Maritae, the Goddess of freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams, laid back against the mountain to admire the beauty of this freshwater falls. Looking down over the waterfall, she admired all that she was charged with protecting. She smiled and closed her eyes, seeing the clear, clean freshness of her water. From a distance, she could hear the wings of a dove flapping over the water. Opening her eyes, she watched as the dove dived into the water looking for food. She watched the dove for a while then proceeded to look up the river. In the distance, she could see a canoe heading downstream and wondered who had ventured into this deserted area.
As the canoe approached, Maritae could see a man paddling furiously. His brow was dotted with sweat and he appeared to be agitated. As he came closer, she hid herself behind a rock. She knew that, once he arrived where she was, his canoe would not be able to go any further since this area was dotted with huge boulders.
Arriving downstream, Maritae watched as the man tried to find a way to maneuver the canoe around the rocks without success. Finally, he pulled the canoe over to the bank of the river and jumped out. He was a young man. His hair was black and he had the sharpest blue eyes she had ever seen before. He was taller than her and was dressed in buckskin pants and a dark blue shirt.
Standing on the shore, he examined the area in an attempt to find a way through the rocks with his canoe without success once again. Heaving a big sigh, he sat down on the edge of the water and scooped up some water to drink. Maritae watched with fascination. She had never seen anyone show up in this area before and was therefore unfamiliar with the ways of the world outside of this area. As she watched, the man stood up and looked over directly at the rock she was hiding behind as if he knew she was there.
She stayed behind the rock so that he would not see her but he already knew she was there. He snuck up to her rock and peaked over the top, smiling down at her. “Hello,” he said, “you need not fear me. I will not harm you.” “I am Dryades, the God of tree and forest nymphs. I have traveled far to try and reach a forest in trouble and am trying to find a way to get around these rocks so I may continue on.
Would you be able to help me find a way around these rocks?”
Jumping as he started talking to her, she looked up at him in fear. She had never seen any other persons before and so she was frightened of him. Once he spoke to her though, he fear subsided somewhat. Looking up at him Maritae introduced herself and said, “I am the Goddess of all fresh water and this is where I have lived for many years now. I have never seen any person here before, only animals. I am sorry that you need to find a way around these rocks because there is none. You must walk around them on the shore. There is no other way to get around them. I’m sorry I can’t help you more.”
As he listened to her talk, he was stunned at her beauty. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen before. Her long blonde hair, was soft and shone in the sunlight. She had the most beautiful green eyes a man could get lost in. Her bottom lip was full and he watched as her tongue darted out and moistened her lips. Lips he wanted to kiss.
Forcing himself out of his reverie, he smiled down at her and said, “Thank you Maritae. I appreciate your help. I must be on my way though as there are others who need me. I would love it if you could accompany me. Is that possible?” Dryades was thinking of how much he wanted to get to know her better.
Maritae was surprised at his words. She had never seen another person before, let alone been asked to leave the area she had cared for over the last several hundred years. In fact, she wasn’t even aware that there might be a world outside of her own. Looking at him she decided that perhaps she should give it a try. “I think I would like to go with you. I have never been away from here and would like to see other places.”
Smiling at her, he said, “Take my hand then and let us be off.” Dryades picked up the canoe over his shoulder and held Maritae’s hand with his other hand. Leading her away from the bank of the river, they proceeded to walk next to the river. The sand was white and was very fine to walk on. They walked for a long time all the while looking for a way to get around the boulders in the river. Finally, the boulders cleared and Dryades was able to place the canoe back in the water. Helping her in to the boat, he climbed in after her and paddled out to the middle of the river where the water was running swiftly. Soon the current caught them and the canoe was moving swiftly.
