Monday, March 15, 2010

A little "kindness"

"You'd have thought that would be the end of the story," the old man said casting me a sidelong knowing look, "but surprised as these two sisters were that the girl had managed to not only bring back some flowers but so many, they were so eaten up with hate and jealousy they took them from her without a word and banished her to her corner of the kitchen with more than a warning of more ill treatment to come.
"But things bought out of season never last long. Within a few days these flowers all wilted and died. All they were good for was the little heat they afforded on the fire. The two sisters told each other how nice it was to have a house made cheerful with so many flowers during these dark winter days. "We should have more," said one. The other agreed. Would the girl manage to do it again? "I doubt it."
"Let's see if she can bring summer flowers this time."
"That would be nice, roses, May blossom, lupins, perhaps a few bluebells..."
"That's settled then. We'll send her out but I bet she doesn't manage it this time," the sister said with a wicked grin on her face. "Even if there is a place in this forest where she got the spring flowers there's no way summer flowers can grow in January."
"And if she fails," added the other one," and returns empty -handed, then we can keep ourselves warm by giving her a thorough beating."
"And if she dies in the attempt," the first sister shrugged, "it'll be one less mouth to feed."
At that the two sisters, canes in hand walked into the scullery where the girl sat curled up in front of the fire and stood over her. "We want some more flowers." They smiled malevolently at the whimpering bundle on the floor. It was clear to the girl she was in for another beating, probably because they blamed her for the flowers wilting. But they spared her that.
One sister crouched down beside her. "Why are you cowering like that?" she asked, her voice almost tender, " no-one is going to hurt you. We just want you to go into the forest and pick us some lovely flowers. Roses, bluebells, lupins... all the blooms of a fine summers day. It will brighten our home on this dreary winter's day."
"B-but its night time now and freezing hard outside. Nothing will be growing." The two sisters at once flew into a fury, "You will do as we say! Now get out and don't come back without anything or you will get more of this." They set to beating her with their canes until blood oozed her thin dress. Blindly the hapless girl grabbed her threadbare blanket and fled into the night.

"At the edge of the clearing she paused and looked up into the night sky studded with a myriad stars like diamonds set in a sheet of dark velvet. There was no wind but it was bitterly cold. A raven called a harsh "karkk-karkk!" from somewhere overhead. She shivered and gathered her makeshift cloak about her. She could feel her blood soaked dress clinging to her skin. Then she saw the raven alight from its perch and fly through a small gap in the curtain of trees.
She followed.

to be continued.......


Thumbelina said...

I am sitting comfortably... :)

Norman said...

...then I'll continue!