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|Raven's Shire Fairies Tales
Hawthorn Tree Trains a Cunning
chopped the turnip with a sharp thunk of her knife and a bird chirped
shrilly seeming to echo the sound. Again the girl chopped the turnip
and again the bird sounded shrilly causing her to clench her teeth,
annoyed that the bird seemed to be mocking her. Aileana paused waiting
for a silent moment to see if the bird would chirp again on its own,
but it remained as quiet as she did. Then a third time Aileana chopped
the turnip and a third time the bird chirped shrilly echoing her knife.
The girl closed her eyes and cursed the bird and the menial tasks she
was left to do day after day.
Realizing the time, she chopped faster
and the bird kept time with her as she worked to finish the soup before
the twelve men she worked for came home.
Aileana was trapped, as
trapped as anyone could be. It seemed as soon as she’d finished setting
out the plates for the men, the food had been eaten and it was time to
clean. While she cleaned the men told tales to pass their time. The
tales that only served to make her dream fitfully in her sleep, a dream
that was always interrupted all too early by the cock’s crow. Groggily,
Aileana awoke dreading the day as she went to work once more.
evening came and the shadows grew long she cut the turnips again and a
dog barked as if echoing and mocking each slice, setting her teeth on
edge. Once more the twelve men ate so fast she didn’t have time to sit.
Once more she cleaned as they told tales that entered her dreams yet
again. Once again the cock interrupted her dream far too early. She
awoke so tired she felt ill and nearly collapsed as she cut the turnips
as she had hundreds of times before. This time a girl Aileana didn’t
know seemed to giggle, just outside the house, in time to Aileana’s
chopping. The girl who sat happily with her lover and the two of them
seemed mock Aileana’s loneliness. Then the men came home and Aileana
longed to sit and share stories, but instead she found herself cleaning
When at last everyone was gone to bed she stepped outside
into the cold night too tired to sleep, she walked to the edge of the
village. She continued on to the edge of the fields. Walking on, as if
stepping into a requiem, she at last entered the very edge of the
forest. Her heart was racing with an anxious fearful thrill as she
approached the dangerous fairies nighttime abode.
Tree felt Aileana’s heart racing as she passed under his branches. He
watched her walking gracefully as a ghost in the moonlight, dressed in
light linens as if she were still dreaming. The sight caused his
branches to quake with interest. So he sent his spirit out of the tree
in the form of a man and approached her gently as a man. After
introducing themselves they spoke of the stories she’d heard and the
dreams she had and as they spoke he told her new stories and gave her
another dream. Then the cock crowed far too early and the Hawthorn
Tree’s had to flee back to the tree leaving the girl to return home.
Despite not sleeping she felt well rested and went through the day as if in a cloud.
returned the next night to the Hawthorn Tree and once more the Hawthorn
Tree came out to speak to her. This time he told her of more stories
and her heart ached for want of a story of her own, so he got ready to
share with her a secret but the cock crowed far too early and once more
he had to flee.
The third night the moonlight danced and the shadows
sang their eternal songs as Aileana returned to the tree. When she got
there the Hawthorn Tree rested his head in her lap. As he lay down he
accidentally nicked her with a thorn so that a drop of her bright red
blood fell upon one of his white blossoms. “How I wish for a child as
red as this blood and as white as my flowers,” he told her.
dawn approached the Hawthorn Tree shared with her the secret of how to
call a shee, a fairy to help her with her cooking and cleaning so that
Aileana could rest during the day. Once more the cock crowed and the
tree spirit fled back inside itself leaving her to return home.
day she slept from the time the sun peaked above the top of the castle
to the time it had reached the rocks rising from the sea. Yet when she
awoke the house was clean and dinner was ready. The food smelled better
than any food she’d ever eaten and the men spent so much time
complimenting her as a genius in preparing it that she had time to sit
and eat and tell stories with them at last.