Once upon a time, in a land not very far from here at all really, there was an old house that stood alone in a dip between two hills. It was a lonely place, windswept and maybe a little grim for most tastes. But it was quiet and peaceful and that was the most important thing to the little old man who lived there.
He was a tiny man, no more than four feet tall, almost elfin in appearance with a wide smile and graceful hands. His passion was nature and he would collect all manner of green goodness from the hedgerows and woodland to make lotions and potions that he sold to the people of the nearby villages.
He was a very shy little man, his tiny frame and pixie features made him different and he was always afraid that people would make fun of him. So he stayed at his old stone house in the valley and he sold his wares from there.
He would get up very, very early every morning, so early the birds had not yet arisen. He would make his way from his house into the woods and forage for all of nature’s bounty. Nettles, berries, chickweed, mushrooms and delicate flowers. He knew them all as his friends. He knew their properties and their power.
Back at his house he would climb the rickety worn wooden staircase to his dusty attic space and make those lotions and potions that people wanted so much. This was his world, this was his joy. His attic was his paradise, the rest of the world meant nothing to him.
Over the years his fear of people grew and he withdrew more and more into his world of the woods and the comfort and safety of his old house. He only used that attic room, it became his refuge and his entire world.
As he became more reclusive the power of his potions spread far and wide and people came flocking to buy his wares. He would not leave the attic room so he passed each precious purchase down to the buyer in a worn wicker basket on a string. Bundles of herbs, love potions, tinctures and salves. All were eagerly accepted by the buyers below.
This went on for a great many years. No-one knew how old the little man was. He just seemed to age into elfdom more and more. He kept walking the woods and making his potions until the day he died. People mourned him from far and wide.
The old house has has stood empty for so many years. People rarely venture past that way. The valley is cold and windy and silent. But if you do go and see the house and you look up at the broken window of his attic room, you’ll see a single nettle growing there in tribute to the little old man who made wonders from weeds all those years ago.
PS This is just the random thughts of a passing storyteller, funny what a broken window will make you think of.