On the appointed day, after lunch, I headed up to Lauder Common to meet up with the Felty Folk. It’s a bit too far for me to walk, so I took the car. I was unsure where to find them, so I headed towards where I originally saw Dod, and as I got out of the car, there was Neeva looking out for me:
“Hi Neeva. This is exciting.”
“Hi Ruth. I’m to take you to the ceremony. Follow me.” Neeva scurried off along a sheep path through the heather, and I followed on. We soon came to some gorse bushes where sheep were scratching themselves against the branches:
There was a very large bush without sheep and we stopped there.
“This is where the ceremony is taking place,” said Neeva, “the others will be here soon.”
I crouched down to see better and realised when you are the size of the Felty Folk, the branches of the gorse bush were like columns in a cathedral.
“I’m a bit too big to get in there, Neeva, and I’ll get really prickled by the gorse.”
“That’s OK. You’ll be able to see easily from outside.”
Dod and Oosie popped out from the grass. Oosie looked very excited.
“Thanks for coming to my age ceremony,” she said.
“I’m pleased you invited me, Oosie. I’m very curious about all this, can you explain it to me?”
“This is where Oosie was created,” Dod said. “The wind blew through the wool caught on the gorse branches and Oosie emerged.”
“Wow. I wondered how you got here. Is it the same for all the Felty Folk?”
“It’s pretty similar, but not always in the same places,” said Neeva.
“And this is the anniversary of my creation, quite a while ago,” said Oosie.
“Oosie has reached the equivalent of 10 of your human years. We tell the time differently to humans,” Neeva explained.
Suddenly a deep voice called,
“The ceremony is ready to begin.”
The Ghillie Dhu had arrived!
“Get ready Oosie,” he said. Oosie giggled nervously.
“I’m ready,” she said.
The Ghillie Dhu stood behind her.
“By the Moon and Stars that sparked your creation, by the Sun and the Earth that gives you life, I welcome you, Oosie, to our family, now you have reached the age of understanding,” he incanted.
“Thank you for looking after me,” said Oosie, “and showing me the Felty ways.”
“Bless you, Oosie,” said Neeva and Dod together.
“And now, I wrap this wool around you, Oosie,” said the Ghillie Dhu,
“to remind you of your creation. Do you remember Oosie?”
“Yes. I remember,” she replied.
“Let us march to The Stone,” commanded the Ghillie Dhu.
I moved out of the way and they started a procession out of the gorse bush and into the heather, and I followed on, fascinated.
It was a glorious day, with beautiful views over Lauderdale and the common:
Soon we arrived at The Stone:
“Now you can receive your gifts,” announced the Ghillie Dhu. Ooosie eagerly skipped up on to the stone. Neeva asked me if I had brought a gift, and told me now was the time to give it. I gave Oosie a small piece of coral from the Coral Beaches in the Isle of Skye.
“Thank you, Ruth. I’ve never been to the sea before, how lovely to have something from there.”
“You’re welcome, Oosie,” I replied.
Next was Dod’s turn:
A lovely stripey river stone. Then finally, Neeva with a feather:
I think they were going for a stripey theme to match Oosie’s legs.
“You look very glamorous with the wool around your neck and holding your feather, Oosie. Will you pose for a special photograph for me?”
“Where do you want me?”, Oosie simpered.
“How about next to that lovely harebell? It will match your eyes.”
“And now we dance!” cried Neeva. They rushed over and swept Oosie away to dance:
And they danced, and they danced, but I couldn’t hear the music, and couldn’t join in without treading on them, and they were enjoying themselves too much to notice me slip away, leaving them to their dancing in the heather.