Come, I will show you something magical. There is a glade not far from here where wonder can be beheld. Here; let us settle on this log and observe. It’s beautiful, isn’t it, the way the moonlight plays on the leaves, turns them to mirrors. They shimmer like mercury. See how it silvers the grass that covers that mound on the other side of the clearing; how it ripples very slightly even though there’s hardly a breeze. It almost looks as though the ground is breathing.
Look up. Have you ever seen so many stars? Diamond bright, all those gems, as if some sky pirate has scattered treasure far and wide, so no one being can ever gather it up again. I see you tracing out patterns, some familiar, some less so.
“It looks different here,” you say.
Indeed. For we are between here; between worlds, between planes, call it what you will. But we can see many sets of stars, a myriad of constellations. I know you will recognise Orion, Draco, Ursa Major and Minor. Others too. But some will be new. The doe, the fox, the serpent. And some are more surprising than others. You’ll see. Not long to wait now.
I see your eyes widen but you are not mistaken. It seems that the stars are moving, coalescing, taking on their true forms. And yes, here they come, tumbling and dancing, flying down from the heavens and leaving crystalline trails behind them.
The hare is first, silver whiskers twitching as she bounds, weightless, across the clearing. The fox follows and a shoal of glittering minnows dart impossibly in and out of the trees. The badger and the mouse amble across the grass and the serpent coils luxuriously around the mound that seems to draw them to it like a magnet.
Look closely. The ground is stirring. He is waking up.
A small giant, a green man made of earth and roots, bark and leaves, sits up in his loamy bed and stretches. His eyes are a deep bright green and he is smiling as he greets his friends, stretching out his hand to stroke heads and backs. A flock of birds swoop in to land on his shoulders and arms and the starry creatures whirl around him until he too stands up and begins to dance. Faster and faster they spin and turn until his guffaw of delighted laughter shakes the leaves on the trees. The star creatures fall to the grass to rest.
The green man remains standing. They wait and sure enough the last visitors arrive, gently and quietly, a doe and a stag, their feet barely touching the grass as they stop in front of the man. Such a moment of peace descends; have you ever felt anything like it?
Then the man bows to the two deer and they return the courtesy. He watches as they turn and gallop back up into the sky, the other animals following one by one. They become smaller and smaller until they resolve back into constellations, sparkling in the indigo.
The green man goes back to his earthy bed and pulls his grassy blanket over himself. He will slumber until the next turn of the wheel.