~*~The Beautiful Lady of Fall~*~
A cool breeze wafted throughout the Little Woods setting the leaves to dancing. It was the very night to wake Carl and set him upon his life’s work and joy, she thought.
The Wee One put a tiny bell in her pocket and fluttered far above the trees of the woods. The sun was still high in the pale blue sky but she had far to go before the appointed time. The further north she flew the more beautiful the leaves, on this fall night. Once or twice she stopped to look at the outcroppings of oak, beech and maple trees. Here a tree dressed in red and there one of gold or rust, delighted her love of beauty. The journey was long but so beautiful were the trees, she hardly noticed that her wings were tired.
Just as the clock in the hall chimed ten, the Wee One slipped into Carl’s bedroom through the window. Carl looked to be about nine years old as he slept silently and peacefully. The fae stood on his pillow and whispered into his ear. “Carl, please wake up there is something you must see. Wake human child and come to the window.” Carl shifted and turned over, his face now able to see the window. The fae tinkled the bell next to his ear and repeated her request for him to awaken. Carl yawned and rubbed his eyes. The Wee One tinkled the bell by the window and the child sleepily got up to see where the sound was coming from. He looked up as something seemed to glitter in the dark sky.
The fae clapped her hands with joy to see the look of wonder on Carl’s young face when he first saw Andromeda’s meteor shower in the northern sky. He suddenly could hear and see her now. The Wee One began her tale of wonder as the child’s eyes sparkled at the awakening.
She told Carl how Andromeda’s Mother Cassiopeia had boasted of her beauty. She believed herself to be more beautiful than the water nymphs, Nerieds. They had complained bitterly to their father Poseidon and he sent Cetus to destroy Ethiopia for the insult to his daughters. The only way King Cepheus could avoid this terrible destruction was to sacrifice his daughter to Cetus.
The King agreed to sacrifice his daughter rather than have Ethiopia destroyed. Poseidon sent Cepheus to chain Andromeda to a rock by the sea to await her fate. Carl listened with horror and wonder at the tale the Wee One told him. Each and every time she paused the child eagerly begged her to continue, all the while watching the meteor shower.
The fae continued her story and explained how Persus told Andromeda to keep her eyes closed no matter what fearful noises she heard. Persus then exposed Cetus to the head of Medusa and Cetus turned to rock. The child kept his eyes on the meteor showers and wondered how this magic fit into the tale the fae told.
The Wee One ended her story by explaining how the goddess Athena rewarded Andromeda for keeping her parents’ promise to marry. She pointed to the heavens where Cepheus and his Kingly crown and beside him Cassiopeia combed her star-spangled hair. The fae also showed Carl, Perseus and the Gorgon’s head glittering in the heavens.
This Fall night, as the meteor shower danced in the evening sky, Carl watched for the very first time. He fell in love with the beauty in the evening sky just as thousands of others had since the beginning of man. It was Andromeda, the spiral star that lit the spark of wonder in the child. It was Andromeda who spread her white arms across the vault of heaven just as she had when chained to the rock. Andromeda’s meteor shower on her special nights made her The Beautiful Lady of Fall. It was her beauty that would send the child on his quest for knowledge that would last a lifetime.
copyright Idris O'Neill 2001
Andromeda’s meteor shower can be seen in the northern skies on clear Fall nights.... August 31st, October 3rd and November 14th.
All the material on this page is Copyright 1999 Idris O'Neill