ONCE UPON A THYME in a lake far far out to the edge of an emerald forest lived a rusalka. She had bright eyes like twin crystal balls and full lips that many men would slay dragons to kiss but her legs ended in a tail and she spent all of her days alone. Time moved very slowly. The rusalka would cry and sing and then cry and sing some more but she could never escape her watery prison.
One day, a witch came to the water’s edge. The rusalka swam up to see her. She pleaded with the witch to cast a spell.
“Please, witch,” sang the rusalka, for rusalkas can only communicate by song. “You must help me. Give me legs so that I may find another and not be so lonesome anymore.”
“How can you be lonesome?” wondered the witch. “Open your eyes. The water is smooth like frosted glass and the sun shines glitter across the surface. You will never find true happiness in another form or place if you can not find it here first.”
The rusalka considered the witch’s words but did not listen. The next day her longing returned. It scratched at her soul and tugged at her heart until she was so overcome with desire that she could think of nothing else.
When the witch returned once more to the water’s edge the rusalka begged and pleaded to be elsewhere.
“As you wish,” said the witch. “Tomorrow at moonlight you will take human form. But unless you find true happiness by the next full moon you will return to exactly what and where you were.”
“What is true happiness?” sang the rusalka.
“True happiness is when you sparkle from the inside out,” said the witch.
In the moonlight, the rusalka found herself changed. With her new legs, the rusalka believed that everything would be different. She could do so much in her new shape. She skipped through the forest. She made herself a crown of daisies. And she danced through the meadows until she was so exhausted that she fell into a deep sleep. When she awoke, the rusalka saw a handsome prince.
“You are the most incredible creature I have ever seen,” said the prince. “Come and live in my castle.”
The rusalka smiled and flung herself on the back of the prince’s white horse and off they rode to the castle. The palace was beautiful, surrounded by lush trees and a big pond where the water was clear as crystal.
Oh, I should be so very happy here, thought the rusalka to herself. But every time she opened her mouth, she could only sing sad songs.
The prince was distraught. He gave the rusalka gowns of silk and rings of gold and bowls of fruit but her songs only became sadder. Desperate, the rusalka rubbed her lips with seeds from the pomegranate. She would distract the prince with her great beauty. But whenever he came close to kiss her ruby painted lips, only the saddest songs slipped out.
The rusalka could not understand. Her wish had been granted yet she was so still so sad. The full moon came and the rusalka found herself again right back where she started. She was back all alone in the lake. A tear slid down her cheek. Then, she remembered the words of the witch.
She admired the waves ripple and noticed the seaweed sway like ribbon. How beautiful were the brightly colored fish with their glassy eyes and translucent tales! Every day, the rusalka began to notice more: the moon bright and strong in the sky, the stars a glittering canopy above her, the pebbles like tiny gemstones. She watched the sun drip like egg yolk only to rise like a fireball the next morning. The rusalka was so overcome by the beauty in her lake that she began to sing.
Her song was so different this time. Softer, lighter. The sound carried over the hills, and through the forest, until it reached the prince’s castle. He listened and let the sweet melody fill his heart until he too, began to hum along to the rusalka’s song.
The prince followed the song all the way to the lake. He waded into the water, mesmerized. For there was the rusalka, snow pale and diamond radiant. The prince felt his heart burst. His legs formed into a tail. And together they lived in the lake, making beautiful music for all of time.
At this time of year I really love cooking with pumpkin and squash. I discovered this salad on sprouted kitchen's site and adapted it to my own. I stuck with her amazing dressing as I think the lime as a really nice flavor.
1 to 1.5 lb butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed
2 Tbsp Virgin Olive Oil
1 heaped tsp of Sea Salt
1 heaped tsp of Cumin
1 to 3 tsp of Chili powder (depending on your spice preference)
1 bag of baby spinach
1 Tablespoon chopped Chives
1/3 cup toasted Pepitas
1 apple or pear sliced
1/3 cup Pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup Feta Cheese
1 avocado sliced
Juice of 1 lime
3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 F. While waiting for oven to heat peel your butternut squash, seed and chop. Use a medium size bowl and put chopped squash in bowl then coat with olive oil and spices. Mix until all cubes are coated evenly. Roast for 30 minutes or until soft on a baking sheet. As the squash cooks begin to prepare your salad by chopping chives and slicing apple or pear, as well as avocado. Once squash is done let cool. To assemble your salad begin with a layer of spinach then top with chives, Pepitas, Pomegranate seeds, avocado, pear or apple, feta and butternut squash. Drizzle with dressing and enjoy!
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