juli 26, 2003

the discovery

Scarcely had she vanished when the riders came into view. They were substantial farmers, rich and respected, the owners of a large farm in the fertile valley below the mountains. They had already been married for many years, but they had only had this one child, so you will understand that they were eager to get him back.

The wife rode a few lengths ahead of the husband and was the first to catch sight of the baby which lay by the side of the road. It was howling at the top of its voice for its mother, and the wife should have realised just from the terrible noise what sort of a child it was, but she was so frightened that the little one had been killed when it fell from her horse that her only thought was "Thank God he's alive!" "Here he is!" she called to her husband, as she slipped down from her saddle and ran to the troll child.

When her husband reached her, she was sitting on the ground looking as if she could not believe the evidence of her sense. "My child didn't have teeth like needles", she said, turning the troll baby round in her hands. "My child didn't have hair like a pig's bristles", she lamented. Her voice filled with fear. "My child had no talon on his little finger."

The farmer could only suppose his wife had lost her wits, and he jumped down from his horse. "Look at the baby" cried his wife: "See is you can work out why he looks so strange!" and she held it out to him. He took it from her hands, but scarcely had he glanced at the child before he spat three times and threw the baby to the ground. "It is a troll child", he said. "This isn't our son." The wife sat still as ever by the side of the road. Her mind worked slowly, and she could not comprehend what had happened. "What are you doing to the child?" she cried. "Can't you see it's a changeling?" asked the man. The trolls have seized their moment when our horses panicked. They have stolen our child and left one of their own here." "But where is my child?" cried the wife. "Away with the trolls is where our child is" said her husband.

At this, the knowledge of catastrophe overwhelmed his wife. She went so pale that her husband thought she would die on the spot.

"Our baby can't be far from here", he said, and gentled her. "We shall go into the woods and look for him".
Posted by andrewb at juli 26, 2003 10:52 FM