The Water Nymph

The smell of sweet blossoms fills the air. The Water Nymph sleeps at the bottom of the well, only surfacing when visitors come to fill their pails. She observes them as an unseen presence.

Until one day, a young lad comes for a refreshing draught. Then he sits atop the well wall to strum his lyre and sing. The music is sweet and the Nymph emerges to dance about him. Because he is sensitive, he perceives her. They are each surprised by one another. They converse as the sun traverses the sky and they grow fond of one another.

As the air grows thick and hot, the young man comes often to quench his thirst and spend time with the Nymph, watching her dance as he performs his hymns to her.

When the leaves turn to colors of cinnamon and amber, the young man still comes to visit, but just a little less. He seems to become sad. She tries to cheer him with her cool caresses and dewy kisses. He smiles just a little.

A chill settles in across the land. The young man treks across the virgin snowfall to the well. He bothers not for drink and only sits with his back against the stones. The Nymph comes forth to see he has traded his lyre for a blade.

“What for is that?” she asks. “To release my sins,” says he. “You wouldn’t do that,” she replies with a coy smile. She kisses his cheek, but he does not look at her. Before she realizes what has happened, his wrists are laid bare and bleeding. The cuts are deep and the blood flows quickly over the snow. She screams, but no one can hear her. She sits with him until he’s empty. With the songs now gone, she gathers him up and takes him deep down to the bottom of her well.