Long ago, in a tumbledown cottage in the middle of the dense, dark woods lived a wild, reclusive man who was a shape-shifter. Sometimes he was an ogre, sometimes a werewolf, rarely he was an ordinary man. A young girl of around 18 lived with him; she was his servant, and he dominated and terrorised her. She had lived there since she had been very young, but did not know how she came there; she had vague memories of another time when she was a small child, with kind people, hazy images of a woman she thought might be her mother. She thought the man had maybe kidnapped her, and now she knew no other life.
She dreamed all the time of escaping from him, from his cruelty and oppression, but did not know how. If she only had wings to fly away, like the birds… She threw crumbs to those birds who came every day and flocked around the house, and whispered to them:
“Sometimes I can almost feel my body dissolving, into a kind of pillar of light….I try to turn my whole physical essence, into something pure, like light, or crystal.” The birds were her only friends, and they listened, and cooed sympathetically. They looked at her with their round bright eyes and she knew they would help if they could. It gave her some comfort.
Her unhappiness was so intense that she often felt that she was falling apart and dissolving. She prayed for an answer, a rescue, every day. At night the moon shone its silvery crystalline light onto her face through her bedroom window, and she felt as if her body was floating up into the night sky to join it.
One day she went into the woods to collect firewood. As she was stooping to pick up a branch, a large black bird swooped down in front of her: she thought she recognised him as one of her friends who visited their cottage. He held something in his beak, and dropped it at her feet. She picked it up: it was a large, beautiful silvery-clear crystal. As she handled it, she felt the glow of its power, and knew that it had magical properties. She dropped the firewood, and crumpled into a sitting position, She held the crystal and gazed into it; she knew it would help her, knew it was her means of escape. The light and power shone out of the crystal and into her, coursed through her body. She stayed there many hours…..
When the girl had not come home by supper-time, the shape-shifter went to search the wood. He did not find her but in a clearing was a kind of pillar of clear crystal, around 5 feet high, in the rough shape of a girl. The man knew it was her, that she had transformed herself and escaped him. He cursed and wept. He knew he had driven her to this, and was wild with regret, too late.. She had been his daughter.
Picture courtesy of www.crystalinks.com