Tale #98: The Woman Of Small Miracles

There was an old woman who could, quite by accident, cast miracles. Fruit would grow on her trees when all else withered. Money would be found just when it seemed that she would thrown be into debtors’ prison. Storms would blow in but stop before her door.

A family of bandits, having heard tales of her wondrous (yet modest) feats, imprisoned this old villager in her own house, and forced her to provide for them. The mother of the bandits starved her till food appeared in abundant quantities from her cellar. The father of the bandits stole from her until, nearing destitution, a smattering of gold coins emerged from the thick black ash that lined her hearth.

Finally the bandits’ son beat her, not with any plan of miraculous reward, but simply out of spite.

That afternoon, the old woman’s sister, long considered dead, rode through the town on an ash grey mare. Each house she passed she set aflame, until finally she came to her sister’s house. This she circled round three times, calling out her sister’s name as she did. Then she stopped, took aim, and fired three shots from her gun.

From the three windows, three bandits fell dead, the mother, the father, the son. From the front door stepped the old woman, while from the mare stepped down the sister. What they said to each other as they embraced none of us could hear, but moments later, the tears still wet on their cheeks, they rode out into the woods.

Neither the woman, her sister, nor even the mare, were ever seen again. The bandits bodies burnt with the town, and their ashes blew away on the morning wind. Our family made its way to the next town, and avoided thereafter miracles of all descriptions, whether large or small or somewhere in between.

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Notes:

1. Written on August 2nd, 2019

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Tale #97: The Lord And His Angel

In the village where I grew up there was much excitement when the lord’s wife gave birth to an angel, and the lord invited people from across the land to come and see the cherubic miracle.

When the angel threatened to fly away, the lord clipped her wings. When she tried to run away, he cut off her feet. When the angel began to sing for help, he cut the tongue from her mouth.

Still now the people come to see her, this miraculous child of heaven, chained up weeping in her cage.

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Notes:

1. Written on August 14th, 2019
2. Similar to The Jealous Lord

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Tale #96: On her shoulders, ravens (a dream of judgement)

Her hair as black as night, her clothes as white as the sun. On her shoulders, ravens that cried out to her in warning, called out to her in love. Friends that would never betray her, never forget her, never leave her alone.

Through the long meadow grass she walks, her hands brushing against the tips. Behind her the almost setting sun.

And me, always in her shadow, as I try to catch up, try to say I was sorry, try to convince her to turn, to stop, to take me back into her arms.

But only the ravens turn towards me. They cry out their judgement, and I am left, alone.

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Notes:

1. Written on September 27th, 2017

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Tale #95: In The Garden Between

In the evening we could hear her, calling us out by name from the walled garden at the centre of the town, in the gap between the shops and the houses, somewhere behind the church.

In the night we could hear her, crying softly to herself about imprisonment, about captivity and despair. In the morning we could hear her still, her voice strong and clear, cutting through the noise of the day, singing defiantly of hope and freedom, of escape and revenge.

Each year we built the walls higher, dug the foundations deeper, made the structure stronger as best we could. Not to save our children, although that was the lie we told. But to save, here and now, ourselves from the consequences of our own crimes.

Yet we knew, deep down, one day she would be free. That a retribution would come no matter how much we tried to avoid it.

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Notes:

1. Written on September 25th, 2017

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Tale #94: Beneath the weeping willow she sat down and wept

There was a girl who liked to hide. Each day she sat alone beneath the weeping willow. The branches and the boughs of the tree wrapped themselves around her to form this secret safe haven that was all her own.

Each day she cast, in her mind, a spell so strong the whole town would burn. Tears ran down her cheeks and soaked into the cotton of her blouse. Blood ran from her clenched fists into the dirt of the ground on which she sat. And the words of her spell dripped from her tongue into the protection of the tree itself, which ate them up and swallowed them whole and kept them secret from the world.

In her heart, unspoken, was another wish, one that would let her stay here forever, surrounded and safe and alone. But always, eventually, the weeping willow had to let her go, and she would return to the world that was immune to her spells of destruction, but which was trying its hardest, each day, to be the ruin of her.

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Notes:

1. Written on July 1st, 2019
2. The title is taken from By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept, by Elizabeth Smart

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