Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An Epic Tale - 2. The Girl

Amanda was the butcher's daughter. She didn't want to be, but she had very little choice. The butcher had paid good money for her.

She saw Jerek occasionally, but more often than not she was sent to the back when he came to sell a cow. The butcher was wary of his merchandise, and would never part with it for any less than top dollar. The best Amanda could hope for was a glimpse of the boy's sandy hair through the slits in the back room door.

How she loved him!

In her mind, they were already betrothed; very soon he would find her, and whisper, Come with me, and they would be off, the two of them, to a world of adventure. Never to look back.

Once she even defended Jerek against the butcher's most vigorous tirade. The butcher was taken by surprise. He had never been stopped in mid-tirade before, and it made him uncomfortable. He locked Amanda in her box for the next month, and dropped food to her only once a day.

Jerek, for his part, knew nothing of Amanda's life, or her plans for adventure. He only knew her as the butcher's daughter: beautiful - or at the very least, attractive - but retiring, shy, and unknowable.

He was happy, however, to see her after a month's absence. She looked bruised, and thinner than before, but somehow that did nothing to diminish her beauty - or at the very least, her attractiveness.

At that moment Amanda decided to run away. So she said to Jerek, "I've decided to run away."

"Oh," said Jerek.

"You can come with me if you'd like," said Amanda.

Jerek thought about it. "I would," he said.

"I'm glad," said Amanda.

Amanda wanted Jerek to kiss her at that moment, but he was too confused.

They were to meet by moonlight. Jerek didn't have much, so instead of preparing he spent the day talking to the cows. They didn't understand what was happening, any more than he did.

Moonlight found Jerek at the appointed meeting place - the well at the crossroads, two miles out of town. He had a few crusts of bread in his pockets, as well as the knife his brother had given him. That was all.

He waited for a long time. Eventually he became tired, and fell asleep at the well.

Morning came.

Jerek became very angry at Amanda - who was she to fill his head with ideas, and leave him waiting? And then he became confused - had he misunderstood? Surely there must be some explanation.

It was not until that afternoon that he got one - Amanda had not come because by moonlight, she had been killed.

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