Tale #26: The Seven Sisters

In a place far from here, in a house so close to the sea you could hear the roaring and the crashing of it louder than thunder and longer than life, there lived a lonely woman. And she had lived there alone for many years, and for longer than she liked.

One night there was a knocking at the door, and there stood waiting outside seven sisters, all of them identical except for the colour of their hair. One sister had black hair, and one had white; one’s hair was silver and one’s gold; one had hair as brown as a mouse and one had hair as ginger as a fox. And the last sister had hair as red as blood, and lips as dark as night.

And it was this sister who asked if they may come in, for it was cold outside, she said, and wet, and the wind was howling through the trees like wolves at hunt.

The woman who lived in the house said yes, and invited the sisters into her house, and one by one she took them through to her kitchen and seated them at her table. She asked them if they would like some food for supper, and a drink for warmth, and a chat, if they wished, for friendship and for joy. And the sisters were so hungry they ate all she had, and they were so cold they drank all she had. But they ate in silence.

After they had licked clean their plates and drunk their bottles of wine dry, the sisters were overcome with tiredness, and the red-haired sister asked the woman if, perhaps, they could stay the night, for it had been a long time since they had slept, and it was getting rather late.

The woman said yes, come with me, and I’ll show you to your rooms. And they went to the first room, which had been her grandparents’ room. The white haired sister and the grey haired sister undressed themselves, climbed into bed, and held each other in their arms. They kissed each other goodnight, and fell straight to sleep. “They look just like my grandparents”, thought the woman, and wiped a tear from her eye. But they were not her grandparents, and she locked the door behind her.

And they went to the second room, which had been her parents’ room. The black haired sister and the gold haired sister undressed themselves and climbed into bed and held each other in their arms and kissed each other goodnight and fell straight to sleep. “They look just like my parents,” thought the woman, and she wiped a tear from her eye. But they were not her parents, and she locked the door behind her.

And they went to the third room, which had been her daughters’ room. The brown haired sister and the ginger haired sister undressed themselves, climbed into bed, held each other in their arms, kissed each other goodnight, and fell straight to sleep. “They look just like my daughters,” thought the woman. And she wiped a tear from her eye. But they were not her daughters, and she locked the door behind her.

Finally, they went to the fourth room, which was her own room, and the red haired sister undressed them both and they climbed into bed together. The woman thought, “You look just like my wife.” And she wiped the tears from the red-haired woman’s eyes and kissed her deep dark lips goodnight.

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Notes:

1. Written in May 2016

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