CTR Stories

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For The Strength of Youth

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    Ch. 44 The Wisdom of the Wise
Submitted by spazmom on 9 March 2007 - 7:20am. |

The sweet spring air swirled around the little girl as she sat in the meadow. It was late April and the flowers were blooming, the birds were singing, the sky overhead was a brilliant blue. She felt as if she were in heaven. She lay back in the sweet grass and watched as wisps of clouds floated by, suddenly hearing a soft song in the wind. The song called to her, and she sat up, tilting her head to one side, hoping to catch the words. It floated on the slight breeze, the lilting words carrying a haunting melody that made her heart ache while at the same time making her want to dance.

Unable to make out the words, she frowned, concentrating on the sounds. There weren’t any villagers living by them, their home was the farthest out and the closest to the forest. Her mother never sang – claimed she had the voice of a frog and wouldn’t force it on anyone. Who could it be? Had one of the villagers come to visit?

She jumped up and ran toward her home, excitement and curiosity mingling within her. There weren’t many visitors to their home – only school children who came for her mother’s teaching. Adults fascinated her. She could sit and listen to their stories for hours if her mother let them. Usually though, there were tasks to be done and lessons to be planned. Neighbors rarely came to call as they had busy lives as well – especially when it was preparation for summer and planting time.

Her blonde braids whipped behind her like ribbons as she ran, giggling to herself – happy in anticipation. Since she was outside every moment of every day the weather and mother permitted, her little face was covered in freckles and the skin was slightly red on her upturned nose. Rich, thick eyelashes of dark brown framed her forestry green eyes which turned up a little at the corners, and her plump, pink cheeks glowed with health. She ran with a quick step and burst through the door of their well kept home, looking around for her mother.

“Mother! Mother, is someone here?” Going back to the kitchen, she found the object of her search in the middle of putting loaves of bread into the oven. “Here you are!” She gazed at the loaves, relishing the thought of fresh slices out of the oven while her mother chuckled.

“I’ve been here all morning, my dearest. Did you need something?”

“Mother,” the girl said, coming to stand at her side, her thoughts back on the meadow. “Did we have a visitor? I heard singing.”

Her mother finished putting the loaves in the oven and shut the door before turning to look steadily at her daughter. “We had no earthly visitors, Tabitha. You must have heard the fairies singing.”

The girl’s eyes grew round at the words. “Fairies? What do you mean?”

Her mother chuckled and put an arm around her shoulders. “Come. I’m ready for a break, let’s have some cookies and milk and I’ll tell you. I can’t believe you haven’t heard the song before now with us living right by the forest.”

Tabitha looked around, her expression confused. “What difference does it make that we live close to the forest?”

Her mother smiled a mysterious smile as she guided her daughter toward the kitchen table. “The forest has a great deal to do with us living here,” she said, setting down a plate of cookies. “If it weren’t there, we wouldn’t have lived here.”

Tabitha frowned as she reached for a cookie, watching her mother get a pitcher of milk from the cold box and come back with two mugs. “We wouldn’t be living here if the forest wasn’t there? Why not? I thought daddy was a woodsman.”

The woman looked down at her young daughter and settled on the bench opposite, pondering the story she had to tell. While it was not entirely a happy one, the ending was wonderful and she hoped it would be something her daughter would be proud to learn.

“Then it is time you heard the tale,” she said with a smile.

“Do Jimmy and Amy know the story?” The question seemed pried from her lips as Tabitha looked up at her.

Her mother laughed softly. “Of course they do. They heard the music when they were about your age, and I told them.”

Tabitha made a face as she munched on the cookie. “Then why didn’t I get told at the same time?”

“Perhaps you weren’t old enough yet,” was the gentle reply. “You have never questioned before, never heard the song. Now you are ready.”

Recognizing the signs of her mother slipping into her storytelling voice, Tabitha sat forward on her stool, eager to hear every word. Her mother was the greatest story teller around and could weave a tale as real as vision could see, tongue taste or nose smell.

“Many years ago,” her mother’s voice intoned, “a young woman lived in a village over the hills from here. Her name was Jenny. Folks around came to know her as Jenny of the Wood.”

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