On a sunny afternoon as the wind whispered through the leaves, my dog and I visited the stream down the hill from our house. I fell into a trance as I watched the water flow over the rocks in the bed of the stream, while my dog tried to chomp on every gnat and mosquito in mid-air.
Feeling as though I was being watched, I looked up from my water gazing to find two gnomes standing on the bank across the stream. After friendly greetings were exchanged, the female gnome with long braided blonde hair and bright green eyes told me her name was Wendy. The male gnome with dark hair and a beard was Ted. “Like the bear,” he added.
Wendy and Ted told me they lived on top of the hill where, a few years ago, a developer built some houses. I had the impression that the developer built his houses very near, if not on top of, their home. I asked Wendy and Ted, “Did it not make you angry when the developer did that?”
“Angry? Yes, at first,” Ted replied. “But now we only feel sad. Not for us, but for you and others who mourn the loss of the forest.”
Wendy, smiling sadly, added, “We are doing fine. We just pulled our home deeper into the Faerie lands. It is you and your neighbors who must suffer the loss of so many trees.”
“When Wendy and I first settled here so many years ago, this,” Ted gestured to the hill behind him, “was all old growth forest. The only humans we saw occasionally were the native folk, which you know today as the Cherokee, and they respected the forest.”
Wendy added, “Remember, Ted, there were also more of the native faerie folk. The Yunwi Tsunsdi were all around at that time.”
Ted nodded, “I remember, Wendy. These woods were full of those good folk.”
Wendy, in a soft wistful voice, almost a whisper, added, “And we lived in peace. We, the Yunwi Tsunsdi, and the Cherokee had no trouble with one another. We lived in harmony with each other and the land.”
Ted frowned, “Then the white settlers came and sent the Cherokee away on the long march, far away from their homes.”
“What about the Yunwi Tsunsdi?” I asked.
Wendy had tears in her eyes. “Many of the Yunwi Tsunsdi went with the Cherokee on their long march far away, for the Yunwi Tsunsdi see themselves as protectors of the Cherokee people. Many others of the Yunwi Tsunsdi could not bear to see their Cherokee Children treated so badly, and they retreated deeper into the forest, where they still remain to this day.”
Ted, looking about, remarked, “This hill sure has changed since we’ve lived here, has it not, Wendy?” Wendy nodded. “The white settlers cut down all the forest. Later, a group of settlers planted apple trees.”
“The apple trees were nice,” added Wendy.
“Yes, dear, the apple grove was nice, but they did not take care of it. Then they cut down the grove!” Ted declared, shaking his head. Looking me in the eye, he added, “Wendy and I have seen many changes on this hill, and we will see a few more changes before the old growth forest returns.” Maintaining his eye contact with me, Ted continued, “And the ancient trees will be back one day, and Wendy and I will still be here to welcome them and the Cherokee people back home.”
With that, Wendy and Ted bade me and my dog a good day and vanished into the hill.