Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Even though the physician had told the others not to upset the village, the tailor couldn't help shouting at anyone who came in his door, and the fiddle maker wouldn't stop weeping. The tavern keeper kept spilling drinks, and even the physician was more stoic than was usually his habit.
In few weeks, everyone in the town was a reduced to nervous mess, and the mood has spread to the meadow and to the cliff. Sara was alone even more frequently. Most of the more sensible animals had moved on, and Sara wondered if she should as well. But before she could give it any more thought, everything changed.
Soldiers were marching into the village. And they were different than any soldiers the villagers had ever seen. The soldiers that had passed through before always were clean and fit, polite, and wore the colors of the King. These soldiers were dirty and mean, with patchwork armor and no colors.
But their leader was the worst. His name was Keam, and he was a mercenary, hired by the King to defend the kingdom. He led his men through the village and ordered them to camp in the meadow. Keam turned to the villagers and asked to speak with their governor.
The mayor came forward, and the two men stepped into the tavern. Many of the townsmen followed.
"Why have you come here?" asked the mayor. "And why are you making camp? Shouldn't you be on your way to a village with a port?"
"When your King asked us to fight for him, he asked what we wanted in payment," said Keam. "And we told him we had heard of a girl who lives in these parts, with hair stronger than any bowstring, that will make a sword sharper than any other. We have bought many of the wares of this fine village, and have disassembled fiddles and suits to test its merits, and found all the accounts to be true. 'Give us a skein of her hair, and we will fight for you,' we told your King. That is why we camp here: to collect our payment."
The men shuffled about anxiously. Some made to protest, but the thought of the mercenaries camping just outside of the village quieted them.
Keam noticed the fear in the air, and with a big nasty grin, he stood. He towered over every man in the room. "So, where is she?" he boomed.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Life when on for years like this. The villagers grew older, some were born and some died. The fiddler maker's fiddles became the most prized of all the instruments in the kingdom, the tailor's pinstripe suits had become the new fashion, and the village, though still small, was very well off. But Sara stayed the same.
Sara had long ago made friends with the village physician, to whom she would go to pull the occasion splinter from a toe or bring any hurt animals she would come across.
One day, when she was bringing a small white fox with a broken paw to the physician, he was not at home. Sarah began to walk through the streets of the town, asking for him occasionally. As she was passing by the tavern, she heard angry and frightened voices coming from inside, one of which was the physicians. She crept over to the window and knelt under it to hear what was happening.
"NO! That can't be right!," the tailor shouted.
"I'm only telling you what I heard," said the tavern keeper.
"We're doomed. What will happen to us!" said the fiddle maker.
"Calm down, everyone," said the physician. "Let's have the facts again."
"A messenger from the village down the coast stopped in on his way to the King. He only wanted some water for his horse, and some food for his trip. He said that his village had seen ships from The Land Across the Sea," said the tavern keeper.
"That doesn't seem so odd," said the physician. "That village is a port. They trade with The Land Across the Sea often."
"Yes. 'But these ships are different,' the messenger said. He said they were war ships, and that there were many of them. His village thinks they've come to attack the kingdom!" said the tavern keeper.
"YOU SEE!" shouted the tailor. "Get your swords, get your bows and knock your arrows, get your pitchforks! Anything and Everything. We must protect our village!"
The fiddle maker sobbed into his ale.
"Calm down everyone," said the physician. "There is no use getting worked up over this. We don't know that there wasn't a terrible disaster that destroyed their smaller boats and the only ones that survived were the warships. We don't know that there aren't pirates in the water. They could be coming here to warn us."
"AND WE DON'T KNOW THAT THEY AREN'T COMING HERE TO KILL US ALL!" bellowed the tailor.
"That's true. But the news is going to the King, and he will decide what to do. The best thing now is to not worry the entire village," said the physician, as he rose to leave. Then he paused, and added in a quiet voice, "Even so, there's no harm in inspecting whatever weapons you have, to make sure they are in good working order."
Sara was frozen in shock. It took a moment for her to realize that the physician had left the tavern and was walking down the street away from her. She stood and hurried to catch him. He took the fox with his usual gentle manner, and said he'd look after it. She thanked him, but she didn't mention the conversation she had heard.
That night, as she sat on the cliff, she asked the Moon, "What am I to do?"
The Moon, as usual, didn't reply.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Sara's hair wasn't only beautiful, it was strong.
Every few months, the fiddle maker in the village would ask her for a few hairs to string a particularly fine instrument he had made. And the tailor would send his assistant to beg permission to pick long pieces from her hairbrush, for he was planning an exquisite pinstripe suit to send to the King, who lived far away. Birds would collect fallen strands from the meadow and use them to build their nests, which were so strong that even the most wayward boys from the village couldn't knock them down.
Sara would grant these wishes if the asker was courteous, and didn't ask too frequently. But, on occasion, an archer would ask for a strand to string his arrow with, or a soldier would ask for a few strings to sharpen his sword, and she would gently decline.
Besides these short meetings and the rare occasion that a brave child of the village would speak with her, Sara spent most of her time alone, and she was generally happy. She spent her time walking in the meadow, or playing in the forest by herself. But, on clear nights she'd sit on the cliff and looking at the moon and it's solitary reflection in the ocean, (for in those days the moon's reflection on the ocean was the same as it is today on a still lake, with no trailing reflection in the water), and she would wonder if the moon was as lonely as she sometimes felt.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Once, there was a girl named Sara, and she had the most beautiful hair that anyone had ever seen. It was long and silver, and sometimes it seemed to move when there wasn't any wind, or shimmer when there was no light.
Sara lived on a hillside, near the cliffs that looked out over the ocean. She slept in a small meadow, or, if it was rainy, she slept in a cleft in the cliff face. She ate fruits and nuts from the nearby forest, and drank from the clear stream running through it, and she was content.
Sara's meadow was very close to a small village. No one there knew when she had come. One day she just was. Some people said she was the daughter of the moon, some said she was a fallen star. Others said she had drifted there by the night wind. The more nasty and covetous ones would say that she was the daughter of a witch, sent to do horrible mischief, but no one really believed those stories, especially the ones who told them.
People would travel from far away to see her and her hair. Some wrote songs about it. Some wrote epic poems. Some would follow her around, trying to draw, paint or sculpt it. She was always polite, sitting still if they asked her to, but they would leave disappointed, unable to capture the mystery that glimmered about her. They would go home, and put away their paintings or their songs in a drawer to get rusty and lose their shine.