Soon they reached another area that was forested with huge trees. Maritae had never seen so many trees before. As they approached the forest, Dryades directed the canoe over to the bank. Climbing out of the canoe, Maritae could smell something unfamiliar to her. Becoming alarmed, she grabbed Dryades arm and said, “What is that smell? I have never smelled anything like it before.” Taking her hand in his, he directed her to a fallen log in the forest and then sat down next to her. “That smell is the forest burning a little distance from here. Look up above the trees and you will see smoke.” Looking up, she could see what appeared to be very dark clouds billowing over the trees. Bringing her eyes back to Dryades she said, “I don’t understand. Is this bad?” Shaking his head, Dryades said, “You really didn’t have any idea that there was life outside of your own area, did you?” Grabbing her hand again, he walked her back to the canoe. “I want you to wait here for me please. The forest is on fire and it is very dangerous for you to be close to it. I promise I will be back soon.” Watching him walk away, she feared that she might never see him again. Waiting until he was a distance away, she decided to follow him.
Arriving at the scene of the fire, Dryades was talking to another man. Maritae was having difficulty breathing here because the smoke was much thicker and it stung her eyes. She watched as Dryades helped the other man pour buckets of water onto the fire. It was not helping since the trees were much taller than those trying to put the fire out. Finally, Maritae knew she could help put this fire out. Calling on her ability to summon fresh water, the sky clouded over and it began to rain. Not just a light rain but a torrential downpour. Maritae kept the downpour going until the fire was completely out.
Dryades spoke to the person in charge of trying to put the fire out and was told that the fire was out of control and that if something was not done soon, they would lose the forest altogether. Dryades tried to help but was not any more effective than those already trying to fight it. Suddenly he noticed the dark clouds gathering over the fire and he said a silent prayer that it would rain and douse this fire before it destroyed the whole forest. As he stood there watching, the clouds opened up and the water poured down on the fire. Standing there in awe of what was happening he did not notice that Maritae had walked up to him and was smiling. She took his hand and he was startled that she had come with him. “Maritae, I think I asked you to wait for me back at the river?” “Yes,” she said, “You did but I was afraid that something bad would happen to you so I decided to follow. I saw the problem you and your friend were having with the fire and knew I could help before any more damage was done. Remember, I told you that I am the Goddess of all fresh water. You needed water to put the fire out. So, I summoned the water to help. I hope you are not upset with me. I just wanted to help you save your forest.” Shaking his head at her, he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against his chest. Picking her up slightly off the ground he hugged her tight against him. Setting her back down finally, he looked at her and said, “I hate that you risked yourself by coming here but am forever grateful that you did. If not for you, the forest would have burned down completely and it would have been years before it would be restored. This forest is home to the nymphs I am in charge of caring for. If the forest was burned completely down, they would have been forced to find another home away from this forest where they have lived for hundreds of years.” Staring into her gorgeous eyes, he bent his head down and kissed her very softly on her lips. While he kissed her, she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back. Stepping away, Maritae struggled with this, her very first kiss and the feelings that she had never felt before. “Do not fear me lovely Maritae. You are very important to me and I would love to show you the world outside of your own. Would you like that?” “Yes, Dryades, I would love that. I would love to spend my days with you from now until you tire of me.” “Maritae, my love, I shall never tire of you.”
With that, they took each other hands and walked back to the canoe. There stood the nymphs of the forest who flocked around them as they approached. “My lady, I am Hamadryas, nymph of wood. My fellow nymphs and I would like to thank you for saving our forest. Without you, we would no longer have our homes. May you go on your way with our God, Dryades, and find true happiness. If ever we can be of service to you, please let us know.”
Maritae looked at the wood nymph and smiled broadly. “Thank you Hamadryas but I was very happy to help out. I am honored that I was able to save your home. I hope to see you again sometime.”
Climbing into the canoe, Maritae and Dryades set off for parts unknown to Maritae. Years later, they sat together on Maritae’s mountain and held each other close. Dryades had shown Maritae all that the world had to offer and they were finally sated from their adventures and had settled into a life in her the glen where they had first met. As they looked into each other eyes, they knew that they had seen and done all that was possible and were happy to stay where they are now and have the life of a couple ready to create their own family.