“It’s bad...” the Sage grimaced, his brow creasing and his head slowly shaking, “I’m losing her.”
He glanced down at her pale features; her forehead was dusted with perspiration glittering in the moonlight and her hands lay limp on the cotton coverlet, and he pre-empted the question with a prolonged sigh, “There is something, it’s a long shot, might not even work...but,” he gestured vaguely beyond the window, “up there, high on the peak, is the montis bellis perennis...the mountain daisy...” his voice trailed and disappeared along with the lad’s hopes.
But, within moments, the lad had vanished out into the shadowy night, trekking far across muddy fields, weaving through distant forest, cutting a path through murky swamps and climbing through ominous veils of meandering mists up, up and up...fingers blistering as he grasped splintering rock and eyes smarting from the violent, howling winds.
Nights passed, days passed, and her fading breath passed weakly through her dry and chapped lips; then the lad crashed through the door, disturbing the Sage and the peace, clutching a daisy, a single daisy, petals lost, petals crumpled and petals sticking to his exhausted fingers...he dropped the crushed and broken daisy into the mystic’s open hands. “Use the flower and heal her!” he demanded through his haze of delirium, “Heal her!”
“I can’t,” said the Sage, “there’s nothing left of the flower, nothing...” he watched the weary lad fall to the floor and stroked the remains of the daisy across her ashen face; she stirred, just a tiny movement, but enough, “I can’t heal her, nor can the daisy, but you have...it’s not the daisy, but the journey you were willing to make, your faith and love have healed her...see her eyes flutter open...for you, for love...”
Photograph by Lisa Shambrook