Written by Matthew

This work was last updated February 11, 2020

One is chosen every new cycle. Sometimes it is someone we know. Someone we care for,
deeply at times. Other times only the history books keep them in their memory. But it is always
someone. One every new year. This year is no different, this is no surprise. No different also
because I am here. Now do not get confused young one, I am not as old as time. I have not seen
the first choosing, though I have seen many. Over 700 full moons have lit my withered face. Like
our mutual friend The Great Oak I also stand tall despite my age. But I digress child. No one
knows when the first was offered to him, and no one knows the last. It is only my responsibility
to dwell on such things. It is well recorded, I’ll have you know, that each and every choosing had
its purpose. The local troublemaker, the over indulgent troubadour, or the corrupt leader were
favourite choices in the beginning. But that proved too random, and too messy. Now they are
chosen, not by lot in life, but by fate. Each one serves a purpose, and this one on my 702nd moon
is no different.
Let me show you what I mean child. Come with me and I will show you why this must be
done. Follow me. You have no doubt become used to the elegant tapestries of the great hall. The
ancient stone walls speak to you no doubt. The twisted chambers yell back their echoes.
Different from the hum of the market, no? Or perhaps you prefer the lull of your abode? No time
for that now. Now, and you’ll see this right up ahead, now we walk. Aha there it is. You see, we
exit not through the front gate but the back one. Can you see the beauty? Right in our backyard
there is a large willow tree. Smell the air of cedar wood. Watch your foot for the toadstools as we
walk, wouldn’t want to make them angry. Listen to all things that crawl, walk, and fly. The sun
parts the leaves and the breeze brushes our cheeks. Don’t mind the huldufólk following you.
They simply know. They always do. Let us leave our home behind. For the past is also behind.
Let us leave it with our hovels of thatch and wood which the forest so generously provides us.
Let us leave the cozy hearths and the running springs. Also, the hot springs, cannot forget them,
especially in the winter months. Let us leave behind the people. The chief yes, but also the
children that just started at our new school. Do you remember helping build it a few moons ago?
Of course you do, your daughter is enrolled is she not? She will make a fine young student of
mine. And do not worry for them, your partner will look after them. Your ceremony was
wonderful while we are on the subject; just how you wanted it, your partner said to me that night.
They had not seen you that happy since you two met. Ah young love -ouch.
Yes, I am alright. I tripped on my robes and knocked a huldufólk. I am so sorry, forgive
me little one. Now, where was I? Ah yes. Do you know why we leave that all behind? No? To go
deeper into the forest ha! Yes, that was a joke. Stop snickering it was funny. Obviously, we go
deeper into the evergreen forest. We search The Great Oak, like your father did before you. I
believe your father’s mother did the same. How fate has favoured your family. Your birthmark is
legendary my dear. The animals can sense it. Do you see them looking at you? That doe over on
your right is bowing. The squirrels follow us. The huldufólk of three feet tall run with them.
They scramble around our legs yipping and cheering. Makes it bloody hard to have our ending
conversation. The bear moves its sleeping position to let us past. They sense it. I know you do
too. Just around this bend first. There it is. The Great Oak. Look at it stand in its magnificence.
Behold its majesty. The wood smoke is a haze in the air, breathe it in. And look at the fireflies,
watch them dance. Hmm, there weren’t this many in my audience last time. But no worries. This
winter must have been especially tough for them.
Now, I put my hand on your shoulder to comfort you child. The daisies mark your path.
You must step into the trunk of The Great Oak.
Listen to me child. I understand you are afraid. I too have known fear. But what is our
fear compared to theirs? Look at the huldufólk. Look at the hundreds here right now. Their small
hands, their wide eyes, their gentle smiles. What is our fear to a hundred souls. Do we have a
monopoly on emotion my dear child? You are right. Of course, we do not. Now let them lay you
to rest my child.
My child, may the huldufólk be kind. What is one for the ancient ones? What is one for
those who provide for us? Do we not owe them? The sweat on our brow, the food in our bellies,
the smile on our lips. Do, then in turn, you not owe them? You are chosen my dear. What is one
life for a thousand lives? What is one life for a hundred lives you know? What is one life for
three lives you care for? What is one life when you are chosen?
That is it my child. Lay back down.
Yes, I will take care of your child. Yes, I like the name you picked out for her. I did know
that you convinced your partner to name her that. Your favourite name I understand. Yes, I did
know another baby is on the way. They will be safe I promise you. Yes, even your dog.
Yes, it is beautiful. The weather is nice today.
Yes, the huldufólk seem to like you. They always like the one who is chosen.
My child.
You are stalling.
No, please do not get up. Sit back on the tree. Let it embrace you.
Stop, sit. Do not kick the huldufólk. Child. You bring their wrath. Do not make them. I
cannot watch. The Great Oak takes what it wants. What it needs. What it deserves. You must
know this. Huldufólk be kind by you. Fólkvangr be kind to you.
That’s it. Let the branches muffle your screams. Let the birds sing you to sleep. Stop
fighting against the vine. Do not fight against the earth. For you are now one. You have been
chosen my child. You have seen the world. And that was enough. Now it is time to give yourself
to the huldufólk. Let someone else see the world. Yes, they drink from The Great Oak sap even
now. They bring us presents. They protect us. You are doing a great service.
I cannot hear you young one. You are muffled. But you can still hear me.
Shh. To sleep now. It will not be long. The huldufólk will meet you on the other side. I
give you my thanks. You only resisted at the end. Usually the huldufólk must drag them. You
were so good. Everyone in Farbrook gives you thanks. Your wife and children give you thanks.
The little ones give you thanks. Now sleep.


Exert from the manual of the chosen, page 457. Concerning the chosen: (illegible).
It was year (illegible). As always it rang in the new year as per tradition. The chosen
(illegible) was given that (illegible). They served Farbrook well. The best (illegible) in town
some said. Many loved them, there was weeping at the ceremony thereafter. The elder had said
they had gone with a smile. They left behind a partner, a daughter, and a (illegible). Their
children went on to create the first library in the town. It was named after their (illegible). The
choosing skipped a generation, but the family had another chosen. Their granddaughter,
daughter’s son, was also chosen to the huldufólk. On the subject of (illegible) they performed
admirably and will always be remembered as the 457th saviour of this town. Speaking of,
Farbrook was said to have a good harvest that year. The chief was in good health, and the heiress
returned to the chief from her time away. We welcomed seven new arrivals into Farbrook. We
lost only one to lycanthropy. No curses were reported. The local (illegible) was found to be
conspiring with (illegible) and it came to light. And the local witch was found to be innocent,
rest her soul. Rest as well (illegible) soul. May the huldufólk be kind by you. May Fólkvangr be
kind to you.

Tags: Short story, folklore, chosen


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