Storytime Friday: East of the Sun and West of the Moon Part 4
That night her family held a huge feast in honor of her visit. The food was delicious but what she enjoyed the most was getting to see her family again. As the food was cooking (her family had servants now! A cook, a maid, and a butler. She could hardly believe it.) the whole family gathered together before a large fireplace in a well furnished room. Her father lit his pipe, and told her the whole story of what had happened after her departure with the bear. Her brothers and sisters interrupted regularly to point out some small event that Papa forgot, but the summarized version is as follows. The day after the bear took her away her father went out to weed their little garden. He noticed a particularly long vine that was getting out of hand and he began to pull it out of the ground. However no matter how hard he pulled the vine wouldn’t budge an inch. Eventually he fetched a shovel and began to dig it up. He dug and he dug, but the root continued deep into the soil. When he finally reached the end of it his shovel hit something hard. It was a large stone with an old rune carved in it. He pulled it aside, and beneath it lay an old longsword that had rusted almost completley away. Well they weren’t sure what to do with such a find, so they hung it above their door for good luck. People in town heard of his discovery, and word spread quickly. A few days later the king himself arrived in town, followed by a procession of nobles and men at arms, and came to visit them. The family was worried when he arrived, and wondered if they had done something wrong. Instead he only asked to see the sword that they had taken from the ground. They showed it to him, and to their surprise the king fell down to his knees before it. Apparently it was the lost sword of his great-great-grandfather who had slain a terrible dragon of old with it. It had been lost for many years, and the king never thought he would ever lay eyes on it himself. To reward them for returning the lost sword to his family he gave them five large sacks filled to the brim with silver, and granted them deeds to all the land within five miles of their home. He then had his royal architect design a beautiful mansion for them, and within two weeks it was finished. Surely the bear had kept his promise, and they were as now rich as they were once poor.
Of course once their story was out they wanted to know what had happened to her. They had been very worried that something terrible might have happened to her; that the bear might have gobbled her up, or kept her as a slave. She reassured them that she was extremely happy and had everything she could wish for. After that she changed the subject as politely as she could; she didn’t feel like explaining all about her beautiful palace and magical bell. It was enough for them to know that she was comfortable and content.
She stayed there for several days enjoying large meals with her family and horseback rides across their considerable property. She was happy and enjoying herself, but she was always careful to never let herself be alone with her mother. Though her mother was happy to see her she could tell that something was bothering her. She remembered the bear’s warning, however, and did whatever she could to avoid talking to her in private.
As it turned out she could not avoid her forever. One day after dinner her father declared that they would have a bonfire under the stars that evening, and her brothers and sisters quickly followed him out to help pile the wood and light the flame. She tarried a little too long and before she could follow her mother had placed her hand on her shoulder. “There’s something I want to talk to you about.”
End of Part 4