Fawn pt. 2

Molly and the faun walked several miles before coming to a forest she never knew existed. “How long has this been here?” She asked the faun, staring in awe at the great trees standing higher than any giant.

“As long as I’ve been alive; which has been a long time.” He said pointedly, stepping beyond the stark tree-line stretching for miles. If the outside of the forest seemed intimidating and cold the inside proved warm, spacious and bright. Molly deemed it a entirely new world, new even from her many dreams of fantasy. Colorful birds sang symphonies and flapped to-and-frow while flowers uprooted themselves and followed the pair as they walked along a neglected trail, waving their petals in dance as their tiny voices greeted and beckoned. Molly felt overjoyed at the sight and would have abandoned the pursuit of treasure all together in favor of staying in the forest a bit longer, but the faun scolded and pushed her on. Through to the other side they left the flowers at the forest’s edge, waving goodbye before coming to a great mountain a stone’s throw later, as tall and wide as a proud mountain should be.

But the grandness of the sight was distracted from by gnarly stems and thorns, blanketing the mountain in a dark, unfriendly coat. Only a small glimmer of red caught Molly’s eye, though she knew not how her eyesight carried so far up. At the very top of the mountain, amidst thorns mind you not forget so easily, gleamed a single rose, seemingly made of crystal.

“This is your treasure and your test.” The faun said quietly. “Climb the mountain to reach the rose and all your wishes come true.”

“But the thorns…” Molly started before an idea struck her. “Have you tried to climb this hill? This is where you got the thorn in your foot, is it not?”

“Certainly,” the faun answered plainly. “I have a great many wishes and would love to see them all fulfilled. But alas, I could not reach the top. Quite simply I am too big. But you are small enough to crawl through the stems and roots. But be warned do mind your footing. To fall off the mountain is to fall on a casket of thorns.”

Molly wished she could return to the forest to the singing birds and colorful flowers who moved when a breeze rolled by. In comparison, a lifeless piece of glass wasn’t much of a prize. But Molly knew better than to think she could turn back now. Walking to the foot of the mountain the faun brightly encouraged her onwards and upwards. Sighing, she grabbed a grey stem and hoisted herself up.

Slowly and carefully she wove herself over and between the great thicket. What felt like hours the faun assured were only minutes, occasionally sending her words of encouragement. “Surely he only wants this rose for himself,” Molly thought. “What if he’s only using me? When I have the rose he’ll steal it and leave me here alone.”

“Quickly,” the faun yelled, seeing her pause. “I won’t be able to reach you if you hurt yourself. Your bones will be toothpicks for vultures.”

The thought of being anything to a vulture was quite scary. Forcing her way up the mountain faster Molly neared the top and the rose was finally within grasp. Reaching out she brushed the nearest leaf with her fingers and she felt the ground shift beneath her. The thorns and stems came alive and rolled and bucked all over the mountain, seemingly fighting off the detected thief.

Desperately Molly grasped for the rose, but the stems gave a great heavy and she flew through the air. Head over feet she caught sight of one particularly nasty looking thorn heading her way and thought of her poor grandmother having to go without eggs because her granddaughter was scraps for vultures.

Molly opened her eyes. She found herself back by the dirt road with a half eaten plum in her hands. Realizing what happened she jumped to her feet and grabbed her basket of eggs. Running off down the road she scolded herself for wasting a perfectly good egg for such a dream. Fauns weren’t even real.

Fawn pt. 1

“Molly,” her mother called from their small cottage at the end of a road at the end of a town. “I gathered a dozen eggs for your grandmother. Take them to her will you?”

It is a universal fact that Grandmothers’ houses hold a sort of enchantment for children, so without further delay Molly threw on her shoes and pranced out the door with a basket of eggs tucked under her arm.

She made good time and before long was halfway. Her grandmother lived in the next town over, connected by a single dirt road everyone who wanted to go to-and-frow had to use. In the distance she saw a figure seemingly grow from the ground, but really only appeared over a hill. As he neared she could see it was a severely old man with a great white beard slung over his shoulder, even going so far as to trail on the ground even then. He held a knobby cane in one hand and a leather bag in the other. As they neared each other Molly smiled politely and nodded. “Good day to you.”

“Good day to you as well,” the man spoke in a voice made of wood ─ sturdy but creaky. “Would you happen to have a smidgen to eat? I haven’t eaten anything all day and fear I’ll soon perish.”

“All I have are raw eggs for my grandmother.” Molly said.

“That is fine,” he said. “I’ll take one.”

A bit baffled Molly took from her basket an egg and handed it to the elder, who swallowed it whole right then and there. “For your kindness I’ll repay tenfold. I am a seller of dreams you see.”

“What sort of dreams?” Molly asked.

