Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Unseen and the Weeping Lady

Under certain circumstances, fairies will just see a need to intervene. such was the case with Ms. Millar one warm springtime many years ago. It had not been long before that splendid day that Ms. Millar, they valley's school teacher had to bury her young husband. He had died in a faraway war, in another country far, far away. Ms. Millar was still living in a big city then, she'd just finished going to teacher's college. she was lonely and spent all her evenings in the darkness crying until she finally would fall asleep.

It was her cousin Elizabeth who invited her to come and stay with her in the valley, As it happens, and quite often it does, just then the teacher Mr. Rolf, decided he really needed to stop teaching after thirty years and open a candy shop instead. Perhaps it came about because after years of taking away candy from his pupils he decided he's just much rather make the most wonderful candy for children to enjoy. So he did, within weeks he's rented a store and was making the most wonderful candy.

The position did not come with a fabulous salary, just a small salary and a small cottage to live in just a hundred feet away from the little school house. It meant teaching all the grades and giving all the exams to all the valley's children (numbering no more than 20 per term). Mr. Rolf , the retired teacher, now the local candy store proprietor, even offered to substitute those times that Ms. Millar (only her close friends call her Kate) should fall ill.

The valley over a period of weeks was fast becoming the only place in the world where Ms. Millar could imagine living. so she packed all her things in the city and moved to the valley. She has now been here more than thirty years.

Back to that afternoon, that warm peaceful afternoon, when the fairies were swinging from poppy to poppy. The dog and cat were occupied chasing butterflies. the smell of weak bleach and laundry soap permeated the air. The fresh coat of white paint made her little cottage home sparkle in the afternoon light. The warm wind caused the leaves to make a gentle rustling sound. You could hear birds chirping and the occasional snap of a towel as Mrs. Millar hung the laundry on her clothesline. All the changes in her life had Mrs. Millar losing some weight and it was partly that and partly her damp hands which had the ring slip off her finger. Not just any ring either, but the very ring with which years ago she had become Mrs. Millar. The ring that Mr. Millar had slipped on her finger on that bright summer's day at their wedding.

Falling on the grass as it did it made no sound. Mrs. Millar was completely unaware. The dog took no note of it either. Two beady little eyes had noticed. The small rodent always noticed when sparkly things fell on the ground nearby. After all a tiny rodent like this mouse could not see much above the ground. This was his world, the ground and all that there was. The mouse scurried very quickly to the ring and ran off with it. He did not know precisely why he did it. He had no use for the ring, it could not be eaten, and mice don't wear jewellery, nor had they any interest in how much it might be worth if sold. It just sparkled so intensely and he had to have it. That, and nothing more, was all there was to it. It was heavy to carry and he did not take it far away, just to behind a large oak tree in Mrs. Millar's own yard. He sat feeling quite triumphant for the whole rest of the afternoon just staring at the ring, as it twinkled like a star in the bright sunlight. Well, he stayed, until he became hungry and was then off forgetting all about the ring.

It was an hour or so later when she was taking down the now dry laundry from the line when she finally noticed the missing ring. It was one of those suspicious absence of something. In this case the twinkling of the diamond in the sun as she held up her hand in the light was something to which she was well accustomed so when the twinkling was absent she noticed immediately. She shrieked. So loud was the shriek that several crows very nearly fell out of the tree above her. The shriek was followed by an absolute silence. The birds stopped chirping, the dog an cat suddenly sat in place, fairies and pixies stopped what they were doing, even the wind became silent.

There are all kinds of shrieks, but this one, was so incredibly sad, not just horrified but sad. There was no a soul who had heard it who was not profoundly saddened, just from hearing the shriek. The silence was broken by weeping and then sobbing and then for seemingly hours, a soft crying.


full version at www.aletta.org/wingedtales05.shtml

The whole story at www.aletta.org/wingedtales05.shtml

1 Comments:

At 6:46 PM, Blogger Lois said...

Such a beautiful story for us but for children it would fire their imagination to write,draw,make collages of birds stopping their chirping, dogs and cats sitting to attention ... and for children to go outside and see if the wind had really stopped. This story has everything the imagination could want....
Lois (Muse of the Sea)Feb 06

 

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