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Farmer Jack Allen and the Sylph: Part II – An Excerpt from Stories of Magic and Enchantment by William R. Mistele

(The image of the girl is courtesy of Cass VanBaal)


It has been a few years since farmer Jack Allen found a naked teenage girl on his porch. He kept her for a year and then she mysteriously disappeared. Well, won’t you know? It happened again.

During the night there was a thunderstorm and lightning striking a few hundred yards out. But when that storm hit, Jack Allen was not concerned. He rolled over in bed and went back to sleep. So then morning comes. The storm is gone and the dark indigo of night is just beginning to fade. Odd thing is that if Jack Allen didn’t know better he could have sworn that the birds had been up early singing at least two hours before dawn. There was a goldfinch chirping and a group of doves cooing. Most odd. Jack Allen steps through the front door and finds a girl curled up on the couch he has on his porch. She is wearing tight fitting blue jeans torn with a blood trail going down one leg beneath the knee. And a nose bleed has left a dark stain on her magenta T-shirt. She is nineteen or twenty. Blue eyes, dark hair cut short; maybe she is ninety pounds and say five foot four. But this time no storm cell accompanies the girl’s sudden appearance.

Jack Allen bends down and asks the girl, “You okay?”

The girl waves her hand as if to say, “Go away.” She closes her eyes and goes back to sleep. Jack Allen gets a wash cloth, some antiseptic, a few large band-aids, and tape. He rolls up her left leg blue jean and washes her abrasions. She doesn’t complain. Just lies there. He cuts the sticky ends off the band-aids and tapes them onto her leg. No need for stitches. He fetches a blanket and covers her with it.

Two hours later the girl comes limping through the front door into the house and sits down at the table, head in her hands. Jack Allen, figuring she is hungry, makes some scrambled eggs and toast and sets it before her. She helps herself.

Now just to be clear so there is no confusion, Jack Allen is now retired and, like before, he enjoys living alone. You could say he is a low maintenance kind of guy. Now, as you already know, the highlight of his day is still sitting on the porch watching the sun rise and later in the day watching it set again. And when he sits there watching, not a single thought goes through his mind. Perhaps in that one way only—in regard to his mental processes—farmer Jack Allen is a most unusual man.

All the same, as we already know, Jack Allen understands that life is full of surprises. And maybe when you know this secret about life, life throws a few extra surprises your way. All of which is to say, though Jack Allen is a true gentleman, he does enjoy on rare occasions such as this the company of a young woman.

After she is done eating, he says to the girl, “My name is JackAllen. You are ….?”

It takes two more days before she tells him her name— Theresa. She doesn’t say much more than that. But she is helpful. On the second day, she takes out the garbage, cooks breakfast and dinner. Funny though, some days she only eats a carrot and a strawberry or two.

She also washes the dishes. Does the laundry. Sweeps the leaves off the porch. And oddly enough, she washes all the windows on the first floor.

Now on the third day, Jack Allen sits out on the porch, as usual, watching the sun set. Theresa comes out of the house. She gives him a hard stare and then she sits down next to him.

In the last few years, having more time on his hands, Jack Allen has taken to rescuing injured animals. There was a small owl smack in the center of the road that wouldn’t let him drive by. He got out of his truck and went right up to it. Apparently, it couldn’t fly.

Jack Allen got a stick and set it near the owl and the owl climbed right up on it. He took the owl back to the farm and put it in the barn. Figured mice would make a fine owl snack.

Now what is odd, as Theresa sits next to Jack Allen, is that the little owl comes walking out of the barn toward the house. It hops up the stairs onto the porch. It then comes over, jumps up, and sits on the arm of the couch next to Theresa.And there they sit for an hour after the sun sets—farmer, girl, and owl. Pretty cute I would say. Life has these charming moments.

Theresa also had a thing for Jack Allen’s other rescues. A few months back, Jack Allen had spotted a little puppy dog in the ditch next to the road as he drove into town. He stopped, picked it up, and took it home. He lets it run around outside during the day. But at night he keeps it indoors. Not safe at night for a little puppy dog to be on its own.

