Abigail's Voice (A Faerie Tale)

Reads: 305  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 3

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
In the spirit of the classic fairy tales that read me to sleep as a child.

Submitted: October 26, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 26, 2016

A A A

A A A


ABIGAIL (A FAERIE TALE)

BY GREG KLEPPER

 


I


 

Deep in the woods, in a small house, lived a young girl. From the moment of her birth, nobody had ever heard her utter a sound. Even in great pain, she was silent. Her name was Abigail.

Abigail's parents at first believed their daughter's silence to be a phase. But as the years passed, she stayed mute. Still they held faith: one day their daughter would find her voice.

By the age of seventeen, Abigail had become quite beautiful. Her long brown hair hung down to her hips. Every day her eyes grew bluer. Her beauty and grace attracted the attention of many of the men in town.

Being mute only served as a minor setback for Abigail. Her sense of hearing and sight were quite strong. A keen observer, she understood everything much sooner than most children and the townspeople found her quite remarkable.

Each day, while her father was away at work, Abigail's mother educated her on a variety of subjects. Blessed with a strong memory, Abigail learned easily. Fascinated by flora and fauna, she knew the local plants and animals better than anyone else around and to communicate with others, she spoke with her body, hands and eyes. Though Abigail was a model child, in recent months, her mother had sworn she had seen signs of boredom in her daughter's face, faraway looks of longing. In truth, Abigail was growing tired of her lessons, tired of her small house and the smaller garden out back, tired of the riverbank and the pears she picked. Abigail was growing tired of the whole village. Every day seemed too much the same, too routine. But little did Abigail know, that one afternoon, during an ordinary visit to town, her life would change forever.

And so, this story truly begins…

Abigail walked with her basket in hand. Intending to pick up the loaf of bread and a chicken for dinner, requested by her mother, she made her way across town passing several vendors and shops. She purchased one loaf of bread from the baker and continued on toward the market.

En route to the butcher, Abigail entered the market square, when she was suddenly struck from behind. Her feet rose high in the air, and her head hit the ground with a thud. Abigails basket flung from her arm, its contents scattered. Checking for signs of hurt, Abigail slowly got up and gathered her belongings.

"Curses!" yelled a wiry, little man. "Do you not keep an eye out for smaller creatures?" Elegantly dressed, with a long gray beard and a red velvet cap, an angry dwarf dusted off his elbows. As he rose to his feet from his knees, he yelled, "Have you no decency? Apologize!"

Certain the collision had been his fault, Abigail found the dwarf to be quite rude. Regardless, with the goodness of her nature, she bent down and let the dwarf know without words, she was sorry.

"Watch where you are going!" he screamed. "You surely have broken my arm! Well? Why don't you speak, Girl?"

The shoemaker heard what was going on and chimed in.

"Leave the girl alone. She cannot speak. What business do you have in our village?"

"My business is my own," the dwarf shouted angrily. "You would do well to keep out of matters that do not concern you." Then he turned to Abigail and said, "Oh, this is all your fault!" The dwarf paused and took a deep calming breath. "Girl, would you know where I might find one to accompany me for the day while I collect treasure?" He said with a peculiar smile. "I will pay most generously, and only need help carrying my findings, for my body is weak and small. Without someone's aid, I would need to make several trips."

Although she disliked the dwarf, Abigail saw their meeting as a wonderful opportunity. Since her father's accident, her family had little money. She could already imagine the look of happiness on her parents' faces. Abigail smiled and pointed to herself and wondered if she would do. "You!?" the dwarf laughed hysterically. "Nothing but skin and bones, you are much too weak!"

Abigail disliked his mockery. She grabbed a large pumpkin from the vegetable stand, and lifted it high above her head. The dwarf laughed.

"Even I could lift such a puny thing."

Frustrated, Abigail put down the pumpkin and lifted the little man by his waist, high up above her head. Kicking, the dwarf yelled, "Put me down!"

Then laughing harder than before he said "Light as a feather myself, I need someone with muscles and meat on their bones." Eager to prove her worth, Abigail walked over to the blacksmith's tent and lifted a rather large chunk of metal up past her knees. The dwarf laughed once more, but after glancing to the sun, which was beginning to sink in the sky, the dwarf's eyes widened with alarm.

