“Well. Now that’s all settled, I think we should be getting home,” Ivy said. “If you have no objections, Mother?”
“Even if I had, would you listen to me, Iliana?” the Fairy Queen said wearily. “Go on then, do as you wish.”
“Come on then, Darrick. It’s been a long day and the children need rest.”
They took their leave of the council and the remaining creatures, Jane saying a fond farewell to Ataneq whilst Mary waved to Charon as they left. Ivy stopped to thank Euthalia personally for watching out for her family.
Euthalia seemed to turn a peculiar shade of pinkish green. “It was the least I could do for Darrick Oak-knower. After all, he saved my life.”
“I did? When?” Darrick replied in surprise.
“Yes - years ago, when you protected my oak grove from the wood-cutters. I was the tree they almost felled. Why did you do it? I’ve always wanted to ask.”
Darrick’s fingers curled around his wife’s. “That was the grove where I first met Ivy. I felt it was sacred to me.”
“Ah.” Euthalia smiled. “Then it worked out well for both of us.”
Taking leave of Euthalia, the little family made their way out of the forest.
The paths were familiar to Ivy and she took her family through the old haunts of her youth from ages past. Jane and Mary stared with wonder at each new creature that Ivy introduced to them. Darrick found himself looking at his wife with new eyes.
“Be quiet here,” Ivy said, stopping suddenly. “This is the haunt of the Yara-ma-yha-who.”
“Who?” Mary asked with wide eyes.
“He’s only been here a few hundred years, but he’s extremely dangerous. He knows who I am, though, so you should be safe - but let’s not chance it anyway.”
They tiptoed through the foliage that Ivy gestured at. Darrick looked around warily, but didn’t see anything.
“What was that all about?” Darrick asked once they’d left the place and Ivy indicated that they were safe.
“Just a precaution,” Ivy replied. “The Yara-ma-yha-who preys on living people by draining their blood over and over again.”
“Like a vampire?” Jane asked.
“Wow, I didn’t know that Fairyland could be so dangerous,” Mary said.
“Every world has it’s own dangers, dear. Just as in our normal human world, you take care to avoid snakes and poisonous spiders as well as lions and tigers and panthers, there are creatures in the fairy world that you need to avoid or at least be wary of.”
“Will we come back again, Mother?” Mary asked.
“Yes - yes, we will,” Ivy said, looking at Darrick.
He nodded slowly, “But only with either your mother or me. At least until you’ve learnt what to be careful of.”
Ivy could almost see Darrick’s relief as they stepped out of the Old Kingdom into the familiar forests of his youth.
“You really don’t have to worry so much, you know,” she said, smiling.
“Wasn’t it you who said we should beware of the who-thing?” he retorted.
Back to the theme list.
The Yara-ma-yha-who is a creature from Australian Aboriginal folklore. This creature resembles a little red man with a very big head and large mouth with no teeth. On the ends of its hands and feet are suckers. It lives in fig trees and does not hunt for food, but waits until an unsuspecting traveler rests under the tree. It then drops onto the victim and drains their blood using the suckers on its hands and feet, making them weak. It then consumes the person, drinks some water, and then takes a nap. When the Yara-ma-yha-who awakens, it regurgitates the victim, leaving it shorter than before. The victim's skin also has a reddish tint to it that it didn't have before. It repeats this process several times. At length, the victim is transformed into a Yara-ma-yha-who itself. According to legend, the Yara-ma-yha-who will only prey upon a living person, so (hypothetically speaking) you could survive an encounter with this monster by "playing-dead" until sunset; the creature only hunts during the day.