"Once upon a time..." Well, isn't that how all good folk tales begin? This is the tale of a young gypsy girl named Rosella.
Rosella lived with her grandmother in a modest cottage in the woods. Her grandmother, the wisest woman she knew, told Rosella stories of the Guardian of the Forest, Patrin (his name meant "trail of leaves"). Patrin liked to leave gifts for humans to find, humans who had shown kindness to nature. Gifts like feathers and flowers and small tumbled stones. Rosella had already accumulated quite the collection of these gifts for she was always mindful of her environment. Her grandmother would tell her ,"You can't stand for what you believe in if you have no ground to stand upon." Rosella loved her grandmother and the forest where she lived.
Her favorite spot in all the world was beneath an old tree in the middle of a field of flowers. Its outstretched branches were home to many birds and squirrels. Its roots merged into a mossy tapestry; and in that tree's shade, Rosella would sit, rain or shine, and feel completely at peace.
One day, just as Rosella arrived, she noticed a man with an axe about to chop down her beloved tree. She pleaded, "Please Sir, I love this tree."
The man explained that he had no money for firewood which he needed to keep his family warm and fed. Rosella had no money either. But she did have a heart necklace! It was a gift from her grandmother... "Grandma would understand," she thought. She gave the man her necklace to sell. He thanked her and agreed to never harm the tree.
When Rosella returned the next day, to her delight, she found a wooden heart pendant, bound in strings woven from wildflower petals, hanging on the tree's lower branches!
It was from Patrin and never had she seen a more magical gift! Rosella thought to herself, "What they say is true! If you take care of nature, it'll take care of you!"