Aisling sat on the stone in front of the door. She was exhausted. Her mentor Eithne had had her baby girl last night and it was Aisling’s first time attending a birth. She hadn’t had a big important job like the midwife but it had been her job to hold the energy of a healing space and she was tired. She slumped against the door and wondered if she had the strength to get up and go to breakfast.
All was quiet in the village but she could hear a cow lowing far off. The sun had just crested the hill at the east of the village when she heard steps on the gravel and looked up. It was the woman in green she had met by the stream and Aisling was paralyzed with fear for a moment and then she burst out, “No! You can’t have them I won’t let you!”
Aisling stood up and spread her arms in front of the door and the woman laughed softly. “Bean sidhe don’t only come for death, Aisling, but I appreciate what you are doing.”
She motioned for Aisling to sit back down and sat down beside her. “I see you’ve only heard the stories about how we warn of death.” Aisling nodded still a little frozen.
“Bean Sidhes also come at births to bestow blessings. Indeed we are invited to attend all life’s big occasions. We don’t only come at death. That is just what people talk about.”
Aisling stared at the woman and hoped she could believe her. “You bestow blessings?”
The woman nodded, “Don’t you think every baby deserves a welcoming blessing after their perilous journey into the life?”
Aisling thought about this and about her night. “Yes, being born seems to be hard work.” She thought about how red and tired the baby had been.
“So you come to bless her? What do you bless her with?”
“What do you think would be a good blessing?” the bean sidhe asked Aisling and she looked like she really wanted to know what Aisling thought.
Aisling was quiet for awhile. “I think I’d wish for her to make good choices. To ask for a long life seems not always be a good thing.” She was thinking about an elderly druid who was being cared for in the village. He was very old but he didn’t seem to know what was going on. What was the point of being alive without knowing what was going on?
The bean sidhe smiled at Aisling, “Very wise. Are you thinking of Seamus?”
“Sometimes when you live a long time it isn’t about you anymore. It gives the people who love you a chance to take care of you after you have taken care of them. It’s a chance to give back.”
Aisling thought about this. “Really?”
“Really, at least if you have been a caring and good person maybe not so much if you are too mean to die.” The bean sidhe laughed as she said those words because the both knew Seamus had been a very wonderful teacher and person. The bean sidhe reassured Aisling.
“What else do the bean sidhe do?”
“Well I watch over the village and sometimes if the Chief Druid asks I will tell him what I think but most of the time I watch. That’s how I know when to warn of death coming and to prepare for it.”
“You have to prepare for death?” Aisling asked surprised.
“Didn’t Eithne prepare for the birth of her little girl?” Aisling nodded remembering the months or making things for the coming baby and how her mentor had changed.
“Well, death is a lot like birth and if you are lucky you get to prepare for it and say your goodbyes.”
“Oh” Aisling looked thoughtful. “Like preparing for Autumn and saying goodbye to summer.”
The bean sidhe, laughed, “Yes, a lot like that! So will you come and help me bless the baby?”
Aisling stood up. “Yes, of course. She deserves the best.”
And a very thoughtful Aisling followed her into the cottage.