augusti 01, 2003

A trip to market

She thought this was a wonderful idea, and said she'd love it. "Get ready as quick as you can!" said her husband. "We'll have to walk, because the horses are out at pasture. But if we take the track over the hill we'll get there soon enough."

A little while later, she stood on the threshhold, wearing her finest costume. She felt happier than she had done for years, and she had completely forgotten the changeling. Suddenly she thought of something: "Perhaps my husband is just trying to lure me away, so the servants can kill the changeling while I am out of the way." She hurried into the farmhouse and came back with the sturdy troll child in her arms.

"Can't you leave that thing at home?" asked her husband, but he didn't sound irritated, only kindly. "No, I don't dare leave him", she replied. "Oh well; that's your problem", said her husband, "But you'll find he's too heavy to carry over the hill."

They started on their journey. It was heavy going, for the path ran steeply uphill. They had to climb right to the top before the path set course for the village.

At last the wife had grown so tired that she could hardly move. Again and again she tried to persuade the boy to walk by himself, but he would not.

Her husband was bubbling with good humour and friendlier than he had been since their own child was lost. "Do let me carry the changeling" he said, "for a while,"
"Oh no; I can manage", she replied. "I don't want you to have trouble with the little beast."
"Why should you always be the one to do it?" he asked, and took the child from her.

He did this just at the point where their path was hardest. Slippery and slidy, it ran along the side of ravine, so narrow you could not put both feet side by side. The wife walked behind him, and suddenly found she was frightened that somethng would happen to her husband while he hauled the child along. "Careful here!" she called, for he looked as if he were moving far too fast and carelessly. Sure enough, he tripped soon afterwards, and almost dropped the child into the abyss.

"If the child really had fallen, we would have finally been rid of it," she thought. But just at that moment she understood that this was what her husband planned. He wanted to throw the child into the ravine and pretend afterwards that it had been an accident. "Oh well," she thought, "That's it, then. He has arranged all this to rid the world of the changeling without my seeing that it was deliberate. Yes, the best thing would really be to let him do what he wants."
Posted by andrewb at augusti 1, 2003 03:04 EM | TrackBack