"Very well, you will do, but we must make haste. Unless we arrive before the sun sets, the Dark Woods will not permit us to enter."

After a few hours walking, they came out on the other side of a mountain path that Abigail had been taken on once as a child. Across a small field, they could see the Dark Woods. Barely visible, the sun was setting behind the mountains.

 


II


 

"Alas," said the dwarf, "perhaps we have arrived too late. Once the sun sets, no one may enter the Dark Woods." "Come. Quickly!" exclaimed the dwarf as his little legs moved with incredible speed. Abigail ran after him. Between two tall trees with leaves of shining silver, he located the entrance.

Inside the Dark Woods, everything blackened. Because of the canopy formed by the tree branches, Abigail saw there would be no light from the moon, or stars to guide their way. Closing her eyes tightly, Abigail prayed. After a few moments, she opened them to see hundreds of fireflies flickering all around her. She hoped their light would be enough to guide their way. "Silly Girl," said the dwarf, "do not dawdle. We must walk quickly."

Following the dwarf as he led her deeper into the forest, Abigail shook with fright. The little man seemed to know the woods all too well. With each step, she felt colder. From the trees with their jagged branches, to the shrill cries that echoed through the cold night air, she felt surrounded by evil. The night is black, she thought, the largest of beasts could go unseen.

Finally they came to a small clearing, surrounded by the tallest trees they had come across so far.

"Wait here," said the dwarf. "You may not follow me beyond this point."

Abigail struggled not to feel panic.

"Do not worry. Once I have finished, I will return to collect you. Then we shall carry my findings back to town." the dwarf said with a smile, "Then, I will reward you greatly."

Knowing she had little choice, Abigail nodded.

"Be seated on that rock, where you will be safe from the bugs and rodents," said the dwarf. "Do not leave this clearing! The woods will swallow you up if you do. You must promise to await my return. Do not move from that spot!" Nodding, Abigail watched him disappear into the depths of the forest.

Cold and scared, Abigail shifted round on the rock trying to find some semblance of comfort. After what seemed like hours, she could no longer sit. Rising to her feet that had fallen asleep, Abigail stumbled round till her legs felt normal once again. Then she returned to the rock and began to eat small bits of bread from the loaf in her basket. Thirsty, Abigail wondered how to relieve the dryness in her mouth. She listened carefully till she discerned what she believed to be the faint sound of flowing water. After tracing the sound back to a narrow brook on the edge of the clearing, she cupped her hands and brought icy cold water to her lips. Abigail drank till her thirst subsided, and then returned to the rock. After what seemed like hours more, she began to worry. Could something have happened to the little man on his journey? As she paced round the clearing, she feared she could not fend for herself in the dangerous woods. Dropping to her knees, she began to cry.

"Foolish girl," said a high-pitched voice from above her. "Such sadness! Never have I seen such a soggy sight!"

Abigail took her head from her hands and looked up. In a tall tree above her, she saw a white mouse hanging by his tail, and staring at her with big eyes. Surprised and embarrassed, she stared back.

"Why do you cry? Wait a moment. Perhaps I know." The mouse said in a presumptuous tone. "Serves you right to trust a dwarf; his intentions were anything but noble." Confused, Abigail wiped her tears, and stared at the mouse.

"Have you no sense? I remember the last he led here," the mouse said as he made his way down the tree. "Such a tragedy! If you do not heed my words, surely you will be HIS next victim."

Instinctively trusting the mouse, Abigail rose to her feet.

"Why do you not speak?" asked the mouse.

Abigail signaled with her hands to explain she was mute.

"You cannot speak?"

She nodded in agreement.

"A speechless human? Most uncommon! If you like, I will do my best to lead you from this place. If you stay here, you will meet a fate worse than death. We must hurry. HE will arrive soon."

Abigail agreed and gathered her things from around the rocks.

"This way," the mouse said, taking a path to the left of the stream.

Abigail followed.

"I have heard he rewards the dwarf splendidly. How easy it is to be fooled by someone dressed in such finery. You are most fortunate that I got to you before he did."