And there are also three baby raccoons farmer Jack Allen found abandoned in the woods. He took them home. He keeps them in the shed. Feeds them peanuts, bread, apples, and a little dog food.

The thing is that on the fifth day since the girl’s arrival Jack Allen would see Theresa cradling the dog or a raccoon in her arms as she walked about yard or house. And she found her own rescues —she made friends with a pheasant and a couple of wild rabbits. They came right up to her. Maybe the owl had spread the world
that this was a place of animal hospitality.

On the sixth day, Jack Allen comes down to the kitchen and there on the table is a potted flower called Amethyst mist coral bells. And on the windowsill is another plant, a carefully potted—lily-of-the-valley.

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Theresa has discovered Jack Allen’s tiny flower garden. Besides those two flowers, Jack Allen has daylilies, a pretty flower. There are blue and pink Columbines and asters. And there are Ligularia with their tall spires that rise in June and July.

On the seventh day after Theresa arrived, Jack Allen drives into town for some supplies. Turning onto the main road and about a half mile down Jack Allen stops his truck. There in the ditch is a Volkswagen kombi, a little minibus. It has hippie type paintings on the side—a moon, waves breaking, mountains with snow. That sort of thing.

Jack Allen inspects it. Looks like maybe the axle is busted. The girl was lucky she hadn’t killed herself. There was also a tree struck by lightning on the other side of the road. Jack Allen figured with the wind and rain the girl took the wrong turn and, with the lightning striking so close, she lost control.

The next day Jack Allen uses his tractor to pull the kombi out of the ditch. He calls into town and asks if anyone knows how to fix it. Has a friend come out to look at the kombi. The friend tows it away. A few weeks later the kombi is back all fixed, but Theresa by then had decided to stay A few days later, Jack Allen notices something odd as he is coming into the house from out back. About eighty feet away from the house the air is slightly warmer. And then if he steps forward a few inches the air is slightly colder. “Humm,” he says aloud. He never noticed any unusual phenomena like that with the other girl.

He puts his hand up and sure enough, as he moves his hand closer to the house the air falls in temperature and as he pulls his hand back the air is warmer. He then put his hand right on the spot where the temperature changes and suddenly there is a faint flash of light before his eyes. It is like being on a mountain top and looking out into the blue sky.

But when he looks again nothing happens. But there is a feeling that went with the flash that stays with him. He feels like he weighs five or ten pounds less when he walks toward the house and the weight comes back when he walks out of the house.

Now Jack Allen is not the kind of man who draws quick conclusions when no conclusions need be made. You could say Jack Allen has a judicial temperament. Ambiguity does not bother him and he knows he only needs to decide what something is when there is a practical reason to do so. All the same, Jack Allen is slightly more alert around the girl from now on.

But it takes no special alertness to notice another odd thing. After taking a walk in the woods, Jack Allen comes down the path toward the house and stops. It is late in the afternoon. The light blue of the sky is at the edge of starting to fade. Jack Allen looks at that sky and he sees what he has never seen before. That fading light blue now seems to have twenty different shades.

There is blue violet, cyan, cerulean, light cobalt, a hint of turquoise, steel blue, cornflower, teal, aqua, celeste, maya blue ….The naming was confusing for Jack Allen. But the sight was amazing. He kept staring and asking himself, “Why haven’t I ever seen this before?” It was like the sky was a window through which he was gazing into another universe.

Now with Theresa, who still only spoke a few words each week, there came about a change in the evening ritual of sitting on the porch. One night she grabbed one of Jack Allen’s feet, takes off his shoe and sock, and gives him a foot massage.

It seems okay to him. It feels fine. It is relaxing. He didn’t realize there were so many achy muscles in a foot that were there to awaken at her touch. A day later she massages his other foot.

