Character Development, Cryptozoology, Greek Folklore, Mythological Creature Archive, Writing prompt

Mythological Creature; Alseid, the nymph of the poet Homer’s glen and grove

According to Wikipedia, in Greek mythology, Alseids (/ælˈsiːɪdz/; Ἀλσηΐδες) were the nymphs of the narrow valleys and the small wooded areas. Of the Classical writers, the first and perhaps only poet to reference alseids is Homer.

Homer, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, lived in the 9th or 8th century bce?, In Ionia? [now in Turkey]), presumed author of the Iliad and the Odyssey.

Although these two great epic poems of ancient Greece have always been attributed to the shadowy figure of Homer, little is known of him beyond the fact that his was the name attached in antiquity by the Greeks themselves to the poems. That there was an epic poet named Homer, and if the assumption is accepted, that he single-handedly wrote it, then Homer must assuredly be one of the greatest of the world’s literary artists.

Rather than alseid he used the spelling alsea. The three uses of alsea by Homer are as follows:

“The nymphs who live in the lovely groves (ἄλσεα – alsea), and the springs of rivers (πηγαὶ ποταμῶν – pegai potamon) and the grassy meadows (πίσεα ποιήεντα – pisea poiëenta).”

“They [nymphs] come from springs (krênai), they come from groves (alsea), they come from the sacred rivers (ποταμοί – potamoi) flowing seawards.”

“The nymphs [of Mount Ida] who haunt the pleasant woods (alsea), or of those who inhabit this lovely mountain (ὄρος – oros) and the springs of rivers (pegai potamon) and grassy meads (pisea).

In Pop Culture

In the Pathfinder Role Playing Game– and according to Open Gaming Store, the alseid are the graceful woodland cousins to centaurs. Because they are rarely seen far from the wooded glades they call home, they are sometimes called “grove nymphs,” despite being more closely related to elves than nymphs.

Alseid see the forest as an individual and a friend. They are suspicious of outsiders who do not share this view. Lost travelers who demonstrate deep respect for the forest may spot a distant alseid’s white tail and chase after it as it bounces toward a road that leads out of the forest.

Disrespectful strangers may follow the same tail to their doom. Male alseid have antlers growing from their foreheads. These antlers grow very slowly, branching every 10 years for the first century of life. Further points only develop with the blessings of the forest. No 14-point imperial alseid are known to exist, but many tribes are governed by princes with 13 points. Because antlers signify status, alseid never use them in combat. Cutting an alseid’s antlers is one of the direct punishments an alseid can receive. Elf rangers have reported a lone alseid exile, wandering the forest, its antlers sawn off near the scalp.

Writing Prompt

So, using the alseid from the role playing game, YOU are the mythical creature. You meet a respectful stranger of the forest and you decide that they are worthy of your respect in return. You approach the person and find out that they are of royal blood. Over the course of several months, you fall in love with them and decide that in addition to the organic and honest nature of your relationship- that your new companion may be able to serve the forest in an important way. Climate change has altered the frequency and intensity of forest anomalies as of late. Wildfires, storms, insect outbreaks and the occurrence of invasive species have started to plague the area. You my be able to persuade your royal companion to sign a treaty, providing many benefits and services to the residents of the wood. Clean water and air, recreation, a safe wildlife habitat, carbon storage, climate regulation and forest products…to name a few. How do you persuade them?

If you find this fun and interesting and decide to expand on this story- let me know how this story continues in the comment section below, and as usual…happy writing!

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