In some cultures, it is said that there are four directions, four dimensions which create the illusion of time. Four is the foundation, the beginning of totality of completion and of order. Four is Totality, plentitude and perfection. The Great Temple of the Fortunate Island has four sides which in their totality symbolize order of the four bodies of human and kingdoms of nature – of animal, plant, mineral and consciousness. These are the more metaphysical ways of looking at the Mysteries of this number.
Personally, the number four has always had a particular significance in my life. I was a mere child of four when my mother died. My daughter Maeve was four days old when I had to send her into the Mists to the Court of King Nuada in order to save both of our lives. That act left she and I both to be estranged for the whole of her life. I am the mother that she never knew. I only wish that she could have known the kind of love that I had known from my mother, albeit, however brief a time in my life that it was. It was no less something very precious.
“Look, Faelyn,” my mother held open her hand. On it shimmered several brightly coloured stones. The green ones catching my eye more than the rest, “one of these is for you,” she said, “but only if you can tell me how many there are and what kind of stone they are.”
“Pretty!” I said reaching out for the green one. But she pulled her hand away just out of my reach with a playful laugh.
“Yes, they are pretty, but not as pretty as you, Lamb,” she wrapped her arms tighter about me as we sat on that grassy little mound beneath the gnarled gnarled branches of a huge and ancient oak tree. “If you will count them for me, Faelyn, then you may have your favourite out of them all.
I turned in her lap to look up at her face with a child’s adoring eyes. Could I remember those words that indicated just how many of something there was? Would I be able to remember the things that she had told me about the different stones – just as she had about the different flowers and trees in the forest. There was so very much to learn. I did not know how I could possibly learn it all.
She brought her hand back in front of my and let me touch each of the stones one, by one. There was a red one that had several jagged edges and an undulating curve. I touched it lightly with my fingers and sighed, “One…”
“Yes, that is one,” my mother said, the sound of her voice reverberating through my back, “what is it?”
“Gahnet,” I said, “for when you go- bye.”
“Yes! Very good, Faelyn!” she hugged me, “it is very good for protecting you while you are travelling. Excellent.” She pointed to the next stone, a gnarled blue one that was robin’s egg blue,”How about this one?”
“Tuh-koiz” I tried to sound ever-so-serious, “Uncle Angus puts it on his horse’s harness.”
My mother nodded, “Yes, that is turquoise. And what number is that? How many does that make?”
“Two.” I shrugged simply.
More praise came from my mother for knowing the number and the properties of the stone. The third stone was a piece of amber, lighter and more translucent than the others. It felt warmer to my touch than the others.
“For the necklace for the ladies of the Island,” I murmured, holding it up to the light of the morning sky to glimpse the sunlight through the trees, “Can Faelyn have one, too?”
“When you are older, of course you may,” my mother brushed a stray curl away from my forehead with her other hand. “But don’t be in such a hurry. I want to enjoy my little Fae princess while she grows up.” She wrapped her arm around me, “How many is that?”
At last, only the green stone that beckoned to me was left. I picked up the smooth surface that had been polished to a lovely sheen and held it with both of my hands.There was something within it’s depths that resonated deep within my very small child self. It was as if the entire forest, with it’s trees and gentle herbs within that sylvan place where we lived radiated there. My mother watched my face as I fondled the stone and smiled.
“That’s the one you want, isn’t it?” she asked.
I only nodded.
“What is that stone?” her gentle voice prompted.
“Yes,” she said softly, “and what do you do with that stone?”
“That stone is for the forest, for making the bad sick go away, when your heart hurts.”
My mother nodded this time. There was a long silence, “Yes, she said, “and for when someone loves another person and they are very special to them. I was hoping you would pick that one, Faelyn,” she kissed the side of my forehead. “and what number is that?”
“Four,” I murmured, lost in the depths of the emerald, in the green fire that I held within my child’s fingers.
“Yes, my lamb, that is four. And that is how old you are today.” She breathed another kiss onto the top of my head. I turned giving her a quick glance and went back to staring at the green stone that I turned over and over in my hands. “Happy Birthday, little one,” she said.
I glanced up at her once again, her eyes were melancholy. Even the child that I was could tell that there was something on her mind. But as we sat there in that little corner of the forest, the bees buzzing lazily around the profusion of flowers and greenery, little did I know that things were about to change drastically. It was that year that I lost my mother, but I never forgot that day.
And to this day, I still have that stone.
Muse: Fanny Fae / Faelyn
Fandom: Original Character / Folklore / Mythology
Word Count: 1027