Presenting you with a new story by Eleanor Willow. I have written it in first-person, which is a bit new for me. It is a bit of a break from “A Modern Legend,” which will be back in good time. For now, happy reading!
If you come by the cabin just inside the woods– it’s just past the edge of the forest– you’ll find me. My name is Claire, and I’ve lived here for as long as I can remember. Every morning, I wake up with the sun and head into the village. I help the baker sweep, and he gives me a loaf of bread. Then I get a jug of milk from the dairy for watching the shopkeeper’s baby while his wife runs some errands. Sometimes I get butter instead, and I make it last. It makes the bread so much better.
I do a lot of things like that; little tasks that get me little things in return. It’s way better than having to stick to one trade and apprentice in it… and hundreds if times better than waiting to be married off to someone chosen by my father. I get by on doing these tasks, plus foraging in the woods around my cabin. Sometimes I get meat, sometimes cheese, maybe even cloth. It gets me by.
The villagers seem pretty happy to have me stop by. Whenever they see the kerchief that I wear over my hair– it’s blue like a robin’s egg, with pink and orange flowers, in case you were wondering– they know I’m there to work. It doesn’t hold all of my hair, but it looks good. I’ve considered dying my hair, because I’m tired of this silvery blonde color, but since it’s so long, I would need way too much dye. I’ll stick to the kerchief for now.
Sometimes I go into the forest to hunt. Everyone expects me to be good with a now and arrow, but I never got the hang of it. I take them with me, but they’re mostly for show. I usually end up setting up traps. They’re not good for more than squirrels and rabbits, and even then I prefer the beef that I can get in the village. The butcher is pretty generous when I scrub his tables, and as dirty as the job is, I like the reward.
Other than that, I don’t do much else. Now and them I do some research reading. I have tried different crafts, never got into one very deeply. I just like being in my cabin, or out in the woods. Sometimes I go up to the hill, where it’s all grass and clover, and lie down to stare at the sky. My mother used to say that I had my head in the clouds; I should tell her than now it’s down in the clover. I spent a lot of months living like that, not sure what to do with my life. That was before I found someone in the woods, and everything changed.
You know what? I need to come clean. I lied about everything. I’ve only been in the cabin for a few months, and the villagers only give me work because they need the help and nobody else will do it. My name isn’t even Claire, but I can’t tell you my real name. I hope you’ll listen to my story; I promise not to lie anymore.