Chapter 2: Chapter 2

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 72
Comments: 2

Mr. Bircher wasn't used to taking "no" for an answer. After Mabyn had refused his marriage proposal, he turned his efforts toward Thomas and Anne. He was hoping that, if he managed to win them over, they would help him to convince Mabyn to marry him. Mr. Bircher spared no expense on showering them with lavish gifts, but Mabyn promptly returned all his presents and refused to see him. Thomas and Anne thought Mr. Bircher a good prospect at first, but when they saw how determined Mabyn was in her refusal to marry him, they didn't dare bring the subject up again with her. Still, Mr. Bircher was not in the least discouraged. He thought that convincing Mabyn to marry him was only a matter of time and that he should only wait till the situation was more in his favor to resume his advances.

Such situation very soon occurred. One cold November day, Thomas got caught in a severe storm. He was missing at sea for several days. Everyone thought him dead, when his boat was washed ashore with Thomas's badly injured body in it. He was very weak and running a high fever, but still alive. All family savings were spent on doctors and medicine for Thomas. Soon, they were forced to sell most of their possessions and live the life of poverty.

Mabyn had only two sheep and one lamb left, but it seemed only a matter of time before they too would be sold. In the midst of cold winter they could barely afford to pay for firewood. It was then that Mr. Bircher renewed his marriage proposal and Anne pleaded with Mabyn to at least consider it. With a heavy heart Mabyn agreed to think it over and to give him her answer by the beginning of summer. Anne seemed very pleased with such turn of events and Mr. Bircher considered his marriage a done deal. He was not in the least concerned that his beloved had not yet given him her consent. Mabyn, on the other hand, knew all too well that she could never bring herself to be the wife of Mr. Bircher.

* * *

Thomas's recovery went very slowly. He was confined to bed all winter. When spring came, he was able to get up and sit on the porch, but only for short periods of time. New grass and first spring flowers were just emerging and Mabyn was now spending most of her time in the beautiful Brehyfryd valley pastures with her sheep. When she saw the rolling meadows bathed in the sun, she forgot all her troubles and even the annoying Mr. Bircher. The girl felt carefree and happy. She sang and giggled with joy and only an occasional thought of Thomas's poor health would cast a shadow over her pretty face.

One day, when Mabyn was taking her sheep home at sunset, she heard a melody so beautiful and enchanting that she felt compelled to find out who was playing it. The music seemed to be coming from an old oak on top of the hill. As she was nearing the oak, Mabyn came across a ring of deep green grass, much greener than the rest of the grass in the meadow. Beautiful tiny people were dancing in the ring upon the grass to the sounds of harps, fiddles and tambourines. They were whirling and twirling, their clothes sparkling in the golden glow of the setting sun like a flurry. The dancers' movements were so light and graceful that the blades of grass barely moved under their feet. They seemed to be flying in the air. Mabyn had never seen anything quite so beautiful in the village where she grew up, yet the dance movements and the music seemed surprisingly familiar to her.

In the middle of the circle was the King of the dancing people. He was even more beautiful and much taller than the rest. His clothes were richly adorned with precious stones and he had a golden crown upon his head. When Mabyn entered the circle, the music stopped. Everyone seemed to have frozen in astonishment. Mabyn felt very embarrassed. She thought everyone was staring at her worn out peasant dress that was hardly fit for the grand ball she chanced upon uninvited. But the King came up to Mabyn, bowed to her, and offered her his hand. Not a word was uttered. The music resumed and Mabyn joined the rest of the fair people in their entrancing dance.

She had never known such joy! Time seemed to have stopped and the ground seemed to have moved away from under her feet. It was nearly dawn when Mabyn realized she had been dancing all night long.

"Oh, dear me! I really must be going!" she cried out as the music stopped and she saw the weary dancers settling for their day slumber.

"Going? Now? Where will you go?" asked the King still holding her hand.

"Why back to the village, of course!"

"The village? Why? What's in the village, Mabyn?"

"My home is. But how do you know my name?"

"Don't you know mine?"

"No, Sir, I'm afraid I don't..." A deep shadow of sadness darkened the King's fair face as she spoke. "I... I don't understand," Mabyn faltered. It pained her to see that her words were distressing the King. "I'm sorry, Sir, if I upset you..."

"Say no more!" The King looked at Mabyn his eyes shining like stars. It seemed they could see right through her. "There is nothing to understand, Mabyn," he said, "The village is not your home. These cliffs and the oak knoll are. There is no need for you to return to the world of woe. You ought to stay here, where you belong. Look around, Mabyn, and tell me what you see. Is it not your home?"

Mabyn looked around. What a beautiful world she saw! The flowers around her were huge. The lanterns of morning dew hanging from their petals sparkled brighter than any diamonds ever could. The blades of lush green grass radiated the warmth of the sun. All colors were fresh and vivid. The air was pleasantly cool and fragrant. The sound of birds singing and chirping was coming from the branches of the old oak tree. Their songs were happy and carefree. Mabyn didn't want to leave this enchanting world, but she was very worried about Thomas and Anne.

"Look at me, Mabyn! Look into my eyes and tell me, if you can, that this is not your home!" The King's fiery gaze was too much to bear. Mabyn cast her eyes down.

"No, Sir, it cannot be," she said, "I must return to my proper home, where my parents are waiting for me. My father is very ill and my mother is all alone with him. I promised I would bake bread last night, but instead I spent all night long dancing. They must be very worried about me and I really must go now."

"I see. And who are your parents, Mabyn?"

"My father is Thomas, the Fisherman, and Anne is my mother."

"Oh?" The King seemed to be very surprised at what Mabyn had to tell him about herself. "And does the name ‘Hildur' mean anything to you at all?"

"No, Sir, I have never heard such a name."

The King lapsed into silence and remained pensive for a while. Then a faint smile touched his lips. "It's a pretty necklace you are wearing, Mabyn," he said, "Do you know what's written on it?"

"Nothing, Sir. It's just an ornament, you see."

"So I see," the King sighed, "You like baking bread you said?"

"Yes, I think so."

"Very well, Mabyn. If you really must go, then so be it. Before you go though, please, accept three gifts from me." The King clapped his hands three times and three servants bearing gifts appeared at each clap. As the first one bowed to Mabyn and handed her a tiny crystal bottle, the King said: "The first gift is to restore poor Thomas's health. Just a few drops of this elixir in his ale will make him well again."

The next gift was a plain wooden chest.
"The second gift is to make sure that there is always enough bread in the house of Thomas the Fisherman. You'll find this chest full of most delicious breads, buns, rolls, and cakes - all waiting for you to bake them," the King went on.

The last gift was a beautiful golden ball. The King took it from the servant and gave it to Mabyn in person.

"The third gift is for you, Mabyn," he said, "Once you bake all your bread and the chest is completely empty, you will know what it means and what you are to do with it. Until then - farewell, dear Mabyn." With these words he vanished in the thin air before Mabyn could even open her mouth to thank him.

to be continued

Submitted: May 12, 2009

© Copyright 2021 taistealai. All rights reserved.


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Tue, May 12th, 2009 9:40pm


Hmm, I like the authenticity of this tale- it definitely had the feel of a fairytale to it.

Would you mind having a read of mine, if you have time? I would really appreciate it, especially if you commented!

Thank you

Mon, August 24th, 2009 4:50pm

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