Beyond the forest and rim-ward of Lita’s castle is a fen. Let’s put on hip boots, splash right in, and meet its resident sirens. Just like mermaids, these girls love wizards to death.
The Will ‘o the Wisp only comes out at night. This fiery little witch has many names: ignis fatuus (“foolish fire”), chir batti, jack o’ lantern, hinkypunk, spook-light, hobby lantern, pixy-light, marsh ghost-light, Luz Mala, friars’ lantern, corpse light, Min Min light, and orb. Let us call her Wisp.
Wisp and her ilk are mischievous and malign. Here are stories travelers have told Lita.
Follow Me Not
Wisp carried a lantern and guided a late-returning fellow all over the countryside. She took him to the edge of a chasm, leapt across, doused the lamp, and laughed.
Wisp left the man far from home, standing in pitch darkness, at the edge of a precipice.
Blacksmith Will (Wisp’s brother, methinks), made a deal with the Devil and won a piece of glowing pit coal. Will uses it to warm his hands and light the way on desolate walks through the marshes. Wisp’s helpful bro leads wanderers into the swamp and abandons them when they come close to Will’s hell light.
Will and Wisp’s lights are also death omens. Curious nighttime travelers see the siblings’ small flickering flames in graveyards and call them “corpse lights.”
The blue-green flames mark the path of a pending funeral. If Gentle Reader follows the path away from the graveyard, it takes you to the soon-to-be deceased’s home. Usually yours. See? Curiosity killed more than the cat.
Next time, we join this nighttime siren and her brother for dinner. Guess what’s on the menu?