“All sorts. Long ones, short ones, fat ones, thin ones. Dreams which will make you laugh, dreams which will make you cry, and even nightmares, which really are a misunderstood breed. I’ll give you a dream for your egg.”

Molly saw no harm, so accepted the offer. The man pulled from his leather bag a plum, plump and full of juice. “Eat this and then take a nap. Your dream will come to you then.”

“What sort of dream will it be?” Molly asked in wonderment.

The old man chuckled. “There is no saying. Whichever dream is yours I suppose.” With that the two parted ways. Molly continued on a bit before stopping for a rest. She pulled from her basket some bread and cheese her mother had packed for lunch. Specifically setting the plum aside she thought she would use it that night, having no time for a nap at the moment.

As she sat and ate she watched the clouds overhead pass by, slowly at first and then faster and faster. She thought it odd as she had never known clouds to move so fast, but paid little mind. Looking back to the road she found a faun to have suddenly appeared there. He was a tall, wide man covered in moss and dried mud, with great curved horns and hooves for feet. The figure moved very slowly, albeit purposefully, down the road dragging one leg lamely behind with a painful limp as he made his way. “Excuse me,” Molly called from the tree. The faun noticed her for the first time and stopped. “What seems to be the bother?”

“A thorn is stuck in my toe,” he answered in a voice like that of a forest, vast and wise.

“Oh my,” Molly said. “Would you like some help removing it?”Standing quickly she dashed to aid the stranger. Sitting by the side of the road the faun squeezed his eyes shut as Molly’s small, nimble fingers were able to find and pluck the thorn, which had made its way deeply into the faun’s sole.

“Thank you,” he bowed to Molly. “As a good gesture I would like to repay your kindness with a turn of my own.”

“Why is everyone repaying me today?” Molly asked in awe. “It’s no problem at all for me to help here and there.”

“But still, you must let me do one simple thing for you.” The faun insisted. “A few throws away from here, in the forest over the hill, lies a great treasure. It is free for the taking. But there is always a great obstacle in the way, which has prevented anyone from reaching it thus far. I will help you reach the treasure.”

“Only if it won’t take long.” Molly said, thinking on her grandma. “But what sort of obstacle will it be?”

“I don’t know.” The faun said. “I hear it is different for each person who tries. We’ll have to wait and see.”

The Lonely Princess pt 1

Once upon a time there was a princess who felt terribly lonely. Though she was surrounded by family and friends every day a dull pain would constantly distract her, growing into a stabbing of the heart late at night when alone. She cooped many years with her feelings of loneliness but after some time grew tired of baring it. Approaching her father and mother she asked for her solace to end; quite simply, to be married. Her parents were surprised, previously unaware of their daughter’s feelings. Approving of her wish they sent notice as far and wide as they could, telling all the princes of the news. The princess would travel from kingdom to kingdom until she found a prince she would be happy with. Excited her plight could finally come to an end she packed for the trip eagerly and was on her way within a week.

The first kingdom she visited was close by, less than a day’s ride from her home. There lived a prince she was familiar with. They were childhood friends in fact. The princess didn’t see the prince romantically but decided to feel out every plausible option just in case. The courting went as she expected. The two had a pleasant lunch and walked through the gardens the span of the afternoon. Though the prince did give it a good go the princess felt nothing more than friendly affection for the young man. She left early next morning to continue her search.

Months passed with little success. At one time she thought she’d fallen in love with one particularly handsome prince but soon found out they had very different opinions on tax reform. The maids told her she was far too picky—she would be wise to pick a prince of decent looks who she could stand to spend a few hours with everyday to settle on. It was the only way to ensure a secure future. The princess knew it was what was expected, but no matter how badly the pain came to her at night she could not bring herself to settle. Still she traveled, and still she found nothing. Every prince was too boring, too childish, too tall, too short, too skinny, too wide, too dumb, too smart, or just plain old too different for the princess to truly like. The pain at night in her heart grew steadily worse until she thought for sure she would die for how hard sleep came to her.

Many months passed. Unable to sleep and in a foreign land far from home she decided to walk about the small town her caravan had stopped in for the night to find a place open and serving food. She found a small tavern on a pleasant enough side street well lit and moderately populated. She sat at a table and moped about her situation with a drink. The chair across her became occupied as a smiling young man sat down. “Hello,” he started. “I saw you sitting alone and thought you might like some company. My name’s Paul.” The princess remained silent, eyeing the man.

“I suppose you’re a prince?” The princess took his hand in a delicate sort of way.

The man looked curious and shook his head. “Afraid not. I own this tavern.”

“Oh.” The princess opened her eyes wide.

“So what brings you here?”

“Ah,” she begins. “It’s a bit embarrassing actually.”

“Embarrassing isn’t necessarily bad.” He said.

“You’ll think I’m childish.” She insisted.