The following evening she massages his hands. And that is when he saw what she was doing. In touching him, she was linking their two minds together. It was that sense again of standing on top of a mountain and looking off into the blue sky.

In the valley below there were raging storms, lightning, hail, wind shears, and thunder rumbling. The storm was in conflict with hot air colliding with cold air, wet with dry, low with high pressure, electric with magnetic, and winds colliding and rolling over each other. The storm was Theresa’s soul.

But the sky above was clear, open, vast, unattached, and free of all fear—for Theresa that was farmer Jack Allen’s mind. She wanted a piece of it. She wanted their two minds to join.

Farmer Jack Allen says speaking to himself, “I spend morning and evening out here on the porch. Things are quiet and even still, as still as the night sky where the moon and stars appear. I have mind enough to share child. Help yourself. You are welcome to it.”

And each night after that when she was not rubbing his foot, his hand, or his shoulders, she would hold his hand as they sat beside each other silently. There was a point in time when nearly a year had past that Jack Allen knew she had gotten what she had come for. He could sense it. Though storms still appeared in her soul, her mind had become like the sky—whether there are storms present or not, the sky remains what it is—open, vast, free, detached, and embracing every change while itself remaining clear.

Late the next day Jack Allen takes Theresa’s hand and walks with her a ways toward the covered bridge near the woods. He lets go of her hand. And then he gestures with his own hand toward the open, blue sky above.

Theresa knows what he wants her to do. She stares at that sky and within twenty minute’s time clouds have formed and there is a heavy down pour. And then he gestures again with his hand toward the sky. Theresa stares at the sky again and then suddenly the rain stops.

Now you might wonder how farmer Jack Allen came up with the idea that Theresa could control weather like that. But the thing is that when you can go for hours on end without a single thought entering your mind you can see things and think thoughts that you never had before. Insight can come out of nowhere.

Jack Allen just knew that this was a final test, a parting gift, that he was to give Theresa. Like the other girl who once stayed with him for a year, he knew in advance she would soon leave. It was Theresa’s time to depart.

Jack Allen just knew that this was a final test, a parting gift, that he was to give Theresa. Like the other girl who once stayed with him for a year, he knew in advance she would soon leave. It was Theresa’s time to depart.

A younger man no doubt would have wanted to have his way with Theresa. But with Farmer Jack Allen this having your way thing never came up. Well, that is not exactly true.

The last night before she left, Jack Allen was in a deep, dreamless sleep. Yet even where there are no dreams you can still be alert and notice things going on. But even so you may have a hard time recalling what you observed or experienced when you wake up.

In the morning, taking a shower, half way done, it suddenly came to Jack Allen that this nineteen-year-old girl had climbed into his bed during the night and had her way with him. How can I describe it? I don’t think I can other than to say perhaps it was her way of saying “goodbye,” or just simply thanking him. Do men really understand women? Or, on the other hand, we could dismiss this event as unsubstantiated speculation and say maybe Jack Allen’s imagination was playing tricks on him.

When he comes down the stairs and looks out the window her kombi is gone. But there is a drawing on the table. It is of a little cottage out back behind the house with chimney, kitchen, bathroom, and a porch to sit on.

The message is clear: “If you build it, I will come back.”

Six months later the cottage is done. Carpenter, plumber, electrician, roofer, and painter had all finished their jobs. A week later farmer Jack sniffs the air and smells the scent of cedar wood. He looks out back and the light in the cottage is on, smoke is coming out of the chimney, and the kombi is parked to the side. Theresa has returned.

How do you explain a story like this? Farmer Jack Allen might be right to say, “Life’s greatest secret is that she is full of surprises and these surprises tend to get thrown in front of your feet if you
are already in on the secret.”

To read more excerpts from Stories of Magic and Enchantment and to find out more about William R. Mistele please visit Our Authors Page.

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About the author

Falcon Books

Falcon Books

Founder of Falcon Books Publishing, traveller, writer, artist, explorer of esoteric literature. From a land far away that is England, now living in South East Asia.

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