The pastureland and adjoining meadow were peaceful. The boundary oaks and poplars slowly darkened as they transformed into silhouettes against the setting sun. It was Epimelidia’s favourite time of the day. She reclined upon an apple bough at the edge of meadow and watched the flocks of sheep gently settling.
How many times had she watched over this scene? How often had her protective gaze helped the lambs to securely lay down their heads.
But something was not quite right tonight. Epimelidia could feel it. Was it Pan or some other Satyr trying to unsettle her? No, there was nothing of a spirit about this. It was clearly a disturbance made by mortal men. As she watched she could just make out the line of warriors traveling wearily towards her.
“Aspius,” one called back down the line. “There is meat for us tonight, my friend.”
The column of soldiers altered their direction and then split. Half of the troop approached her slumbering lambs, and the other group was heading directly at her sacred apple tree.
This will never do! she fumed.
Suddenly glittering golden lights danced throughout the meadow and pastures. At first the warriors thought it was some type of glowing insects, but it soon became clear that hundreds of little sprites and fairies had answered the mental call of the Meadow Nymph. Some of the soldiers struck out at the flashing apparitions. Those who did fell instantly blind. Men began to scurry about falling over each other in the confusion. Others grabbed hold of sightless comrades and led them back to the roadway.
Epimelidia’s lambs would sleep well that night. And as for Aspius, there would be no meat this evening, but only stale bread and water, and a futile hope that his sight might return.