Art by David Revoy/ Blender Foundation


By Regina Swanson

“Kiri says there’s a dryad in the willow tree by the mill pond,” my sister Lilla announced. She stuffed a piece of honey bread in her mouth and waited for the reaction. Mamich kneaded dough with strong hands and thick forearms powdered white with fine flour.

“Don’t be silly,” Mamich snapped. Her usually soft gray eyes, ringed with wrinkles, sparked at Lilla. She paused to wipe a curl of hair, also gray, from her forehead with her arm, leaving a smudge above her eyes. The upper half of the kitchen door was open allowing a breeze to cool the pies on the sill, but the fire under the iron stew pot kept the room uncomfortably warm for work. Lilla and I sat swinging our legs from the long wooden bench at the table.

“What’s a dryad?” I asked. Lilla was older than me by two years. She knew more than me.

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