augusti 20, 2003

The home destroyed

At that moment the fire burst through the windows and the roof. The heat was terrible. For a moment the wife was pale as a corpse with horror, staring at her husband; then she turned and ran into the flames after the child.

"Burn up yourself! Why don't you?" Her husband shouted after her. But she returned, and she had the changeling with her. Her hands were dreadfully burnt and her hair had almost all been singed away. No one said anything to her at all. She walked away to the well, quenched a couple of embers that were glowing on her skirt, and sat with her back to the dry stone rim of the well. The troll child lay in her lap and soon fell asleep, but she stayed sitting, upright, awake, looking sorrowfully ahead. All sorts of people hurried past her, towards the burning house or away from it. None spoke with her. All seemed to find her so terrible and frightening that they could not bear to be close to her.

When dawn at last came, the farmhouse had burned to the ground; her husband came up to her. "I can't stand any more." he said. "You know that I don't want to leave you, but I can't bear living with a troll a moment longer. I'm going now. I'm never coming back."

When she heard these words and saw him turn away from her and start walking heavily, she felt something tug and then tear inside her. She wanted to run after him, but the troll child lay heavy on her lap. She hadn't the strength to shake it off. She sat still as she was.
Posted by andrewb at augusti 20, 2003 05:32 EM