Today is, by decree fee from some of the more remote fairy courts, the Official Day of Watermaidens.
Thus, you may have found yourself wondering – quite helplessly, through no real fault of your own – how to catch a water maiden. You may have found yourself thinking of the wealth some of these water maidens are said to guard, although in truth this is only a few of the water maidens, and only in particularly cold or particularly swift or particularly deep rivers and lakes that can be explored only while holding a flower grown from a living diamond in your mouth, with a ruby formed from a broken heart in your left hand and an emerald formed from bird song in your right. Try to swim to the bottom of these lakes or rivers without all three, and you may well find the bottom, but not the gold, unless you know how to transform the laughter of water maidens into spun gold. (Most alchemists recommend starting with unicorn hair.)
Or you may be telling yourself, more practically, that a water maiden has fewer calories than the chocolate that will be going on sale tomorrow – although this, you should be warned, is not entirely true. Water maidens themselves cannot be consumed –they swiftly turn to water in mortal mouths, a defense developed against bears and other less civilized creatures – and frequently demand very luxurious, very caloric, gourmet meals. You may be better off indulging in the chocolate.
Or, you may have sipped a glass of tap water, or gulped down a bottle of pure spring water trapped in plastic, and found yourself dreaming of a wild eyed maiden with blue – or was it green? – or clear? – or dark? – hair.
In any case, you may now find yourself wanting – more than wanting, craving to summon a water maiden.
As you might guess, it is hardly an easy task, even for those living near water, even for those who have built homes on clear lakes in the hopes of seeing these maidens, contenting themselves with glimpses of birds and alligators instead. Those living near deserts may have even less hope. But. It can be done.
It does not take much: living water gathered from the earth – not the water trapped in pipes that rushes to your homes, too wild or beaten from its imprisonment to be controlled, but living water stolen from the surface of the earth – distilled starlight (best stored in bottles carved from aquamarine) – a piece of unworked turquoise, the claw of a dragon, a lace from a seven-league boot, the flight of an owl, all pummeled and mixed together. When you have it, shaking and stirring in your hands, sing.
Do not worry if you can sing or not, or if the neighbors will hear and call the police, or if the nearby dogs and cats will object to the sound. Sing.
Or, instead, take a cup of liquid in your hands as the twilight creeps upon your home, and hold it, for a moment, thinking of water maidens and other things that lurk in the shadows. Sip it slowly, and place the cup by your bed as you dream. And if, in the morning, your pillow is a little damp, and you remember hints of green and blue and clear and cool and smooth and tingly and soothing all at once –
You may find yourself singing songs of water and dreams later that day. You were warned.