A Picture Kelpie
Once upon a time a girl called Janet lived in the Scottish borderlands. Her father was the Laird of Carterhaugh, who owned many fields and hills, and the beautiful Carterhaugh Woods.
Janet was allowed to walk in the fields and on the hills, but she wasn’t allowed to walk into the woods.
All the children of the Borders were told the story of a boy called Tam Linn, who had been stolen by the fairies in Carterhaugh Woods. They were told the story of a fierce fairy knight who now guarded the woods for the fairy queen. And they were told never to go into the woods.
But Janet didn’t believe in fairy stories and Janet didn’t like being told what to do. So one bright October day, she crept out of the Laird’s house and strode into Carterhaugh Woods.
She walked through the tall trees. She nibbled ripe fruit and listened to tiny birds calling.
She found a stone well with a rose bush growing beside it, and reached out to pick a late flower blooming on a thorny twig.
The stem snapped.
And Janet heard a voice above her: “The fairy queen won’t like that.”