Wood Nymphs and Hide and Seek


Maureen and Noreen Fitzgerald, two maiden ladies of uncertain age and temperament, lived west of town on a huge acreage called Blackwoods.  You could tell them apart when you sat behind their pew in church for Maureen’s white hair sported a lavender rinse and Noreen’s crowning glory shone with a blue tint.


Since these ladies never mingled with any of the townspeople it was quite a shock when three mothers received an invitation to tea at Blackwoods; not for themselves, but for their children, Scoot, Mig and Annie.


The kids scrubbed and bewildered, entered the sister’s dining room where they were seated at a small table laden with sandwiches and cookies.   The sisters’ cat, Napoleon, joined the party and lay with his tail in Scoot’s plate.  In a wink of an eye the yellow feline jumped up and knocked over Mig’s glass of milk.  The sisters laughed merrily at the horrified looks on the children’s faces as they swatted the animal off the table as if nothing had happened.


Then Maureen asked, “Would you girls like to play a game of hide and seek among the trees here at Blackwoods?”


“Our cousin is going to visit with her toddler, Humphrey G., “ Noreen explained, “and we have told him stories about the wood nymphs in our trees.”


The sisters wanted the girls to amuse the little fellow by darting about in consumes, just out of his reach, not to scare him, but to amuse him.  Somehow, the girls left Blackwoods with a lumpy bag with a lumpy bag of valuable costumes and a strange feeling that they had agreed to the unusual plan.


Later, after the girls had fulfilled the sisters’ request, the whole story came out at recess.  First the girls ran into barbed wire fencing, and then they fell down holes and into a hidden gully.  They crashed through blackberry patches and rolled across stony ground with running blindly through the trees.  They had scratches and cuts to prove it and the beautiful costumes were in tatters.


The aging sisters had failed to realize that a toddler grows up and quickly and Humphrey G. was now eleven years old and capable of throwing rocks at wood nymphs; resulting in the girls’ wild flight through the trees.


Even so, Scoot, Mig and Annie hated to face the Fitzgerald sisters, but were unavoidably collared after church the next Sunday.  The old ladies said enthusiastically, “Thank you, our little wood nymphs for making Humphery G. so happy.  He said it was the best time he ever had at any cousin’s house.”


Mary Elizabeth Mruzik

Pacific, Missouri