Abigail nodded.

"He pays the Dwarf great riches for each that he lures to this place. Most of the girls don't budge until he collects them. Strange, they are usually much plumper than you. He must not be very hungry tonight."

Abigail exhibited a look of confusion.

"Deep in these woods, where all men fear to tread, there is a palace. It is there that he lives" strongest in the wood. Once you cross his path, there is no escape. He will make you his meal like the others. Do you understand?"

Abigail's eyes opened wide with fear. Petrified at the thought of being eaten, she burst into tears.

"Do not cry; we all fall prey to something. As you must be wary of him, so must I be wary of owls and hawks."

As Abigail looked at the mouse, again her eyes brimmed with tears.

"Oh yes. I had almost forgotten. You cannot speak."

After thinking for a few moments, the mouse began to smile. "Perhaps I may be of assistance. It has been said that somewhere in these woods, is a magic pond. The water from this pond can cure any ailment with a single drink. I have heard that even those dying of old age can be restored. Perhaps if you found it, the water would enable you to speak."

Abigail's eyes widened. Suddenly, her whole body tingled with excitement. Believing all things happen for a reason, she wondered if she had fallen prey to the dwarf's wiles, if only to find this magic pond, and unlock her voice. Fiercely determined, she dried her eyes. She longed to run in all directions and knew not how to choose.

"Stay calm, Young One. Though I know it exists, not once have I met one who has found it," said the mouse. "They say only those truly in need of it's power find the pond. Though you may be one, it does not matter. You will not survive in these woods on your own. And I must leave. Dear Girl, go straight home, grateful for your life."

But Abigail could not go home. A way to find her voice was her dream come true. She shook her head no.

"Sorry, but I must leave you," the mouse said. "I am late and my wife is awaiting my return."

Abigail tried not to feel panic.

"Poor Girl. Perhaps you can come home with me," said the mouse. "though my wife will surely be furious.."

Determined to be brave, Abigail declined the offer.

"Very well then, but be careful.

Pointing to a path off to the side, he said "Travel in that direction. When the air grows crisp and white with mist, look for the snow owl. He will be a great help to you. If you change your mind, you can find your way out of the woods by the stars in any clearing. Do you know how to read the stars?" Abigail smiled and nodded. "Good, Smart, Girl, I thought you might, though it is rare for your gender. Look for the Big Dipper. If you follow the two stars at the end of the cup upwards, the next bright star is Polaris. Follow the North Star and it will lead you out of this place." After heading towards the woods, the mouse turned back, waved, and said, "Farewell."

As soon as the mouse disappeared, Abigail began to regret her decision. Cold and alone in the dark woods, she hadn't a clue where to find the magic pond. Mustering her courage, she walked in the direction the mouse had advised. With each step, she became more fearful for her life. Terrible sounds echoed through this part of the forest, the deep growls of wild beasts; the shrill cries of animals in pain. Suddenly, a bush to her right began to shake.

Terrified, Abigail wondered… is this the end?

 


III


 

A small white paw appeared from behind the bush and a fox stepped across the way. His fur was a snowy white, and as Abigail bent down to see him, the light of the fireflies showed his gleaming eyes were green like emeralds.

"Hello Dear Girl. I haven't seen one of your kind in ages," said the fox. "What brings you to this dangerous place?"

Abigail tried to explain without words that she could not speak.

"You are very beautiful but I am puzzled by you. I am the white fox. You are fortunate to have crossed my path. I shall accompany you as your guardian. Once you have grown comfortable enough with me to speak, perhaps we shall be wed."

Abigail would not have known what to say had she been able to talk, but she was in no position to refuse company. And having the fox beside her made her feel safe.

"So, then you agree?"

Abigail nodded.

"Splendid," he said. "Lead the way."

Abigail knew only what the mouse had told her. First she must find the snow owl; she motioned to the white fox to walk by her side as she followed the path.

After a mile or so, swirls of white fog obscured the way. Now in a new part of the forest, the air was clean and crisp and the sound of rushing water filled her ears. Dimly illuminated by the light of the fireflies, Abigail spotted a dark pond to the right and ran over with excitement. She wondered, could this be the magic pond? Kneeling, she cupped her hands and filled them with water. Just as she was about to drink, Abigail heard a shout.

