Sunday, January 31, 2010

A tragic tale of a beautiful woman and a terrible curse…

Hello, my name is Valentine and this is the story of how I came to be here.

I was born many miles away, across the enticing, wild sea, to as ordinary a family as could me. My father was an apothecary and very serious about his work. My mother was a very beautiful maiden who was sent away to work at her uncle’s dairy after her parents died. My father loved her the very first moment he spied her bringing milk, cheese, and butter to the market when she was but a lass of sixteen.

Now, she had always been plagued by suitors, due to her beauty, but could never find a man she respected. My father could sense that she was not a woman to be won with flattery and flowers and set about patiently and persistently proving his love for her. He visited her in the evenings when he would lend her books and they’d discuss them when she finished. He took her on walks and taught her the medicines of the forest and she taught him the art of turning those medicines into a wholesome meal. My mother once told me that she never once thought of my father as the man of her future life until he asked her to marry him and her heart answered yes before her brain could even understand the question. It was then, that she realized that she’d been in love with my father for many months.

Nine children followed, and when my mother and father decided they had too much happiness for one lifetime and felt it would be bad luck to tempt fate by having another child and adding that much more joy to their lives, she discovered she was once again pregnant. The idea that nine children was enough was rapidly replaced with the excitement a tenth would bring. All foreboding was forgotten. So I was born, amidst a family full of love, where I never wanted for anything and grew to be the spitting image of my beautiful mother.

I was picking wild herbs for my father the day before my twentieth birthday when I met a man in the woods. Our eyes met and he called me by the secret name of my heart, as I called him by his, and we knew everything there was to know about each other in the instant out eyes met. But in the next instant his face darkened, and I knew we had to run, for his mother, a witch, had promised him to another witch’s daughter in return for great power. She had no love for her son, only for what she could get in trading him. He was dazzlingly handsome and had the witch’s daughter and an old crone fighting to outbid one another for him. His mother would never let him marry me, since she would gain nothing from the arrangement.

We hurried to my house and packed my things while he stood watch for any of my, by this time, quite numerous family. My life fit into one small knapsack, I wrote a letter explaining, and we were on our way. Our plan was to sail across the sea to somewhere his mother couldn’t reach us. We booked passage on a boat without even knowing it’s destination and we were sailing the next day.

Alas, our flight was discovered. The witch’s daughter had out bid the crone and was to marry my love only to find he’d vanished. My love’s bride to be immediately sought out her mother who turned out to be a Sea Witch. The Sea Witch used her not inconsequential powers to seek him out and return him to her daughter.

A fortnight into our journey there arose a mighty unnatural storm roused by the Sea Witch with help from my own love’s mother, a Wind Witch. We held onto each other fearing this was the end and with one last kiss, our boat and everyone aboard was sucked under the waves. I lost my grip and he was gone. The cry that was ripped from me echoed from me to every reef, every cave in the ocean. A nearby pod of dolphins came immediately to my rescue, since I had ceased trying to save myself. They carried me to the surface and I was lost to consciousness.

I woke up here. A beautiful tiny island paradise with nothing but water around me as far as the eye can see. There is no shore, only sharp underwater cliffs with just the top most part of my island sticking up. There is a shallow river completely through it with a smooth pool in the exact center where I now spend my days. For a terrible curse was set upon me when it was discovered I had stolen the Air Witch’s son. I was to have my heart broken and turned into the heart of a fish, where I could spend the rest of my days contemplating the ruin of my vessel to freedom and of my dreams. But the dolphins, who took pity on me after hearing my anguished cry, took half the curse into their hearts so only half of me turned into a fish.

My love, legs, and life gone, I despaired of ever having the energy to carry on. But the dolphins bring me bottles, with books in them, from who I know not, but they come with instructions for me to read them and tell the sender what I thought. It is all now that sustains me, and I remember how my parents fell in love over books and knowledge, and hope it’s my love reaching me beyond all hope.

I read, I write, and I wait. Until the seas calm and my love is returned to me.