“Maybe. But I won’t stop talking to you because of it.”

The princess thought a moment before caving. “Alright. I’m traveling from place to place to find a husband.

“A husband?” The man raised his eyebrows.

“A man I love more like.” The princess confessed. “You see, I’ve never been in love and I’m terribly lonely because of it. I want to be married so I won’t be lonely anymore.”

“You’re right, it is childish.” The man laughed. “Let me buy you a drink.” An hour later the two were intoxicated, significantly enough to have an open discussion on romance. “I mean,” the man slurred is words. “You can’t just marry a guy because your lonely. It makes you look desperate.”

“But I am desperate.” The princess whined. “You don’t know what it’s like to lay in bed every night cold and alone.”

“Course I do,” the man corrected. “That’s what I do every night.”

“Do you?” The princess asked. “Well, you should get married too!” She exclaimed.

“I don’t know. I can’t seem to find a girl I can get along with. When you marry someone you have to spend a lot of time together, right?”

“Right.” The princess nodded her head in an exaggerated manner.

“But every girl I meet never has the time! They want to marry right away and won’t bother with a guy like me who wants to take the time of day to know: will I still like you ten years from now?”

“You know what?” The princess slurred, sitting tilted in her chair. She tried pointing to the man across from her but found there were three instead of one. “We should get married.”

“We should?” The man asked, eyes half closed.

“Yes.” The princess insisted. “We have an understanding.”

“That we do.”

“We enjoy each other’s company.”

“True.”

“We’re not getting any younger.”

“Noooo…”

“So why not?”

“Why not is the question. Let us be married!” The man poured two new drinks for celebration.

“A toast to us.” The princess raised her glass.

“Here here!” They drained their drinks and spent the rest of the night planning their extravagant wedding; to take place in the tavern they first met at of course. Too bad for the happy couple words promised while drunk are often not promised at all.

Fish Over Bread

In a far-off place and time brothers Tommy and Gilford lived in a floating bakery on a big river. How the bakery came by the ability to float escapes the two even to this day, but how they found themselves in the bakery is quite simple. A war broke out in their home country, and a rain of bombs the news called “hail” ruined their family’s plans during the weekly trip to town. Separated from their parents Tommy and Gilford ran into the nearest building, a bakery, and hunkered down to wait out the storm. When they awoke the next day life as they knew it no longer existed. All that remained was the bakery and a whole lot of water.

But all was not dismal. The shelves were lined with carbs of all different shapes and sizes, much to the boys’ delight. They ate well and waited for something to happen. Nothing did, and soon the slow sways of the building over water lulled them to sleep. Awakened the next morning by the unmistakable smell of freshly baked goods they found, beyond all belief and many eye-rubs, a bakery just as full of fresh bread as the day before! A week later the brothers recognized no one was coming for them. A good cry later they crawled to the front door. It led directly out into a river with grassy fields on either side. With insects to chase out and birds to serenade the boys settled into their new life with the sort of ease only seen in young adaptable minds.   

A quiet morning months later found Gilford hard at work. Fastening a makeshift fishing rod, he threw open one of the big windows of the bakery and climbed onto the sill.

“What cha’ doing?” Tommy called from the floor, munching on a croissant out of boredom. There is only so much you can do on a boat, you see.         

“I want meat,” Gilford said matter-of-factly.

“Meat… You mean fish?” Tommy raised his head and squinted his eyes. “You’ll never catch anything.”

“Says you.” Gilford cast his line cheerfully and, wiggling his butt, settled in to wait. 

Tommy sighed. “I’m bored.”

“You should find a hobby.” Gilford suggested from the window. “Mom had a hobby,”

“Sewing? Where am I supposed to get that sort of stuff?”

“Dad had a hobby,” 

“Cars, brother, cars.”

 “Fish on, fish on!” Came a sudden cry. Gilford struggled to stand up in the window and nearly slipped out.

“What, really?” Tommy ran to the window. Grabbing his brother around the waist, what could only be described an epic battle ensued. The bakery tilted this way and that, throwing the boys’ home into disarray. Sweat-spots formed on their shirts, the likes of which are only ever seen on burly, bearded men hard at work. Tommy heard a crack and saw the front door fly open. In horror he watched, as the bakery swayed harshly, all the baked goods of the day fly to the floor and gently roll outside. Crying in dismay, Tommy heedlessly released his brother and ran to the door, but far too late. Soon joined by Gilford, the two boys looked out onto the most dismal sight since their swing-set caught fire from one particularly harsh hail-storm.

“Great,” Tommy slapped Gilford upside the head as soggy dough floated pleasantly around them. “Now what are we supposed to eat for dinner?” Gilford shrugged and brought into sight his catch: a giant flapping fish, big enough to feed two growing boys for quite some time – or at least until the next morning.