"Noooo!" exclaimed the white fox. "Do not drink that water!" Startled, Abigail spilled it onto her lap.

"Those who drink from that pond are cursed."

The wet spot on Abigail's dress began glowing a dark black. And she sighed with relief. And as she kissed the top of the fox's head, Abigail knew that she would have been truly lost without him.

As they walked on, Abigail listened, while the white fox boasted, for what seemed like hours of saving her life. Though Abigail worried what would happen if she was to marry him, she focused on her goal. Then out of nowhere, Abigail heard the hoot of an owl. Peering around, she could not see him.

"What?" the white fox asked, staring. "What's wrong?"

Abigail heard the hoot again. Her eyes darted from side to side, but the white mist in the treetops kept her from seeing clearly.

"The owl?" asked the white fox. "Think nothing of him; he will not hurt us."

Clueless as to where to find the pond on her own, Abigail knew she must find the snow owl. The thought of hearing her own voice for the first time insured she would not give up. Following his hoots, and the flutter of his wings, again, she stopped to listen.

As the fog dissipated, her view was enhanced by a full moon. The Snow Owl sat on a branch just above her head. As his amber eyes gazed deep into hers, she fell into a trancelike state. When he spread his wings and took off, she returned to her senses. Knowing she must follow him, Abigail ran. The fox followed, and then pulled up alongside her, the two running together.

"Why do we run?" Consumed with excitement, Abigail just smiled.

"That is all right." said the white fox. "You may speak to me when you are ready. Then we will surely be married."

After several moments, the fog returned and began to obstruct their vision. Still they ran on following the owl's hoots. Suddenly a fallen branch caught her dress, Abigail was stopped short. A few steps ahead, the white fox did not see and ran on. Abigail tried to free herself, but the branch was too thick to break. Without the white fox at her side, she feared for her life.

When she heard heavy breathing, and a deep groan, she closed her eyes tight. A large pair of hands violently lifted her from the tree branch, tearing the skirt of her dress. When he flung her over his shoulder, she tried to fight, but he was too strong. Over 10 feet tall, his skin a leathery grey, his eyes cold and black. With teeth as sharp as needles, and a pointed head, he wore a crown of bone.

"Delicious." the ogre crowed while his jagged mouth salivated on Abigail. "You will make a fine meal, for you are braver than the rest and I do not care for screaming."

Terrified, Abigail looked round for the white fox hoping he had witnessed her kidnapping. Happy to see him hiding behind a large stone, when the white fox signaled her that he would follow, she was given hope.

 


IV


 

Silently the white fox tailed the ogre, careful to ensure he was not seen. Watching as the ogre knocked each obstacle from his way with a single blow of his fist, the white fox followed them for miles, praying Abigail was still alive.

When they came to a ten-foot-wide river, the ogre put Abigail down, grabbed hold of a tree, and plucked it from the ground. Placing the tree across the river as a bridge, he threw the still unconscious Abigail back over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and crossed the river. Fearing she was already dead, the white fox followed. And with each step the ogre took, the ground trembled.

When the ogre came to a giant boulder, he picked it up like a ball with one huge hand, and tossed it aside. Behind the boulder was a stone stairway leading underground. the ogre walked down and the white fox followed.

Inside the palace, the fox hid behind a stone pillar as the ogre carried Abigail through the hall. Two dwarfs, armed with spears, stood at the end of the hall, blocking a large doorway. When the ogre growled, they stepped aside and let him pass.

Crouching low, moving quickly and quietly, waiting for the right moment before moving on to the next pillar, the white fox crept through the huge hall, staying out of sight. When he neared the dwarfs, again, he hid behind a pillar. Forced to watch and wait, he prayed he would be in time to save Abigail. When the dwarfs turned to each other whispering, the white fox ran through the great doorway.

Inside, he saw a grand dining room. Sitting at a table forged of solid gold was the ogre. In front of him on a huge platter lay Abigail, still unconscious. Again hiding behind a column, the white fox hoped she was still alive, and wondered how to to save her.

