Who sits by the ford, wringing her hands as she wrings the rags of the old year? She is old and weary and her lament is an eerie background rattle against the sounds of the rushing stream and the whine of the wind through the trees as their leaves fall onto chill waters or drift away on the back of the wind.
Would you cross the ford? Will you meet her in the swirling waters? She may ask you a riddle. She may ask for a rhyme. Or require you to wring out a rag for her.
“Where are you going my pretty one?”
What will you answer?
“I bring you a gift old Elder Mother. I bring you some wine from the berries of your tree. I pour it here now your leaves are fled and carried away on the wind with your sighs.”
“Pour your wine then”, she may reply, out of her emptiness, out of the cave of her endless night. And her plaintive voice say:
“Shall you pass?”
Why is it you that should answer that question?
“O Wraith of the Night, what I have brought thee is truly offered and comes from my heart. It is but a token of what I can offer, out of becoming when nothing is.”
“Then pass, o neophyte of the Night, pass with the winter that is upon us. When that has passed and you have crossed over, the way shall be open and the deed is done.”
And the deed is done.