “Don’t you see? He can be of great help to us some day!”
And so it was.
Dani-jal grew up in Fayville, took his first few steps onto the roof of Hala’s house (but re-built it when he understood how) and became one of them. He couldn’t stay ‘it’ for ever, so they decided upon a name: Dani-jal. (Daniel)
No one ever knew how he came to be in the Buttercup Woods, but one thing was certain: he had to go back there to find out.
Lilia pleaded. Threatened even, when Dani-jal told her of his plans.
Fayvillers shook their heads. The lizard will get him. Wait and see…
“Before you go, can you do a last few things?” Nura.
“Oh, Nura, you were always such a positive little creature!” Dani-jal smiled and touched the little body.
“Strange that his eyes became silver when he smiled. Like molten lead. Only brighter.” Lilia remarked many times.
“Maybe he too is a fairy,” old Senda would say while rubbing his bony hand down his long beard. It was Senda who told them about humans. Senda knew many things. Senda also knew that Dani-jal was more than a fairy. Special. Only, he had yet to figure out how special. His elf-sense made it plain from the start, and that was the only reason he allowed the boy to remain in the secret village of fairies and elves.
Dani-jal had a large entourage up to the edge of the Buttercup Woods, but he stepped into it alone.
The days preceding the entry into the forest was spent making arrows and the best bow the villagers had ever manufactured. All the arrows had sharp tips covered with the poison from the sacred hoonida plant. This plant was even poisonous to the touch, so great care was taken not to be in touch with it while dipping the arrows deep into its fleshy leaves.
Dani-jal didn’t look back when he stepped into the woods. He had said his good-byes.
The vines hanging from the trees were thick and heavy, reaching down to the swamp below Dani-jal’s feet. He was amazed that buttercups grew in row upon row along the bases of the trees.In certain places there were little islands that allowed him to rest and pluck the leeches from his legs.
It was on such an islet that Lilia and Rodo found him.
It was gloomy in the forest. And dead quiet.
Dani-jal jumped with fright when a bird flew up from a branch just ahead of him.
He took a deep breath and started walking again. It felt as if he walked for a whole sun-shift, but he wasn’t sure, because the sun wasn’t visible in the lower forest.
In the distance a scream cut through the air. He could hear water splashing about.
The lizard! It had to be!
Dani-jal removed an arrow from the bamboo strapped onto his back and placed it in the bow. Slowly he made his way towards the sound, the bow arched as far as it was able to.
The sudden rise from below the water took Dani-jal by surprise. What he had known as a lizard came from the murky shadows and leapt at him.
The beast was strong and his teeth snapped as he tried to take a bite out of Dani-jal’s flesh.
They wrestled, rolling about in the mud. The bow snapped in half and somehow it was pried from Dani-jal’s slippery hand. The lizard milled around and around in the water, taking Dani-jal with him.
Dani-jal’s lungs felt like exploding. He needed air desperately. Unbeknown to him, he was fighting for his life with an African crocodile.
Dani-jal reached towards his back and managed to get hold of one. He slid it from the bamboo holder and in one movement he plunged it into the soft belly of the beast. Nothing happened, so he reached for another arrow.
Dani-jal could hear someone calling his name as he fought for his life.
Don’t you remember me? It is I, Rodo…
Dani-jal felt light headed, his lungs desolate from air.
You have to go home! Lilia is in great danger…
Mud sloshed through Dani-jal mouth and sand gritted between his teeth. He plunged another arrow into the underside of the monster.
Only you can save her, Dani-jal. Her light is being drained by Mawu. Only you can…
Suddenly the rolling became slower, and then…
Dani-jal threw the dead beast from his chest with great difficulty before taking a much needed breath of air. He dragged himself onto a little island and just lay there, exhausted, and bleeding.
Eventually he was able to get up, his whole body aching, and blood dripping from a gash in his forehead. Voices were audible in the distance and he stumbled towards it.
A sharp pain hit his ankle as he reached the edge of the water. He stopped just in time to see a snake slithering away, it’s mocking eyes raised just above the water
“Mmawe! Bona!” someone shouted as Dani-jal collapsed on the shore. He knew he was being carried away, but never woke up to see where he was taken to.
First Dani-jal was left in the Buttercup Woods to be eaten by a crocodile, and now he lay fighting for his life again. Who was behind the attempted murders of this child, and why? It must be someone who knew who he was... The newly born Dreammaker, crucial to survival and the happiness of humans.