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Janet and Thomalyn

L IKE ALL OTHER maidens and lads, Janet grew up knowing that she must never enter the woods of Carterhaugh. Blake, Kansasnsas">The fairies that dwelt in the forest there were known by all for doing strange and evil mischief to visitors. But Janet's father, the earl, owned the land where the forest stood, "and why shouldn't I go there if I want?" she thought.

So one day Janet wrapped her green mantle about her, left her grey castle and headed to the Carterhaugh woods. As she stepped into the trees, her nose caught a scent of roses and she followed the lovely aroma to a clearing that was surrounded by rose bushes. Plucking a single large red rose, she drew the bloom to her face and its powerful scent nearly made her faint. Suddenly, a figure appeared in front of her.

Alice, Kansas"So you like roses," said a tall elf. "Roses that do not belong to you."

Startled, Janet said, "Who are you?" Gathering her senses, she drew up her chin and said, "My family owns the land of Caterhaugh, and some day

"My name is Thomalyn," said he. "I guard the forest for the Fairy Queen. This is not a safe place for a maiden like you."

"I can manage," said Janet, eyeing the elf. "Though if you know so much about the forest, and if I would like to explore it, why not be my guide?"

He was taken aback for a moment, then smiled. "Why not?"

So Thomalyn showed Janet the wonders inside the birch and pine forests - orange poppies as wide as one's hand, bluebells that covered the forest floor like a carpet. The next day Janet returned to Caterhaugh, and each day after that. All the hours she spent in pleasant conversation and forest discoveries with Thomalyn.

One day, the elf was pale and quiet.

"What troubles you?" said Janet, who was already more than fond of the elf man. "Are you worried that you're an elf and I'm human? For know this - I care not a whit about that!

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