This a bit of a fun OTD post. So, here in the US, it is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day. What I’ve decided to do is give everyone here a little treat. In my Ravanguard series, there are fairy tales or rather, “night tales” as I call them in the series. I don’t explore them in the actual novellas or novels but they are referenced. Hope you’ve got your coffee and cake ready while I share the tale of the “The Lamb in the Hill”.
The boy from the Prenian hills loved little but cared most for his lamb whose snowy coat never faded. Charged by his father to watch and protect the lamb from all possible threats, the boy took his responsibility serious. He believed if he kept the lamb safe from wolves and other predators, his father would grant him a new responsibility at the family’s farm where he would learn to sheer and spin the valuable wool.
On a day where there was nothing to distinguish itself from the rest, the boy lost sight of the lamb as it grazed upon a hill. Fear did not find itself in the boy, having come to trust the lamb and its willingness to stay close. As he approached the other side of the hill, a song hummed to celebrate the day, an odd fellow waved at him. The boy rarely met others in the fields of Prenia but waved in response.
“A beauteous day is one not to forget, young lad,” the odd fellow said.
The boy did not respond at first, taking in the odd clothing of the odd fellow, garbed in trousers and shirt made of black and silver silks. Baubles of gold glittered at the ends of his shoes, wrists and the triangular hat upon his head. The truly peculiar thing about the odd fellow, though, was his great height, slender frame and rock-like features of his face. What first seemed to be wrinkles were in fact rocky crags. From brow to chin, the odd fellow’s face marked him a creature the boy did not know.
There was some sense of danger as they stood across from one another. The boy came out of his scrutiny of the odd fellow and noticed his lamb missing. “Sir, have you seen my lamb? He has the whitest coat one could imagine. Snowy and brilliant, shining in the daylight sun.”
The odd fellow scratched his chin. “I’m afraid I’ve taken your lamb, boy, for I have been traveling a great many days.”
Tears did not cease from the boy’s eyes at the horrible reveal. His fear induced by the realization that his father would surely punish him both by word and hand. The lamb was his to protect and he failed before he had known there was a problem.
The odd fellow took notice of the boy’s distress and quickly felt the need to repay for his misdeed. These were his ways unlike some of his misguided kin. “Good lad, do not cry,” he pleaded, “for I have a rare and magnificent gift. I can find the greatest of treasures in the earth. Come and see!”
The boy stood in place, heart broken but watching the odd fellow scan the earth of the hillside at their feet for several seconds.
“Aha!” the odd fellow exclaimed. He dropped to his knees and with ease placed his hands into the earth like he was dipping his fingers into the water of a lake. Out his hands came and in them he held a great sword. It was unlike any other. Old but gleaming made by a long-dead blacksmith. “Here,” the odd fellow said, sword extended. “Take it and you will cast down great enemy hordes with a single strike!”
The boy did not dare take such a weapon for he did not trust the odd fellow. “Sir, I am untrained. How could I face a rival but fail to control such a heavy blade?”
The odd fellow considered the sword. “I see you are frail in the ways of a warrior. I agree and will offer another gift.” The odd fellow placed the sword on the ground, stood and roamed until he dropped to his knees again.
A second time, the odd fellow pressed his hands into the earth as if it was cream, easy to separate and search through. His hands came out again and he held in his hands a flute of ivory. The odd fellow brought it to his lips and blew the excess dirt from its core. “Here,” he said. “Take it and control the clouds above, able to bring rain or sunshine whenever you need it!”
The boy did not take the flute. “Sir,” he said, “I am untrained. How could I learn the notes to control the weather and make better my days?”
Once again, the odd fellow felt a blow to settle his debt. He laid the flute down and looked all around the hillside. “Boy,” he confessed, “I am at a loss. What do you require to be satisfied by my misdeed?”
The boy considered the question and found only one answer to satisfy his desire. “Surely, sir, you did not take my lamb for its coat. Surely, you can give me that at least so I can return it to my father. At least then, it can be woven and sold so that our investment will not go wasted.”
The odd fellow rubbed his pointed chin. “A fair request.” He turned to where the boy had first laid eyes on him and reached into the earth. Out came his hands and in them he held the lamb, the animal shaking but alive as its coat was dark from the earth.
“That is not my lamb,” the boy said. “For that one is not white.”
The odd fellow shook his head and searched all around him with the lamb in his arms.
In the moment of opportunity, the boy took up the sword and swung its mighty blade, cleaving the head of the odd fellow, having saved all his strength to make one attempt at the creature. The lamb fell to the ground and ran to the boy, snowy coat smeared with the dirt of the earth.
The boy walked over to the flute, hummed as he always did and played notes until the clouds formed overhead. Rain fell and washed the lamb clean. The boy considered the body of the odd fellow and left it to wither, serving always as a reminder that the lamb could not be left out of his sight.
Call to Action: What’s your favorite fairy tale? Post a comment and share!