goodnight story

A fantasy Goodnight Story: Umi, the Defender!

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So, we love to tell the best goodnight story about fairies and elves. However, have you ever wondered what could be a goodnight story magical beings tell to themselves? It’s okay. I’m about to let you know. Buckle up and get cozy, because I’m going to tell you the legend of Umi, the Protector of the Forest. 

First and foremost, we have to know where we stand. After all, the magical lands are immense and there are very different ones from others. This particular goodnight story comes from the Forest of Whispers. Located right by our Human World, just a little bit to the left, the Forest of Whispers is inhabited by all sorts of creatures. From elves and tree spirits to nature protectors and every sort of animal type being. You have your hippogriffs on the caves nearby the mountains, your fish maidens on the rivers and even a small colony of selkies located on the lakeside. Not fairies, though. They have their own realm, one bright and sparkly.

But the biggest community in the forest was formed by centaurs and fauns. Now, you have to keep in mind that when we say centaurs, we talk about half-human, half-horse people. However, in the Forest of Whispers were all sorts of centaurs and fauns, of a lot of different animals. 

Umi was one of them. 

Umi wasn’t special, at least not where he lived. I guess to us running into a deer centaur would be pretty special. But in the forest, his type was pretty common. He grew up between the trees, running freely amongst all the land and soon enough, he came to know every inch of the Forest. Umi helped water the Sacred Meadows, full of unique and magic flowers. He pruned the old trees in the Deep Dark Woods so they would feel young again, all the way in the forgotten part of the forest. Not to mention how he helped the selkie colony install when they arrived, looking for a bit more freedom than what they had at home. He tended to the graves in the Ancient Cemeteries, full with the souls and memories of those long gone. 

So, I know I said Umi wasn’t special, but that’s not entirely true. He was common, but he was also selfless. He was kind, kinder than everyone else. And that made him unique. So, when the time came, it was he who answered the Forest’s call. 

goodnight story
goodnight story

As I mentioned early, the Forest of Whispers was located right by our Human World, just a little bit to the left. This meant that the magic world and our world would sometimes… mix. Merge a little. Openings would appear and all kinds of people and creatures would use them to travel between worlds. Some were kind travelers, looking for adventures and new friendships. However, other were… different. Greedy. Desperate. They wanted the treasures that the Forest of Whispers had to offer and they wouldn’t stop at anything to get them.

Legend says the first time Umi encountered a man of this kind, he tried to help him. It was a bright early morning in the forest when the centaur found a human, disoriented and afraid. Not knowing yet how to return him to his world, Umi showed him places to sleep, and eat, and wander around. They talked and soon enough, they got to know each other. A brand new friendship seemed to flourish between the two. However, the human had a secret. In the past, he had done something bad, really really bad. He did not regret it. He came to the Forest running away from his act, searching for something that would let him get away for good. And he found it. 

In the Sacred Meadows you can find all sorts of flowers, from colors that don’t exist on our world to magic properties with a wide variety of effects. Some heal wounds and illness. Others can give you powers and skills. But the human quickly found his favorite: the Royal Lily. It’s a delicate flower that opens up only once a month, with the full moon. It’s petals are made with gold, fine and beautiful. The human knew that if he came back with the flower, he could sell it and earn enough money to run away and buy anything he wanted. 

So, he did it. 

He betrayed Umi and although he could have stayed in the Forest forever, he didn’t want to. The human missed his home and the friendship he had with the centaur was not enough to forget where he came from. He stole the flower and ran away, ashamed but decided. 

When Umi found what he had done, he cried. The Sacred Meadows are Sacred for a reason, you know? Getting any flower from them without explicit permission is a very serious crime. They won’t grow again and the other flowers around it will miss it and get ill. It took a lot of courage from the centaur to tend to them and to make sure they didn’t die as well. In the end, he made a promise, to himself and to the forest. He wouldn’t let anything like this happen again. 

Umi trained really hard. He became quick like the wind and silent like an ant. It’s said his willpower is so much it has prevented him from dying for hundreds and hundreds of years. He grew apart from the other centaurs and since then, he lives in the most recondite corners of the Forest. He only awakens when he’s needed and he does his job swiftly and efficiently. 

Now, whenever someone enters the Forest of Whispers, they feel like they are being watched. The eyes of Umi follow them, to make sure their intentions are pure. When thieves and malefactors arrive, so does he. With long ropes made of cotton and blades of the toughest leafs, unbreakable by metal, he corners them and prevents them from doing any harm. He lets them go only if they realize their wrongdoings. If not, Umi returns them to wherever they came from. 

They say he’s immortal. That he was sent from the Goddess herself to protect the Forest. Truth be told, he’s just someone who decided to make things right. And that’s what makes him so special. 

Did you enjoy it? The little centaurs and fauns always do. Umi is their favorite goodnight story and they all dream with meeting him one day. I hope you liked it too. For now, it’s time to go to sleep. 

Sweet dreams!

This story was written by Maria Pardo, a Dream Away stories contributor.

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