When the ogre picked up a huge knife to carve Abigail into his supper, "brave and true", the white fox flew across the room, jumped onto the table and attacked. Using his sharp claws to scratch and his sharper teeth to bite, the white fox was still no match. Undaunted, the ogre laughed.

Determined to save her, the white fox leapt higher, and sank his teeth into the ogre's throat. Enraged, the ogre took the knife and plunged it into his the fox's side. The white fox's jaw loosened, he stumbled backwards, and fell off the gold table, his snow white fur stained red with blood.

Grabbing the fox by his tail with one hand, and clutching his throat with the other, the ogre made his way across the dining room. At the door, he dropped the fox, let go his own throat, reached down and picked up one dwarf in each hand. Holding them by their necks, he banged their heads together with all his might.

Dashing them to the ground, the ogre picked up the fox again by the tail, walked across the hall, and up the stairs leading from the palace. Swinging him in circles above his head, the ogre threw the fox with great force.

Landing on what felt like razor sharp thorns, the white fox, in great pain and inches from death, could only think of how he had failed Abigail. As tears fell from his green eyes, he imagined how horrible it would be for his Abigail to be eaten alive.

Suddenly the thorns melted away, and his pain diminished. Within moments, the dying fox lay in a large glittering pool. As he floated on the sparkling water, the white fox felt his wounds heal, and life flow back into his limbs.

In water up to his thighs, stood a man with a plumed hat, dressed in the finest of clothing. Handsome and tall, his eyes were as green as the finest emeralds.

Within seconds, he raced back to the underground palace, down the stone staircase, and through the hall. Arming himself with the spears of the fallen dwarves, he entered the dining room carefully. Hiding behind a column, the man saw the ogre sitting in the same seat as before, drinking from a goblet as Abigail lay motionless on the golden platter.

Swiftly but cautiously, the man moved down the length of the dining room till he was about ten feet behind the seated ogre. Running forward as fast as he could to gain momentum, with all his strength, he drove both spears through the spindles of the chair and into the evil ogre's back.

Howling in agony, the ogre rose to his feet. With deafening screams, he tried to pry the spears from his chest.

Hastily, the man picked up Abigail off the table. Bringing his face to hers, he was happy to feel her sweet breath against his cheek. Still unconscious, at least she was alive. Holding her in his arms securely, he hurried across the dining room, through the hall, up the stone steps, and out of the palace. Standing on a low stone wall, he searched in the distance till he saw the glittering pool, which was drying up more with every passing moment. Quickly, he carried Abigail over and gently laid her afloat.

With one hand supporting her head, the other trickled water through her parted lips. Surrounded by the glittering pool, Abigail looked more beautiful than ever. And when she opened her eyes, the same deep blue as the ocean, the man knew how deeply he had fallen in love.

"What's happened?" she asked. Overjoyed by the sound of her own voice, Abigail's eyes pricked with tears.

As the man lifted her into his arms with a big smile, he said, "Praise be to god! You are safe now. I am Prince Henry."

"It's you." gasped Abigail as she gazed into his emerald eyes. Moving towards him just as he reached her, they embraced.

"Dearest fox," she said wiping tears from her eyes, "I have never felt safer than with you by my side. How may I repay you?"

Prince Henry gazed into her eyes and asked her for her name.

"My name is... Abigail" she said with a teary smile. "I've never said it out loud before. You know, I quite like it."

And as Abigail gazed into his shimmering green eyes, she agreed to honor her promise and marry the man who had saved her life.

 


V


 

Arriving in Abigail's village as the sun began to rise, Abigail's parents, who had been worried sick, praised the heavens that she was safe. And when Abigail spoke, both her mother and father cried tears of joy. The prince then took Abigail, her family and all of her friends back to his castle where a huge celebration was held to honor his return and their engagement. And Abigail laughed. And Abigail sang. And Abigail shouted with glee. And everyone in attendance was in agreement- her voice was beautiful.


© Copyright 2017 Greg Klepper. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

Booksie 2017-2018 Short Story Contest

Booksie Popular Content

Other Content by Greg Klepper

Misfortune

Short Story / Mystery and Crime

Acid Eater

Short Story / Humor

Popular Tags