|Source: Wikimedia Commons|
The wyvern stalks along the sandy shore: it does not know what it is looking for. Espying a child sitting on the beach, up it creeps and at the child it peeps.
‘Dearest young one of skin so pale,
I do not know what I am looking for.
Would you be so kind
As to help me find what I am a-searching for?’
The pair together, we shall not fail.’
the wyvern hisses through fangs so sharp. Upwards peers this little babe of skin so pale and hair so fair, with not a flicker of fear nor a dash of despair.
‘Why Miss Wyvern, how you startled me so, when upon me you crept!
What a beguiling request,
I surely cannot refrain.
Grant me a moment, my effects to gather, and I am at your behest.
Lo, it is done, I am yours to direct.’
Hand in wing, the pair set off on the stony beach with rocks quite grey and grains all yellow. What an unusual quest, and such a strange pair: kid and serpent, together entwined; on the strangest of hunts to find an object unnamed.
Eyes up and eyes down, feet left and feet right, they search all day and into the night; but try as they might, they cannot locate what the wyvern cannot recall.
‘Oh, but how this is useless; useless;
I must despair of ever finding my object
On this quest so fruitless.’
howls the poor creature, full of dismay.
‘But lovely Miss Wyvern,
We have stones overturned and gulls’ nests burgled,
But that basket of treats filled high,
Has not yet its contents to us gurgled.
Come, let us thither. From our quest we must not diverge.’
The kind child of mind so wise clasps the wyvern by the wing, and toward the basket they begin marching. The wyvern, lustrous scales a-glitter and sly eyes a-twinkle, cannot help but shiver with prospect and dance with glee at the thoughts of finding what it is that she is looking for. Having plundered the basket, they find nothing but cakes—not a clue about the thing for which they are looking.
Come, let us go.
We shall not find it here.
Just for my sake,
When you find what you hold so dear,
How will you know?
Queries the babe of hair so fair and skin so pale.
I do not know:
Perhaps an explosion of joy,
But I cannot decide.
My mind is so coy.
From my instincts, knowledge must flow.
And the child nodded sagely to this pronouncement from the bowels of despair. All of a sudden, with a screech of delight, Miss Wyvern unfurls her great wings and sails into the night. Her scales, blue as the night, are quickly lost from the poor child’s sight.
But! From not a hundred yards away, come the cries of two wyverns, as clear as the day. Over rushes the child, overwhelmed with joy. Spying Miss Wyvern with another of her ilk, she approaches and in a voice soft as silk:
Miss Wyvern! From the echoes of your screeches so loud,
I see that you have forgotten me quite quickly:
I, who helped you in your quest so deftly.
Although it gives me great pleasure that you have your object found.
And with a wail of dismay, the stricken child dashes away. Swiftly the wyverns follow with a swish of the tail and a dip of the head. Catching the child, sayeth the wyvern:
Dearest young one, of skin so pale,
Forgive me the slight,
We wyverns are brutal folk, although swift in flight.
I hope we have not caused you too much to ail,
I was merely overjoyed at finding my child:
It was for him that I searched,
And was driven so wild.
A swipe at its teary eyes and all is forgiven.
No, the brute, it is I!
I should not resent you
That much I see true.
It gives me delight,
To witness such a joyous reunion.
I shall leave you in peace,
To enjoy your communion.
The little babe of heart so kind and mind so wise proffers its hand in a farewell gesture. The wyverns embrace it, and the wind calms for an instant in their perfect circle of happiness. As the child turns its back, Miss Wyvern tosses a shell high into the air and calls out:
Hark, young infant,
For the boon you have granted,
I gift you this shell, it is rather enchanted,
Blow on it in your hour of need and I shall your woes recant.
Clutching the shell very close to its heart, the child turns around and makes into the dark.