The Story of the Water Hag
There’s a tremor in the water of a river bank where a hag sits alongside it, letting her knotted fingers soak in the coolness of its gentle flow. Against the homespun cloth that cloaks her aged body brush the bulrushes and the cattails and the water grasses. Memories flicker in her mind as small daisies press against her. She looks with longing at the water lilies, or rather the water beneath them, for, once upon a time, it had been her home. She had been a young naiad then, indeed the youngest of them all. This was the doing of the river master, who saw the naiad’s youth and delighted in her childish ways. But a naiad is not always so young. It is in engagement with humans that raises up their years and fills them with a melancholy so pernicious, that quickly they begin to drown those who come upon them. Seeking to save her from this fate, the river master protected her. But he did not see the harm in the visit of a small human child.