Maeve was the faerie queen. For as long as the wood had been, she ruled the faeries. There had been others who wanted to take her scepter but Maeve always came out on top.
One of the laws of the wood was that no adult human saw Maeve. If they did, they were to die. So when Sir Herbert of the White came through the forest, he caught a glance at the queen. He was a kind knight who slayed dragons and saved maidens in distress and did all sorts of just and good things. Still it was the law the Sir Herbert must die.
But how? That was his choice. The faeries went to Sir Knight in a dream and let him choose. Being pure in heart, he chose to die doing a good deed.
When the folk throughout the kingdom heard the good Sir Knight was to die, they were struck with grief. Even the king was struck with grief, and grieving was not something he did often. But tears rolled down his face as he asked, “How can we save our good friend?”
Sir Herbert of the White answered the tears, “I am a mortal man. All mortals must die. When I pass, remember me and urge others to slay dragons and save maidens in distress and do all sorts of just and good things.”
Late one night Queen Maeve sat up, looking at the stars and thinking how so many faeries had given their lives to be one of those stars. It made her happy that they were remembered as such but sad that they were no longer with her.
Then she thought of the dilemma of Sir Herbert of the White. She was impressed that his was a pure soul and the world had few pure souls. She was saddened that such a soul had to die. The law was the law but mercy was mercy as well. Was there a way to circumvent the law, allowing Sir Herbert of the White to live?
She studied and her astrologers studied they came to the same answer. Sir Herbert of the White had to die.
After a bit, she went to the Lake of the Lakes, dropped the tip of her wand into its waters and stirred. The Lake spoke to her, “There is a way if you have the courage to follow it.”
“I have the courage,” Queen Maeve answered.
“You must die,” The Lake spoke again.
Queen Maeve wished with all her heart she might save Sir Herbert of the White. But not enough to give her life. Sir Herbert of the White must die.
Finally Queen Maeve’s curiosity overcame her. Before he died, she must see this brave knight so many were mourning for.
Three nights before Sir Herbert of the White was to die, the Queen of the Faeries slipped away from her court. Alone she went through the forest. She met the Big Bad Wolf and huffed and puffed him out of her path. She met the Three Bears. She wanded them out of her way. They were too big and too small and not just right. She passed Humpty Dumpty just as he fell off his wall. She even passed the chicken crossing the road.
In the distance she saw Sir Herbert’s campfire. His horse was peacefully grazing on the green grass. Sir Herbert was fast asleep. She sneaked up on him as soft as soft could be. And she glanced at the knight.
Her heart was smitten. In other words, she swooned and fainted. Cupid’s arrow hit her so hard she was out like a light. Some hours later Queen Maeve woke up and realized what had happened. There was no way she was about to let her true love die. If it was her life that was required, it was her life that was to be given.
Fortunately, there was a great and powerful wizard passing through the forest on that very night. On his way to a destination that was most secret, he decided to take a detour. He had never seen the forest and it was a must-see in Rick Steves’ Tour of the Kingdom. So he decided he could afford a little off-the-beaten-path time.
He crossed into the forest and a squirrel approached him. ‘O Great and Powerful Wizard, you must save our friend, Sir Herbert of the White.”
As Mr. Wizard investigated the situation, he realized there was a solution no one had thought. Sir Herbert of the White must be transformed into a faerie.
And so it was written. And so it was. And to this day, Sir Herbert of the White rules beside Queen Maeve as King of the Faeries. And there is much rejoicing throughout the Wood.